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What Bruce Arians Told Leonard Fournette During 2020 Season

Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians before a game.

TAMPA, FLORIDA - AUGUST 16: Head coach Bruce Arians of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers looks on during warm-ups before a preseason football game against the Miami Dolphins at Raymond James Stadium on August 16, 2019 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

Leonard Fournette didn't put up gaudy numbers during the 2020 season, but he came through when it mattered most for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

In four playoff games, Fournette had 300 rushing yards, 148 receiving yards and four total touchdowns. The Buccaneers probably don't win a Super Bowl without that production.

What made Fournette's postseason success so remarkable was the fact that he was nearly released during the regular season. Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians explained why he almost cut Fournette in a recent interview on the 'Pewter Report Podcast.'

After making Fournette a health scratch for Week 14, Arians told Fournette that he can either stop pouting or ask for his release. It turns out that Arians' tough love gave Fournette the push he needed for the playoffs.

“It was going into the end of the season, and he was unsure of what his role was, or unhappy with what his role was,” Arians said on the 'Pewter Report Podcast'. “We had a walk-through and he was a little bit disinterested. And we had a nice conversation. I said, ‘Look, when you come back on this field, you have 30 seconds to come back here and tell me that you’re all in, or you’re going to ask me to release you. Go inside, call whoever. But you’re not going to sit over there away from everybody. You have a tough decision.'”

Arians revealed that Fournette quickly made a decision.

"He came back in 30 minutes and said, ‘Coach, I’m all in’. I said ‘great, because we are going to need you’. Then RoJo [Ronald Jones] got hurt and Lenny came right to the front and led us all the way."

If this conversation between Arians and Fournette didn't happen, the Buccaneers' running game may have struggled in the postseason. The odds of LeSean McCoy or Ke'Shawn Vaughn carrying the backfield during Jones' absence would've been very low.

Luckily for the Buccaneers, they'll have Fournette on the roster for at least one more season. He signed a one-year deal with the defending Super Bowl champions earlier this offseason.