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Crazy Idea: Maybe the Jaguars Should Sign Mark Brunell?

Mark Brunell has been in the news today because of his announcement that he's being forced to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection due to a series of bad real estate investments.

So here's a crazy idea that might just make some sense for everyone involved. 

Why don't the Jaguars pick Brunell out of the bargain bin and use him as a second or third string backup quarterback on Sundays, and a mentor and instructor for the team during the rest of the week? 

I know people will say they don't need him, he's over-the-hill, etc.   But hear me out for a minute.  There are a lot of reasons this might make sense...

1. The team is doing well with ticket sales, but could use a little final boost to put them over the top.   And Brunell could get some significant playing time in the preseason and give fans a reason to come out for those otherwise unimportant early games. 

2. He could generate some spark in sales of Jaguars merchandise.

3. He could provide actual football value for the team in helping to mentor and encourage younger players, particularly the very mediocre Luke McCown.

This might sound kind of crazy, but why not consider it?  After all, the NY Jets took a hard look at Brunell for backup quarterback a few months ago.  And some in New Orleans are suggesting the team might even consider resigning him if they could get him cheaply enough.  

So he's apparently got some gas left in the tank.  

Brunell was picked-up by the Jaguars in 1995 and that year he started 13 games, completed 201 out of 346 passes for 2,168 yards, with 15 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. He also rushed for 480 yards.

During his years in Jacksonville, Brunell went to the Pro Bowl three times, led the team to an AFC Central Division title and helped the Jags become the first NFL expansion team to make the playoffs three times in its first four seasons of play.

As we all remember, he was benched in favor of Byron Leftwich following halftime of  a game early in the 2003 season. It was the final time Brunell took the field as a member of the Jaguars.

In 2004, Brunell was traded to the Redskins but was  limited by a hamstring injury and struggled to bounce back.  In 2005, he led the team to a 10-6 record. In 2006, he broke the NFL record for most consecutive completions in a single game when he completed his first 22 passes against the Houston Texans.  He set the Redskins franchise record for highest completion percentage in a single game (88.9%).

But he struggled and was benched later in the season, only to sit out 2007 after a surgery.

In 2008, he was signed to the New Orleans Saints but didn't appear in any games.  Last season, Brunell was again the backup to quarterback Drew Brees.  He was also the holder on the 40 yard field goal kicked by Garrett Hartley in overtime that sent the Saints to the team's first ever Super Bowl. 

Honestly, I would ask you... what would be better for lighting a little fire under the team's fanbase right now than signing Mark Brunell?   Talk about reviving the pride!

The team passed on Tim Tebow because they didn't think he was the franchise quarterback that they need for the long-haul.  That's fine, we'll find one next year. 

Mark Brunell has got a Super Bowl ring and a bunch of records.  Really, there isn't much left for him to prove in the NFL.  His deal would likely be for one year and with no real intention of ever starting him in a game, unless something happens to Garrard. 

But would Brunell want to do it?  After all, it might not be great for the ego to come back to a team where he was once a superstar and now serve in a very secondary position.   On the positive side, it would allow him to earn some much needed income, retire as a Jaguar and stay close to his family during the season.

The bottomline is that Mark Brunell has invested a lot into Jacksonville, and if the team's ownership wants to give the Jaguars fanbase a little bit of extra excitement -- why the heck wouldn't they give him a chance to suit up?

16 Responses »

  1. I think it's a great idea! It really would have been a dream team had the Jags drafted Tebow and Brunell, but I know that'll never happen.


  3. This is a terrific idea! We never missed a Jaguar Game when Mark was leading the team in the good old days. He is also a wonderful member of the Jacksonville Community and great with public relations!

  4. I think this is a great idea. Not only will the fan base like it but we have always hoped that Mark would return to put on the Pride of the Jaguars wall. It is lonely with just Tony up there. He is more valuable than a quarterback he is a great role model and teacher.

  5. Bringing Mark Brunell back to the Jaguars is a GREAT idea. Period!

  6. Contrary to what everyone says, this is a terrible idea. For multiple reasons.
    1. Mark Brunell is old, (39) and would only eat up a roster space. We can only have 53 people on the team, and filling up those spaces with unneeded players is counter productive.
    2. No one is going to buy season tickets because of Mark. Sure, they may come and see a game to remember him, but all that counts for the Jags right now is season ticket sales. Just like Tim Tebow, no player is going to save this franchise.
    3. Mark Brunell was, and still is, a great guy. But thats not why you hire professional athletes. You dont go out and get a guy because he is "great with public relations". You hire them to win you games.
    4. Mark Brunell isn't a good QB. I loved him back in the good old days, but he isn't even close to the same man now. The only time he did play last year, he threw for 100 yards and an INT. No tochdowns. He isn't a gunslinger anymore guys, he got old.
    Now why not just hire him for a day? Do what you did with Boselli, and let him retire a Jag. He can do all the ceremonial stuff (like annoucing our first draft pick), just not play for us.

    • 1. Sure, we can only have 53 people on the team. You're telling me Mark Brunell wouldn't make the cut?? He would be a very solid backup quarterback for David Garrard. The Jets will likely snap him up if we don't.

      2. It may bring back old fans who haven't been in a while... and they might like the product so much they buy season tickets. In the short-term, he'll sell a lot of pre-season tickets and

      3. Why can't it be both? David Garrard and the entire team could use the support he'd provide in practice and off the field. And the team would be a big PR boost. Sports is entertainment and you need to put a product on the field that entertains people. Winning is the most entertaining thing, but not something the Jaguars have done a whole lot of lately...

      4. He got old, which is why he ought to be the backup for David Garrard. He had a bad game last year, sure... but it was the first time he'd played in several years and the team had already accomplished everything it could have in terms of the playoffs. The team didn't care about winning and was resting their stars.

      As to your final point -- Sure, you could do a ceremonial deal and let him retire here in a couple of years, but the impact on the fanbase wouldn't be nearly the same as having him as an active Jaguar for a full season.

    • Brunell is not old at 39, rather I'd suggest that relatively Mark is young for 39. Friend, I'm speaking from first hand experience. I played minor league pro hockey until age 44. As a defenseman I led my team in penalty minutes every year. (Down here in the South you may not be aware that a rough, tough, fighting defenseman on a hockey team is an attribute teams look for at that position.)

      Mark Brunell is a huge drawing card in Jacksonville. He wouldn't be in any other NFL city, but here in Jax... Mark will ALWAYS be 'da man!'

  7. Absolutely! Maybe he would be best as a team builder / motivator. As one of the Charter Jaguars, Mark is an inspiration to everyone and always a upstanding guy. Like Clark Kent, he can turn the entire team into Super Men. Go Jaguars!

    It is sad to see that the economy has caught up with Mark, too. The Jaguars need a magic potion and maybe Mark is just what the doctor ordered.

  8. I wouldnt hesitate a minute to put Mark in a game. He has heart, and after being a fan as long as I have, I realize how much that counts. Think about the days with Mark, Tony, Jimmy and Keenan. Who on the team now plays with that kind on intensity.

  9. It would be nice and a positive business decision to bring Mark back. It would be exponentially raised if Mr. Weaver would donate the upper seats that aren't sold to all area high school team coaches. Build a positve base now. Fill the stadium. When these young people get into an earning position, they will be incited with excitement and while doing this, these donated seats can be subtracted off gross in the corporate welfare column.

  10. I know it's sacriligious to say anything negative about St. Mark, but sorry, this team needs to add players to the roster who actually improve the quality of the football being played, and Mark does not provide that.

    And to imply he'd be bargain basement? Hardly. His salary would be near $1 million just to sit on the sideline, and God forbid the team actually need him to step in and play. He can't run, and behind that offensive line, if he's not mobile, he's toast.

    Brunell hasn't truly been the same player he was prior to his knee injury back in 1997. People can romanticize it all they want, but this is still a young man's game, and Mark isn't a young man.

    The fanbase already has a fire lit beneath it. There's a reason renewal rates are up near 90% and new ticket sales are closing in on 13k. Adding Brunell wouldn't do diddly squat to change the current trends, or to accelerate them.

    It's okay to let go of 1996.

    • $1 million would be a bargain to have him on the team again.

      I mean, I know he's far removed from 1996 -- I noted that in the article.

      But he was good enough to be Drew Brees backup quarterback last season.

      And he's good enough to get serious attention from the New York Jets - and that's a team that went quite a bit further in 2009 than the Jags.

      Isn't he good enough to backup David Garrard??

    • No, i really dont think he is good enough to back up Garrard. Honestly, i would rather sign a QB in the draft. Mark wouldn't help sell tickets to anyone. Im sorry, but preseason tickets do absolutely nothing for our current position. Its all about the season tickets. Now I'm sure you will all claim to own season tickets, but no one would buy a season ticket, off of Marks play. We are a young, rebuilding team. Why would you spoil that with a 39 year old backup? Please guys, its just not going to work. Tim is completely correct.
      P.S. Brunell would be good enough to make the team, but why put him over McCown? We have a contract on him, so he has to stay. 3 QBs on a roster isn't what the Jags want. We need every spot we can get.

  11. I believe that Mark Brunnel and Fred Taylor will retire after signing a one day deal, al la Tony Boselli. Mark would have made a great late string signer, as a back up, but fill the bulk of his time shaping Tim Tebow. They are, after all, both lefties.

    But, why waste the time. When was the last time that the Jags did anything that was offered up as a suggestion? We, the local taxpayers, are paying dearly for the $300+ million that have been spent on the conversion of our Gator Bowl (sales tax at each and every local purchase), and we are the same folks that cannot pay teachers to educate our kids? Or to have lights on at our schools?

    And, where do the multi million dollar athletes live, where do they spend their local tax monies? Ponte Vedra.

    We really cannot afford the team.


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