Mike Peterson vs Jack Del Rio

Jack Del Rio and Mike Peterson have a lot in common. Like Peterson, Del Rio was a fiery overachiever who played linebacker with a passion. This is why it's so strange that the two men are now estranged. In a stunning move, Del Rio, the Jaguars' coach, sent Peterson home Wednesday morning and his status is up in the air. Find out more about what happened.

Del Rio didn't reveal the reason for the action in a short statement the team issued.

"Mike Peterson was sent home today and did not practice. We're working through this process seeking an appropriate conclusion," he said without saying whether Peterson will rejoin the team Thursday.

Even before this incident, Peterson was widely viewed to be in his last season because he's in the final year of the six-year deal he signed in 2003. The Jaguars haven't renewed his contract and they have three young linebackers in Daryl Smith, Justin Durant and Clint Ingram.

Still, according to the Jaguars' figures, Peterson leads the team with 85 tackles.

Peterson has made it obvious he's unhappy about his contract status, but seemed to be determined to do his talking on the field rather than going public with his frustration.

Peterson is such a popular player in the locker room that when Del Rio named five captains and didn't include him, the players voted him as the sixth captain.

Del Rio met with the members of the team's leadership council coming off the field after the morning workout, presumably to inform them of the Peterson decision.

Del Rio didn't announce he was sending Peterson home until after his morning press conference.

During the 21-19 loss to Cincinnati, Peterson celebrated a sack by the defense when they were trailing 21-3 in the third period by flexing his muscles. There's a possibility that annoyed Del Rio and led to a confrontation.

But Del Rio was probably already unhappy about Peterson griping that he didn't get a new contract because he wanted to stay in Jacksonville.

Del Rio, though, should have known Peterson was going to be unhappy if they made him play out his contract. If they didn't want to give him a new deal, they should have cut him in the spring and moved on.

Now it's a distraction in the middle of the season. And since Peterson was a popular player, the move may not go down well in the locker room.

It's also uncertain how it'll play out and whether Peterson's career with the Jaguars is already over.

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