Training camps in full swing in every NFL city, which means the 2017-18 season is right around the corner. The long practices in the sweltering late summer heat may be tedious, but the drama associated with contract holdouts, injuries, position battles, and good old fashioned personality clashes more than compensate for the lack of action on the field. Let’s take a look at some of the juicier tidbits to come out of NFL training camps this summer.
Injuries are unfortunately a way of life for NFL players, with several impact players sidelined as the season begins.
Perhaps the most notable name on the injury list is Indianapolis Colts franchise quarterback Andrew Luck, who is still recovering from offseason shoulder surgery but hopes to be back in time for the start of the regular season. Two lesser known names, first-round wide receivers Mike Williams of the Los Angeles Chargers and John Ross of the Cincinnati Bengals could also miss significant portions of the season due to injuries. Since wideouts often need game experience to adjust to the speed of the NFL, those missed early weeks could be costly later on in the season.
Who’s Holding Out
Holding out for more money is an annual rite of passage for NFL players, and this year three of the league’s best at their respective positions are trying to leverage a more lucrative contract for themselves.
The biggest name on the list of holdouts is running back Le’Veon Bell of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Bell is arguably one of the most talented rushers in the NFL, but he is coming off two consecutive campaigns where he was suspended for the first three weeks of the season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Further complicating the situation is the presence of rookie James Conner, the talented and beloved running back drafted out of the University of Pittsburgh.
The Los Angeles Rams may be without the services of All-Pro defensive lineman Aaron Donald, who is holding out for a new deal. Joining him on the outside looking in is Oakland Raiders left tackle Donald Penn, who is crucial to protecting quarterback Derek Carr as he returns from a season-ending broken leg injury.
Who’s Holding On
The purpose of training camp is to find out who has the right stuff to play at the elite level of the NFL, and what we’re seeing from a few guys isn’t very encouraging.
The quarterback situations in both Chicago and Cleveland is unsettled, and that’s being polite. In Chicago, incumbent starter Mike Glennon is already operating in the shadow of rookie Mitch Trubisky, and the fact that Mark Sanchez is in the mix shows just how dire the situation is for the Bears.
And the NFL season just wouldn’t feel right unless there was a sense of utter chaos under center in Cleveland, where veterans Cody Kessler and Brock Osweiler are competing with rookie DeShone Kizer to lead the Browns’ offense. But honestly, given the sordid recent history of Browns’ quarterbacks, is that a position worth bragging about, much less fighting for?
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