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Knighton: 'I feel great'


Terrance Knighton couldn't be happier.

Not only is the Jaguars' fourth-year veteran defensive tackle looking good and feeling good, he's getting the best possible reports from doctors.

Considering his offseason, that's plenty of reason to be happy.

"Like I told you guys before – I was going to be in the best shape of my life," Knighton said Thursday upon reporting for Jaguars 2012 Training Camp.

"I feel great. My eye is great. I'm ready to start. I'm ready to get this thing rolling."

Knighton, who reported for camp overweight each of the past two seasons, declined to say his exact weight Thursday, but said he is under 330 pounds. He said that's as light as he has been in his NFL career. He said he lost about 20 pounds in the offseason running, eating right, drinking a lot of water and staying away from sugar-based drinks.

"I feel great and I'm just ready to get out there now," he said.

Knighton in March underwent emergency eye surgery that caused him to miss practice throughout the offseason. He said he had stitches removed from the eye Wednesday, leaving eight stitches for "precautionary reasons," and that doctors continue to be pleased with the process.

He said while the eye is not 100 percent, "It's close. Real close."

Knighton said he has been cleared medically to participate, and that he plans to participate in practice Friday morning.

"The doctor is very happy with the progress and there's nothing really holding me back now from being out there," he said. "I'm cleared but you don't ever want to jinx yourself."

Knighton has been a starter throughout his three seasons, and at times he has played near a Pro Bowl level, but he said Thursday, "I don't feel like I've lived up to my potential in the past three years. I've had good spurts of games here and there but I want to be the best at my position."

Also around the Jaguars Thursday:

*Cornerback Aaron Ross said he will leave camp on August 3 to watch his wife, Sanya Richards-Ross, compete in the London Olympics, with plans to return August 6. The team agreed to allow Ross to miss a few days of camp for the event upon signing him as a free agent this past off-season.  Richards-Ross is the world's No. 1-ranked woman in the 400-meter dash. "Every week she performs it seems like she's getting better and more confident, so I'm pretty excited about getting up there and watching her," he said. Ross is expected to compete for a starting cornerback position with Rashean Mathis, with one of the two starting opposite Derek Cox and the other playing the nickel corner role. "I wouldn't call it a competition," Ross said. "We're just both out there competing trying to help the team. Whatever decision coach makes at the end of the day I'm sure both of us, we've been in the league long enough, been through ups and downs so we'll be able to deal with whatever happens. . . . You want to be a starter. You want to be out there playing and helping the team but if you're not you don't want to hurt the team by pouting. Whatever coach decides."

*Jaguars middle linebacker Paul Posluszny said Thursday he has been cleared to participate in practice, and that he expects to be full-go when practice begins Friday. Posluszny, who sustained a separated shoulder in the 2012 regular-season finale, underwent surgery in January. He participated in practice during the offseason on a limited basis. Jaguars Head Coach Mike Mularkey said this week many players who were limited in the offseason could be monitored or limited early in training camp as a way of managing the roster.

*Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert said he believes wide receiver Justin Blackmon will be in camp soon. The No. 5 overall selection in the 2012 NFL Draft, Blackmon is the lone rookie unsigned.
"It's crucial," Gabbert said. "I know that side of the business, because I was in his shoes last year. It's only day one. I wasn't here day one last year. They'll get the whole contract thing worked out, it's just down to the little stuff now and he'll be here. . . . Once you get here, you pick things up right where they left off and he won't have anything to worry about."

*Knighton said he has been in contact often with holdout veteran running back Maurice Jones-Drew during the off-season. "I've talked to him," Knighton said. "I've even asked him for the team to be here but you can't really, guys have their own agendas and being in the NFL it's about the team but you always have to take care of home. I'm pretty sure that's what he's doing and we'll be behind him regardless. I can't wait for him to get here though." Knighton said he expects Jones-Drew, the NFL's leading rusher last season, to play this season: "I don't think he'll retire or anything. . . . He's a competitor. He loves football. Hopefully that's what bothers him the most about being away from the team and not being on the field and he wants to come back. "

*While many prognosticators have predicted the Jaguars to finish with around five victories this season, Posluszny said no question the team believes that number is too low. "We're a better team than what we were last year," he said. "We're in a better situation on defense. Overall, we'll be better on defense. With this new coaching staff we brought in, and what we'll be able to do on the offensive side of the ball, we'll be a better team than we were last year."

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