Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Rolle's Hit Sent Jags, Titans in Opposite Directions

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Rolle's Hit Sent Jags, Titans in Opposite Directions

Article excerpt

Byline: Vito Stellino, Times-Union sports writer

Samari Rolle doesn't expect to be given keys to the city when he arrives in Jacksonville this weekend.

"Being that I went to Florida State, the reception is usually bad anyway down there, because that is mostly University of Florida [territory]," the Tennessee Titans safety told Nashville reporters. "I get the worst treatment there than anywhere I've ever been. I expect it to be nasty [Sunday] -- they don't like us anyway, so it doesn't matter."

Rolle has a history of playing well against the Jaguars, who play host to the Titans at 1 p.m. Sunday at Alltel Stadium. Seven of his 15 career interceptions have come at their expense. He has picked off Mark Brunell five times.

He also managed to raise the level of the Titans-Jaguars rivalry another notch when he knocked out Brunell with a helmet-to-helmet hit in the first meeting between the teams this year on Oct. 13.

Rolle was fined $7,500, and the penalty was upheld on appeal by former Raiders coach Art Shell in his new role as the appeals officer for the league.

Although Rolle isn't happy about the fine, perhaps the money was well spent.

That one play may have changed the fortunes of the two teams and was the topic of discussion in news conferences Brunell and coach Tom Coughlin held yesterday and in their conference calls with Nashville reporters.

That hit seemed to energize the Titans, who came in 1-4 and are 8-1 since then. It started a slide for the Jaguars, who were 3-1 and are 3-7 since, including a 23-14 loss to the Titans.

Rolle's hit started a four-game losing streak for the Jaguars. It was similar to last season when the Jaguars went on a five-game skid after Cleveland's Gerard Warren gave Brunell a concussion in the third game and was fined $35,000.

Coughlin and Brunell, though, disagreed on the effect the concussion had on the quarterback when they talked to Nashville reporters.

"It sure did [have an effect]," Coughlin said. "Yes. It always does. It happened the year before as well. I don't think it's anything conscious . . . [even though] he never missed any time. …

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