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Talking points: Ramsey, Fournette speak


JACKSONVILLE – Jalen Ramsey talked Thursday.

So did Leonard Fournette.

This was in advance of the Jaguars playing the Pittsburgh Steelers in an AFC Divisional Playoff at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Sunday – and considering how the duo played the last time the teams faced one another, their words held significance this week.

Ramsey wasn't overly talkative Thursday, but he did show major respect to a player who has earned it:

Steelers All-Pro wide receiver Antonio Brown.

"Antonio is one of the best receivers in the league," Ramsey said as the AFC South Champion Jaguars (11-6) prepared to play the AFC North Champion Steelers (13-3) Sunday at 1:05 p.m. "He can about do it all, honestly. He's just a good player. He knows how to play ball."

Ramsey said while he respects every receiver he faces, he added "There's not many receivers who I'm going to come in here in front of y'all and say, 'He's one of the best in the league.' He is, though. That's the truth about him. It is what it is."

Ramsey, like Brown a first-team Associated Press All-Pro selection, had one of the Jaguars' five interceptions in the Jaguars' 30-9 victory in Pittsburgh in Week 5. He also deflected a pass that became an interception that safety Barry Church returned for a touchdown. Ramsey was asked on Thursday to name a favorite moment from that game.

"It don't matter," he said.

Ramsey also was asked about Steelers players already talking about a potential matchup with the New England Patriots next week in the AFC Championship Game, and if such talk might be dismissive to the Jaguars.

"Who's focused on them?" Ramsey said. "Are y'all focused on them?"

Ramsey was told that Steelers safety Mike Mitchell had mentioned twice that the Steelers and Patriots would play.

"Who?" Ramsey said.

Ramsey was told Mitchell was the player Fournette had waved to tackle him before a violent tackle/collision in the Jaguars' victory earlier this season.

"I don't much know him," Ramsey said.

Mitchell also was a subject when Fournette talked a few minutes later, with Fournette saying he respects the ninth-year veteran.

"That was just competing, really," Fournette said. "He's a great safety. I can't wait to get at it with him once again."

The Jaguars had their best running game of the season against Pittsburgh in Week 5, rushing for a season-high 231 yards.

"We knew it was going to be a fight," Fournette said. "Each second and each minute of the game, we just tried to finish."

Fournette rushed for 181 yards and two touchdowns on 28 carries in that game, hurdling the goal line for a two-yard touchdown in the second quarter and clinching the victory with a season-long 90-yard run with 1:47 remaining. He was asked the better of the two plays.

"I'll take both of them," he said with a smile.

Fournette, like Ramsey, said October's victory will have little bearing on Sunday's result.

"It's going to be different," Fournette said. "[Steelers quarterback] Ben [Roethlisberger] isn't trying to make the same mistakes he made. Their defense isn't trying to make the same mistakes they made. It's going to be a challenge. It's the playoffs. We have to come out with our A Game."

Ramsey perhaps summed up the thoughts of both players Thursday when asked if a victory would add to the Jaguars' growing reputation as perhaps the NFL's best defenses.

"We would go to the AFC Championship Game," he said. "That would be dope."

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