JACKSONVILLLE, Fla. (AP) — Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey practiced for the first time in three weeks Wednesday, rejoining teammates two days after seeing a back specialist.
Ramsey participated in a limited capacity, taking part in individual drills before spending the rest of the session working with team trainers on the side.
"It's nice to see Jalen's face," fellow cornerback D.J. Hayden said. "It's very nice. It's very heartwarming. It's good to see Jalen out there."
It remains to be seen whether Ramsey plays Sunday against New Orleans (4-1) and the NFL's leading receiver, Michael Thomas.
"I feel like he'll tell us if he decides," defensive tackle Abry Jones said. "You only get a couple of athletes like Jalen every once in a while, so I feel like if he decides to play he's going to be ready."
Coach Doug Marrone said the Jaguars (2-3) are taking Ramsey's potential return "step by step."
Ramsey missed seven consecutive practices because of illness, back tightness and the birth of his second daughter. His back caused him to miss the past two games. He saw a specialist in Houston on Monday.
"Just confirmed what our doctors have said," Marrone said. "We're going to try to do more and just keep testing it and pushing it. He's working extremely hard to get back, and everyone's doing everything they can. ... We'll just take it step by step."
Ramsey was not in the locker room during the portion open to the media Wednesday.
The two-time Pro Bowl selection told the Uninterrupted's "17 Weeks" podcast last week that he's dealt with back soreness at times during his NFL career. He appeared on the team's injury report twice in 2017 with a back injury but played both weeks.
Ramsey requested a trade last month following a heated argument with Marrone on the sideline in Houston and a much-less-public exchange with personnel chief Tom Coughlin after the game.
Team owned Shad Khan told The Associated Press last week that he has no plans to trade Ramsey.
Most outsiders believe Ramsey is faking or exaggerating his back injury to avoid playing for Jacksonville again. The team, meanwhile, has given Ramsey extra leeway since his trade request — trying to do everything possible to repair his fractured relationship with Coughlin.
"It's always good to see Jalen," Jones said. "He's always a person we love to have in the locker room and things like that. As long as we can check on him and make sure he's all right and stuff like that."
Saints quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who is 3-0 since replacing injured starter Drew Brees, said he's look forward to facing Ramsey.
"He's just a confident guy," Bridgewater said. "A lot of people see it as arrogance sometimes, but for me, just being a true competitor, I see it as confidence. And you love seeing guys exude that kind of confidence. ... He's one of those guys you just have to root for just from the confidence that he exudes and transfers to the football field."