JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey missed practice Monday because of an apparent illness, potentially adding another twist to his trade request.
Coach Doug Marrone said Ramsey notified the team trainer Sunday night, three days after a 20-7 victory over Tennessee in the rain and one week after the disgruntled defender called his agent and said “my time is up here in Jacksonville.”
Marrone said Ramsey was scheduled to meet with a team doctor Monday. Ramsey was spotted leaving the facility later in the day and getting into a waiting car.
“Depending on the type of sickness, then they’ll stay away because, obviously, you don’t want to get anyone else sick,” Marrone said. “It’s happened. I don’t want to exaggerate and say hundreds of times, but it’s happened quite a bit. It’s happened here since I’ve been the head coach a couple times.
“To me, it’s nothing as big, but I understand that’s probably a big story because of the other things that are surrounding it.”
Marrone declined to speculate about the curious timing of Ramsey’s unspecified ailment.
“I’m not getting into that — odd or anything,” he said. “If you’re sick, you’re sick, right? What are you going to do?”
Ramsey started and played against the Titans, and then hugged fellow defensive backs on the field after the game in what many teammates believed was a goodbye.
Ramsey declined to talk about a potential trade afterward. The Jaguars, meanwhile, would prefer to keep rather than trade their star defender.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen,” fellow cornerback A.J. Bouye said. “None of us do. We can’t really focus on that.”
Bouye acknowledged that all the trade talk involving Ramsey last week was a distraction in the locker room and on the field.
“I think that was the worst it was going to get, but we all handled it well,” he said. “We’ve got to focus on this week, but depending on how things go, maybe people’s minds will change, maybe the narrative will change on everything. We’ll see how it goes.”
Jacksonville (1-2) plays at Denver (0-3) on Sunday.
Ramsey has developed into one of the league’s top cornerbacks and hasn’t missed a game — or a start — in his four-year career. His Week 2 outing against Houston star DeAndre Hopkins was one of the best defensive performances in franchise history.
The Jaguars want to repair Ramsey’s fractured relationship with the franchise, specifically with top executive Tom Coughlin. Ramsey told the Uninterrupted “17 Weeks” podcast that his trade request stemmed from “some disrespectful things said on their end” in a meeting after Jacksonville’s loss at Houston on Sept. 15.
“Requesting the trade ... it’s kind of been building over time,” Ramsey said on the podcast. “It has nothing to do with my teammates here. It has nothing to do with the city. ... But it’s more so with the front office and the organization.”
Jacksonville told Ramsey during the offseason that it had no plans to pay him with two years remaining on his rookie deal.
Although Ramsey causes as many headaches for his own team as he does opponents, there’s little doubt the Jags would have a difficult time replacing him — even if they received two first-round picks in a trade.
“You can’t focus on hypotheticals, like, ‘Hey, what about this or is this happening?’” Marrone said. “You don’t know, and the thing that happens is when you start changing your emotion on that or you start leaning one way or the other, you’re not just dealing with actually (what is) just happening right on the practice field, in the meeting rooms, on the games.
“For me, I’ve gotten myself in trouble in the past. So this is more about me, of how I handle things, and I just keep a laser-like focus on what I have to do in my role.”