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2014 minicamp: A busy day to close


JACKSONVILLE – All in all, Gus Bradley was pleased.

That was true of the entire Jaguars' 2014 offseason – from the offseason acquisitions, to the on-field work over the last month, to this week's mandatory veteran minicamp.

It was particularly true of the final day of minicamp.

One day after the Jaguars' second-year head coach challenged the team in several areas in Day 2 of 2014 minicamp, the Jaguars closed the three-day session with an hour-and-a-half session that Bradley liked better than the day before.

"It's exciting to see the developments we've made, and we still have some ways to go," Bradley said following Thursday's practice at the Florida Blue Health and Wellness practice fields.

Bradley said the Jaguars shortened Thursday's final day, though "not too much," adding it was an improved practice from the day before.

"That's a good sign that they did come back," Bradley said. "We didn't stop practice and say, 'Capture this.' It was just brought up in team meetings and they did a good job at it."

Bradley also addressed the release of veteran defensive end Jason Babin, who led the team with 7.5 sacks last season. The Jaguars released the 11-year veteran before practice Thursday.

"These are difficult decisions, especially a guy who has worked so hard," Bradley said. "You see the efforts he has put into it."

Bradley and Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell spoke to Babin early Thursday to inform him of his release.

"I talked to him about, 'He's a big part of what we're building here and always will be,''' Bradley said. "We respect him greatly as a person and a player."

The #Jaguars have released DE Jason Babin. More info: — Jacksonville Jaguars (@jaguars) June 19, 2014

Also on Thursday:

The Jaguars signed rookie punter/kicker Kasey Redfern, wide receiver Nathan Slaughter and long snapper Charley Hughlett, the club announced today. Babin was released from the roster and wide receivers Kevin Smith and Brandon Wimberly were waived. Redfern, Slaughter and Hughlett had been in minicamp on a workout basis. …

*Bradley said he likes what he has seen from rookie quarterback Blake Bortles since drafting him No. 3 overall last. He said he particularly likes Bortles' willingness to acknowledge – often publicly – when he has struggled in a practice. "You have to have humility and identify your weaknesses," Bradley said. "He's very confident in his ability. He understands, 'You know what? I didn't get this done. I have to take responsibility for that, get it corrected and move on.' To me, he shows great confidence in that. I think it shows a sense of strength.''…

*Jaguars wide receiver Cecil Shorts III continued to sit out for precautionary reasons with a calf issue. He said this week he remains in a good place, and that he feels as good as he ever has felt in an NFL offseason.  He also said if this had been a regular-season week or even training camp he would have practiced and played. …

*Veteran cornerback Alan Ball missed practice Thursday with a sprained ankle and rookie tight end Marcel Jensen missed with a rib injury. Those were the new injuries from Wednesday. …

*Shorts is one of five wide receivers who missed the final week of practice, with the others being rookies Marqise Lee (ankle), Allen Robinson (hamstring) and Lamaar Thomas (knee) and veteran Tandon Doss (calf). Wide receivers Mike Brown and Ace Sanders returned to practice this week after being out much of the previous week. …

*Outside linebacker Dekoda Watson (groin), cornerback Aaron Colvin (knee), safety Josh Evans (foot) and safety Sherrod Martin (groin) also remain out. …

*Bradey said of the aforementioned players only Colvin is expected to be a concern when training camp opens in five weeks in late July. …

*Colvin, a fourth-round selection in the 2014 NFL Draft, remained out through OTAs and minicamp as he continued rehabilitating a torn anterior cruciate ligament sustained at the Senior Bowl in January. He is not expected to be ready for the opening of training camp, and Caldwell said upon drafting Colvin he could begin the season on the Physically Unable to Perform list. "I'm taking it one day at a time," Colvin said, adding that he has begun running and that the next step is cutting on the knee. "We're doing a lot of strengthening stuff with the quad and the hamstring. It's all about balance. You don't want to push it too much and overcompensate on your other leg or put too much pressure on your knee. You also don't want to hold back too much and get behind.'' …

*Lee and Robinson, the Jaguars' two second-round selections, are the team's only unsigned players as the offseason comes to a close. Bortles, the No.3 overall selection in the 2014 NFL Draft, signed his rookie contract Wednesday. …

*Bradley and Ashley Furniture HomeStores-Jacksonville announced they have expanded their "Hope to Dream" program that provides beds to needy youth. Bradley and HomeStores-Jacksonville hosted a sleepover at EverBank Field last year to provide 50 beds to area youth. They announced Friday they will host a sleepover on August 1 for 100 area youth, and will host a sleepover at Wembley Stadium in London on August 30 for 100 more children….

*Bradley will serve as grand marshal at this year's annual Covered Bridge Music and Arts Festival in his hometown of Zumbrota, Minn., and also will attend his 30-year high school reunion. "That's a 'remember my roots' trip," Bradley said. "It's a special place up there, my hometown, so I'm looking forward to it. To go back there and see guys I played hoops with on Sunday, and went to school with, and sports and all the activities. … I haven't seen my mom since the season so it'll be a great chance to see her again." Bradley also will speak at the NFL's Rookie Symposium Wednesday.

The Jaguars concluded their 2014 mandatory minicamp.

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