“Know Your Jaguars” is a series of articles that will focus on Jaguar players from the past. Some were All-pros. Some came and went quickly. Some were everything you would want to remember. Some I wish I could forget. Regardless, they were all part of the Jaguars family and are part of their history. If one of my articles introduces you to a player you were not familiar with, than my effort was productive.
For our sixth in the series, we will focus on DE Hugh Douglas.
For all you Jag fans that are always clamoring for the Jags to be more active in the free agent market, let me tell you the horrific tale of our one year nightmare with Hugh Douglas.
Hugh Douglas was an over-achieving DE from a small college (Central State University) who, after a three year All-American career, was drafted 16th overall by the New York Jets in 1995. He broke out his rookie year with 10 sacks and the AP Rookie of the Year. After 2 years of declining production, Douglas was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles.
The change in scenery did him good. He had five productive years in Philly, achieving 204 tackles, 51.5 sacks, 8 forced fumbles, and three Pro Bowl appearances. When his contract ended, though he made it very clear he wanted to remain with the Eagles, they decided they didn’t want to pay what Douglas was expecting and let him become a free agent.
Thus beginneth the nightmare.
So in 2003 the Jaguars, wanting another DE to partner with Tony Brackens, signed Douglas to a 5 year, $27 million contract with $6 million signing bonus. It got the Jags great press as we had nabbed one of the prized free agents available that year and would finally fill the void at DE that we needed to make our defense whole.
It started on day one at training camp. After avoiding all off-season training sessions, in walks our big free agent signing Hugh Douglas. The first thing you asked was “When did the Jags sign one of the Fat Boys?” No…that was our $27 million dollar investment. Huffing and puffing and getting sick after only a few wind sprints. He goes to weigh in and is about 35 pounds over his normal playing weight. If that wasn’t infuriating enough, he then proceeded to blame the Jags for his roly-poly figure. Says he was told that he would be given the opportunity to get in playing shape during camp. He then insinuated that the only reason local reporters felt the need to report that Douglas looked like he was entering his third trimester was because the Jags TOLD them to do so. That made complete sense. Don’t blame the athlete who obviously bought his own Krispy Kreme and hired himself as main taster. Blame the organization that just gave you six million dollars and it looks like you ate it.
Here is what the Jags got for their $6 million dollars:
- 26 tackles…removing an injury shortened season, his lowest total since his rookie year.
- 3.5 sacks…nine less than he had put up the previous year.
- constant confrontations with the coaching staff and head coach Jack Del Rio.
- Stated that because he rode behind a truck in Jacksonville with a KKK sticker on the back that the entire city was racist.
- Even his agent, the perpetual liar Drew Rosenhaus, admitted that Douglas never adjusted to being in Jacksonville and he didn’t understand why.
Douglas sleepwalked through his season, putting up scrub numbers and getting snarky with the press. When the season ended, Douglas went to Atlanta and remained there even when the Jags were performing off-season workouts. Hey…In his defense, they were called “voluntary” weren’t they! “Huge” Douglas, a wonderful sports-talk radio nickname given to Douglas, showed up in 2004 in barely better shape than he did the year before. He played sparingly and not impressively through the preseason. Then the Jags made the embarrassing decision to admit publicly to their VERY expensive mistake and cut Ruben Studdard…Er…I mean Hugh Douglas. It said volumes because they had also just parted with Tony Brackens.
Since leaving the Jags in 2004, Douglas has continued his prolific career…Not as an Pro-bowl player, no…as a permanent fixture on TMZ Sports. Here are a few of his lowlights:
- Left Jacksonville and resigned with the Eagles. He then proceeded to put up pedestrian stats for them. His only notoriety came from getting into a locker room confrontation with WR Terrell Owens, which resulted in Douglas getting punched in the face.
- In an interview, he made statements that insinuated that Jaguar fans are uninformed. Well…His college major was elementary education.
- In 2010, after the Jags released David Garrard, Douglas got on the radio & said “If there was ever a coach who needs to be punched in the face for lying to his players, it’s Jack Del Rio.” Wow…Who knew Hugh Douglas was such a moral compass? (by the way, two years later when Garrard was forced to retire per chronic knee pain, Douglas went on the radio AGAIN to call Garrard a “softie” and question his manhood.
- In 2011, on an ESPN show, he actually made the statement “I didn’t play for the Jaguars, I had a paid vacation.” He made this deplorable statement with a smile on his face…tells you a lot about his character.
- In 2012, Douglas was given the co-anchor job for the ESPN show “Numbers Never Lie” . Per Deadspin.com, in 2013 Douglas was attending the National Association of Black Journalists convention in Florida. He allegedly got drunk and had a confrontation with his African American co-host Michael Smith, a well respected reporter. Douglas called him among many things an “Uncle Tom.” He was forcibly escorted from the hall. He showed up later at an after party, even more inebriated. He called Smith many things again, including “House Ni**er.” He also threatened Smith physically and verbally. Not shockingly, Douglas was fired from ESPN.
- Karma was finally a bitch. Hugh Douglas was arrested September 22nd 2013. He was charged with second-degree strangulation and third-degree assault in a motel in downtown Hartford Connecticut after an employee called police concerned about a female guest. When police arrived, they noticed red marks on both sides of the woman’s neck, and a bump on the back of her head. Douglas said it was related to “rough sex” but had no explanation concerning her head injury. On February 7th 2014, Douglas pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge to avoid jail time. I guess he only likes going on “paid” vacations.
Long story short. Hugh Douglas was only honest and forthright by saying he “robbed” the Jags, as he allegedly stated in a tweet war in 2013 when the other tweeter, a writer for Big Cat Country, dared to question Douglas’ work ethic during his short stint in Jacksonville. A real man would have defended himself…But Hugh Douglas isn’t a real man. He’s a thief without the mask (no “alleged” needed). An over-eater and alcohol abuser (again…no “alleged” required). A woman abuser (After Friday’s no contest plea, NO ALLEGED) Hugh Douglas is why you should be wary of high priced free agents. The Jags, I hope, will never bring an athlete like Hugh Douglas to our state again. You don’t bring in the trash…you take it out.
This lesson in recognizing a bad person was brought to you by Michael McDonald.
Bring it on, Douglas…I’m on twitter @gumbussy.