Defensive end Yannick Ngakoue reported to Jaguars training camp on Sunday and spoke to reporters for the first time since ending his holdout earlier in the day.
Ngakoue faced a Tuesday deadline to report to camp in time to get credit for the fourth accrued season he needs to become an unrestricted free agent in 2020. Ngakoue said he doesn’t know if a long-term deal will get worked out with the team by that point.
“They had a chance to sign me for a long-term deal but it didn’t get done,” Ngakoue said, via Phillip Heilman of TheAthletic.com. “It is what it is. I love football, love my teammates, and I’m here to play games.”
Ngakoue said he never considered sitting out the entire year or asking the Jaguars to trade him to another team. He did say he knows his value and is confident about showing it again during the 2019 season.
“I bet on myself every season,” Ngakoue said. “I was a third-round pick, underrated. Bet on myself, I’m still here.”
If no deal is worked out and Ngakoue continues to shine on the field, he will be a leading candidate for a franchise tag next March.