Michael DiRoccoESPN Staff WriterClose
- Covered University of Florida for 13 seasons for ESPN.com and Florida Times-Union
- Graduate of Jacksonville University
- Multiple APSE award winner
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — It appeared the Jacksonville Jaguars had finally shaken a decade of ineptitude with their division title and playoff run last season, but the franchise has bottomed out in 2018 after their sixth consecutive loss.
Cornerback Jalen Ramsey, who was once in tears on the sideline after a loss as a rookie, is having a hard time dealing with the collapse.
“I’ve been pretty pissed off,” Ramsey said after Sunday’s 20-16 loss to Pittsburgh at TIAA Bank Field, which was sealed on Ben Roethlisberger‘s 1-yard touchdown run with five seconds to play. “I’m not going to lie to you. I have. S—, man, I’ve been battling with my emotions, trying to hold them in.”
He’s certainly not the only Jaguars player that feels that way, but he may be the most visible. The spotlight’s on him because of his offseason comments in which he criticized numerous quarterbacks — including Roethlisberger, whom he said was “decent at best” — as well as his on-field trash talk and ultra-confident attitude.
One week after he played arguably the worst game of his career, he had one of his best against the Steelers. Antonio Brown caught five passes for 117 yards and a touchdown, but Brown’s 78-yard touchdown catch came when the Jaguars were in zone and safety Tashaun Gipson tried to jump a shallow route. Brown had four catches for 39 yards with Ramsey in coverage.
Both of Ramsey’s interceptions came on passes thrown to Brown, a diving catch and another he hauled in with one arm. It was the first multi-interception game of Ramsey’s career.
Yet that wasn’t enough to keep the Jaguars (3-7) from losing their sixth consecutive game, which all but finishes their season. Ramsey stood on the sideline close to the tunnel and was the first Jaguars player to leave the field after the game ended on Blake Bortles‘ sixth sack of the game. It was a much more low-profile response than when television cameras caught him crying on the sideline and saying “I’m tired of losing” late in the Jaguars’ 26-19 loss at Detroit in Week 11 of the 2016 season.
“I truly believe I don’t have any bad days,” Ramsey said. “I have hard days sometimes, but God’s blessed me too much for me to have a bad day. Blessed me with a beautiful daughter I can go home to and make everything better for me. I’m going to go home and spend some time with her, and I’m going to be good.”
Ramsey said he wasn’t bothered by the pregame report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter in which he said league sources believe the Jaguars will entertain the idea of trading Ramsey in the offseason. The Jaguars released a statement within an hour of that report that they “have zero intention of trading CB Jalen Ramsey. There is no truth to this rumor.”
“I didn’t use it as motivation,” Ramsey said. “It is what it is. I don’t control that. All I control is what I put out there on the field. When the offseason comes we’ll have some conversations to have. Either that or I’m going to get a contract extension or something. Something’s going to happen.
“But we’re going to wait until that time comes.”
Ramsey said coach Doug Marrone spoke with him briefly before the game about the report, too.
“[I] was really trying to focus on the game,” Ramsey said. “I wasn’t really trying to hear too much of it. It’s cool, [the Jaguars] showing their support.”