Members of the Jaguars' new Champions Club were given the privilege of becoming the first Jaguars fans to greet the 2006 Draft class during the inaugural Champions Club Draft Dinner at Alltel Stadium on Thursday night.
Over 200 Champions and their guests raised the roof in the Crown Royal Touchdown Club as head coach Jack Del Rio and vice president of player personnel James 'Shack' Harris introduced the Jaguars' newest players.
Champions Club members were given an insight into how Del Rio and his staff made their 2006 selections and were thrilled to view highlights film on each of the players during the gala occasion.
"We're pleased and proud that we were able to draft this great group of young men sitting in front of you tonight," said Del Rio. "We're also delighted to give our Champions Club members the first opportunity to meet them."
The Champions members whooped with delight as they enjoyed highlight film on tight end Marcedes Lewis, running back Maurice Jones-Drew, linebacker Clint Ingram, defensive ends Brent Hawkins and James Wyche and cornerback Dee Webb. They then gave each of the new players a standing ovation before getting an opportunity to meet with the players and collect their autographs.
Commenting on the dinner, former UCLA rusher Jones-Drew said, "That was a real nice welcome we got from the fans here tonight. We weren't expecting it. We're all excited to be here with the Jaguars and are looking forward to the start of the season."
Jaguars Chairman and CEO Wayne Weaver added his thanks to the Champions Club members, awarding medals to the club's top performers for service and sales.
Weaver said, "The Champions Club has been a great success and we want to thank you for all of your hard work and efforts in assisting our ticket sales effort this season. You really have done a terrific job."
The Champions have been involved in a three-month calling campaign, encouraging over 3,500 season ticket account holders to renew their tickets for 2006. The club members have also personally thanked over 25,000 season ticket holders for renewing their tickets on behalf of the Jaguars and have added over 600 new season tickets holders by promoting the Jaguars at community events throughout the Jacksonville area.
For their volunteer service and sales, Champions are awarded points which add up to special benefits including opportunities to take the field to welcome the team as part of the Walk of Champions at home games next season, attend road games with the team and the chance to win a trip to the Super Bowl.
Champions Club director Steve Livingstone added, "Our members had a great time tonight as we honored them for all of their achievements during the past few months. They were thrilled to get to meet the draft class and gave the new players a real Champions welcome."