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11.09.2018, 10:49
Chicago Bears guard Kyle Long showed up to training camp feeling rejuvenated – and a bit old.

The three-time Pro Bowl offensive lineman is healthy after two injury-riddled seasons and has his sights set on helping lift a struggling franchise. But while he is ”feeling great K'Waun Williams Jersey (http://www.49erscheapstore.com/k_waun-williams-jersey-cheap) ,” Long also sounded more like a grizzled veteran than a wide-eyed rookie.

Pin that on some of his teammates.

”I don’t know half of the references they make to pop culture,” Long said. ”I used to understand all the rap songs, and I don’t understand half of them now, unless I listen to Future. They’re just young guys, just young dudes. I used to know guys from watching college football, and now there’s guys I didn’t even know that came through. You watch them play and you’re like, `Wow.’ We’re really lucky to have these young players. (General manager Ryan Pace) has done a great job bringing in a lot of talent.”

The moves Pace made in the offseason have the Bears thinking bigger things are in store after four straight last-place finishes in the NFC North and five consecutive seasons without a winning record.

They’re banking on quarterback Mitchell Trubisky after trading up a spot to draft him with the No. 2 overall pick last year. Pace set out to surround him with the pieces he needs to develop this offseason, hiring coach Matt Nagy to replace the fired John Fox and giving him an overhauled set of targets.

The most notable addition was former Jacksonville Jaguars Pro Bowl receiver Allen Robinson. He tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in last year’s opener and missed the remainder of the season.

Chicago also brought in former Philadelphia tight end Trey Burton, who threw a memorable touchdown pass to quarterback Nick Foles in the Eagles’ Super Bowl victory over New England, and Atlanta receiver Taylor Gabriel.

With Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen at running back Dion Dawkins Jersey (http://www.billscheapstore.com/dion-dawkins-jersey-cheap) , the Bears believe they have a deep and potentially explosive offense. And a healthy Long at right guard sure would help open holes for them, not to mention protect Trubisky.

”That means a lot because when he’s out there he can just throw people around,” said Howard, who has run for more than 1,100 yards in each of his first two seasons. ”Just having him out there feels great.”

At 29, he has been limited to 18 games over the past two seasons after appearing in 47 of a possible 48 while making the Pro Bowl his first three years. The 6-foot-6, 316-pound Long has undergone shoulder, elbow and neck surgeries since he last played on Dec. 3. A major ankle injury added to the misery in recent years.

Long’s painful run actually started with a torn labrum during the 2016 preseason. He was planning to repair it after that year. But the ankle injury he suffered late in that season required surgery and forced him to put off tending to the shoulder.

Long went into last season far from 100 percent, and the shoulder injury led to the neck problem. After being held back during offseason workouts, he cleared a hurdle when he participated without restrictions in the first training camp practice on Friday. He had a scheduled day off Saturday Albert McClellan Jersey (http://www.ravenscheapstores.com/albert-mcclellan-jersey-cheap) , with Nagy saying it’s ”just part of the process” and that it won’t be his last one.

Nagy said he wasn’t sure exactly how many off days Long will get. But he said the Bears plan to space them out ”based off his body and where he’s at.”

A healthy Long gives them strength and quickness and brings leadership to an offense with young players in key spots. Trubisky (23), Robinson (24), Howard (23) and Cohen (22) are all under 25. Rookie James Daniels could play an important role at left guard or center, and center Cody Whitehair is only entering his third year.

”(Long is) an imposing figure, a big guy who can move,” Nagy said. ”He’s athletic. The other thing I like about Kyle is that he’s a leader. He takes control of that offensive line. So he’s just going to continue to keep doing that and when we get out here with the pads, you’ll be able to see some of that strength.”

Notes: The impasse with rookie LB Roquan Smith continued. Chicago’s first-round draft pick at No. 8 overall, he remained unsigned and missed his second practice. … LB Aaron Lynch sat out after suffering a hamstring injury in Friday’s practice.



Odell Beckham Jr. isn’t on the trade market. He isn’t untouchable, either.

New York Giants owner John Mara on Sunday expressed his disappointment in the controversial star receiver.

Speaking at the NFL meetings, Mara said he is not angry with Beckham Troy Niklas Jersey (http://www.patriotscheapstore.com/troy-niklas-jersey-cheap) , who recently was seen in a video in bed with a woman and what appeared to be white powder, though the timing of the video and its content is uncertain.

”It’s too often he allows himself to be put in bad situations and uses bad judgment,” Mara said, adding that the video ”wasn’t helpful. He knows what we expect of him and now it’s up to him.

”We certainly are not shopping him. Coming off 3-13 when we played as poorly as we did, I can’t say anyone is untouchable.”

Beckham missed 12 games last year with a broken left ankle, so he was sidelined for most of New York’s awful season. He’s already made it clear he wants a new contract, and Mara admitted Beckham’s mercurial behavior – which also has brought problems on the field, including a one-game suspension in 2015 – could affect any talks. Beckham is entering the fifth and final year of his rookie deal and there has been strong speculation he will hold out during training camp.

”Contracts get done when they’re supposed to get done. We’ll just have to see what happens,” Mara said.

He added that Beckham playing out the contract is ”a possibility.”

The 2014 Offensive Rookie of the Year, Beckham has been New York’s best offensive weapon when healthy. In his first three seasons Will Hernandez Jersey (http://www.giantscheapstore.com/will-hernandez-jersey-cheap) , he had 288 receptions for 4,122 yards and 35 touchdowns. His highlight-reel catches have been, well, a highlight of his short career.

But so have incidents such as an on-field feud with then-Panthers cornerback Josh Norman for which Beckham was suspended a game in December 2015 for egregious fouls.

Beckham is scheduled to make almost $8.5 million this season and has said he wants to be the highest-paid receiver in the NFL.

For now, Pittsburgh’s All-Pro wideout Antonio Brown has the highest average yearly salary for the position, $17.5 million – more than double what Beckham makes.



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