Jags Fans Must Be Patient

The jury is out and will remain sequestered for the next five months until Aaron Kampman takes to the practice field for live contact for the first time since his December surgery to repair his torn ACL that he suffered on Nov. 22 against San Francisco.

That season-ending injury is now the concern of the Jaguars staff, fellow teammates and fans who are hopeful that Kampman can be the answer to the team's woeful sack production last season. That was when the Jaguars recorded just 14 total team sacks, the fewest the league and the fifth lowest mark in NFL history.

That low total may have turned into a Jaguars selling point as Kampman indicated he did his homework before deciding which team he would continue his career with.

"I did a lot of research about all the different teams that needed defensive ends," he said. "It (Jacksonville) was one team that needed a defensive end. When the offer came to come down for a visit, (I) wanted to see what Jacksonville was all about. Over time, through the interview process, it grew on us.

"We said this (Jacksonville) is definitely something we could see ourselves fitting in."

Kampman, a 6-foot-4, 262-pound end who will enter his ninth NFL season, was lured away from the Green Bay Packers where he spent eight seasons. He started 104 of the 112 games he played in and was a two-time Pro Bowl selection in 2006 and '07. In 2006 he led the NFC and ranked second in the NFL with a career-high 15.5 sacks along with a career-high 113 tackles.

It's isn't often that one player can record more sacks in a single season than an entire team, but that' the case here if you compare Kampman's total from 2006 against what the Jaguars did a year ago. And that's why the team went after him, and went after him hard when free agency opened.

They invited him to town on a Friday and kept him involved with discussions through the early hours on Sunday before the two sides agreed to a $26 million contract that calls for $11 million up front. Based on what Kampman did prior to last year, he's worth the money the Jaguars invested in him.

Based on the fact he's coming off his worse season (3.5 sacks in nine games) since 2003, the fact that he's now 30 and that he's still recuperating from the surgery, signing Kampman to such a lucrative contract could be termed a gamble. But that's not how the former University of Iowa standout is looking at things.

"My knee is great; I'm very encouraged by it," he said. "It was a clean injury. Sitting in the MRI tube before we knew, looking at the MRI after it happened, I was very encouraged with how things are progressing.

"I can't tell you how good it's been. I'm excited about getting back and being 100 percent. It has come along very well."


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