Decision to keep Nathan Rourke around is paying off for Jaguars entering Week 14

• The Jaguars have signed Nathan Rourke to the active roster

• He serves as insurance in case Trevor Lawrence doesn't play

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Nathan Rourke (18) throws the ball during the fourth quarter of a
Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Nathan Rourke (18) throws the ball during the fourth quarter of a / Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union / USA

There's a strong chance Trevor Lawrence will play against the Cleveland Browns in Week 14. However, the Jacksonville Jaguars aren't taking any chances, signing quarterback Nathan Rourke to the active roster ahead of Sunday.

The Jags could've elevated Rourke off the practice squad, but they can dress 49 players (instead of the usual 48) by signing him to the roster. The British Columbia native played attended college at Ohio, and suited up for the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League in 2021-2022. He's been with the Jags since January and turned heads in the preseason when he showcased his escapability skills to connect with running back Qadree Ollison for a touchdown pass.

The electrifying play made Rourke the talk of the town in the preseason and even got Patrick Mahomes to praise him. In three games, he completed 23 of 25 passes for 348 yards with one touchdown and no pics. But despite his heroics, he didn't make the team's 53-man roster and proceeded to land in the practice squad.

This is the second time this season the Jags have signed Rourke to the active roster. The first time came against the New Orleans Saints on Thursday Night Football. At the time, Trevor Lawerence was dealing with a knee injury, and it was uncertain whether he would suit up. As of this writing, Steezy Trev is trending toward facing the Browns but having Rourke around provides insurance in case he experiences a setback.

Nathan Rourke gives the Jaguars flexibility in light of Trevor Lawrnece's injury

When Trevor Lawrence went down on Monday Night, medical Twitter wasted no time coming up with a diagnosis: From three weeks to season-ending, there was no shortage of guesses as to how serious the injury was. The fact that he fell to the ground on his way out didn't help matters. However, Doug Pederson (as he should) waited until the third-year quarterback had tests done to share an update.

Pederson didn't provide a timeline but indicated that Lawrence's injury wasn't as serious as originally thought. Moreover, he didn't rule him out for Week 14 even though he missed Wednesday's practice. He returned the following day and is listed as questionable to play. Signs point toward him playing but Rourke would become the top backup, with C.J. Beathard getting the start if Lawrence isn't good to go.

By keeping Rourke around for more than a year, the Jaguars have shown they value him. He won't pass Beathard on the depth chart any time soon, but he's still a competent player who can step up in case of an emergency. Similarly, he could've bolted back to the CFL but he must recognize the value of being in the same room as Trevor Lawrence and the benefits of learning football at the highest level.

Maybe Nathan Rourke will eventually return to the CFL, perhaps he'll get a shot at getting a primary backup role with another team next year. But for the time being, he's on the Jacksonville Jaguars roster ahead of Week 14, something that benefits both parties.

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