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Shorts to play Sunday, Elliott released

Posted Dec 14, 2012

Cecil Shorts will play Sunday, and the Jacksonville Jaguars have released rookie wide receiver Kevin Elliott and signed rookie guard Austin Pasztor from practice squad.

Cecil Shorts almost certainly will play Sunday.

That was part of the story at wide receiver for the Jaguars Friday as they continued preparing for their road game against the Miami Dolphins, with the other part involving Shorts’ replacement this past Sunday.

Kevin Elliott, who started in place of Shorts when the latter was out with a concussion against the New York Jets Sunday, has been released, the team announced Friday morning.

The team released Elliott while signing guard Austin Pasztor off the practice squad, with the move coming six days after Elliott dropped two passes and committed a penalty in a loss to the Jets.

“We had to get a roster spot to bring Austin up, and the production was not where we wanted it to be (from Elliott),” Jaguars Head Coach Mike Mularkey said Friday as the Jaguars (2-11) prepared to play the Dolphins (5-8) at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., Sunday at 1 p. m.

Elliott, who signed as a rookie free agent from Florida A&M University shortly after the 2012 NFL Draft, caught 10 passes for 108 yards this season, and had played a gunner role on special teams.

Elliott, who had four special teams tackles this season, made his first career start last week, catching three passes for 38 yards.

“It’s been a while – there have been some things,” Mularkey said of Elliott. “He started for us last week, but we’ve been looking for more production from him for a while. It wasn’t from one game. This was ongoing, and we made a decision to move on.”

Shorts, who sustained a concussion in a loss to the Bills two weeks ago, practiced on a limited basis Wednesday and Thursday before working full on Friday. He is listed as probable on the injury report, and Mularkey on Friday said Shorts likely will play against Miami.

“He’s going to get looked at one more time today, but he should participate in this game,” Mularkey said.

Shorts, who leads the Jaguars with 824 yards and seven touchdowns receiving, said he was excited to play, and said the decision came down to feeling ready to play.

“I’m back in action and I’m looking forward to it,” Shorts said. “I approached it as, ‘If I have any symptoms, I’m not going to play.’ I’m going to be completely honest. With a concussion, it’s all on you being honest with the doctors.’’

Mularkey said with Elliott being released, rookie Toney Clemons will back up Shorts on Sunday.

The Jaguars on Friday also released their final practice report of the week, with running back Maurice Jones-Drew being ruled out for an eighth consecutive game with a sprained foot.

In addition to Jones-Drew, running back Rashad Jennings (concussion), running back Jordan Todman (calf), defensive end George Selvie (concussion) and cornerback Aaron Ross (calf) were ruled out for Sunday, with fullback Greg Jones (thigh), safety Dwight Lowery (foot), center Brad Meester (foot), defensive tackle Tyson Alualu (calf), cornerback Derek Cox (hamstring) and cornerback Rashean Mathis (groin) listed as probable.

Pasztor, who spent preseason with Minnesota after signing with the Vikings as a free-agent rookie after the draft, worked with the first-team offense during practice this week along with guard/center Steve Vallos. The duo worked there after veteran Eben Britton struggled against the Jets last week.

Britton had started against the Jets after an injury to Mike Brewster, the latest in an extensive run of lineup changes at left guard this season.

Pasztor said he expects to start Sunday.

“I got an opportunity to get in there with the ones, and worked as hard as I could,” Pasztor said. “(Center) Brad (Meester) and I were talking about it being my first NFL start, and he was telling me about his first NFL start, so it’s an exciting time.”

Mularkey said Pasztor had played well throughout the season on the practice squad. The Jaguars take a practice squad player to each road game as a reward for practicing well. Two weeks ago, Pasztor was that player when the Jaguars traveled to Buffalo.

“He’s done a good job for us,” Mularkey said. “He’s kind of progressed. He knows the system every week. We need some help up front and that’s what we’re going to do.”

Also Friday, Mularkey said he felt fine during practice and preparation this week.

Mularkey had been hospitalized on Monday after feeling ill that morning. He returned to work Tuesday, and has worked with the team in his normal capacity throughout the week.

“I feel good,” Mularkey said. “I’m just thankful I got a clean bill of health. I told them I was back. I think they recognize that.”

Asked if he had changed his habits, Mularkey smiled.

“I think I slept an extra five minutes,” he said with a laugh. “I didn’t know there was that much traffic at 5 o’clock.”

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