Leonard Fournette is the most recent member of a long list of star players that have re-signed with the Bucs this offseason as they go for back-t0-back Super Bowls. The last Buc remaining among the highly publicized figures that won a Super Bowl in Tampa Bay last season is WR Antonio Brown, who Fournette developed a good relationship with during the season.
Fournette is hoping that Brown will return to the Bucs again next season because the Brown that he knows is a different person than who many on the outside believe him to be.
“I hope he comes back,” Fournette said. “Guys like that you need around. I think guys like that are just misunderstood a lot. I didn’t know too much about AB before we played with each other, but he’s a great guy to be around and I hope he comes back.”
When thinking of Fournette’s first season with the Bucs, many will remember his impeccable playoff run where he scored a touchdown in each game, rushing for 300 yards and 148 receiving yards. There was also a stretch during the regular season, though, where he dealt with an ankle injury, was benched in favor of Ronald Jones II and was even made inactive out of the team’s bye in Week 13.
It wasn’t always easy for Fournette, who said that the combination of getting cut by the Jaguars and having a less prominent role with the Bucs messed with his psyche, but it was Brown that helped prop his confidence back up.
“I think my biggest help on this team was probably AB,” Fournette said. “Because he went through what he went through, And I was going through it. Us motivating each other, there was pep talks we had each and every day, just trusting the process and things like that. He played a big part, too.”
Brown has had a myriad of off-the-field issues, including rape and sexual assault accusations, that saw him get released from two separate teams and suspended by the NFL in 2019, before signing with the Bucs on October 27 of last season. The move brought created plenty of controversy in the media, given how Brown was a locker room cancer and poor representation of three other NFL organizations the year prior.
To his credit, there were no known issues in Tampa Bay’s locker room this past season, and Brown was a big part of the Bucs’ offensive success down the stretch in the regular season and for moments in the playoffs. Brown currently remains a free agent, although Bruce Arians said yesterday that “offers are out there”, when asked about the possibility of Brown re-joining the team this offseason.
While they came to Tampa in different situations, Fournette and Brown shared a common ground of playing in what could be their final shot in the league. It even started a comparison between them that their scenario is playing out like its’ own episode of a hit show on Netflix.
“I’d tell him this s**t feels like “Last Chance U,” Fournette said. “We can’t mess up. We’re on our second go-around and things like that. And he would be like ‘You know what, you got to look at it like that. God doesn’t give too many chances, we got to take the best chance out of this.'”