Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

JAGUARS MINICAMP NOTEBOOK; Leftwich Injures Throwing Hand

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

JAGUARS MINICAMP NOTEBOOK; Leftwich Injures Throwing Hand

Article excerpt

Byline: BART HUBBUCH, The Times-Union

Quarterback Byron Leftwich threw a scare into the Jaguars when he hurt his right hand during an 11-on-11 drill Sunday morning.

X-rays showed only a hyperextension of two fingers, although the Jaguars' second-year starter was wincing in considerable pain and left practice with his hand heavily bandaged and supported by trainer Mike Ryan.

"We think he's going to be all right," Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio said. "I don't think it's anything major."

Leftwich was hurt when he accidentally hit his passing hand on the helmet of defensive tackle Marcus Stroud toward the end of Sunday's workout, which was the last practice of a mandatory weekend minicamp at Alltel Stadium.

The injury was the only down note of the weekend for Leftwich, whose play was described as one of the high points of the entire minicamp by Del Rio.

Leftwich, who started the final 13 games as a rookie last season, also is in what he describes as the best physical condition of his career. Although Leftwich remains at 245 pounds, his upper body is much leaner and more defined.

"Byron was very, very sharp," Del Rio said.

JAGUARS EYE MORE LOCAL TIES

The Jaguars appeared reluctant to draft or sign players from Florida or Florida State during Tom Coughlin's tenure, but that has changed under Del Rio and personnel chief James Harris.

Not only did Del Rio and Harris draft one player each from FSU (running back Greg Jones) and Florida (defensive end Bobby McCray), but they also followed that by signing former Gators quarterback Doug Johnson.

"If you could just pick from Miami, Florida, Florida State and Georgia every year, you would have the best team in the country -- by far," Del Rio said. "You're talking about a collection of the top programs around. It's exciting to have local talent."

SMITH BEATS BOLDEN TWICE

Jimmy Smith claims to be faster after trimming down to 197 pounds, and the Jaguars' veteran wide receiver proved it with two highlight-reel plays against new cornerback Juran Bolden. …

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