Getting to Know… Mark Brunell

Jaguars great Mark Brunell continues to win, years after retiring from the NFL • From the November 2013 edition of Jacksonville Magazine

by Kerry Speckman
Without question, Mark Brunell is one of the most celebrated and beloved Jacksonville Jaguars players in the team’s history. The first player ever to be traded to the Jags, Brunell made a quick impression on teammates and the fans, eventually leading the Jags to two AFC Central Division titles, and making them the first expansion team to make the playoffs three times in its first four seasons. During his years as starting quarterback, he was elected to the Pro Bowl three times and awarded Pro Bowl MVP in 1997. After being traded to the Washington Redskins in 2004, he played for the New York Jets and New Orleans Saints, where he won his first and only Super Bowl ring. Throughout his 19-year career, he and his family always maintained strong ties to Jacksonville and currently live in Ortega. “Bru” recently signed on as an analyst for ESPN and currently serves as head of football and advancement athletics consultant at the Episcopal School of Jacksonville. He is the third Jags player to be inducted into The Ring of Honor and will be back on the field during halftime at the December 15 game against the Buffalo Bills.

• Brunell learned about The Ring of Honor from team owner Shad Khan during a Jaguars game earlier this year. The 43-year-old joins former teammates Tony Boselli, Fred Taylor and original team owners Wayne and Delores Weaver as honorees.
• Best known for his success on the football field (he played quarterback and safety at St. Joseph High School in Santa Maria, California), Brunell also lettered in basketball and baseball, where he was a four-time, varsity all-league selection.
• He met his wife Stacy in the weight room at the University of Washington. He played football; she ran track and cross country. They’ve been married 21 years.
• When away from football, Brunell enjoys spending time with the family. He goes hunting with his sons and takes ballroom dancing lessons with Stacy.
• The decision to stay in Jacksonville was a simple one, he says. “Jacksonville became home shortly after we moved here in 1995. It simply felt like this was where we were supposed to be. Great friends, love the community and we love Southpoint Community Church.”
• When asked to describe his life today in three words, Brunell says—with no hesitation: “faith, family, football.”
• And as proof that he isn’t, in fact, perfect, he still uses Hotmail. “I didn’t know it wasn’t cool. I’ve had it forever. Oh, well.”
photo by Agnes Lopez