JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – In May the Jaguars declined to pick up the fifth-year option in Dante Fowler’s rookie contract. Thursday was the first time that the defensive end has spoken publicly since that decision was made and his response was very straight to the point.
“I honestly don’t care,” said Fowler. The option for the 2019 season would’ve cost Jacksonville $14.2 million, but was fully guaranteed for injury only.
In a reserve role, Fowler had a career-high eight sacks last season. If he repeats that type of production he’ll see large payday next off-season.
“I doubled my sack total when I was coming off the bench, you know, the production, all that percentage,” said Fowler. “To see my productivity and that percentage, I had a pretty solid year. I really just want to get to the quarterback as much as I can.”
Fowler won’t be allowed to harass quarterbacks until Week 2 of the regular season at the earliest. He’s been suspended by the NFL for the season opener against the New York Giants due to an incident prior to the 2017 season.
Health is also a concern for the former Florida Gator. He’s starting training camp on the PUP List (Physically Unable to Perform) due to a shoulder injury.
“Well, I’m actually big, I don’t think I’m super thin,” said Fowler in response to a reporter who asked if he’s lost a lot of weight due to the injury. “If you look at my lower body and see me in pads, I honestly think it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter. Weight does not matter with this one. I’m a straight dog. It doesn’t matter. Once I put on those pads it’s a wrap. I’m just getting stronger. Coaches are just looking out for me, being concerned and looking out for my health, so all I can do is just get stronger, and you guys will know when I’m out there again.”
Fowler said that his goal is to keep getting stronger and be ready to go in Week 2 against the New England Patriots.