Tampa Bay’s Leonard Fournette wants a throwback look for his jersey, going back to his college number amid the recent NFL jersey number rule change.
The Buccaneers running back let everyone know on Twitter recently but later deleted the tweet, but he nor the Bucs have provided an explanation for the deleted tweet.
Bucs Tracker on Instagram picked up the deleted tweet. Fournette wrote, “number seven is on the way”, which he wore in college at LSU. The NFL’s new jersey number rule allows for more flexibility on numbers for various positions, including single digits for more players than just quarterback, kicker, and punter according to ESPN’s Kevin Seifert.
Fournette had a strong career at LSU with 3,830 yards rushing and 40 touchdowns as he averaged 6.2 yards per carry in three seasons with the Tigers. He helped in the passing game, too, with 41 recpetions for 526 yards and a touchdown in that span. The 2015 All-American and two-time All-SEC recipient also helped the Tigers win a couple of bowl games and finish with a winning record all three seasons.
The Jacksonville Jaguars took him at No. 4 overall in the 2017 NFL Draft, and he had a couple of 1,000-yard seasons with them before releasing him in 2020. The Bucs picked him up in 2020, and he made a major impact in the team’s run to win Super Bowl LV.
Fournette re-signed with the Bucs this offseason to help them repeat as Super Bowl champions.
Will Fournette go back to No. 7 for the 2021 season? Time will tell — Twitter announcement or not.
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First Call for Number Change
Fournette initially told the Bucs on Twitter that he wanted No. 7 on April 1 when news about the NFL considering jersey number rule changes picked up.
— 7⃣ Leonard Fournette (@_fournette) April 1, 2021
Tom Brady ironically nearly made No. 7 unavailable in 2020 because wide receiver Chris Godwin had No. 12, which Brady wore in New England. Godwin gave up No. 12 for Brady and switched to No. 14.
The Athletic’s Greg Auman reported that four single-digit jersey numbers remain available for Bucs players: No. 1, No. 2, No. 6, and No. 9.
Not a Fan of Rule Change
Fournette will take handoffs from a player who may not like seeing the running back in No. 7 — Brady.
The Bucs quarterback ranted on social media about the number rule change on Thursday, calling it “dumb” on Instagram and that it will “make for a lot of bad football” in another post. Brady also wrote, “Good luck trying to block the right people now” followed by four exclamation points, and he questioned, “Why not let the lineman wear whatever they want too? Why have Numbers?”
He also humorously tweeted “I would like to speak to the manager please” later on that day.
I would like to speak to the manager please… https://t.co/482q4ysoia
— Tom Brady (@TomBrady) April 22, 2021
When Fournette hasn’t been campaigning for a jersey number change, he’s been pumping iron and sharing videos of it on social media.
He had also been working out with Antonio Brown at his gym, too. Fournette most recently posted a video of himself on April 16 doing deadlifts with five weights on each side.
— 7⃣ Leonard Fournette (@_fournette) April 16, 2021
He lifted 245-pound doubles on power cleans on April 9 per strength and conditioning coach Jordan Bush.
— J.Bush CSCS, USAW (@JBush____) April 9, 2021
Plenty of competition awaits Fournette in the Bucs’ running back room before the season even kicks off with Giovani Bernard, Ronald Jones II, and Ke’Shawn Vaughn on the roster. Bucs head coach Bruce Arians said in March that “there are no starters” and Fournette commented on that the next day in his press conference.
“We’re going to have to compete. Nothing’s promised to anyone,” Fournette said. “Right now, we’re just training to get our bodies right. And now, we’ll start all over and compete for that starting job, and it’s going to be a great one.”