After missing all of the team's OTAs during the spring/summer workouts in protest of wanting his contract renegotiated, CB Rashean Mathis reported on time to training camp on Friday. Mathis skipped the team's 14 voluntary practice sessions in May and June, but met with the media the first day of camp to report he was looking forward to the coming season.
"I'm going to play football to the best of my ability and if I stay healthy, it will be a great year. I want to finish my career here, that's never been a secret. Being that I have two years on my contract, we knew it could sway either way," he said. "I still have great years left. To stay in Jacksonville is what I want long term."
But Mathis also made it clear that unless years are added to his contract, he won't fulfill that dream.
"If it (contract) stays the same, then I will not finish my football career here," he added.
--Linebacker Kirk Morrison starts his sixth NFL season, the first five of which were with the Oakland Raiders where he led the team in tackles the last four years and has a string of 79 consecutive starts intact.
But listening to Morrison after his first official practice with the Jaguars on Friday, Morrison sounded like an NFL rookie, looking forward to playing in his first professional game.
"For me, it's a new camp. Everything about this whole scenario is brand new to me. From where we're standing at, to the meeting room, to the facility, the practice fields, everything's new," he said. "It just seems like everything has been changing around here and for a guy like myself, coming in and being a part of it, it's kind of a smooth transition because it's a change for everybody."
Morrison stepped in as a starter at middle linebacker from the day he was acquired from the Raiders. His success as one of the league's top tacklers while with the Raiders, has earned him respect from his new teammates as he's quickly become a leader in the locker room.
--One of the reasons that the Jaguars were able to land a new deal with EverBank for the naming rights to Jacksonville Municipal Stadium, is that the city agreed to forego the 25 percent take it was to receive when the Jaguars landed a partner for the naming rights.
With the deal calling for $16.6 million over five years, the city could have taken slightly over $4 million on the new deal.
City council president Jack Webb said it was more than just the money that made this a win-win deal for the Jaguars and the city. The council is expected to formally approve the contract at its next meeting on August 10.
"This naming rights deal helps solidify a place for the Jaguars forever in Jacksonville. Anything that benefits the Jaguars ultimately benefits the city and everybody who lives here," Webb said.
Three days later, the Jaguars announced they had also reached a three-year agreement with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida (BCBSF) to secure the naming rights sponsorship of the team's practice fields. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida is the official health care partner of the Jaguars. The fields, located adjacent to EverBank Field, will be called the Florida Blue Health & Wellness Practice Fields.
--Maurice Jones-Drew met with local media on Friday for the first time since the announcement that he'll co-host a nationally syndicated radio show each Friday this fall. The show will feature news and information for fantasy football followers and not necessarily about the Jaguars.
A year ago, quarterback David Garrard signed a deal with a local radio station for a Friday afternoon show but the deal ended rather abruptly when coach Jack Del Rio put a nix to the idea.
Jones-Drew said his Friday show would not be a distraction to him or the team.
"I'm usually checking up on my Fantasy team on Friday's anyway so I'm just doing it in front of billions of people. What's the difference?"
He said there was a difference between what his show will be and that of Garrard's show from a year ago.
"I think mine is more Fantasy. I'm not talking about football and the Jaguars. I'm talking about how to start a lineup and be a great team owner. For David, they were asking him questions about our game plan and certain other things. The guy was asking him questions they shouldn't have even asked why should we tell you about our game plan on Friday when the other teams could be listening?"
QUOTE TO NOTE: "Finally somebody is understanding how dangerous this sport is. To add two more games, to put us at risk more, it just shows you the athletes now, we're getting stronger, faster, bigger so the force of the hits are going to be that much more." - Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew, commenting on the recent developments in studies done on concussions in the NFL.