Former Patriot Tells His Tale

The New England Patriots have a Florida connection they've relied on the past few seasons where Bill Belichick meets with Florida coach Urban Meyer to share insights. Sometimes that connection leads to the team acquiring a Florida player, sometimes it almost does. One former Gator shares his thoughts on why it didn't workout and where he's ended up.

Defensive end /outside linebacker Jeremy Mincey was a sixth round pick of the New England Patriots in 2006. Since that time, he's been part of the Patriots, the San Francisco 49ers and now the Jacksonville Jaguars. It's his current situation where Mincey reflects on the path he's taken in his short career, and where he fits in on his current team. For the Patriots, the Florida connection continues. For Mincey, it does as well.

There's no doubt the Jaguars have had success in drafting or acquiring University of Florida football players. A year ago, the Jaguars had six former Gators on their active roster, including last year's No. 1 draft pick, safety Reggie Nelson.

So it didn't come as a great surprise when the Jaguars traded draft spots and draft selections with Baltimore in order to move up to the No. 8 spot. They were able to land UF defensive end Derrick Harvey.

Jeremy Mincey is still with the club -- and he wants everyone to remember it. Mincey is considered a battler and what he lacks in physical qualities, he's made up for with desire. That desire will be tested this year after the Jaguars drafted Harvey and grabbed Quentin Groves, another pass-rushing end, with their second choice.

That will make Mincey's job more difficult after spending a good portion of the 2007 season on the practice squad before Jacksonville signed him to the active roster on Nov. 8. He went on to play in six games the rest of the season, including both of the Jaguars' playoff games where he saw action on 23 plays against Pittsburgh and 15 plays against New England.

Mincey said he's excited to have a former college teammate now aboard with the Jaguars.

"I was definitely happy for Harvey because that was my buddy in college," he told the team's Web site. "I didn't see it as a bad thing. I saw it as another chance to compete, to raise my bar higher. I know what I can do.

"I come to work. I don't come to practiced to get by. I don't live life to get by."

It hasn't been easy for Mincey since he was originally drafted by the New England Patriots in the sixth round of the 2006 draft. He was waived on the final cuts that year and three days later, signed to the San Francisco practice squad. In December that year, he was brought back to the state of Florida when the Jaguars signed him off the 49ers practice squad.

The Patriots and 49ers tried to convert him into a linebacker but the Jaguars were more interested in keeping him as a defensive end.

"Jacksonville is where I wanted to go in the first place on draft day," the 6-3, 265-pounder said. "The Jaguars were interested in me from the get-go. I had three visits and that was one of the visits I had.

"Now I'm back in my comfort zone. So I can just make plays. I'm not one of those thinkin' cats. I came from nothing. I came from the practice squad. When I got cut here, I said put me on the practice squad and I'll work my way up."

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