Several teams showed off their new looks as the NFL’s 2020 training camps continued on Wednesday.
The Washington Football Team won’t have a logo this season, and on Wednesday showed off the jersey numbers that will appear on its helmets. In Cleveland, wide receiver Jarvis Landry modeled the Browns’ new look while recording videos that will be used during games.
The Miami Dolphins lost their second receiver in as many days when Albert Wilson opted out of the season due to concerns about the coronavirus, joining Allen Hurns. In Nashville, Tennessee, the Titans are still waiting on their biggest free-agent acquisition, linebacker Vic Beasley, to show up. And in Buffalo, new Bills receiver Stefon Diggs tried to downplay his trade request with the Vikings and insisted he just wants to be a “puzzle piece” who can help the Bills win.
Here’s what you need to know from camps across the league:
Top news of the day
Wilson becomes second Dolphins WR to opt out
Miami Dolphins wide receiver Albert Wilson became the latest notable player to opt out of the 2020 NFL season due to coronavirus concerns. Wilson becomes the second Dolphins player to opt out in as many days; fellow receiver Allen Hurns announced Tuesday that he was opting out. More than 50 players across the league have opted out thus far. The Dolphins took a hit in receiver depth with Wilson and Hurns opting out. It was one of the team’s deepest positions, but now Miami is down two players who were likely to make the roster and contribute to a new-look offense.
The Titans are more than one week into training camp and outside linebacker Vic Beasley, their biggest free-agent acquisition, has yet to report. Coach Mike Vrabel said there has not been any further communication between him and Beasley personally. “He’s not here. Everybody else is. He’s under contract and we expect him to be here. I have not reached out or had much conversation with him,” Vrabel said during his Wednesday news conference. “We still look forward to getting him here and coaching him when he gets here. We want to coach him and want him to be a part of the football team.” Beasley signed a one-year, $9.5 million contract in the offseason.
Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs spoke to local media for the first time since he was traded from the Vikings in March, expressing excitement over his new opportunity in western New York. He also bristled at the notion that he forced his way out of Minnesota. When asked what made him believe his current situation would be better than his previous one, given that he vocally expressed his displeasure with the Vikings, Diggs claimed he never expressed his concerns publicly. “As far as my past with Minnesota, I never actually said anything,” he said Wednesday. “But, to this new situation, I’m excited. There is no right or wrong or problems to be fixed from my old situation.”
First came the nickname and old logo and now come the helmets. The Washington Football Team, which retired its nickname and logo after completing a thorough review that began on July 3, showed off on social media the helmets players will be wearing for the 2020 NFL season.
Even Washington superfan and retired NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. showed his approval of the helmets by posting a GIF of a nodding Robert Redford in the film “Jeremiah Johnson.”
All angles. All 🔥 pic.twitter.com/9G8SQMprsX
— Washington Football Team (@WashingtonNFL) August 5, 2020
— Dale Earnhardt Jr. (@DaleJr) August 5, 2020
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) August 5, 2020
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) August 5, 2020
You’re never too old for wind sprints. 💨 pic.twitter.com/T5o5SUR8rp
— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) August 5, 2020
— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) August 5, 2020
“Honestly, I’m still undecided about playing this season. I need to talk it over with my lady and make the best decision for our family.”
— Buffalo Bills (@BuffaloBills) August 5, 2020
— Indianapolis Colts (@Colts) August 5, 2020
Training camp at Heinz Field doesn’t look so bad.
Via Joe Haden’s IG, it looks like the team assigned suites for player use in between meetings and practice. pic.twitter.com/qMvWRSgJ1B
— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) August 5, 2020
— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) August 5, 2020
You just love to see it. pic.twitter.com/rmN2mIQPWd
— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) August 5, 2020
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 5, 2020
Another day, another opportunity to get better. 💪 pic.twitter.com/jBYHFRGRze
— Houston Texans (@HoustonTexans) August 5, 2020
Clocked in to lock in 💪 pic.twitter.com/k4k6ejxXRu
— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) August 5, 2020
Quotes of the day
“Just want to make sure everything’s running properly and there’s no outbreak and I’ll stay [in a hotel] until I feel comfortable going back to my house. Everybody has their own unique circumstances and they need to sort through the information and then gather more information and make the best decision they feel more comfortable with.”
JC Tretter, Browns C, NFLPA president and expectant father
“It’s one of those things where I knew it was going to be right regardless of how it played out. But I knew at the end, it was going to be all right and I was still going to be a Niner no matter what.”
49ers RB Raheem Mostert on his trade request
What our NFL Nation reporters saw Wednesday
Coach Sean Payton, explaining why the New Orleans Saints created the option to sequester in a hotel throughout training camp, said he told players they’re just trying to be ahead of the curve. “I said, ‘What do you think is gonna happen to the teams that make the postseason this year?'” Payton said, explaining that he thinks teams will get even more serious about quarantining or take extra precautions come playoff time because they’ll decide, “This is too important at this time of year.”
Payton said “the jury is still out” on how effective some of the new technology will be — such as contact tracers and splash shields. Payton said he definitely sees the value in contact tracing, but that he has already seen some glitches. For example, “Player A” was registered as being within 6 feet of Payton for 18 minutes, while Payton was registered as being near “Player A” for 29 minutes. As for the face shields, he said he is anxious to see the studies or expert opinions on how effective they can be since they still have open breathing holes. — Mike Triplett
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has thrown at Pittsburgh Steelers training camp for just a couple days, but second-year wide receiver Diontae Johnson said the quarterback’s arm looks “even better” than it did last year. He said Roethlisberger has let a couple of passes really go at Heinz Field. “He’s cut a lot of them loose,” Johnson said. “He’s throwing a nice, tight spiral. He’s going to put the ball wherever he wants it.” After a full practice Monday, Roethlisberger, who missed 14 games last season after tearing three flexor tendons in his throwing elbow, scaled back on his throwing volume Tuesday. When he spoke with the media Tuesday, he said he would likely take Wednesday off. — Brooke Pryor
Ryan Clark explains the importance for the Houston Texans to extend Deshaun Watson to give the team security at that position.
Cleveland Browns general manager Andrew Berry said quarterback Baker Mayfield arrived at training camp having added four pounds of lean body mass while also cutting body fat. “Baker has really been outstanding this entire spring and summer — level of engagement with the coaching staff, getting up to speed mentally with the system and his interaction with his teammates,” Berry said. “He came back in terrific shape. I know he is really excited about the upcoming season, and he has done a really nice job of what I would call almost creating community and really bringing guys together, as difficult as that can be as everybody has really been trying to function virtually. We are all really excited about him entering the year.”
Even though they’re new teammates without the benefit of an offseason together amid the coronavirus pandemic, new tight end Austin Hooper said he’s already been building chemistry with Mayfield. Hooper said he stayed at Mayfield’s house in Austin, Texas, a total of almost three weeks over two different stints, working out and throwing together. “The two deals that really made me want to sign here was Baker, and just like his style of quarterback. I mean him being aggressive, you know, has that swag with him which I do want. I want to play for a quarterback who has that to them a little bit. And you know, obviously the arm talent is there.” — Jake Trotter
The Titans are looking at ways to ensure player safety when on the field. Some of the players are considering wearing mouth shields, a visor and a modified face mask. — Turron Davenport
What is it the Giants are doing at training camp “practices” under the current rules? Early in the day they get on the field with agility and conditioning periods. After meetings and lunch, in the afternoon they have walk-throughs, which coach Joe Judge called “a slower version of practice.” They start out with individual drills, working with their position coaches who are teaching fundamentals. The following day during the conditioning and agility period they then are running at full speed using what was taught to them the previous day. Much of it is run versus air, or with trash cans and coaches posing as players. The Giants (and every team) are allowed to have only a limited number of team reps with 22 players on the field at the same time. The biggest emphasis there: “Communication!” per Judge. — Jordan Raanan
Panthers 2019 first-round pick Brian Burns lost a lot of his bulk weight last season while recovering from a broken wrist injury that wouldn’t allow the former Florida State star to work out as he wanted. It didn’t hurt him too badly because he was for much of the season playing outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense. But with new Carolina coach Matt Rhule switching back to a 4-3 set, Burns said he’s added 15 pounds despite having to work out at home during the pandemic. He hopes to keep his weight between 250 and 255 pounds because at end he’ll be taking on 300-pound tackles. His versatility fits the “positionless” player Rhule and defensive coordinator Phil Snow want to build around. Burns wants to build on the 7.5 sacks he had as a rookie and believes having Kawann Short and 2020 first-round pick Derrick Brown at tackle will free him up because of the double-teams they’ll command. As for what his goals are outside of winning, Burns said those are “classified.” — David Newton
After having what he called “long and tough” discussions about opting out of the season, Niners running back Raheem Mostert decided to play, and he’s returned with the attitude of a legitimate No. 1 running back who is planning on a big season for him and his team. “I just want to go out there and be dominant,” Mostert said. “When I step out onto that field, I want everybody to say, ‘That’s a bad m-f-,’ you know? He’s somebody that we can’t take lightly. I want to put fear in other teams’ eyes. That’s my mindset.” Mostert finished the season as the Niners’ top back and after a short contract dispute came back to the team on a reworked deal. It’s unrealistic to think any running back will average 20 carries per game in Kyle Shanahan’s offense, but Mostert sounds like a guy prepared to take on such a workload if given the opportunity. — Nick Wagoner
Jeff Darlington and Louis Riddick discuss if it would be a good idea for the Packers to sign Antonio Brown after not drafting a receiver.
One of the reasons Colts quarterback Philip Rivers, 38, didn’t think about opting out amid the pandemic is because he knows that likely would have ended his 16-year NFL career. “Making that decision [to opt out] for me would have been making the decision to be done, period,” Rivers said. “Retiring, which is nowhere on my mind.” Rivers instead is at the Colts’ facility preparing to play for just the second team in his career. “Andrew [Luck] is the closest I’ve been with that is like a little kid out there, and as old as Philip is, he’s youthful in terms of his energy,” left tackle Anthony Castonzo said. “I haven’t been on the field with him yet but just being around him in the locker room and hearing him talk and the messages he gives, he’s got that kiddish excitement.” — Mike Wells
The Falcons weren’t on the field Wednesday but did have some good news. Four of the players previously placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list were activated: DT Tyler Davison, LB Foye Oluokun, S Jaylinn Hawkins and QB Danny Etling. The team still has two players on the list in FB Keith Smith and S Jamal Carter, who both tested positive for COVID-19, according to sources. Carter has been quarantined, while Smith’s status is unclear. The team cannot comment on the medical status of the players. The Falcons also waived LB Ahmad Thomas on Wednesday. — Vaughn McClure
All-Pro cornerback Tre’Davious White admitted he is still unsure whether he will opt out of the 2020 season, citing his family’s safety and well-being as the two factors weighing on his mind. White, 25, has two children under the age of 3 and does not want to risk their health by possibly exposing them to COVID-19. He said his decision likely will take him all the way up to Thursday’s deadline. — Marcel Louis-Jacques