Best of Wednesday at NFL training camps: Rookies (and Tom Brady) take the field

The news from 2020 NFL training camps on Wednesday was good for teams that drafted quarterbacks.

In Miami, Tua Tagovailoa received full medical clearance, meaning the No. 5 overall pick should be able to practice fully when the Dolphins begin on-field work in mid-August. In Cincinnati, coach Zac Taylor is pleased with what he has seen and heard from No. 1 overall pick Joe Burrow so far.

For more from several NFL outposts and our Nation reporters, including plenty on reigning MVP Lamar Jackson, read on:

Jump to the best of the day:
Photos | Videos | Quotes

Top news of the day

RB Damien Williams opts out
The Chiefs’ leading rusher with 498 yards has opted out of the 2020 season, GM Brett Veach said. Williams had a pair of touchdowns, one rushing and one receiving, in the Chiefs’ Super Bowl victory over the 49ers.

RT Lane Johnson tests positive for COVID
Johnson tested positive for COVID-19, he announced Wednesday, but said he feels “strong and ready to go.” He was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list along with linebacker Nathan Gerry and tackle Jordan Mailata. The list was created for a player who either tests positive for COVID-19 or who has been in close contact with an infected person or persons.

QB Tua Tagovailoa passes Dolphins physical, cleared to practice
The Dolphins top-five pick has passed his physical and he’ll be on the field, participating without limitations in a couple weeks, nearly nine months after suffering a dislocated hip and posterior wall fracture in his final collegiate game for Alabama. The Dolphins will undergo testing, physicals and strength and conditioning over the next two weeks, then it will be football time beginning the second week of August. “When we do get to practice, you’ll see him out there,” Flores said.

OT Nate Solder opts out, cites family’s health concerns
In a statement posted to Twitter, the 32-year-old Solder cited family concerns, including his son’s battle with cancer and his own bout with cancer. He also has a newborn son. He said he “will deeply miss my teammates, coaches and everyone in the Giants organization.”

Lamar Jackson says he’s still hoping Ravens sign Antonio Brown
As Baltimore starts training camp Lamar Jackson is still keeping his fingers crossed that the team will sign mercurial All-Pro wide receiver Antonio Brown. “I was hoping we would get him,” Jackson said Wednesday. “I’m still hoping — a little bit.”

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What our NFL Nation reporters heard today

New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton hinted at some dissatisfaction with the altered preseason/training camp schedule Wednesday, stressing several times that “there’s nothing about this that is like training camp.” But he said the teams that can adjust best will benefit most. “Well, it’s unimportant regardless of how anyone feels,” Payton said. “What’s important is quickly taking what we were given and getting ready to prepare the team.”

Payton said the Saints will have as many padded practices as allowed, with competitive scrimmages being key to player evaluations. “I’m gonna tell you this, the amount of running and lifting they’re gonna do is gonna be significant. Again, this is their schedule, this isn’t our schedule — this is the union’s schedule, this is the management council’s schedule. This is not the schedule recommended to those parties by our coaches. So we’ve got the schedule, and we’ll follow it to a T.” — Mike Triplett

Matt Rhule didn’t get the benefit of extra practices and meeting time with players as first-year NFL coaches normally do because of the pandemic. He still hasn’t met all of his players. However, he’s not making any excuses for what all this might mean for the season. “I mean, it’s less than ideal. Even as we’re making decisions right now, you know, making decisions based off of virtual meetings and things like that. But you know, it just is what it is, right? Like, there’s nothing worse than a football coach who complains.” — David Newton

Tight end Logan Thomas was placed on the reserve/COVID 19 list, which means he either tested positive or had close contact with someone who had the virus. Washington clearly hopes Thomas is OK, but from a football standpoint it’s one of the few positions the team lacks depth. Washington hopes Thomas can develop into a quality pass-catcher; the former quarterback made some progress for Detroit last season with 16 receptions. Washington already knows tight end will be a position of need after this season so possibly losing one for any length of time would hurt. — John Keim

As veterans continue to test before being able to enter The Star, rookies and selected veterans have begun workouts and meetings with coaches, all while following all of the COVID-19 protocols that have been put in place. Mike McCarthy’s message to the players has been “safety first,” according to fourth-round pick Tyler Biadasz.

“His message was clear that we’re definitely facing more than just football. We’re facing COVID-19, which, you know, the whole world is doing,” Biadasz said. “It makes it a little bit more difficult but he told us to be accountable and be respectful to everyone on the team. So we’re doing our part on the field and off the field.” — Todd Archer

Jets coach Adam Gase said he’s “excited” by what he perceives as a deeper roster than last season. He noted there are positions where last year’s starters might become this year’s backups, which he believes is a sign of good depth. Players who could fall into that category are C Jonotthan Harrison, RG Brian Winters, RT Chuma Edoga, TE Ryan Griffin and NT Steve McLendon. — Rich Cimini

The Patriots are still in their COVID testing period. Most players have undergone two tests at this point. They will need to have three negative tests before they are granted access to the facility for physical examinations. The earliest that can happen is Friday. — Mike Reiss

Chicago Bears coach Matt Nagy stressed that the QB competition is still wide open between Mitchell Trubisky and Nick Foles, despite the shortened preseason. Nagy said QBs will be evaluated on every play, not just every throw. GM Ryan Pace adds that naming the eventual starter will be a collaborative effort. — Jeff Dickerson


Quotes of the day

“I jumped over the jet ski.”

Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, correcting a reporter who asked about an offseason incident on a beach.

“He’s been as advertised.” Bengals coach Zac Taylor on No. 1 overall pick Joe Burrow.

“I don’t know why it’s a controversy in our country. Put a damn mask on.” Colts general manager Chris Ballard, on people wearing face coverings to prevent the spread of COVID-19.


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Original article: https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/29558694/nfl-training-camp-2020-tom-brady-rookies-take-field-tua-tagovailoa-passes-physical

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