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Jaguars' Ramsey has no regrets about skipping team workouts

(AP Photo/John Raoux)

By MARK LONG

AP Sports Writer

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) Jalen Ramsey spent the past few months working out at his father's training facility in Nashville.

It was a new routine that caused him to miss Jacksonville's offseason conditioning program.

The All-Pro cornerback has no regrets, though, about the time away from coaches and teammates.

"How do I put this the nicest way possible?" Ramsey said Tuesday after the first of a mandatory, three-day minicamp.

"I don't think any of my teammates had an issue because they know I was going to come back ready. But at the same time, if they did, I don't think I would care `cause once I get out here I know what I was doing was the right thing for me."

Ramsey worked out in Jacksonville before his first two NFL seasons and fell behind both times because of injuries.

"It was an offseason of getting back to the basics for me, kind of doing what got me to the position I'm in right now," he said. "It was also an offseason for me that I kind of labeled as `no-setback season,' just `cause in the previous two years I haven't even made it this far."

He had surgery in May 2016 for a torn meniscus in his right knee. He had surgery last June for a sports hernia.

Ramsey still managed to become the best player on a stout defense.

The fifth overall pick in the 2016 draft emerged as one of the top defensive backs in the league last year, locking down No. 1 receivers on a weekly basis. He was voted to the Pro Bowl in his second season and made the more exclusive All-Pro team.

"I thought I was good in the past two years, and stay tuned," he said.

Ramsey already has matchups circled months before the season, beginning with Odell Beckham Jr. of the New York Giants in the opener and continuing a few weeks later against Kansas City's Tyreke Hill. The list also includes familiar faces such as former teammate Allen Hurns, Houston's DeAndre Hopkins, Philadelphia's Alshon Jeffery, Indianapolis' T.Y. Hilton and Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown.

"It's what I love, but I can't just love it," Ramsey said. "I've got to prepare for it, too, so that's what I've been doing this whole offseason. That's what I'll continue to do."

The Jaguars welcomed Ramsey back for minicamp, but coach Doug Marrone planned to work him in slowly.

"Jalen has worked extremely hard with training with his dad. He's anxious to go out there and say, `I'm ready to go. Let's go,'" Marrone said. "I'm more like, `OK, listen, we're going to get you in there for a couple and take you out. We just want to see where you are.

"The worst thing you can do as a coach is put someone out there that maybe is not ready. Not to say that Jalen is not ready, but we want to make sure that we are doing the right thing for all of the players."

Ramsey had 107 tackles, 31 pass breakups and six interceptions in his first two seasons. He's earned the respect of opponents as well as teammates, which made his decision to skip Jacksonville's offseason program an easier one.

"I know what I was doing is going to get me prepared as best as anything for the season," he said. "Once I put that out on the field, there won't be any issues. I have a good relationship with all my teammates anyways, so if they did they would hit me up. I did it respectful. ... I hit up people. I was like, `Hey, yo, look, this is my plan for the offseason.'

"And it's not that I felt like I owed anybody an explanation. It's just that's how we vibe. That's the locker room. ... I was like, `Yo, I know y'all fixin' to start it up. I'm not coming. I'm doing my thing. No worries.' They said it right back: `You good, bro.'"

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Updated June 12, 2018

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