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2015 OTAs: Clemons misses Day One


JACKSONVILLE – One was something of a surprise; the other, not so much.

That was the case with two of the most noteworthy stories on Day One of Jaguars 2015 Organized Team Activities, with a pair of high-profile players – wide receiver Marqise Lee and defensive end Chris Clemons – not participating Tuesday.

Lee, a second-round selection in the 2014 NFL Draft projected to start next season, missed with a knee injury sustained recently in Phase 2 of the offseason program. The three-week OTA period that began Tuesday and a mandatory June 16-18 minicamp are Phase 3.

Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley said Lee's status likely will be "week-to-week."

"We're going to be smart with him (Lee) and where he's at," Bradley said Tuesday morning following a two-hour session at the Florida Blue Health and Wellness Practice Fields. "I know he wants to get back, but we're being smart with him.

"We'll see if he makes it back before the minicamp or not."

Clemons' situation was far more discussed.

Clemons, a 12-year veteran Leo/defensive end who had eight sacks in his first season with the Jaguars last season, opted not to attend Tuesday's practice and no date is scheduled for him to arrive. The absence is permissible under NFL/NFLPA rules, with OTAS considered voluntary.

Clemons' absence didn't particularly surprise Bradley or Jaguars players.

"We communicated and he continually communicates with (defensive line) coach (Todd) Wash," Bradley said. "Obviously, we'd like to have everybody here, but he communicated and we touched base. He knows our feelings."

Said defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks, "Last year, people probably thought about it, but we all know Clem. I don't think Clem has been in an offseason workout in seven years. I guess that's what he's been doing. He's always come in and done his job, so I don't think it's an issue.

"When he shows up, as long as he's ready to go and he's in shape, that's all that matters. We're not changing the defense. He knows the defense. He knows the scheme. We all have confidence in him."

Bradley said he hasn't given up on Clemons participating in OTAs.

"I'm not going to sit here and say, 'It's OK for Chris Clemons …' we want everybody here," Bradley said. "He knows that. That's the choice he makes; it is voluntary."

Clemons played for Bradley three years in Seattle – 2010-2012 -- when Bradley was the Seahawks' defensive coordinator. Bradley said Clemons didn't attend OTAs at that time, either.

"I have faith in Chris Clemons," Bradley said. "He's never not come back ready to go. I would like to see him back here, but we'll work through it

Bradley added that he knew Clemons not participating in OTAs was a possibility when the Jaguars signed the veteran as a free agent last offseason. Clemons also missed the early part of OTAs last offseason.

"I knew this coming into it," Bradley said. "I think that's just how he's done it. Every one of these guys has a different way of getting themselves ready to play. I've learned you can challenge that, how they get ready, but some guys just feel strongly. They know what works for them and they have strong beliefs on it. He has strong beliefs, very strong beliefs on it. … To this point he has not not been ready."

Also on Tuesday:

*While the media can't report on the specifics of OTA practices, second-year quarterback Blake Bortles afterward said he was impressed with the play of veteran tight end Julius Thomas, the team's most high-profile free-agent acquisition. "He's awesome," Bortles said of Thomas, who caught 12 touchdown passes with Denver each of the past two seasons. …

*Wide receiver Allen Robinson, who missed the last six games of last season with a foot injury, has been cleared to run straight ahead but is not working full in practice. …

*Also out on Tuesday were: defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. (knee), defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks (knee), defensive tackle Roy Miller (knee), wide receiver Damian Copeland (quadriceps) and safety Josh Evans (shoulder).

*Fowler, the No. 3 overall selection in the 2015 NFL Draft, is out for the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament sustained in 2015 rookie minicamp earlier this month, while Evans has been cleared for the return-to-play protocol and can participate in walk-through work. Bradley said Fowler is expected to undergo surgery this week. …

*Bradley said Marks, who sustained a torn ACL in the 2014 regular-season finale, is running straight ahead and is "a little bit ahead of schedule." …

*Bradley said Miller is coming along well and is in the return-to-play protocol but is not participating in team situations. Bradley said Miller's return is considered on schedule. …

*Bradley said overall he was pleased with the offense Tuesday, which is working for the first time this offseason under new coordinator Greg Olson, who replaced Jedd Fisch in the position in January. "I was curious to see the offense," Bradley said, adding that Tuesday's work was the first time for the unit working against a defense. "For them to come out and execute like they did – you didn't see many busts — I thought that was pretty good." …

*Bradley said while not much of the defense is installed the day was a good one for the unit. "You saw a lot of the younger guys getting a lot of reps," Bradley said. "A lot of these guys have been around here for a couple of years now, so I'd really like to see them create the standard now, where they show ownership." …

*Bradley said the first practice was a good one, with "some things to clean up – just our tempo of practice, things like that." …

Take a look at images from the Jaguars first day of OTAs held on Tuesday, May 26.

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