JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Having already fallen behind because of the NFL lockout, Blaine Gabbert couldn't afford a lengthy holdout.
So Gabbert and the Jaguars completed a four-year contract worth $12 million Thursday night, getting the 10th overall pick in April's draft and the franchise's quarterback of the future into training camp for the second practice session.
"It's been a long time coming," Gabbert said after practice. "I haven't played football in a while, just kind of been working out. So it feels great to put a helmet on. Haven't put the pads on yet, but just to come out here, throw around with the guys, kind of start building that chemistry with each other."
"I can't dwell on the fact that guys got a lot more money last year," Gabbert said. "That's irrelevant to me. Now, the second contracts are bigger, so you got something to work for."
Gabbert arrived late in Thursday night's practice and completed his only pass attempt, connecting with fullback Brock Bolen on a seam route. The crowd gave him a rousing ovation.
"I paid a little attention to that; it was pretty cool," Gabbert said. "We didn't have big crowds in practice in college, so it was definitely a different atmosphere out here."
Gabbert threw 40 touchdown passes and 18 interceptions as a two-year starter at Missouri. But his success came in the spread offense and mostly from a deep shotgun formation, so making the transition to Jacksonville's pro-style offense will be his toughest challenge. He got a playbook the day after he was drafted, but he hasn't had much help since.
"I tried to get a little head start on things," he said. "But I still got a ways to go, still got to learn a lot of stuff."
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press