Former Jacksonville Jaguars and current Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back James Robinson would like to clear the air.
Two years after his release from the Jaguars, Fournette took to Twitter to make clear why he believes he was released just three years after the Jaguars made him the No. 4 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.
At the time, the Jaguars and former head coach Doug Marrone said the decision was performance-based. On Sunday, Fournette said on Twitter that he doesn’t believe that was the real reason.
“Lol listen I let everybody think this for years now but ask anyone of my teammates that was there and who outplayed who only thing me and the coach just didn’t get along egos got involved that’s it be bless my guy,” Fournette tweeted.
Fournette was released fewer than two weeks before the Jaguars were set to open against the Indianapolis Colts at home. Fournette was eventually signed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where he has thrived the last two seasons and has won a Super Bowl.
“We were going to have to make good decisions on what’s best for the team. Let’s not go ahead and say because someone did something before, maybe we’ll get the same type of results, or things [of that nature],” Marrone said when Fournette was released.
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“Really just trying to take the team and put the best team together for what we’ve seen in our practices. So at the end of the day, I just felt that was the best decision for us as a team. 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 was the best for the team and doing it now, we exhausted all trade opportunities. We weren’t able to get anything there so I just felt that now we can work on the team, the plan, and get ourselves ready for the season.”
While Fournette went on to thrive with Tampa Bay, the Jaguars found their own lead back in undrafted free agent James Robinson, who the team deemed the top back following Fournette’s release.
As a rookie, Robinson carried the ball 240 times for 1,070 yards (4.5 yards per carry) for seven touchdowns. He led rookie running backs in receptions (49) and touchdown receptions (three) while recording 344 yards. In 14 games, Robinson finished with 1,414 scrimmage yards (1,070 rushing, 344 receiving), the most scrimmage yards by an undrafted rookie in the common-draft era. He was also the only rookie in the NFL to average more than 100 scrimmage yards per game in 2020.
Fournette isn’t the only person to raise questions about the Jaguars release of him in 2020. Former Jaguars running backs coach Terry Robiskie said last year the Jaguars were attempting to blackball the former top back.
“I would say, yes, without a question, the Jaguars were trying to blackball him,” Robiskie said to ESPN in a story released this week on Fournette’s redemption arc in Tampa Bay and why things went wrong in Jacksonville.
“It certainly wasn’t the president or the head coach or the GM, but I do know, coming out of that building, some people had said something to other teams that wasn’t true about Leonard at all.”
“I don’t know. What you think?” Fournette said via ESPN in reference to the Jaguars potentially blackballing him as the team planned his exit.