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Saying Goodbye To Joe Zelenka

After 8 years, Long Snapper Joe Zelenka will no longer be a Jacksonville Jaguar.  While Zelenka was a fan favorite and a great spokesman for the team, he was simply outplayed by third year man Jeremy Cain.  The word came down before the game that Zelenka was going to be cut and it was confirmed at the end of the game when Zelenka payed a special visit to his fan club in the North End Zone.

Zelenka Fan Club President and one of the all around best Jaguars fans, “Arrow Man”, wrote about what happened after the game on the Jaguars message board:

Forgive me for another post regarding Joe Z. I just got back from the game and Joe played his last game with the Jaguars tonight. It was sad to see him on the sidelines all night wearing a hat. And after the game he gave me his helmet as a thank you to all of his fans who supported him all these years. The Jaguars may have a new long snapper, but they do not have another Joe Zelenka.

In his 8 years with the Jags Joe never had a bad snap. He practiced relentlessly and it showed with his 11 years in the NFL.

When he was on the field he was totally focused on football. Off the field he was one of the nicest guys in the world. Jeff Lagemann has a saying about Joe Z – “If there were more Joe Zelenkas in the world, the world would be a better place.”

Over the years when other players were getting in trouble with drugs or alcohol, Joe was serving the Jacksonville community. Ronald McDonald House, HabiJax, Wolfsons Childrens Hospital, and Straight Talk are a few of the charitable organization that Joe gave his time and talent. But he also spent a lot of time with Jaguar fans. Over the years he attended hundreds of events for fans to get autographs. He loved to bring a smile to a fan’s face.

Joe also had a sense of humor that was one of the best in the locker room. Fans could see it on the Jumbotron with his locker room interviews.

Thank you Joe for all that you gave to the Jaguars and the Jacksonville community. You will be missed very much! If you have a Joe Z experience, please share it.

In other words, Joe Zelenka was a class act up until the end.  Here’s hoping that you land a job in the organization or in the media so us fans can enjoy you and your sense of humor for years to come.

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  • Ty

    Joe Zelenka epitomized what it meant to be a good person. He was a humble fellow. He will be miss severely by JagNation. Goodbye Joe, Thanks For The Memories.

  • Tina

    We can honestly say we became Jaguars fans because of Joe Zelenka. We moved here because of the Navy and started attending Church where they go. They were so friendly and welcoming. They are both always smiling. We found out that he played for the Jaguars and since we didn’t really have a NFL team we supported we thought “why not support his”. Both Joe Zelenka and his wife have been a great attribute to the community. The Jaguars just lost more than a great player on their team, they lost a great Jaguars representative in the community. He set a great example and I would have been proud to have my child wear a Jaquars shirt with his number. I know that both Joe and his wife will continue to serve this community and whatever community they live in. I also know that God has huge plans for them. He never closes one door with out opening another one. It just saddens my heart because it is a real loss to the Jaguars team.

  • Jamie

    Joey Z was one of the best players this community has been forunate enough to have. Not only was he the greatest long snapper he was a great role model for our city’s youth. Hats off to Joe Zelenka and I’ll gladly follow Joe to whatever team he happens to play for next :)

  • Lenny

    Joe Z. and Rebekah are two of my favorite people because I knew them before they were married. Humble beginnings and a good clean Christian couple who spent the year before Joe was drafted serving at a monthly outreach ministry for two Ashtabula (Ohio) apartment complexes. They were always smiling and relating to the kids about Jesus. They have had their share of hertbreaks in personal life, but God is good all the time. They have been molded and shaped by their tragedies and have never given in to the negative.

    Great examples for all of us to try to follow.

    Joe and Rebekah, keep on keepin’ on.

    My prayers go with you.