JACKSONVILLE – This was a bright day, a good day.
James Sample said without question that was how signing his rookie contract with the Jaguars felt, and that's what the safety did at EverBank Field Wednesday.
But there was more on his mind than the present on this day, and he said the day was certainly about more than him.
"This day is about my family," he said. "I play for them."
Sample (6-feet-2, 209 pounds), a fourth-round selection in the 2015 NFL Draft, became the third of the Jaguars' eight draftees to sign with the team. Seventh-round wide receiver Neal Sterling signed earlier Wednesday and first-round defensive end Dante Fowler signed Tuesday.
Sample, the No. 104 selection overall, played one season at Louisville after transferring from American River Community College (California). He transferred to American River from Washington after the 2012 season, and it was then that he said his darkest times in college came, and that his family and friends helped the most.
"I never doubted myself, but there was a time I had to sit down and talk to my family whether I wanted to continue playing football," he said. "They just motivated me to keep going forward in it. A lot of it had to do with my brothers and sisters and my dad telling, 'You can do it.'
"I did it for them, and whenever they need me, I'll always be there for them."
Sample, who forewent his senior year of eligibility to declare for the draft, started 13 games for Louisville last season, leading the Cardinals with 90 tackles and ranking second on the team with four interceptions.
Sample's signing leaves five Jaguars 2015 draft selections unsigned: running back T.J. Yeldon (second round), offensive guard A.J. Cann (third round), wide receiver Rashad Greene (fifth round), defensive tackle Michael Bennett (sixth round) and tight end Ben Koyack.
"Now, it's time to get down to business and I look forward to it," Sample said.