Former Jaguars defensive end Dante Fowler said he questioned his love for the game while in Jacksonville and said he never felt that he fit in the Jaguars locker room, according to a report in Sports Illustrated.
“I used to always go and ask why I was sitting on the bench," Fowler said in the story. "I can admit, I was depressed. I’ve never been in a bad place like that before, and that was one of the darkest times of my life. It made me question my love of football. I dreaded going to work, knowing how people feel about you and think about you. I had a dark cloud following me."
Fowler told SI.com that the knee injury he suffered in his first training camp practice as a rookie changed the trajectory of his career with the Jaguars.
"After I tore my ACL, I feel like they gave up on me, going into my next training camp,” Fowler said. “These three years I was trying to prove to them I was a guy they could trust, and I was trying to be the guy they drafted me to be. But I never got a chance to start a game. When it’s all said and done, I feel like they gave up on me."
Fowler never lived up to his draft status as the third overall pick, but in 2017, he enjoyed his best season as a pro when he totaled eight sacks in the regular season and two more in the AFC championship game. But his issues off the field and fights in practice became too much for the Jaguars, who traded Fowler to the Rams in October.
Now, the former Florida Gator will play in a Super Bowl. Folwer told SI.com he has seen a major difference in the locker rooms of the Jaguars and Rams.
"I was traded for, and there wasn’t an elephant in the room or anything. I’m grateful to work with a group of guys like that," Fowler was quoted as saying. "We have a lot of star power--guys with accolades, rings, Hall of Fame credentials--but these guys are humble and they put all that behind them. They keep the main thing the main thing."
In the article, Fowler contrasted the Rams approach to the Jaguars' approach after reaching the AFC championship game in 2017.
“It took me coming here to realize that we weren’t humble about it,” Fowler said. “Other teams were hungrier than us.”