Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Spicer: Teal Jersey with a Blue Collar; Brackens' Replacement at Defensive End Survived Long, Difficult Road

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Spicer: Teal Jersey with a Blue Collar; Brackens' Replacement at Defensive End Survived Long, Difficult Road

Article excerpt

Byline: VITO STELLINO, The Times-Union

Defensive end Paul Spicer made an immediate impact in the Jaguars' preseason game against Tampa Bay last Friday night.

On the game's first play from scrimmage, Spicer ran inside Bucs tackle Todd Steussie, then over running back Michael Pittman to tip Brad Johnson's pass, which tackle John Henderson intercepted.

The tip also may have saved a touchdown.

"When we looked at the tape, Joey Galloway was wide open. If he [Johnson] got the ball off, I would have been here talking about a 90-yard pass,'' Spicer said.

Now that Spicer has replaced veteran Tony Brackens, who was waived Sunday, as the Jaguars' starting left end, he'll be expected to make more plays like that.

Nobody can say Spicer didn't work hard for the promotion. His path from an undrafted free agent from Saginaw Valley State to starting NFL end has been a long one.

He was cut by Seattle, which first signed him in 1998, and twice by Detroit. Spicer has made stops in Canada, NFL Europe and on the practice squad.

"He's tough, dependable, hard-working,'' said Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio. "He's a blue-collar guy.''

Del Rio said Spicer is officially the starter and will be part of the team's defensive line rotation.

"Is he going to all of a sudden be a dominant sack master? No, probably not. But he's somebody we feel good about,'' Del Rio said.

Spicer's calling card has always been his willingness to work hard.

As an undrafted free agent, he said, "You don't have a big margin of error. If you got out there and make a bunch of mistakes, they're going to get rid of you. If they give a guy a $5 million signing bonus and he makes the same mistakes, he's going to stay. That's just the business. If you don't understand that, you're dumb.''

Spicer's career has been a stark contrast to Brackens, who was a second-round pick in 1996 and received a $840,000 signing bonus. …

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