Rutgers football begins summer conditioning program | How much can players work with the coaches?

jets_059Rutgers coach Chris Ash has often said the three-month period between spring camp and training camp is a key part to the development of his team, a time when his players digest the playbook, develop their bodies and build a chemistry that lasts through the season.

For the Scarlet Knights, a pivotal eight-week period starts Tuesday.

The remainder of the workouts will be organized by team leaders, with players getting together on their own for positional drills and 7-on-7 competitions throughout the summer.

It all leads to the season opener at home against Texas State on Sept. 1.

We made a lot of progress in the spring — still got a long way to go — but I like the way this team has come together,Ash said at the conclusion of spring camp in mid-April. We’ll move forward and continue to work in the summer leading into training camp.

Kirkpatrick was actually in Atlanta yesterday, according to his Instagram, which had a picture of him outside of the InterContinental Buckhead hotel in Atlanta.

We’ll keep you posted as more Bengals OTA news develops.

What’s in those darkest corners of his mind today? Lewis stays vague.

You start thinking, Lewis says, of other stuff.

A warning pops up on Lewis’ iPad screen. His battery has drained to 10 percent, but he doesn’t see it. Instead he’s now explaining how going to jail for a crime he didn’t commit prepared him. How football prepared him. How everything equipped him to prepare for anything and expect everything.A few moments later, I tell Lewis that his battery is about to die, and he checks for himself. You’re right!he blurts, frantically typing away with beads of sweat dripping down his temple.

The screen goes black, and Lewis pops up to his feet.

Hold on, he says. I’m going to get my charger because I’m not going anywhere.

Tom Brady will attend minicamp despite OTA absence, Robert Kraft says

Tom Brady was absent at the Patriots’ organized team activities this week, but owner Robert Kraft doesn’t seem too concerned.

Biggest breaks: The Lions haven’t had a losing record at home since 2012, and that should help against tough opponents such as the Patriots, Panthers, Rams and Seahawks. Detroit also has won four of its last five Thanksgiving games despite last year’s loss to Minnesota.

“I mean, I talked to our guys, our personnel people. People know him. He’s a fabulous guy. It’s great for Detroit,” he was quoted as saying.

A grand jury in Texas indicted Patricia in 1996, but the case was dismissed in 1997 after his accuser refused to testify in court.

Patricia categorically denied the allegation the day after the Detroit News reported it on May 9. “I did nothing wrong,” he said at a news conference.

The NFL later announced it would not discipline Patricia or the Lions over the allegations.

San Francisco (actually Santa Clara) hosted Super Bowl 50 as part of the “if you build it, they will come” new stadium quid pro quo. San Francisco (actually Santa Clara) now wants another one.

Defensive ends Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril are gone, as is cornerback Richard Sherman, and strong safety Kam Chancellor’s career is in jeopardy after a neck injury. The difference-makers left over from those Seattle defenses that you remember dominating the league amount to off-ball linebackers and free safety Earl Thomas, who has been the subject of trade rumors this offseason.

Seattle hasn’t made it out of the divisional round in three seasons, and it missed the playoffs completely last year. With a regressing defense and a struggling offensive line, quarterback Russell Wilson will have to shoulder the load in hero-ball fashion for the team to even have a chance at the playoffs this year.

Why should the Seahawks be neck and neck with a 2017 playoff team like the Tennessee Titans odds-wise? Unless a defensive unit or an offensive line group collectively picks up the pace unexpectedly, this isn’t a contending team.cowboys_078

XFL considering putting a team in Orlando

Next year, the Alliance of American Football plans to put one of its teams in Orlando. In 2020, the XFL possibly will, too.

Via Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel, the XFL is exploring the possibility of putting a team at Orlando’s Camping World Stadium. The AAF plans to play at UCF’s Spectrum Stadium.

During the first run of the XFL in 2001, Orlando played host to a team known as the Rage (pictured).

The XFL, like the AAF, plans to put franchises in eight cities. In cities targeted by both leagues, the AAF will get the benefit of a one-year head start.

The suits filed by Davis and Ware aren’t demanding million-dollar contracts or the kind of treatment given to players.

They are simply asking to be treated like valued members of the organization: more pay, more security, better treatment, more recognition of their talent.

At Northwestern, the cheerleaders weren’t half as important as the football team (nor did we think we should be).

“Julio and the organization are doing very well,” Dimitroff said, via Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com. “I’m not concerned one bit about any of the social media. I think we’re in a great spot. He had very good discussions with [coach] Dan [Quinn]. And we’re in a great spot.”

Jones has seen his average salary per year fall behind receivers like Mike Evans and Sammy Watkins when they signed new deals this offseason, but there’s been no public comment about wanting a bump from the $14.25 million average from the deal he signed in 2015.

Cheerleaders shouldn’t have their injuries used against them, and considering the physical demands of the job they need much more than that.

They should have a dedicated athletic training staff for their care.

USE LAST NAMES Every NFL cheerleading team refers to their cheerleaders by first name only.

Bailey Davis was just Bailey, Kristan Ann Ware was just Kristan Ann.broncos_128_f486199b8fb2f027-180x180

Tom Brady mercilessly skewered over Met Gala ensemble

The Twitterverse had a field day Monday night, mercilessly skewering Tom Brady over his all-black ensemble at the annual Met Gala.

Ditching his tried-and-true jacket and bow tie for a black turtleneck and a embroidered lapel from Versace, the Patriots quarterback received high marks from E!’s Fashion Police, as he and supermodel wife Gisele Bündchen paid homage to the event’s Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination theme.

But in the holy grail of sports, however, the online opinion matters most.

Tom Brady just has to have the tough conversations with Giselle and say, ‘Look it, I will pick my own damn suit to wear — just once ok #metgala, one user commented.

The Saints will lean heavily on Offensive Rookie of the Year Alvin Kamara during Ingram’s absence. The depth behind Kamara those four weeks could be a bigger question. NFL Network’s Steve Wyche reported the team doesn’t plan to add a veteran. Instead, they’ll lean on their current cast, including sixth-round rookie Boston Scott. Behind Ingram and Kamara, the reserve backs saw few totes in 2017. Trey Edmunds led the way with nine total carries.

Expect Kamara to see the boatload of carries until Ingram returns in Week 5.

He’s got his confidence back, Green said. The way he’s working this offseason is unbelievable. He’s healthy and explosive again.

This could be a huge boost for the Bengals’ passing game if Ross is any bit of the player that the team is hoping to have in the fold.

Unfortunately, it looks like he’ll again cede early-down work to a bigger, veteran back. When this question was posed to me on Twitter, one commenter suggested Joe Mixon as a breakout candidate. Mixon frustrated the heck out of fantasy owners last year by averaging a mere 3.5 yards per carry but at least he had the benefit of volume. Only two rookies—Kareem Hunt and Leonard Fournette —earned more carries than Mixon last season. That’s impressive, especially considering he played all of 38 snaps in Weeks 1 and 2 before the Bengals fired in-over-his-head offensive coordinator Ken Zampese. The former Oklahoma Sooner saved the best for last though, averaging a robust 5.02 yards per carry over his final four games.sharks-024