03/12/2013 5:30 PM
JACKSONVILLE – The 2012 South Division Champion Jacksonville Sharks took to the Plantation Park practice field for a full-contact workout on Tuesday morning.
Although a light rain fell throughout the early portion of practice, the weather never worsened. In fact, the sky stayed dry throughout the majority of practice, allowing the team to progress from positional drills to one-on-ones, three-on-threes and the final team session as scheduled.
Though the Sharks’ first regular season game is still more than 10 days away, the on-field portion of training camp has nearly come to an end. After tomorrow’s full practice, the team will hold a walkthrough on Thursday before hosting the Orlando Predators in Friday’s preseason scrimmage on Sea Best Field at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena.
With not much time remaining, each and every one of the Sharks’ 28 active players is under pressure to continue to improve on their body of work from the first week and a half of camp. After Friday’s scrimmage, the Sharks’ coaching staff will be forced to make a number of tough decisions in reducing the team’s roster from 28 to 24. These decisions will be made on Saturday, as from the end of the week through the rest of the season the team will operate with a 24-man active squad.
Four rookie receivers remain in Shark training camp, but only one of them will have the chance to play in front of a hometown crowd on Friday. Wideout Charles Gilbert starred at Ridgeview High School in Clay County. After finishing his collegiate career at Concordia University in Minnesota, Gilbert spent time in training camp with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Looking to crack the Sharks’ roster, Gilbert is excited for the chance to represent his local team.
“It’s definitely exciting to play in front of your hometown, get back here and run arount a little bit for a bunch of people I know who will come out and watch,” Gilbert said. “It’ll be fun, entertainment for them and fun to go out there and play.”
Like any young receiver, Gilbert has had to adjust to the differences between Arena Football and the outdoor game. Fortunately, the Sharks possess a group of veteran receivers that have helped Gilbert and the other rookies make that transition. After Tuesday’s practice, Gilbert spoke about the specific areas in which the Shark vets have helped him.
“They’re helping me out with the route running, how to square up [defensive backs] and how to put yourself in better situations to get open,” he said. “The vets are doing a good job and I’m just looking at them and doing what I can.”
Following Tuesday’s practice, the Sharks announced that defensive lineman Delvin Johnson has been activated from Refused to Report. An AFL rookie, Johnson was originally assigned to the Jacksonville roster on Friday, March 8.
In other Tuesday transactions, wide receiver London Crawford was activated from the Physically Unable to Perform list, while wide receiver/defensive back Terrance Smith was placed on the Physically Unable to Perform list.
The Sharks also announced Tuesday that offensive/defensive lineman Jordan Carlson has been placed on reassignment. Following the transactions, the Shark roster remains at the league maximum of 28 active players.
The Sharks will hold their last full practice of training camp on Wednesday morning at Plantation Park. Wednesday’s workout is set to begin at 9:30 a.m. and will be open to the public.
About the Jacksonville Sharks
The Jacksonville Sharks are members of the Arena Football League (AFL). The ArenaBowl XXIV and back-to-back-to-back South Division Champions are presented by Sea Best Seafood and play all home games on Sea Best Field at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. Season Tickets for the 2013 season are now available, two tickets as low as $185. To reserve your season tickets or for more information, please call (904) 621-0700. Follow the Sharks on facebook at facebook.com/jaxsharks and on Twitter @jaxsharks, as well as the Attack Dance Team at facebook.com/sharkattackdance and Chum at facebook.com/chumsharks.