Quarterback Blake Bortles, who was benched by the Jacksonville Jaguars after Week 12, will be back in the starting lineup against the Dallas Texans in the final game of the season, head coach Doug Marrone announced on Wednesday.
Bortles relieved Cody Kessler and helped the Jaguars (5-10) defeat the Miami Dolphins, 17-7, last Sunday after they lost nine of their previous 10 games. Bortles completed 5 of 6 passes for 39 yards and ran for 25 yards against the Dolphins.
This will be Bortles' first start since he completed 12-of-23 passes for 127 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions during a 24-21 loss to the Buffalo Bills in Week 12.
"We just feel like his mobility will give us a better chance against obviously a very tough team," said Marrone, who confirmed speculation that Bortles would start after coming off the bench and leading the Jaguars to victory last week.
Still, the question remains if Bortles will be considered the starter throughout the offseason and heading into training camp next year. Bortles has two years left on his contract.
Bortles has $6.5 million in guaranteed money coming his way, but that doesn't mean he will be in Jacksonville next season.
"It feels good any time to play football when they let you play," Bortles said. "I know for me at least I enjoy the hell out of getting to come to work every day and practice with these guys. This is our last week, our last opportunity to play a game together as this team. Nobody knows what's going to happen next year, so I think most importantly just enjoying this.
"It's obviously not the year, the season everybody expected or wish would have happened, but we get one more opportunity and we're going to make the best of it."
Kessler completed 64 of 101 passes for 553 yards with one touchdown, and one interception in the four games he started.