Jacksonville Jaguars  

 

Unhappy with contract, Spicer skips offseason program

  • By Associated Press
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Jaguars began their offseason program Tuesday with several new faces, a few notable absences and one position change.

Receivers Jerry Porter and Troy Williamson, cornerback Drayton Florence and a host of defensive coaches, including coordinator Gregg Williams, made their debut with the team.

But Pro Bowl running back Fred Taylor, defensive end Paul Spicer and safety Jamaal Fudge weren't around for the first of 18 organized team activities.

Paul Spicer, DE
Jacksonville Jaguars

2007 Statistics:
Tackles: 34
Sacks: 7.5
Forced Fmb: 3

Although the workout was voluntary, Spicer's absence was the most concerning for the Jaguars. Entering the final year of a contract that pays him about $2.5 million annually and coming off a season in which he had a career-high-tying 7½ sacks, Spicer apparently is holding out for a new deal.

"You're never OK with everybody not being here," coach Jack Del Rio said. "You'd rather have everybody here. I understand why he's not here and the fact that he wasn't going to be here."

Spicer has played 46 games the last three years, recording 165 tackles and 18 sacks and emerging as one of the defense's most dependable starters. But he also turns 33 this summer, one reason the Jaguars used their top two draft picks on defensive ends Derrick Harvey (first round) and Quentin Groves (second).

Spicer's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, declined comment Tuesday.

Taylor and Fudge were missing for different reasons.

Taylor, who ran for 1,202 yards and five touchdowns last season, spent the past four months working out in South Florida. He did the same thing the last few years, and although Del Rio would prefer to have him in Jacksonville, no one can argue with the results.

Taylor has averaged nearly 5.2 yards a carry the last two years.

The 32-year-old Taylor will be back in Jacksonville on Friday and at practice next week, Del Rio said.

Fudge, a third-year player from Clemson, was back at school trying to complete his degree. He has two more weeks of classes before rejoining the Jaguars.

"We're proud of him for going back and finishing that," Del Rio said. "It's something he asked in advance could he do and I said, 'Absolutely. It's great for you to go back and finish."'

Receiver Mike Walker (knee), defensive end Brian Smith (knee) and tight ends Marcedes Lewis (knee), George Wrighster (knee) and Greg Estandia (shoulder) missed practice because of injuries. Walker, a third-round draft pick in 2007 who spent his first season on injured reserve, is the only one expected to miss the entire offseason program.

None of Jacksonville's 18 rookies attended the workout because of NFL rules. Many of them will arrive next week and start preparing for minicamp, held June 6-7.

Veteran Brian Williams felt a little like a rookie Tuesday.

A two-year starter at cornerback in Jacksonville, Williams moved to strong safety and could stay there permanently with the addition of Florence.

"We're trying to put together as strong a secondary as we can and we know that Brian has the flexibility to take some reps there and we're going to get him exposure there and utilize his ability," Del Rio said.

Although Williams has played well most of the time, he has been torched in matchups against Indianapolis Colts receiver Reggie Wayne.

"Whatever it takes," said Williams, who played safety his first two years at North Carolina State. "The main object is to win ball games. You know who we got to beat to do what we want to do. However it works out I'm ready for it."

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press.

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