Updates from Sunday, Aug. 24
Ryan O'Halloran of the Florida Times-Union reports that Sanders has joined the team in training camp:
The Jaguars are back at back at work this morning for a 10:30 practice and they have receiver Ace Sanders with them for the first time this preseason.
Sanders returned to EverBank Field today after a month-long absence to deal with a personal issue.
O'Halloran and the Jaguars had more from Sanders as well:
Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Ace Sanders has been dealing with personal issues and confessed Tuesday that he's facing a four-game suspension.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Network had the details, including comments from Sanders on the matter:
Ryan O'Halloran of The Florida Times-Union reports that Sanders will indeed be suspended for four games without pay for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy. O'Halloran also added insight into why Sanders conducted Tuesday's conference call:
CBSSports.com's Pete Prisco praised Sanders for seeking help for whatever he is battling away from the gridiron:
Sanders is a diminutive but electric playmaker who caught 51 passes for 484 yards and a touchdown as a rookie in 2013. The fourth-round draft choice also threw a 21-yard touchdown pass and served as a return specialist, making his overall value and versatility apparent even on a 4-12 team.
It is encouraging that Sanders is receiving support from both head coach Gus Bradley and general manager David Caldwell. Such circumstances increase the odds even more that Sanders will be embraced by the organization upon his return.
This is yet another blow to the Jags' receiving corps, though, which is already without indefinitely suspended 2012 first-round pick Justin Blackmon.
That makes Caldwell's draft strategy from this year all the more logical. After selecting quarterback Blake Bortles No. 3 overall to be the face of the franchise, Caldwell acquired former USC star Marqise Lee and Penn State standout Allen Robinson in the second round to bolster Jacksonville's cast of skill players.
Should Lee and Robinson contribute right away as they're now expected to even more with Sanders' absence, it could be difficult for Sanders to be targeted often when he comes back. The first contest Sanders will be eligible for after his four-game suspension is against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Oct. 5.
It's a test that will already be tough enough for a Jaguars team likely still a year or two from AFC playoff contention, so Sanders must prove his worth quickly. Between the two rookies, Cecil Shorts and Mike Brown, there could be as many as four capable wideouts who establish themselves before Sanders plays a snap in 2014.