The Jaguars gathered at a players home on Tuesday night to discuss the recent shooting of their teammate Richard Collier. Rashean Mathis, who serves as “a godly voice” for the team was vocal in the meeting.
“It was an un-godly incident. You have to take it for what it’s worth,” Mathis said. “For the past three years, I’ve been a spiritual voice on this team–a godly voice. I just try to lead people in the right direction to make better decisions.”
The meeting, according to Fred Taylor, was a productive one.
“Rashean said it best last night. When it hits at home, you can really feel it,” said Taylor. “When it hits right here in your back yard…this is real. We take a lot for granted, but this is real. Life is short. We have learned a lot listening to the other guys speaking about their teammates. His family, that’s the most important thing, to be supportive of his family.”
Head coach Jack Del Rio called Collier’s condition “still critical” on Wednesday, the same information he gave to the team.
Linebacker Clint Ingram, Collier’s best friend on the team, was visibly shaken.
“Rich is just like my brother, he’s a real close friend,” said Ingram. “When you spent a lot of time with a person and something happens like this gets to you real bad.”
Last year, the Jaguars prided themselves on being as close as family in their run to the playoffs. But now, that bond will be tested.
“A lot of guys in this locker room are of similar backgrounds and have had to deal with family members missing and gone,” Mathis said.
All the while, the Jaguars tried to get back to the business at hand.
“When you get questions you can answer about ‘who?’ and ‘why?’ ‘what’s it going to lead to?’ there are so many unknowns,” said Del Rio. “It’s frustrating when you can’t answer those questions. But we have to handle them emotionally, then get back to the business at hand, which is preparing for the Titans on Sunday.”
Last year, the Jaguars came out flat against Tennessee. But this year, they’ll have much more on their minds when the season kicks off.