JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It has become a tradition for the Jaguars to bring in some kids who are fighting diseases to camp and experience a once-in-a-lifetime afternoon. Monday, three patients from Community PedsCare were the guests of the Jaguars and TIAA Bank at OTAs.
Six-year-old Timothy Dolan, Aydan Dolan, who is 5 ½ and 19-year-old Lindsey Webber each toured the stadium with their families, had a chance to see the Jaguars locker room and then, the big moment. Each signed a one-day contract with the Jaguars, complete with Jaguars' salary cap man Tim Walsh looking on.
Then Aydan, Timothy and Lindsey, with their new uniforms, got to meet their new teammates, and even got some autographs.
While the Jaguars have done this in past years, Lindsey was the first female to become a “Jaguar for a Day.”
"It was a cool experience," Webber said. "It was a bit nerve-wracking. People watching you. It was cool to see all of the behind the scenes."
The trio got to “break down” the team at the end of practice, leading the final team huddle.
"It’s really cool. Coach Marrone has always been good at setting things up," Jaguars' defensive end Calis Campbell said. "I was kind of curious where he was going when he was breaking us down. Then he told us that they signed a contract with us to be our teammates and they were going to break us down [in the huddle] and that was pretty cool.
"This is an experience that is rare. To be able to come in and be a part of a team and break it down, these kids are going through a lot in their lives and that little bit of joy, it is incredible seeing that smile on their faces and just how excited they were. That was real cool.”
Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone said he’s a little hesitant to seem like the team is seeking attention for such things, but acknowledged the opportunity the Jaguars embrace with kids in the community.
"I know that is how I handle my business when I go out and do things. It’s always open and I think it is part of our responsibility to always give back, no matter whether you are a player or not," Marrone said. "I’m talking about just people in the community giving back and that if they have had good fortune, it’s always great to give back. I have always believed in giving back to the community because it is something that you can actually see and touch."
And for this day, both the Jaguars on the field and their teammates for a day experienced the kind of moments that both can take with them forever.