When the Jacksonville Jaguars took Dante Fowler Jr. with the third overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, they expected Fowler to come in and immediately upgrade an edge rushing unit that failed to get consistent pressure on the quarterback. The Jacksonville Jaguars are now going to have to wait until the 2016 season to find out if Fowler is the answer to what ails the franchise due to a season-ending knee injury on the first day of rookie mini-camp practices.
Most fans have expressed disappointment, and the devastating injury has left us wondering how the Jaguars will make up for this huge loss, but all the while Dante Fowler Jr. is putting on a brave face. Peter King recently delved into the incident in his Monday Morning Quarterback piece:
"“The doctor told him. And this is what he said: ‘Okay, I am going to come back bigger, stronger, faster. This is gonna make me better in the long run.’ Who says that, as a 20-year-old? An unbelievable mentality. The book on him when we studied him was that he was young, maybe a little immature. And he’d never been hurt before, right? But his mindset was so good, and he told me, ‘I’m gonna take this year and learn. I know I can’t help this team on the field, but I want to help any way I can. I am going to learn the game so I can be better next year.’"
Moments after learning that his rookie season is coming to an end before it even starts, Fowler has the strength to look towards the future and keep a positive outlook. It’s hard to wrap your head around how such a young man, on the cusp of the next level in his life, can take such a devastating injury in stride.
The other takeaway from King’s piece is the amazing response by head coach Gus Bradley, someone who truly cares about the players:
"Dante went down, and he stayed down. We moved up the drill, away from Dante. Then I went over to him, and he was like, ‘I’ll be fine, Gus, I’ll be fine. I think I got my foot caught.’ Then he went to the trainers room. We came in after practice. He was going to the hospital to get an MRI. So I went over to the hospital, maybe 10 minutes away. I just figured, He’s 20 years old, he just got here, he doesn’t know anyone, this is where I should be…“The concern at that time is, ‘How is he?’ I can only imagine what was going through his mind. This kid, his spirit, just unbelievable. He felt bad—but he felt bad for us. He is a pleaser, and his attitude was, Gus, I don’t want to let you down."
The context coach Gus is able to frame the situation in is commendable. Losing your first round pick not even an hour into his first practice is a terrible occurrence football-wise, but Bradley is expressing concern over Fowler the human being – someone who is in a new place, trying to get adjusted, and he has to undergo a terrible event.
There really aren’t any positives to take away from Fowler’s injury, but seeing how everyone is reacting so far off the field is encouraging.
More from Black and Teal
- Jacksonville Jaguars should welcome Derrick Henry into the kingdom
- Jaguars Rumors: Trent Baalke seems to be getting respect now
- Bold trade proposal has Jacksonville Jaguars shipping LT Cam Robinson
- Jaguars News: This division rival might be making a big move
- Former Jacksonville Jaguars S Johnathan Cyprien: “New Profession, Same Standards”