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First off the Field: Gratz to play against Colts


JACKSONVILLE – The Jaguars' cornerbacks apparently will be status quo.

That means Demetrius McCray on one side with Dwayne Gratz on the other when the Jaguars play the Indianapolis Colts in Indianapolis Sunday.

Gratz, a second-year veteran from the University of Connecticut, missed practice on Monday after being arrested in Miami Sunday on two misdemeanor charges. Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley on Wednesday said Gratz will be disciplined internally.

Bradley also said he expects Gratz to play against the Colts Sunday, and that he had an extended conversation with the former third-round selection.

"It's tough," Bradley said Wednesday as the Jaguars (1-9) prepared to play the AFC South-leading Colts (6-4) at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis Sunday at 1 p.m.

"My conversation with him was pretty long and extended, but I think just in hearing him talk to the team he understands the situation. It's unfortunate that it happened. Now, we have to just deal with it, learn from it and move on."

Gratz, who early in the day apologized to teammates in a meeting, made that apology public shortly before the team's "open-locker-room" media period around noon.

"First off, I want to apologize to my family, my friends, this organization – especially my teammates," Gratz told reporters. "I know it was wrong, but we are human and we make mistakes. I've just got to become a better man from this and move on."

Gratz said his discussion with Bradley "went well."

"We're going to handle everything in house, but once again I am terribly sorry for what I did," Gratz said. "I am human and I've got to learn from it and become a better man."

Gratz said he felt it was important to speak to his teammates out of respect, adding, "I don't think I can walk around here if I didn't let them know what was up and what happened."

Said Bradley, "You try to find out where his heart is and his mind is when you get done talking to him. You feel a guy who wishes it wouldn't have happened and who now has to deal with it. He pays for it outside and he pays for it internally as well. He just has to learn from it."

Also around the Jaguars Wednesday:

*The pending return Sunday of nine-year veteran tight end Marcedes Lewis was a topic, with rookie quarterback Blake Bortles particularly excited about having the 6-feet-7, 272-pound Lewis available for the first time. Bortles entered the lineup Week 3, a few days after Lewis went on the injured reserve-designated to return list after a Week 2 high-ankle sprain at Washington. Asked his confidence level throwing "50-50" passes to Lewis, Bortles replied: "High, real high. … He's the kid that you never watch him do anything and you pick him first in backyard whatever. You always like your chances on him … there aren't a whole lot of 6-7 guys playing defense. It's usually a good matchup." Told of Bortles' line about picking him in the backyard, Lewis said that indeed was the case when he was young, and that getting picked in basketball by older players was why he improved rapidly at a young age in that sport. …

*With injuries in recent weeks and the recent release of Dekoda Watson, Bradley said the Jaguars are considering a linebacker package that includes Geno Hayes, J.T. Thomas and Telvin Smith on the field at the same time. Middle linebacker Paul Posluszny is out for the season with a torn pectoral, and middle linebacker Jeremiah George – who started against Cincinnati November 2 – is expected to miss a second consecutive game with a high-ankle sprain. The Jaguars also released Otto linebacker Dekoda Watson during the bye week. "We just want to see how that works," Bradley said of a Hayes-Thomas-Smith linebacker corps. "We did a little of that today." …

*Defensive end Andre Branch (groin) missed practice with an illness Wednesday, and wide receiver Mike Brown missed for personal reasons. George also missed practice with a high-ankle sprain. Branch, out since a Week 7 victory over Cleveland, was sick and missed for that reason, and he said Monday he didn't expect to practice this week because of the groin injury. …

*Offensive tackle Austin Pasztor (hamstring) practiced limited Wednesday, with Bortles (left wrist), cornerback Aaron Colvin (knee), safety Josh Evans (elbow) and right guard Brandon Linder (shoulder) working full. Linder missed the Week 10 loss to Dallas with a shoulder strain. …

*Bradley said he liked what he has seen from Colvin in practice Monday and Wednesday. The rookie cornerback spent much of the season on the Physically Unable to Perform list after sustaining a torn anterior cruciate ligament at the Senior Bowl in January. He practiced for three weeks before moving to the active roster during last week's bye week. "It feels like he's let loose," Bradley said. "It feels like he's more about planting, breaking and going out there and making plays." Colvin is expected to play a role as the nickel corner Sunday. …     

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