The Jacksonville Jaguars were hoping that the 2015 season would be better than how the 2014 season started off, went on, and finished. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case already. On the first day of rookie minicamp for the Jaguars, Dante Fowler Jr., their top draft selection, and the number three overall pick in the NFL Draft 2015, tore his left ACL and is likely gone for the season.
It was less than an hour into the first day of rookie minicamp on Friday when Fowler went down to the ground. The defensive end out of the University of Florida grabbed his leg and rolled around for a bit before being helped off the field, per ESPN.
On the sidelines, Fowler could put a little weight on his leg, but was eventually taken off the field on a cart and back into the locker room for some tests. Fowler was battling it out on the field with offensive tackle Watts Dantzler at the time of the injury and he doesn’t know what happened.
“I really honestly have no idea,” Dantzler said. “I was just kicking, got a punch on his shoulder, and he just went down. I don’t really know exactly what happened. I feel terrible about it.”
Jaguars.com reported that Dantlzer was blocking Fowler, but there was not significant contact between the two of them when the injury happened.
Fowler hasn’t yet signed his rookie contract with the Jaguars which is expected to be four years at $23 million and fully guaranteed. A fifth-year team option will be included on that deal. Fowler had signed a waiver.
Injuries that happen during the minicamp are looked at due to the injury protection waiver. Should an injury occur, teams then negotiate in good faith with the player as if the injury never even happened.
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) May 8, 2015
The rookie minicamp included eight NFL Draft 2015 picks, nine first-year players, and 28 workout players looking to get their chance in the league. The Jacksonville Jaguars wanted to get players used to the pace of practice and to learn the drills.
Jacksonville was really hoping that Dante Fowler Jr. would be a key piece of their defense, start in the first game, and become a bit of an on-field leader. In three years at Florida, he accumulated 14/5 sacks with 8.5 last season. This is a huge blow to the Jaguars and Fowler, but they can only hope that he heals up quickly and completely.
[Image via Riggos Rag]