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The Day After I: Status of receivers again a focus


JACKSONVILLE – Another week, another chapter in the wide receiver story.

The Jaguars on Monday afternoon announced that while Ace Sanders could return Sunday they likely will be without veteran Cecil Shorts III for a third time in five games.

As for Marqise Lee?

His status was more uncertain Monday as the Jaguars moved on from a fourth consecutive loss to start the season and began preparing for Sunday's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at EverBank Field.

Sanders, suspended by the NFL for the first four games of the season, has been cleared to participate in all team-related activities, the team announced on Monday. The second-year veteran wide receiver could play against the Steelers.

"He's fired up," Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley said of Sanders during his weekly next-day press conference Monday at EverBank Field. "He's excited. You can only imagine."

Bradley, speaking a day after a 33-14 road loss to the San Diego Chargers, said more will be known Friday about how much Sanders could potentially play Sunday. The team has a one-week roster exemption available for Sanders.

The Jaguars must determine his status for Sunday by Saturday at 4 p.m.

"It's important to see where he's at with his conditioning," Bradley said. "It'd be great to get him back there, not only on offense but punt returns as well."

Bradley added, "We feel pretty good about it, but we'll have a better idea Friday."

Sanders has been unable to practice during his suspension, but he was able to be in meetings and Bradley said he looks good physically.

"We're excited about it," Bradley said.

Shorts, a fourth-year veteran who missed the first two regular season games with a hamstring injury, sustained a muscle strain near his hamstring Sunday, and the team announced Monday he's not expected to play against Pittsburgh.

"It's frustrating," Bradley said. "No one wants it more than Cecil. In his mind, he can't catch a break. He did some good things and wants it so badly. Sometimes when you work there are going to be disappointments. He has another disappointment and it hurts our team. We just have to figure out why these things occur and if it's anything that's under our control, we have to find out what it is."

Bradley said the team always has a Plan B for Shorts "until you see consistently he's there."

Lee, a rookie who has missed the last two games with a hamstring injury, is going through the team's return-to-play protocol and could practice this week. That situation could be updated Wednesday.

Also around the Jaguars:

*Cornerback Dwayne Gratz is in the concussion program after sustaining a concussion in the second quarter Sunday.

*Tight end Mickey Shuler, who missed Sunday's loss with a stomach virus, could return to practice Wednesday or later in the week.

*Bradley also said the team hopes to have right tackle Austin Pasztor back this week. Pasztor has been out since Preseason Week 2 while returning from a hand injury. Sam Young has started the last two games in his place. Pasztor has been practicing with a protective device on his hand and Bradley said the team expects to learn Tuesday if he can be fitted with a less cumbersome device this week. …

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