Buccaneers RB Leonard Fournette 'thankful for my journey' from waiver wire to Super Bowl

Leonard Fournette's NFL roller-coaster career has reached the Super Bowl.

The former No. 4 overall pick has experienced the highs and low lows that come alongside being a high-profile figure.

In his rookie season, Fournette helped the 2017 Jacksonville Jaguars to the AFC Championship game. A collapse against Tom Brady's Patriots was the start of a downward spiral for the running back.

Ultimately, he was cut before the 2020 season and joined Brady's Bucs. Now, he'll play in the Super Bowl.

"It feels good just to be a Buc," Fournette said, via the team's official transcript. "(Brady) is a great one. I just thank God every day. I was crying for like 30 minutes -- I was on the phone with my mom and my dad just [talking] about my journey. First, in Jacksonville, from me going to jail, from me getting cut -- I think it's a wonderful story how it's playing out."

Fournette was arrested during the 2019 offseason for driving with a suspended license and speeding; ultimately, he was fined for the incident that garnered national headlines. The running back struggled both on the field and off it, getting reprimanded by former Jags front-office chief Tom Coughlin and suspended for fighting during a game amid a forgettable two-year stint.

Ahead of this season, the Jags were finally done with Fournette, releasing the running back in late August.

The 26-year-old latched on to Tampa, hoping to earn a significant role alongside Brady. He ended up supporting Ronald Jones much of the year but played a more prominent role in the playoffs with RoJo nursing injury.

"I come here and had hopes of being a starter [but] it didn't work out," he said. "I had ups and downs this whole season, but with guys like [Tom] Brady, 'Shady' (LeSean McCoy), Coach T-Mac (Todd McNair) and even coach B.A. (Bruce Arians) -- we had our personal talks. He asked me during the duration of the season, 'What do I want to be?' Don't get me wrong, I was upset plenty of times after the game when I wasn't getting the ball or anything. He just sat down and had a real talk with me, and I just had to get my mind right."

Fournette's 20-yard second-quarter TD run gave the Bucs a lead they'd never relinquish in Sunday's NFC Championship victory over the Green Bay Packers. The RB finished the game with 12 carries for 55 yards and the score.

"I'm just thankful for my journey," Fournette said. "Hopefully, whatever was out there on my name, hopefully, has changed, you know what I mean? Because I'm not the a------ that they say I was or things like that. I just love football, and I love winning."

Now, Fournette will have a chance to play for the biggest win of his career.

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