Chris Clemons makes Jaguars' debut

June, 2, 2014
Jun 2
4:45
PM ET
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- It wasn’t a spectacular debut, but that’s not important. Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Chris Clemons being on the field was significant enough.

Clemons made his Jaguars' debut on Monday after missing the first week of the team’s organized team activities while dealing with family issues. Despite being familiar with the defensive scheme because of his time with Jaguars coach Gus Bradley in Seattle, Clemons eased into the rotation and drills as he got acclimated to his new surroundings and teammates.

[+] EnlargeChris Clemons
John Raoux/AP PhotoThe Jaguars beefed up their defensive line with veteran additions like end Chris Clemons.
"It was pretty much what I expected," Clemons said. "It was great getting out here with the guys and allowing my teammates to get to understand me and me understand them and me watching them work and them watching me work."

Clemons, 32, signed a four-year, $17.5 million contract with the Jaguars in March after being let go in a salary-cap move by Seattle. He is expected to bolster a pass rush that finished last in the NFL in sacks in each of the past two seasons. He should take over for Jason Babin as the starter at the leo spot.

Clemons, however, was the only player that didn’t attend any of last week’s OTAs. He and Bradley had several phone conversations during the week, and Clemons assured Bradley he would be here this week.

"Gus has always been great," Clemons said. "He understood that I had family issues. We all have issues that we go through that we can’t control. Me being one of the leaders of my family, I had to step in and take control of that issue, so Gus understood that. We’ve always had that open communication with each other."

Clemons said he has been working out and is in pretty good shape and the fact he’s familiar with the defensive scheme from his time in Seattle has kept him from being too far behind. Now that he’s here, though, he says one of his duties is to help Bradley cultivate an environment similar to what’s happening in Seattle.

"The mindset is the first thing," said Clemons, who has 58 sacks and 13 forced fumbles in his 10 seasons in the NFL. "You want to bring that aggressive mindset here and get the guys to understand that it takes a team effort to win. Not one person won a Super Bowl by themself. So to bring that mindset here and to get everybody on board and be a collective group and to have that unit that once you go out on the field you know what everybody else is doing.

"That’s one of the reasons why being here [at OTAs] is important. The main thing was just getting here and getting that understanding and bringing that focus and that aggressiveness here."

Bradley said Clemons will quickly be accepted by the other players and his absence last week won’t be an issue.

"He will get around them all in the locker room. I know they had their first D-line meeting too and he was in there," Bradley said. "He will mesh around them well. Those guys are true professionals and they will get him caught up on everything. Clemons and I have had extended conversations throughout this time and he came in here, went through all the philosophy and things like that so he had a clear picture. Now it’s just a matter of getting reps for him."

Mike DiRocco | email

ESPN Jacksonville Jaguars reporter

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