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Darius, Brady no-shows


Donovin Darius and Kyle Brady were no-shows, but head coach Jack Del Rio wasn't about to draw battle lines in April.

"I understand that situation," Del Rio said of Darius, who was absent for the start of this weekend's voluntary, three-day mini-camp. "It's a time to get paid and there'll be a time to play in the fall. I'm not going to get caught up in bad feelings."

Darius and Brady were obviously using their absences to express their contract discontent. In Darius' case, he's upset with the "franchise" tag the Jaguars slapped on him in February. It's thought Brady is reacting to what is believed to be a paycut request by the Jaguars.

Brady would be a $5.2 million hit on the Jaguars' salary cap this season and would earn $3 million in salary. Darius recently signed the Jaguars' one-year tender that would pay him slightly more than $3 million in salary this season.

"He's not here. It's all voluntary," Del Rio said in responding directly to the question of Brady's absence. "To me, getting angry with a guy doesn't help get results."

Darius and Brady were the only two absentees. Defensive end Tony Brackens continues his recovery from last fall's knee surgery and will not participate in on-the-field drills until training camp.

Del Rio brimmed with enthusiasm for the first on-the-field workout for this new era in Jaguars football. It was an afternoon drill that introduced quarterback Mark Brunell, Jimmy Smith, Fred Taylor and company to the "West Coast offense" coordinator Bill Musgrave will install.

Guard Brad Meester officially made the move to center, for today at least, and star defensive tackle Marcus Stroud displayed a physique that appears to be 15-20 pounds lighter than it was last season.

"From everything I've seen, he's the most athletic guy and I saw that today," Del Rio said of Stroud.

"Good energy; we saw a lot of good things," Del Rio added of the afternoon workout.

The new coach addressed his team for the first time today and his message dealt with "mindset; what we're going to be about as a team. You all won't have anything to do with it," he said to the media.

"They're real eager and they're coachable," he added of his players.

Del Rio said the entire "West Coast offense" will be installed by the time the team reports to training camp, but Brunell and Garrard couldn't help but wonder about recent reports the Jaguars may be interested in drafting quarterback Byron Leftwich with the eighth selection in the April 26 NFL Draft.

"It may mean something on draft day, but right now I'm going home," Brunell said in attempting to avoid the issue.

Garrard was more to the point. "I look at that and I wonder," he said with a quizzical smile on his face. "But it's part of football. They're always going to want competition and I want competition. If I can go out there and show them how I play, they won't feel that need (at quarterback)," Garrard added.

Garrard also said he played in the "West Coast offense" at East Carolina. "The things we're running out there are very similar," he said.

The Jaguars will workout at 9:45 a.m. and at 3:15 p.m. tomorrow, then will conclude the weekend with a 9:45 a.m. practice on Sunday. All practices are closed to the public.

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