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Knight at 39 and counting


The Jaguars locker room has a six-foot wide space in it that leads the league in career interceptions. That space is the two lockers that belong to Sammy Knight and Aaron Glenn, who dress next to each other and have combined for 25 NFL seasons and 79 interceptions.

Glenn is currently tied with Champ Bailey for third place among active interceptors with 40 each. Ty Law and Darren Sharper are tied for the top spot with 51 interceptions each. Knight is right behind Glenn with 39.

How have you managed to play so long and intercept so many passes, Knight was asked?

"Have fun playing. I love playing," he said.

Glenn, Law and Bailey were all first-round draft picks; Sharper was a second-round choice. Knight, however, wasn't drafted. He signed on with the New Orleans Saints in 1997 as an undrafted free agent from USC and joined another USC alum, a young strength coach and former linebacker named Jack Del Rio.

All these years later, Knight appeared to be out of football when the now-not-so-young former strength coach had an emergency need at safety and invited Knight to audition for a roster spot. Knight did, the Jaguars signed him and now he finds himself in the starting lineup heading back to Kansas City, where Knight had three of his most productive seasons from 2004-06.

"I love the style of play," Knight said of the Jaguars defense. "They play more aggressive with their safeties."

Knight has an interception and 26 tackles in three games this year. He's an old pro who lends stability to the middle of the Jaguars secondary, where rookie Reggie Nelson is attempting to learn the pro game quickly.

"Savvy veteran," middle linebacker Mike Peterson said of Knight. "He knows the game. I really respect how he came here and tried to learn, not just plug in."

Knight has always been a productive player. He's physical and he makes up for a lack of speed with smarts for the game.

"You can never measure the heart of a man," said Dave Campo, former Cowboys head coach and Del Rio's assistant head coach/secondary. "The thing about this guy is he's smart and that overcomes a lot of ills. He's smart and he's physical and you put those two things together and he's had a nice career."

Oh, there's one more thing: Knight can catch the darn ball.

"There are so many interceptions that don't happen because guys can't catch the ball," Campo said. "We want guys who can run but, if you're not physical, you can't do it."

In three seasons with the Chiefs, Knight started 48 games. He had 332 tackles, seven interceptions and six forced fumbles. Knight has 51 career takeaways.

They are the kind of numbers that keep you in the league for 11 seasons. They represent undeniable production.

"When you're on the bottom, you have to know a little more than the top guys," Peterson said in explaining how an undrafted player is able to effect such a long career.

"We have a talented team. We have a chance to go far," Knight said.

All indications are that Knight will play a prominent role in the Jaguars' quest to go far.

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