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2014 offseason: Jaguars sign Bowanko


JACKSONVILLE – Waiting served no purpose.

As far as Luke Bowanko saw it, there wasn't much point in delaying signing his rookie contract. Besides, when he did do it, it allowed him full focus on what he wants most to do.

Bowanko, a sixth-round selection in the 2014 NFL Draft, on Monday signed his rookie contract, becoming the first of the Jaguars' nine 2014 draft selections to sign with the team.

"It's a little lift off the shoulders," Bowanko said. "Now, I can just focus on football. You don't have to worry about the extra other stuff."

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. All rookie contracts aside from first-round selections are four-year deals.

"The later-round guys, there's not as much to negotiate," Bowanko said. "I told (his agent) I wanted to get this done. All the extracurricular stuff is out of the way, and now, it's just football. That's what I came here to do."

Bowanko (6-feet-6, 300 pounds), a center from the University of Virginia and the No. 205 overall selection in the draft, worked at the team's 2014 rookie minicamp this past weekend along with the other eight draft selections, 17 collegiate free agents and 26 workout players.

Bowanko, who could compete with three-year veteran Mike Brewster, first-year veteran Patrick Lewis and third-year veteran Jacques McClendon at the center position, also could play a role as a swing player in the interior. He worked at tackle and center at the rookie minicamp.

"It went well," Bowanko said. "I got to play some different positions, and I feel like I got better. It gave me a little indication of what the competition's going to be like."

Bowanko, a three-year starter at Virginia, played center, right guard and left guard there, starting the first four games of his senior season at guard before moving to center. He played center as a junior after starting 13 games as a sophomore at guard.

The signing leaves eight drafted players unsigned: first-round quarterback Blake Bortles (Central Florida), second-round wide receiver Marqise Lee (Southern California), second-round wide receiver Allen Robinson (Penn State), third-round guard Brandon Linder (Miami), fourth-round cornerback Aaron Colvin (Oklahoma), fifth-round linebacker Telvin Smith (Florida State), fifth-round defensive end Chris Smith (Arkansas) and seventh-round running back Storm Johnson (Central Florida).

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