JACKSONVILLE – Two-point-oh is back, and all is right. That’s how it felt, didn’t it?
Jalen Ramsey made his much-anticipated Jaguars 2018 Training Camp debut Tuesday, reporting in the morning, practicing in the afternoon and holding a media availability to put a wrap on a story that dominated Jaguars news the last few days.
The presser’s main topic? What else?
Fatherhood, and specifically returning to practice Tuesday following the birth of his daughter – his first child – last week.
“It was good,” Ramsey said. “I miss my little girl already, but it was good.”
That was the beginning of an expectedly entertaining media availability on Ramsey’s first day back. It’s rarely dull when Ramsey speaks, or plays. Or practices. He wasn’t dull Tuesday, either.
The first thing he did to entertain Tuesday came well before the presser.
Ramsey, a first-team Associated Press All-Pro cornerback last season, had been expected to work back into practice slowly. Head Coach Doug Marrone had said shortly before practice the plan was to not push Ramsey too quickly upon his return.
Ramsey participated in 11-on-11 work early in practice, and appeared to practice close to full throughout the team’s two-hour workout under rainy skies at the Dream Finders Homes Practice Complex.
“I felt good,” he said. “I wasn’t supposed to do as much, but I was just waving them off – like, ‘I feel good.’ I’ve still been working. I take care of my body as well. I knew my limits.”
That Ramsey worked back quickly isn’t stunning. He’s motivated and prideful. Him going full speed, and doing so impressively, isn’t news.
What was news was fatherhood, and on this front Ramsey entertained Tuesday.
He was asked if he had changed a diaper yet.
“No, I haven’t,” he said. “Me and my girl, we’ve been best friends since high school. We’ve always kind of talked about how the process would go. We have a good agreement that I won’t necessarily have to change diapers.”
Rasmey was asked by one envious reporter what tradeoff he made for that deal.
“My girl’s just dope as hell,” Ramsey said with a laugh. “She changes the diapers; I feed her.”
The topic shifted to football soon thereafter. Ramsey said he did what he could to train during the past week, saying he tried to do so when his daughter was napping or when family visited.
“I didn’t do as much as I probably should have just because I was really trying to focus on the time with her,” Ramsey said, adding that the plan from the start had been to return to the Jaguars around this time.
Marrone said throughout the early part of camp that he had been in contact with Ramsey throughout the summer, and that the plan always was for Ramsey to return when mother and daughter were settled.
Ramsey on Tuesday also said that was the case, saying that his original plan was to return July 31 because he expected the baby to be born July 24.
“She held out for a bit,” Ramsey said with a laugh.
Ramsey on Tuesday also discussed the support he received in recent months from teammates and from coaches. He trained in the offseason with his father, Lamont, in Nashville, Tennessee, missing the team’s voluntary program before participating in mandatory minicamp. He said his teammates and coaches supported him then as they did in the past week.
Not that fatherhood was Ramsey’s only topic. Ramsey said the Jaguars’ defense unquestionably expects to be better than last year, saying “that’s always the plan.”
“That’s what we’re going to work for,” he said. “We can always ask for more – more turnovers, more touchdowns, more opportunities giving the ball back for the offense. Just more of everything.
As for whether he can improve personally on a season that saw him emerge as perhaps the NFL’s best player at his position, Ramsey said of that there is no doubt.
“Y’all will see … y’all will see,” he said.
And, of course, the topic of Week 1 arose. That’s the date that the Jaguars will play the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. Ramsey was asked if the game had been circled because of the presence of New York Giants All-Pro receiver Odell Beckham Jr.
“Let’s get this out of the way right now: he’s a good receiver,” Ramsey said. “We all know that. But you all know me at the same time. He’s good, but I’m good, too. If you all want to say he’s the best at his position, I’m the best at my position. We’re going to give people a show the first game of the season.
“He’s going to have some wins. I’m going to have some wins. I just plan on having more wins.”
Ramsey’s presser ended a few minutes later, but his day was done – the public day, anyway. He had made his ’18 debut. He had done his job. He practiced full. He entertained.
Yes, Ramsey was back – with expected flair.
And because of that, all was right around the around the Jaguars.