Leonard Fournette Ruled out for Buccaneers vs. Chargers with Ankle Injury

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistOctober 2, 2020

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) hands off to running back Leonard Fournette (28) against the Denver Broncos during an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
Jack Dempsey/Associated Press

Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Leonard Fournette won't be available for Sunday's game against the Los Angeles Chargers

Per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport and James Palmer, Fournette has officially been ruled out with an ankle injury. 

According to the Bucs' official injury report, Fournette didn't practice on Wednesday or Thursday due to the injury. He was limited to seven carries for 15 yards in Tampa's 28-10 win over the Denver Broncos in Week 3. 

The Buccaneers' offense will be even more shorthanded, as Palmer reported wideout Chris Godwin would be out as well with an injury. 

Fournette, 25, had a career year in 2019, rushing for 1,152 yards and three scores while adding 76 receptions for 522 yards. His rushing yards, receptions and receiving yards were all career highs. 

His three-year career in Jacksonville was something of a roller-coaster ride. After a strong rookie season (1,040 rushing yards, nine touchdowns), Fournette dealt with injuries and fell out of favor with the front office in 2018, rushing for just 439 yards and five touchdowns in eight games. 

That made it seem likely he would be traded before the 2019 campaign. Instead he had a strong season and had remained atop the depth chart at running back, though the Jaguars did decline his fifth-year option, meaning he would have hit free agency ahead of the 2021 season.

He didn't get that far, as he was cut this offseason. The Bucs scooped him up, adding him to an offense that already includes Tom Brady, Mike Evans, Godwin and Rob Gronkowski

That makes this year pretty crucial for Fournette as he looks to secure a major pay day. To this point he's rushed 24 times for 123 yards and two scores through three games. 

With Fournette sidelined, expect Ronald Jones II and LeSean McCoy to play a bigger role out of the backfield for Tampa Bay's offense.