Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jaguars' Shorts Getting Legs under Him; Fourth-Year Receiver Returns to Practice, but Conditioning Isn't There

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jaguars' Shorts Getting Legs under Him; Fourth-Year Receiver Returns to Practice, but Conditioning Isn't There

Article excerpt

Byline: Hays Carlyon

Jaguars receiver Cecil Shorts used the same word four times to describe his first practice in more than three weeks.

Rusty.

"It felt good to be back out there with the guys," Shorts said. "I'm definitely rusty. So I've got to continue to work and to not get frustrated. I understand this is really my first practice since April."

Shorts caught his first target during team work, going in motion before quarterback Chad Henne threw him a swing pass behind the line of scrimmage that he took for 12 yards. Shorts had difficulty bringing in a few passes later in the session.

"It felt good [on the swing pass]," Shorts said. "Then after that, it was just downhill. Rusty, rusty, rusty, but I'll be fine."

Shorts injured his hamstring on July 25 during the first practice of training camp.

The 26-year-old Shorts has three weeks to improve his conditioning before the regular-season opener at Philadelphia on Sept. 7. He was noticeably out of breath after running consecutive plays in team work.

"I've got some work to do," Shorts said. "It's different in pads, in a helmet, running around against a defense. As time goes on and I get more reps, everything will be fine. The goal is to be 100 percent by Week 1."

That goal is realistic to Shorts, who has caught 121 passes for 1,756 yards and 10 touchdowns in the last two seasons.

"Absolutely, it's more than enough time," Shorts said. "It's the perfect amount of time actually. I'm confident about that."

Shorts was considered limited in the practice. He took the first two or three reps of each period.

"I was a little nervous on a couple of things, a couple of plants," Shorts said. "But I planted hard and it felt good, so it was a confidence boost."

Shorts still has four days until the Jaguars resume their preseason schedule at Detroit on Friday night. Jaguars coach Gus Bradley expects Shorts to start against the Lions if he doesn't endure any setbacks this week.

"He'll probably start off right away, depending on how this week goes," Bradley said. …

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