Jaguar Marcell Dareus Continues To Reap the Benefits Of Maturity

    Jacksonville Jaguars defensive tackle Marcell Dareus is still living a dream. After being traded from Buffalo, the two-time Pro Bowler helped the Jaguars stifle the Bills 10-9 in this year’s AFC Wild Card matchup. Dareus recorded four tackles, including one for a loss, helping Jacksonville to its first playoff win since January 5, 2008 and fifth appearance in the Divisional round. Jacksonville’s defense held Buffalo to just three points and under 300 total yards while forcing two turnovers in a dominant performance.

    Then on Sunday, Dareus delivered a sack of Big Ben Roethlisberger as the Jags went on the road and stunned the Pittsburgh Steelers 45-42 in their AFC Divisional playoff game.

    “That was a tough, tough game but I felt great out there getting the sack, playing alongside my defensive teammates and working hard to get the victory,” Dareus told the Shadow League through his PR at Swanson Communications. “Just to be playing in the postseason and now going to the AFC Championship game is something I have yet to experience in my career and it’s a great feeling.” 

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    Dareus has come a long way from his Buffalo days that saw some sensational play marred by offseason arrests, drug issues and missing team meetings. His talent was never in question, only his off the field decision-making. But since those rocky times, he has taken a humanitarian trip to Haiti to aid in Hurricane recovery, donated money towards educational advances for kids of the underserved region and hosted annual Christmas parties, providing gifts for 175 local children at the William-Emslie Family YMCA in Buffalo. Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown presented Dareus with an official proclamation making December 23rd “Marcell Dareus Day.”  He was actually emerging as a leader in Buffalo. 

    Despite being a seasoned NFL vet and the third overall pick of the 2011 NFL Draft,  Dareus is a playoff rookie and in his second game recorded his sack late in the first half, helping to propel Jacksonville to an insurmountable 28-14 halftime lead. 

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    Dareus is now a key cog in a potent Jacksonville defense that forced two turnovers on Sunday, including a fumble recovery for a touchdown. His constant, menacing bull-rushes kept the pressure on Big Ben and helped Jacksonville repel a late charge by the Steelers. 

    “We have a bunch of guys who play hard as a unit every game and I’m so happy to be a part of it,” said Dareus. “I do what I can to help but I’m also grateful to be part of something so special.”

    While Jags rookie cornerback Jalen Ramsey chooses to guarantee victories and display his youthful over-exuberance, the wily veteran refuses to make any predictions other than the fact that his team has enough ego and belief in themselves to beat the Pats. Dareus knows it will take a perfect effort to dethrone the defending World Champions.  

    “We are a game away from the Super Bowl which is unbelievable, but first we have to get past New England in New England,” cautioned Dareus, who played the Patriots twice every year of his career with the AFC Easts Buffalo Bills. “Certainly no easy task, but we’re coming to win and I have all the confidence in this team that is exactly what we are going to do.

    Dareus has been riding a football high and he doesnt want to come down until he has helped the Jags advance to their first Super Bowl appearance in franchise history. 

    JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.