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Jaguars WR Allen Hurns still has something to prove

Allen Hurns is coming off a down season in which he finished with just 35 receptions. Ben Hoskins/Getty Images

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Allen Hurns is one of only four players in Jacksonville Jaguars history to have more than 1,000 yards receiving in a season, but he’s approaching his fourth NFL season as if he’s a an unknown rookie.

His past, even catching 10 touchdown passes in 2015, means nothing, he said.

“Each and every year you have something to prove,” Hurns said. “Coming into this league, no matter how you got here, what you did years prior, each and every year you’ve got to show what you’re capable of.”

What Hurns wants to prove in 2017 is that last season was a fluke. He dropped six passes (the same number he dropped in his first two seasons combined), had a career-low 35 receptions and battled a hamstring injury that kept him off the field for the final five games.

That was a significant drop-off from 2015, when he caught 64 passes for 1,031 yards and 10 touchdowns, joining Jimmy Smith, Keenan McCardell and Allen Robinson as the only players in franchise history to surpass 1,000 yards receiving.

Hurns hasn’t done much in the preseason, missing the first two games because of a concussion and a finger injury and sitting out the final preseason game with the rest of the team’s key players. But he’s refreshed and ready to get on the field to put a disappointing 2016 behind him.

“I feel like I’ve been at each and every practice that I could,” Hurns said. “I haven’t had soft tissue injuries as far as hamstrings and groin strains and things like that. So I feel good going into the season. My main thing is just staying consistent.”

Robinson remains the team’s No. 1 receiver. Marqise Lee finally emerged last season and caught a career-high 63 passes for 851 yards and three touchdowns. The Jaguars also drafted speedster Dede Westbrook, who led the NFL in receiving yards in the preseason (288 yards). That means Hurns may not have as many targets as he’s had in his first three seasons, but he’s not worrying about that because it’s not something he can control.

Coach Doug Marrone doesn’t expect anything out of Hurns that he’s not expecting out of the other receivers.

“I want them to be able to make plays, do their job, being able to make plays,” Marrone said. “Make plays when you need them. You need them to block, so that’s all of them. Like any player, I think you’re looking at them to play well and play winning football.”

There were rumors that Hurns wasn’t going to be able to do that in Jacksonville because he was being shopped for a potential trade -- Jaguars executive VP of football ops Tom Coughlin emphatically denied that when asked on Saturday -- but Hurns didn’t waste much time worrying about that, either.

“Me and my agent [Drew Rosenhaus] talked about it, and he said he talked to the coaches and they weren't trying to do anything,” Hurns said. “I mean, that’s just rumors. I think there was a rumor like that right before I signed my contract [in 2016] as well, so you can’t really think too much [about] it.

“I didn’t let it bother me at all. I just take the same approach [and] control what I can. As far as if it was going to happen, I didn’t think it was, but if it did I was ready for whatever.”

Now he’s ready for what he hopes will be a bounce-back season.