JACKSONVILLE – Thursday mattered to CJ Henderson.
"Putting pen to paper made it a little more official," he said.
But more important to Henderson than signing his rookie contract was what's next: 2020 Training Camp and beyond.
"I'm ready to get started," he said. "I'm ready to go to work."
Henderson, a cornerback selected No. 9 overall in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft, has signed his rookie contract with the Jaguars. The team announced the signing Thursday afternoon.
"I really just thought about all the hard work and everything it took to get to this day; that's what hit me after signing my contract," Henderson said.
Henderson, who played collegiately at the University of Florida, called the signing a "motivation thing."
"All the work you put in – to finally get to this moment, to see your work pay off – it's a motivational stepping point and I expect to continue moving forward and signing more contracts," he said. "That's the thought."
Henderson (6-feet-1, 204 pounds), like all NFL rookies in an offseason defined by COVID-19, will enter training camp without previously having practiced against NFL players. All 2020 NFL offseason programs were conducted virtually because of the pandemic, with no on-field work – including no organized team activities or minicamps.
"We didn't get to go through rookie minicamp or all that stuff, so we have to be real detailed about it once we get started," he said. "That's really what we signed up, just being read and being prepared for it. …
"It's been pretty weird, but my new strength coach at Florida – Coach [Nick] Savage – he taught me a lot, being able to adapt to the situation. I was able to do that – figure out a way to work out and stay in shape."
Henderson earned first-team All-Southeastern Conference honors in 2019. He played nine games and made 33 tackles with 11 passes defensed.
Henderson was named second-team All-SEC as a sophomore, starting all 13 games with 38 tackles, five for loss, three sacks, two interceptions and two forced fumbles. He started five games with 11 appearances in 2017 and earned freshman All-SEC honors; he registered 22 tackles and four interceptions, two of which he returned for touchdowns.