The Jacksonville Jaguars today signed quarterback Mark Brunell to a new four-year contract. Financial terms of the deal are undisclosed.
"Both sides wanted to get it done," said Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver. "It was clear that Mark Brunell wanted to be here. He has made that clear all along, and I think both sides knew there had to be give-and-take and comprise if we were going to get this done. We both stepped to the table and did that.
"I've been very consistent in saying if we're going to get to the Super Bowl, Mark Brunell is the guy who is going to take us there," Weaver continued. "So the question is, Why did it take so long? When sides feel very deeply about their positions, it takes a lot of negotiating. This took much longer than we thought it would. It took much longer than it should have. But I'm pleased that we were able to get it done and get it done on terms that we feel are fair to the franchise and fair to the player."
Brunell, who was camping with his family and spoke with the media by telephone, said, "It's a fair deal. I think each side achieved its goals. I think Mr. Weaver was very clear that he wanted me to be his quarterback. I certainly want to be here and be the quarterback of the Jaguars, so however we got there, however long it took to get the deal done, I think both sides achieved their goal. It has been really stressful, but it turned out to be a good situation for both sides."
On the future of the Jaguars, Brunell said, "I look at the talent that we have on the football team. Is it the amount of talent that we have had in the past? Maybe not, but we have the guys that can win a championship. Do we have the depth? Maybe not, but I think we will be in a better position than we thought we would be in. Some young guys will have to step up like they did last year. This team still has the ability to go all the way."
Jaguars head coach Tom Coughlin said, "Keeping Mark with a new contract reinforces our commitment to winning. The nucleus of our team remains intact with Mark's signing. We can all be re-energized and inspired now that our quarterback is on board, and the cloud of uncertainty has been eliminated. With Mark and the rest of our offense - our receivers, our running back, our offensive line and tight end, our passing game and our running game - our firepower is intact and will be back. This will also give our defense and special teams some solid inspiration and a good boost. This is a good ending to what has been a very lengthy process. We can now move ahead and we'll continue building our team with the draft in three weeks."
Brunell, who will turn 31 one week into the 2001 season, is one of four players remaining from the Jaguars' inaugural team from 1995. In six seasons, he has a 51-33 record, second only to Green Bay's Brett Favre among active starting quarterbacks with more than 50 wins, and he has led the team to 56 of their 60 victories (including postseason). He has completed 1,596 of 2,645 passes for 19,117 yards, 106 touchdowns and only 66 interceptions.
Currently, he ranks sixth among all-time NFL quarterbacks with an 85.1 passer rating, trailing only Steve Young, Joe Montana, Dan Marino, Brett Favre and Peyton Manning. Brunell has also rushed for 1,769 yards and 12 touchdowns as a Jaguar. He has led the Jaguars to the playoffs in four of his six years with the team, guiding the team to the AFC Championship game twice. Brunell has been named to three Pro Bowls and was Most Valuable Player of the 1997 game. He started all 16 games in 2000 and has the third-most starts in the NFL over the last four seasons. He is the only NFL quarterback who has been ranked among the top 11 passers in each of the last five seasons.