There is something particularly dependable about the species known as the NFL defensive back.
Perhaps its due to the incredible pressure they’re often under, but some of the game’s most outspoken personalities have often been cornerbacks and safeties.
Deion Sanders and Richard Sherman come to mind, guys who never lacked for expressiveness, who made bold predictions and cast wide aspersions as part of the off-the-field game they loved to play.
No current player fits that description better than Jalen Ramsey, the cornerback of the Jacksonville Jaguars. The guy has been talking and baiting since the day he came into the league. And frankly it’s been a little tiring.
However, we now understand he’s willing to put the nonsense behind him, be more of a solid citizen, express a little more respect for those on the other team.
Ramsey and Jags’ coach Doug Marrone were guests on the “The Adam Schefter Podcast” recently. ESPN’s NFL insider decided to yuck it up by asking Ramsey what his opinion was of the quarterbacks he’d facing this season.
Schefter was lobbing in a pitch hoping Ramsey would take a big swing and connect with a few soundbites that would bounce their way around the league circuit.
Ramsey decided to keep the bat on his shoulder.
“You want to do this again, huh?,” Ramsey said. “I’m not going to do this again but, we do play some good quarterbacks this year, of course, but probably the quarterback I’m most excited for is Nick Foles. I don’t have to play against him, of course; he is my teammate.
“He is a great teammate, the few interactions we’ve had has been great. Great man, great player as well. He has nothing to prove to anybody. He’s a Super Bowl champion, Super Bowl MVP. So, I hope he comes out here and he plays free and knows he has the support of everybody.”
During his career, Ramsey has tried to make a name for himself by saying Joe Flacco sucked. He also called Buffalo rookie QB Josh Allen trash. Maybe he was honestly expressing an opinion, but maybe he was just trying to unnerve those guys before they played.
“I’m growing man, it’s year four for me,” Ramsey said. “It’s a different me. A lot of people think they know me, they don’t really know me. But hey, that’s OK.”
We’ve decided not to take Ramsey at his word. Sooner or later he’s going to let it fly in someone’s direction again. It’s his nature. And when he does, its going to make Tom Coughlin, the Jaguars executive vice president of football operations, crazy because he’s a stickler for rules and Ramsey is a guy who loves to bend them.
“They can form opinions on how this year goes or whatever on the field. But I am human just like them, everybody’s human,” Ramsey said. “I think [Golden State Warriors center] DeMarcus Cousins recently said it in an interview, we’re looked at a bunch of times as superstar athletes and that’s how we are looked at but at the same time we’re also humans. That goes for myself and my teammates.
“Yeah, this is our profession, this is our job, we’re going to go out there and give it our all. If we don’t do good, or if we do good, we know we’ll be criticized or praised. At the end of the day, we’re all humans. I’m a dad, I get spit up on just like all the other dads out here, change diapers, it’s not different, it’s not special for me.”
Of course, Ramsey may still have to clean up his language when it comes to his relationship with his team’s front office.
Ramsey is looking for a contract extension with a significantly large salary bump and he recently was quoted taunting the team about how it might come about.
“They’re going to come to me ‘Hey, you know, we want to holler at you,” Ramsey said. “That number is going to be so ungodly. They’re going to say, ‘Oh god, can’t we get a little discount, 20 percent off?’
“I’m going to tell them last year you could have gotten that discount.”
Team guy, right?
If Ramsey is smart, he’ll tone down the rhetoric. After advancing to the cusp of the AFC Championship in 2017, the Jaguars were the biggest disappointment in the NFL last season. It was a tumultuous year with a lot of finger-pointing and internal strife.
And during the season, Ramsey’s brash behavior was routinely categorized by the media as being destructive to the team. Some stories advised Jacksonville to trade him. If Ramsey believes his attitude and comportment are being heavily scrutinized by teams who might like him to play for them someday, you can bet he will take it down an octave.
Look, there are only so many teams like the Oakland Raiders and New England Patriots willing to take chances on loud-mouthed malcontents like Antonio Brown and Chad Johnson.
Ramsey’s trash isn’t limited to QBs. He’s also had nasty things to say about Houston receiver DeAndre Hopkins and Cincinnati’s A.J. Green and that always runs the risk of developing into a physical confrontation, like the one Josh Norman and Odell Beckham Jr., had when they played for the Carolina Panthers and New York Giants at a 2015 game at MetLife Stadium.
“I lock receivers down physically and then mentally,” Ramsey told the Florida Times-Union in 2017. “I get into their mind and get under their skin.”
So that should give you all the information you need to know when considering Ramsey’s promise to be more contrite this season.
We’re betting he’ll be a pain-in-the-ass, just like he’s always been.