TAMPA, Fla. – Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Todd Bowles said he has no issues with running back Leonard Fournette’s weight, and he looked much slimmer in the Bucs’ first training camp practice Wednesday compared to the Bucs’ mandatory minicamp in June.
Fournette told ESPN he weighed in for training camp at 244 pounds after a Tampa Bay Times report said he weighed 260 at mandatory minicamp and that the coaching staff was not pleased with it.
“Leonard looked good,” Bowles said Wednesday. “I don’t know too many players in the offseason that are going to stay in shape year-around. As long as they’re in shape in training camp. He ran great in the test yesterday – he’s explosive, he’s quick and we’re happy with him.”
Bowles did not criticize Fournette’s weight at minicamp, and Fournette said at the time that he weighed “240ish.” Fournette has also been very open about the challenges of keeping his weight down in the offseason – something he said he’s experienced every offseason of his career — and even poked fun at himself by superimposing his head on a much larger man’s body.
He wrote, “Camp in 2 days love y’all I’m off.”
Camp in 2 days love y’all I’m off pic.twitter.com/lTEZgv4ql5
— 7⃣ Leonard Fournette (@_fournette) July 24, 2022
Fournette enters training camp this year as the clear-cut starter at running back, and he stands to be on the field for every down.
Coming into camp last season, a starter had not been named, and Fournette was battling with Ronald Jones for the starting role.
Fournette had the edge, however, based on his playoff performance in 2020, when he led the Bucs with 448 scrimmage yards in the Bucs’ four postseason games. Fournette followed that up with a 1,266 scrimmage yards and 10 touchdowns in the 2021 regular season before missing the final two games with a hamstring injury.
Jones signed with the Kansas City Chiefs this offseason, while Fournette signed a three-year contract worth $21 million to remain with the Bucs. Fournette’s competition now comes from third-round draft pick Rachaad White, third-year running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn and veteran Giovani Bernard.
“I feel like he’s in great shape right now, “Bowles said of Fournette. “Obviously, everybody can get in a little better shape. You don’t want to come into camp in tip-top shape. You want to get into some better shape, playing shape, as you get into camp. So that’s natural that he’s going to drop about 4 or 5 pounds – not just him, but we have several guys like that, which is only natural. But as far as running the ball and playing in games, he can play right now.”