Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jaguars' Opinions Vary but Entire Team Votes Not to Play

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jaguars' Opinions Vary but Entire Team Votes Not to Play

Article excerpt

Byline: Bart Hubbuch, Times-Union sports writer

The feeling wasn't unanimous, but the vote was.

Despite several Jaguars voicing their strong desire to play Sunday's game at Chicago, the result of a sometimes-tense meeting at Alltel Stadium yesterday morning was clear.

"No, no and no," Jaguars wide receiver Keenan McCardell said. "That was the vote. As a team, we didn't want to play."

Prodded by player reluctance in Jacksonville and around the league, NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue yesterday postponed all games this weekend because of Tuesday's terrorist attacks on the United States. The games ultimately might be canceled.

The only certainties right now for the Jaguars: They will practice again tomorrow morning and resume the regular-season schedule Sept. 23 at home against the rival Tennessee Titans.

McCardell is the Jaguars' union representative, so he was responsible for forwarding his teammates' vote despite their previous diversity of opinion.

"It was the appropriate decision," quarterback Mark Brunell said. "Not everyone is going to agree, but I think the right decision was made. We practiced [Wednesday], but it was very tough. Our mind was always going back to the attacks that had happened the day before."

Brunell and other Jaguars players mentioned their desire to help the victims and their families by donating to a relief fund. All agreed it has been difficult to concentrate on football since Tuesday's events.

The possibility of having to get on a plane tomorrow -- even a charter aircraft which the Jaguars use -- was unthinkable to several team members in light of the deadly hijackings this week.

"I didn't want to get on that plane this weekend," offensive tackle Tony Boselli said. "I didn't feel like leaving. I didn't think anything bad would happen, but after Tuesday's events, flying isn't something that I wanted to do."

Outside linebacker T.J. Slaughter was among the handful of Jaguars who spoke out in favor of playing during yesterday's meeting, but the prevailing sentiment within the locker room was for postponement or cancellation.

The overall feeling apparently swayed the Jaguars' final vote, which McCardell said was unanimous.

"You just had a couple of guys who love to play the game and naturally want to play," running back Fred Taylor said. "Most guys didn't want to play, just to be respectful [to the victims].

"The majority of us didn't want to play, and we stood together as a team. Once we talked it over as a team, everybody came together with a final answer."

What would have happened if Tagliabue decided to play Sunday's games anyway?

"We would have played, but we didn't want to," Boselli said.

The difference of opinion among his players didn't go unnoticed by Jaguars coach Tom Coughlin. …

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