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Jaguars await word on Mack


Restricted free-agent running back Stacey Mack will become the exclusive property of the Jaguars at the close of business today, if Mack hasn't signed an offer sheet from another team. The signing period for restricted free agents ends today.

Indications are Mack wants to remain in Jacksonville, where he was the Jaguars' leading rusher last season with 877 yards and a 4.1 yards-per-carry average. Mack also led the Jaguars with nine touchdowns.

Mack signed a one-year tender offer from the Jaguars at the start of the free-agent signing period. He would earn $563,000 with the Jaguars this season. Should he sign an offer sheet from another team today, the Jaguars would have until Friday to match that offer and retain Mack. Reports are Mack has already rejected a two-year, $2 million offer from another team.

Though he would become an unrestricted free agent following this season, Mack is essentially one now. A team signing Mack would not owe the Jaguars draft compensation since the Jaguars signed Mack as an undrafted rookie free agent in 1999.

Coach Tom Coughlin made it clear in an interview this past Friday that he wants to retain Mack's services. "Sure I do. You have to have more than one (running back)," Coughlin said, referring to the backup role Mack would play to oft-injured starter Fred Taylor.

Mack lodged himself in Coughlin's doghouse in the fourth game of last season, when Mack was benched after his second fumble in Seattle. He accepted his demotion gracefully, then rebounded to become one of the hottest running backs in the league over the last month of the season.

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