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Jaguars coach awaits return call from veteran Branden Albert

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Jacksonville Jaguars coach Doug Marrone says he has had no contact with Branden Albert since the veteran left tackle decided to skip voluntary workouts.

Albert, tight end Marcedes Lewis and running back Corey Grant were the only players not in attendance for the first week of Jacksonville's off-season conditioning program, which began Monday.

Grant is taking classes toward his college degree. Lewis, entering his 12th season in Jacksonville, remains in his home state of California while dealing with a child custody issue. Both told Marrone they would not be in Jacksonville for the opening workouts.

Marrone heard nothing from Albert, who reportedly wants a new contract as he enters his 10th season and first with the Jaguars.

"I have not had any communication with him, which is a surprise," Marrone said Friday during the team's annual pre-draft availability. "So I don't know what his thoughts are going forward. I can't comment on that."

Marrone added that he was surprised Albert didn't return his phone call following his absence this week.

Jacksonville acquired Albert from the Miami Dolphins in March in exchange for a seventh-round pick in the 2018 NFL draft.

The 32-year-old lineman signed a five-year, $47 million contract with the Dolphins in 2014. The deal included $26 million guaranteed, all of which was paid over the last three seasons. Albert is due a base salary of $8.875 million this season and $9.575 million in 2018.

Off-season workouts are mostly voluntary, so the Jaguars can't fine Albert for his absences. They could dock his paycheque if he skips a mandatory, three-day minicamp in June.

Albert, who has missed 20 games over the last five seasons, is considered a stop-gap solution at the all-important left tackle spot for Jacksonville. The Jaguars are likely to select at least one offensive lineman in next week's draft.

As for the 32-year-old Lewis, Marrone expects him to return in the next few weeks.

"He told me he's going to try to get here as soon as he can," Marrone said. "That's what's been communicated."

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