JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- After a five-year hiatus, pingpong is back in the Jacksonville Jaguars' locker room.
Head coach Doug Pederson OK'd a request from several players for one. Then, on Tuesday, a blue table, along with paddles and balls, showed up in the middle of the locker room.
"It's just a way for them just to stay together and have some friendly competition in there," Pederson said. "It's good to have it."
It's not unusual for there to be pingpong tables, billiard tables, video games or other amusements in the players' lounge. But since the Jaguars don't currently have a lounge in TIAA Bank Field, the pingpong table ended up in the locker room. There will be a lounge in the new football facility currently under construction adjacent to the stadium that is scheduled to open before the 2023 season begins.
A pingpong table had been in the center of the Jaguars' locker room dating back to head coach Jack Del Rio's tenure (2003-11), but one of the first things that Doug Marrone did after being hired in January 2017 as the permanent replacement for Gus Bradley was take it out of the locker room.
Only one Jaguars player remains from the previous pingpong era: offensive lineman Tyler Shatley.
"What a journey, you know, to have the pingpong table back," Shatley joked. "Just glad I'm here for it."