Tagged in: drills

Joe Burrow makes training camp debut for Cincinnati Bengals, participates in several drills

For the first time in training camp, Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow practiced. Nearly three weeks after he had his appendix removed, Burrow donned his orange No. 9 jersey and participated in several drills throughout Sunday’s practice.

All of his work in team drills came in a 7-on-7 period that was more strenuous than coach Zac Taylor expected.

“We talked about doing two reps in 7-on-7,” Taylor said after practice. “And then he took 10. That’s how it goes sometimes.”

Previously, Burrow’s most notable work during practice occurred last Monday when he did some light tosses during an impromptu walkthrough.

On Sunday, Burrow decided to extend his limits.

Burrow took the entirety of the reps during that 7-on-7 drill. That also eased the workload on the rest of the team’s quarterbacks following Brandon Allen’s concussion in last Friday’s preseason game versus the Arizona Cardinals.

Burrow’s most notable passes were two long completions — one to veteran receiver Trenton Irwin and the other to rookie Kwamie Lassiter II. Bengals wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase, who watched the bulk of Burrow’s throws during that 7-on-7 period, said having the team’s star quarterback took what the defense was willing to allow as the quarterback brought positive energy to practice.

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“It’s funny because every pass he threw today, I was calling it out before he threw it,” Chase, who also played with Burrow at LSU, said. “I think I still know him perfectly fine.”

The third-year quarterback wasn’t the only key player to make significant progress Sunday.

Wide receiver Tee Higgins participated in team drills for the first time. Rookie Cordell Volson also took over as the team’s starting left guard with Jackson Carman out.

Cincinnati is looking to replicate last season’s success that featured a Super Bowl run that Burrow spearheaded. The top overall pick in the 2020 draft completed 70.4% of his passes for 4,611 yards, 34 touchdowns and 14 interceptions as the Bengals played for the Lombardi Trophy for the first time in 33 years.

The Bengals have been hesitant to release any firm timetables for Burrow’s practice acclimation following the appendectomy July 26. Taylor said he was uncertain on when Burrow will return to full participation.

But he was with his teammates Sunday. It was the first time that Burrow, new tight end Hayden Hurst and all the returning players from last year’s Super Bowl run practiced together since organized team activities.

Said Higgins: “As soon as we got in the huddle I said, ‘Uh oh. We’re back.'”

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RB Kareem Hunt requests trade but Cleveland Browns decline

Running back Kareem Hunt, who is seeking a contract extension, has requested a trade from the Cleveland Browns, but the team has privately declined that request, sources confirmed to ESPN.

Hunt, who is in the final year of a two-year, $12 million deal, has missed team drills the past two practices and has told the Browns he will not participate until he gets an extension, a league source told ESPN.

The news of Hunt’s trade demand was first reported by Cleveland.com.

Browns coach Kevin Stefanski declined comment Sunday when asked about Hunt’s trade request.

“I’m not going to get into really anything that has to do with our players and conversations,” he said.

Stefanski also stated he “won’t get into that” when asked whether Hunt would be fined for sitting out team drills.

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Hunt’s situation adds more turmoil for the Browns, who are waiting to see how long quarterback Deshaun Watson will be suspended for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy.

Watson was suspended for six games by disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson on Monday, but the NFL appealed the ruling Wednesday, seeking a tougher penalty.

Hunt, 27, has been productive during his three campaigns for Cleveland, but he missed nine matches last season with calf and ankle injuries and concluded with 386 yards and five touchdowns, finishing third on the team in rushing behind Nick Chubb (1,259 yards) and D’Ernest Johnson (534). Hunt led the Browns with 11 touchdowns (six rushing, five receiving) in 2020.

Hunt, who led the NFL in rushing as a rookie with the Chiefs in 2017, when he had 1,327 yards, was released by Kansas City a year later after video surfaced of him shoving and kicking a woman.

He signed with the Browns in 2019 and was suspended for the first eight games of that season for violating the personal conduct policy.

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Tyrann Mathieu reports to New Orleans Saints after missing start of training camp

New Orleans Saints safety Tyrann Mathieu reported for training camp and was practicing Wednesday after initially being excused to attend to what the team described as a personal matter.

Mathieu made his first appearance of training camp Wednesday morning after missing the first six practices of camp and getting to the team hotel Tuesday night. Saints coach Dennis Allen stated they were able to talk at the hotel and that Mathieu appeared to be in “good spirits.”

The 30-year-old Mathieu did not participate in 11-on-11 or 7-on-7 drills but went through the team walk-through and did individual drills with the defensive backs.

“He’s anxious to kind of get back here and get started,” Allen said. “We’ll go through a little bit of a ramp-up period with him, kind of let him get his feet up under him, but man, to have a player of his decorated ability back in the building is a positive.”

On Thursday, Mathieu spoke to the media for the first time since his return to the team on Wednesday, praising the support he has received from his coaches and teammates and saying he’ll go through a ramp-up conditioning period as he gets back into football shape.

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“Everyone was really supportive, teammates, former teammates,” Mathieu said. “Lot of different people just being supportive. Obviously that was a great feeling, to have that support. … I’m sure at some point I’ll be more transparent about the first six days of practice, but more important I’m just happy to be back and around the guys. I’m feeling good, I’m in great spirits, really healthy. Everything that’s important, it’s going good. I’m just in a good place and just all about ramping it up and getting back into it.”

The offseason addition of Mathieu to the Saints’ secondary was met with much fanfare in New Orleans, where Mathieu grew up and played in high school before starring in college at LSU.

The nine-year NFL veteran agreed to a three-year, $33 million free agent contract with the Saints in early May.

Mathieu was raised by his grandparents in New Orleans then became a star football player and track athlete for St. Augustine High School. He maintained deep ties to the city, enhanced through his charitable endeavors and football camps in the area.

He also has deep ties to LSU, where his tenacious play over two seasons earned him the nickname “Honey Badger.” As a sophomore in 2011, he was a Heisman Trophy finalist and obtained the Bednarik Award as the nation’s top defensive player. But his college career was cut short when then-Tigers coach Les Miles dismissed Mathieu in the summer of 2012 for repeated drug test failures.

Mathieu spent time in a Houston rehabilitation program, but it wasn’t until he was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in the third round in 2013 that he put his life together.

Mathieu became a dependable defensive standout for coach Bruce Arians and has since added two All-Pro nods with Kansas City to go with one earned in Arizona. He also has been named to the Pro Bowl each of the past three seasons. He wound up playing five seasons for the Cardinals before a year with the Houston Texans.

He signed with Kansas City as a free agent for $42 million over three years and immediately became the quarterback of the Chiefs’ defense, often relaying signals and directing the pre-snap alignment of defensive teammates.

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