The Jaguars fired long-time equipment manager Drew Hampton before the start of this week's organized team activities (OTAs). No reason was given for Hampton's dismissal and the Jaguars declined to comment on the move.
Hampton had held the position as the team's equipment managers since 1998 when Tom Coughlin was the Jaguars' head coach. He was an assistant equipment manager for one season in 1997 before taking over head duties the following year. His peers elected him the NFL's equipment manager of the year in 2004.
Hampton was an integral part of the staff and was one of two Jaguars officials in New York City representing the team for last month's college draft.
Hampton's dad, Bill Hampton, was equipment manager for the New York Jets for 39 years before retiring in 2001. Drew Hampton's brother, Clay Hampton, is the Jets' senior director of operations, while another brother, Derek, also works for the Jaguars.
--It had been widely speculated, but then Jaguars coach Mike Mularkey brought it out publicly: Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew is not attending the team's OTAs, but is instead looking for an increase in the five-year contract that he signed in 2009.
Mularkey first noted that it should be remembered the OTAs were not mandatory.
"It's all voluntary. I wish he was here, he knows we wish he was here," the Jaguars' coach said. "I think his teammates have talked to him about it but it's a personal decision and there's nothing I can do about it.
"I think he's talked about trying to get an extension for his contract which I think everybody's aware of. I'm in the coaching end of those matters and I've talked to him about football and what I can do on the field and in the locker room."
Jones-Drew is scheduled to make $4.45 million this season as part of the $31 million deal he signed in 2009. That has since been surpassed in the past year by several other running backs' contracts, including the likes of Arian Foster, Chris Johnson and Marshawn Lynch. Others, like Adrian Peterson and DeAngelo Williams have also signed bigger contracts.
While the OTAs are voluntary for the rostered players, the Jaguars will have a mandatory team minicamp on June 12-14. Jones-Drew has skipped the team OTAs in the past, but has been in attendance for the mandatory minicamp.
--The Jaguars continue to experiment in trying to find a placekicker for the OTAs while veteran kicker Josh Scobee is a no-show due to his own contract dispute with the Jaguars.
The Jaguars had brought in workout kickers Long Ding and Jay Wooten to handle the kicking chores during the team's minicamp for rookies 10 days ago, but neither impressed the coaching staff to warrant sticking with the club during the OTAs. Instead, Jacksonville signed second-year kicker Brandon Coutu a day before the first of 10 OTA sessions on Monday this week. Coutu was a seventh-round pick of Seattle in 2008 and while he made the roster, he was inactive for all 16 Seahawks games that year.
He sat out the 2009 and 2010 seasons before enjoying brief stints with the Seahawks, Jaguars (one week on the practice squad) and Buffalo. He missed his only field-goal attempt with the Bills (45-yarder) and kicked three extra points.
Mularkey wants the special teams unit to work on perfecting the timing of snaps, holds and kickoff coverage, so a kicker had to be signed for the OTAs.
"We need to go through the whole process with the snap, the hold, field goals and kickoff teams," he said. "We need someone that can time up a kickoff."
Scobee is at an impasse with the Jaguars, who put the $2.88 million franchise tender on him at the start of the free-agent season, but the veteran kicker has refused to sign it. He is in search of a long-term deal but the two sides have been unable to come to terms on a new deal.
Because Scobee hasn't signed the franchise tender, he isn't considered under contract and can skip the June minicamp without being fined. OTAs are voluntary.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "Go hard or go home. I don't care how much money is in my back account. They took a chance on me, so it's only right for me to go out there and give my all." - Jaguars defensive end Jeremy Mincey when asked about the contract he signed in the offseason and whether it's affected his outlook on life/football.
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