Veteran linebacker Jason Gildon opened the Jaguars' eyes in a workout and the Jaguars have signed the former Steelers Pro-Bowler to replace defensive end Brandon Green, who has been assigned to the injured reserve list with a knee injury.
"He still has some quickness and he's in very good physical condition. He still has a burning desire to play the game. He had a real good workout. He showed well in the pass-rush drills and he's a veteran who can give us experience down the stretch," Jaguars Director of Pro Personnel Charlie Bailey said of Gildon.
Bailey was on the personnel staff in Pittsburgh when the Steelers drafted Gildon in the third round out of Oklahoma State in 1994. Gildon was a rush-end in college but Pittsburgh's plans were for Gildon to become a rush-linebacker in the Steelers' 3-4 scheme.
"When we drafted him in Pittsburgh we had high expectations for him in the future. We knew we had Kevin Greene he could learn from. It happened that way," Bailey said.
Gildon will be a defensive end with the Jaguars. He will join another former linebacker, Greg Favors, who has made the move to the end position.
"I think it'll be a pretty good fit," Gildon said on Wednesday during his first meeting with Jacksonville reporters. "I think I can add some depth at the end position. Hopefully, I can add some presence as far as getting after the quarterback."
Coach Jack Del Rio said at his press conference on Wednesday that rest was prescribed for Green's aching knee. "We saw an opportunity to do the right thing for Brandon," Del Rio said.
"We've added a guy who has done it before and he's done it at a high level. He gives us another guy who can get around the quarterback," Bailey said of Gildon.
Gildon was released by the Bills at the end of the preseason. He appeared in three consecutive Pro-Bowls (2000-02) while with the Steelers, who released Gildon in July in a combination salary cap/youth movement. Gildon is the Steelers' all-time sacks leader with 77. Last year, his sacks fell to six, his fewest since 1997.
"I think I can definitely go out and hold my own," Gildon said of playing against the Texans this Sunday. It would be his first action since the preseason.
Gildon recorded 54 sacks from 1998-2002 and he forced 11 fumbles in the 2000-02 seasons. His reputation has been that of a play-maker and he believes he is still capable of being that kind of impact player.
"I think so. I think it's a matter of opportunity and the right situation. It's nice to come a team that has that desire and passion to them," Gildon said.
"He's the right kind of guy to have in the locker room," Bailey said.
Gildon, 6-4, 250, signed a one-year contract for veteran's minimum.