JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jacksonville Jaguars receiver Ace Sanders, who will miss the first four games of the season because he violated the NFL’s substance-abuse program, returned to the team on Sunday after a month-long leave of absence to deal with what he called personal issues.
The second-year player from South Carolina was scheduled to do some conditioning work on the side but not participate in practice. It’s unclear if he’ll be able to play in Thursday’s preseason finale against Atlanta, although coach Gus Bradley said last week there was a chance Sanders would return to the team in enough time to get on the practice field and prepare for the Falcons game.
Sanders announced July 22 that he was taking the leave of absence and also admitted he is facing a four-game suspension for what was later confirmed to be a second violation of the NFL’s substance-abuse policy.
Sanders caught 51 passes as a rookie in 2013 and was expected to compete with rookies Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson for a starting spot alongside Cecil Shorts. Lee and undrafted rookie Allen Hurns have been running with the first-team offense.
NFL rules allow Sanders to participate in training camp and the preseason, but he said he at the time he felt it was better for him to deal with his issues. He also is allowed to participate in team meetings during his suspension, but he cannot practice.