The Jacksonville Jaguars parted company with running back Leonard Fournette on Monday in a surprise move just two weeks before the start of the 2020 NFL season.
Fournette was the fourth overall pick in the 2017 draft but head coach Doug Marrone said letting the 25-year-old go had been a straightforward decision.
"I just felt it was the best decision for us as a team," Marrone told a conference call.
Fournette has twice topped 1,000 rushing yards in his three seasons with the Jags, including 1,152 yards in 2019 when he averaged 4.5 yards a carry.
However his stint in Jacksonville included a series of spats with management and teammates as well as suspensions and questions about his commitment.
Marrone said the Jaguars had tried to offload Fournette in a trade but had been unable to drum up interests.
"I think it gives us the best opportunity with the skillsets that we have with the other players in there, I just thought that was the best for the team and doing it now," Marrone said.
"We exhausted all trade opportunities. We weren't able to get anything there, so I just felt that now we can work on the team and the plan and get ourselves ready for the season."
Marrone said he had informed Fournette of his decision at a meeting that was described as "good, very professional."
Fournette defended his record in Jacksonville during a recent training camp media call, insisting tensions with management last season had arisen because he cared about results.
"Would you be angry if you're losing week in and week out? That is one of my biggest problems," Fournette said.
"I expect, just like anybody else, if you put the work in, you want the W (win). But a lot of times last year it didn't go like that. I guess they kind of misinterpreted that."