Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio began his press conference on Wednesday with a strong opening statement on tackle Richard Collier.
"Richard Collier is in critical condition. Rich is the victim of a crime and Rich is a member of our football family. We're all praying for Rich and we ask you to do the same," Del Rio said.
Collier was shot in the early morning hours of Tuesday while out on the town with former Jaguars teammate Kenny Pettway, who had been cut by the team two days earlier. Specifics of the shooting have not been revealed and Del Rio declined to do so at Wednesday's press conference.
Del Rio was asked for his opinion of people who contend that Collier should not have been out as late as he was.
"Intelligent people can differentiate," Del Rio said, referring to the fact that Tuesday was a day off for the Jaguars, so Collier wasn't violating any kind of curfew and was merely enjoying free time.
The timing of the incident couldn't be worse for the Jaguars, who will open the season this Sunday in Nashville against rival and division counterpart Tennessee. There's no denying, of course, that Collier's condition will make it difficult for the Jaguars to focus on football only this week.
"It is what it is. It's there. It's reality. We have to handle it and move on. When adversity comes up, you have to be able to handle it," Del Rio said.
Collier is the backup to starting left tackle Khalif Barnes. The likely backup to Barnes on Sunday is starting right guard Maurice Williams, who will be playing on a knee he sprained in the preseason finale. Starting center Dennis Norman would be second in reserve at left tackle. The Jaguars signed first-year offensive tackle Cliff Louis to the team's practice squad this week.
Del Rio also announced five players who've been appointed captains: Fred Taylor, David Garrard, Paul Spicer, Daryl Smith and Rashean Mathis. "All guys we're counting on to lead our football team in the right direction," Del Rio said.
The Jaguars were to release their official injury/practice report by four p.m. on Wednesday. Del Rio remained tight-lipped about the status of wide receiver Jerry Porter, who returned to practice on Monday for the first time since a hamstring injury sidelined him in May. Porter underwent hamstring surgery in July.
"I'm not going to tip my hand. We'll put out the list like we have to," Del Rio said.
Jaguars.com will post the injury/practice report as soon as it's available.
"It should be a real physical game," Del Rio said of the opener against the Titans.