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Jack Del Rio

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Jacksonville Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio on Friday finally cleared up the status of veteran linebacker Mike Peterson, telling ESPN that Peterson has been permanently demoted to backup status.

"Daryl Smith is our starting middle linebacker," Del Rio said in a telephone conversation after Friday's practice, as the Jaguars got ready for the undefeated Tennessee Titans.

Peterson, in his sixth season with Jacksonville and the team's leading tackler this season, was suspended for last week's game at Detroit and fined $10,000 for insubordination after he got into an argument with Del Rio in a team meeting the week before.

Smith started in place of Peterson against the Lions and led the team with seven tackles.

Del Rio was asked if he and Peterson have reached any kind of meeting of the minds after last week's dispute.

"There will be no meetings," Del Rio said. "He has to embrace his new role on the team."

On Thursday and Friday, Peterson practiced with special teams for the first time in years.


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