Coleman inspires Jaguars
Thursday, August 15th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6
Camp Coughlin turned into Camp Coleman for a brief period Wednesday.
Upset with the way practice was going, defensive end Marco Coleman, a new addition to the Jacksonville Jaguars, asked coach Tom Coughlin for a moment, and huddled the players for a pep talk.
A once-sloppy practice session picked up, and the Jaguars walked off the field with reason to feel good about their workout for the first time in almost a week.
``I think Coach Coughlin would prefer that we stand up as men, take responsibility for ourselves, as opposed to waiting for coaches to push us along,'' Coleman said. ``That's the point of being a professional.''
Looking to sign young veterans in the offseason, the Jaguars made an exception by signing Coleman, an 11th-year player known for his leadership in previous stints with Miami, Washington and San Diego.
After signing Coleman, Coughlin was surprised to receive congratulatory calls, not from agents or people from his own team, but from personnel executives with the Dolphins and Redskins.
``They called to tell me what a good guy we got,'' Coughlin said.
As much as the numbers he might produce on the right end, opposite Tony Brackens, the Jaguars were looking for a leader on the defense and in the locker room _ a guy who would do exactly what Coleman did Wednesday.
``He's a very vocal, good player,'' quarterback Mark Brunell said. ``Guys respect him, and that's what it comes down to. He has guys' respect, and that's important. That's what we need, is guys who haven't been around here, who are veterans, to step into a leadership role.''
Coleman wouldn't divulge what he said in the huddle, which lasted about 90 seconds and ended with a big team cheer.
``It's a good sign when it's coming from somebody saying the right thing,'' Coughlin said.
Donte' Stallworth, the team's first draft pick, is in the middle of another long, lonely week.
While his teammates travel to Miami for the Saints' second preseason game against the Dolphins, Stallworth will remain at training camp rehabilitating his injured hamstring.
Stallworth held out three days into camp while his contract was finished up. Then, five practices later, he strained his right hamstring. He's been sidelined ever since.
``I can go out and run about 65 percent,'' he said. ``That wouldn't help anybody. That wouldn't help the team. Really, I just want to take everything slow. When I get out there, I want to stay out there and not get hurt.''
Guard Ruben Brown and tackle Jonas Jennings, who anchor the left side of the Buffalo Bills' offensive line, will miss Friday's game against Minnesota.
Brown, a six-time Pro Bowl selection, has not practiced since bruising his left knee in practice Aug. 2. Jennings has been out since spraining his right ankle in practice on Monday.
Coach Gregg Williams said Brown is close to being cleared to resume practicing, and Jennings isn't expected to miss a significant period of time.
Michael Early has been filling in for Brown, while Kris Farris has spent the last few days filling in for Jennings.
Free-agent cornerback Jimmy Hitchcock is back with New England after a four-year absence, and is expected to compete for a job backing up Ty Law and Otis Smith.
Hitchcock, the Patriots' 1995 third-round draft choice who moved on to Minnesota in 1998, was signed on Wednesday. He played two years for the Vikings and two for Carolina, which released him Feb. 22.
Hitchcock was tied for sixth on the Panthers with 46 tackles and had three interceptions last year.
Terrell Davis' swollen left knee continues to keep him out of practice, and the Denver Broncos still aren't sure when he'll return.
Davis received two injections Monday to help with swelling and a degenerative condition in his knee. Davis said Tuesday he was feeling better and the swelling had reduced some, but coach Mike Shanahan said Wednesday that Davis wasn't any better.
``That will be more of a day-by-day situation to see how he feels.'' Shanahan said. ``We are hoping he can make some strides.''
Davis, who's had a history of leg injuries, had been running hard in training camp before experiencing so much swelling and pain on Saturday that he pulled himself out just before the Broncos' preseason opener against Chicago.
An MRI exam showed no structural damage to Davis' knee, but he did receive a cortisone injection for the swelling and another shot to help with an arthritic condition on Monday.
The Broncos had hoped the injections would allow Davis to return to practice by the end of the week and possibly play Monday night against San Francisco, but no timetable has been set yet.
Earl Dotson, plagued by injuries the last two seasons, might have to wait another week to make his training camp debut with Green Bay.
The Packers had hoped to get Dotson on the field this week, but he hasn't been cleared by the medical staff.
Coach Mike Sherman said Dotson's surgically repaired right knee is structurally sound but his latest problem is a bothersome hamstring.
Dotson was the starter at right tackle for the Packers from 1995 until Week 2 of the 2000 season, when he was felled by a bad back. Last season, he was limited by knee tendinitis, a hip flexor and back tightness and spasms.