The Jacksonville Jaguars began mandatory veteran mini-camp on Tuesday morning, which also included left tackle Branden Albert. Albert had skipped all of the voluntary workouts thus far, but did show up when practices were mandatory and surprisingly practices. I personally expected Albert to show up, but the coaching staff to hold him out of practice as he’s likely not in the shape to go full at practice, no matter how hard he worked on his own, but the team put him out there to see where he was.
Not surprisingly, Albert will need to work into game shape by the time training camp rolls around, but he’s not concerned and thinks his time off helped him properly heal his body.
“I got my body right. My body is pretty beat up after the last three years being in Miami: mentally, spiritually and physically,” Albert said when asked what he accomplished in his time away. “The last three years took a toll on me.”
During his three year tenure with the Miami Dolphins, Albert never played a full 16 games and missed a total of 13 games. Most of the time it was just nagging injuries rather than major ones, but he still missed more games than you’d like. Albert thinks the break he took this offseason helped him get his body right however, and he’s not worried about sucking wind when camp rolls around.
“I think for the first day after taking six months off and playing 10 years, just battling with the guys for the first day and being in this heat and the practice tempo, it’s always going to be tough. You’re never going to be perfect on the first day,” Albert said when asked how tough practice was for him. “I think I jumped offsides twice, made a couple of mistakes. I’m not worried about it. It’s the end of June. It’s not game time yet. I’m just happy to be out here with the guys and with the team, just working. I feel blessed to be here and be back playing football.”
Albert didn’t seem to harbor any bitterness about the situation with his contract and approached it as if it was a business decision. The team didn’t seem to hold any of that against him either, aside from a quip from Tom Coughlin.
“He said something about my weight. It was more joking around. I believe he’s happy I’m here, working with the guys. I told him, don’t worry about that,” Albert said when asked about his reception from Coughlin. “I’ll be ready to go when it’s time. I had to take time for myself. It was a long three years in Miami. I took a beating.”
Albert passed the Jaguars conditioning test on Monday afternoon after he got in, which is why he was able to practice on Tuesday, but it’s not a surprise he’s behind the guys who’ve been on the field for a few weeks. As Albert mentioned a few times, it’s only June so it’s not really an issue and he expects to be ready when it’s time.