For those unfamiliar with the Axemen, they are a professional rugby team that play at the University of North Florida Hodges Stadium. The team is coached by player/coach Daryl "Spinner" Howland, who was a former member of the United States National Rugby team.
In addition to helping the Axemen during their first few seasons and welcoming all the visiting International Rugby League teams who have visited Jacksonville, the Jaguars are also responsible for bringing some incredible people to this city who have chosen to make it their home after retiring from the NFL. The Axemen in partnership with Outback Steakhouse are going to be presenting this Saturdays game as "They Played and They Stayed" to recognize some former Jaguar players who now call this great city home and who are not only raising families here but also operating businesses and are still very active in our community.
Although he will be out of town for the weekend, Tom McManus choose to stay in Jacksonville after his playing days were over and he now has a successful radio career and is involved in a variety of other projects and he is a huge Axemen supporter.
Mike Hollis cemented himself both in the record books and as one of the most loved Jaguars of all time and his kicking reputation earned him the nickname "Money Mike" from his teammates due to his kicking accuracy. He now operates the ProForm Kicking Academy here in Jacksonville and Axemen import player Brent Shorten is under his tutelage.
Eugene Chung is one of the most recognizable former Jaguar players and although he is on the coaching staff for the Philadelphia Eagles, he still makes Jacksonville his home and his wife also operates a business here.
Don Davey spent 9 years in the NFL and after it was over he chose Jacksonville as his home to raise his five children. In addition to now being an avid triathlete he has also grown his own money management business into an international operation from right here in the river city. From something that started in the Jaguar locker room, his business became Disciplined Equity Management and is now an international company that does institutional money management. About 20 percent of his clients are from the NFL.
These guys are great examples of the incredible individuals that a sporting organization can bring to a city. They have all played for a variety of teams, lived in various cities across the USA but have chosen Jacksonville as their home. They are a credit to themselves in their own right as a player in the NFL and now they continue that with their own businesses and the positive influence in our community well beyond the lime light of their professional sporting days.
We invite all the Axemen fans to join us this Saturday and get to know these men who were household names when they wore shoulder pads and helmets to work and to see what they are doing now and what positive things they continue to do for the city of Jacksonville.
I'll be there Saturday along with many other Jacksonville Jaguars fans. Parking is free, tickets are $5 and are available at the gate.