JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Leonard Fournette's thousand-yard season is costing him thousands.
Maybe even tens of thousands.
The Jacksonville Jaguars running back bought seven offensive linemen — five starters and two backups — Rolex watches.
Fournette ran 268 times for 1,040 yards and nine touchdowns as a rookie. He also had 36 receptions for 302 yards and a score.
"I couldn't do it myself," Fournette said Thursday, three days before Jacksonville (10-6) hosts Buffalo (9-7) in an AFC wild-card game. "I can't block 11 guys on my own. That's the O-line and wide receivers, too. They played a big part of contributing to me getting 1,000 yards."
The former LSU star rewarded his linemen with some wrist bling. Left tackle Cam Robinson, left guard Patrick Omameh, center Brandon Linder, right guard A.J. Cann and right tackle Jermey Parnell will get their watches Friday. Backups Tyler Shatley and Josh Wells, both of whom started four games because of injuries, also will get Rolexes.
"Just show them the dedication for all the hard work they put in to help me to get me where I'm at and all for this team," Fournette said. "Their hard work doesn't go unnoticed."
Fournette said he picked the watches out himself and had each lineman's number and initials engraved on the back.
"They got me my 1,000 yards," he said. "That's what I need."
Fournette finished eighth in the NFL and fifth in the AFC in rushing despite missing three games. He averaged 3.9 yards a carry against the most eight- and nine-man boxes in the NFL. His average was buoyed by touchdown runs of 90 and 75 yards in consecutive games.
Fournette missed one game in October because of a sprained right ankle, another in November because he violated an undisclosed team rule during the bye week and sat out a third time last month because of a bruised right quadriceps muscle.
He has a combined 117 yards rushing the last two games, averaging 3.2 yards a carry.
"I think it's tough," coach Doug Marrone said. "When you're out for a bit, whether you're injured or not, especially early in your career, to be able to come back, you don't come back and start where you left off. ... For him, he comes back and starts getting in a groove and you go."
Fournette hopes to get back on track against the Bills, who rank 29th in the league against the run. Buffalo gives up 124.6 yards rushing a game. In the past five weeks, the Bills have allowed nearly 150 yards a game on the ground.
Fournette stopped short of committing to buying expensive watches every year.
"We'll see how it goes," he said, laughing.
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Posted on Fri, January 5, 2018
by By MARK LONG, AP Sports Writer