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Rashad Jennings to start Jacksonville Jaguars' opener

In obvious news that also provides context to just how long this mess has dragged on, Jacksonville Jaguars coach Mike Mularkey said Monday that running back Rashad Jennings likely will start in the season opener against the Minnesota Vikings on Sept. 9.

Maurice Jones-Drew's holdout continues, and the Jaguars are getting close to a point in which there won't be enough time to acclimate the franchise star to the lineup for Week 1 even if he does report.

"I expect Rashad will start, we'll just have to see," Mularkey said, via The Florida Times-Union.

As he left the press conference, Mularkey added he still hasn't ruled out Jones-Drew starting against the Vikings.

Jennings has added another subplot to the MJD contract drama with a strong preseason. In three games, Jennings has carried the ball 36 times for 175 yards, an average of 4.9 yards per carry.

Jones-Drew -- the NFL's defending rushing champion -- has accumulated more than $1 million in fines over the first 32 days of his holdout. It remains to be seen how the Jaguars intend to handle that substantial piece of financial housekeeping if Jones-Drew decides to re-enter the picture.

Until then, Mularkey only can work with the parts he has. The train is leaving the station, remember?

UPDATE: Mularkey clarified his comments later Monday, saying Jennings would start.

"Again, Rashad Jennings is going in as the starter. I don't know how that came out being any different," Mularkey said, according to The Times-Union.

Follow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @danhanzus.

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