Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Simple End to QB Rumors: Name Starter

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Simple End to QB Rumors: Name Starter

Article excerpt

Byline: Gene Frenette, Times-Union sports writer

It is the story, or non-story in Jack Del Rio's view, that won't go away.

Did the Jaguars attempt to offer up quarterback Mark Brunell as trade bait or didn't they? ESPN first reported that the team's franchise quarterback was being shopped around to the New York Jets, Dallas Cowboys and Baltimore Ravens.

Jets' general manager Terry Bradway told the New York Daily News that a Jaguars' official called looking to trade a quarterback without specifically mentioning Brunell's name. Another national media outlet later suggested that Charley Bailey, the team's pro personnel director, floated the names of all four Jaguars' quarterbacks to see if he'd get any nibbles.

Naturally, all of the Jacksonville media ran the story. Adding to its believability was Del Rio's own words last week when he said Jimmy Smith's four-game suspension could have a "ripple effect" on decisions involving veteran players.

Anyway, Del Rio showed up for his news conference yesterday with his lecture face on. He proceeded to chastise the media for trying to "stir up and make up a story." He turned to one scribe and advised him to "go write for the Enquirer if you want to do that."

It's understandable that an NFL head coach, especially one in his first season, doesn't want the future of the team's signature player a constant topic of speculation. It creates the type of distraction that all coaches want to avoid.

But Del Rio can easily make this whole Brunell issue go away with one declaration -- say that No. 8 will be the starter in next week's season opener at Carolina.

If the media is being such an annoyance, there's a simple painkiller for Del Rio. Just tell the messengers for Jaguars' fans that Brunell is the starter and we move on.

Yet Del Rio consistently stops short of saying that an eight-year starting quarterback making $6. …

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