The Jacksonville Jaguars learned Tuesday that linebacker James Onwualu will be out for the season after he suffered a non-contact knee injury on Monday. Onwualu will miss the season leaving the team pretty thin at that position as the preseason begins on Thursday.
Coach Doug Marrone called the injury that Onwualu suffered on Monday during joint practices with the Baltimore Ravens significant, but declined to elaborate on its exact nature. Onwualu was listed as the co-starter with Leon Jacobs at strongside linebacker on the team’s first unofficial depth chart.
“It’s something that was a non-contact injury for the guys that have seen it and those are tough,” Marrone said. “And he’s worked his butt off, and worked really hard, and I saw him yesterday afterwards and it’s just a tough situation. You thank the player for everything he put in, but you kind of know what the road looks like ahead, which is always a tough road for anyone that has an injury.”
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Onwualu, 24, was claimed off waivers by the Jaguars on April 30 after getting cut by the San Francisco 49ers. He made eight tackles over nine games for the Los Angeles Chargers in 2017 after signing as an undrafted free agent out of Notre Dame. Last season, he played in five games with the 49ers, making two tackles and forcing a fumble.
Last Thursday, Jaguars rookie linebacker Quincy Williams suffered a slight tear in his meniscus and will be sidelined four to six weeks.
The third-round pick from Murray State needed arthroscopic surgery to repair the knee injury, but Marrone said he thinks Williams will be ready for the Sept. 8 season opener against Kansas City.
Williams was one of the leading candidates to replace Telvin Smith as a starter on the weak side.