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Inside the Jaguars: Jones-Drew, Poz appreciated gesture


JACKSONVILLE – Maurice Jones-Drew appreciated the gesture. Very much.

In the wake of trading Eugene Monroe to Baltimore this week, Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell spoke to not only Jones-Drew – the team's three-time Pro Bowl running back – but middle linebacker Paul Posluszny.

The idea was to explain the situation, to assure the two they were a part of the team's plans for the season, and to say he liked the duo's leadership.

Jones-Drew said it mattered not only that Caldwell spoke to him Thursday, but that Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley phoned immediately after the deal to explain the situation.

"It did (matter), that the general manager and head coach care enough about you to sit you down," Jones-Drew said Friday as the Jaguars (0-4) prepared to play the St. Louis Rams (1-3) at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, Mo., Sunday at 1 p.m.

"Obviously, you hear a bunch of talk all the time. So, it was good to sit down and clear the airways, to get back to football and playing the game."

The Jaguars on Thursday finalized a deal that sent Monroe – the team's starting left tackle in 62 games over the past four-plus seasons – to Baltimore in exchange for the Ravens' fourth- and fifth-round selections in the 2014 NFL Draft.

Caldwell on Thursday told reporters the trade was not the beginning of a fire sale, and said specifically that the team did not plan to trade Posluszny or Jones-Drew. Caldwell also spoke personally to each player Thursday.

"It was reassuring to hear from the head man that he wants me to be a part of the organization and not to worry about anything that I hear or read concerning trades," Posluszny said. "When you hear that from the general manager, that's definitely reassuring."

Bradley had said shortly after the trade that considering Monroe's status it would be understandable if veterans of the status of Jones-Drew and Posluszny wondered, "Am I next?"

"Did it cross my mind? Yeah," Posluszny said. "Was I overly concerned? We can speculate all day about it, but you can't really worry about it too much. But if was on my mind, it's not a thought anymore."

Said Bradley, "We just felt it was important for those guys to understand. They're such strong leaders for our team and I know there's their ability on the football field and then to have the leadership that they're going through, I didn't want to have another distraction for them so I wanted to keep strong on those other two areas."

Jones-Drew is in the final year of his contract, and said on Wednesday – a day after the news broke of the pending Monroe trade – that worrying about a possible trade or the future isn't something he does during a season.

Of the reassurance, he added, "It's good to know, but it's kind of out of your control."

"It's not like you can say, 'I don't want to be traded,'" he said. "It's part of the business. It's good to know we're safe for the time being so we can play as hard as we can and just continue to build this team in the right direction."

Also around the Jaguars Friday:

*Wide receiver Cecil Shorts III is listed as questionable with a groin injury on the team's injury report after missing practice Wednesday and Friday and working limited Thursday. "We feel good about his availability," Bradley said. "It was just important to give his leg some rest, so we listed him as that."

*Wide receiver Mike Brown (back), wide receiver Stephen Burton (concussion), cornerback Dwayne Gratz (ankle), tight end Marcedes Lewis (calf), safety Dwight Lowery (concussion) and defensive lineman Jeremy Mincey (concussion) were ruled out of Sunday's game. . . .

*Brown and Gratz each will miss a fourth consecutive game, with Burton and Lowery each out a second consecutive game. Lewis missed the first three games of the season before irritating the calf injury on the first series of a loss to the Colts last week. Mincey will miss his first game of the season. . . .

*Cornerback Alan Ball (groin), linebacker Geno Hayes (hip flexor), defensive tackle Roy Miller (shoulder) and wide receiver Denard Robinson (hamstring) are listed as probable.

*Linebacker John Lotulelei will be active, Bradley said Friday. Lotulelei was acquired off waivers from Seattle this week. "He upgraded us special teams-wise," Bradley said, adding that Lotulelei – who signed with Seattle as an undrafted rookie shortly after the 2013 NFL Draft – had the ability to be a "four-core" special teams player. "Dave and I are always looking at the practice squad and those parts of our roster," Bradley said. "Right now, we're competing to always look to improve that part of the roster. We felt like this could be a great addition to help us improve in that area and on special teams."

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