Jurevicius is the perfect last name for a hard hitting Linebacker. I could picture him now as a guy with at least one top tooth missing in his menacing smile. He would be a guy that you don’t want to run into in a dark alley, or else you might find yourself thrown into a dumpster.
He would be big and strong and he would love to hit. Sounds like a good sidekick name for Dick Butkus when he was terrorizing Running Backs in his days with the Chicago Bears.
But, Joe Jurevicius probably wasn’t like that at all.
Jurevicius didn’t even play Linebacker and he needed to buddy up to Quarterbacks so that they would throw him the ball instead of trying to take their heads off.
Joe Jurevicius played Wide Receiver. He was a big guy at 6-5, 230, but he was on the wrong side of any collisions on the field to fit his awesome name.
From everything I have seen, heard, or read, Joe Jurevicius is actually the opposite of what his name sounds like.
Jurevicius was raised a good Catholic boy in the Cleveland area. He was good enough in football and basketball to have his number retired at Lake Catholic High School.
Starting at Wide Receiver for 3 seasons, Jurevicius caught 128 passes for over 2,000 yards and helped led his team to a 38 – 3 record over those 3 seasons.
Making All State as a sophomore, Jurevicius and his Lake Catholic teammates made it to the regional finals in 1990 where they lost to traditional Ohio powerhouse Youngstown Cardinal Mooney. The game was an exciting Double Overtime thriller and clearly left Lake Catholic yearning for bigger and better results.
Lake Catholic did indeed get bigger and better the following season when they won state in football in 1991, beating a school out of Cincinnati to cap off a 13-1 season.
During his senior season, Lake Catholic beat Ironton to finish a perfect 14 – 0.
After being recruited by many schools, Jurevicius decided on Penn State to play his college football.
I don’t mean to take away from legendary Penn State coach Joe Paterno, but the Nittany Lions did not use Joe Jurevicius enough.
At Penn State, he redshirted as a true freshman in 1993 and then he caught 1 pass as a redshirted freshman. But, in all fairness, the Nittany Lions had Quarterback Kerry Collins in 1994 and super star Wide Receivers Bobby Engram and Freddie Scott at Wide Receiver. These guys were lighting it up that season as Penn State finished up 12 – 0 and won the Big 10. Unfortunately, for the Penn State Nittany Lions, the Nebraska Cornhuskers picked the 1994 season to finally get over their own hurdles and they beat Miami to win the national championship.
The undefeated and really good Penn State Nittany Lions were 2nd ranked in the final polls.
In 1995, the Lions lost top Quarterback Kerry Collins who was drafted in the first round by the Carolina Panthers. But, they did return top Wide Receivers Bobby Engram and Freddie Scott. Joe Jurevicius labored in the background but still caught 13 passes and a Touchdown and showed potential.
By the 1996 season, Jurevicius was the guy at Wide Receiver for the Penn State Nittany Lions and he hauled in 41 receptions for 869 yards and 4 Touchdowns. The Nittany Lions had instability at Quarterback the past 2 seasons, but luckily they had Running Back Curtis Enis which helped them to an 11 – 2 season.
1997 was Jurevicius last in college and the Penn State Quarterbacking position improved slightly.
They had outstanding Running Back Curtis Enis back and they finished 9 – 3 on the year. But, Jurevicius only had 38 catches and 10 Touchdowns while leading the team.
Joe Paterno chose the conservative route and Jurevicius could have done so much more. But, he still had a good career in State College, Pennsylvania.
Joe Jurevicius was a tall receiver at 6-5 which is highly coveted by NFL teams, but he only ran a 4.66 40 yard dash for Pro Scouts.
The 40 time did not bother the Scouts, apparently, and the New York Giants took Jurevicius in the 2nd round of the 1998 NFL Draft. He wound up playing 11 seasons in the NFL with various teams and finished with 323 career catches.
His Tampa Bay Buccaneers won the Super Bowl while he played there.
One of the fun things about writing a blog and working on books about football is the research. I really enjoy it.
Sometimes you run across some really cool rabbit trails and you can go off for hours finding new info on this player or that. I find out a lot of things that I had either forgotten or I never knew. Sometimes, however, the exact opposite is true. I find out things that are very sad and depressing.
In 2002, Joe Jurevicius was with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and was one of their top Wide Receivers.
Perennial bottom dweller Tampa Bay had their best season ever in 2002 and won the Super Bowl that season. Along the way, during the playoffs, Joe Jurevicius and wife had a son.
Young Michael Jurevicius was born with a rare disease called Sialidosis and would live only a few short months. Joe had to deal with that while trying to help his team get to and win the Super Bowl.
While Joe Jurevicius was born with the coolest name for a football player, or a wrestler, and he had a great life playing high school, college and professional football, life has not always been easy for him. Losing a child is something that no parent should ever go through and has to be one of the toughest things in this world to deal with.
But, in spite of hardship, Joe Jurevicius remained a role model for younger guys and did I mention that he has the coolest name ever?