Sharpe and Bayless debated if Fournette turned around his career in Tampa Bay himself or if superstar quarterback Tom Brady caused it. Amid Sharpe’s ranting on how Fournette previously underperformed in Jacksonville, the analyst added that Fournette showed up to the Bucs minicamp overweight last week.
“Leonard Fournette was an out-of-shape underachieving running back in Jacksonville,” Sharpe told Bayless during the June 8 broadcast.
That’s where Fournette really got going on social media in reaction to Sharpe’s comments.
“Unc you know I respect you but c’mon out of shape in Jacksonville, I rushed 1,000 yards 2 of my 3 seasons there,” Fournette wrote to Sharpe. “But again you just someone that motivates me. I’ve always work my a– off, but if you don’t know the facts about some things why speak on it, but [I] appreciate [you].”
Sharpe reacted to Fournette’s tweet with four emojis of a man with his hand on his face. Fournette added to his retort with an Instagram video of working out on Monday, June 13.
Fournette, the fourth pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, rushed for 1,040 yards and nine touchdowns in 13 games as a rookie with the Jaguars. He helped the Jaguars reach the AFC Championship Game with 242 yards and four touchdowns in three games.
Fournette missed half of the 2018 season due to a hamstring injury, but he rushed for 439 yards and five touchdowns in eight games. In 2019, Fournette rushed for 1,152 yards and three touchdowns in 15 games.
Jacksonville released him before the 2020 season, and the Bucs picked him up right away. He split time in the backfield with Ronald Jones II and rushed for 367 yards and six touchdowns in 13 games.
Things took off for Fournette in the postseason with Jones injured. Fournette tallied 448 total offensive yards and four touchdowns in four playoff games, which led to the “Playoff Lenny” nickname.
Fournette emerged as the go-to running back in 2021 for the Bucs with 812 yards and eight touchdowns in 14 games. He also amassed 107 total yards and two touchdowns against the Los Angeles Rams in the playoffs.
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Fournette Overweight at Minicamp
As for Fournette showing up overweight at minicamp, neither he nor Bucs head coach Todd Bowles fretted. Fournette assured reporters that he will get his weight down in time for training camp on July 26.
“I don’t think anybody’s where they need to be, right now,” Bowles told the media. “It’s training camp where you need to be where you gotta be. So, right now, there are guys that are in shape that could afford to lose a few pounds and there are guys that are out of shape that are really underweight.”
“So, we’re trying to take care of that, right now,” Bowles added. “We’ll worry about it in training camp.”
A Look at Sharpe and Bayless on Fournette
After Sharpe’s rant on Fournette in Jacksonville, Bayless piped in and said [Tom] Brady’s leadership “turned him into ‘Playoff Lenny'” with the Bucs. Sharpe interjected again though.
“Did Leonard Fournette not change his work ethic? If Leonard Fournette had worked his a– in Jacksonville like he did in Tampa, he would have never been out of there,” Sharpe said.
“Watch what ‘Playoff Lenny’ does for them this year,” Bayless said.
“Hopefully he’s in a little better shape than when he popped up on that screen,” Sharpe said about Fournette’s minicamp weight.