Minicamp Day 1: Marrone on Ngakoue absence

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JACKSONVILLE – He fielded many questions, and answered a few.

This was Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone on Tuesday discussing defensive end Yannick Ngakoue’s decision to skip this week’s 2019 mandatory minicamp.

“I spoke to Yann yesterday; he’s been in communication with the coaches,” Marrone said Tuesday morning shortly before the first ’19 minicamp practice at the Dream Finders Homes Practice Complex adjacent to TIAA Bank Field.

Ngakoue, a 2017 Pro Bowl selection who is entering the final year of his rookie contract, announced the following via Twitter Monday: “I will not be attending minicamp as my contract has not been resolved. I remain committed to Jacksonville, the fans and my teammates. My hope is to be with Jacksonville for years to come.”

Marrone said while he had talked to the fourth-year veteran he couldn’t say much concerning his actions.

“Obviously, you’ve seen the tweet that was put out,” Marrone said. “I discussed it with Yann, and obviously he wants to resolve his contract issues. …

“Everyone knows the situation. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out. He’s trying to get a contract.”

Ngakoue, a third-round selection in the 2016 NFL Draft who has 29.5 sacks in his first three seasons, attended the early part of the team’s recent organized team activities but did not attend the final two weeks. He said early in OTAs he planned to attend all of OTAs, and that he planned to play next season whatever his contract status.

“I can’t stand here today and be able to communicate as well as what Yann’s going to able to do,” Marrone said. “I don’t even want to try to do that because I don’t want to get involved in the middle or whatever it may be. I can’t talk for somebody else. Yann’s going to have to do that, and he understands that.”

Marrone added, “My philosophy has always been from the beginning: I do not get involved with contracts. I don’t get involved in negotiations. I don’t get involved in any contracts. I don’t do anything of that nature. For me, I think that puts me in a poor position.”

All offseason work including OTAs is voluntary for players. The exception is this week’s minicamp, for which players can be fined for not attending.

Ngakoue, linebacker Telvin Smith and linebacker D.J. Alexander are the only players not expected to attend Tuesday. Smith announced last month that he doesn’t plan to play in 2019 and Marrone said the team expects Alexander to return Wednesday.

“When he comes in, we’ll be here to support him,” Marrone said of Alexander. “He’s been excused. Everybody else is here.”

Cornerback Jalen Ramsey, who did not attend OTAs, has been in town since Friday. Marrone said he talked with Ramsey and that the team will be smart about working him into practice.

“We’ll be smart,” Marrone said of Ramsey, “but I never worry about him being in shape.”

Running back Leonard Fournette, who attended the early part of OTAs before missing last week’s voluntary work, also practiced Tuesday.

“When he was here, he worked well,” Marrone said of Fournette. “We’ll see how this goes these next three days. He’s done a nice job in the practices he’s attended, so we’re happy with that.”

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