The Jaguars enter their 25th year as an NFL franchise and with that, “XL Primetime” on 1010XL is going down memory lane with some of the greats from the past 25 seasons.
Gary Walker played three seasons in Jacksonville from 1999-2001. Coming over from the Oilers-Titans franchise, Walker made an instant impact when he arrived in Jacksonville compiling 10 quarterback sacks in 1999.
In 46 starts with the Jaguars, Walker accumulated 22.5 quarterback sacks and was named an alternate to the Pro Bowl in 2001.
“I didn’t know anything about the city, but being with the Oliers-Titans franchise I did know about the team,” Walker told 1010XL. “I also knew what kind of fan base they had because we played them once a year down there every year.
“When I became a free agent, it was between Jacksonville and Pittsburgh where I wanted to go. It ended up working out great for me and I enjoyed all three years of it.”
Walker was asked to reflect back on the 1999 season, which was his first-year in Jacksonville and still considered by fans as the as one of, if not the best, year in Jaguars franchise history
“What I remember about that team is me and Tony Brackens would always feel that if we got three, three-and-outs, then we would be up 14 points,” Walker said. “We were just that confident in our offense with Jimmy Smith, Kennan McCardell and Fred Taylor who is probably the best running back I’ve seen in the league. I can’t understand why he isn’t in the hall of fame already.
“I remember even when we were 13-1, we would still come in the locker room and you would think we were 1-13 because the hunger was always there. We all loved each other and we had a great time.”
Walker gives credit to one particular position on the offensive side of the ball for the success of the defensive line on that team.
“The reason we were good defensively is because we had to go against guys like Leon Searcy and Tony Boselli,” he said. “Our offensive line that we went against in practice made it easy to play on Sunday.
“We would go out for walkthrough on Saturday and Leon Searcy would come out with his hands taped up on Saturday. I mean when he walked out on the field his hands were taped and he was ready to punch somebody. So gameday on Sunday was easy.”
Finally, Walker was asked about playing for Tom Coughlin.
“You know, you never really appreciate that man until you don’t have him,” Walker said. “I know when he left Jacksonville and went up to New York everybody wanted to fire him and get rid of him and there were times we didn’t really like him down in Jacksonville, but when you leave him and go to somebody else, you understand his pressure.
“He put pressure on everybody, but he loved everybody. I think everybody who ever played with him would agree with that. I really enjoyed, for the most part, being around him.”
Walker’s 22.5 quarterback sacks in a Jaguars uniform ranks him 8th all-time in franchise history.
(You can follow Ryan Green on Twitter @RyanGreen1010XL)