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Former Lions Star Return Specialist Jamal Agnew Reflects on Transition and Triumph with Jaguars

0817 Camp Snapshot

ALLEN PARK, Mich. – This has been a good week for Jamal Agnew.

He has had the chance to look back fondly, and he also remains excited about what appears to be a bright future with the Jaguars.

"It's good to see familiar faces and reminisce, but I'm loving where I'm at present day," Agnew said.

Agnew, one of the NFL's top return specialists, spoke to Jaguars Media early Thursday afternoon after the second of two joint practices this week with his former team, the Detroit Lions. As he did Wednesday, Agnew following Thursday's practice spoke to multiple staffers and players from the team for which he played from 2017-2020.

"It's great to see all my old friends, and obviously the Ford family," he said, referring to the Lions' owners.

But his main focus remains on what in many ways has been a remarkable career with the Jaguars.

A seven-year NFL veteran, Agnew was one of the NFL's best returners with the Lions and he remains that with the Jaguars. But since joining Jacksonville, the transformation he began with the Lions from defensive back to wide receiver has continued in impressive fashion.

"I just continue to grow every year and add different elements to my game to ultimately help the team," Agnew said.

That growth accelerated last season. Agnew, after catching 16 passes for 105 yards and no touchdowns in his first four NFL seasons, caught 24 passes for 229 yards and a touchdown in 2021. He then caught 23 passes for 187 yards and a career-high three touchdowns in 2022.

"I'm very prideful in that," Agnew said. "I always felt like I'm the type of player I am now. I just needed the opportunity. I just needed the coaching staff to believe in me. I think I have that right here in Jacksonville, so I'm really appreciative for that."

This is a 2023 photo of wide receiver Jamal Agnew of the Jacksonville Jaguars NFL football team. This image reflects the active roster as of Thursday, June 1, 2023 when this image was taken.

Agnew said he is "light years" ahead as a receiver than he was entering last season in Head Coach Doug Pederson's first season in Jacksonville. He, too, said he expects to benefit from playing for new wide receivers coach Chad Hall and with newly acquired wide receiver Calvin Ridley.

"I feel like every year I'm just continuing to get better," he said. "Chad's just a great teacher. He knows how to get the best out of you. And watching Ridley, how he practices, how he plays, how he competes … I'm just grateful for the opportunity."

Agnew said people in Detroit this week have expressed happiness for his success since joining Jacksonville, and said he appreciates that. He appreciates more the Jaguars' continued and belief in him as he has changed roles and reshaped a career.

"It means a lot," he said. "They just see the versatility in me. Every year I've been here, I've continued to grow. I've been able to play different spots. That's something I pride myself on is, that if any of those guys —Zay Jones, Christian Kirk, Rid – go down, God forbid, they can trust me to go in there and make plays and there would be no drop-off.

"That's what I told them coming into the season was my goal – to be the best No. 4 receiver in the league. If anybody goes down and needs a break, I expect to go in there and there's no drop off in play."


  • There has been some cool stuff for Nathan Rourke this week. One of the coolest things for the Jaguars' rookie quarterback came from far away. That was when his former teammates on the Canadian Football League's British Columbia Lions were seen celebrating during a game when those teammates saw a clip of Rourke's late touchdown pass against the Dallas Cowboys last Saturday. "That was awesome; that was really cool," Rourke said. Rourke, the Jaguars' third quarterback, threw for 153 yards against Dallas and his 21-yard touchdown pass to running back Qadree Ollison secured a 28-23 victory. Rourke broke four tackles before throwing the pass, and highlights of the play were replayed nationwide for several days. They also were shown on the videoboards of the Lions' victory over Calgary Saturday. "It meant a lot," said Rourke, who played for BC the last two seasons before signing with the Jaguars this offseason. "At the end of the day, I think there were some people that were disappointed that I decided to come down this [NFL] route, but my teammates were always the ones that were the most supportive and they understood. They were the ones who were like, 'Go chase it.' So it was cool to see their reactions."

Back-to-Back! The Jaguars get to work today in their second consecutive joint practice against the Detroit Lions. Swipe through to view top shots from practice in preparation for our Saturday matchup 🐆

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