Sad day in Jacksonville Tuesday . . .
Dale Regan, the head of school at Episcopal School of Jacksonville and my 10th-grade English teacher, was shot and killed early Tuesday afternoon.
This isn't the forum for detail. There are enough details in the news reports. I just didn't want to let the day pass without acknowledging her life – and her 34 years of dedication to a school that during her time there increasingly became a key part of the Jacksonville community.
Being a lazy, unmotivated student, I wasn't close to Mrs. Regan. I can't say she motivated me to write, or to go into journalism, but I also don't doubt she tried.
We are in the age where feelings are expressed in social media, so while the NFL world talked about bounties and the release of Peyton Manning, I spent Tuesday night on Facebook reading about a woman who touched more lives than maybe she even knew, and who won't soon be forgotten by a community that grieves today.
I came away with a picture of a woman who spent life on a picturesque campus under the Hart Bridge – a three-four-minute drive from my office here at EverBank Field. I thought of how the students she taught moved on, and how she – and others, of course – stayed, shaping lives and doing what she could to motivate and teach students. Even lazy ones.
It sounds like a good, satisfying life, even if obviously too short. It also sounds like an important, meaningful one. Probably, she knew this. I hope she did.
May she Rest in Peace. Sean from Philadelphia, PA:
I know the chances are slim at best, but I just envisioned the Jaguars signing Peyton Manning, Reggie Wayne, and Pierre Garcon.
John: Enjoy your visions. I don't see them, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't enjoy them.
Tyler from Jacksonville:
Check this out O-man . . . We bring in Pierre Garcon to reunite with Cecil Shorts III. We call this dynamic duo "The Mount Reunion" or "The Mount Union Reunion." Can't decide which is better.
John: I like "The Mount Union Reunion," and it wouldn't surprise me if it happened. We'll see.
Bryan from Rancho Cucamonga, CA :
Why are the Jaguars so discrete about free agency? I want to know if we are trying hard to re-sign Mathis or not. I want to know if Scobee is asking for too much. I want to know if Mincey will raise hell next year. And I definitely want to know if we are going to have the McCardell/Smith 2.0 in Laurent Robinson and Harry Douglass. And I also want to know where I can get a damn Jimmy Smith No. 82 jersey that hasn't been used. "I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!" Can I be heard?
John: You can be heard, but I fear you won't be happy. The Jaguars are discreet about free agency, because in the NFL, teams are discreet about free agency. That's just how it is. The team is trying to sign Mathis – how hard depends on what he wants. From the Jaguars' perspective, Scobee obviously is asking for too much; if not, they would have agreed to a long-term deal. Mincey may or may not raise hell, but whether it will be in Jacksonville or not is uncertain. My sense is Mincey wants to test the market unless he gets a big deal from Jacksonville and I don't know that Mincey has yet shown he should get a huge deal. It may be a case where another team is willing to pay him more. As far as Robinson and Douglass, we'll see. Douglass makes sense to be on the radar, and while I like Robinson's potential, I get the idea he really wants to return to Dallas. That's what we know, and what I can speculate. Seems the time before free agency in the NFL isn't a time for exact scenario and facts. It just doesn't work that way.
Ron from Asheville, NC:
I remember that you mentioned that if the Jags were to sign a free agent defensive end, it would be highly unlikely that the Jags select one with their first pick. Going by your recent mock draft, do you no longer believe the Jags will pursue Mario Williams?
John: That's my guess. Not that they won't want to pursue him, but I'm just getting the sense that if they do pursue him, it's going to be a very tough get. I hope I'm wrong.
Greg from Zurich, Switzerland:
If Drew Brees can be had for two first-round draft picks why would any team give more for RGIII?
John: RGIII is younger and available and Brees is older and not. For clarification's sake, though, Brees is not available. He received the exclusive franchise tag, which means he cannot sign elsewhere. That's different than the non-exclusive tag given to most tagees.
Andrew from Orange Park, FL:
Peyton is going to be a free agent. I know you think Gene would never make a move like that, but the more you look at it the more it makes sense him playing here. His signing would instantly attract free agent wide receivers. He would have an All-Pro running back to hand it to, a tight end with a lot of potential to be a star, and what appears to be a very good defense. It may be moot but the organization should definitively do their due diligence.
John: The in-box as expected flooded with this topic and the best I can tell you is I don't sense it's a direction the Jaguars are going to go. I'm pretty much on record saying I agree that it's something that any team must explore – and by saying that I go against what I generally believe about the NFL. I am almost exclusively someone who believes in building through the draft, sticking to a plan and making sound decisions for the long haul. At the same time, there never has been a quarterback of this level still theoretically in the prime of his career available on the open market. It's a game-changer and therefore worthy of consideration. I don't see it happening in Jacksonville, but if you're asking me my opinion, I agree with you that it's something to explore.
Tim from Baton Rouge, LA:
Word is Scobee doesn't want to sign franchise tag. What happens if a player doesn't sign the tag?
John: It's unlikely he wouldn't sign it. So long as Scobee doesn't sign the tag, he is free to negotiate with other teams. The problem is, teams wanting to sign a "non-exclusive" franchised player must give up two first-round draft selections to do so. Obviously no team is going to give up two first-round selections for a kicker – or any position, really, except quarterback. Scobee also can refuse to sign the tag if he plans to sit out next season, but realistically that won't happen. Players only have so many years of earning power. Scobee likely will eventually sign the offer, and just as likely is that the sides will agree to a long-term deal sometime thereafter.
Vincent from Charleston, SC:
I know there is all this talk about Mario Williams but what about John Abraham from Atlanta? If I recall correctly, he is very disruptive and gave Blaine the worst night of his life. I saw he will potentially be a free agent. Why isn't there much hype about him?
John: He's 34. That means while he may be a short-term option for a team, he won't be one of the higher-end guys who gets signed to a long-term, salary-cap altering deal.
Glen from Lake City, FL:
I played HS and college football. Every year since 11th grade, we had bets, and whatnot in regards to sacks, fumbles caused and recovered, interceptions, and yes knocking certain players out of games. Honestly I can never remember a coach suggesting it, or encouraging it. Shouldn't the players that were involved and took part in "Bountygate" be punished along with Williams, at least to some degree?
John: Yes, and they will be.
Joe from Orange Park, FL:
This may be a bad question, but is there any chance the Saints lose their Super Bowl title? I don't think they should, but many of my friends think otherwise. We need you to give the verdict.
John: It's not a bad question, and it's something that I've seen suggested. There is a stronger argument for stripping the Saints of the title than in any case I've ever seen in the NFL. You're talking about there being proof that during the postseason following the 2009 season the Saints talked about rewarding players for hits that knocked opposing quarterbacks from the game. You're also talking about a franchise that apparently was openly defying orders to stop that behavior. That's phenomenally damning stuff. However, the Saints won't be stripped – nor should they be. There's no way to know if the bounties helped them win the Super Bowl or not, and there's no way to properly crown another champion. Would it be the Colts, who lost the Super Bowl to the Saints? Why would the Colts deserve it more than the Vikings, who lost to the Saints in overtime in the NFC Championship Game? And as much as the league office might want to come down harshly on the Saints, no way does Goodell want the black eye of a vacated Super Bowl championship. That makes the story last forever, and that's not something that would be palpable to the league.
Stan from East Timor:
Hey O-Man, I'm gonna be hitting up Intuition Brewery for the first time this week for a friend's b-day, any suggestions?
John: Keep 'em coming.