JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- It wasn't that long ago when we had to search hard to find a black player with the letters "QB" next to his name on an NFL
Now the Jacksonville Jaguars have three black quarterbacks -- the first team in league history to do so -- which is a sign of how far removed we are
from the days of the good-old-boy thinking that blacks didn't have the makeup to play the position.
It's historic, and the three players understand that, but it's not something they think or talk about a great deal.
"It's an issue when you guys bring it up," Byron Leftwich said.
Leftwich starts for the Jaguars, with David Garrard as the backup and Quinn Gray No. 3. It became clear this summer that something special might be
happening when Gray was beating out Doug Johnson for the No. 3 job.
Three black men. Three black quarterbacks. Playing in the NFL, on the same team, in the Deep South, no less.
"If you look at it, it's just three guys trying to help the team win," said Gray as he sat next to Garrard in the locker room during a break from
practice Wednesday. "We never make a big deal about it. We always talked that it would be nice to be the first team to do it. Then we would make our
mark on history. This is a first, so we have our share of history."
Mostly, though, the three don't think it's such a big deal. It is an honor, they say. In the locker room, where color of skin has little, if any,
impact, it's a non-issue.
"I don't look at it as three black quarterbacks, but rather three quarterbacks who happen to be black," Garrard said.
Said Leftwich: "We just look at it that we're the three best guys to help this team win."
Maybe so, but the reality is it's more than that -- much, much more.
It's a barometer for how far we've come in the past 35 years, now able to cast aside any ill-conceived notions about blacks playing the position.