Saying goodbye to Josh Scobee

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The 11-season tenure of Josh Scobee with the Jacksonville Jaguars came to an abrupt end on Monday when the veteran kicker was shipped off to the Pittsburgh Steelers for a late-round draft pick.

For Jaguars fans, this was an emotional day. My phone blew up with messages and notifications with people mourning the departure of Scobee in a way that they haven’t mourned many other high-profile players.

For Scobee, this is a move fraught with potential pitfalls. Heinz Field is not an easy place to kick. It’s known as the worst surface in the NFL. The wind in Pittsburgh, especially during the fall and winter, is no joke at all either.

Not to mention that Scobee is the third kicker that the Steelers have rostered. This season.

Assuming that Scobee doesn’t pull his hamstring or tear his ACL, this is a good move for Pittsburgh.

Meanwhile, for those of us in Dirty Duval who have grown up (or grown old) watching Scobee in teal, this is an elegaic moment.

I interviewed Scobee a few years back on local radio, when he was the toast of the town after he kicked a 59-yard field goal to beat Indianapolis.

A 10-minute interview with a kicker. I don’t remember most of it. The archive seems to have been scrubbed also.

What I do remember is a discussion that he and I had about the Zen detachment needed to kick a field goal like that.

Often, when athletes and politicians get asked open-ended questions that require them to be reflective in the moment, they shank the response.

Not Scobee. His depth came through.

There are, of course, reasons to get rid of a veteran kicker. You want to go younger. You want to go cheaper.

All of that is fine.

But the thing with Scobee is that he was one of us locally.

His self-effacing humor and dry wit, whether you experienced it in person or on Twitter, is something that is so quintessentially Jacksonville.

No one ever talked about Scobee as being the best kicker in the game. It didn’t seem to matter to him much.

He put on his uniform, came to work, day in and day out, whether the team was contending or out of it by October.

More than any singular moment, that’s what I’ll remember about Scobee.

A great kicker and someone with the kind of perspective and depth that make him stand out anywhere.

A.G. Gancarski has written a weekly column for Jacksonville’s Folio Weekly since 2003. His writings on politics, culture, and sport have appeared in the Washington Times, the Daily Caller, and the American Conservative. His radio and TV appearances include frequent contributions to WJCT-FM (Jacksonville’s Public Radio station); additionally, he has been a guest on Huff Post Live and the Savage Nation radio show. Gancarski can be reached at a.g.gancarski@gmail.com.