Curtis Dvorak, who brought an undeniable peppiness and sense of purpose as the man behind Jacksonville Jaguars mascot Jaxson De Ville, announced his retirement from the post on Tuesday. He is 39 years old.
For 19 seasons, Dvorak donned the costume and brought to life the banana-colored jungle cat with bulging cartoon eyes. His humorous signs, fearlessness of mascot convention and ability to ride a tiny motorcycle were beloved by Jaguars fans across the nation and in England, where Dvorak performed twice.
Citing his desire to move on to his next career, which Dvorak said involves a "TV, radio or internet thing near you," he informed the Jaguars of his plans to drop the fluffy ensemble a few weeks ago.
"It's impossible to put into words what the last 19 years with our team has meant to me and done for me professionally and, without a doubt, personally," Dvorak said in a lengthy statement released by the club. "I have had the privilege and honor to bring life to and raise Jaxson for almost two decades. This has been an incredibly fun, challenging and extremely rewarding journey. I've been asked often over the years, 'When do you think you'll retire?' My answer was usually either tomorrow or some other time. Well, the time has come."
Some of Dvorak's greatest moments involved him accidentally lighting himself on fire or taking a load of paint balls to his Jaguar chest after losing a bet to another mascot. He also beat up a Tim Tebow impostor on the field at legendary Wembley Stadium and started a miniature Twitter feud with Mike Florio, the editor of NBC's Pro Football Talk.
"I take with me so many great memories from performing at over 200 games, more than 7,000-plus events and some unreal, pinch-yourself moments that never once made this feel like work," he said. "I will forever be grateful to the hundreds of staff, coaches, players and cheerleaders I've had the privilege to work with. Your love, support and yes, at times, tolerance are appreciated more than you know."