Jalen Ramsey was once part of a promising, conference title-contending Jacksonville Jaguars team. That time of his life no longer matters to him.
Ramsey's Los Angeles Rams face the Jaguars Sunday in what appears to be a rather lopsided affair. Jacksonville has won two games all season, ranks 31st in scoring offense, 29th in turnovers and 28th in third-down percentage. Los Angeles, meanwhile, is 7-4, boasts the seventh-best offense in the NFL and has every reason to play to win in the final five weeks with a playoff berth possible but certainly not guaranteed.
Ramsey is running with the winners, who acquired him via trade from a Jaguars team that was in disarray in both the locker room and the front office back in October 2019. Jaguars EVP of football operations, Tom Coughlin, said then that the Jaguars felt the trade was a decision made "in the best interest" of the team "for this season and well into the future."
Coughlin was fired two months later. Two years later, the Jaguars' tumultuous journey from then to now has failed to prove he was correct.
"This isn't really about me playing Jacksonville," Ramsey said, via the Associated Press. "It's another game, right? I don't even really much know people there no more. They've got a whole new damn near organization. I only know probably like five people on the team, and I don't even really be talking to them like that. I only talk to maybe two of them."
Ramsey likely only talks to two of them because most everyone he knew from his memorable days in Jacksonville are gone. All three quarterbacks who appeared in games in 2019 are no longer with the team. Almost all of the offensive playmakers are gone, too. And only two notable former defensive teammates remain: linebacker Myles Jack and edge rusher Josh Allen.
The power dynamics have changed, too. The Jaguars replaced coach Doug Marrone with Urban Meyer prior to the 2021 season and sent general manager David Caldwell packing, replacing him with Trent Baalke.
Ramsey's time in Jacksonville included a surprise run to the AFC Championship Game in 2017, with the Jaguars' Sacksonville defense nearly carrying them to an appearance in the Super Bowl. But his departure included a blustery final few weeks in which he engaged in a sideline argument with Marrone before requesting a trade, which became a running topic for a month before Jacksonville finally dealt him for two first-round picks (spent on K'Lavon Chaisson in 2020 and Travis Etienne in 2021) and a fourth-rounder (defensive end Jordan Smith, who hasn't played a down in his first season).
Ramsey has since enjoyed consistent success with the Rams, earning All-Pro honors and returning to the postseason in 2020, and appears as if he's learned from his volatile time in Jacksonville.
"I went through things there that made me a better man today, made me appreciate the situation I'm in today even more, because of some things I went through there," Ramsey said. "I'm grateful for that part of my journey, and now I'm super blessed and happy to be on this part of my journey."
That journey leads him to a reunion with the team in teal and black this weekend. He'll hardly even recognize them.