Best of Monday at NFL training camps: Bucs' Tom Brady tuns 43, Steelers' Big Ben throws

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady thanked everyone for the birthday greetings Monday as her turned 43. Another NFL quarterback also had a birthday — Los Angeles ChargersTyrod Taylor turned 31.

Perhaps the biggest on-filed news was Ben Roethlisberger throwing at training camp. The veteran quarterback has been out since Week 2 of the 2019 season because an elbow injury.

The Carolina Panthers also had their first walk-though, as quarterback Teddy Bridgewater handed off to Christian McCaffrey for what promises to be the first of many times.

Jump to the best of the day:
Photos | Videos | Notes from NFL Nation reporters


Top news of the day

Eagles’ Doug Pederson still ‘extremely optimistic’ for season despite positive coronavirus test

Eagles coach Doug Pederson remains “extremely optimistic” about the prospects of playing a football season in 2020 even after contracting the coronavirus himself. “My confidence hasn’t changed at all,” Pederson said Monday in his first comments since testing positive. “I’m confident that we are going to play.”

Sources: Cleveland Browns WR Odell Beckham Jr. not opting out of season, despite earlier concerns
Beckham Jr. is not expected to opt out of the 2020 season, sources confirm to ESPN, despite comments published Monday by the Wall Street Journal from an interview conducted before the wide receiver reported to training camp and saw the team’s facilities.

Vikings, GM Rick Spielman agree to multiyear extension
The Vikings and Spielman agreed to a multiyear extension, the team announced Monday. The contract extension comes after the Vikings and coach Mike Zimmer agreed to a multiyear extension last month. The Vikings have gone 57-38-1 in the six seasons with Spielman and Zimmer in control. “I know every day we come to this building, and the only thing that we want to accomplish is to win a Super Bowl,” Spielman said.

Sources: San Francisco 49ers agree to 1-year deal with oft-injured TE Jordan Reed
The Pro Bowl tight end has reached agreement on an incentive-laden, one-year deal with the San Francisco 49ers, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Reed is 30, has a history of concussions, but when healthy — as he is now — he is one of the game’s elite tight ends.

Broncos starting right tackle Ja’Wuan James to opt out of season
James tweeted a statement Monday, saying it was “tough, but the right decision” and cited “too much unknown about this virus & about plans handling it going forward.” The 28-year-old tackle was entering the second year of a four-year, $51 million deal with Denver. He was limited to three games last season because of torn ligaments in his knee.

Doug Marrone says Jacksonville Jaguars taking coronavirus seriously
Jaguars coach Doug Marrone says he doesn’t know why his team has had more players placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list than any other NFL franchise. They’re following the protocols set forth by the NFL and NFLPA, wearing the tracing devices, and working out in smaller groups, he said. But as of Monday morning the Jaguars have had 12 players placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list since tracking began last week, including starting quarterback Gardner Minshew.

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Quotes of the day

“I mean, that’s a good start. We might be canceling the season if I’m getting only 12 — it must be half a season.”

Shaq Barrett, Buccaneers linebacker, who had 19.5 sacks last year, was asked if he’d take 12 in 2020

“That’s a secret, I can’t tell you that … Sam Darnold might be listening.”

Jordan Poyer, Bills safety when asked what he and Micah Hyde are adding this season

“It must have just clicked for him. I give him so much credit for using this time. I’m excited to take where he is now and build on that.”

Ravens head strength coach Steve Saunders on physical transformation of wide receiver Hollywood Brown


What our NFL Nation reporters saw today

Cam Newton posted a video to his YouTube channel titled “All We Know is Work!!” And while we know coach Bill Belichick doesn’t do “Instachat” or “Snapface”, this is the type of social-media post even he can get behind. Newton and his Patriots teammates began the strength and conditioning portion of training camp Monday. Through the first full week of testing, the team hasn’t placed any player on the COVID-19 list, although eight players have opted out of the season. — Mike Reiss

Ravens running back Mark Ingram said his mindset hasn’t changed even though he is 30 and faces increased competition from rookie second-round pick J.K. Dobbins. “The coaches will decide how to rotate us and play us all,” Ingram said. “All I do is work my butt off. I compete my butt off no matter where I’m at and who’s in my running back room. That’s just the bottom line.” Ingram tied a Ravens record with 15 total touchdowns last season and finished 14th in the NFL with 1,018 yards rushing. But the Ravens can create $5 million in salary cap room by cutting Ingram next offseason, which heightens the pressure on the three-time Pro Bowl back. — Jamison Hensley

Dolphins coach Brian Flores says Preston Williams, who tore his ACL in November, has been cleared from football activity. This is a good sign toward his Week 1 availability. Williams, an undrafted rookie free agent last season, led all rookie receivers in targets and tied for the lead in receptions from Week 1-9. He immediately became a starter totaling 32 catches for 428 yards and three touchdowns in eight games. Williams is a good fantasy football sleeper option. — Cameron Wolfe

The Broncos have already shown the players how training camp will be different As the players began their first full team conditioning workouts Sunday and Monday, they used the playing field inside the team’s indoor practice complex, for a team meeting room so the players could have enough distance between them. Among the items covered in the first meetings were how players recognize symptoms of the COVID-19 virus, the procedures for a player who tests positive for the virus as well as how the locker rooms, weight room and cafeteria would operate with the limits on players in those spaces. — Jeff Legwold

Bills safety Jordan Poyer describes the changes inside the team’s facility in Orchard Park. First, players arrive and are tested for COVID-19, then receive wrist-worn devices that track how close they are to other individuals. Each locker has an empty locker next to it and the cafeteria is on the ground floor with tables outside. Poyer also said the team’s meetings have been held on the indoor practice field and players lined up five feet apart while running this morning. — Marcel Louis-Jacques

The Panthers were able to get on the field for their first walk-through on Monday. Bridgewater spoke to the media on Monday as well, saying he was “honored” to be following in the footsteps of Cam Newton. Regarding all the offensive talent he has around him and the other NFC South teams have this season, Bridgewater said, “At the end of the day, you have to prove it on the field.” One thing Bridgewater has proven is his ability to lead. He said this already feels like teammates are feeding off his energy and “I’m feeding off theirs.” — David Newton

Safety Kevin Byard became a father last year and his wife is pregnant with their second child. Byard said he and his wife discussed opting out. “We decided as a family that I am going to play this year. If I felt that I was going to opt out, I probably would have never come to the building. I feel like the Titans are trying to do their best to make sure everyone is safe. We all have to take the precautions as far as washing your hands and wearing a mask. Tackle Taylor Lewan has a toddler and his wife recently had a baby. He hasn’t considered opting out. “I have a daughter that is 15 days old today. We are one of those high-risk situations so In am trying to be as smart as possible. You have to take care of your own stuff. There’s a safety aspect that comes into this thing. It’s hard but this is my job and what I wanted to do my entire life. It was never a thought for me to opt out or anything like that.” — Turron Davenport

The Browns placed third-string QB Garrett Gilbert on the COVID-19 list Monday. Going into training camp, coach Kevin Stefanski noted that he didn’t plan on separating the QBs out in different meeting rooms, saying that, “the quarterbacks in particular are spread out way more than six feet. … we have four quarterbacks on our roster, and the meeting room they are in can fit way more than four players.” With one of his QBs already on the COVID list, it will be interesting to see if Stefanski sticks with that plan. Obviously, starter Baker Mayfield going on the list, as well, would significantly hamper the Browns as they attempt to install a new offense despite a limited offseason and training camp. — Jake Trotter

The 49ers opened training camp on Monday with all eyes on the tight end position. The Niners signed Jordan Reed to a one-year deal with the goal of making him the type of speedy complement to George Kittle capable of opening up a new look for the offense with multiple tight ends on the field. Kittle’s contract remains one of the most important storylines of this camp. Coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch expressed optimism something will be worked out soon enough. “I feel really good about this going forward and I feel really optimistic about it,” Shanahan said. “So, hopefully something will happen sooner than later. Not too concerned about it, though.” Kittle is entering the final year of his rookie deal but Lynch said no firm deadline is in place to complete a new contract. Regardless, it’s a good sign for the Niners that Kittle is in camp and the sides continue to work toward the same goal. — Nick Wagoner

Bengals right tackle Jonah Williams was photographed coming into the team facilities on Monday looking in very good shape. That should be a good sign for a team that desperately needs long-term stability at right tackle. The Bengals drafted Williams in the first round of the 2019 draft but were without the Alabama product all season while he recovered from shoulder surgery. — Ben Baby



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