He knows where he stands. He makes no excuses. Wayne Hunter is getting another chance – possibly his last chance – and his ability to defeat his inner demons will probably determine how long he plays in the NFL.
"I know, first of all, it's zero tolerance. It's a second chance for me. I've been on the news too many times," Hunter said on Tuesday.
Hunter is an immensely talented football player; a truly athletic and powerful man at 6-5, 303. His talents as an offensive lineman are not in doubt. All the concerns are for his demons.
"He expressed how much they really like me; that they are really, really happy to have me," Hunter said of Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio's comments when the two met. "It's good to feel that. I haven't felt that in a long time."
Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren was a big supporter of Hunter's, too. Holmgren loved Hunter's talent and gave his young tackle a long leash, sensitive to Hunter's plight.
The demons ruined the first stage of Hunter's pro football career. There was a domestic violence incident. Most recently, Hunter got involved in a bar room fight that was the last "straw" in Seattle. The Seahawks cut him and the Jaguars claimed him.
Del Rio told reporters that Hunter would be on a "short leash." Del Rio explained that he thought Hunter would have his best chance of success in pro football with the Jaguars, because of the team's Hawaiian contingent.
"Right when I came here it felt like home. I think that helps," he said.
Hunter is currently living with Chad Owens, who Hunter has known since high school. Hunter played at Hawaii with Owens and Vince Manuwai. Chris Naeole is the senior member of the Hawaiian players. Running back coach Kennedy Pola offers guidance.
"After the domestic violence incident, I took the necessary steps, like counseling and creating a support group. I started hanging around good people." Hunter said.
"I think it's working. I really do think it's working," Hunter said of counseling to help him manage his aggressions. "Coach Del Rio recommended that I continue counseling. I like it. It's helping."
With the Jaguars, he sees an opportunity to establish his career. "I'm not backing up a Walter Jones or a Steve Hutchinson. The chances of getting on the field here are way better," he said.
"I think I could be a dominant player. That's in my hands, too. I have to show coach he can depend on me," Hunter said. "It's my problem. It's nobody else's."