AFC South Time Machine: Jaguars' Forgotten Game and a Farewell to Marcus Stroud

Nate DunlevyGuest ColumnistJune 21, 2012

JACKSONVILLE, FL - DECEMBER 9:  Marcus Stroud #99 of the Jacksonville Jaguars smiles to the crowd in a game against the Carolina Panthers at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium December 9, 2007 in Jacksonville, Florida. The Jaguars beat the Panthers 37-6.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

For one more day, Marcus Stroud was a Jaguar.

The veteran defensive tackle signed a one-day contract to finish his career where it began.

While injuries ultimately cost him a few more productive seasons, he had a long and successful career with the Jaguars and Bills.

For seven seasons, Stroud was a beast up front for the Jags. Together with John Henderson, he anchored an outstanding defensive line that was one of the most difficult in the league to run on. He made three consecutive Pro Bowls from 2003 to 2005, and the team made the playoffs twice and won 40 games over his final four years with them.

Stroud was dominant against the run and an excellent pass rusher. Jaguars fans will always remember performances like Week 2 of the 2007 season. With the Jaguars sitting at 0-1 and the offense struggling for a second week in a row, Stroud came up huge.

He posted a sack-and-a-half, including the biggest play of the game. With the Jags trailing 7-3, the Falcons drove to the 5-yard line late in the third quarter. Stroud burst through to take down Joey Harrington on third down.

Atlanta missed the field goal.

Jacksonville took the next possession in for a touchdown, taking the lead for good.

The next Falcons drive ended with a half-sack by Stroud as well. By the time the Falcons saw the ball again, they were down six with just minutes to play. Stroud had turned the game, and possibly the season. The Jags went on a four-game win streak and finished the year 11-5.

When his team needed a play, Stroud stepped up and made it. That defined his career in Jacksonville and that's why he deserved his honorary day in the sun.

In his final four years with the Jaguars, they went 40-24. In the four years since he left, they've gone 25-39.