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BRUNELL SIGNS NEW CONTRACT WITH JAGUARS

Quarterback Mark Brunell, who was named most valuable player of the Pro Bowl five months ago, has signed a new contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars. The upcoming season was to be the final year of Brunell's previous contract. Length and terms of the new pact are undisclosed.

"This contract recognizes our confidence in Mark Brunell, and his role in helping us achieve our long-term goals," said Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver. "I was personally involved in this negotiation because of the importance of keeping Mark as our quarterback well into the future. This franchise is based on getting the best people in all areas, encouraging their growth and development, and rewarding success. I'm pleased to have this deal done."

Brunell joined the Jaguars on April 21, 1995 in a trade with the Green Bay Packers which sent a third and a fifth-round draft choice in the 1995 college draft to the Packers. Brunell started 10 games in 1995 and all 19 last year. In his two seasons with the Jaguars Brunell has completed 554 of 903 (61.4%) for 6,535 yards with 34 touchdown passes and 27 interceptions for a passer rating of 83.6.

"Mark Brunell is an integral part of our football team," said head coach Tom Coughlin. "In the ultimate team sport, it is critical to acquire and keep the best players, and that is what we have done."

"These negotiations took some time, but we achieved our primary goal for this offseason," said Michael Huyghue, senior vice president of football operations. "We have made one huge stride for the organization in signing our quarterback to a long-term deal."

The 26-year-old Brunell has led the Jaguars to all 15 of the franchise's regular-season and postseason victories the last two years. He was the only quarterback in the NFL to take every snap for his team last season, and he also became the first quarterback since 1963 to lead the league in passing yards while leading all quarterbacks in rushing yards.

"I'm pleased and relieved to have this behind me as the season approaches," Brunell said. "It was important to me and my family, and my complete focus can be where it belongs - on preparing for a successful season. We have a good young team and I'm excited to be a part of what we will achieve."

The 6-1, 215-pound Brunell began his NFL career as a fifth-round draft choice of the Packers in 1983, when he was the fourth quarterback drafted. He quarterbacked the University of Washington in three Rose Bowls during his college career.

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