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Dear Leonard Fournette: Get healthy and get back on the field for LSU

Thanks to basic human nature, we are a species mostly comprised by selfishness. Sometimes it's not a terrible thing; it's just how it is. As much as some of us try to live generous, selfless lives, our natural instinct is to protect our self-interests.

So here's me protecting my own self-interests and yours, America.

Hey, Leonard Fournette, as soon as that ankle is better, please get back out on the football field.

Don't listen to that gibberish about saving your body for the NFL. While your top-five draft status likely wouldn't be hurt by you sitting out the rest of the season, you're not that kind of guy. You've said it yourself, and now is the chance to show us. We think you love this game and your team too much to just sit and protect your self-interests. In that respect -- and on the football field -- you're better than us. You eat, drink, sweat, sleep and bleed this sport, so with the time off you've incurred, you must be champing at the bit for one last run through Tiger Stadium and the SEC.

We really do miss you, and it's no secret that we know you're leaving us in a few months for millions at the pro level, and we're cool with that. We get it. It's you, not us.

But sitting out the rest of the season is no way to leave us -- and your university -- behind. We know that debilitating ankle injury has been a nuisance that has limited you to just three games -- and 386 yards -- but your interim coach believes it will heal this season. You're the best running back in the country. You'll likely be one of the first players taken in next year's NFL draft. You have 3,373 career yards and 34 total touchdowns.

You have unfinished business.

"I know he wants to play, he's ready to go, and when he's healthy, I fully expect him to have a great rest of the season," LSU interim coach Ed Orgeron said.

"I'm sure if he'd be ready, he'd be playing."

It's taken a little longer than you thought and that has to be frustrating, but your coach doesn't want to hurt your future by not waiting until you are 100 percent before putting you back on the football field. We can all get behind that, but we'd also like to get behind more of those horrifyingly beautiful runs that turned Auburn players every which way. We want to see you crash through that crimson wall that held you back last year. We want to see those tree trunks you call legs churn through that Florida defense the way they have the last two years.

We're having Fournette withdrawals, and you must be feeling the same way about the sport you've taken by storm. We've watched you grow with Michael Jordan-like hype dumped onto your pads and blossom in Year 2 with a mighty Heisman run we fully expected you to fulfill this year.

"Some of the games that he had my first year here [were] some of the best performances I've ever seen [from] any player on the football field, but he's a team player," Orgeron said.

This is your home state, your home team. You run this state with that captivating smile and bullish running attitude.

Your team also has a tough stretch coming up that it can't survive without you -- Ole Miss, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida and Texas A&M. It's a smorgasbord of defensive talent to feast on, really. With you sitting out Saturday's game against Southern Miss, your body is getting even more time to prepare for your final stretch.

You might not be playing for an SEC title and those Heisman dreams are long gone. You don't owe any of us anything. You've made memories in college, but you'll make millions in the NFL. But you're not the kind of guy who would abandon your team. We've seen you helping your fellow running backs before games. We've seen you motivate them while you've been down. You want to come back.

We need you to come back.