Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles has heard all of the derisive comments, boos and jeers that have been thrown his way.
Bortles admitted that he expects more of the same even though he helped lead the Jaguars to an AFC South title and a win shy of a Super Bowl appearance.
“There’s times when I deserve it,” the 26-year-old Bortles said on a recent appearance on NFL Network “And I don’t have a problem admitting that I didn’t play good. And I don’t have a problem with people critiquing me when I don’t play good. It’s just never really bothered me.
“I love going to work every day. I love playing football, and the locker room, so why let something affect me that I have no control over?”
Bortles signed a three-year, $54 million contract extension, one month after helping the upstart team advance to the AFC Championship Game. He connected on 60.2 percent of his passes for 3,687 yards and 21 touchdowns with a career-low 13 interceptions during the regular season.
Going into the 2017 season, Bortles appeared to be fighting with backup Chad Henne for his job. The third overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft had struggled, leading the NFL in turnovers with 63 from 2014-16.
“I’ve said it a bunch all year long,” Bortles told reporters in January after the Jaguars defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers in the divisional round of the playoffs. “I really don’t care. I couldn’t care less what anyone in the world says about me. I enjoy going to work every day with those guys in that locker room and the coaching staff. I enjoy everything we do, and this is the type of thing that you dream of — to get opportunities to play in games like this. To be able to come here and do that against a team like Pittsburgh, it will never change for me.”