HOOVER, Ala. — Leonard Fournette drew much criticism for his decision to sit out LSU’s Citrus Bowl victory against Louisville.
But the director of the Football Bowl Association was not one of those people judging the new Jacksonville Jaguars running back.
“If I were Leonard Fournette, I wouldn’t have played in the bowl game either,” FBA director Wright Waters told a crowd in the main ballroom at the 2017 SEC Media Days on Thursday morning.
Waters went on to say he understood that Fournette had a tough season filled with injuries and he needed to look out for what was best for him personally. Waters countered that situation by saying there were players like Stanford’s Solomon Thomas who improved their draft stock by performing well in a bowl game to end the season.
On Monday, LSU coach Ed Orgeron was asked to address the Fournette decision during his appearance at media days.
“Leonard was a great teammate. Leonard wants to fight for his players,” Orgeron said. “That last game, going into the bowl, Leonard could not play. Leonard came to me in tears, he said, ‘Coach, I can’t go, I can’t play.’ I said, ‘Leonard, I understand, we will not put you in jeopardy, son, don’t worry about it. I will tell the media.’
“Things you heard that he may have skipped the game or whatever, that has nothing to do with anything. In fact, against Florida, he didn’t practice all weekend. He wasn’t supposed to play. He tried to play. He wanted to play. He’s a teammate. He has a great heart. He’s a great father. You’re getting a great guy there. A great man.”