Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew will be among the first group of players to return to practice under rules that were recently tweaked as part of the new injured reserve and trade deadline adjustments.
Jones-Drew will be allowed to practice in pads beginning Monday, if he passes his physical Sunday, according to an NFL spokesman.
Before the recent changes to rules, players had to wait three days before being allowed to practice in pads after passing their physical – as was the case for several players, including Jones-Drew's rookie teammate, Justin Blackmon, after he joined the team during training camp after missing several days in a contract dispute.
Jones-Drew's immediate availability to practice could factor into whether he will play in Jacksonville's regular-season opener against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.
The practice change was part of a deal that allows teams to designate an injured player for injured reserve then bring him back later in the season. Moving the trade deadline back two weeks -- until after Week 8 -- also was part of the deal.