On Sept. 22, the disconnect between the cornerback and the Jaguars reached a different level when Ramsey called in sick, saying that he would be unable to practice Monday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported. Although the network’s Josina Anderson and Ryan Clark both reported that Ramsey is legitimately ill and believes he has the flu, he later was spotted at the team facility Monday. Players were off Tuesday and, when Wednesday rolled around, Ramsey was back in the facility.
However, he didn’t practice with the team because, Marrone said, Ramsey told him that his back was sore. Asked by the media whether Ramsey was over his sickness, the coach replied, “Yeah,” and was unable to suppress a laugh. He didn’t know when the back injury occurred, but allowed that it’s a common thing. “His back is tight,” Marrone said, “ … Everyone gets this stuff.”
Then, on Wednesday evening, the saga took another turn when the Jaguars announced Ramsey was leaving the team for the birth of his child in Tennessee, and would return “when he’s ready.” He rejoined the team for Sunday’s game against the Broncos in Denver, but was inactive.
His trade demand hasn’t changed and neither has the denial by owner Shad Khan. On Sunday, CBS’s Jason La Canfora reported that the Jaguars had turned down an offer of two first-round picks for Ramsey because the offer was from a team the Jaguars believe will be picking in the upper echelon of the round. They’re hoping to maximize the value of the picks by drawing interest from a team likely to finish with a poor record.
Last week, the Jaguars were choosing their words carefully, especially about the curiously timed illness. On Monday. Marrone refused to talk about it. “I mean, I’m not getting into that — odd or anything,” Marrone told reporters then, via ESPN. “If you’re sick, you’re sick, right? What are you going to do?”
The 1-2 Jaguars are coming off a division win over the Tennessee Titans and have a new folk hero in eccentric quarterback Gardner Minshew II, but Ramsey continues to dominate the headlines.
“It [a player missing practice with an illness] has happened — I don’t want to exaggerate and say hundreds of times — but it’s happened quite a bit,” Marrone said earlier Wednesday. “It’s happened here since I’ve been the head coach a couple times. It’s happened with Myles [Jack], where I actually was in the [team] hotel with him and he stayed there. It’s happened.
“To me, it’s nothing as big, but I understand that’s probably a big story because of the other things that are surrounding it.”
Indeed. Here’s how Ramsey and the Jaguars got to this point:
How good is Ramsey?
A two-time Pro Bowl honoree, the cornerback, who turns 25 next month, was the fifth overall pick by the Jaguars out of Florida State in the 2016 draft. He was part of the defense that helped the Jaguars advance to the AFC championship game, losing to New England, after the 2017 season.
What does he want?
Ramsey wants what we all want: More money. He is in the fourth year of his rookie contract, and the team has picked up his option for next season. He signed the four-year deal in May, 2016, getting $23.35 million that included $22.90 million guaranteed with a signing bonus of $15.18 million.
Where do the two sides stand?
Ramsey and the Jaguars, who have refused to go to Defcon 1 over his illness, are at a standoff, with the team uninterested in accommodating the trade request and team owner Shad Khan reportedly still willing to make Ramsey the league’s highest-paid cornerback. Ramsey played Sept. 19, when the Jaguars beat the Titans, 20-7 on “Thursday Night Football,” four days after he and Marrone mixed it up. In the Sept. 15 one-point loss to the Texans, Ramsey was angry that Marrone did not challenge a dropped ball that was ruled a catch. He and Marrone briefly made physical contact as they jawed at one another and Jaguars players stepped in.
On Uninterrupted’s “17 Weeks” podcast released Thursday, Ramsey said his trade request “still stands.”
“I’m not sure if I’ve played my final game for the Jags yet or not, but my trade request still stands,” Ramsey said. “For me, respect is a huge thing. … Once respect is lost for both parties, I think it is time to part ways. I’m going to continue being a top corner in this league for years to come. The money will come, but money isn’t everything. Peace and happiness means a lot more than the money.”
Did anything besides money cause him to want a trade?
After that Week 2 loss, Ramsey told the Uninterrupted “17 Weeks” podcast that the final catalyst for his trade demand was a conversation he had with team management.
“There had been an incident on the sideline with me and coach. I didn’t think much of that in particular because that happens from time to time. That’s passion and emotion I feel like that blew up a little bit more than it should have,” Ramsey said (via Jaguarswire). “That happened early in the first quarter, and I went out the rest of the game, and you can see the production that I put out there on the field. What I held ‘Hop [DeAndre Hopkins] to, and how the whole defense played, honestly."
After the game, according to Ramsey, “some disrespectful things were said on their end that made me definitely walk out and call my agent as soon as I walked out, and I told him, I said, ‘It’s time; my time is up here in Jacksonville. I want to ask for a trade.'”
Ramsey didn’t specify which members of management he’d spoken with. He said on the podcast that he “was truly at peace” after the trade demand. “I wasn’t in a mind-set of making a decision while I was angry; I was completely calm. I still stand by my decision to ask for a trade.”
His demeanor after the Jaguars’ first win of the season was that of a man who had played his last game for a team.
“Requesting the trade was something that’s been building over a little bit of time,” Ramsey said on the podcast. “It has nothing to do with my teammates here — I love my teammates here. It has nothing to do with the city — I love the city here. Still doing my charity work here, still out with the fans, signing autographs, taking pictures, whatever. I love the city here, I love my teammates, but it’s more so with the front office and the organization."
What teams would make sense for Ramsey, even though the team has said it won’t trade him?
Several teams would reportedly be interested, but the Jaguars, at least initially, are asking for too much in return, ESPN reported last week. The caveat has been that teams are out for now. The Jaguars could make him available if his behavior deteriorates, the way Antonio Brown’s did in Oakland.
In the meantime, CBS reported that the Kansas City Chiefs, Philadelphia Eagles, Seattle Seahawks and Baltimore Ravens are all “monitoring the Ramsey situation.” ESPN also reported that the Eagles were “doing their homework” on Ramsey. NFL.com speculated that the Eagles, Chiefs, Oakland Raiders and Detroit Lions could be fits.
Why is Ramsey always in the headlines?
Ramsey has often made news for his outspokenness, becoming a convenient trash-talking target along the way. Along with former teammates Tashaun Gipson and Davon House, he criticized how the defensive backs were used during the 2016 season, and he didn’t like the team’s defensive calls in the fourth quarter of the AFC championship game loss to the Patriots in 2018.
That summer, he unloaded on a number of NFL quarterbacks in a GQ story that appeared shortly after he had been suspended for a week for a profane rant against reporters who were filming a training-camp dust-up between Dante Fowler Jr. and Yannick Ngakoue. In a tweet, he threatened war with the media.
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