Friday, June 22, 2018

Jaguars' Greene trying to stay healthy, keep making plays

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Rashad Greene has missed nearly twice as many games as he's played in three seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars, leaving the receiver with plenty to prove going into the final year of his rookie contract.

It's not an ideal position. It's also not one Greene seems concerned about.

"I'm a deep thinker and I'm aware that life is going to hit you sometimes," Greene said after minicamp Wednesday. "It's hitting me this way, and it's my job. You've got to be able to bounce back and be strong and show that you can overcome adversity. It builds character and makes you a better person."

He's counting on it making him a better player, too.

Just being healthy is a good start.

Greene missed seven games as a rookie in 2015 because of a broken thumb. He missed eight more the following year because of an Achilles injury. He sat out all of last season with an ailing back.

Even with the injuries mounting, his confidence never wavered.

So it didn't bother him when the Jaguars signed Donte Moncrief to a one-year, $9.6 million deal in free agency or when they selected DJ Chark in the second round of the NFL draft.

"I wasn't thinking, 'Oh, this is the end,' or getting agitated with what was going on," Greene said. "You've got to make plays. At the end of the day, it's a job, and if you don't make plays, you're not going to make the team. That's imperative.

"You can't have anxiety. You just got to relax, have fun and make plays."

Greene would have been considered a long shot to make Jacksonville's roster just a few weeks ago. But the former Florida State standout, a fifth-round draft pick in 2015, has made his share of plays during organized team activities.

He's been so impressive that he looks like a strong option to be part of a rotation that includes Marqise Lee, Moncrief, Keelan Cole and Chark.

"A lot of times when you are injured, you do not have that ability to showcase what you can do," coach Doug Marrone said. "I think he went through that last year and right now he is healthy, performing well and looking a lot like the player that I first saw when he came here, making plays and doing things.

"I think that if he keeps continuing the way he does and continues to play this way during training camp and the preseason, he will be heavily involved in the mix of making this team."

Greene has 24 receptions for 125 yards and two touchdowns. He's been more dynamic on special teams, returning 39 punts for 432 yards and a score. He averaged 16.7 yards a punt return as a rookie.

But injuries have been his more prominent story line.

"He is definitely versatile," offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett said. "He is a smooth wide receiver that has a lot of good quick shake and control of his body. He is a guy that we are excited to see as the pads come on and as training camp goes. We just want to keep seeing him. He is doing everything he can to put himself in position to get out on the field."

And maybe watch less and play more.

"All I can ask for is a chance," Greene said. "And the organization is giving me that. It feels great to be out there and competing. I'm having fun, and I can live with the results."

___

For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

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