Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

School Pride Shows for Jags; Players Love to Talk Up Their Colleges

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

School Pride Shows for Jags; Players Love to Talk Up Their Colleges

Article excerpt

Byline: Bart Hubbuch, Times-Union sports writer

The Jaguars' locker room can often be as quiet as a church service during the week.

Unless, of course, Florida happens to be playing Florida State.

Or Michigan is getting ready to take on Notre Dame.

Or John Henderson's beloved Tennessee Volunteers are playing, well, just about anyone.

"Then it's war in here,'' linebacker Danny Clark said, slowly scanning every locker with his index finger. "Nothing gets guys going more than college talk. I mean, there are players 13 years out of college who act like they just left.''

As it is in most NFL locker rooms, showing school spirit -- in some cases, no matter if you attended that school or not -- is serious business for many of the Jaguars' players and even some of their coaches.

How serious? Bets between players, some of them worth hundreds or thousands of dollars, are made almost weekly on games involving their former school.

Such high-stakes wagers usually are just whispered about because players fear running afoul of the NFL's strict guidelines against gambling.

"But they do happen,'' tight end Kyle Brady said. "I've never done it, but I've seen it happen.''

Said linebacker Mike Peterson: "The size of the bets depends on how much you make. Guys that are making millions, well, it can get pretty crazy.''

More often than not, though, humiliation in the locker room is the only thing on the line when NFL teammates know their respective schools are about to square off.

Players usually will require the losing teammate in a bet to wear the winning school's hat, jersey or sweatshirt in the locker room or during meetings.

One of the most famous off-field incidents in former coach Tom Coughlin's tenure with the Jaguars resulted from a lost bet on a college game.

When Georgia fell to rival Florida in 2000, defensive tackle Emarlos Leroy -- who played at Georgia -- had to wear a fluorescent orange suit on the Jaguars' next road trip that wide receiver Keenan McCardell had bought for him.

The suit represented Florida's colors and was so garish that Coughlin fined Leroy $5,000 for violating the team's dress code. …

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