The two smallish bandages on Mike Peterson's right wrist are reminders of something Peterson would like to forget; his injured right wrist and the Jaguars' playoff loss in New England.
Peterson sustained a significant wrist injury in the Jaguars' win over the Titans in the regular-season finale. It was a meaningless game but football is football and injuries happen and Peterson's injury left him a one-armed player against the Patriots. He probably shouldn't have played.
"I had to play," Peterson said.
The injury was technically a dislocation and the wrist was popped back into place right away, but Peterson tore a ligament and it required surgery a week after the season ended. Pins were inserted and after two months of healing they were removed a few weeks ago.
Now, Peterson has put aside thoughts of that 28-3 loss in New England and he's started the grind of a new season that begins every spring with offseason conditioning.
"This is the part of the year the fans don't see. Up early, work hard, get away from fast food," Peterson said of spring conditioning.
"It's still early. I'm not trying to get too hyped early. This time of the year you're taking care of yourself, your body. Then we all come together: OK, what's going to be our goal?" Peterson said.
Is there any doubt what the answer will be? The goal for a team coming off a 12-4 record and its first taste of the playoffs in six years is the Super Bowl, right?
"There's no reason we shouldn't be penciled in for Miami (the Super Bowl)," Peterson shot back. "The pieces are there. Ever since Jack (Del Rio) has been here, I've seen the pieces come together."
Actually, Peterson didn't realize how true that statement is. He was the first free-agent signing of Jack Del Rio's rookie year as head coach of the Jaguars, back on March 13, 2003. Before Byron Leftwich was here, Peterson was. You could say Peterson is the block on which Del Rio built his team. Of course, two other sizable blocks – Marcus Stroud and John Henderson – were left over from the Tom Coughlin years.
Now, only a few more pieces are required to complete the construction job. On defense, the Jaguars signed cornerback Brian Williams to a pricey free-agent contract this offseason, and now attention turns to the void at the weakside linebacker position; the guy who will play next to Peterson.
What do you need there, Peterson was asked.
"Speed guy, but I don't want to say a run-around guy. You can be a smaller guy but you gotta have that pop," he said.
The Jaguars' main competition in the AFC South will, again, be the three-time defending AFC South champs, the Indianapolis Colts. This season, however, the Colts will be without one of their primary stars of the Peyton Manning era, running back Edgerrin James.
"I don't think they'll realize (what they lost) until the season kickoff. That guy fit that system. He was a guy who fell forward all the time," Peterson said.
What about the Texans with Reggie Bush?
"I've seen him play but he's still a rookie. This is the NFL. Bring it on," Peterson said.
It'll be here soon enough. Until then, there is work to do. There's a wrist to be rehabbed and a few pieces to be acquired, then Peterson can stop holding back on his enthusiasm for the new season and let it rip.