The Buccaneers almost cut Leonard Fournette before the epic playoff race

Playoff Lenny almost never happened.

Tampa Bay is running back Leonard Fournette played a massive role in the playoffs and helped the Buccaneers reach and win the Super Bowl. According to coach Bruce Arians, Fournette barely made it to the post season with the club.

After his release from Jacksonville, where he was mostly a workhorse for his first three seasons, Fournette landed in Tampa and shared backfield snaps behindRonald Jones. The latter was clearly the better back for most of the regular season. Throughout the first 12 weeks of the season, Fournette had 69 rushing attempts at 271 yards and three TDs, while adding 28 catches to 171 yards.

Fournette was unhappy with his role and became inactive for the Bucs’ Week 14 victory over the Minnesota Vikings – a victory that would kickstart an eight-game winning streak for the Super Bowl. The next day, Arians had an honest conversation with continuously about his choice: Deal with the circumstances, otherwise we can move on.

“I said, ‘This is your situation.’ It can change with a drop of hat, “Arians said Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. “But that’s your situation. Either embrace it or you say, ‘Cut me.’ “I said, ‘What do you want?’ Because this is a very special team that you are a part of. I think you have a feel for it. Just see if you can hang in there to see what happens. “And he did, and I’m really proud of him.”

The rest is playoff history.

Fournette got his shot when Jones went on the reserve / COVID-19 list for the next two weeks. Jones then suffered a square injury before the post season, further opening the door for Playoff Lenny. Fournette took advantage of the opportunity. In four playoff games, he rushed 64 times to 300 yards and three TDs, including 89 yards and a TD in the Super Bowl, adding an additional 148 yards and another score of 18 catches.

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