Teammates will miss Jalen Ramsey, but Jaguars moving forward

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Even though Myles Jack knew teammate Jalen Ramsey was unhappy for weeks and wanted out of Jacksonville, he still thought they would finish the season together.

Until Tuesday night, when he got a text that the Jaguars had traded the disgruntled cornerback to the Los Angeles Rams for three draft picks.

"In the back of my mind I just figured one of these weeks Jalen was going to be back and we were going to be back playing with him," Jack said Wednesday. "... We just kind of figured Jalen eventually, maybe after the deadline, would have come back and played for us."

Jack was not happy to see Ramsey leave, and not only because of Ramsey's immense talent. The two came into the league together as part of the Jaguars' 2016 draft class. Ramsey was the No. 5 overall pick and Jack the 36th, and they were expected to be part of the foundation of the franchise for the next decade.

"I didn't want to see him go," Jack said. "It wasn't a distraction to us. As long as he was in the locker room, he was still part of the team in my eyes. He was just getting his affairs in order. I guess the higher powers made the decision to move on. I guess it's just time to move on.

"You can ask anybody in the locker room: We'd much rather play with Jalen than not have him here. That was the situation between him and the front office that needed to be resolved, I guess."

It obviously never was. Ramsey asked the team to trade him after being chastised by Jaguars executive VP of football operations Tom Coughlin following the Jaguars' 13-12 loss at Houston. Ramsey got into a sideline shouting match with Marrone after Marrone refused Ramsey's request to challenge a completion to DeAndre Hopkins.

Ramsey played the following week in a Thursday night victory over Tennessee on Sept. 19, but that's when he hurt his back. He did not practice the following Monday (Sept. 23) because of an illness and also missed that Wednesday's practice with the back injury.

Later that day, the team announced that Ramsey would return to his hometown for the impending birth of his second child. Ramsey re-joined the team three days later but missed the next three games because of the back injury.

Ramsey said on last week's Uninterrupted podcast "17 Weeks" that he was still experiencing tightness and spasms in his back. That podcast debuted the same day that owner Shad Khan said he thought Ramsey would be able to play in last Sunday's game against New Orleans.

Though the Jaguars went 1-2 in Ramsey's absence, multiple players said Ramsey's situation was never a distraction and there was no relief in the locker room after it was finally resolved on Tuesday night.

"To me, personally, and I'm pretty sure I haven't heard anybody else say anything different, but it wasn't any, 'Whooo weight off our shoulders' and stuff like that," defensive tackle Abry Jones said. "... Once he spoke his wishes, there was no, like, lock Jalen in a room and say, 'Hey, we need you.' Or there was no constant badgering day in and day out, and saying, 'Hey, as long as you play until you get traded,' and stuff like that. No. It was just, 'We respect your wishes, appreciate everything you did for us, and just continue to come out here and support your teammates.' And he did just that.

Not that there wasn't any levity about the situation. Defensive tackle Marcell Dareus declined an interview request on Wednesday and then grabbed his lower back and walked out of the locker room saying, "Oh, my back."

The team didn't waste any time in beginning to erase Ramsey's presence. His locker was empty and his name plate removed on Wednesday before the open media portion. The team also removed signage featuring Ramsey on the outside fence of the practice field. The Jaguars also used Ramsey on a promotional car, a truck, banners around the stadium and on the field, so that will be changed.

There's also a huge banner outside the south end of the stadium for Dream Finders Homes that features Ramsey, defensive end Yannick Ngakoue and cornerback A.J. Bouye. That will have to be re-done as well.

None of that matters to anyone inside the locker room, though. Bouye said players acknowledge that Ramsey is gone but aren't going to waste time talking about the situation. They'd rather spend time preparing for Sunday's game at Cincinnati.

"We can't question everything going on in the front office, everything going [on with the] coaching staff, things like that, the moves [that are made]," Bouye said. "We just have to accept what it is and then just keep moving forward."