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It feels so good when I stop

Join Jaguars Inside Report Senior Editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.

Garry from Jacksonville:
I don't follow college football, so what's the story about Byron Leftwich being injured and being carried by his team. I hear it's a great story.

Vic: It's become part of college football lore. In the Akron game last season, Byron Leftwich suffered a shin injury that left him barely able to walk. After a long completion, two of his offensive linemen carried him downfield for the next play. Leftwich had a great game, and almost rallied Marshall, but Akron held on for the win.

Keith from Jacksonville:
I had heard that a player actually has to test positive three times before he even enters the NFL substance abuse program. Could you please refresh me as what the entire program entails from the very first time an athlete tests positive.

Vic: The first time a player tests positive, he's "in the program." What that means is he must submit himself to random drug-testing. If he fails one of those tests or fails to submit to one of those tests, he is judged to have committed a second violation and he will incur a four-game, regular-season suspension. The random drug-testing continues. If he commits a third violation, he is suspended for a year. Treatment and therapy requirements are confidential, per the NFL's substance abuse program policy.

Cliff from Callahan, FL:
If Leftwich exercises his option to void his contract after the fifth year, will the amortization immediately accelerate into what would have been year six? And when a player renegotiates a current contract, how is the new signing bonus and remaining amortization treated?

Vic: The answer to your first question is "yes." As far as the second question, what's in the year stays in the year. That means amortization set for specific years in the previous contract must stay in those years. Bonus money paid in the new contract is amortized equally over the life of the new contract.

Fred from Jacksonville:
What are the possibilities the Jags could pursue Tim Couch if he becomes a free agent? I know we have talent at the position, but a QB like Couch is a great commodity.

Vic: Great commodity? Apparently the Browns don't agree. Fred, the Jaguars will pay about $20 million in new money to their quarterbacks over the next year. Do you honestly think they would even consider another major financial drain on the position?

Dustin from Huntington, WV:
If David Garrard is the future of the Jags, why would they pick up Byron Leftwich?

Vic: What a breath of fresh air. I was getting so tired of the question, "If Byron Leftwich is the future of the Jags, what are the Jags going to do with David Garrard?"

Bert from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
My question has to do with drug testing or substance abuse in the NFL. How does the random testing work in the NFL for those who have not been busted? And the Nov., 2001 thing with Jimmy; was it the second offense or was it the first? It takes two to get suspended for four games, right?

Vic: Those who have not been "busted" are not subjected to random testing; they continue to submit themselves to scheduled testing. Yes, a second offense results in a four-game suspension, so we know this was Jimmy Smith's second offense. We're assuming the "Nov., 2001 thing" was his first offense, but you must remember that the NFL substance abuse program policy requires that all information remain confidential, so we don't know for sure what the facts are. That's why we can't assume or get too involved in these matters. We know all we need to know: Jimmy Smith has a drug problem and he has reportedly submitted himself to treatment.

Daniel from Rowland Heights, CA:
If the Jaguars can actually beat the Bucs, is that something we can look at to show how far the Jaguars will be able to go in the regular season, or do you simply smile because it was just a pre-season game?

Vic: I don't know if I would smile, but, yes, it's just a preseason game and I consider preseason games to provide little or no indication of what a team might do in the regular season. For example, after their dreadful preseason performance last summer, would you have bet the Jaguars would win three of their first four regular-season games? The preseason is like the joke about the guy who kept hitting his head against the wall. Doesn't that hurt? he was asked. Yeah, but it feels so good when I stop, he said.

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