CLEVELAND, Ohio – He's not 100 percent, and he doubts that will change soon.
Jaguars rookie running back Leonard Fournette said that's his reality with six games remaining in the regular season, and he said his reality Sunday was he was playing through pain in his ankle.
He also said that's OK.
"I dealt with it in college; it's nothing new for me," Fournette said following the Jaguars' 19-7 victory over the Browns at FirstEnergy Field Sunday.
Fournette, after practicing limited twice last week and missing practice Friday, rushed for 111 yards on 28 carries Sunday. He did so while leaving several times after runs.
"He played very well," Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone said.
Fournette had been listed as questionable on the injury report entering the weekend. He had missed a pre-bye week victory over the Indianapolis Colts because of the ankle before missing the Jaguars' post-bye week victory over Cincinnati because of team rules infraction.
He rushed for 33 yards on 17 carries against the Los Angeles Chargers last Sunday.
"He said he felt good," Marrone said of Fournette. "We're trying to do the right thing. Do you put him out in practice and push him, or do you say, 'Let's just rest it until he's ready to play?' We rested him. I asked him how he felt [this week]. He said, 'I'm good. I'm ready to play.' I trust him. That's all I needed to hear. I asked him again 'Saturday night: 'Are we good? We're fine.' I said, 'All right. I'll see you at the stadium."
Images of the Week 11 matchup with the Cleveland Browns.
While Fournette left Sunday's game because of the ankle at times, he said he had no doubt he would continue playing.
"I played with this in college; I get hit on it, and I might have to take a play or two off – but I come back in," Fournette said.
Fournette was asked when he expects to be 100 percent.
"It ain't going to be until after the season," he said. "The best way for me to totally get healed is rest. I don't have that much time. Coach Doug has a great plan for me – especially throughout the week – keeping me fresh … that's about it."
Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles said Fournette's performance gutting through the injury was impressive.
"He's a tough kid," Bortles said. "He's a guy everybody loves to have on their team. Offensive linemen love blocking for him and I love giving him the ball as much as possible."
The Jaguars' defense not only scored its fifth touchdown of the season Sunday, it held an opponent under 200 yards for a second time in three games. The Browns on Sunday managed 184 yards offense and 11 first downs, with Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith recovering a fumble by Browns quarterback DeShone Kizer in the end zone for the game-clinching touchdown with 1:14 remaining. The Jaguars sacked Kizer five times, and the lone Browns touchdown came on a 66-yard second-quarter drive. Aside from that drive, Cleveland managed 118 yards offense. "They did an outstanding job except for the one series," Marrone said. "It's really just players making plays. We have some good players on that side of the ball."
The Jaguars had two critical calls go against them Sunday. One was when officials ruled that an apparent catch along the Browns sideline by rookie wide receiver Dede Westbrook in fact was not a catch. Another came late in the game when ends Calais Campbell and Yannick Ngakoue combined to force a sack/fumble by Kizer. End Dante Fowler Jr. recovered the fumble and was running for a touchdown when officials whistled the play dead believing Kizer was down before fumbling. Replays revealed the play was indeed a fumble, meaning the whistle negated a touchdown. "I like this crew," Marrone said. "I'm a big fan of this crew – [referee] Pete Morelli and those guys. I know those guys work their butts off and do the best job they can. I have no issues with the crew we had today. Whether it's a mistake or not? I can't answer that question. I know mistakes happen in a game." …
"You start playing now, in November and December, you've got to have both mental and physical toughness to win games."
"I'm glad we got the win. If we were walking out of here 6-4, I'd probably have to deactivate my social media"
--Jaguars and former Browns FS Tashaun Gipson
"I think we did a good job of just mentally saying, 'All right, I know it's going to be cold. Let's go play.'''
"We're doing what we said we would do. Our goal was to win the division and get in the playoffs. That's what we're doing. We've talked about it long enough. Now, our actions are speaking for themselves."
"The season's not over. We're in first place right now, but our goal is to win the AFC South. We control our own destiny. We have to keep rolling and keep finding ways to win."