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SOTF 2019: "All our players should be here"


JACKSONVILLE – Tom Coughlin on Thursday left no doubt:

Full commitment and dedication to the cause is critical – and expected from everyone.

"The players have returned April 15, 2019 – and the voluntary offseason program has begun," Coughlin said Thursday during his address at the 2019 State of the Franchise event at TIAA Bank Field.

"We're very close to 100 percent attendance – and quite frankly, all our players should be here."

Coughlin, entering his third season as the Jaguars' Executive Vice President of Football Operations, spoke three days after the opening of the team's 2019 offseason program. Head Coach Doug Marrone on Tuesday said the Jaguars were near full participation, with only cornerback Jalen Ramsey and linebacker Telvin Smith absent.

The offseason program is mostly voluntary for players under the NFL's Collective Bargaining Agreement, with the only mandatory work a three-day mid-June minicamp.

"Building the concept of team, working hard side-by-side, constructing our bond of togetherness, formulating our collective priorities and goals … success in the NFL demands struggle," Coughlin said. "Those who have everything given to them become lazy, selfish and insensitive to the real values of team. The hard work that many try to avoid is the major building block for the development of an outstanding football team.

"It's not about rights and privileges. It's about obligations and responsibility. And the question is, 'Can we count on you?' Doing things the right way all the time, we are what we repeatedly do. Excellence therefore is not an act, but a habit.

"Discipline. Organizing your priorities. Committing yourself to doing the things necessary to succeed. No shortcuts. No procrastination. Discipline is the refining fire by which talent becomes ability.

"The only discipline that lasts is self-discipline. The reason people run from the word discipline is because it's difficult to master. Championship teams have one common denominator. They are comprised of individuals who have a burning desire to win, to be champions.

"Championship teams are dominated by selfless individuals who recognize that the welfare of the team must always be paramount to any other consideration."

Coughlin spoke only on the podium and was not available to the media for questions. He also in his remarks addressed the team's 25th anniversary season in 2019.

"It's our silver anniversary, and I hope we all will appreciate this year the history of our franchise and the many people who have built it and supported it," Coughlin said, adding "We thank you all for your passion."