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Taylor, rookies take part


Rookies went through their first practice as professional football players on Monday, and they were joined by old pro running back Fred Taylor.

"I'm a veteran. This is 'veteran camp.' I just wanted to come back and be with the team," Taylor said following practice.

Taylor has settled into an on-again, off-again spring regimen that he credits for his success in recent years. He'll practice with the Jaguars through this week's four workouts, return to south Florida to continue his personal conditioning program, and then return to Jacksonville for mandatory mini-camp practices on June 6-7.

"I'm not in tip-top shape. I'm pacing myself," said Taylor, who put his weight at 228-230 pounds. Taylor is working out with several NFL players, including Dallas running back Marion Barber.

"Marion says, 'You don't look like you're 32. You look like you're 25.' I feel like I can play as long as I want," Taylor said.

Taylor experienced one of the most personally satisfying seasons of his career last season and he continues to exude a kind of relaxed confidence for what remains of his career. Taylor said he senses no decline in his skills or energy.

"These next two years, of course; a third year, we'll see," Taylor said when asked how long he intends to continue playing. "I do love this game. Maybe I'll try to get into the top five (all-time rushing leaders).

"I feel I can play as long as I want. When I come out here, I get excited just being around these young guys," Taylor added.

The 2008 rookie class spent most of its morning learning how to practice the Jaguars way. They quickly learned to identify the sound of their coaches' voices.

"A lot of mental errors, but the energy was good," head coach Jack Del Rio said. "We want this to be a teaching time of the year. This is the one time of year we can slow down and teach. You don't have the training camp pressure of guys trying to make the team, so you can teach. We want to come out of these OTA's a better football team; more prepared."

Tight end George Wrighster, wide receiver Mike Walker and defensive end Brian Smith did not practice. They are in rehab situations. Tight end Marcedes Lewis was excused from practice due to a death in the family. Defensive ends Reggie Hayward and Paul Spicer were absent and Hayward's absence was immediately unexplained. OTA practices, of course, are voluntary.

"I don't have any information on Hayward," Del Rio said.

Wide receiver Jerry Porter stepped out of drills midway through practice and had an ice bag taped to his ankle.

"I think we have a faster roster," Del Rio said of his first impression of his overall team. "That's good. That's something we've been after."

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