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O-Zone: Glory days

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Gabe from Chapel Hill, NC

Was your answer about Indianapolis just a homer answer or do you really think it's "not even close" to Jacksonville as a football town? Why is that?

Because I've lived in both places. Indianapolis and its surrounding communities are fine places. I lived there with my family nearly 10 years, and my wife and son enjoyed it very much. I met a lot of fine and decent people. But in terms of passion for football and the NFL, Jacksonville from this writer's perspective has more.

Mark from Gainesville, FL

O-Zone, are players allowed to use the Jaguars' facilities during the offseason -- i.e., year-round but not organized team activities, training camp or regular season? If they are allowed to use the facilities, where does the NFL draw the line on "non-football activities?" Can they consult with the sports performance staff? Can rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence throw routes to the wide receivers on the field as long as coaches aren't directing them?

Yes, NFL players may use team facilities for rehabilitation and training on a year-round basis. From the end of the season to the beginning of the offseason program in April and from the end of the offseason program to training camp, they may not engage in football activities – i.e., discussion about football/strategy with coaches or anything involving a football. So, yes … players can consult with the sports performance staff during those "other times" of the offseason. And no … Lawrence and the wide receivers can't throw on the field – although they are free to do so elsewhere.

Jesse from Texas

Since Chicago has picked up quarterbacks Justin Fields and Andy Dalton, the analysts are saying the Bears will most likely try to trade quarterback Nick Foles. Do you think the Jags could use him as a backup and mentor to Lawrence?

I'm not mentally ready for this yet.

Tom from Shanghai, China

Can you share a few of your thoughts on why you don't want college athletes to get paid? When I think about the financial value someone like Lawrence brought to Clemson University and the fact he was paid $0 for the dangerous, high-pressure work he did, I struggle to think of anything more profoundly un-American.

Athletes on scholarship get an education worth upwards of $100,000 – and in many cases, the education is worth far more than that. They also play the sport by choice. I'm aware I'm in the minority when it comes to this topic. I don't write this to change anyone's mind. I also don't expect my opinion to change the momentum of this issue, and that momentum clearly is such that college athletes will get paid relatively soon. The details of just which athletes will get paid – how good they must be, what specific sports they must play, how much players should get paid for playing at certain schools – will get worked out at some point. I suspect those latter few issues will be tougher to sort through than those clamoring for athletes to get paid might expect, but what do I care? It's not my problem.

Scott from Los Angeles, CA


I'm glad you enjoyed the game.

Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-man, did you read the article on R. Jay Soward on regarding his substance abuse? It's a sad story that I don't really remember much of personally given so much time has passed. Do you think the coaches share it with the rookies (in particular) as an opportunity to learn from his mistakes?

I did read the article, and Kassidy Hill did a nice job reaching the former Jaguars receiver – and chronicling his issues, and how they shortened a career that could have been much longer and more successful. Soward, the No. 29 overall selection by the Jaguars in the 2000 NFL Draft, opened up in the article on many issues – most notably his problems with alcohol while playing, and how that issue and others cost him his NFL career. I suppose Jaguars coaches may share the story with young players, although unfortunately there is no shortage of these stories to use as cautionary takes for young players.

Donut from Saint Johns

Do you think we will hear "Moodachay" from the stands more or less than last year?


Kevin from Jacksonville Beach

John, I agree that college players should be able to be compensated for name and likeness. But do you think that receiving a fully paid scholarship is also like being paid to play? These players are receiving an education at the cost of playing a sport. Sounds like a form of payment to me.

I absolutely believe that college players who receive a full scholarship are being paid to play. If you've ever paid four years tuition, books, room and board and other living expenses at any school – public or private – you either agree with me or have a different concept of money than I do.

Ed from Danvers, MA

Pittsburgh? What about Boston: Celtics in 2008, Bruins in 2011, Red Sox and Patriots multiple times ...


William the Contemplator from Jacksonville

There has been surprisingly little news on whether Deshaun Watson will be available to play quarterback for Houston this year. Considering that his status could affect the Jags record by two games this season, shouldn't we be more concerned with his status?

It's actually not so surprising. Watson currently has 22 pending lawsuits against him, which makes it a tricky situation for the NFL. I would expect some news on whether Watson will be suspended for part or all the season sometime before training camp. Until that happens, there won't be nearly as much news about the issue as speculation. As far as concern over his status, I don't know how to gauge that. We'll get news soon enough. He'll play or he won't. Sometimes, you win. Sometimes, you lose. And sometimes, it rains.

Zac from Austin, Tejas

Have you gone to that Lil Wayne concert you were telling Steve Wyche about?

Not yet. Someday.

KC from Orlando, FL

KOAF - on the topic of tennis, wouldn't it be true to say tennis was pretty popular about 20 years ago with the likes of Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Boris Becker, Monica Seles, Steffi Graf and Matina Navratilova? I feel that they set the stage for the stars of today.

Tennis certainly was popular in the United States in the late 1980s through early 2000s, though I don't know that the sport was at the level of popularity then as when players such as John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors achieved near-rock-star status in the 1970s and 1980s. Stars of any sport in past eras set the stage for later eras. My point in a recent post was more that while the game isn't as popular in the United States as in past eras, the level of play and level of greatness in the sport now is at an all-time high – particularly in the men's game.

Dave from Oviedo, FL

O-Zone. Is there any reason to believe that kicker Josh Lambo is not fully recovered from his injury?


Rob from Ventura

Percentage chance we sign another tight end before regular season?

I think there's a decent chance the Jaguars add a veteran tight end sometime before the regular season – perhaps off the waiver wire. I don't know that it's necessarily going to be a name that generates much buzz. I get the sense that the Jaguars would still like to improve at pass-receiving tight end, but I don't get the sense that they see this area as nearly as much of a crisis as many observers. And I don't get the idea they want to give up significant draft equity or free-agency money for what reportedly is currently available at the position.

Scott from St. Augustine, FL

How much will a new condo at the Shipyards set me back? Do they accept bitcoin?

Quite a bit. We'll see.

Bruce from Green Cove Springs, FL

We know you are a tennis fan. Does that interest include the women players? I was lucky enough to have been given seats for the 1988 Bausch & Lomb and saw Martina Navratilova defeat Gabriela Sabatini for the championship. Liked them both, although Chris Evert was my all-time favorite. Who do you like on the current tour? Serena Williams? Naomi Osaka (present controversy aside)? Others? Do you have an all-time favorite female player?

I do follow women's tennis, though not quite as closely as I follow the men's game. I like a lot of the current women's players, though few more than others. I suppose my favorite all-time player is Steffi Graf because of her all-court game, grace on and off the court and athleticism.

John from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

Have you ever been dancin' there by the record machine?

It's been a while. About 38 years. Or so.