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Bruce Arians Reveals His Message To Inactive Leonard Fournette

Leonard Fournette runs for a touchdown.

TAMPA, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 07: Leonard Fournette #28 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers carries the ball during the third quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium on February 07, 2021 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

The 2020 season ended like a dream for Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Leonard Fournette, but there were some bumps along the way.

Signed by the Bucs before the season after his release from the Jacksonville Jaguars, Fournette spent much of the year as the backup to Ronald Jones. Then, in Week 14 against the Minnesota Vikings, he was a healthy scratch.

Not surprisingly, Fournette was not happy to be made inactive, but he persevered through the setback and wound up leading Tampa Bay in rushing in the postseason. "Playoff Lenny" gained 300 yards and scored three touchdowns on the ground while adding 148 yards and a touchdown receiving in the Bucs' four playoff victories.

At the time of the benching, Tampa Bay head coach Bruce Arians had a message for Fournette, telling him he had a choice to make.

“I said, ‘This is your situation. It can change at the drop of a hat,'” Arians said, via Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. “But this is your situation. Either embrace it, or you say, ‘Cut me.’ I said, ‘What do you want? Because this is a very special team that you’re part of. I think you’ve got a feeling of that. Just see if you can hang in there to see what happens.’ And he did, and I’m really proud of him.”

Fresh off his strong postseason, Fournette is set to become a free agent. The Bucs could opt to bring him back as a complement to Jones, who seems locked in as RB1 next season.

“We’ll see,” Fournette said last week about his future, via Pro Football Talk. “Right now, I’m just enjoying the process right now with this W with this organization and my team. You never know what the future holds for me right now, you know? I wound up ending on a great note. I’d love to be back. We’ll have to talk to my agent and see what they’re talking about.”

The Bucs did add another running back to the mix this weekend, signing third-down back C.J. Prosise.