Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Ex-Mates Ready to Gang Up on Jags

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Ex-Mates Ready to Gang Up on Jags

Article excerpt

Byline: Bart Hubbuch, Times-Union sports writer

Stacey Mack looks around the Houston Texans' locker room and can't help but wonder sometimes if he ever left Jacksonville.

With five former Jaguars on the Texans' roster, it's easy to why Mack might get confused.

"Sometimes we talk about some funny moments that we had in Jacksonville,'' Mack said. "It definitely comes up.''

Those conversations have intensified with the impending arrival of the 0-3 Jaguars, who face Mack and the 1-2 Texans on Sunday in an AFC South matchup at Reliant Stadium.

Mack, who was running back Fred Taylor's backup for four seasons with the Jaguars before leaving in free agency last winter, doesn't have to go far this week for some Jacksonville-related conversation.

One of Mack's blockers, Zach Wiegert, was a four-year starter for the Jaguars before exiting in free agency last offseason. Meanwhile, a trio of ex-Jaguars -- end Gary Walker, nose tackle Seth Payne and free safety Marlon McCree -- are on the defensive side of the Texans' locker room.

Payne, who along with Walker was taken off the Jaguars' roster in the expansion draft last year, is out with a season-ending knee injury. But the other four all say they can't wait to suit up against their former team.

"Jacksonville is not my home, but it's an hour away from my home in Orlando,'' McCree said. "I've got a lot of friends on that team, so I'll want to play my best. I'm going to go out there and have a good time.''

McCree, a two-year starter in Jacksonville, has even more incentive to play well against the Jaguars after he was benched this summer and released two weeks ago because he fell out of favor with new coach Jack Del Rio.

"I'm going to talk a lot of trash during the game,'' McCree promised.

That's fine with Texans coach Dom Capers, who also has a Jaguars link after spending two seasons as Jacksonville's defensive coordinator under Tom Coughlin before leaving for Houston in 2001.

Capers makes no apologies for hoarding so many former Jaguars, though taking Payne, Walker and since-retired offensive tackle Tony Boselli in the expansion draft rescued Jacksonville from a dire salary-cap situation.

"I was there for two years and respected what Tom Coughlin had done,'' Capers said. "I think you always have a better feel if you have been around players and know what they're all about and how they respond to all the different situations, and I was around most of these [ex-Jaguars].''

Mack, for one, is glad that Capers is so welcoming to former Jaguars. Despite four mostly productive seasons in Jacksonville, Mack found little interest in free agency last winter and had resigned himself to spending another year as Taylor's backup until Capers and the Texans came calling.

Mack, a former undrafted free agent, now finds himself in the role he always wanted: feature back for an NFL team. …

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