Jaguars' Shorts healthy, ready for season debut

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — When reminded that he made it through the week without any setbacks, Jacksonville Jaguars receiver Cecil Shorts III raised both arms over his head in victory.

"I did. Celebrate, celebrate," he said Friday.

Everyone else, including the Jaguars (0-2), might wait to rejoice.

Shorts has missed five consecutive games, including the final three last year, because of injuries.

He's seemingly healthy now after missing the first two games with a strained left hamstring and poised to make his season debut Sunday against Indianapolis (0-2). Coach Gus Bradley said Shorts will start and play extensively.

"Oh, I'm going," said Shorts, who is listed as probable on the injury report. "I'm not going to worry. If something happens, it happens. I'm going. I've been out too long. I just want to help this team. I'm going."

The Jaguars surely could use some help.

The receiving corps dropped six passes in a season-opening loss at Philadelphia. The group was even worse last week at Washington, with rookie Allen Hurns dropping a sure touchdown on the second play of the game, and Bradley later saying the receivers made 15 mental errors in all. That's 15 mistakes in 48 offensive plays.

"We'll definitely do better this week," Shorts said. "It was a rough game last week. I think we all learned from it. It's my job to go out there and keep them calm."

Shorts led the team in receiving each of the last two seasons. The fourth-year pro has 123 catches for 1,786 yards and 11 touchdowns in 37 games.

But he's been known more for his stays on the sideline than his plays on the field.

Shorts missed more than three weeks of training camp because of a strained right hamstring and sat out most of organized team activities with a calf injury. He also sat out 11 games because of injuries during his first three NFL seasons, missing six games with a hamstring injury in 2011, two games because of a concussion in 2012 and three games in 2013 with a groin injury that slowed him all season.

Now, he's missed 13 games in four years — not ideal for a guy in the final year of his contract.

"I'm just going to go out there and do what I can," Shorts said. "Obviously, I think I can help this team do better on offense."

Jacksonville already ruled out rookie receiver Marqise Lee because of a hamstring injury. Fellow rookie Allen Hurns is probable with a sprained ankle.

The only fully healthy receivers on the roster are rookie Allen Robinson, second-year pro Mike Brown and Tavarres King, who was signed off of Carolina's practice squad Tuesday. And King won't dress for Sunday's game.

Shorts appears healthy, too.

"I'm excited just to get back out there with my guys, with my teammates," he said. "I want to go out there and create some good memories and have fun. We want to play good at home and try to get this thing rolling."


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