Bortles focused on doing right things

BEREA, Ohio -- First-year Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles will do anything to represent the franchise in the best way possible.

While other rookies, namely Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel, have been in the spotlight for off-the-field activities that include partying in Las Vegas, Bortles is focused on the advice he was given while growing up in Oviedo, Florida.

"You're asking a guy to come in and lead your franchise, be the face of your franchise and lead your team," Bortles said. "It just kind of goes to how I was raised, 'Don't disgrace your family name. Don't disgrace yourself or any organization that you're a part of.'

"That's kind of how I went about making all of those decisions, and I thought I was doing the right thing in trying to show my character the best way I know I could."

The former quarterback at the University of Central Florida, Bortles said it is hard to compare his situation to that of Manziel, who was a Heisman Trophy winner as a freshman at Texas A&M and led the Aggies to an upset victory over the University of Alabama.

"(Manziel's) definitely in a whole other light than I'm in," Bortles said. "He's way more under the microscope, and I'm not. He's in a whole other world than I am. He's way more of a celebrity than me. He's got a lot of stuff to deal with that I don't have to.

"The times we've been together, we've had great conversations. I definitely consider him a friend, and somebody I definitely enjoyed watching play college football. I hope to continue to watch him, wish him the best, and look forward to seeing how everything turns out."

Bortles said playing only two hours from where he grew up is "special" for him because it "is something that not a lot of guys get a chance to do." And he is focused on doing the best he can for a Jaguars team who has not made the playoffs since the 2007 season.

"(General manager) Dave (Caldwell) and (coach) Gus (Bradley) have done a great job of calming the environment, eliminating pressure, eliminating stress and anxiety, and my sole goal right now is to get better, be the best quarterback I can be and improve every day," Bortles said. "That's all I can worry about, and that's all I've been doing.

"Everybody talks about the speed. The windows get smaller and that type of stuff, and it's all true. You're throwing to covered guys and you've got to find a way to get them the ball. That's part of it. That's part of the transition, but at the end of the day, it's football. You just continue to do it and play like you've been playing your whole life. You've just got to play it a little better."


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