One NFL team really believes the saying that behind every successful man is a great woman.
The Jacksonville Jaguars have decided to employ a new strategy when it comes to evaluating free agents. Forget the bad boys. Above all else they want players with outstanding wives.
Executives in the Jaguars' front office believe good football players have happy and healthy marriages.
Shahid Khan, the Jaguars' brand new owner, took the concept he'd used to make his riches in the auto-parts business. Khan said he attempts to meet all of the spouses of his employees, even going as far as to take the significant others on company retreats.
The Wall Street Journal reports GM Gene Smith, in a way, took the concept from college recruiting. On the NCAA level, parents are always involved with top recruits, and now the Jags have substituted wives for parents.
Mike Mularkey, the Jaguars' new head coach, stressed free agents that have a good family life would become a priority. "If you're happy at home with your wife at home, I think the energy level is higher," Mularkey told the Wall Street Journal. "It's very important to me ... There's a lot that goes with being married. I just believe the happier you are with your wife, the happier you are on the field. I really believe that."
Receiver Laurent Robinson was traveling around the NFL last month when he was stunned to find out the Jaguars wanted his wife to come with him on the visit. "I never planned to go," Robinson's wife, Kat, told the Wall Street Journal. "They asked him to bring me. We've been in the league five years; I never knew of anything like that. They said, 'We want your wife to come.'"… "He doesn't go out, we're homebodies, we're both in bed early at night and live a simple life. He even helps out around the house; he does the dishes."
Free agent QB Chad Henne was accompanied by his wife, Brittany, on a free agent visit to the largest city by area in the contiguous United States. The Henne's have been together since junior high school. In a comment that figures to draw sarcastic reaction on social media, Brittany tells the Wall Street Journal she helps her husband study his playbook and memorize QB hand signals.
Kat Robinson and Brittany Henne were each given special tours of the team's facility, as well as a few special perks. The ladies visited the beach and grabbed lunch with Mularkey's wife, Betsy. In addition, the Jags hooked the women up with massages at the hotel.
All things considered, having a wonderful wife has never been so profitable. Jacksonville rewarded Henne with $7 million for the next two years. Robinson picked up even more, grabbing a $32 million contract for five years.
-- Follow Ben Maller on Twitter @BenMaller.
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