They might not be on a mission from a higher power, but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are undoubtedly putting the band back together.
Leonard Fournette becomes the latest 2020 Buccaneers member to re-up with the club, signing a one-year deal worth up to $4 million, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported.
With Fournette heading back to the Bucs, all 22 Tampa Bay starters from Super Bowl LV are under contract for the 2021 season, per NFL Research. Since the 1970 merger, the only team to win a Super Bowl and return all 22 starters from that game for Week 1 of the next season is the 1976-1977 Raiders, according to NFL Research. The 1977 Raiders’ bid for back-to-back titles fell short with a loss to the Broncos in the AFC Championship Game.
Fournette arrived in Tampa via free agency following a surprise release from the Jacksonville Jaguars — the team that selected him fourth overall in the 2017 NFL Draft — just before the start of the regular season.
He arrived to a somewhat crowded running backs room on a team that was preparing to make a run at a title in its first year with Tom Brady under center, and managed to carve out something of a role in the regular season, rushing 97 times for 367 yards and six scores, but also spending three games as a member of the inactives list.
If Tampa Bay hadn’t gone on a run to a Super Bowl, it would’ve been more likely that Fournette would’ve been headed elsewhere, but the postseason allowed Fournette to shine and stick around.
Fournette rushed 64 times for 300 yards and three scores in Tampa Bay’s four playoff games and caught 18 passes for 148 yards and a touchdown, scoring in timely fashion game after game and elevating his status from afterthought stuck behind Ronald Jones, to Playoff Lenny, and eventually, Lombardi Lenny.
Lombardi Lenny is sticking around for another run at a title, an effort the Bucs have deemed “going for two” in 2021. The money isn’t a ton, but it’s also not quite pennies for a running back. As other Bucs have demonstrated, it’s not all about the money this season — it’s about the pursuit of another ring.
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