March, 2007 will be a month that Alvin Pearman will likely never forget. One of the highlights of the off-season for the Jaguars backup running back was his trip to Africa with Athletes in Action to teach the game of football. Pearman said that "it's great when you are getting around a community that is unfamiliar with the game of football. It's a game I love so much and it's great to be able to share it with them." That trip was probably the best football related activity in the month of March for Pearman.
As Pearman was serving as an ambassador for the National Football League, the Jaguars were busy conducting business in the inflated free agency market. During the first week of free agency, the Jaguars signed wide receiver Dennis Northcutt to add a deep threat to their wide receiving corps. Northcutt is not only a slot receiver, but he also serves as one of the league's better punt returners, a job that Pearman has had pretty much exclusively since he was drafted back in 2005. One of the main reasons why Pearman has earned an NFL paycheck over the last two seasons was his versatility on the football field. Pearman was drafted by the Jaguars to be pretty much a third down back exclusively. While Pearman possesses a nice set of hands, he doesn't have the speed to make big plays at the NFL level. The Jaguars recognized that fact, and spent their second round pick in 2006 on running back Maurice Jones-Drew, who has big play ability, as evidenced by his 16 touchdowns as a rookie.
Even with the drafting of Jones-Drew, the Jaguars still found a roster spot for Pearman, as he filled in at punt returner, after former Jaguars receiver Chad Owens could not handle the duties. Pearman's official position on the roster reads running back, but it should read football player, as he's been willing to help out in any and every area necessary for the team. Pearman has showed great resilience throughout his two years in Jacksonville, as it seems like the team has been trying to replace him each year, and each year he keeps making the roster.
This year Pearman may be out of luck in his quest for a roster spot, at least in Jacksonville.. The final nail in Pearman's coffin may have came Wednesday, as the Jaguars re-signed free agent running back LaBrandon Toefield to a one-year contract. Toefield joins a backfield of Fred Taylor, Maurice Jones-Drew, Greg Jones, Derrick Wimbush, and Pearman. The only advantage that Pearman had over Toefield was his punt return abilities. Toefield is clearly the better inside runner, his hands are equal, if not better than Pearman's, and he also has a little more outside speed. With the signing of Dennis Northcutt, the Jaguars have their punt returner, and now the backfield seems to be stuffed with talent. It is hard to find a better guy off the field than Alvin Pearman, but with the stiff competition that the Jaguars have put around him, it seems difficult that Pearman will find his way on the field in 2007 wearing a Jaguars uniform.
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