Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey responded on Friday to Tom Coughlin’s criticism of his absence from voluntary workouts, saying that the team knows why he’s not there and that he’ll show up in shape when attendance is mandatory.
Ramsey did not elaborate on what those reasons are. Neither did his agent, David Mulugheta, who also tweeted a statement Friday afternoon.
“Fully aware” & “voluntary” meaning I don’t HAVE to be there BUT they know the EXACT REASONS I am not. My teammates know it’s ALL love & know I’ll be ready when it’s time! 💯 https://t.co/NASgnu6egT
— Jalen Ramsey (@jalenramsey) April 19, 2019
To be clear, Jalen Ramsey is exactly where Jalen should be during his off season. He’s spending time with his young daughter & family while training in his hometown of Nashville. In addition the Jags are fully aware of why he is not taking part in the voluntary off season program
— David Mulugheta (@DavidMulugheta) April 19, 2019
Coughlin, the Jaguars’ executive vice president of football operations, called out the two players during his four-minute speech at the team’s annual state of the franchise presentation Thursday, though he didn’t mention either by name.
“We’re very close to 100 percent attendance, and, quite frankly, our players should be here building the concept of team, working hard side-by-side, constructing our bond of togetherness, formulating our collective priorities and goals,” Coughlin said. “Success in the NFL demands struggle. Those who have everything given to them become lazy, selfish and insensitive to the real values of team. The hard work that many try to avoid is the major building block for the development of an outstanding football team.
“It’s not about rights and privileges. It’s about obligations and responsibility, and the question is: Can we count on you?”
NFLPA president Eric Winston was not happy about Coughlin’s comments and said the players’ union will not let them stand unchallenged.
“Our CBA definition of voluntary is the same as the actual definition of voluntary and prohibits anyone from threatening players to [get them to] participate in voluntary workouts,” Winston said. “This is precisely the reason players negotiated strict work rules and bright lines when it comes to offseason activities. We know, from experience, that not all coaches and executives will adhere to them, and we always pursue any violations to protect our rules.”
Marrone said at his end-of-season news conference that he wanted 100 percent participation in the offseason program, and Coughlin intimated that Ramsey and Smith were acting selfishly by not being with their teammates.
“Championship teams have one common denominator,” Coughlin said. “They’re comprised of individuals who have a burning desire to win, to be champions. Championship teams are dominated by selfless individuals who recognize that the welfare of the team must always be paramount to any other consideration.”
Coughlin is a relic in a new age of NFL players.
If something is voluntary, you don’t have a leg to stand on.
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