The Jacksonville Jaguars have released running back Leonard Fournette, the team announced Monday morning.
Fournette had been the Jags’ starting running back since being drafted No. 4 in the 2017 NFL draft. He tallied 1,152 yards and three touchdowns to go with 522 receiving yards last season. In three seasons, he rushed for 2,631 yards and 17 touchdowns.
“At the end of the day, I just felt that was the best decision for us as a team,” coach Doug Marrone told reporters. “I think it gives us the best opportunity, with the skill sets that we have with the other players in there, I just thought that that was the best for the team.
“… We exhausted all trade opportunities. We weren’t able to get anything there.”
Jacksonville declined Fournette’s fifth-year option earlier in the year, signaling the 25-year-old was on the trading block. The Jaguars traded pass-rusher Yannick Ngakoue to the Minnesota Vikings for two draft picks on Sunday.
The Jaguars reached the AFC Championship Game in 2017 with Fournette in the backfield as a rookie. But the last two years were tumultuous, losing campaigns.
Fournette’s three seasons in Jacksonville were rocky on and off the field.
There was the game at Buffalo in 2018 when he left the Jaguars’ bench and ran across the field to fight Bills defensive end Shaq Lawson.
There was the arrest for driving with a suspended license, although the case was dismissed when he was fined $303 after pleading no contest.
In 2018, Fournette missed six of the first eight games with a sore right hamstring and was unproductive when he returned. Fournette rushed for 439 yards on 133 yards and averaged just 3.3 yards a carry.
In describing his misinterpreted perception, Fournette told reporters earlier in the month: “I’m not a jerk, but when it comes to football and winning, I’m all-in for that. … I do get upset when we lose and it takes me a while to get over it. I expect, just like anybody else, if you put the work in, you want the W, but a lot of times last year it didn’t go like that. I guess they kind of misinterpreted that, and don’t get me wrong, I was upset from the losing, but that’s just the winner in me. That’s any guy who plays this professional level of sports.”