JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Doug Marrone has heard from one star defensive player, but he’s still waiting to hear back from the other.
Reason for concern? None at all, Marrone said.
Jalen Ramsey, the Jaguars Pro Bowl cornerback, skipped voluntary workouts last week. So, too, did linebacker Telvin Smith. In and of themselves, players missing workouts that they contractually didn’t have to attend is a ripple in the news cycle.
But those absences prompted a public rebuke from executive vice president of football operations Tom Coughlin at the annual state of the franchise last week where he said that “our players should be here building the concept of team.”
That drew responses on social media from the NFLPA, Ramsey's agent, and, Ramsey himself, who said he was fully aware what liberties players were afforded by the collective bargaining agreement.
Marrone said on Tuesday that he reached out to both Ramsey and Smith last week and initially didn’t hear back from either. Smith still hadn’t responded as of Tuesday afternoon, although the coach said it’s not all that unusual.
“I’ve had players before that haven’t responded,” Marrone said.
Turns out, there was a good reason that he didn’t hear back from Ramsey.
“I had the wrong number and Marcus [Pollard] had the wrong number,” Marrone said. "We talked Friday, had a great talk. He’s training with his brother. He’s in Nashville, spending time with his family he said he’s going to come back in the best shape that he’s ever been in. He’s all fired up. That was pretty much the conversation.
“So, it was a good conversation. I was concerned, obviously, I was texting a number that I thought was his and he wasn’t getting back to me. So, I couldn’t figure out what was going on. So we kind of had a little laugh about it [the wrong phone number]. Now I have the right number."
Marrone said that he still hadn’t heard back from Smith, although said it doesn’t bother him.
“They don’t have to, so, no,” Marrone said when asked if it bothered him that he hadn't heard back from Smith, adding that "he's probably busy."
“It’s a voluntary period. I try to keep reminding myself that. We appreciate the players that are here, that’s what you have to do. If you treat them like it should be here then I think that gets tough. The NFLPA collectively bargained, it’s a voluntary period, the players have an option. And the ones that are here we appreciate and keep working with them.”