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2017 Minicamp 1: Albert 'ready to work'


JACKSONVILLE – Branden Albert made it official Tuesday.

The two-time Pro Bowl left tackle practiced with the Jaguars on Day 1 of 2017 mandatory minicamp, saying afterward he will participate fully from the beginning of training camp in July.

"I'm here," Albert said Tuesday morning shortly after his first official on-field work with the Jaguars.
I'm just going to call it out right now: I'll be in training camp. I'll be ready to work and ready to go."

Albert, a 10-year veteran acquired in a trade from the Miami Dolphins in March, missed the voluntary portion of the team's '17 offseason program. That phase of the offseason was followed by a three-week period of 10 organized team activities that ended Friday.

Albert reported to EverBank Field Monday in advance of Tuesday's practice, after which Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone said Albert "looked like a guy who hadn't been here for a long period of time."

"My experience has been the same way: every player who hasn't been around with his teammates – who hasn't been working – when they come back for the first practice they're never going to be where you want them to be," Marrone said. "In my whole career, I think there's one person who I thought did a pretty good job and that was a long time ago. When they come back, obviously it's not going to be as good as everybody else."

Albert on Tuesday said he needed to get in better shape before training camp, and said that Jaguars Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin mentioned his weight when the two spoke. Albert added that he believed Coughlin was "more joking around" and "happy I'm here."

"I told him [Coughlin], 'Don't worry about that: I'll be ready to go when it's time,''' Albert said. "I had to take time for myself. It was a long three years in Miami. I took a beating. I think I needed to take a break for myself and get myself together."

Albert said he jumped offsides twice during Tuesday practice, and joked afterward that he never before in his career had worked with the third team.

"You're never going to be perfect on the first day," Albert said. "I'm not worried about it. It's the end of June. It's not game time yet. I'm just happy to be out here with the guys and with the team, just working. I feel blessed to be here and be back playing football."

Marrone said the idea of Albert working with the third team Tuesday was simple.

"He hasn't been here," Marrone said. "He doesn't know the plays. He doesn't know the system. He just hasn't been here. I couldn't do that. Even if I wanted to, I couldn't do that."

Albert said it wasn't necessarily his intent throughout the offseason to report on the first day of mandatory work. He said that while the intent of his absence indeed was to renegotiate his contract, the Jaguars never before or after trading for him indicated there would be a new deal.

"I'm just glad it's over with," Albert said. "I'm just here to play football, put everything behind me and get to work and help this team win."

Also on Tuesday:

*Albert was asked if his absence during minicamp hurt his role as a leader. "This is June," he said. "Real time starts in July. Right now, I'm working myself to get back in shape. I have a lot of work. I'm not far off. I handled the conditioning test yesterday. I came in yesterday off of the plane. I'm not making excuses. I'm just happy to be out here with the guys, learning. I'm way more healthy than I've felt the last few years. I'm just happy to be here." …

*Albert also addressed the team's drafting of left tackle Cam Robinson in the second round. Team officials have said Robinson and Albert will compete at left tackle. "It's good for the team," Albert said. "That makes sure I don't stay complacent. That makes sure that I work out. I didn't take it for granted. It happened to me in Kansas City. It happened to be in Miami. It's nothing new. I'm going to help Cam the best that I can to make him a better player. I'm secure in myself as a man and as a football player and as a man of the Lord. Nothing shakes me. I don't fear anything. I don't mean that in any old way. I'm going to help each and every young guy the best that I can and help myself at the same time." …

*Safeties Tashaun Gipson and Barry Church continued to work on the side, as they did throughout OTAs. Other players not practicing/working on the side Tuesday included cornerback Aaron Colvin, running back T.J. Yeldon, tight end Neal Sterling, wide receiver Dede Westbrook, defensive tackle Stefan Charles, cornerback Aaron Colvin and cornerback Doran Grant. …

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