Ask any player in the Jaguars lockerroom what they do during the off-season and you are most likely to get the same answer, "What offseason?" That is true in a lot of ways considering the players spend the months away from the practice field, lifting weights, conditioning, and everything that is necessary to compete in a 16-game regular season.
The Jaguars official offseason conditioning program did not begin until April 10, but most players returned to Alltel Stadium in early March to get a headstart on conditioning. The players are currently in the middle of their offseason workouts on the field which are set to conclude on June 21. Official offseason workouts don't end until July 14.
Take a peek inside the Jaguars lockerrom during the lunch hour and you might see Maurice Williams battling it out with the offensive linemen on the pool table in the players lounge. Quarterback Quinn Gray and cornerback Rashean Mathis will most likely be holding court on the ping pong table with several players waiting for their shot.
When 1:00 rolls around, the lockeroom is usually empty and the players are on their own. We asked several of the Jaguars players what they enjoy most about the off-season.
LB Mike Peterson: "I'm a lot more relaxed right now. I can hang with my family and my boys on a day-to-day basis and just be Mike P. I can't hang with them during the season like I do now. I can just be Mike P. The way you see me now is the way you are going to see me 10 hours from now. Every weekend I am traveling or trying to find something to do. My light switch is always on, but I can turn it off during the offseason. My mom knows she can call me right now and say, 'Baby, let's go out to dinner.' I can go and there are no excuses. The season starts and I have to say no because I have to go to work the next morning. My grandmother can call me right now to help her move furniture and I can't say no. You can't take this time for granted. It's one of the perks. The flipside of that is you are on for six months straight. People see me in the offseason and they think I'm the same way during the season. That's the part I hate. They see me now riding around in my car at 11 a.m. and they think I'm just chillin'. They don't realize I have been in working out all morning. That is why we come in early so we have the rest of the day."
RB Alvin Pearman: "I use this time of year to better myself in other aspects of my life outside of football. I'm currently taking cooking classes, learning Spanish and I just recently took up the guitar. I also read a lot. I just try to be productive in my off time. There are very few jobs where you get this much free time. It's a blessing to have that much time where you can travel or do what you want. The cool part about it is you get the chance to do other things outside of football during the offseason and then you have football in July to look forward to. You really appreciate the time you have, but I'm still working out here every day."
DT John Henderson: "What do I do? I go home and clean. That's the real thing. Every day needs cleaning. I stay here in Jacksonville and just relax. After the two months off after the playoffs, I'm ready to come back and get the season started. It's just getting through the mini-camps and training camp. The regular season is when everything counts."
TE Todd Yoder: "I get the chance to play golf, do some fishing and spend a lot of time with the family. My daughter is old enough to know that I am around more in the offseason. We get to do more fun stuff as a family like go to the beach, things we don't get the chance to do during the season. We went to Disney World last weekend. You get the chance to have a lot more fun. Even on the days we have practice, I am usually out of here by one. It's nice to get the season started because you get into a schedule where you know exactly what you are doing. On the weekends, you don't have to worry about who's coming to town, where you are going on vacation. All you are worried about is football so it makes it a little bit easier."
TE George Wrighster: "You get out of here at a certain time depending on what time you work out. Some guys work out as early as six-thirty in the morning and some guys work out later. You get time to go visit your family and friends on the weekends. I'm trying to open up a business right now so it's a time to do all the things you don't get a chance to do during the season. Plus, you get a chance to relax, play golf, hang out with your friends. It's crazy because you love this part of the season. This is a great part of the season, but there is always that competitor in you that can't wait to get out there and play. You crave Sundays. You want to be out there competing and making plays. It's give a little and take a little."
WR Ernest Wilford: "Man, you know me. I'm on the golf course almost 24-7. That is where I love to be at. I get to hang out with my wife and my dog. Those are the things I really enjoy, hanging out with the family and my friends that I have developed here in Jacksonville. My wife knows not to mess with me in July. She goes on her little vacation while I'm at training camp. During the season, she knows Tuesday is the Honey-Do day, doing whatever I can with her. The rest of the week is football. My friends know that once the OTA's start then my season starts. They know not to mess with me then. From February to early June, I am all theirs. I definitely like the season better. I'm very comfortable with my situation. It's a luxury playing this sport because not too many people can have the free time that we do have. I'm very excited to be a NFL football player."
OT Maurice Williams: "I spend a lot of time traveling around with my wife, just her and I hanging out. I have a lot of free time right now and I just try to use it with my family. During the season, you don't have as much time to do the things you want to do. It also gives me the opportunity to be involved in the community a little more. My wife knows when training camp is coming around and she gets really sad. She knows all the traveling and everything else is over with."