JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jacksonville Jaguars defensive tackle Malik Jackson thought he knew what to expect in terms of the heat during training camp. After all, it was pretty darn warm during OTAs and minicamp in May and June.
Boy, was he wrong.
The 6-foot-5, 293-pound Jackson was caught a little off guard when the Jaguars hit the field at 10 a.m. ET on Thursday. The temperature hit the mid-90s during the two-and-a-half-hour practice and the heat index would hit 103 degrees.
"It’s a little different," said Jackson, who signed a six-year contract worth up to $90 million with the Jaguars after four seasons with the Denver Broncos. "I was pretty upset because I had water in my shoes and I was squishing around."
It wasn’t water, though. It was sweat, and it made him feel, well, icky.
"It just made me upset because that’s never happened to me before," Jackson said. "I just felt fat. I just felt out of shape. Now I’ve got to bring an extra pair of socks and an extra pair of cleats to the field -- and an extra pair of shorts because that water weighs you down."
Jackson actually returned for camp 13 pounds lighter. He was a little heavier in the spring because the Jaguars wanted to line him up at their big end spot in addition to three-technique defensive tackle. Though he’ll mainly line up at tackle, the Jaguars still plan on giving him reps at big end, but felt he didn’t need the extra bulk.
Jackson was proud of his weight loss.
"I like where I’m at," he said. "Got to keep doing a few sit-ups. That can always be better. The arms look good, though."
Jackson should expect to lose a few more pounds during camp. According to The Weather Channel, temperatures in Jacksonville are forecast to be 96 or higher into the middle of the week before things cool down into the low 90s.
"It [the heat] is definitely a different beast, but I’m glad we’re kind of getting it going and I hope that’s the hottest it gets," he said.