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Tampa Bay Buccaneers coaches ‘not happy’ with Leonard Fournette’s weight during minicamp

Andrew Buller-Russ

The Jacksonville Jaguars caught the league by surprise in September of 2020 when they released their starting running back Leonard Fournette. This came after he gained a career-best 1,152 rushing yards in 2019.

Looking for more depth in their running back room, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers brought Fournette in, signing him to a one-year contract. He would proceed to start three games, and appear in a total of 13 on the year, before starting each game of the postseason, helping Tom Brady win his seventh Super Bowl ring, and Fournette’s first.

The Bucs brought him back on another one-year deal and he was their starter for much of the season, taking over for Ronald Jones. This past offseason, Jones signed with the Kansas City Chiefs, and Fournette re-upped with the Buccaneers, only this time on a three-year, $21 million contract, with $12 million fully guaranteed.

All is good, right? Not exactly.

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Leonard Fournette shows up to minicamp at ‘nearly 260 pounds’

NFL: NFC Divisional Round-Los Angeles Rams at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports

With a now 44-year-old Tom Brady more motivated than ever to prove he came back for all the right reasons, trying to win what would be his eighth Super Bowl, Leonard Fournette skipped the team’s voluntary organized training activities altogether.

Then came the team’s mandatory minicamp sessions from June 7-9, in which Fournette showed up, but not at his best.

“Coaches were not happy, and that’s an understatement, when (Fournette) didn’t participate in the OTAs, but then he shows up at the mandatory minicamp weighing damn near 260 [pounds]. And that’s not a good sign for a guy that you’ve just spent a three-year contract on.”

Rick Stroud on Leonard Fournette’s offseason activity

For the record, Fournette’s listed size, according to his Pro Football Reference page, has him at 6-foot tall, weighing 228 pounds. It sounds as if Stroud is speculating on what Fournette’s actual weight was, but the running back was clearly not in his peak form.

While part of that is understood, as it is their offseason, another part shows Fournette isn’t taking his conditioning seriously. It’s not a good look for a rookie or a veteran. Especially not someone who just signed a fresh contract and is hoping to start the season on the right path, helping the Bucs position themselves for another deep postseason run.

Now the Bucs also have third-round rookie Rachaad White looking to make his mark too. If Fournette doesn’t show up to training camp on July 24 in much better shape, he could see some of his reps beginning to dwindle. Then again, he still has until September 11 before the Bucs take on the Dallas Cowboys in Week 1. We probably shouldn’t overreact too much to how a player looks or plays in June when the games don’t count for another three months.

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