Adrian Kraus/Associated Press
The NFL suspended Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette for one game after he fought Buffalo Bills defensive end Shaq Lawson in Sunday’s 24-21 defeat, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Monday.
Both Fournette and Lawson were ejected in the third quarter after exchanging punches on the sideline. Lawson had shoved Jaguars running back Carlos Hyde, and Fournette responded by shoving Lawson back, which sparked a brief scuffle.
NFL Officiating @NFLOfficiating
“In #JAXvsBUF, 2 players are disqualified for fighting: @Jaguars #27, @buffalobills #90. Flag was thrown for unnecessary roughness, during the replay review NY confirmed ejections.” -AL https://t.co/7Vl8ZaLIma
The Athletic’s Daniel Popper shared a statement Jon Runyan, the NFL’s vice president of football operations, wrote to Fournette about the suspension:
“Sportsmanship is the cornerstone of the game and the League will not tolerate game-related misconduct that conveys a lack of respect for the game itself and those involved in in… Video of the incident shows that you were not a participant in the play and that you ran from your sideline to the opposite side of the field to insert yourself as an active participant in a fight. Once you entered the fight area, you struck a member of the opposing team. Your actions adversely reflected on the NFL and have no place in the game.”
Fournette’s ejection didn’t cost the Jaguars Sunday’s game but likely kept points off the board for Jacksonville.
Rather than handing the ball off to Fournette on a 1st-and-goal at the 1-yard line, the Jags gave it to Hyde, who lost a yard on first down. Three players later, Josh Lambo missed a 42-yard field goal that would’ve put Jacksonville ahead 17-14.
Fournette apologized for his actions in an Instagram post Sunday after the game.
Without Fournette in the backfield, the Jaguars will have to rely on their backup quarterback and running back for Sunday’s game against the Indianapolis Colts. The team confirmed Monday that Cody Kessler will replace Blake Bortles under center.
Having Fournette would’ve allowed Jacksonville to take some pressure off Kessler. Instead, Hyde will be the team’s featured back. Hyde has appeared in four games for the team since arriving in a trade with the Cleveland Browns. He has run for 93 yards on 27 carries.