Based on the latest rumblings, Playoff Lenny could transition to Pacific Lenny. Or even Patriot Lenny.
Running back Leonard Fournette, who resuscitated his career with a sparkling postseason performance for the Bucs, has received overtures from the Seahawks and Patriots, veteran NFL reporter Albert Breer has reported. The Bucs, meantime, are exploring the possibility of signing Patriots free-agent running back James White, one of the NFL’s top pass catchers out of the backfield.
The NFL’s legal negotiating period, when unrestricted free agents can talk with other teams, began at noon Monday. The formal free agency signing period starts Wednesday at 4 p.m.
Fournette, 26, signed with the Bucs shortly after being waived following three checkered seasons with the Jaguars. Aside from a prosperous effort (12 carries, 103 yards) against Carolina in Week Two, he foundered for most of the regular season and was a healthy scratch in Week 14 against the Vikings.
But after a candid conversation with coach Bruce Arians, which essentially coincided with starting tailback Ronald Jones being placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list, Fournette flourished, possibly performing himself out of the Tampa Bay market.
He ran for three touchdowns in the Bucs’ final three regular season games, then really broke out (64 carries, 300 yards, four total touchdowns) in four playoff contests. In Super Bowl 55, Fournette led all rushers with 16 carries for 89 yards (and a TD), and caught all four passes targeted toward him for 46 yards.
White, who won three Super Bowls as a Tom Brady teammate in New England, has more receiving yards (369 catches, 3,184 yards, 25 touchdowns) than rushing yards (309 carries, 1,240 yards, 10 TDs) in his seven-year NFL career. He scored the winning touchdown in overtime of Super Bowl 51, when the Patriots rallied from a 25-point deficit for a 34-28 triumph.
Times staff writer Rick Stroud contributed to this report.
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