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'14 offseason: Standing United in Nocatee


JACKSONVILLE – Dwayne Gratz loved seeing it again.

Zane Beadles was experiencing it for the first time, but he saw first-hand what Gratz and other Jaguars players like about the team's fan base.

Gratz, the Jaguars' second-year cornerback, and Beadles – an offensive guard who last month signed with the Jaguars as an unrestricted free agent – were among those representing the team at the 2014 Stand United Rally in Nocatee Saturday afternoon.

Former Jaguars left tackle Tony Boselli – a member of the Pride of the Jaguars – emceed the event as the "Alumni Player," with four members of the ROAR of the Jaguars also attending.

"I didn't expect to see so many people come out and show us love today," Gratz said. "It's always a cool sight to see."

Gratz and Beadles answered questions from Boselli at the event, and Gratz, Beadles and the ROAR members signed autographs for an extended period following the event.

"I've been here for almost a week and my first impressions are this is a very passionate fan base," Beadles said. "I'm excited to see that. Everything that I've seen people are huge supporters and people are excited about where the organization and team is headed. I'm happy to be part of that."

The event was held in conjunction with the Nocatee Farmer's Market.

"We've done this for a number of years, and it's great to get out and engage the fans," Boselli said. "It's important, because there's a really strong connection between the Jaguars and the fan base. I think you saw that last year when the team was struggling early. Fans were there and they were supportive.

.@TonyBoselli talks to the large crowd at the #Jaguars Nocatee Rally! — Jacksonville Jaguars (@jaguars) April 19, 2014

"There's a real excitement in the air with (Head Coach) Gus (Bradley) and (General Manager) Dave (Caldwell) on the football side and I think (President) Mark Lamping has done a great job of encouraging the connection with the fan base."

Gratz said he and other players typically receive overwhelming response at such events, and that that was the case again Saturday.

"One fan told me if I didn't get injured I'd probably have gotten rookie of the year," said Gratz, who missed six games because of injury last season. "That's the type of stuff you reflect on. For him to say that was neat. That's the type of stuff I enjoy, when people notice."

The Jaguars' offseason conditioning program officially begins next week, though players have been increasingly working out at EverBank Field on their own throughout the offseason.

"I'm excited to see teammates and what they have to offer as well," Gratz said.

Beadles arrived in Jacksonville early last week, and spent time at the facility working out and preparing for this week.

"I got in and worked with the strength coaches a little bit and met as many guys as I could," Beadles said. "I tried to start putting faces with names. The whole goal is to hit the ground running. I think I accomplished that. I'm excited to get started. I'm excited to work with these guys and show them how I work, see how they work and get ready to go.

"It's been a whirlwind. I'm trying to get things as normal as possible so I can really focus on football."

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