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2014 minicamp: Bortles signs contract


JACKSONVILLE – The Jaguars' biggest remaining offseason issue is now resolved.

Blake Bortles, the No. 3 overall selection in the 2014 NFL Draft, signed his rookie contract with the team early Wednesday morning, a day before the end of the Jaguars' on-field offseason program.

"It's awesome," Bortles said. "It's awesome to be able to kind of put this in the past. It's a once in a lifetime thing, signing your first contract. It's a cool feeling."

The second day of the Jaguars' 2014 three-day mandatory minicamp is Wednesday, with an open practice to be held at the Florida Blue Health and Wellness Practice Fields at 10:55 a.m.

Bortles signed his contract around 7:30, and then hurried to work out.

"In my mind, it has been done," he said. "I've been practicing and going about everything like it's already happened."

Bortles, a quarterback from the University of Central Florida, was the earliest selection in the 2014 NFL Draft remaining unsigned. Defensive end and No. 1 overall selection Jadeveon Clowney from South Carolina had signed with the Houston Texans and No. 2 overall selection and left tackle Greg Robinson from Auburn had signed with the St. Louis Rams.

The earliest-selected unsigned player is now Cleveland Browns cornerback Justin Gilbert, the No. 8 overall selection. Three other first-round selections – offensive tackle Taylor Lewan of Tennessee (No. 11 overall), offensive tackle Ja'Wuan James of Miami (No. 19) and defensive tackle Dominique Easley of New England (No. 29) – also remain unsigned.

Bortles became the seventh player from the Jaguars' 2014 draft class to sign.

"It's definitely special," Bortles said. "Me and (Jaguars director of public relations) Ryan (Robinson) were walking over here talking about it. This is a day you remember the rest of your life, the day you sign your first contract. It's definitely something that's cool.

"As soon as they called my name (in the draft), I was in. It was (done). But to officially get it done is definitely an awesome feeling."

Details of the contract were not released. All rookies except for first-round selections sign four-year contracts, with first-round selections signing four-year deals with the team holding options for a fifth year.

Bortles (6-feet-5, 232 pounds) is working in minicamp as the backup to veteran Chad Henne, with the Jaguars having said since drafting Bortles that Henne likely will start next season. The idea is to give Bortles a chance to compete for the starting position without pressure or expectations, and to develop at his own pace.

Jaguars' first-round pick of the 2014 NFL Draft, Blake Bortles, arrives at EverBank Field.

"It's been huge, the amount of growth that's happened, the amount of more knowledge I know," Bortles said. "I'm trying to get better each and every day and trying to improve what I can do."

The Jaguars recently signed third-round offensive guard Brandon Linder (Miami), fourth-round cornerback Aaron Colvin (Oklahoma), fifth-round defensive end Chris Smith (Arkansas), fifth-round defensive end Chris Smith (Arkansas), sixth-round center Luke Bowanko (Virginia) and seventh-round running back Storm Johnson (Central Florida).

The signing leaves two Jaguars rookies unsigned: second-round wide receiver Marqise Lee (Southern California) and second-round wide receiver Allen Robinson (Penn State).

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