Yannick Ngakoue swears he won’t be thinking of revenge when his Baltimore Ravens take the field this Sunday against Jacksonville.
Never mind that Ngakoue was a dominant defensive end for the Jags for four years. There’s no need to bring up how Ngakoue wanted out from Jacksonville so badly that he demanded a trade via Twitter. And that whole Twitter fight with the team owner’s son was just a social media spat during the draft, nothing more. There’s bad blood, even if Ngakoue chooses not to discuss it.
“At the end of the day, I had my time with Jacksonville and that’s not a secret,” Ngakoue told The Athletic. “I’m just going to treat it like another game, another Sunday.”
If you pull out the book of sports cliches, saying it’s just “another game,” probably is on page 2. Coaches like to say it. Their players parrot it. The thinking is why give the other team any sort of advantage, especially if it’ll be prime motivational material for the bulletin board.
Yannick Ngakoue And Jaguars Owner Got Into Twitter Fight
Here’s why it’s not just another game for Ngakoue or anyone with the Jags organization. Back in April, Ngakoue made it known, publicly, that he wanted a trade. He tweeted for Tony Khan, specifically, to “stop hiding.” Khan is the son of team owner Shahid Khan and is the team’s executive vice president for football administration and technology. The younger Khan is known for embracing sports analytics. He created a team department for it in 2012.
Tony Khan answered him, posting “I’m not in hiding sir, I’m in isolation getting ready for the draft. I’ve been pretty active on social media in isolation, but you wouldn’t know that since you unfollowed me (again).”
There was more. Ngakoue tweeted: “Since your feeling might today let’s both let the world in on the truth. We been had a discussion that the chargers game was my last game. Yet you try to back door the situation without answering any of my camps calls. Smh you spoiled bra.. holding up people for no reason.”
Ngakoue also called Khan a “clown.” (Remember, the Khan family signs the checks).
Khan threw some shade, saying Khan’s twitter antics probably were driving up the price of a trade. He also tweeted:
“It’s a new regime here sir. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of the contributions you made here. That said, tweeting insults at me won’t get you traded any faster. Only good trade compensation will do that. Please redirect your efforts into a more productive outlet.”
Ngakoue eventually got his wish. Jacksonville sent Ngakoue to Minnesota in exchange for a third and fifth round draft picks.
Star Pass Rusher Eventually Got To Baltimore
In late October, Baltimore traded for Ngakoue, sending third and fifth-round selections to the Vikings. This is where Ngakoue wanted to be from the start of the process. He grew up in the Washington D.C. area and starred at Maryland.
So now comes Jacksonville.
Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew isn’t relishing the idea of facing the Ravens defense. Ngakoue will be rushing from one side of the line. Calais Campbell will be coming from the other. Campbell also is a former Jaguar, but doesn’t appear to be channeling any anger towards his old team.
Minshew knows that Ngakoue and Campbell were the bookends of Jacksonville’s “Sacksonville” defense.
“I’m not going to talk trash to Calais, man. I know Calais. Calais is too nice of a guy. I know it’s not real coming from Calias — we’re too cool, I hope,” Minshew said during his Wednesday press conference. “Now Yannick, Yannick’s going to be out for blood. But Calais, I think he’s going to take care of me, I hope.”
Yep, it’s just another game.