Cole Pepper: Jags Minicamp Draws Record Crowds, Armada Brings Real Madrid For Jax Youth Soccer Camps
There was a record turnout this weekend at the Jacksonville Jaguars' rookie minicamp. Cole Pepper has the latest on the Jags, Sharks, Suns and Armada in his weekly sports wrap.
Jags minicamp draws record crowds
Maybe it was all about the rookie quarterback Blake Bortles, or maybe it was the excitement of wanting to see the 2nd round wide receivers Marquise Lee and Allen Robinson.
Or maybe, the combination of perfect weather and some true optimism about the teams' chances for the first time in a long time about did it. Whatever the reason, there were far more fans than anyone expected who turned out to see the Jaguars rookies practice Friday and Saturday.
More than 2,000 people were there on Friday — during the work day, no less. Then on Saturday, the Jaguars reported that over 6,000 showed up.
The attendance did bring Jacksonville some national attention: ESPN and NFL Network were both in town to check out Bortles and company.
As for Bortles, the plan is for him to wait up to a year to get the starting nod. He knows that this is the first step in a long, long process.
"I think anytime you're practicing and doing something football related you should be working on something or trying to fix something," he said.
"We're already pretty good friends," he said, when I asked about how he has been connecting with Marquise Lee and Allen Robinson on and off the field. He said working on extra routes before and after practice will help him and the Jags receivers coalesce as a team.
I also asked Gus Bradley about what he saw out of the rookie quarterback, and you can really hear the patience in this response.
"I thought he did a nice job, he got a lot of reps out today," Bradley said. "Try to get him in a rhythm, and as he went through it I'm sure he did some things that were good and some things he needs to improve on."
The Jaguars will next be on the field May 27-29 or the first full team off-season practices.
Sharks take emotional loss to Orlando
The Sharks lost a heartbreaker on Saturday night as Orlando scored on a kick return with one second left to win. But that was nothing compared to the heartbreak of one of the Sharks starters.
Leading receiver London Crawford's 3-month-old son died the morning of the game. Crawford told head coach Les Moss about it, but he didn't discuss it with any of his teammates until after the game. He scored two touchdowns in the loss.
I just can't imagine what it was like to play with that much pain so fresh in his heart.
Armada bring Real Madrid for youth camps, Suns go to the dogs, First Coast Kids Triathlon
If you want to get a little taste of what the Armada will be bringing to Jacksonville with their youth camps, you can check out the team that will be coming to Jacksonville to coach kids here, Real Madrid.
They play Atletico Madrid in the Champions League Final on Saturday on Fox. This is basically the most prestigious soccer tournament in Europe. Real Madrid Foundation personnel will be here in Jacksonville this summer for the youth camps for kids ages 8-14.
The Suns begin a 10 game home-stand on Wednesday at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville. Saturday is one of my favorite days at the ball park. It's a "Bark in the Park" day where fans can bring their dogs.
And one final note, a shout-out to the 2,000 or so kids who competed in the First Coast Kids Triathlon Sunday morning at Jacksonville University. It's one of the largest kids triathlons in the country.