JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Jalen Ramsey is still a Jaguars player.
For now, anyway.
One day after his agent, David Mulugheta, reportedly told ESPN’s Adam Schefter and others that Ramsey wanted to be traded, the cornerback met with the media on Tuesday to address the topic. He was largely evasive when asked about being traded and said that he wanted to focus on the Titans game on Thursday night.
Kind of difficult to do that after dropping a bombshell on Monday.
"I’m going to let God do his work and let my agent do his work and everybody’s going to work it out," Ramsey said. "And I’m going to focus on what I can focus on, and right now, that’s being a good teammate still while I’m here. Get ready for the game, supporting my guys and just being Jalen at the end of the day.”
Ramsey took a business approach in every question that he answered, dancing around direct responses and toeing a well-rehearsed line of not giving up much of anything substantial in return.
“... I don’t want to keep running around yall’s questions. I don’t want to be rude, but at the same time, I don’t want to answer [questions]. ... I'm sorry I'm giving y'all the runaround a little bit."
Ramsey selected phrases throughout the press conference that left his immediate future open.
Phrases like, for "right now," and "as long as I'm here" seemed to indicate that his time in Jacksonville was on a countdown timer. If it wasn't clear before Tuesday, it is now.
Ramsey is planting the seeds for a departure.
During Sunday’s loss to the Texans, Ramsey left the field livid, apparently upset that coach Doug Marrone didn’t challenge a catch by DeAndre Hopkins. That prompted Marrone to approach Ramsey on the sideline and whatever was said inflamed the situation.
Ronnie Harrison pulled Marrone away and the two had to be separated. Marrone downplayed the incident both Sunday and during his media session Monday. The trade request came later Monday and after Marrone’s comments.
“Let’s be clear about something in regard to that. I didn’t leak that information. Me and my agent, we are not the ones who leaked that information, and I was very strict about that, because I did not want it to get out, and I didn’t want to be a distraction. I didn’t want everybody asking my teammates all types of questions throughout the week. So, let me be real clear about that; I was not the one," said Ramsey, seemingly contradicting Schefter's Monday report and confirmation from Mulugheta.
"Me and my team, we were not the ones that leaked that information because I thought about my teammates. I thought about stuff like that. So, you need to ask the other side or whoever."
Mulugheta didn't return a message from News4Jax. Ramsey said that he has not spoken to Marrone since the incident Sunday.
Ramsey was not originally scheduled to meet with the media, but the buzz following his reported trade request made a statement a necessity.
"I ain't got nothing negative to say about nobody in this building," Ramsey said.
Ramsey said that he wanted to address the media so that fans and media could hear directly from him. He said that certain quotes circulating across social media that were being attributed to him ripping the fans and the city were false.
"I love Duval. The city embraced me. The fans embraced me since I've been here," Ramsey said.
The Jaguars certainly don’t have to accommodate Ramsey’s request. He’s under contract this season, the last of his rookie deal, and the team picked up his fifth-year option at $13.7 million. But after such a public incident with Marrone and such a commotion to be traded, the Jaguars may find themselves boxed in by keeping the talented but disruptive Ramsey.
"As long as im here you’re going to get everything out of me, I think y'all know that," Ramsey said.
His performance on the field has never been a question.
Ramsey has never missed a game since being drafted fifth overall in 2016 and has been a Pro Bowl and All-Pro player. Maturity issues have been Ramsey’s biggest issue, although the Jaguars have largely accepted those because of Ramsey’s unique talent.
Marrone said he approached Ramsey on the bench because "I wanted him to move on from it.''
"I mean, that was over plays ago,'' Marrone said. "Move on from it. Let's go. We've got a long way to go in this game. Get that behind you.''
Ramsey declined interview requests in the locker room after the game, and players were off Monday. Ramsey said he didn't talk Sunday because he was told that he didn't have to, and that he wasn't avoiding questions.
News4Jax Jaguars analyst Mark Brunell said if Ramsey doesn't want to be here, he should leave.
"I personally believe, listen, if you do not want to be playing for the Jaguars, if you do not want to be part of this organization, then go," Brunell said. "The Jaguars will move on. It's hard to say that about your best defensive player."
If only your behavior and your attitude matched your talent, then, you would be a truly great professional player. Very disappointing that you can’t complete the total package. You have the ability to do this. — Susan Goldberg (@susan_goldberg) September 17, 2019
The Jaguars, 0-2 for the first time in Marrone's three seasons, host AFC South rival Tennessee (1-1) on Thursday night.
Ramsey has been a standout player and standoffish person during his four seasons in Jacksonville. His tenure has included publicly questioning defensive coordinator Todd Wash, roundly ripping several NFL quarterbacks; and getting suspended for a week in the 2018 preseason for threatening a reporter.
He raised eyebrows in August when he appeared on the podcast of Titans left tackle Taylor Lewan and said he'd like to play in his hometown of Nashville, Tennessee or Las Vegas if Jacksonville doesn't re-sign him.
The Jaguars told Ramsey this offseason they didn't plan to give him a contract extension until after the season.
"I've fought through injuries. I've fought through everything, haven't missed a game,'' Ramsey said. "I feel like I have outplayed my rookie contract and I feel I've earned a new contract, but at the end of the day, it's not the end of the world.
"I'm tremendously blessed. I'm so blessed. I'm not down on it or anything like that at all, but that is the circumstance. That is what I've been told.''
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