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Del Rio denies rumor


(Aug. 26)--Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio denied reports Mark Brunell has been offered to other teams in a trade, scolding such reports as "making a circus out of a simple process."

Del Rio made his comments to reporters following today's practice.

"That story is incorrect," Del Rio said of reports on ESPN and in The Florida Times-Union that Brunell was offered to at least three teams yesterday. "Nobody is being dangled around the league, but it makes for good reading," Del Rio added.

Speculation is wide receiver Jimmy Smith's four-game drug suspension has caused the Jaguars to re-think their personnel strategy, causing the team to lean toward gutting the roster of high-priced veterans. Of course, Brunell leads the way with a $6.75 million salary, and Smith and tight end Kyle Brady aren't far behind. The Jaguars would save $13 million in salaries and salary cap space this season if those three players were released.

But Del Rio boldly denied any such strategy.

"There was never a direct offer of our starting quarterback. He will start Thursday night (against the Redskins)," Del Rio said.

He went on to say trade conversations are routine among teams at this time of the year, when roster-cut deadlines loom and teams attempt to recoup value for an excess of talent at a particular position.

"We have four (quarterbacks). They're pretty good. We think there may be some value," Del Rio said, indicating trade conversation of some type.

"We're aware of the salary cap and we will continue to address that as part of our decision-making process. We have a plan, but I don't think it's in the best interests of the Jaguars to discuss it with the rest of the country," he added.

The plan for Thursday night is that Brunell will play the first quarter, then give way to David Garrard, Byron Leftwich or Quinn Gray. Del Rio didn't announce who his second quarterback would be.

"Let me say it one more time. We will keep the best 53 players. We will start the best 11 on offense, defense and special teams. It makes for entertaining reading, writing and viewing," Del Rio said of the trade rumors, "but it has nothing to do with winning football games. We will continue to work our roster and build for now and for the future.

"How we do that is a private issue. There's only so much you can disclose. When it works out, it'll become obvious to everybody," he said.

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