JACKSONVILLE – There are plans. Then, there is reality.
Jaguars Owner Shad Khan had seen plans, proposals and prototypes for the state-of-the-art video boards that will be unveiled at EverBank Field Saturday, but the reality?
Well, the reality was much, much different.
“Frankly, it’s how I envisioned and it’s even better,” Khan said at the Jaguars’ Back to Football Luncheon at the EverBank Field Terrace Suite Thursday afternoon, an event where Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley, General Manager David Caldwell and Jaguars President Mark Lamping also spoke.
The video boards – the world’s largest in-stadium video boards – will be unveiled Saturday in an event that also features a soccer friendly between Khan’s Fulham Football Club and D.C. United and a concert by country music star Carrie Underwood.
“It’s proud moment, because it’s a milestone,” Khan said. “Every day you have a different milestone and you feel proud about that.”
Khan on Thursday discussed a variety of topics, including the news that wide receiver
Blackmon, who was arrested Wednesday in Edmond, Oklahoma, already had been suspended indefinitely by the NFL. Bradley and Caldwell said multiple times during the offseason that Blackmon doesn’t likely fit into the team’s plans this season.
Khan, who earlier this offseason called Blackmon’s situation an “absolute tragedy,” said Thursday at the luncheon he doesn’t foresee the Jaguars severing ties with Blackmon after the latest incident.
“We want to keep him as a player,” Khan said. “He’s not part of the team, obviously, but I think it’s very important for him to get the help. I think that’s the most important thing.”
Khan said potential backlash from fans over Blackmon’s situation didn’t concern him.
“He’s not part of the roster,” Khan said. “I think it’s good for him and good for us. We want him to get the help and really beat this.”
Khan emphasized more than once that Blackmon’s well-being was the immediate priority.
“As a human being, as a player, we want him to get well,” Khan said. “Then once he’s well, obviously the league will decide if he can play. That would be the time for the Jaguars to decide.”
Khan spoke extensively following the luncheon not only about Blackmon, but about the direction of the team under Bradley and Caldwell and potential further improvements to EverBank Field. He said he continues to like the performance or Bradley and Caldwell – “they’re great,” he said – and he said while there are discussions and ideas about future improvements to EverBank Field those ideas aren’t yet solidified.
“It’s a little early for that,” he said, adding that an idea for a so-called “sunscreen” that would cover the field and stands on game days is not inconceivable.
“We’re looking at a bunch of ideas,” Khan said.
Khan also discussed the pools built as part of the current renovations. Those, too, will be ready for the video board unveiling Saturday. Khan was asked if he might get into a pool during a game during the season.
“Of course,” he said, smiling, adding that he had been in the pools this week as they were being filled. “What blew me away was getting into the pools, and I tell you: ‘The view is amazing.’”