By: Hays Carlyon
I called for Blake Bortles to be cut in the 2017 preseason on “The Frangie Show” multiple times. He was struggling in the preseason after a dreadful 2016 season and had just been benched for the third preseason game by coach Doug Marrone in favor of Chad Henne.
Bortles proved me wrong.
He enjoyed the best season of his career, helping lead the Jaguars to a 10-6 record, the AFC South title and a berth in the AFC Championship Game.
Bortles may or may not have been aware of my comments. If he was, he never let it show. Bortles always answered my questions politely and with insight.
I’ve covered the Jaguars for six seasons. Bortles has been the centerpiece of my Jaguars tenure.
When I worked at the Florida Times-Union for the first three years of Bortles’ career, he was a huge help. Bortles would conduct his weekly press conference on Wednesday. However, he was always willing to give me a few minutes of his time after practice on Friday. That always made my Sunday story better.
I’m excited for the Jaguars post-Bortles era. I’m excited about new quarterback Nick Foles.
Wednesday night was an odd emotion when the Jaguars announced Bortles had finally been released. We all knew it was coming for months. Yet, the finality of getting the text from the Jaguars that it was official was surprisingly hard to take.
Cutting Bortles was absolutely the right move, but it made me sad.
Bortles could’ve gotten arrogant after the 2017 season. He didn’t.
He could’ve resented much of the NFL world. He never did.
He could’ve gone into a shell as a 3-1 start fell apart last season in a massive losing skid. He never did.
Bortles was always the bigger person.
I’ll always remember the highlights of his career — like the magical 2017 run as well as setting the franchise-record for touchdown passes in 2015 – more than the ultimate failure.
Thank you, Blake. Best of luck.
(You can email Hays at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @HaysCarlyon)