Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Leonard Fournette almost cut before playoffs

Leonard Fournette, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Leonard Fournette, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers almost never experienced Playoff Lenny.

When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers brought in Leonard Fournette after the powerful runner was cut by the Jacksonville Jaguars, he was another member of a crowded backfield room. His numbers were modest, through the first 12 weeks Fournette had only 69 rushing attempts for 271 yards and three touchdowns while adding 28 receptions for 171 yards. This was due to the fact that Fournette was sharing snaps with Ronald Jones II, in a role the former fourth overall pick didn’t appreciate.

Fournette was inactive for the Buccaneers’ Week 14 win over the Minnesota Vikings and had a little chat with head coach Bruce Arians. The short version of the story is that Arians told Fournette that he can either buy-in or sell out and leave, and they would cut him right then and there. Spoiler alert, Fournette decided to stick around. The Buccaneers would never lose again the rest of 2020, as that Vikings win was the start of the win streak that lasted all the way to Super Bowl LV.

When Jones was placed on the COVID list, followed by an unfortunate quad injury, Fournette finally got his chance to shine, and remind the NFL world what he can do. In the four playoff games the Buccaneers played, Fournette carried the ball 64 times for 300 yards on the dot and three touchdowns. In the Super Bowl, he rushed for 89 yards and a touchdown, cementing his place in the hearts of Buccaneers fans for the rest of time. Fournette also added another 148 yards and another score on 18 catches in the playoffs.

Playoff Lenny was molded in 2020, but it’s amazing to think that he almost wasn’t on the roster in December. Suffice to say, things worked out. Now, the Buccaneers have a decision to make on his future with the team once more this offseason.