View from the O-Zone: A quip, a smile and a fitting farewell

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JACKSONVILLE – Josh Scobee set the tone in fitting, self-deprecating fashion.

Scobee, who delivered as many memorable moments as any kicker in franchise history and who never forgot to have fun doing it, signed a one-day contract Thursday and officially retired as a member of the Jaguars.

A lot of people showed up at EverBank Field Thursday to say goodbye – former Jaguars kicker Mike Hollis and a slew of former teammates and former Jaguars employees among them.

Scobee acknowledged the crowd with a quip and a smile.

"Who would have ever thought a kicker would have this many people at his press conference whenever he retired?" he said.

The line was perfect, but the answer was obvious: Many people. That's who.

Who would have thought a lot of people would show Thursday?

Pretty much anyone who paid attention how he kicked for 11 seasons from 2004-2014, first off – and pretty much anyone who saw how he handled himself, how he carried himself.

"When I first got into the NFL, I heard from a great special teams coach the highest compliment you can give someone in the NFL is to call them a true professional," said Jaguars middle linebacker Paul Posluszny, who called it an "honor" to be the first speaker Thursday.

"Not that they were a great athlete, or someone had great hands or was a great tackler; it was if you were a true professional. That meant you mastered your skills, you were dedicated, you were loyal, you were a great teammate and you did everything the right way at all times.

"When I think of Josh, that's what he is. He's a true professional."

Posluszny, who spoke Thursday of linebacker Daryl Smith carrying Scobee over a rain-flooded tunnel at halftime of a 2011 loss to Carolina lest Scobee's kicking shoes get waterlogged, called Scobee "an unbelievable teammate," and "great guy to have in the locker room."

"Everybody loved him and when he stepped on the field, everybody knew he was going to get the job done," Posluszny said.

Who would have thought a lot of people would show Thursday? Many people, that's who – and here's guessing few fans were surprised. Because as loved as Scobee was by teammates, he perhaps was equally loved by fans. Maybe more so.

The connection fans felt with Scobee went beyond what he did on the field, though make no mistake: Scobee absolutely performed on the field. Perhaps no Jaguars played in the last decade and a half provided more memorable moments. Scobee outlined five of them for jaguars.com this week, and fans who have followed this team well remember the 59-yarder to beat the Colts at EverBank Field in 2010, and the 53- and 51-yarders to beat the Colts in Indianapolis in 2004 and 2008, respectively.

There were others, to be sure, and Scobee's 80.1 career field-goal percentage is very good by any NFL standards.

But Scobee was more than what he did on the field, and his connection to the fans – and this team – is more than the game-winners in the final moments and his memorable celebrations afterward.

Scobee while playing was known locally and nationally as perhaps the NFL's best golfer, but he also was known locally for his involvement in the community. He said that will continue in retirement. He and his wife, Melissa, live in Jacksonville with their two sons.

"It's one thing to become elite at what you do in the NFL, but it's another to truly understand the power you have when you get into that position," former Jaguars punter Adam Podlesh, Scobee's longtime holder, said Thursday. "You can impact people's lives so easily and in such profound ways from that seat.

"Josh understands this, and he not only understands this: he embraces this."

Scobee said he plans to remain in Jacksonville permanently. He hinted Thursday at a future role with the Jaguars, and of continued involvement with golf and the PGA Tour.

That's the future, and that future began with a memorable day Thursday -- an amazing day, really, considering Scobee never really imagined himself a football player growing up. That changed soon after he started playing football by "accident" shortly early in the fall of his senior year at Longview High School. Scobee said the head coach saw him kicking one afternoon and introduced himself.

Scobee joined the team as a kicker.

Take a trip down memory lane and relive Josh Scobee's biggest accomplishment as a member of the Jaguars.

"Five weeks later, I had a scholarship offer from Louisiana Tech," Scobee said.

Scobee added appropriately and obviously, "Playing 12 years in the NFL is pretty awesome … to do something like this by accident."

Awesome? Yeah, it's awesome, but his NFL career actually was no accident, and Jaguars fans feelings for the player who kicked his way into their memories are no accident, either. Scobee for 11 seasons earned the admiration, respect and even love of this fan base by performing at a high level on the field and doing things the right way off it.

So, who would have thought so many people cared about saying goodbye?

A lot of people, that's who.

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