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Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Leonard Fournette reportedly gained some weight this offseason, which created quite the buzz on social media.
However, the veteran running back is not letting concerns over his weight impact his mindset entering training camp Monday, making light of those concerns in a tweet Saturday.
7⃣ Leonard Fournette @_fournette
Camp in 2 days love y’all I’m off pic.twitter.com/lTEZgv4ql5
Fournette did not attend OTAs this summer, and when he reported to mandatory minicamp, Buccaneers coaches were not happy with his weight, the Tampa Bay Times‘ Rick Stroud said on the Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast:
“Coaches were not happy, and that’s an understatement, when (Fournette) didn’t participate in the OTAs, but then he shows up at the mandatory minicamp weighing damn near 260 [pounds],” Stroud said (h/t Luke Easterling of Bucs Wire). “And that’s not a good sign for a guy that you’ve just spent a three-year contract on.”
Since then, Fournette has appeared to be putting in the work to get ready for the 2022 campaign:
Fournette’s trainer, Jordan Bush, confirmed that the veteran running back gained weight over the offseason but noted that the situation was “blown out of proportion.” He added that Fournette was doing everything possible to slim down, including sitting in a sauna to sweat off some pounds.
“Honestly, he did return to us a little bit bigger than we wanted,” Bush told The Athletic’s Greg Auman. “He was also in the sauna every day, getting extra cardio every single day. We called it ‘fat camp,’ just to mess around with him, but he was doing that type of stuff every single day. We could see the weight coming off.”
Fournette has been a key player for the Buccaneers over the last two seasons and was rewarded with a three-year, $21 million extension with the franchise in March.
In his first season with the team in 2020, the 27-year-old rushed for 367 yards and six touchdowns in 13 games and also caught 36 passes for 233 yards. He was a significant factor in the playoffs, rushing for 300 yards and three scores en route to a Super Bowl title.
Fournette took on an even bigger role for the Bucs in 2021, rushing for 812 yards and eight touchdowns in 14 games. He also caught 69 passes for 454 yards and two touchdowns.
The LSU product is expected to be Tampa Bay’s top running back again in 2022 following the departure of Ronald Jones II to the Kansas City Chiefs. He highlights a group that includes 2022 draft pick Rachaad White, Ke’Shawn Vaughn, Giovani Bernard and Kenjon Barner.
Tampa Bay opens the season Sept. 11 against the Dallas Cowboys, so Fournette still has some time to get into better shape, and it certainly seems like he’s well on his way there.