JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — It’s been a wild week for Jaguars cornerback Aaron Ross.
It started last Friday when he flew from Jacksonville to London to attend the Olympic Games. Two days later, he cheered on his wife, Sanya Richards-Ross, to a gold medal-winning performance in the women’s 400-meter race.
The following day he flew back to Jacksonville then was at the Jaguars’ two practices on Tuesday. Wednesday, Ross watched nervously with his teammates as his wife finished fifth in the finals of the 200-meter race.
On Friday Ross finishes the hectic eight-day stretch when he faces his former team, the New York Giants, who come to Jacksonville to meet the Jaguars in the first preseason game of the year for the two teams.
Ross had been to London previously in 2007 when the Giants played Miami in a preseason game there. But the Olympics venture was something special and left a lasting impression on Ross and his wife.
“It was a great, great experience,” the Jaguars cornerback said. “It was cake and icing to be able to experience that, but then she was able to put a little icing on the cake with the win. It was great.”
On Sunday, Jaguars coach Mike Mularkey ended practice early so that the team and over a thousand fans attending practice could go to EverBank Field and watch a taped version of the 400 that had taken place while the team was practicing. That gesture had special meaning to both Ross and his wife when they saw a video of the team and fans watching the race on the Jumbotron in the stadium.
“Oh, man, that was amazing,” Ross said about his teammates’ support. “She actually shed a tear right after. We were all at the house re-watching the race celebrating and then they sent us a text and told us that it was all over the news.
“They sent us a little video clip of the guys watching the race and you see the guys getting excited, see the coaches getting excited. I mean there’s no better feeling than that.”
Now that his wife is finished with individual races — she’ll still run on the American 4x400-meter relay team — Ross is back in full football mode. First on his list is to win a starting spot at cornerback, where incumbents Rashean Mathis and Derek Cox are listed as the starters. He’s currently penciled in behind Mathis on the first depth chart released by the team, but Ross figures he’ll still see plenty of action.
“It’s the same situation we had in New York where there were three of us competing for the two starting spots,” the sixth-year veteran said. “Nowadays, teams are going four and five wide, so to have three or four good corners, you really need that. It doesn’t matter if you’re a starter, chances are you’re going to be in there 70 percent of the time anyways.”
Ross would like to enhance his status with a strong showing against his former teammates. He was with the Giants for five previous seasons that included Super Bowl championship teams in 2007 and 2011.
He’s looking forward to visiting with and playing against some of his former teammates.
“It will be like going to a big family reunion,” Ross said. “I talk to some of those guys almost every day. Those guys are like my brothers. I’m really, really close to them.
“I was with those guys for five years. We grew and developed a strong bond between us. We’ll be enemies during the game, but as soon as it ends, we’ll be back to being brothers.”