- Mike DiRocco, ESPN Staff Writer
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Former Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Mark Brunell said he regrets telling a national radio audience that all indications are that the franchise is headed toward relocating to London, possibly as soon as the next few years.
Speaking Wednesday morning on Jacksonville radio station 1010XL (AM 1010), Brunell said he got caught up in the moment during a segment on ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike on Tuesday morning and wishes he could take back what he said because his comments angered a lot of Jaguars fans.
"I certainly caused quite a stir and upset a lot of Jaguars fans," Brunell said. "Let me tell you guys: I regret those comments. A poor choice of words. I had an opportunity up there to speak to all that [Jaguars owner] Shad Khan has done in this community, his investments, and his plans, and all the great things that are going on with the Jacksonville Jaguars and I didn’t do it. That certainly will not happen again.
"Obviously all of us, we want the Jaguars to stay in Jacksonville and I do not want this team to leave. I love this team. I love the franchise. I love the direction it’s heading in. I love this community. I think I got caught up a little bit. My quote, my comment, was all indications are that the team is heading in that direction towards London, but, really those were comments based on what’s being said and what the perspective is outside this community. Inside this community, of course we all know what’s going to be going on the next few years with the stadium renovations and all that, so [I made a] poor choice of words."
Brunell, who is paid by the Jaguars to do a weekly radio show and as an analyst on preseason television broadcasts, went on to say he will correct those comments whenever he gets another opportunity in his role as an NFL analyst with ESPN.
"I regret it," said Brunell, who is going to be inducted into the team's Pride of the Jaguars on Dec. 15. "I’d love to have it back. I upset a lot of people and that certainly was not my intention and I feel terrible about it. I wish I could do it all over again. It’s unfortunate.
"I know this may not heal a lot of the wounds but I’m thankful for the opportunity to share those thoughts."
During his Tuesday morning appearance on Mike & Mike, co-host Mike Golic asked Brunell if he thought the Jaguars topped the list of franchises that could move to Los Angeles or London. Brunell’s response angered Jaguars fans, who took to Twitter to criticize one of the most beloved players in franchise history.
"You know, it wouldn’t surprise me," Brunell said. "I hate to say it, but we’ve got an owner in Shad Khan that’s bought the soccer team over there and all indications are that we’re headed that way. It’s not good for Jacksonville. You don’t hear a lot of that talk in Jacksonville right now but everywhere else, someone mentioned it the other day it’s the Jacksonville Jaguars of London. I want them to stay. That’s my home. I love the franchise. I love the organization, but it wouldn’t surprise anybody if in a few years it happened."
However, Khan has said several times he is committed to Jacksonville and he has already spent $11 million on improvements to the Jaguars’ weight room, locker room, and training facility. Earlier this month the team announced Khan is contributing $20 million toward $63 million in stadium improvements that include two new video scoreboards and an interactive area inside the stadium that will include a pool. That brings Khan’s total investment since he purchased the team to $31 million.