The Jacksonville Jaguars are likely to have running back Leonard Fournette back next week, with a new rumor claiming that the NFL won’t suspend him for leaving the sidelines to get into a fight during his team’s loss to the Buffalo Bills.
Fournette was involved in a scuffle during the third quarter in which he left the sidelines and threw a punch at Bills defensive end Shaq Lawson. Both players were ejected from the game, but NBC Sports is now reporting that the Jaguars running back likely won’t miss any more time than that.
“Per a source with knowledge of the league’s procedures, a suspension currently isn’t expected for Fournette, who was ejected for his behavior,” the report noted. “The final decision will be made on Monday by Jon Runyan, who is responsible for the initial decisions made for on-field misconduct.”
Both Fournette and Lawson continued yelling at each other as they were escorted down the tunnel to team locker rooms, with Lawson trying to break free and go after Fournette again. It was not clear from the report if Lawson could face a possible suspension.
For the Jaguars, the damage may already be done. The team had pulled back into Sunday’s game after starting in a 14-0 hole thanks in large part to Fournette’s running. He had 18 carries for 95 yards and two touchdowns at the time he was ejected, but the team struggled to move the ball after he was tossed.
The Jaguars had first and goal from the 1-yard line at the time he was ejected, but after two penalties and a pair of sacks pushed the team back, they missed what would have been the go-ahead field goal. The Bills regained the lead and did not relinquish it again, dropping the Jaguars to 3-8 and extending the team’s losing streak to seven games.
As NBC Sports noted, it seems to be a bit of a surprise that the NFL does not plan to suspend Leonard Fournette. In a similar incident last year, Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch was suspended when he left the sidelines during a fight against the Kansas City Chiefs. At the time, the league cited the fact that Lynch had not been on the field for the play as a contributing factor.
Even with Leonard Fournette in the lineup, the Jacksonville Jaguars now face a steep climb. The team is now four games behind the division-leading Houston Texans and is close to being mathematically eliminated from the playoffs.