Former Jaguars quarterback to be inducted into Pride of the Jaguars
If you're new to Jacksonville, you might not recognize his name right away. But those of you who have been here a while, know Mark Brunell's name and reputation.
Brunell played for the Jaguars from 1995-2003. As quarterback, he led the "Big Cats" to their first win ever and helped the team clinch the AFC Central Division title in 1998.
With his leadership, the Jaguars became the first NFL expansion team to make the playoffs three times in the team's first four seasons. As a Jaguar, he was a three-time Pro Bowl selection and was named Pro Bowl MVP during the 1997 game.
Jaguars President Mark Lamping said inducting Brunell into the Pride of the Jaguars was never if, but when. That when will happen Sunday during halftime. The Jaguars are playing the Buffalo Bills at home at 1 p.m.
Brunell will be on the field for the induction ceremony.
"There will be some emotion. I have about a minute and a half speech that I have to give, and I'm just hoping to get through it," Brunell said during an interview Friday on The Morning Show.
"This is a great moment for me and for my family. It's the highest honor or award I've ever gotten because of this game. It means a lot. I'm deeply honored."
The former quarterback joins previous inductees Tony Boselli, Fred Taylor and Wayne and Delores Weaver.
Brunell also talked about his new career. He has traded in the pads for a whistle. He signed on this school year to coach football at the Episcopal School of Jacksonville.
"I get an opportunity to stay in the game of football and coach and mentor high school kids, and that's a perfect fit for me and my family," he said. "Football taught me so much about hard work and the importance of having teammates, having good people around you, overcoming adversity on the football field and in life -- those type of principles and life lessons, we're trying to teach our young men at Episcopal."
Two of Brunell's children, his youngest sons, attend the school, and yes, in case you were wondering, both play football. Brunell and his wife, Stacy, have two older children, a daughter and another son. The couple met at the University of Washington, where Brunell played college football and Stacy ran track.
So why did they pick Jacksonville as the city where they would call home?
"There was an instant connection with the city," Brunell said. "It's a great place to raise a family, as so many people know. We love Jacksonville and we want to spend the rest of our lives here."
During the high school football off-season, Brunell also works as an analyst for ESPN. If you don't spot him on the field Sunday during the Jaguars game, you can see him Christmas Eve and Christmas Day on ESPN.
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