Temperatures were brutally oppressive across large portions of the country leading into the start of NFL training camp this week, and now it’s back to the Sunshine State for Statesville’s Breon Borders.
The Jacksonville Jaguars’ itinerary reveals daily workouts from 8:45-11:40 a.m.
“No evening practices,” Borders said with an upbeat tone in his voice Monday, his 24th birthday. “Thankfully.”
Jacksonville players report to training camp Wednesday. The first practice is Thursday.
Sunday the players throw on full pads. Joint practices with the Baltimore Ravens are scheduled for Aug. 5-6. The Jaguars open their preseason game schedule Aug. 8 in Baltimore.
“I need to focus on playing ball and being the best version of myself,” said Borders, a cornerback who starred at Duke and, before that, Statesville High. “It’s all about growth and performance. It starts in the preseason.”
This is the third NFL season for Borders, an undrafted free agent in 2017 who began his professional career in Oakland. The Raiders had him on their practice squad until December of 2017 when the Buffalo Bills signed him.
Borders saw playing time on special teams during the Bills’ playoff loss to Jacksonville. Buffalo let him go last September.
After that Borders spent a month on the Houston Texans’ practice squad before being released. The Jaguars scooped him up for their practice squad three weeks later. They promoted him to their active roster last December.
Borders returns to a Jacksonville team coming off a disappointing 2018 campaign that looked promising early. The Jaguars routed New England in the AFC title game rematch and were 3-1 after the first month. They lost every game in October and November. Injuries were a factor. They never recovered from that 0-7 stretch and finished 5-11 overall and last in the AFC South.
Some offseason acquisitions—first and foremost the signing of Super Bowl-winning quarterback Nick Foles—has Jacksonville thinking about a bounce back season, and Borders has every intention of being part of that.
“The first year (of training camp), I was a little lost,” he said. “Second year, I learned a lot more. It’s the third year. It’s all on me. It’s another opportunity I’m thankful to have.”
Jacksonville’s remaining preseason game schedule includes a home game Aug. 15 against the Philadelphia Eagles, a road game Aug. 22 at the Miami Dolphins, and another home game Aug. 29 versus the Atlanta Falcons.
The Jaguars kick off the 2019 regular season at home Sept. 8 against the Kansas City Chiefs.
NFL team rosters are to be reduced to 53 players by 4 p.m. Aug. 31.
“I think I held my own at corner during the last two preseasons, and I think the Jaguars saw that,” Borders said. “What a lot of people don’t know is I’m competing with other people. It’s not just at corner. On special teams I’m competing to be a gunner and a blocker for kickoff returns. I’m building, getting stronger and focusing on every aspect of my game.”