JACKSONVILLE – Prince Amukamara packed for a longer trip.
As it turned out, Amukamara only needed a day with the Jaguars and Head Coach Gus Bradley to know where he wanted to spend the next year – and maybe more.
Amukamara, a sixth-year cornerback who spent his first five seasons with the New York Giants, signed as an unrestricted free agent with the Jaguars Friday night. The Jaguars announced the signing Friday, and Amukamara spoke to the media on a conference call Saturday.
“Before I made the trip, my agent told me to pack like I was going to be gone for three days,” Amukamara said Saturday. “He didn’t really want to tell me about the other trips. He wanted me to give each meeting and organization my all.
“He just told me my first trip was Jacksonville, so all of my focus was on Jacksonville.”
What he learned during a day-long visit Friday that included a three-point contest with Bradley and meetings with coaches was the Jaguars’ defense fits his skill set – and vice-versa. The Jaguars commonly play single-high safety coverage in the secondary, and they like “long” corners who challenge receivers near the line of scrimmage.
“That’s right up my alley,” he said. “They kept saying my skillset would be perfect for what they want to get done, and I agree.”
In Amukamara, the Jaguars signed a talented cover corner who was a first-round selection from Nebraska by the Giants in the 2011 NFL Draft. But while he has been a front-line corner through five seasons, injuries have been an issue.
Amukamara has started 45 games in five NFL seasons, starting all 16 games in a season just once. That was in 2013. He started eight games in 2014, then started 10 games this past season with five games missed with a pectoral injury.
He called the opportunity to show he can play effectively an entire season “huge.”
“The knock on me was never my ability; it was my durability,” Amukamara said, adding that he is fully recovered from last season’s injury. “Going to Jacksonville will be a fresh start. I wouldn’t say this year is more about me trying to prove myself; I would say this year is more about me trying to be a part of something great.
Images of new Jaguars cornerback Prince Amukamara.
“I’m serous when I say that Jacksonville, from what I saw on film last year, is heading in the right direction. We’re going to add a couple of pieces in the draft and pick up where we left off last year.”
As he did Friday, Amukamara on Saturday emphasized Bradley and the Jaguars’ culture as major reasons for signing. He is close with Jaguars starting cornerback Davon House, who had told Amukamara repeatedly about the organization.
“Davon was trying to explain it to me, and the way he was explaining it I was excited to find out about the culture and atmosphere that Coach Bradley is just starting to create in Jacksonville,” Amukamara said. “My sit down with him [Bradley] was just amazing.”
As he said Friday, Amukamara said signing a one-year deal with the Jaguars made more sense than waiting for a multi-year offer from another team.
“I’ve never been a greedy guy,” he said. “A couple of teams gave us some offers, and this one made sense.”