Byron Leftwich regrets comments he made in the spring when he predicted he would not be a holdout, and apologized to fans for having misled them.
"I didn't know the process. I shouldn't have made that remark. I hope they can understand there's a business side to this, too. They tell you before you're drafted that this is a business. Hopefully, they're not too mad at me," Leftwich told reporters following this morning's practice. It was the first time Leftwich had met with Jacksonville reporters since the end of spring drills in June.
"It's all up to me how much I want to catch up," he said, referring to the learning that was lost during his 19-day, training camp holdout.
Leftwich, the seventh pick of last April's NFL draft, signed his first Jaguars contract at about 1:30 a.m. today. It's a seven-year deal he can void following the fifth year, and he received a $10.9 million signing bonus.
"As a player, all you want is a fair deal. Sometimes that process is tough. We're both happy now," Leftwich said.
So, now Leftwich is in the fold and there's a chance he may even log some playing time this Friday night against the Miami Dolphins, in the Jaguars' second game of the preseason. But the real issue is this: When will Leftwich be ready to take over at quarterback and lead the Jaguars into this new era in Jaguars football?
"It's a challenge. I missed a lot of days, but the great thing in mini-camp is we put the whole playbook in," Leftwich said.
Does he expect to compete for playing time this season?
"Every player on this team wants to play. Nobody wants to be a (backup), but sometimes that's what you have to do," he said.
During his holdout, Leftwich worked out at IMG's training facility in Bradenton, where Leftwich maintained the same schedule the Jaguars were employing in their training camp. "There were some football players there, but it wasn't like throwing to Jimmy (Smith)," Leftwich said.
"I was in constant contact with my agent," he said of IMG's Tom Condon. "When I came out of school, I said I wanted to get the best.
"The great thing we did is we kept everything in-house. If rumors come out, they're not going to be good rumors," Leftwich added.
All of that is behind him. The issue now is: What does the future hold?