- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 1, 2010

JACKSONVILLE, FLA. (AP) - Jacksonville Jaguars left tackle Eugene Monroe spent last week waiting for his concussion to clear.

When it finally did, and Monroe was able to watch television again, he had to endure David Garrard getting sacked on three consecutive plays to end any chance Jacksonville had of beating the New York Giants.

“It was pretty tough to look at,” Monroe said Wednesday. “I wanted to be there, but I couldn’t.”

The Jaguars (6-5) could have used him, too. Garrard was sacked four times in Sunday’s 24-20 loss and hurried on several other occasions.

Garrard expects better protection this Sunday against AFC South rival Tennessee. Monroe’s return should help.

Monroe passed his baseline concussion test Tuesday and was cleared to practice and play. He was back on the field Wednesday, working with the first-team offense.

“I feel fine,” Monroe said. “I’ve got some catching up to do after missing a week, but I’m excited to get back in the swing of things.”

Monroe sustained a concussion Nov. 21 against Cleveland, when he got blind-sided following an interception and his helmet bounced off the ground. He stayed in the game, and even though he had a “constant headache” afterward, he didn’t report it to team doctors.

Why not? It was the first concussion of Monroe’s football career, and since there were no obvious signs like vomiting, fogginess or loss of consciousness, he didn’t totally piece together the symptoms.

It wasn’t until he went through a vigorous workout the following day, that he found himself so dizzy he nearly fainted. The Jaguars deemed it a “mild concussion” and thought Monroe would be able to play last week against the Giants. But the eighth overall draft pick in 2009 failed two baseline concussion tests and was inactive, prompting a strong reaction from coach Jack Del Rio.

“I was led to believe that by handling him with kid gloves, which we did, allowing him to be kept in the perfect environment for the healing process to occur, that it would be a strong likelihood that he’d be available Friday and then cleared Friday and able to play,” Del Rio said. “And I was shocked that did not occur.”

Monroe said he met with team doctors and a neurologist every morning, then spent the rest of the days in a dark room, hoping the speed his recovery.

“A lot of rest, a lot of not doing anything,” Monroe said. “No TV, no cell phone, just sitting around letting the brain recover.”

Del Rio, meanwhile, kept thinking Monroe would be back. But when he failed his baseline test Friday morning _ he wasn’t really close to passing, either _ the Jaguars decided to take the cautious approach and give him more time to recuperate.

“The part I have to help everybody understand is that I have no say in it,” Del Rio said. “I’m just going off what (head trainer Mike Ryan) tells me. Mike says, ‘We think it’s minor. We think he’ll be back Wednesday.’ We don’t get him Wednesday. ‘We think he’s really minor, we’re going to get him Friday.’ Friday, I get a, ‘He’s out.’

“So it went from you’re going to have him any minute to he’s out, so it was a shock.”

Nonetheless, the Jaguars are glad to have Monroe back, especially against the Titans who rank 10th in the league with 32 sacks.

Eugene is a big part of our offense,” said running back Maurice Jones-Drew, who has four consecutive 100-yard games. “Coming back, I think he’s hungry and he can’t wait to get out there. We’ve missed him.”

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