June 02, 2014

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) Defensive end Chris Clemons got a warm - more like heated - welcome on his first day with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Coach Gus Bradley halted practice midway through the session and lit into his players for a lack of energy.

For Clemons, who spent three years playing under then-defensive coordinator Bradley in Seattle, it provided familiar a sight and sound.

''I've seen worse,'' said Clemons, who skipped three voluntary practices last week because of family issues. ''That was a light day coming out of him. I've seen worse. I've been on the end of one of those, so it was one of those things that you just see and you're like, `OK, I understand that,' and you keep it moving.''

Aside from the brief rant, Clemons' debut was rather ordinary.

He couldn't say the same about last week.

''We all have issues that we go through that we can't control,'' Clemons said. ''Being one of the leaders of my family, I had to step in and take control of that issue.''

Bradley was initially disappointed about Clemons' absence, only because Clemons had not indicated whether he would or wouldn't be in town for the start of OTAs.

But Bradley and Clemons talked out their differences late last week, making for a smooth situation Monday.

''You're going to see guys periodically have to miss, but they communicate with me,'' Bradley said. ''Right now, the plan is that he is here. It is voluntary, so they have that opportunity where if something comes up they have to determine the importance of it. The main thing I am asking for is communication, and it's been great.''

The Jaguars are hoping for great things on the field from Clemons, who has 58 sacks in 10 seasons with Washington, Oakland, Philadelphia and Seattle.

The Super Bowl champion Seahawks released Clemons in a cost-cutting move in March. He signed a four-year, $17.5 million contract with Jacksonville and is expected to start right away.

Clemons was at his best with Bradley, when he recorded 33 1/2 sacks over three seasons.

And now he's bringing explosiveness, experience and his Super Bowl ring to a team that ranked last in the NFL in total sacks last season.

''The mindset doesn't change,'' he said. ''You want to bring that winning tradition here. Jacksonville is long overdue. It's a group of young guys, and you always want to raise them and watch them grow as you watch the team grow.''

Jacksonville revamped its D-line by also signing former Seattle end Red Bryant and former Pittsburgh nose tackle Ziggy Hood, and then drafting Arkansas pass rusher Chris Smith in the fifth round.

But Clemons is the gem of the group. Last season, Clemons had only 4 1/2 sacks as a deeper line rotation took away some of his opportunities. Clemons also was coming off a torn knee ligament sustained in the 2012 playoffs. He had 3 1/2 sacks his first five games of 2013, but had just one sack the final nine games of the regular season.

He was, however, at his best in the Super Bowl, finishing with three tackles, two forced fumbles, a sack and a pass defended.

''If you go back and watch film last year toward the end of the season, you can tell I was already back to where I was the year before,'' Clemons said. ''So I don't worry about the knee. I still take care of it every day. But other than that it doesn't bother me at all.''

Neither did Bradley's tirade, which Clemons said was an attempt at ''getting everybody focused and bringing that energy to practice every day and understanding they have to come with it.''

Added Bradley: ''We talk in terms of getting better and what it should look like. That was not what getting better looked like. I wanted to point that out to the guys so they feel it. I told them it's our team but it's their responsibility to step everybody up when they feel that.''



AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

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