JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jacksonville Jaguars coach Doug Marrone thought he was going to have a normal day in early March until someone poked his head into his office and offered some devastating news.
Linebacker Paul Posluszny was in the building, and he was wearing a suit.
“I’m like, ‘This is not good,’” Marrone remembered.
Posluszny being at the team facility in the offseason was not unusual -- he’s there pretty much every day to work out -- but the tie and dress shoes meant Posluszny wasn’t there to lift. He was there to deliver a message, and it was one that Marrone didn’t want to hear: After 11 seasons, Posluszny was ready to retire.
He did it the same way he played: with class and respect for the game. Posluszny spoke with Marrone, executive vice president Tom Coughlin, general manager Dave Caldwell, strength and conditioning coach Tom Myslinski, head athletic trainer Scott Trulock, equipment manager Jimmy Luck and pretty much everyone else in the building to let them know he had decided to retire -- and to thank them for everything they had done.
That -- as well as Posluszny’s emotional 740-word statement the team later released -- is what will stay with Marrone. Posluszny was a very good player -- he’s second in franchise history with 973 tackles -- but his professionalism is what Marrone raves about.
“I asked him, I said, ‘Are you sure?’” Marrone said. “I want this person around. You want to hire this guy. You want this guy around your football team in some capacity, some way, and I think there’ll be a time down the road where that comes, but he says, ‘Even if everyone thinks I can play, in my mind if I go out there and I see a play that I could have made the year before and I can’t make it now, I couldn’t live with myself.’
“That’s some heavy s--- right there. People go, ‘I’m sure they would have taken him back. They would have paid him X amount. He would have made that money. He would have made that team.’ It’s above that for him. That’s what I love.”
Posluszny will be honored Monday with a retirement ceremony at the team facility. Here are some memorable highlights of Posluszny’s seven seasons with the Jaguars:
Posluszny gave the Jaguars a great chance to pick up their first victory of the 2016 season in Week 3 by intercepting Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco late in the fourth quarter and returning the ball to the Ravens’ 29-yard line. The Jaguars lost 5 yards on that possession, and Jason Myers’ 52-yard field goal attempt was blocked. Baltimore eventually kicked a field goal and won 19-17.
Posluszny scored the first touchdown of his career by intercepting quarterback Peyton Manning and returning it 59 yards with 36 seconds remaining in the first half in a game at Denver on Oct. 13, 2013. Manning was trying to hit receiver Wes Welker in the seam, and Posluszny, playing in zone coverage, read Manning and drifted back to his right and made a leaping catch. That cut Denver’s lead to 14-12, though the Broncos would eventually win 35-19.
Posluszny recorded a career-high 21 tackles in the Jaguars’ 24-3 loss at Miami on Dec. 16, 2012. That remains the fifth-highest single-game total in franchise history.
Posluszny was seemingly everywhere in the Jaguars’ 17-3 victory at Indianapolis on Nov. 13, 2011. He made 11 tackles, deflected a pass, assisted on a sack and intercepted quarterback Curtis Painter.
Posluszny forced running back Arian Foster to fumble, and the ball was returned 38 yards for a touchdown by cornerback Ashton Youboty in the Jaguars’ 20-13 loss to Houston on Nov. 27, 2011.