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'15 offseason: Marks targeting opener for return


JACKSONVILLE – Sen'Derrick Marks initially was sorta, kinda hesitant to give an exact date.

The Jaguars' defensive tackle is rehabilitating/returning from a torn anterior cruciate ligament sustained at the end of last season. And although his goal is to return by next season, it's an injury for which timetables are tricky.

Still, when asked if September 13 – the date of the Jaguars' regular-season opener – was sorta, kinda the date that was on his mind, the veteran smiled.

Yes, he said, no doubt.

"I want to be back before the season," Marks said Wednesday, the second day of the Jaguars' 2015 offseason program. "That (the regular-season opener) would be my target, but other than that, I'm not pushing it."

Marks, a seventh-year veteran who led the Jaguars with a career-high 8.5 sacks last season, sustained a torn ACL in the second quarter of last year's regular-season finale against Houston. He underwent reconstructive surgery shortly thereafter, and has spent the offseason rehabilitating.

An ACL rehabilitation is difficult, with players who have been through the process talking of good days and bad days and saying later they wouldn't wish the experience on anyone.

Still, Marks "joked" that the worst part of his offseason wasn't the physical difficult of rehabilitation at all.

"No golf at all," he said. "Other than that, it has been great."

Marks said he spent time early in the offseason in a brace with crutches, then moved on to working on a stationary bike and strengthening. He said he is now doing lifting and strengthening.

"It's been progressing pretty well," Marks said. "It's getting better and better every day. I'm going along with the flow, and however it comes about I'm just doing all the work I can. As far as the protocol and what's on paper, I'm right on schedule of where I'm supposed to be. All that's great."

Marks is not expected to participate in the offseason program, and because of the timing of the injury, his status for training camp likely will remain uncertain until closer to July. Players sustaining ACL injuries late in seasons have returned to play in the regular-season opener the following season, but return dates vary from player to player.

"I don't know exactly when the return date is supposed to be," Marks said. "(Doctor) (Jaguars Head Team Physician Kevin) Kaplan hasn't set a date and I really don't want to hear a date. I just want to continue to work and get it stronger as every day goes along. I'll just see how it is when that date toward the season comes."

Also around the Jaguars Wednesday:

*Running back Bernard Pierce spoke to the media for the first time since joining the Jaguars off waivers from Baltimore. He was released by the Ravens March 19, a day after he was arrested and charged with driving under the influence in Baltimore. The Jaguars claimed him the next day. "It makes me hungry, honestly," Pierce said. "I know I have to work. No more messing up. It's game time. It's real. … It's definitely a fresh start." Pierce, a third-round selection by the Ravens in the 2012 NFL Draft, rushed for 1,334 yards and five touchdowns in three seasons with Baltimore. Pierce said he doesn't know his suspension status with the NFL for next season. "As far as expectations, I don't come in expecting anything," Pierce said. "I'm coming in trying to get a job and trying to compete. …

*Second-year wide receiver Marqise Lee discussed working with quarterback Blake Bortles in California during the offseason, saying with a smile, "Blake's going to be all right." Bortles spent much of the past two months working on fundamentals in California and threw with Jaguars receivers and skill position players over a four-day period in late March. "Blake's going to be great," Lee said. "Blake's going to be Blake plus a little bit more." …

*Lee also said he was impressed during his first work with newly signed tight end Julius Thomas, who also worked with Bortles in California. "He runs routes like me," he said. "That's an athletic dude right there. Having him and (tight end) Marcedes (Lewis) is going to be amazing. That's a 1-2 punch."…

*Left tackle Luke Joeckel, who played around 300 pounds last season in his first full season starting at the position, has added about 13 or 14 pounds since the end of last season and said Wednesday he wants to add perhaps five more. "As long as I'm still moving well, why not add more weight?" he said. "It will help me get stronger." …

*Newly signed free-agent cornerback Davon House joined LIVE Wednesday afternoon, saying he likes what he has seen from the Jaguars' safeties and cornerbacks on tape and in person. "This room is going to surprise a lot of people this year," House said. "The past is the past. This is a whole new year. We just have to show the world what we can do." House, who started 14 of 38 games over the past three seasons in Green Bay, is expected to start opposite Demetrius McCray. "It's a great opportunity," he said. "I feel like I'm just scratching the surface, so what you've seen before, expect a lot more. I'm the No. 1 guy here, and I'm going to show everyone why." …

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