TAMPA, Fla. — Buccaneers running back Leonard Fournette showed up to June's minicamp looking a little heavier than usual.
Reports swirled that the Tampa Bay coaching staff was not pleased that Fournette, whose playing weight is close to 230 pounds, showed up weighing more than 250. The 27-year-old showed up noticeably slimmer at the start of training camp, and he told the media his weight was never a cause for panic.
"We’re family. I keep it real with y’all; I hope you keep it real with me. And I’m gonna let you know the truth. That’s how I was raised. It’s just me," Fournette said after practice.
He chuckled when talking about his normal offseason and his genetics.
"Ask any coach I’ve ever had. In the offseason, I always blow up. I always get big. I’m sorry, but I got big genes. My mother’s big. My father’s big."
His physical health isn't the only thing Leonard focuses on during training camp. He also takes pride in his dental health. Fournette is seen almost every day brushing his teeth on the field before workouts begin.
"I always brush my teeth. I brush my teeth- waking up at six o’clock in the morning. Come in, eat breakfast, brush my teeth again," he laughed. "I’m about to brush my teeth again when I’m done talking to y’all. It’s just me. I take care of my teeth, y’know what I mean."
Fournette's talent caught the eye of Bucs head coach Todd Bowles when Leonard played at LSU, and he was coaching the New York Jets. Bowles said he continues to see growth in Fournette's all-around game.
"He’s become a three-down back. He was a great pass-catcher when he came out of college; he just didn’t get the volume," Bowles added. "Now you’re seeing the volume of that and his versatile game. You can’t just crowd the box because he can catch the ball, and I think that’s where his game grew."
The Jacksonville Jaguars released Fournette, who they drafted fourth overall in 2017, after three seasons. Tampa Bay took a chance on him in 2020, and after a few rough patches, they rewarded him with a three-contract this offseason.
"I had to [work hard] off for it. It was not given to me," Fournette said. "I had my ups and downs with [former head coach Bruce Arians] coming in my first year. But, kinda smoothing things out — he’s a hard-nosed, tough coach. I’m used to that. My father’s always been hard on me. So it was no pressure for me at all."
The Bucs play their first of three preseason games next Saturday when they host the Miami Dolphins at 7:30 p.m.