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Bucs running back Leonard Fournette says no to COVID vaccine

Tampa Bay Buccaneers players and coaches at a June 8 mandatory minicamp
Posted at 5:17 PM, Jul 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-16 11:32:05-04

TAMPA, Fla. — Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Leonard Fournette has a message for the National Football League regarding the COVID-19 vaccine, nope.

Shortly after the NFL announced strong new penalties for teams that may be forced to forfeit games due to COVID-19, Fournette took to social media to declare he wasn't going to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

If Fournette sticks to his social media pledge, he will join Cole Beasley of the Buffalo Bills as two of the most prominent players to refuse to take the vaccine. Beasley has been outspoken saying he doesn't care about what happens to him financially and that he still won't get the vaccine.

The NFL said if a team had a COVID-19 outbreak that forced the cancellation of a game, both teams would lose their game checks and the team dealing with the outbreak would also be subject to additional fines from the Commissioner's office.

The Bucs signed Fournette in the offseason to a one-year contract worth $3.25 million. Cutting Fournette would result in a $3.25 million dead cap hit this year. Since entering the league as the number four overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, his career hasn't matched his lofty draft status.

Fournette started with the Jacksonville Jaguars and ran for 1,040 yards in his rookie season along with nine touchdowns. He had an injury-plagued 2018 season before running for 1,152 yards and three touchdowns in 2019. However, he was cut by the Jaguars and eventually signed with Tampa last season.

With the Bucs, he ran for 367 yards and 6 touchdowns during the regular season. In the playoffs, he came alive and ran for 300 yards and three touchdowns across four games during the Bucs' Super Bowl run. If the Bucs move on from Fournette, they still have starting running back Ronald Jones II, Giovani Bernard, and Ke'Shawn Vaughn, and C.J. Prosise at the running back position.