Jaguars report for training camp without veteran Clemons
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Chris Clemons was a no-show as the team reported for training camp Thursday.
Coach Gus Bradley said Clemons failed to make it to Jacksonville because of ''personal things.'' It's unknown whether the 33-year-old Georgia native will be on the field for the first training camp practice Friday, but Bradley said he doesn't anticipate it being a long-term absence.
''We'll see how it goes,'' Bradley said. ''Hopefully we come up with a decision to speed this up a little bit quicker. I don't foresee this as a situation where it's extended.''
Clemons is a 12-year veteran with 244 tackles and 66 sacks. He had eight sacks last year, but three of those came in one quarter against Indianapolis. He tallied one sack and seven tackles in his final five games.
The Jaguars drafted Florida standout Dante Fowler Jr. with the third overall pick in April to replace Clemons, but Fowler tore a ligament in his left knee in the first day of rookie minicamp in May and had season-ending surgery.
So Jacksonville is relying on one more year out of Clemons, who skipped voluntary workouts this offseason to train on his own. He did attend a mandatory, three-day minicamp in June.
''I think you have more freedom when it's OTAs or minicamp,'' Bradley said. ''It's not mandatory, but now that it's training camp. I think he feels an urgency to, `Let's work through this.' We're sensitive to it, but we also need some urgency, I think.
''My hope is that we kind of find out an answer soon.''
Bradley said he hoped to have a ''concrete answer'' regarding Clemons' arrival Friday.
Teammates didn't seem overly concerned about Clemons' whereabouts.
''We're here to support him and I understand that there are things that you have to take care of off the field and there are lives away from this game, but it's time to get back to work,'' linebacker Paul Posluszny said. ''This is a good environment to be in because you have support. You have guys that you can trust and guys that you can talk to and be around.''
The Jaguars could fine Clemons for missing camp, but that's unlikely to happen if he shows up in the next few days.
Without him, Andre Branch, Ryan Davis, Chris Smith and linebacker Dan Skuta will get extra repetitions at Jacksonville's all-important ''Leo'' pass-rushing position.
''Obviously he's a huge part of our defense,'' Posluszny said. ''He really makes things go on that defensive line and he's a big part of our pass rush. He's a great teammate to have around, a veteran presence, leadership. He's been on outstanding defenses before so we want him here. Whatever we need to do to get him here I think we're going to try.''
Also Thursday, Bradley said receiver Marqise Lee (knee) and defensive tackle Roy Miller (knee) have been cleared to practice in full. Both missed most of offseason workouts. So the only players expected to sit out practice Friday are defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks (right knee), safety James Sample (right forearm) and defensive end Cap Capi (right hamstring).
Bradley called Marks' return ''more of a challenge to us.'' Marks, who's in the second year of a four-year, $18 million contract, injured his knee in the season finale and had reconstructive surgery in January. He hasn't started running on a regular basis.
''We'll see how he progresses,'' Bradley said. ''My hope is that he'll be ready Week 1. I'm not sure. I think there are some things yet to be seen. We are not going to rush it, you know?''
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