Best of Friday at NFL training camps: Belichick smiles, backward pants, Super Bowl chains and Dak’s letter to save a man

As 2020 NFL training camps continue, coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots looks happy to have football back, while Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler hasn’t quite mastered putting on his uniform.

Here’s what you need to know from camps across the league:

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

Top news of the day

Giants’ Baker charged with robbery; Seahawks’ Dunbar not charged
New York Giants cornerback DeAndre Baker is being prosecuted on four counts of robbery with a firearm, per Broward State attorney Mike Satz. If convicted, he faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years and up to life in state prison. The decision to prosecute came almost three months after the incident in Miramar, Florida. Broward prosecutors declined to file criminal charges against Seattle Seahawks cornerback Quinton Dunbar because of insufficient evidence. However, Dunbar could still face a suspension based on recent NFL precedent.

Titans’ Beasley reports to training camp
Titans outside linebacker Vic Beasley, who had been absent from training camp since it began July 28, reported to the team facility for COVID-19 testing. The team hadn’t heard from Beasley since camp opened, and general manager Jon Robinson last week released a statement saying Beasley’s absence was unexcused but that he would report soon. Beasley was fined a mandatory $50,000 per day, resulting in a $500,000 fine after missing 10 days. He will need three negative coronavirus tests over a four-day period before he can enter the main facility.

Fromm: ‘Elite white people’ talk not my character
Buffalo Bills quarterback Jake Fromm insists that text messages in which he said “only elite white people” should be able to purchase guns are not indicative of his character, nor do they represent the way he was raised. “That’s not where my heart is,” Fromm said.

Dak part of movement to save man on death row
In a letter sent to the office of Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt and the state’s parole board, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott advocates on behalf of death row inmate Julius Jones, writing that this is an opportunity to correct a “miscarriage of justice.”

Best videos


Best photos


Quotes of the day

“I think this opportunity is something that I wake up pinching myself each and every day. It’s so surreal.” Cam Newton on being a member of the Patriots


What our NFL Nation reporters saw today

Lions offensive tackle Taylor Decker, who is entering a contract year, acknowledged that COVID-19 has changed some of what he expected when it came to potential negotiations. “It’s just kind of uncharted territory for everybody, for the organization, for my agent,” Decker said. “At this point, every day is new for me right now in the building so I’m just trying to get that figured out at this point and just having a level of understanding that it’s a complicated situation and it’s not like every other year before where guys would be going into free agency and everything is normal and business as usual.” Decker said they started initial talks in the spring — essentially both expressing interest — but he wasn’t sure whether there were conversations about a deal ongoing. The COVID pandemic, though, has led him to consider multiple options when it comes to a potential deal, although there is not one currently on the table. “Short answer, would I consider something? I would consider all options.” — Michael Rothstein

The 49ers added edge rusher Dion Jordan, announcing they signed him to a one-year deal. Jordan was the No. 3 overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft but has struggled to find traction in stops in Miami, Seattle and Oakland. Expectations for Jordan won’t be high but the Niners are aiming to avoid a situation similar to last year when injuries ravaged their depth on the defensive line, leading to a late-season defensive swoon. With Dee Ford coming off surgery and Ronald Blair III working back from a torn ACL, this also allows the Niners to slowly work that duo back into the mix. Jordan is no guarantee to make the roster but if he proves capable of providing some speed off the edge in training camp, he has a chance to stick around. — Nick Wagoner

Five-time Pro Bowl defensive end Calais Campbell seriously considered not playing this season. Being a bigger player with asthma, Campbell said the prospect of playing in a pandemic is “kind of scary.” “I definitely considered it,” Campbell said about opting out. “You have to. You can’t play football with this going on and not think about the risk you’re going to put on yourself and your family. Going through that process I realized talking to the doctors and just setting up the protocols that we have to do to keep each other safe, I feel like the risks were mitigated as much as we can. You can’t get rid of the risks all the way but we definitely lowered the percentage of catching it based off the protocols we put in place. For me, I feel like that was enough.” — Jamison Hensley

Ravens coach John Harbaugh said the team has talked about quarantining a quarterback or a player at a certain position because of the pandemic, but it doesn’t sound like something he’s inclined to do. “All of those types of moves come with counter issues,” he said. “You got to balance things out and use common sense. It’s easy to nitpick and criticize. You got to live with a certain amount of risk in order to live your life. We don’t want to forfeit all of these guys’ lives and they’re not willing to do it — and I wouldn’t want them to do it.” — Hensley

Panthers coach Matt Rhule says the critical position battle for the Panthers is in the tight end room that is without Greg Olsen for the first time since 2010. He says it’s Ian Thomas‘ “turn” to take on the lead role and that Chris Manhertz could be “one of the best pass blockers in the NFL, if not the best.” He reminded that offensive coordinator Joe Brady ran a lot of three-receiver sets at LSU and he had a lot of three- and four-wide receiver sets at Baylor. “With that, that tight end position is really critical.” — David Newton

The Browns plan on having their entire team in the building for the first time on Sunday, while also holding their first in-person meetings this camp. The Browns previously had been holding all position and team meetings virtually. They had also divided the team into split squads, with one working out in the morning, the other in the afternoon. — Jake Trotter

Tight end Zach Ertz likes what he’s seeing out of quarterback Carson Wentz, who appears to be handling the drafting of Jalen Hurts well. “It doesn’t matter if they brought Aaron Rodgers in here to compete with him, it would be the same mentality for him. … He looks sharp.” — Tim McManus

Guard Rodger Saffold said he will not be wearing any form of facial shield when he takes the field. He stressed being able to see everything clearly as the reason for not wearing a shield. — Turron Davenport

Coach Dan Quinn offered an update on what adjustments would be made if he tested positive for COVID-19. Quinn said he would turn things over to assistant head coach Jeff Ulbrich, and have veteran defensive assistant Bob Sutton assist Ulbrich. Two head coaches have tested positive for COVID-19 — Sean Payton of the Saints and, more recently, Doug Pederson of the Eagles. The Falcons had six players placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list and are now down to two: fullback Keith Smith and safety Jamal Carter. — Vaughn McClure

When Dwayne Haskins was a rookie in 2019, he didn’t always stand out the way teammates wanted him to, whether in the way he carried himself or how he handled himself in the huddle. Even though they’re not doing full-team sessions and are primarily doing walk-throughs and conditioning, teammates say they’ve noticed a difference. Right tackle Morgan Moses said his body presence was much better. “You talk about a QB you want him to stand tall, you want him to stand confident and I feel that with Dwayne,” Moses said. “When we break the huddle, even when he comes to play calling, he’s not mumbling. You can hear every word he says. I think those are the things he might have struggled with year one and that he’s cleaned up and being confident.” — John Keim

Third-year defensive end Marcus Davenport had six sacks in 13 games last year before landing on injured reserve with a foot injury. But he said it “wasn’t good enough — not even close” when compared to his lofty goals. “Shoot, I’m trying to be better than Cam,” Davenport said of teammate Cameron Jordan, who has been named either first- or second-team All-Pro in each of the past three seasons. “Obviously he’s one of the best, so I think that’s a good goal to model. Like [Jordan] always says, ‘One percent better each day.'” — Mike Triplett


Original article: https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/29614480/nfl-training-camp-2020-belichick-smiles-backward-pants-super-bowl-chains-dak-letter-save-man

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