Nine months in, Shad Khan said he knows well how important the Jaguars are to Jacksonville.
At the team's annual kickoff luncheon Wednesday afternoon, Khan said something else is true as the team prepares for its first season under his ownership and under head coach Mike Mularkey:
He likes the organization's people and he likes its direction.
And he is confident where it's headed.
"It starts with people," Khan said to the 2012 Jaguars Kickoff Luncheon at the Prime Osborne Convention Center in downtown Jacksonville. "That's where we're starting. I have had the pleasure of meeting some of the players, and quite frankly, I couldn't be prouder.
"I think as we move forward were going to surprise a lot of people. We're going to win together, we're going to make Jacksonville proud and we're going to make history together."
Khan's comments closed the luncheon Wednesday, and during those comments he said he was pleased with the support of the community and that he had realized since purchasing the team in January the passion of the fan base.
"It's absolutely been a joy of a lifetime being here," Khan said. "In nine months, if there's one thing I've learned it's that this team is important to you and I think you care very deeply about the Jaguars. This is a tall responsibility."
The day began with remarks from Jacksonville mayor Alvin Brown, who acknowledged not only Khan and Jaguars Head Coach Mike Mularkey, but new Jaguars President Mark Lamping.
"We all see energy and enthusiasm here," Brown said. "We're excited about the upcoming season and we're excited together. I commend Shad for being personally engaged in our efforts to attract business and help local entrepreneurs succeed."
Brown, as he did last week, also said he supports the team's recent decision to play a regular-season game in London each of the next four season, saying, "That's something that makes me proud, not just as a mayor, but as a fan and a resident of our city."
Mularkey, too, talked of his optimism about the upcoming season.
"You can win with the right people," Mularkey said. "We will do things the right way. We'll do everything we can to make sure things are done right, to represent ourselves, the team, the organization and you, the community, so you're proud of what this team stands for."
Mularkey said he believes there are positive days ahead.
"As I stand here, I want you to know I'm very proud and honored to be the head coach of this football team," he said. "I'm very proud and honored to be associated with the players and the coaches on this football team. There are a lot of good things happening in this city. There are a lot of good things happening with this team. We're not telling anybody outside this city or outside our football team what's ahead. They're going to find out themselves.
"I've said it many times and I'll say it again, 'I'm all in.'''
Mularkey introduced three Jaguars players to the crowd – defensive end Jeremy Mincey, linebacker Paul Posluszby and offensive tackle Eben Britton – with Mincey asking the crowd if they were ready for some football and thanking the team's supporters.
"I think this year is going to be something special," Mincey said. "Rest assured about this team: you're going to get all you can out of us. We're going to put our heart and soul on that field and do all we can on and off the field."
Posluszny joked that if an opponent walked into the convention center during the luncheon, "we'd clear out the tables, put a ball down, put (defensive tackle) Terrance Knighton in the middle and say, 'Bring it on, let's play.'''
"I can't tell you how excited we are to get this thing started," he said. "We have a special group of guys. "We feel like we can do big things this year. We're going to play smart, fast and physical. We're going to fly around and get to the ball and we're going to play violent.
"We are going to give you everything we've got. I can guarantee that."
Britton highlighted the player's comments, telling the crowd that while everyone likes to look at quarterback Blaine Gabbert's hair and watch the wide receivers – "they're pretty," Britton said, "I like watching those guys, too" – the offensive line had a mission this season.
"This year in the offensive line room, we made decision that we're going to be the nastiest, most violent, dominant offensive line in the NFL," he said as he was drowned out by the cheers of the crowd.
"The offensive line is going to be a hell of a lot of fun to watch this year."