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View from the O-Zone: Not anonymous anymore


JACKSONVILLE – The Jaguars' rising stars did the Super Bowl Thing last week. That meant doing the Radio Row Thing, and to hear them tell it …

Well, to hear them all tell it, it was just, plain cool. It looked cool, didn't it?

Allen Hurns. Allen Robinson. Blake Bortles.

The Jaguars' young, ascending Power Trio all attended Super Bowl Week festivities last week in and around San Francisco as the NFL prepared for Sunday's 50th version of its biggest game. All three spent time amid the chaotic, pre-game hype machine that has become Radio Row.

For Bortles, it was a second trip to the Super Bowl.

For Hurns and A-Rob, it was the first time.

"It's a lot," Hurns said of the event. "People are talking about where Jacksonville is headed, so it's all good."

Bortles, the Jaguars' quarterback, in part went in the capacity he did last year – to promote Microsoft. Hurns and Robinson just went to go and savor the moment.

And without question, the moment was savored.

"This is the time to sit back and look at things," Hurns said. "During the season, you're so honed in week in and week out, preparing and taking care of your body – after the season, you have a time to see that people recognize what we're doing – where we're headed and how far we've come."

Indeed all three found something beyond the fact that Radio Row is cool. They learned that while they're still young, ascending players in the process of joining the ranks of NFL superstars, they're far from anonymous these days. And in fact, they're getting pretty well known.

Such is the impact of putting up eye-catching numbers, with Bortles passing for more than 4,000 yards and setting a franchise record for touchdown passes in 2015 and Robinson and Hurns both surpassing 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns receiving.

In the age of fantasy football, those are star-creating numbers. Robinson after last season said when he gets recognized these days it often is by fantasy-football owners. Hurns, like Robinson, became a fixture in fantasy leagues this past season. He said he witnessed the same phenomenon in San Francisco last week, with fans approaching and saying, "Thank you for the fantasy points."

"I get that a lot," he said.

Yes, the Jaguars' young Power Trio had their impact on their slice of the NFL's craziest scene last week. There was Hurns incorrectly predicting a Panthers victory, and there was Robinson showing up everywhere from NFL Network to SI Now – all while current and former NFL great receivers such as Michael Irvin and Brandon Marshall gushed about his future.

Tight ends Julius Thomas and Marcedes Lewis did the rounds, too, as did Otto linebacker Dan Skuta. And of course, no one made more headlines with a bigger or more charming grin than Bortles, who showed again he is clearly in a comfort zone when the media swarms.

Bortles, like Robinson, did the Dan Patrick Show Thing – and while he did a lot of other things, his reading of his own negative draft reviews on Patrick's show was a highlight of the week.

In the end, it was a more high-profile week than the Jaguars have had at the Super Bowl in … well, in a long, long while. And to Hurns, the reason it mattered and the reason it was memorable was pretty simple – and should make long-suffering Jaguars fans smile just a bit.

The Jaguars are starting to show signs of life and starting to get some star power.

And they're starting to get noticed.

"They talk about how we're on the rise," Hurns said. "Me, Blake, Allen Robinson … that's been the main thing, how we progressed from Year One to Year Two. It's cool to get the recognition. We're not where we want to be, but at the end of the day, we're still progressing. That's what they're talking about with us, that we all got in at the same time and now we get to grow with each other."

For all three, Super Bowl week is just the beginning of the offseason – and not the most important part. Hurns, who had sports hernia surgery two weeks ago, said he's healing and expects to be full speed or close to it by the time the offseason program begins in April. Robinson and Bortles expect to be throwing and catching together before that.

But that's for the immediate future – the next few weeks and the months after that.

Last week was time for the Jaguars' Power Trio to realize they're a long way from being anonymous these days. And yeah, that made the week pretty cool.

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