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  • On Monday, Ramsey was recovering from the flu. Wednesday, it was his hamstring and his back. Wednesday night, the Jaguars announce Ramsey is stepping away from the team for his child’s birth. What does it all mean?
By Jonathan Jones
September 26, 2019

There’s a hilarious absurdity to the Jalen Ramsey saga that even Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone can’t sugarcoat.

Ramsey has apparently kicked the flu that plagued him earlier in the week, but on Wednesday, after reportedly being expected at Jacksonville’s facilities, he didn’t practice because of back soreness and tightness in his hamstring.

I cannot say for certain whether Ramsey ever had the flu. I cannot say whether his back is tight, either. People get sick, and pro athletes get tight backs after playing 100% of their team’s defensive snaps. But Marrone could hardly keep a straight face as he fielded questions about the ailments to his disgruntled star cornerback at his Wednesday press conference.

“I don’t know [when the injury popped up],” Marrone said Wednesday through a smile, stifling laughter. “He just gets tight. It’s normal. His back’s gotten tight before.”

In an interesting turn of events later in the day, the Jaguars announced Wednesday night that Ramsey would leave the team to go home to Tennessee to be with his girlfriend as she prepares to give birth to their second child, confirming that the fourth-year corner is due to miss his first pro game this Sunday against the Broncos. Marrone, in a statement, said Ramsey will “return to the team when he’s ready.” We’ve had a good laugh about Ramsey making up illnesses this week, but this is obviously legitimate and we wish his family the best.

However Ramsey has made it abundantly clear through his body language in press conferences and words on podcasts that he no longer wishes to be a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars. He hopes not to be a distraction for his teammates, and he will play for the team so long as he’s healthy and on the roster. Until, of course, he’s not healthy or not on the roster.

What’s obvious is Ramsey has an issue with football czar Tom Coughlin, and there seem to be other, less important gripes after that. For some reason, people believe if the Jaguars pay him he’ll be satisfied. That’s seemingly a terrible misread of the situation, since Ramsey’s main agitation would still be there whether he got his contract extension or not. (On top of the fact that Ramsey has said for more than a year that he knows he’s going to get paid as the top cornerback in the league and isn’t worried about that.)

It’d be wise to take Marrone’s laughter Wednesday as a signal that he understands the absurdity of it all. To borrow from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Marrone isn’t vindictive like Principal Rooney but he’s far from the ‘Save Ferris’ drive started by the students.

Similar to Washington’s situation with Trent Williams, the damage between player and the front office has been done and there’s no going back. Especially before this becomes even more embarrassing for the Jags, the move here is to trade Ramsey for the best compensation possible.

Can Jacksonville get two first-round picks? Possibly, though I see it as unlikely. Ramsey being so deep into his rookie contract would seem to work against the Jaguars getting that sort of compensation. A team that surely believes in its draft prowess would be giving up two cost-controlled future assets to take on a player a quarter of the way through his last “cheap” season before the fifth-year option. To boot, the team taking on Ramsey would need a head coach that would let the star spread his wings and also be OK with Ramsey not showing up to voluntary workouts.

Nonetheless, we all wish Jalen a speedy recovery, and we congratulate him on the impending birth of his second child.

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