Training Camp 2020: "It took one look at me and ran the other way…"

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Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew II speaks with members of the media after the second half of an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts, Sunday, Dec. 29, 2019, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)

JACKSONVILLE – Gardner Minshew II is back.

And make no mistake:

Even if his absence was for just one day – and even if all he missed was a day of walkthroughs on what would have been the first full day of 2020 Training Camp – the Jaguars' starting quarterback didn't like the feeling of not being around his teammates.

"It was brutal, dude," Minshew said Tuesday. "Yesterday would have been like the first day of school. I had my outfit picked out and everything. I had to stay at home.

"That sucked. I missed out on playing with all my friends."

Minshew, who missed being around TIAA Bank Field Monday because he was quarantined after being placed on the team's reserve/COVID-19 list Sunday afternoon, was moved back to the active roster Tuesday morning. He then spoke to the media at noon Tuesday via videoconference.

This marked his first media availability of 2020 Training Camp. He covered multiple topics, including his hopes for many of his teammates and the difficulty of learning a new offense remotely, but – as expected – a primary topic was his brief appearance on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

"I did not contract the virus," Minshew said. "It took one look at me and ran the other way. That was probably in its best interest.

"Here we are: Back on Tuesday and ready to roll. It's time to go play some football."

The Jaguars are going through walkthroughs and strength and conditioning this week during the NFL's "ramp-up" period of 2020 Training Camp. Non-padded practices are expected to begin next week with contact practices scheduled to begin August 7.

Minshew and safety Andrew Wingard were among five players added to the reserve/COVID-19 list Sunday, and both were removed from the list Tuesday. Wide receiver Michael Walker, running back Ryquell Armstead and tight end Charles Jones all also were added to the list Sunday and remain on the list with cornerback Parry Nickerson and offensive linemen Tre'Vour Wallace-Simms and Ryan Pope.

The reserve/COVID-19 list is a new reserve category created by the NFL for a player who either tests positive for COVID-19 or who has been quarantined after having been in close contact with an infected person or persons.

Wingard, Walker and Minshew were roommates last season – a situation Minshew said was rethought because of the COVID-19 policies.

"They've moved out," Minshew said. "You just can't afford to be around somebody – even if you're not going to contract it, you can't afford sitting out those last couple of days. We're going to run it out solo this year.

"Honestly, it's a good thing it happened now. We realized what could happen, what could go wrong if one of us failed a test. We just did the thing we all agreed was best for us."

Walker and Minshew worked out together in the offseason in Naples, Fla.

"We both had the antibodies from staying in Naples," Minshew said. "We probably got it down there at the same time and had no symptoms. It just shows the fragility of the whole thing and how fickle this thing can be. Just being around somebody, if they test with enough people, you can shut down the whole team real quick. …

"I told all the guys, 'We have a responsibility to each other and each others' families to be safe. Sometimes it's not fun. Sometimes it's not what you want to do. But it's what we need to do to be able to have this season and win the games we want to win."

Minshew said his approach to preparing for a season in such circumstances will be simple.

"It's like any other season in some ways, but obviously way different in others," Minshew said. "It's just, 'Be where your feet are.' If I'm in the building, it's all I can do. Until they tell me I have to leave I'll give it all I have here. If I can't be in here, I'll figure out how to get better at home.

"Hopefully, we get everybody healthy and have everybody in the building the whole year."

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