Leonard Fournette Asked Bruce Arians To Cut Him

September 4th, 2022

More love is in order for Bucco Bruce Arians having just the right touch when it came to handling a tough situation that proved critical to the Bucs winning a Super Bowl.

Fans had heard the story of how Leonard Fournette was pouting in November of 2020 because he wasn’t playing much and was still reeling from the Jaguars cutting him before the season started.

The story goes that Arians talked to Fournette on the team plane after a road game and everything straightened out from there.

Well, Fournette served up a lot more detail during his recent trip to Bussin’ With The Boys.

Fournette described losing his mind, and his desire to be a Buccaneer, while in a backup role and after busting his butt to learn a new playbook. To make matters worse, per Fournette, the Bucs had told him he’d be a starter when they recruited him.

“It got to midseason and I wasn’t starting, first time in my life ever I got to play [as a backup]. So that sh*t ran me high — mad as sh*t each and every day coming into work,” Fournette said. “

“So then, we played against Carolina, away at Carolina, and got on the plane, we won the game, and I’m telling Coach B.A., like …’Man, you told me all this sh*t about playing, I’m going to come here and start and it’s being like Week 9 and I’m still behind somebody. And he’s like, ‘What you want to do?’ And I’m like, ‘Fu*k it. Release me.'”

Fournette explained that Arians earned his respect in a big way responding, in part, to his request to be cut, “‘Motherfuc*er, I don’t want to cut you, but if you want me to, I’ll do it. You’re a great player, one of the best I’ve seen. Man, make the decision and let me know when we make it home.”

Thankfully, Fournette said he thought a lot about his family on the rest of the plane ride home and decided he would stay in Tampa and get his priorities right.

The rest is Playoff Lenny history.

Joe can only imagine how things would have played out if Arians had played the ego card and told Fournette something like, ‘If you don’t like it here, get the F out. We’re a team-first franchise.’

Keep in mind the Bucs after that Carolina victory were 7-3 and former Bucs running back Ronald Jones had just scampered for a 98-yard touchdown run, which Joe suspects pushed Fournette over the edge.

So how down was Fournette after the Jaguars cut him? Playoff Lenny said when Tom Brady first reached out to recruit him, he wasn’t into the call and just wanted to take a couple of days to be mad before strongly considering the Bucs job.

32 Responses to “Leonard Fournette Asked Bruce Arians To Cut Him”

  1. Lt. Dan Says:

    Pretty amazing “behind the scenes” stuff. Thanks Joe’s.

  2. Buczilla Says:

    Awesome story.

  3. JohnBoy Says:

    It ain’t just Xs and Os is it? Can’t help thinking Chucky would have blown this.

  4. Goatfarmer Says:

    Those few idiots who hate on BA for the Antoonio Brown affair need to read this and STFU. Lenny was not infecting the rest of the team with his issues, where as Antoonio was as public and drama-infecting as monkeypox.

  5. ModHairKen Says:

    Actually, Joe , it was a 98 yard run. If it had only been a 95 yard run, Fournette wouldn’t have been so upset and would probably only have asked for an extra day off.

  6. Crickett Baker Says:

    It’s odd because Arians remembered it differently.
    Arians has told multiple versions of what happened. –Joe
    He didn’t say it happened on the plane. He said he gave Leanord 30 min. to talk to his family or agent and get back to him. He did say that other stuff and that he didn’t want to cut him. Arians talked about it a few times. It’s funny in a way how memory works.

  7. Walter Says:

    I’d imagine being a head coach is a bit less about the X’s and O’s and more about implementing a strong culture and expectations, and superior people skills. You have to be able to handle different types of personalities and somehow corral a whole group of men to one common purpose. Balancing act for sure.

  8. Winny Testaverde Says:

    Makes me miss Arians already. He had all the right moves that season. “Fans” and keyboard warriors have been dumping on him quite a bit lately. Brady wanted nothing to do with him…he did Brown “dirty”…but nah…he saved Jason Licht and ultimately the franchise. Mentioned it’d take 5 first rounders to pry Brady away basically telling meddlers to f’off. Not sure Bowels has the right stuff but I guess we’re about to find out.

  9. steele Says:

    Why is Lenny being celebrated for pouting and crying? Bragging about pouting and crying. Pouting and crying about himself, after the team WON a game. “Don’t like it, get the F out” is the right line in the sand for any team. Overrated throughout his career. Still is.

  10. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Arians said to Antonio…….”Here’s your chance…..you can end your career right now in NYC…..and, while you’re at it do some have naked jumping jacks on the way out”!!!

  11. Joe Says:

    Why is Lenny being celebrated for pouting and crying?

    Think he is being celebrated for manning up which is basically what Arians asked. He could have easily done an Antonio Brown. He didn’t. Isn’t that a good thing?

  12. Crickett Baker Says:

    Y, but Joe, Arians never said it happened on a plane.
    I think Leonard is right to air his emotions. There is a trend for that right now if nothing else. 🙂 For some really strange reason, showing weakness currently is a sign of manhood.
    I know, Walter, you are right. Anyone who has been promoted from doing their job to managing people will quickly realize that they have to learn a whole new skill to be remotely successful. Arians is a master at that. I miss him a lot but he has trained Todd and still advising him. If we lose it won’t be Todd’s fault, imo.

  13. kyle Says:

    BA goat bucs coaches period

  14. kyle Says:

    sorry father dungy

  15. Todd Wright Says:

    “Great story. Compelling and rich…”

  16. Ash Says:

    I suppose but if he would have been cut he would of just been replaced it’s the nature of the NFL. It’s fine he stayed but I wouldnt think it would have been hard to find a competent back to play with Brady.

  17. Jerseybuc Says:

    The very essence of a coach is to make tough decisions and not fear the repercussions. Many don’t do this. Bit dealing with 50
    Alphas requires a strong hand. That was a turning point.

  18. adam from ny Says:

    and now lenny is in bucs lore forever…

    and with a cool azz nickname too

  19. SB Says:

    Truth is as Truth says.
    ‘Nough said. Is it 9/11 is approaching.

  20. Goatfarmer Says:

    Lenny admitted he was in a dark place and BA helped him get his mind right, and from there he was as valuable if not more valuable than most in the playoff run and last year.

    Not just a good thing, a great thing. Lenny is a great leader and teammate.

  21. Daryl Green Says:

    🤣😂🤣🤣 I was going too quit, you said I was going too start.
    Jesus smh.

  22. J Ghotier Says:

    Moral of the story is Lenny put himself selfishly before the team. That don’t work like that here. Ask Mike Evans. However, I can point out what I perceive as good and both bad, and I really like the man and player Leonard has become 🙏 that’s cool stuff

    Also let’s you know how lucky we were to get BA (why there’s so much bashing on a Bucs Ring of Honor guy and SB winner is beyond comprehension and shows you the character of the ones who do immensely) and as Bowles has stated, “Bruce has a big presence when he walks into a room”. Yea, not everyone has that….how about just be thankful you Ne’er-do-wells and extremes. Not to mention the amazingly honest (even if you don’t want to hear it…unlike many, many NFL Coaches) and cool stories you hear of BA doing stuff like this and how the players either love or respect him.

    The people that bash BA in his Bucs tenure must have a tittynope (not a misspell internet) of good life left to live and this is the behavior they result to.

  23. Listnfrmafar Says:

    I’m confused, wasn’t the problem that BA fed Lenny a line of BS (big surprise) to get him to sign? Basically lied to him said he would start? It appears to me not only did BA ruin Rojo’s career, he almost ruined Lenny’s. Another example if poor player management by BA. Cudo’s to Brady though for recruiting him.

  24. Pigsueybucsfan Says:

    Guess KC ruined rojo’s career too, but not to worry he’s with Lovie now. GO Bucs

  25. J Ghotier Says:


    IF anything is going to “ruin RoJo’s career” it won’t be his Coaching 🤯 or ability to just run the Football…it’ll be because of his hands and can’t be counted on in critical situations, nor a 3 down back w/ the aforementioned hands AND also his pass-blocking tape

    You must be one of those Ne’er-do-wells who just likes to hear themselves talk and just blurt sh!t out, huh?! 😂🤯😂 you’re classic and I thank you for that!

  26. Goatfarmer Says:

    After “the talk” Lenny went on to start and to beast. List – don’t let your BA hatred cancel what Lenny, the Bucs starter, has accomplished in pewter.

  27. Listnfrmafar Says:

    J@ you didn’t address the BA lie to Lenny. When I started to follow Bucs in 2020, Rojo was pretty good, agreed not the best receiver but a pretty good runner that is until BA buried him on the bench and killed his confidence.

  28. Listnfrmafar Says:

    Goatflogger, maybe if Lenny starts like BA promised him, they don’t go 7-5 in 2020.

  29. Todd128713 Says:

    Steele , our you outta your fn mind. Lenny is a fn animal he was top 5 RB just last year not to mention the playoff run. Problem is he was trying to carry an entire franchise w Carolina.

  30. Brandon Says:

    Considering Rojo was and still is quite a bit better runner than Fournette, it would be hard to consider starting Lenny unless the ball was being chucked around with reckless abandon… like last year. Coincidentally, or not, running the ball was a huge weakness last year.

  31. Rod Munch Says:

    Yeah, but if Rojo doesn’t get the hurt, doesn’t get the plague, Fournette never gets in there. Rojo absolutely, at that time, still looked like the better player, and people seem to forget, he started the Dallas game last year. Then, in that game, he fumbled and Arians benched him, then Rojo was never again the same.

    But, credit goes to Lenny, he got the chance, and kept the job. Also, unlike Rojo, he can catch the ball.

    History should be told correctly, and Fournette didn’t earn the job, it was Rojo that lost it – but Fournette, once he consistently got playing time looked better and better and better.

  32. cmurda Says:

    Even the fiercest B.A. haters have no idea how much they owe him. He forever changed this franchise for the better just by being a part of it. His experience and relationships then landed the GOAT who immediately delivered a Championship. Please keep B.A. employed in any capacity at 1 Buc. Just having him around puts a smile on my face. Thanks Coach! I feel fortunate to have seen Dungy and B.A. put Tampa on the map. Appreciative of both of them.