Jaguars left tackle Kelvin Beachum is very familiar with one of his opponents in Week 13.
Beachum has been playing against and with Denver Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders since high school. Both played high school football in Texas and the two played against each in the state playoffs before teaming up at Southern Methodist University.
The offensive lineman is eager to see his longtime friend, who had a big impact on his college and NFL careers.
“I looking so forward to it, Emmanuel and I have a lot of history,” Beachum said. “When I first got to SMU, he was one of the guys that convinced me to [attend] there. We were struggling and he said ‘Let’s be part of history’ and that was one of the reasons I went there.”
The two have shared a lot of success. Sanders and Beachum did make history at SMU, guiding the program to its first bowl game since the notorious "Death Penalty" was handed down.
The 2009 Hawaii Bowl was the school's first postseason game in 25 years. Beachum and Sanders helped the Mustang win the game, 45-10, against the Nevada Wolf Pack.
Beachum used to pick up Sanders to go to the gym when they were in college. Sanders eventually paid back all of those ride's in Beachum's Crown Victoria when they reunited in the NFL. Both players were drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers.
"When I first got to the league, he was in Pittsburgh," Beachum said. "When I was in Pittsburgh, I learned how to take care of my body. There were a number of guys that I learned from, but he was the first person to say ‘Beachum, come to my house, get a massage, it’s on me the first time.’ Now I try to do that to younger guys now. If I have some treatment or something at my house, [I say] ‘Come on over, I’ll take care of you, it’s on me.’”
Football hasn't always been the center of their relationship. The two have created a bond off the field and remain close friends.
“Emmanuel is one of those guys that open his doors to me and I know his family, he knows my family,” Beachum said. “I’ve seen his son, Prince, grow up. His wife – I was at his wedding – I was one of the very few people that was at his wedding. It’s just a family thing. I know him really, really well and I’m looking forward to spending time with him after the game.”
Walters likely to take over at punt returner
On Thursday, Jaguars wide receiver Bryan Walters was named as the front-runner for the punt return job. Gus Bradley refused to make it official, but it looks like Walters will get some more playing time moving forward.
The veteran is looking to take advantage of his added snaps.
“For me, as far as offense, I’ll hopefully move the sticks and catch the ball in front of me, that’s my job,” Walters said. “On punt returns, the number one priority is to get the offense the ball. Then the next one, the first first down for the offense – 10 yards – and then anything else after that, that’s a bonus. Obviously, you want explosive plays like that but the number one thing is to get the ball back to the offense.”
Bradley praised Walters after practice and said he has the freedom to make plays on special teams.
"He does a great job with the ball, but hey, just get grass," Bradley said. "Even if it’s five yards, eight yards, whatever, make it positive and we’ll hopefully get a first down off of it. If they get a return, that’s cool. Just a little bit different mindset, but not for him, but I think for us, ball security and get what you can.”
Jaguars' Thursday Injury Report
DNP: RB Chris Ivory (hamstring), TE Julius Thomas (back), WR Allen Hurns (hamstring), WR Rashad Greene (Achilles), DE Jared Odrick (shoulder)
Limited: RB T.J. Yeldon (ankle), DE Yannick Ngakoue (ankle), FS Peyton Thompson (ankle), DE Malik Jackson (back), DT Abry Jones (ankle)
Full: OT Kelvin Beachum (knee), DE Chris Smith (eye), LB Dan Skuta (back), C Brandon Linder (ankle), DE Dante Fowler (shoulder), OL Luke Bowanko (hip), QB Blake Bortles (shoulder)
More News and Notes
- Bradley on Ivory's injury process: "Just in conversation with him, he seems to be day-to-day. You talk to him and he says it feels better but how far along he is, how much time he has left, we’ll leave that up to the trainers.”
- Bradley on Yeldon's status: “That was good. That was good to see him back. I think that will be another one that’ll be day-to-day but obviously a lot different situation than Chris’.”
- Bradley on the progress of the young tight ends: “I think they did a nice job stepping in. I think they’re impressing us as a coaching staff and when you watch it on film what Neal Sterling did and you know Alex Ellis really strained in the blocking and that part we really appreciate him and Ben Koyack made a couple plays. I think the quarterbacks really trust them. I think they trust them in a short period of time.”
Follow Mike Kaye on Twitter at @Mike_E_Kaye.