ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette apologized in the locker room and on social media for fighting with Buffalo Bills defensive end Shaq Lawson and getting ejected during Sunday’s 24-21 loss.
Fournette said his emotions got the better of him during an important game, and he regrets leaving the Jaguars’ sideline to get involved in a skirmish that started when teammate Dede Westbrook pushed Bills safety Micah Hyde.
Just want to apologize to the fans and kids out there was totally out of character was in the heat of the moment in a important game, emotions got the best of me apologize again to you all….
— 7⃣ Leonard Fournette (@_fournette) November 25, 2018
“You are going to have to rise up and also protect your own,” Fournette said. “At the same time, you can’t have that. I apologize to all the kids who look up to me and their parents. The biggest thing is, this loss [is] totally on me. I take [full responsibility].”
Lawson was not in the Bills’ locker room following the game, but Buffalo coach Sean McDermott said he spoke with Lawson after the incident and will not discipline the 19th overall pick from 2016.
“I’ll go back and look at it, but at the end of the day, a guy defending his teammate — and I’ve sat and already talked with Shaq, we do things the right way — but when people step up and challenge us, I don’t expect us to back down,” McDermott said.
Lawson and Fournette also had to be separated as they exited through the Bills’ lone tunnel at the same time. While Fournette walked into the tunnel, a fan in the front row made contact with him, and Fournette briefly confronted that fan. A nearby police officer intervened.
“My biggest thing was when the fan hit me. I had a problem with that,” Fournette said. “He [Lawson] was saying what he had to say. I really don’t care. Words are just words. They don’t mean nothing to me. Just got to move on.”
The skirmish started after Jaguars receiver Donte Moncrief and Bills cornerback Levi Wallace fought for the ball on a deep pass down the sideline. Both players refused to let go of the ball after going to the ground. An official tried to separate the players, and that’s when Westbrook came over and pushed Hyde, who was standing by Moncrief and Wallace.
“Ain’t nobody going to stand over him [Moncrief],” Westbrook said. “I don’t care who it is, and I felt like buddy [Hyde] was trying to stand over him and then so I went, and I nudged him, like, ‘Get your ass back,’ and it went from there — period.”
Fournette was among the multiple players from both teams who rushed over, and a lot of pushing and shoving ensued. Fournette said he got angry when he saw Lawson shove teammate Carlos Hyde, and that’s when he threw a punch at Lawson.
Leonard Fournette explains why he came off the sideline to engage the Bills’ Shaq Lawson and takes full responsibility for his actions and the Jaguars’ loss.
“I mean, that’s my brother,” Fournette said. “All of them are my brothers. I don’t know [how] y’all was raised, but that’s just me.”
Moncrief’s catch was initially ruled a touchdown, but it was changed upon review to a catch that went out of bounds at the 1-yard line. The Bills did not allow the Jaguars to score on the next four plays, including a touchdown overturned by a Jaguars holding penalty on receiver Keelan Cole, before Jacksonville kicker Josh Lambo missed a 42-yard field goal to keep the game tied 14-14. The Bills took the lead for good three plays later on Josh Allen‘s 14-yard touchdown run.
Bills linebacker Lorenzo Alexander said things were chippy and tense throughout the game as a carryover from the previous time the teams met: a 10-3 Jaguars victory in an AFC wild-card playoff game in January.
“Tensions were high from stuff getting talked about,” Alexander said. “That stuff stems back to last year, when we played them. They’re very chirpy. We’re not going to back down. It’s a physical game mindset. Those types of things happen when you’re playing football.”
ESPN’s Mike Rodak contributed to this report.
Source : http://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/25376033/leonard-fournette-shaq-lawson-bounced-jaguars-bills-brawl