Countdown to Jaguars Football: No. 89 and Who Has Donned it Best
In fewer than 100 days, Jacksonville Jaguars will return ... at least as things stand today.
While there is still some uncertainty surrounding the start of the NFL season, the league office has made it clear that they are planning to kick the season off on Sept. 10 and then have every other team play on Sept. 13.
By going off that timeline, we are now just 89 days from watching the Jaguars take the field against the Indianapolis Colts for the first regular season game of 2020.
In an effort to countdown to the start of the season, we will now be going from 95 through 1 to determine the best players to don the teal, black, and white for the Jaguars at each specific number. Yesterday, we tabbed Tony Brackens as the best to wear No. 90 in Jacksonville, but what about the next number?
So when considering each player has worn the No. 89 since Jacksonville's first season in 1995, who has been the most impactful? Since the team's inception, here are the players who have worn the jersey number:
- Austin Seferian-Jenkins: 2018
- Marcedes Lewis: 2006-17
- Chris Luzar: 2002-03
- Ryan Prince: 2001
- Randal Williams: 2001
- Emanuel Smith: 2000
- Troy Sadowski: 1998
- Curtis Marsh: 1995-96
There are only three players on this list who spent more than one season in Jacksonville, but only one player made significant contributions to the Jaguars during his time in Jacksonville. Because of this, we will be examining the career of just one player as opposed to ranking the top three to wear the uniform. We will do this from time to time since there are bound to be more cases like No. 89 in which there simply aren't three players worth ranking.
Others on the list that we won't focus on but produced in some fashion are tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins and wide receiver Curtis Marsh, the father of current outside linebacker Cassius Marsh.
Seferian-Jenkins spent one season in Jacksonville and had a solid start to his Jaguars' tenure, but injuries ultimately derailed his season and made his time with the Jaguars short. In five games, Seferian-Jenkins caught 11 passes for 90 yards and one touchdown.
As for Marsh, he was a seventh-round pick in the first-ever draft class in Jaguars' history. He caught seven passes for 127 yards as a rookie in 1995 while also returning 15 kicks for 323 yards.
So, who is the top No. 89 in Jaguars' history? It isn't tough to find the answer, and it is unlikely it changes anytime in the near future: Marcedes Lewis.
The only tight end drafted in the first round in team history, Jacksonville selected the gargantuan Lewis out of UCLA with the No. 28 overall pick in the 2006 NFL Draft. Lewis entered Jacksonville as a physically imposing receiving option who could win battles in the red zone and in contested catch situations, but he would eventually evolve past that.
As a rookie, Lewis caught just 13 passes for 126 yards and one touchdown, but he would increase his production with each following season, catching 30 or more passes and recording 390 receiving yards or more in every season until 2012.
Lewis' best season came in 2010 as he became Jacksonville's top pass-catching option on an otherwise barren offensive unit. That year, Lewis posted career-high figures in catches (58), receiving yards (700) and touchdown receptions (10), while also converting 37 first downs.
Lewis would remain with Jacksonville through 2017, becoming one of the team's most consistent and recognizable figures. He is currently No. 3 in team history in games played (170) and No. 2 overall in games started (156), No. 5 in touchdowns (33), No. 8 in points scored (200), No. 3 in receptions (375), No. 3 in receiving yards (4,502), and No. 2 in receiving touchdowns (33).
While Lewis was never one of the best tight ends in the NFL during his lengthy career in Jacksonville, it is obvious he is one of the best and most productive offensive players in team history. Add in the impact he made that can't be found on a stat sheet, such as his leadership and blocking ability, and it is hard to find many issues with the Jaguars taking Lewis where they did.
Lewis may have never been a game-changer, but he was one of the league's best blocking tight ends during his entire tenure in Jacksonville and he was a steady presence at a position that the Jaguars have otherwise failed to find much production at.
In 12 years in Jacksonville, Lewis recorded 375 receptions for 4,502 yards and 33 touchdowns. Jacksonville strangely released him following a 2017 season in which he led the Jaguars in touchdown receptions with five, but his long-standing impact on the team still holds true today.