Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Kick Specialist Stays Taylor, Figures out as Jags Make Final Cuts

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Kick Specialist Stays Taylor, Figures out as Jags Make Final Cuts

Article excerpt

It appeared the final spot in the Jaguars' secondary would come down to cornerback Cordell Taylor or safety Deon Figures.

It went to neither.

Instead, the Jaguars chose to keep kickoff specialist Steve Lindsey and only eight defensive backs instead of the normal nine on their final 53-man roster, which was finalized yesterday. Lindsey will handle kickoffs, while Mike Hollis, who has struggled with his kickoffs, will handle field goals and extra points.

"With the addition of the extra kicker to our roster, we had to make some adjustments," Jaguars coach Tom Coughlin said. "One of the factors that emerged from our preseason was the improvement in kicking the ball in the end zone. We felt having that kind of kicker was important to our scheme."

The team let go 17 players yesterday in getting to the 53-man limit, including releasing Figures and trading Taylor to the Seattle Seahawks for an undisclosed draft choice.

Figures was a free-agent signing in 1997 who started 17 games the last two seasons at cornerback. Taylor was a second-round pick in 1998. He suffered through an injury-plagued rookie season and never got going during this preseason.

Of the eight defensive backs who made the roster, four are cornerbacks and four are safeties. Two of the cornerbacks are rookies, first-round pick Fernando Bryant and fifth-round pick Jason Craft. Safety Carnell Lake can play cornerback, a position he played the last two seasons with Pittsburgh.

"Our mentality is to keep it young," said Michael Huyghue, the Jaguars senior vice president of football operations.

That, plus a salary that was to pay him $1.1 million this season, cost the 29-year-old Figures a job. "Nothing surprises me in this business," Figures said. "I could kind of see it coming. You learn to understand things like that in the NFL. I'll be all right."

Figures was moved inside to safety during training camp after the team drafted Bryant and Craft, but was unable to beat out Blaine McElmurry for the fourth safety spot.

Taylor, healthy after a toe injury that needed offseason surgery limited him in 1998, was also expected to be part of the reason for moving Figures inside. …

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