By John Reid, GateHouse Media Services
JACKSONVILLE — Jaguars defensive end Dante Fowler was suspended without pay for the Sept. 9 regular-season opener against the New York Giants for violating the NFL’s personal-conduct policy.
He will be eligible to return to the Jaguars’ active roster following their Week 1 game.
Also, Fowler (University of Florida) is eligible to participate in all preseason practices and games. He is scheduled to report with the veterans for training camp this upcoming Wednesday.
″We were informed today of Dante’s one-game suspension and we will abide by the league’s ruling,″ executive vice president of football operations Tom Coughlin said in a statement issued by the Jaguars. ″We’ll work to get Dante ready to play when he is able to return.″
Fowler, 23, was sentenced to probation in March after pleading no contest to three misdemeanor charges following his arrest last July in his hometown of St. Petersburg, according to Pinellas County court records. He was sentenced to 12 months probation, 75 hours of community service and was required to pay fines totaling $2,575 stemming from battery, mischief and petty theft charges, court records show. Fowler was also ordered to have no communication with the man who filed a battery complaint against him.
The sentencing came after Fowler was arrested July 18 (2017) following an incident that began when a pedestrian criticized his driving. According to the police report, Fowler exited his car and slapped the man, knocking off his glasses. Fowler then stepped on the glasses and threw the man’s recently purchased grocery bag, which included liquor, into a nearby lake.
Fowler also had a March 2016 arrest in Miami Beach and his driving record includes traveling 98 mph in a 55-mph zone along Butler Boulevard about 1 a.m. in July 2016, and driving 99 mph in a 70-mph zone in Alachua County in March 2016.
Before the start of last season’s training camp, Fowler apologized for his arrest and various off-the-field issues.
That’s not me as a person,” Fowler said. “I’m a better person than that and it won’t happen again. I told Tom I was definitely sorry and I do apologize for making the organization look like that and putting us in a situation like that because that’s not how we are as a team and that’s not how we are as an organization. We had a good talk.”
As a backup defensive end behind Yannick Ngakoue last season, Fowler combined for 21 tackles in 16 games and had a career-high eight sacks. In the AFC title game against New England, Fowler sacked Tom Brady twice.
Fowler was the third overall pick in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Jaguars after having a stellar college career at Florida. However, Fowler missed his entire rookie season in 2015 because of a torn left ACL during his first rookie minicamp workout.
John Reid is a sports writer for the Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville