Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Dante Fowler, Jr. met with the media for the first time since news of his arrest broke last week. Fowler was arrested for misdemeanor battery and criminal mischief, later released on bond. That wasn’t the big news with Fowler however, as the arrested clued a reporter to another arrest Fowler had for assault last offseason, as well sparking some reporters to do records searches and find out Fowler had at least 10 traffic violations in the past 20 months.
Maturity had been a big talking point for Fowler this offseason, at least from the coaching staff. It was an odd thing that was consistently mentioned when they were asked about Fowler, directed at things off the field, and now we know why. The team was well aware of these issues, but Fowler didn’t seem to think he had a maturity issue when asked about it on Wednesday.
“No, I don’t think I have a maturity issue, it’s just some things. Just learning like when I talk to them I’m a professional and instead of pushing me to that point I just have to be the bigger person, realize who I am and not do that,” Fowler said when asked if he felt maturity was an issue for him.
“Maturity is not a problem, Fowler continued. “I’m actually growing a lot especially with this new structure and everything that we have. It’s starting to carve me into the person that I want to be, the professional that I want to be. It’s just a bump in the road that I just have to get over and put past me and show you guys, show the organization and show the city that I’m a role model and I want to go in that route and not go in another bad route.”
Fowler was whisked away by Jaguars staff before he could be asked about his previous arrest and slew of traffic tickets, which included reckless driving and an incident involving property damage. That’s not all that surprising, considering how well the issues were kept under wraps until the latest arrest, but it does kind of make Fowler’s notion that he doesn’t have a maturity issue ring hollow. It was an expected apology that felt rehearsed and insincere, but that’s kind of what is expected.
“I think it was just an incident and a lesson that I just really have to learn from, that I did learn from it and just have to move on from it,” Fowler said of his latest arrest. “I was having a really good offseason and that’s the twist that happened that kind of made everything bad. I just have to realize the situation that I’m in and what’s at stake and know that I have things that I can lose that I don’t want to lose.”
The big issue is, Fowler does have a maturity problem and he needs to own it and fix it. It wasn’t just an incident, it was another incident. Perhaps he could have been a bit more convincing if he wasn’t scuttled off right away, but he was and that is what we’re left with. It’s hard to describe the feeling watching Fowler go through the motions of apologizing and brushing it off as just a “bump in the road” or acting like it was an isolated incident, but if you watched his press conference it’s pretty clear, in my opinion, that he was just kind of saying what he thought he was supposed to say.
We can talk all day about Fowler’s issues on the football field, but if he can’t grow up off the field he’s never going to grow up on the field. The first step to doing that is admitting it. He doesn’t need to bury himself publicly, but at least admitting it was a problem in the past, but he’s working on correcting it could have gone a long way.