JACKSONVILLE – DJ Chark Jr. heard the message and responded.
As Urban Meyer sees it, that says much about the fourth-year wide receiver. As Chark sees it, that's just how he's wired.
"I like it; I love the challenge," Chark said.
Chark, speaking at 2021 Organized Team Activities this week, was referring to a conversation between he and Meyer early this offseason. Meyer, named the Jaguars' head coach in January, told Chark at the time things many players might not particularly want to hear.
Meyer shared the conversation Thursday.
"He didn't play well last year," Meyer said following Day 6 of Jaguars 2021 OTAs at the Dream Finders Homes Practice Complex. "I just didn't like his size, his strength, I just thought it was way below average, way below what we expect from our receivers. He was told that."
Meyer said Chark has added seven pounds of muscle since the conversation and "is playing a much more physical game."
"The best thing about DJ is he addressed it and hit it very hard," Meyer said. "He's a big guy that played little last year and that can't happen. He has to play big and strong, and he can now because he is big and strong.
"I just had a good meeting with him as we walked off the field [Thursday]. We can't lose that strength and power gains that he made in the offseason. And he's committed to do it this summer."
Added Meyer, "It tells you he's a strong player. This whole world is about increasing someone's value and DJ Chark increases value by getting bigger and stronger and playing that way — and he can also help us win. I love the fact that he's no resistance, he acknowledged it and [wide receivers coach] Sanjay [Lal] has been working with him and I love where he's at."
Chark, a second-round select by the Jaguars in the 2018 NFL Draft, caught 14 passes for 174 yards as a rookie and was named to the Pro Bowl following a 2019 season in which he caught 73 passes for 1,008 yards and eight touchdowns. He caught 53 passes for 706 yards and five touchdowns last season and said Thursday the season "wasn't my best at all."
"We were 1-15, I don't think anybody played as well as we wanted to," Chark said. "There were times where I let the circumstances control my output. If I'm going to be the guy I want to be, I have to be that guy all the time, so I take credit for that.
"I definitely think I can be way better than what I was last year. That's definitely the floor for me the rest of my career. I won't be going back there."
Chark said he has welcomed the offseason focus on strength, saying while he was "very big" on strength training at Louisiana State he had focused more on skill work in three NFL seasons.
"I had to remotivate myself to get in weight room, but now it's smooth, it's easy," he said. "I enjoy stepping on the scale and seeing my weight. I enjoy looking bigger, feeling bigger, running faster. Credit to the staff that we have here, the weight room, the guys, the intensity that we bring. I really enjoy it. It makes it a place I don't mind going and getting some work in.
"I'm not hiding from the weight room. I'm pretty excited, I like it."
And what of Meyer's early-offseason conversation with him, the one about a topic that not every NFL player might have loved?
"I told Coach that I'm like that: When I go out there, I ball," Chark said. "I love talking to Coach Meyer. He's a competitor. He's going to push me. He also knows I'm going to do what I do; I'm going to step up, I'm going to make plays. He's given me good advice, told me to go get in the weight room. I get in the weight room, I put the weight on, but I know, once again, I'm like that.
"I love when he pushes me to be better than what I am. To make him happy, you really have to be balling, so I have to step it up to make him happy. But it's definitely a good push, I like having a guy like that, an alpha that's going to push you to be an alpha."
Robinson on rookie QB Trevor Lawrence: "He's just a guy that likes to work. He has some speed on him too so when we get in camp, we'll see how that goes. Other than OTAs, you're not really hitting each other and everything like that. He's a great guy and is fun to be around."