Leonard Fournette ready for clean start, high expectations this season in Jacksonville

Yahoo Sports Contributor
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The <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nfl/teams/jacksonville/" data-ylk="slk:Jaguars">Jaguars</a> are expecting a lot from <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nfl/players/30117/" data-ylk="slk:Leonard Fournette">Leonard Fournette</a> this season, who is ready to bounce back after a turbulent sophomore year in the NFL. (AP/John Raoux)
The Jaguars are expecting a lot from Leonard Fournette this season, who is ready to bounce back after a turbulent sophomore year in the NFL. (AP/John Raoux)

Jacksonville running back Leonard Fournette struggled in 2018, both on the field and off.

Yet after a rough season and a turbulent offseason — in which he was arrested for driving with a suspended license — the 24-year-old said he’s in a good place at the start of OTAs this week.

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"I'm happy, especially the way I'm here working with my team right now," Fournette said Friday, via ESPN. "It's a new year. We have a new team. We're focused and we have new players. It's a new year for us. So it's a new everything. It's a clean start for a lot of us guys.

"We're not focused on the past. The past's the past. Some things I did, whether it was offseason and I admitted to, yeah, I was wrong. We moved on. We're in a good place right now."

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Fournette played in just eight games last year while dealing with a lingering hamstring injury and a one-game suspension in Week 13 — which he picked up after leaving the bench and getting into a fight with Buffalo Bills defensive end Shaq Lawson.

He wasn’t very productive when he got on the field, either. Fournette ran for just 439 yards and five touchdowns on 133 carries last season. His rookie season was significantly better, as he picked up 1,040 yards and nine touchdowns in 2017.

After the season ended, Fournette picked up and went to the University of Wyoming to train, somewhere he felt would be free of distractions.

"I kind of put a lot on myself this offseason, like getting my body right," Fournette said, via ESPN. "Just mentally coming back ready to play football. No distractions. Leaving the outside stuff where it's at. I think that's one of the biggest things that us players have a problem with.”

Even with his past struggles, the Jaguars are still expecting a lot from Fournette this fall. Newly hired offensive coordinator John DeFilippo said he believes the former LSU standout will be a focal point for their offense.

“We’re really looking forward to Leonard having a big year,” DeFilippo said, via the team’s website. “I’m going to call it what it is: He’s going to be a major reason where our offense goes. I’m not going to sugarcoat that. Leonard Fournette needs to be a big part of this offense.

“The harder he works – which he is right now – that’s going to be not only good for our offense, but good for our team.”

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