Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jags' Brewster Aims to Snap Up Opportunity; Veteran Looks to Be Starter at Center, but He's Not Getting Comfortable

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jags' Brewster Aims to Snap Up Opportunity; Veteran Looks to Be Starter at Center, but He's Not Getting Comfortable

Article excerpt

Byline: Vito Stellino

When the Jaguars signed Cleveland Browns center Alex Mack to a five-year, $42 million offer sheet, Mike Brewster understood.

"It's a business, and people always want to get a Pro Bowl player," said Brewster, the leading candidate to become the Jaguars' center following the retirement of Brad Meester after last season.

As it turned out, the Browns matched the Jaguars' offer for Mack and retained him. So Brewster's hopes of winning the starting job remain high.

Brewster said he talked with Jaguars coach Gus Bradley after Cleveland matched the offer for Mack and cleared the air.

"I think communication is big," Bradley said. "I wanted to give him a heads-up and let him know what we were thinking and why we do some things."

So what was the Jaguars' thinking about finding their next center?

"We thought he [Mack] was a very good player, and there was a chance we could get him involved [with the Jaguars]," Bradley said. "That doesn't necessarily mean Mike Brewster is out. That had nothing to do with him. He could have played guard."

Bradley said he liked the way Brewster handled the situation.

"I didn't talk to him and say I hope you don't feel bad. It wasn't a conversation like that," Bradley said. "It was more like we looked at Alex Mack, and you didn't waver. You didn't get caught up in all the distractions and the noise. You worked even harder. What a great quality. That's cool to see."

Brewster dodged another bullet in the draft when the Jaguars selected two wide receivers in the second round and a guard in the third. They didn't get around to drafting a center until the sixth round, when they chose Luke Bowanko of Virginia.

Bowanko will have a chance to compete for the starting job, but it seems unlikely a sixth-round rookie will beat out a healthy Brewster.

There are two other centers on the roster, but with a combined total of one NFL snap between them.

Patrick Lewis was signed from Cleveland's practice squad last Dec. …

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