Thursday, October 9, 2003
Locker room prop costs Jaguars their punter
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Chris Hanson swung and missed.
No, not at a ball he was trying to kick, but at the wood he was
trying to chop.
The Jaguars punter needed surgery to close up a gash on his
right, non-kicking, leg Thursday after he miscalibrated while using
an ax to hack at the massive tree stump that coach Jack Del Rio
placed in the locker room a few weeks ago.
Del Rio used the stump as a symbol for the mantra he has adopted
for the Jaguars (1-4) this season: "Keep chopping wood."
Hanson took the message literally, and wound up being rushed to
the hospital, where he received several stitches, team spokesman
Dan Edwards said. Hanson's leg will be in a boot for four to six
weeks, and the team hasn't decided whether to place him on injured
reserve, Edwards said.
Beginning with Sunday's game against Miami, Jacksonville's only
Pro Bowl player from last season will be replaced by Mark Royals,
who was cut earlier this year by the Dolphins.
The accident happened while position players were in meetings.
"Specialists have more free time on their hands," Del Rio
After the team fell to 0-3, Del Rio had the tree stump placed in
the middle of the locker room, set atop a plastic tarp, and
equipped with an ax planted in the base of the log. The stump and
ax remained in the room over the last two weeks, and every now and
then, players would hack away, spraying wood chips all about the
On Thursday, when the media was allowed into the locker room,
the stump was still there, albeit much worse for wear. The ax,
meanwhile, was gone. Asked what happened to the ax, several players
just shook their heads and smiled.
Del Rio opened his daily news conference by saying Hanson
suffered an accident. Asked what kind of accident, he said it was
"a locker room accident." Pressed further, Del Rio acknowledged
it was with the ax.
Thus marked a bad ending to a pretty decent motivational idea.
After Jacksonville's bad start, the first-year coach insisted to
the team to "keep chopping wood," telling the players that hard
work was the only way to solve their problems.
"The message was understood," he said. The log, he said, "was
symbolic more than anything else. The thing was on its way out, but
just not soon enough."
This isn't the first time Hanson has been injured in an
In June 2002, Hanson, his wife and former Jaguars kicker Jaret
Holmes were severely burned while they were making fondue at
Hanson's house, and the fondue pot overturned.