JACKSONVILLE – Reporting Day 2015 brought unwanted news.
Jaguars players reported for 2015 Training Camp on Thursday, a day that featured Gus Bradley offering a few injury updates and talking about the new feeling surrounding the franchise as he enters an important third season as head coach.
It also featured news that Chris Clemons, a veteran Leo defensive end and a player expected to be critical to the team's pass rush, had not reported for what Bradley called "personal reasons." Clemons was the only one of the Jaguars' 90 players not to report to EverBank Field Thursday.
Bradley called the absence "a little concerning."
"I can't get into much into it; there are some personal things he's going through," Bradley said early Thursday afternoon. "I can tell you this – that we've been in really good communication with him. If you were to ask me, 'Is it concerning'? I would say this one's a little concerning, not so much for the staff or the team, just more concerning for Clem."
Bradley said he spoke with Clemons Wednesday evening and Thursday morning. Bradley said there was no dispute and that the issue was "clearly personal."
"Hopefully, we come up with a decision to speed this up," Bradley said. "I don't foresee this as a situation where it's extended. … He feels urgency to, 'Let's work this out.' We're sensitive to it, but we also need some urgency.
"My hope is that we find out an answer soon. Hopefully, I can give you more of a concrete answer (Friday)."
Clemons, a 13-year veteran who signed with the Jaguars as a free agent during the 2014 offseason, missed time during the voluntary portion of the 2014 offseason and did not attend any part of the voluntary period of the offseason this year. He attended mandatory minicamp in 2014 and 2015, and reported on time for training camp last season.
He registered eight sacks last season – second on the team to defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks' eight and a half – and is projected to start at the Leo position. The Jaguars selected University of Florida defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. No. 3 overall in the 2015 NFL Draft to play the Leo, but he is out for the season after sustaining a torn anterior cruciate ligament in rookie minicamp.
"We all want him here," middle linebacker Paul Posluszny said of Clemons. "Obviously, he's a huge part of our defense. He really makes things go on that defensive line and he's a big part of our pass rush. … He's a great teammate to have around. If he's not here … yes, that changes things for us. That's taking a starter out of the rotation. That's not good. We definitely need him here."
Bradley said the team was pleased with fourth-year veteran Andre Branch's work at the Leo during the offseason, and said third-year veteran Ryan Davis – who added weight in the offseason is also a possibility as well as second-year veteran Chris Smith. He also said Otto linebacker Dan Skuta, who signed as an unrestricted free agent from San Francisco in the offseason, could play a pass-rushing role.
The Jaguars will hold their first practice of 2015 training camp Friday at 9:55 a.m. at the Florida Blue Health and Wellness Practice Fields, and Bradley said there absolutely is a different feeling entering his third training camp.
"We're really excited about heading into what's in front of us," Bradley said, adding that he likes the makeup of the roster entering training camp. "Last year, maybe some would say we were young. We can't say that this year. We have some youth, but it's the right amount of youth."
Veteran players report for the start of 2015 Jacksonville Jaguars Training Camp.
Also on Thursday:
*The Jaguars officially updated several injuries, reconfirming that Marks (knee) and safety James Sample (arm) will begin training camp on the physically unable to perform list. Running back Storm Johnson will begin camp on the active/non-football illness list and defensive end Nordly "Cap" Capi will begin on the active non-football injury list. All four players can be activated at any time during the preseason and training camp. …
*The team reconfirmed that Fowler will go on injured reserve in September. He has been rehabilitating daily and a team spokesman said he's doing well. …
*Bradley said second-year wide receiver Marqise Lee has been cleared to practice 100 percent immediately. He missed the on-field portion of the team's offseason program with a knee issue. …
*Bradley said he was pleased with the results of Thursday morning's conditioning test. "I think it was more of a test for us to see, are they ready to practice?" Bradley said. "It's like rookie minicamp, right? They jump right into rookie minicamp and you find out sometimes, 'I don't know if these guys were ready for this.' I think that's what the conditioning test is for, for us to see is there anybody here that's not quite ready, and that's good." …