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R. Jay Soward
Date of birth: (1978-01-16) January 16, 1978 (age 36)
Place of birth: United States Rialto, California
Career information
Position(s): Wide Receiver
College: USC
NFL Draft: 2000 / Round: 1/ Pick 29
As player:
Jacksonville Jaguars
Toronto Argonauts (CFL)
Wenatchee Valley Venom (IFL)
Career stats
Playing stats at DatabaseFootball.com

Rodney (R.) Jay Soward (born January 16, 1978 in Rialto, California) is a gridiron football player who is currently a free agent.

College career[edit]

He burst onto the college football scene with a 4-TD game vs. UCLA in his freshman season with USC. Despite Soward's superior skills, he never reached his potential in his USC career, ending his tenure with 32 touchdowns in four seasons.[1]

Professional career[edit]


Soward's pure talent was too much for the Jacksonville Jaguars to ignore and they took him with a first-round selection (29th overall) in the 2000 NFL Draft. Soward did not take the pressure of being a first-round selection very well. "I think the hardest part for me was dealing with all the pressure after getting drafted," he recalls. "I didn’t play well my first year so people were on me a lot. I wish I would have went to New Orleans in the second round. I wish I hadn’t ever been a first round draft pick. I felt that New Orleans had a better staff to suit me at that time. I think being with those guys would have changed my future in the NFL."[2]

After wearing out his welcome with the Jags in training camp, before playing in his first game under head coach Tom Coughlin (who had gone so far as to send a limousine, at the team's expense, to pick up Soward every day for practice, just to make sure he would come), he was suspended several times by the NFL for violating the league's substance abuse policy. He has not filed for re-instatement since his last suspension. Though many media outlets attributed the suspension to marijuana, his suspension came as a result of alcohol abuse. "I can honestly say I was an alcoholic at that time in my life," Soward recollects. "That’s why I’m not playing in the NFL, because I was an alcoholic at that time."[2]

After entering the NFL's substance abuse program, Soward was critical about its effectiveness. "It was horrible counseling. I’ve been in every rehab centre known to man," said Soward. "They even had the nerve to put me in rehab in Miami, the drug capital of the world. I don’t really think the rehabilitation process is very good for players down there. I think it is more of a disciplinary kind of rehabilitation which doesn’t teach anybody anything. For me, the more they took away from me the more it made me want to drink, the more it made me want to feel depressed, the more it made me want to feel bad about me."[2]

Soward ended his lone season in the NFL appearing in 13 games, and caught 14 passes for 108 yards with no touchdowns.[3]


It was not until four years later that Soward's pro football career was resurrected in Canada. On May 18, 2004, the Toronto Argonauts signed him to a contract.

As an Argonaut, his primary role in the offense was as a fly route receiver that stretched the defense and whose long receptions usually translated into touchdowns. This was reflected in his touchdown to reception ratio of 10:39 (as of August 19, 2006). The only drawback to Soward's Argonaut tenure has been maintaining his health for a full season.

In his first year with the team, Soward went on to win a Grey Cup Championship.

In 2005, Soward and the Argonauts were unable to repeat as back-to-back champions, losing the Eastern Division Championship to the Montreal Alouettes. In that game, Soward was dubiously remembered for an overzealous touchdown celebration. After scoring a touchdown, he ran into a concession stand setup behind the end zone, grabbed a bag of popcorn, and shared it with a teammate and nearby fans. Though his touchdown helped to put his team up 14-0 after the first quarter, the Argos got outscored 33-3 for the next three quarters. That led many to believe that Soward's timing for his celebration stunt was not only premature, but a catalyst that fired up the Alouettes. "It was a very spontaneous thing and I apologize to the people of Toronto if they feel I took away our opportunity, but I was just making an atmosphere where people can enjoy the game and see something different."[2]

In 2006, when asked about the popcorn incident prior to a rematch against the Alouettes, Soward stated that he felt the criticism against him was unjust and that he would do it again if the opportunity presented itself.[3] He told Los Angeles radio station KLAC that he got the popcorn idea from seeing Keyshawn Johnson do it after scoring a touchdown when he was playing football for West Los Angeles College. During the East Division semi-final that year, Soward caught the game winning touchdown to help the Argonauts advance to the division finals which they went on to lose vs. the Alouettes in Montreal.

On December 15, 2006, Soward was released by the Argonauts. Since then he has been making a living in repairing televisions and working in a warehouse.[1]


For the 2011 season, Soward signed to play with the Ontario Warriors. [4]


  1. ^ a b Paul Oberjuerge, Redemption song, San Bernardino County Sun, July 18, 2007.
  2. ^ a b c [1][dead link]
  3. ^ Hathaway, Justin (April 2, 2013). "Jacksonville Jaguars: Best and worst draft picks". National Football League. Retrieved April 4, 2013. 
  4. ^ "Official Website of The Ontario Warriors". Retrieved 9 June 2012. 

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R._Jay_Soward — Please support Wikipedia.
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83 videos foundNext > 

Longest Pass Play in USC Football History

Matt Koffler, backup QB at USC in 1996 throws a 97 or 98 (not sure what it is officially) yard pass to RJ Soward in 1996.

R. Jay Soward - Game Day Interview Warriors vs Eagles

FNLA's Jeremy Meyer talks to Ontario Warriors Wide Receiver R. Jay Soward prior to the Warriors playing against the California at the Citizens Business Bank ...

The Testimony

New music from CEO, producer, writer, and arranger Star Jay Soward.

Reuven's solo

Up and coming star Reuven Soward, son of former first round draft pick R.Jay Soward takes it to the dance floor.

Nothing to Do Radio 7/26/2013 (Full Episode)

Nothing to Do Radio Fridays @ 5pm on KCAA 1050AM nothingtodoradio.com USC alumni and Former NFL Player R. Jay Soward comes on the show to discuss should Coll...

Michael Soward - He's Alive


Our World

New music from CEO, producer, writer, and arranger Star Jay Soward.

The HomeTeam

New music from CEO, producer, writer, and arranger Star Jay Soward.


New music from CEO, producer, writer, and arranger Star Jay Soward.

NRL Jamie Soward Highlights

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4 news items

Conquest Chronicles

Conquest Chronicles
Mon, 06 Oct 2014 10:22:54 -0700

It was his third career punt return for a touchdown, tying him with Mike Battle, Jim Sears, R. Jay Soward and Reggie Bush for the USC school record. Nelson Agholor also tied his career-high with nine catches. He finished with 85 yards receiving and 147 ...

Bruins Nation

Bruins Nation
Sun, 05 Oct 2014 02:56:15 -0700

I'm the one who thought Jerry could lead us to victory, who thought a 1st round Pac-10 loss during the height of the Howland era was a blessing in disguise, and who thought my extended family members were quitters when R. Jay Soward pumped $C's lead ...

ESPN (blog)

ESPN (blog)
Tue, 30 Sep 2014 11:00:00 -0700

R. Jay Soward signed a USC helmet. Fred Taylor a Florida helmet. When he moved into his Mandarin home in 2009 he finally had the space to properly display his collection. He has filled one room with memorabilia and it is neatly stuffed from floor to ...


Fri, 03 Oct 2014 05:00:33 -0700

Alcohol is a big issue here in United States and it hurts many Jaguars fans to hear the name of Justin Blackmon when talking about the history of disappointments and busts from R. Jay Soward to Matt Jones. Even now General Manger Dave Caldwell selected ...

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