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story.lead_photo.caption Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette (27) thought the speed of Thursday night’s exhibition game against the New England Patriots was not as fast as what he saw when he was playing at LSU.

Rookies, am I right?

Former LSU running back Leonard Fournette is one of the most ballyhooed runners to enter the NFL in some time. After a three-year college career in which he ran for 3,830 yards on 616 carries (6.2 yards per carry) with 40 touchdowns, it's easy to see where the hype comes from.

But the NFL is whole different ballgame, right Leonard?

"It's a lot slower than I really thought," Fournette told James Palmer of after his Jacksonville Jaguars played their first preseason game Thursday night against the New England Patriots. "That's how I've been since I first got into the NFL. A lot of people were like, 'It's going to be fast.' But by me playing in the SEC, that kind of helped me a lot. I think, to me, it was really easy."

Before Fournette anoints himself a Hall of Famer, he might do well to take stock of who he was playing against. The Patriots played very few starters Thursday, and Coach Bill Belichick isn't going to show one significant look in the preseason. Fournette probably will notice a huge difference in speed in four weeks when the regular season opens.

And for someone who thought the NFL was easy, you'd figure he'd have gotten more than 31 yards on nine carries. He did score a touchdown on a 1-yard run.

Also, the NFL is not known as a place that takes kindly to rookies shooting off at the mouth. That quote probably won't be forgotten soon, and defenders might find an extra gear when they see the Jaguars on the schedule.

No way to go out

Who doesn't like a good baseball brawl?

How about players whose careers are cut short from the ramifications.

San Francisco Giants' infielder/outfielder Michael Morse is likely out for the remainder of the season, reports Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area. Morse suffered a concussion and bruised ribs after a collision with teammate Jeff Samardzija during the infamous Hunter Strickland/Bryce Harper brawl on May 29, and he has not made a full recovery.

He's expected to join the team on its road trip in Miami this week, but his chances of making a full comeback -- in this season or any other -- seem slim.

Before the melee, Morse slashed .194/.250/.306 with 1 home run in 40 plate appearances with San Francisco. Even before his head collided with Samardzija as the two converged on the pileup, it looked like 2017 would be the final encore to a 13-year Major League career, one that had petered out after the 35-year-old took a six-game gig with the 2016 Pirates.

He was officially placed on the 10-day disabled list June 8 but, as of Aug. 11, he has yet to take any kind of rehab assignment with the team. According to the San Jose Mercury News' Andrew Baggarly, Manager Bruce Bochy told reporters he does not intend to reinstate Morse on the active roster come September.

This sad ending recalls the final game of longtime catcher Jason LaRue. On Aug. 10, 2010, the St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds got into a brawl after Cardinals' catcher Yadier Molina and Reds' second baseman Brandon Phillips went nose to nose in the batter's box.

During the scrum, LaRue took a kick to the head from Reds' pitcher Johnny Cueto, leaving him with a concussion. Faced with the possibility another blow to his head might ruin his life, the 12-year veteran retired about a month after the brawl.

The tales of Morse and LaRue show there can be real consequences to what often are considered harmless shove fests.


With what pick did the Jacksonville Jaguars select Leonard Fournette in the 2017 NFL Draft?


Pick four of the first round

Sports on 08/13/2017

Print Headline: Uh, Leonard, did you really mean that?

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