Friday, August 18, 2017

AP source: Jaguars’ Albert reverses course on retirement

In this July 28, 2017, file photo, Jacksonville Jaguars offensive lineman Branden Albert (76) arrives at practice during NFL football training camp, in Jacksonville, Fla.

AP LogoBY MARK LONG

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Jacksonville Jaguars left tackle Branden Albert has apparently changed his mind about retiring.

Albert asked to return to the team Monday, according to a person familiar with the situation. The person spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because neither side has publicly discussed details about Albert’s potential return.

The 32-year-old Albert surprised coach Doug Marrone last week by walking into his office and saying he planned to retire. Albert abruptly quit after three training camp practices in which he looked out of shape and past his prime.

It was never clear why Albert chose to walk away after nine NFL seasons. Was his heart not in it any longer? Did his body not respond like he wanted? Did he realize he was far from a lock to beat out second-round draft pick Cam Robinson?

It’s equally unclear why Albert wants to return. Under the collective bargaining agreement, the Jaguars had the option to seek a prorated portion of Albert’s $8.5 million signing bonus even though Miami paid it in 2014.

The Jaguars, who are holding joint practices with the Patriots in New England, declined comment on the situation Monday.

Jacksonville placed Albert on the exempt/left squad list last week. He had five days to return to the team before going on the reserve/retired list or being released.

The Jaguars acquired Albert in a trade with the Dolphins in March. He skipped most of Jacksonville’s offseason program because he wanted a new contract. He was scheduled to make $8.8 million this season and $9.5 million in 2018.

Albert was the 15th overall pick by Kansas City in 2008. He spent his first six seasons with the Chiefs and then signed a five-year, $47 million deal in free agency with the Dolphins. Albert missed 20 games over the last five seasons, including seven in 2014 because of a knee injury. He bounced back the following year and was honored with Miami’s Ed Block Courage Award.

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