Prior to the start of the 2020 NFL season, the Jacksonville Jaguars surprisingly released their star running back Leonard Fournette. Fournette was quickly picked up by the Tom Brady-led Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After he signed with his new team, Fournette delivered a parting shot saying, “For the first time in my life, I really have a quarterback.” Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew had the perfect response last Sunday.
Gardner Minshew surprised by Fournette’s release
Leonard Fournette was drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars with the fourth overall pick in the 2017 NFL draft. He rushed for 1,040 yards in 13 games in his rookie season. He collected nine touchdowns. After an injury-plagued second year, Fournette eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark again in 2019.
The Jaguars released Fournette prior to the 2020 season, shocking many around the NFL, including his quarterback Gardner Minshew. “Yeah, I think I was like everybody else, I was very surprised,” Minshew said back on Sept. 3, according to Sports Illustrated. “Leonard has been a guy really—basically the franchise-type guy for a long time. And I think we’re all—we hate to see him go.”
Minshew said he was happy Fournette got an immediate opportunity with the Buccaneers. “I’m excited for what he’s going to do. I know he’s in a great state-of-mind after talking to him,” Minshew said. “He’s very excited to go to Tampa Bay and he’s going to do very well there.
Fournette fires a parting shot at the Jaguars’ quarterbacks
When Leonard Fournette was released by the Jacksonville Jaguars, he wasn’t on the market long. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers quickly scooped him up. The new-look Bucs had signed quarterback Tom Brady and then traded for Brady’s former teammate Rob Gronkowski.
The Buccaneers were putting more offensive weapons around wide receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, and added Fournette to the mix. The Jaguars desperately tried to trade Fournette, but had zero takers. “We couldn’t get anything. A fifth, a sixth — anything,” coach Doug Marrone told reporters following Fournette’s release.
When Fournette signed on the dotted line to play for the offensive-minded head coach Bruce Arians, he offered a shot at Gardner Minshew and the rest of the Jaguars quarterbacks. “For the first time in my life, I really have a quarterback,” Fournette said, according to Greg Auman, who covers the Bucs for The Athletic.
Minshew had the perfect response for Fournette’s cheap shot
Gardner Minshew never got into a war of words with Leonard Fournette after Fournette’s insulting comment. He did all of his talking on the field. Before Tom Brady threw two interceptions, including one that was returned for a touchdown, in a loss in his Buccaneers’ debut, Minshew was busy setting a record.
Minshew and the Jaguars pulled off the upset against the Indianapolis Colts. In the victory, Minshew was nearly perfect. Minshew completed 19 of 20 passes and threw three touchdowns in the victory. He became the only quarterback in NFL history to complete 95% of his passes and throw for three touchdowns.
Minshew didn’t have to say a word to Fournette to get his redemption. Fournette, meanwhile, finished his Buccaneers’ debut with five carries for five yards.
Statistics courtesy of Pro Football Reference.