Ex-Bills RB Makes Strong Statement on His NFL Future

Leonard Fournette

Getty Leonard Fournette warms up before a Buffalo Bills game.

After one season and limited production with the Buffalo Bills last year, Leonard Fournette wants NFL teams to know that he’s still got plenty left in the tank.

The veteran running back made a strong statement on his future, letting teams know that he intends to play in 2024. As ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported, Fournette hired former agent Ari Nissim along with Pat Capra and sent a confident message through the new representation.

“Leonard’s in the best shape of his career and I expect he will have a new home soon,” Nissim said,” via Schefter.

Veteran Running Back Struggled to Find Role in Buffalo

Fournette signed with the Bills on October 30 last season, joining the practice squad after veteran running back Damien Harris was lost to a season-ending injury. While it appeared that Fournette could move into a significant role, he remained stuck on the practice squad as running back Ty Johnson was instead elevated and cemented a role as the No. 2 back behind James Cook.

In an interview with the Buffalo News published on December 5, the 28-year-old running back admitted that it was a “humbling” experience not being on an active roster.

“I’m comfortable, up to speed,” Fournette said, via Jay Skurski of the Buffalo News. “I’m ready, man. Just waiting on my opportunity. Of course, my first time really being in this position, so you know, I have my days. I think it’s humbling me, testing me, my faith and everything, but I’m getting better.”

The opportunity came late. Fournette ended up appearing in two games for the Bills, rushing 12 times for 40 yards. It was the lowest production of his seven-year NFL career.

Fournette topped the 1,000-yard mark twice in his career and earned a reputation as a strong postseason performer during the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Super Bowl run in 2020. He racked up 4,518 rushing yards and 34 rushing touchdowns over his seven NFL seasons, adding 312 receptions for 2,219 yards and another 7 receiving touchdowns.

Changing Backfield in Buffalo

The Bills made some big changes to their backfield in the offseason, allowing several veteran backs to leave in free agency. The Bills released Nyheim Hines in a cap-saving move and elected not to bring back Harris, Fournette, or Latavius Murray.

The team instead injected more youth into the backfield, drafting Kentucky running back Ray Davis. Chad Reuter of NFL.com named Davis as a player to watch, predicting the power back could be an effective counter to Cook’s speed.

“Ray Davis could be the thunder to James Cook’s lightning in the Bills offense, giving Buffalo a more powerful one-two punch than it had with Cook and Latavius Murray in 2023,” Reuter wrote. “The rookie will thrive in the red zone, taking some of the pressure off quarterback Josh Allen, who ran for 15 scores last season (Cook had just two rushing touchdowns). Defenses filling the box against Davis on early downs could be surprised by his ability as a receiver out of the backfield.”

Cook, who last season became the first Bills running back since LeSean McCoy to rush for more than 1,000 yards, is expected to return to a significant role again in the coming season.

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