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Jaguars lose rookie linebacker Ventrell Miller for the season with a ruptured Achilles tendon

Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Ventrell Miller (51) and linebacker DJ Coleman, right, chat during a autograph session for fans at the NFL football team's training camp, Saturday, July 29, 2023, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Jacksonville Jaguars rookie linebacker Ventrell Miller will miss the season after rupturing his right Achilles tendon in the team's preseason finale against Miami.

Coach Doug Pederson made the announcement Monday, one day before the team has to pair its roster to 53.

“He'll be missed,” Pederson said.

A fourth-round draft pick from Florida, Miller had been battling Shaq Quarterman for a backup spot behind starters Foye Oluokun and Devin Lloyd. But now Miller will spend the year rehabbing on injured reserve.

It's the third consecutive season Miller has dealt with a significant injury. He had surgery in late December for a broken bone — a Jones fracture — in his right foot that prevented him from participating at the Senior Bowl, the NFL scouting combine and Florida’s pro day.

The Jaguars still chose him 121st overall, a somewhat surprising move considering they spent first- and third-round picks on inside linebackers Lloyd and Chad Muma in 2022 and have veteran Oluokun under contract for at least two more seasons.

But Jacksonville felt Miller was worth a low-risk gamble even though he missed most of the 2021 season with a torn biceps and played nine games last fall with a broken foot. Miller said he took weekly pain-numbing shots to stay on the field for the Gators.

Miller finished the 2022 season with 74 tackles, including 8 1/2 for loss, and was by far Florida’s best defender. He ended his college career with 240 tackles, the kind of production the Jaguars envision translating to the next level.

But he'll have to wait to show it.

Also Monday, Jaguars defensive tackle DaVon Hamilton returned to the facility after missing more than a week with a back injury sustained away from football. Pederson said defensive lineman Foley Fatukasi (foot) is expected to return to practice this week while backup offensive linemen Josh Wells (abductor) and Cooper Hodges (knee) are considered week to week. Hodges, a seventh-round draft pick from Appalachian State is “not close yet,” Pederson said.

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