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Open Locker Room: Pro Bowl snub surprises Marks

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JACKSONVILLE – Sen'Derrick Marks was just plain surprised.

The Jaguars' veteran defensive tackle was quite candid about that on Wednesday, and he was just as clear about something else regarding the 2015 Pro Bowl.

The idea of that game being a personal goal?

The idea of the honor being special?

Those are tougher ideas for Marks to accept after what happened Tuesday.

"Now, it won't be that big of a deal,'' Marks said Wednesday as the Jaguars (3-12) prepared to play the Houston Texans (8-7) at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas, Sunday at 1 p.m.

"I guess it's not going off performance no more. "I guess it's going off names or your team. I didn't think that that's what it was supposed to be about."

Marks, a sixth-year veteran who is second among NFL defensive tackles with 8.5 sacks, was named as an alternate to the Pro Bowl.

"I know what we believe in him, and what our team thinks of him – that's that he's a Pro Bowl player," Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley said.

Tackles named to the game when the roster was announced Tuesday night: Ndamukong Suh of the Detroit Lions, Dontari Poe of the Kansas City Chiefs, Kyle Williams and Marcell Dareus of the Buffalo Bills, Aaron Donald of the St. Louis Rams and Gerald McCoy of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Dareus leads NFL defensive tackles with 10 sacks.

Marks can be named to the roster if enough of the tackles named to the game opt to not attend. Jaguars middle linebacker Paul Posluszny played in last January's Pro Bowl after being named an alternate.

"I would still accept the invitation," Marks said. "It's more than just for me. It adds something for your team, for your group and for your coaches, but I wouldn't hold it in high regard like I used to."

Marks said while he had heard about why he might not go – small-market team, 3-12 record, name recognition – he didn't believe those theories.

"I heard that nine times out of 10 I probably wasn't going to make it," Marks said. "I heard all the scenarios. But in my mind, I thought as a player this is what you play for. You play for your guys. You play hard. But you have a goal as a player to make it to the Pro Bowl, or an All-Pro player.

"After yesterday, I'll never do that again. I'll never say, 'This is what I push for.' I'm always going to push for the guys around me.

"I don't know how to word it, but I just didn't like it."

Also around the Jaguars on Wednesday:

*Defensive end Andre Branch practiced full after missing seven of the last eight games with a groin injury. Branch missed four games with the injury, and has missed the last three after playing against the New York Giants November 30. "He seemed to move pretty well," Bradley said of Branch Wednesday. Branch said he felt good Wednesday and hopes to play Sunday. "It felt good to be back out there," Branch said. "I've been fighting, came back, got sidetracked again and fought again. Now, we're back. That's all that it's about.  I want to be back out there with my teammates. I owe it to them and I owe it to the team. They didn't put me on injured reserve for a reason. They trusted in me to get back and they believed in my ability. I want to pay them back for that." …

*Wide receiver Cecil Shorts III was limited in practice with a shoulder injury, but Bradley said he "would fully expect" Shorts to play Sunday. "I know in talking to him right now he really wants this opportunity," Bradley said. …

*Running back Toby Gerhart also was limited with a rib injury. He and Shorts were the only players limited Wednesday. …

*Defensive tackle Roy Miller was the lone player missing practice. He missed with a knee sprain that kept him out of last Thursday's victory over Tennessee. …

*Quarterback Blake Bortles (foot), center Luke Bowanko (wrist), Branch, defensive end Chris Clemons (knee) and wide receiver Tommy Streeter (abdomen) worked full. …

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