JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — After a rocky rookie season in 2018, Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver DJ Chark put forth a strenuous effort to improve on and off the field. In Sunday's season finale 38-20 win over Indianapolis, Chark saw that work pay off.
Chark only caught four passes for 34 yards in the win, but his second catch -- a 19-yard gain on a post route -- gave him a special milestone on the season: 1,000 receiving yards.
“It’s a pretty big accomplishment," Chark said Sunday. "My teammates really supported me and really wanted me to get it – my family as well, so it feels good to be able to come through.”
Chark finished his sophomore season with 73 catches for 1,008 and eight touchdowns. This is a giant improvement over Chark's rookie season, where the 2018 second-round pick caught only 14 passes for 174 yards.
The 23-year old wideout has credited his successful season before to the work he did in the offseason to improve his routes, hands, and understanding of the game. He became more of a student of the game and grew in maturity.
“I think a lot," Chark said when asked how much he grew in the last year.
"I’ve still got a long ways to go – I’m not where I want to be yet. This was a good accomplishment, but there’s way more out there to go.”
Chark caught the bulk of his passes from rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew II, though three of his touchdowns were thrown by veteran passer Nick Foles. Chark and Minshew became one of the most potent big-play connections in the NFL during their 12 games together, connecting for plays of 30 yards or more six times.
For Minshew, seeing his favorite target hit the milestone was a special moment. What makes Chark's stellar season even more impressive though is the fact that he has not once let it go to his head or change his humble attitude, Minshew said.
“It was awesome. Super happy for him. He’s a super hard worker, a hungry dude," Minshew said.
"None of this success or anything has changed him, he’s still the same guy that I knew when I first walked in here. Everybody thought he was just a gunner but now he’s one of the best receivers in the league and hasn’t changed a bit. I’m super happy for him and it’s only going to make him work harder going forward.”
Chark will not stop working after his stellar second season. In his eyes, he is just now scratching his surface. He will come back in 2020 and work even harder to top the numbers he put up this year.
But for now, he has earned the right to celebrate.
"I’m going to save my jersey for my dad. They gave me the ball – I’m going to keep that one," he said.