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15 сентября 2018 г. 15:43

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JACKSONVILLE Laremy Tunsil Jersey , Fla. (AP) — Dante Fowler considers the preseason finale at Tampa Bay a homecoming — and an audition.

Even though Fowler is an integral part of Jacksonville’s vaunted defense, he will be on the field Thursday night against the Buccaneers. The reason: Fowler is suspended for the regular-season opener at the New York Giants, so the fourth-year defensive end will get a little more work before leaving the team for a week.

Fowler welcomes the opportunity since he knows this is likely his final season in Jacksonville. He’s essentially starting his 2019 free agency pitch six months early.

“Honestly my goal this year is really just to show people that I’m a franchise player,” said Fowler, who grew up near Tampa in St. Petersburg. “I’m an elite player. I’m one of the top defensive ends, linebackers, whatever you want to call me, in this league.”

Fowler notched a career-high eight sacks last season, plus two more in the AFC championship game at New England. He averaged one sack for every 46.6 snaps played, better than Jaguars All-Pro defensive end Calais Campbell (55.2) and Pro Bowler Yannick Ngakoue (59.4).

But Fowler’s off-field issues combined with the franchise’s belief Ngakoue is a budding star have made the fourth-year player expendable, especially since he’s a backup in the final year of his rookie contract and sure to land a starting role elsewhere.

Just not yet.

The Jaguars want one more productive year from the third overall pick in the 2015 draft.

“It’s not like I have to get double-digit sacks,” Fowler said. “When you watch me on film, even though I might be coming off the bench, they’ll be like, ‘That guy, he has a future.’ That’s all I want to do. I want to go out there and put great tape out there Mackensie Alexander Jersey , being fundamentally sound, playing fast and physical, getting to the quarterback, being stout in the run game.

“I don’t want to just be known as a pass-rusher. I want to be known as a guy that’s going to get sacks and get 6-10 tackles a game. That’s just the type of player I am. So, I just want people to know that I’m known as a complete player on the field and I’m a professional and I’m a guy that cleaned up his act and left that past in the past. I’m ready to move on from that.”

Fowler’s troubles have been well documented.

He was suspended for a week during training camp following an after-practice altercation with Ngakoue. He also was arrested twice in as many years, including in 2017 for hitting a 55-year-old man. Fowler eventually pleaded no contest to misdemeanor charges. The case was closed in March, with Fowler sentenced to a year of probation and 75 hours of community service.

The NFL suspended him without pay for the opener, a one-game penalty that will cost him $214,000.

Fowler also was arrested in 2016, although those charges were eventually dropped.

Coach Doug Marrone said Fowler has been a model player since returning from the one-week suspension.

“I have had no issues with him,” Marrone said. “He has been doing a good job.”

Fowler insists he’s matured through it all, ready to focus on football and his future. He wants to be “a teddy bear off the field but a monster on the field.”

“Just want to show people that the past, them three years, my rookie year coming in and all that, that learning experience is, that chapter is over with and it’s just about being a professional Chandler Catanzaro Jersey , being a grown man and just being the player that I want to be,” he said. “How I want my legacy to be? That’s honestly what it is. That’s honestly what I want my goals to be this year.”

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Royce Freeman is set to become the first rookie running back to start a season opener for the Denver Broncos since Hall of Famer Terrell Davis in 1995.

“It’s an honor to be mentioned with a man of that caliber, a player with that type of legacy around here,” Freeman said.

Coach Vance Joseph chose the third-round pick from Oregon as his starter Monday ahead of veteran Devontae Booker and fellow rookie Phillip Lindsay, who coincidentally was handed Davis’ old No. 30 jersey.

“That being said, it’s going to be by packages, also,” Joseph said. “So, Royce is our leading runner, but on third down you’ll probably see Booker and obviously having a package for Phillips is going to be important.”

Freeman reacted with humility after his position coach, Curtis Modkins, informed him he’d start Sunday against Seattle.

“It’s an honor to be named a starter for this football team,” Freeman said. “It makes me want to work harder.”

Freeman had plenty of miles on his football odometer coming out of Oregon, where he was a four-year starter and rushed 947 times for 5,621 yards and 60 touchdowns in addition to catching 79 passes for 815 yards and four TDs.

General manager John Elway said that proved he’s durable Brandon Fusco Jersey , and Freeman also proved his worth as a pass protector for Case Keenum during training camp and the preseason.

Joseph lauded Freeman’s maturity, saying he can “carry the load from a physical standpoint and a mental standpoint. He was really good in ‘pass-pro.’ That’s your biggest worry about having a young halfback playing with a veteran quarterback, but he’s shown the IQ and the maturity to be a great ‘pass-pro’ guy.”

Joseph said Freeman’s build and resume — he packs 238 pounds on his 6-foot frame and started 45 games in college — show he can handle heavy workloads, too.

“That’s what he showed at Oregon. He was their main guy. He had a lot of work. He stayed healthy through the work. And that’s also an issue for most young backs, can they carry the load for 16 weeks?” Joseph said. “And I think with his background, his body type, he should be able to carry the load for 16 weeks.”

Freeman was second-string behind Booker in the preseason, but he led the team with three touchdown runs, one in each of Denver’s first three preseason games before sitting out the exhibition finale.

OUT OF SIGHT: Joseph shut down a question about how hard it was to cut a former first-round quarterback when the Broncos jettisoned Paxton Lynch on Sunday.

“Paxton’s gone,” Joseph said. “So, that story’s gone with him.

“We have a big game on Sunday. We have three quarterbacks in our house that we feel good about,” Joseph added. “But Paxton, that’s gone. That story should be gone with him — I wish him well.”

The Broncos on Monday welcomed new No. 3 QB Kevin Hogan, the former Stanford signal caller who replaced Lynch on the roster Sunday and began learning from Keenum and backup Chad Kelly.

“Kevin fits what our quarterbacks look like,” Joseph said. “He’s an athletic guy. He has a good arm. He’s very, very smart. He’s fast with the ball. So Adrian Phillips Jersey , he fits the profile of what Chad and Case look like physically. So, he was a good fit for us.”

CAPTAINSHIPS: The Broncos elected captains on Monday, including three first-time honorees: linebacker Todd Davis, special teams ace Andy Janovich, and center Matt Paradis.

Other captains are star LB Von Miller, Keenum and kicker Brandon McManus.

“All six guys are deserving the honor and I’m excited about those guys leading our team,” Joseph said.

Notes: Third CB Tramaine Brock (personal reasons) was the only player absent from practice, but Joseph said he’ll return Wednesday. … Joseph said he hopes to have S Su’a Cravens back by midseason. Cravens needs arthroscopic surgery on his left knee and went on IR. … The Broncos brought back WR Carlos Henderson to their practice squad. The 2017 third-round draft pick skipped training camp for personal reasons. “I want to see Carlos grow up,” Joseph said. “I want to see Carlos do NFL things and have great meetings, have great practice, have great days in the weight room. Just do those things for us first.”

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