Brackens brought back following release

Originally Published: June 1, 2004
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

The Jacksonville Jaguars leading sacker is going to get a second chance to add to his team record.

Defensive end Tony Brackens on Tuesday morning re-signed with the team, agreeing to a one-year contract less than three months after being released because of salary cap considerations.

Financial details were not immediately available, but the contract is believed to have a modest value yet still provide Brackens the opportunity to increase its worth through performance incentives.

Brackens, 29, is expected to be utilized, not surprisingly, as a situational passer rusher. He's started 75 of 107 career games as a Jag and has 55 sacks.

It had been rumored for several weeks that Brackens, a second-round draft choice in 1996, was poised to rejoin the franchise with which he entered the league. But the former University of Texas player also drew some interest from other teams and the process suddenly slowed. Last week, coach Jack Del Rio hinted that the Jaguars were running out of patience, and said that a deal with Brackens would happen either in the next week or two, or not at all.

Beset by severe knee injuries the last several years, Brackens has not played an entire 16-game season since 2000, and in the last few seasons has been forced to curtail his practice time. But he bounced back from a microfracture procedure on his left knee last spring, and an appendectomy in June, to start 15 games in 2003 and record six sacks.

Jacksonville released Brackens on March 2 because he was due a $1 million roster bonus and carried a 2004 base salary of $5.5 million. In fact, Jacksonville's salary cap includes $7.05 million in so-called "dead money" for Brackens because of his release.

Not only a natural pass rusher with innate closing speed, Brackens is a playmaker capable of creating turnovers, as evidenced by his 27 career forced fumbles. His six sacks and 30 pressures last season were team highs. He also forced one fumble.

For his career, Brackens has 469 tackles. His best season was 1999, when he had 12 sacks and was chosen to play in the Pro Bowl.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior writer for ESPN.com.