Skip to main content

Jaguars News | Jacksonville Jaguars -

Players concerned about respect for victims


Jaguars players would favor cancellation of this Sunday's games. Meanwhile, a decision from the NFL wasn't expected before this evening.

All players polled today agreed that focusing on anything other than the tragic events of yesterday is difficult, and that their emotions lead them to a show of respect for those who lost their lives in Tuesday's four acts of terrorism.

"What we're doing is just a game. If it was my call, I wouldn't play," veteran linebacker Hardy Nickerson said.

Star offensive tackle and team leader Tony Boselli agreed: "My gut feeling is not play, out of respect."

Each player polled expressed sentiment for the thought of playing Sunday's game in a show of American resolve and strength, but they wrestled with the grief factor and the need for appropriate mourning.

"It makes me realize what's important. The way people lost lives, football is not that important," star wide receiver Jimmy Smith said. "It would be best to take the week off. Out of respect to people who lost their lives, I think it needs to be acknowledged."

Quarterback Mark Brunell dodged the issue, but Brunell admitted it was difficult for players to concentrate on preparation for this Sunday's scheduled game against the Chicago Bears.

"It's time to come together as a country and to fight this thing. We're really going to see what we're all about; what we're made of," Brunell said.

Jaguars coach Tom Coughlin talked to reporters about his personal ordeal Tuesday morning, but when asked what his decision would be if it was his call, Coughlin said: "That's not a fair question. It's not my call."

Coughlin's oldest son, Tim, was at work on the 60th floor of the World Trade Center's South Tower Tuesday morning when the North Tower was struck by a commercial airliner. Coughlin's youngest son, Brian, contacted his brother by cell phone as he was being evacuated from the South Tower.

"I got a call from my daughter Keli. She asked me if I knew what was going on, and I said no. She said Timmy's in the second tower and the second tower hasn't been hit," Coughlin said of the events of Tuesday morning.

Coughlin's son was on the 29th floor, in the process of being evacuated, when the South Tower was struck by a second commercial airliner to have attacked the World Trade Center. The Jaguars head coach was able to reach his son by cell phone as he was exiting the South Tower.

"His emotions turned right away to the number of friends he had in the two towers," Coughlin said. "Don't single me out. How about America? We'll all see a tremendous amount of nationalism."

Another Jaguars employee was affected by the World Trade Center tragedy. Equipment manager Drew Hampton, who came to the Jaguars from the New York Jets, had a brother and brother-in-law in the WTC towers Tuesday morning. Each reached safety.

"The right decision will be made. I'm confident of that," Coughlin said of whether or not this Sunday's scheduled games should be played.

"There's one side that says you don't want to let the terrorists terrorize you, but there's a lot of victims' families, and out of deference to them, maybe we shouldn't play," said veteran defensive tackle Seth Payne, who is from New York.

Vic Ketchman is the Senior Editor of Jaguars Inside Report, the official team newspaper of the Jacksonville Jaguars. One-year subscriptions may be purchased by calling 1-888-846-5247.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content