JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey says he has dealt with back issues throughout his career and that they were severe enough that he was unable to practice for weeks. It wasn’t until the past two weeks, however, that his back put his playing status in doubt.
Now it’s keeping him out for the second week in a row; the Jaguars have ruled him out for Sunday’s game at Carolina.
Ramsey, who has asked the Jaguars to trade him, spoke about his chronic back problem on the latest episode of The Uninterrupted’s “17 Weeks” podcast on Sirius XM/Pandora. He said he knew last Sunday morning that he wasn’t going to play against Denver because of a back injury and added that he has suffered from back problems during his NFL career.
“I went … 51 straight games [before missing last week’s game] where I started and played the whole game,” Ramsey said on the podcast. “My body was banged up, my back being extremely tight. Having back issues is something I’ve had to deal with over the course of my NFL career. At times I’ve played through extreme pain or not practiced for weeks and tried to go out there and play. It’s something I’ve dealt with.”
Ramsey, 24, has not practiced since the Jaguars’ Sept. 19 victory over Tennessee because of the injury and leaving the team for several days for the birth of his second child. Head coach Doug Marrone said Ramsey is going to see a specialist within the next week.
“Jalen’s been working extremely hard to get back with this low-back issue and it hasn’t been getting any better,” Marrone said Friday. “Jalen has always been someone that’s extremely diligent in what he has to do to get back on the field. One of the toughest guys that I’ve coached when it comes down to injuries and fighting back from it.
“Obviously we’re just working day to day to get it better.”
Ramsey has previously appeared on an NFL injury report with a back injury — twice in 2017, in particular — and was limited in practices during those weeks. However, he was not listed on a game status report, which is where players are ruled out or given a designation of doubtful (unlikely to play) or questionable (uncertain to play), because of the back injury.
Ramsey was listed as questionable for games seven times prior to this season: three times last season because of ankle and knee injuries and four times in 2017 because of ankle, hand and hamstring injuries. Ramsey played each time.
“A lot of players in the NFL deal with ailments during the season,” Marrone said. “Obviously, Jalen has appeared on the report in previous years, but he’s always been able to play on Sunday. Any time a player’s unable to practice due to medical reasons, we list it on the injury report. Like I said before, Jalen’s one of the toughest players that I’ve been around and whatever is happening with him, it’s never been a matter of he wasn’t going to play because of his toughness. He’s always done everything we’ve asked.”
Ramsey asked the team to trade him after being chastised by Tom Coughlin, the Jaguars’ executive vice president of football operations, following a 13-12 loss at Houston on Sept. 15. During that game, Ramsey got into a sideline shouting match with Marrone after the coach refused Ramsey’s request to challenge a completion to DeAndre Hopkins.
Ramsey played against Tennessee four days later but did not practice the following Monday because of an illness. He also missed that Wednesday’s practice with a back injury. Marrone said he didn’t know when Ramsey suffered the injury, but three hours later the team released a statement saying Ramsey reported back soreness to the team’s medical staff during the fourth quarter of the game against the Titans.
Later that day, the team announced that Ramsey would return to his hometown of Nashville, Tennessee, for the impending birth of his second child. The Jaguars released a statement from Marrone that Ramsey “will return to the team when he’s ready.”
Ramsey rejoined the team last Saturday and flew on the team charter to Denver. He was inactive for the game against the Broncos, the first game he has missed since the Jaguars drafted him fifth overall in 2016.