Shahid Khan to Purchase NFL’s Jaguars

December 1, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Parvez Fatteh, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

Jacksonville Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver fired longtime coach Jack Del Rio on Tuesday after a 3-8 start and agreed to sell the National Football League’s Jaguars to Pakistani-American businessman Shahid Khan of Illinois. League sources told ESPN senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen that the sale is estimated to be between $750 and $800 million.

“It’s a little bittersweet, honestly, that it came as soon as it did,” Weaver announced. “But the main motivation for the exit strategy was to find someone that has the same passion about the NFL, had the same passion about football in Jacksonville as we do, and I found that person.”

“Wayne’s legacy will be lasting, and I will always be grateful for Wayne’s trust and confidence in my commitment to the Jaguars, the NFL and the people of the Jacksonville community,” the 61-year-old Khan said in a statement.

Born in Pakistan, Khan left home at age 16 to attend the University of Illinois. He graduated in 1971, a year after he started working for Flex-N-Gate Corp. in Urbana, Ill. He purchased the company in 1980. Today, Flex-N-Gate is a major manufacturer of bumper systems for pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles built in North America.

“He’s going to buy a home here in Jacksonville. He’s going to spend time here in Jacksonville,” Weaver said of Khan. “He’s going to keep the Jaguars management group intact. He’s keeping the Jaguars staff intact. He has a great admiration for what we’ve been able to accomplish here and the way we run our business here so he’s keeping all that intact.”

While Weaver is confident Khan will keep the team in Jacksonville, there is nothing written in the deal which obligates Khan to do that. Weaver’s confidence stems from assurances Khan has made to him personally and the fact that the Jaguars’ lease to play at EverBank Field runs through the 2029 season. If the Jaguars wanted to leave before the end of the deal, the lease requires the team to prove they had lost money in three consecutive seasons or to convince a local judge that the city was failing to properly maintain the stadium.

“It’s pretty hard to put something in writing saying you have to do something but you have to trust individuals’ integrity and I have no doubt that Shahid is going to do what he plans to do,” Weaver said. “I had to be comfortable that his plan was to keep the team in Jacksonville. There’s not a doubt in my mind that this team will be in Jacksonville.”

Khan tried to purchase controlling interest in the NFL’s St. Louis Rams last year. But minority owner Stan Kroenke pulled an end-around and exercised his right to purchase full control of the franchise. Khan’s purchase of the Jaguars is subject to NFL approval. League owners will vote to ratify the deal December 14th, and if it passes it would become official on January 4th.

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Deji Karim Has Sights Set on New NFL Season

August 18, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Parvez Fatteh, TMO, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

sf3Jacksonville Jaguars second-year running back Abdul Deji Karim has been sporting sunglasses in practice lately, but it is not an attempt by the humble football player to big-time anybody. He actually has a medical excuse. Karim told Tania Ganguli of the Florida Times-Union that he underwent cataract surgery on his eye during the offseason, and as a result he is currently suffering from light-sensitivity.

As a policy the National Football League does not allow tinted visors, but they do grant exceptions for players with medical problems. One example of such a player is running back LaDainian Tomlinson of the New York Jets. Karim is currently seeking permission from the league office to wear such a visor during games.

Karim was drafted in the sixth round of the 2010 NFL draft by the Jaguars. Las season he primarily handled kickoff duties, which would be difficult to perform with light-sensitivity due to having to look up into the sun in order to field the kickoffs. Jacksonville takes on the Atlanta Falcons this weekend in preseason football action. They open up the regular season on September 11th at home against division rivals the Tennessee Titans.

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Muhammad Wilkerson Waits for His Name to Be Called

April 28, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Parvez Fatteh, TMO, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

ScreenShot140With the NFL Draft this Thursday, there is talk that Temple University defensive tackle Muhammad Wilkerson could be selected in the mid-to-late first round. That means that likely by the end of Thursday we should know his new NFL Team. Marc Londo of the Philadelphia Examiner wrote up an NFL Draft Prospect report on Wilkerson, and stated, “He plays with high motor and has very good balance for a big man, with an impressive ability to quickly change direction. His superior strength, power and athleticism at the point of attack makes him a force to be reckoned with.”

At 6-4 and 315 pounds with 35 ¼ inch arms, Wilkerson has great size. He ran a 4.96 forty at the Combine and has shown the ability to play inside in a 4-3, or defensive end in a 3-4 system. Wilkerson has been know for his athleticism since coming out of Linden High School in New Jersey, where he was known for his skills on the the basketball court.  Scouts, Inc. had him rated as the 173rd-best power forward in the country. After a year of prep school at Hargrave Military Academy , the 6-4, 315 pound joined Temple as a three-star defensive lineman, where he ended up being the best defensive player Temple fans have seen in decades. This was shown by his accomplishments where he was named to the 2010 All-MAC first team honoree. In 2010, Wilkerson finisished with 70 tackles, 9.5 sacks and 13 tackles for loss last year, this includes the game against Kent State , where he dominated the line with 6 tackles and 3 sacks for a loss of 21 yards, earning him the MAC Defensive Player of the Week honors. His final stats for his three year Temple career, 144 tackles, 17.5 sacks and 26 tackles for loss.   His versatility as an athlete is precisely why he should fare well at the next level. He’s able to handle the double team very well and can get into the backfield. Beyond that, he has made the plays when Temple has needed them. As an early entry into the draft, he still has rough areas in his game that need to be worked out. However, that could also be considered part of his upside. He’s been very effective with a relatively limited skill-set. With further instruction from NFL coaches, he can be a difference maker for any franchise that drafts him. Since becoming an Owl, Wilkerson has worked hard to become a leader among his teammates. He is diligent and expects the same of those around him. His lead-by-example work ethic has been instrumental in the growth of the Temple football program. It is his maturity that I feel gives him an edge on many other defensive line prospects in the top portion of the draft.  Good luck to Wilkerson on Thursday.  SU will tweet as soon as he is drafted.

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