Broken fibula sidelines veteran DE Hayward for the year

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Reggie Hayward took a pay cut before the season and signed a new one-year contract filled with incentives.

He won't reach them.

Hayward broke his left leg Sunday at Indianapolis and will miss the rest of the season. One of five team captains, Hayward broke his fibula in a fourth-down pileup against the Colts. It was his second major injury in four years. He ruptured his Achilles' tendon in the 2006 season opener.

"Reggie's a big part of this team, let alone the defense," defensive tackle Derek Landri said. "He was a captain of our team. It's a blow, but it's just one of those things. Another guy's got to step in and step up and carry it on. The season's not slowing down.

"We feel sorry for Reggie and what happened -- you don't wish that on anybody, especially your own teammate -- but the younger guys have got to step up and get in there."

The Jaguars (0-1) already were without defensive lineman Rob Meier (shoulder) for the season. Quentin Groves, James Wyche or rookie Julius Williams could move into the starting role. The team also might sign a free agent or use more 3-4 schemes.

"We have options," coach Jack Del Rio said. "We'll make those adjustments and decisions as we go forward."

Hayward, a ninth-year veteran in the final year of a five-year contract, was due to make $5 million this season. But he agreed to restructure his deal before training camp, cutting his base salary to $1.75 million and adding incentives.

He said last week he did it because he loved Jacksonville and didn't want to face the possibility of getting cut and having to find a new team and learn a new defense.

Del Rio said Hayward handled the news well and plans to be around the team following surgery Friday.

"He was really feeling good about the kind of year he was going to be able to have and he was playing good football for us and he was doing things the right way in terms of leadership, which is why I made him a captain," Del Rio said. "He wants to be a part of the team from a mental, spiritual standpoint. Unfortunately, we won't get his services anymore this year."

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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