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    Matthew Stafford downplayed the significance of his elbow injury after showing just how little it’s holding him back in practice with the Los Angeles Rams. Stafford participated extensively in the Rams’ latest workout at UC Irvine on Saturday, making deep throws and building chemistry with his teammates in what was likely his most extensive work of training camp. Afterward, Stafford said his right elbow condition is merely “irritating,” and not a threat to his ability to lead the Super Bowl champions’ title defense. Coach Sean McVay raised eyebrows Thursday when he said Stafford’s injury was “abnormal” for a quarterback.

      The rebound the Minnesota Vikings are seeking on defense won’t amount to much without a consistent effectiveness by Dalvin Tomlinson and Harrison Phillips at the interior positions. They're run-stoppers first. They'll need to provide a pass-rushing presence, too. The current NFL demands more from interior defensive linemen than simply plugging a gap. Phillips came to Minnesota after leaving Buffalo as a free agent. Tomlinson made his Vikings debut in 2021.

        The Detroit Lions held training camp at Ford Field on Saturday, hoping it is a step toward gaining home-field advantage this season. Last year, the Lions went 3-13-1 and had the lowest home attendance numbers of any team in the NFL. In the past four years, they’ve won a total of nine home games. The Lions usually hold camp in Allen Park but instead held their annual scrimmage at Ford Field. Former Pro Bowl receiver DJ Chark competed on a pro field for the first time since breaking an ankle and missing the final 13 games in 2021, when he played for Jacksonville. During the scrimmage, he caught four passes for 76 yards and two touchdowns, including a 33-yard score that ended practice.

          Los Angeles Chargers rookie Zion Johnson carries himself with an aura of calmness. That mentality has been evident during training camp. Johnson’s continual progress has bolstered the first-round draft pick’s bid to become the Chargers’ starting right guard. The Chargers are hoping the No. 17 overall pick from Boston College can help bolster a rushing attack that struggled with consistency last season. The initial returns have been promising. Johnson has meshed well with veteran center Corey Linsley and left guard Matt Feiler.

            Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray has returned to practice after missing nearly a week with COVID-19. Murray was in full pads for Saturday’s scrimmage in front of fans at State Farm Stadium. Coach Kliff Kingsbury says Murray experienced some mild symptoms while he was away, but was able to attend meetings virtually. Kingsbury said Murray would be limited at Saturday’s practice but wanted to be on the field with his teammates.

              Tony Boselli looked out at all the teal-colored jerseys in the crowd and screamed: “Duuuuval!” Finally, the Jacksonville Jaguars have a player in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The first pick in Jaguars history, Boselli was among eight members of the Class of 2022 enshrined Saturday at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium. The Jaguars played the Las Vegas Raiders in the NFL preseason opener Thursday night, so No. 71 Boselli jerseys filled the seats. A five-time Pro Bowl selection and three-time All-Pro left tackle, Boselli saw his career cut short by injuries. But his dominant performance earned him a gold jacket. He shouted the Jacksonville fans’ rallying cry, the name of their county, during his speech.

                Ezekiel Elliott knows his days as the star running back of the Dallas Cowboys could be numbered. The two-time rushing champion's production is down and the guarantees on his $90 million extension are about to run out. Elliott played through a partially torn knee ligament while finishing with a career-worst 59 yards per game last season. That included just 31 yards in a wild-card loss to San Francisco for the NFC East champions. Coach Mike McCarthy says Elliott is still a “rock” for the Cowboys.

                Gus Bradley has kept the same basic tenets of the Indianapolis Colts defense. Play fast, run to the ball and get physical. But he wants Indy's defensive line to spend more time in the backfield. Two-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle DeForest Buckner welcomed the change almost from the moment Bradley arrived in February. Buckner already has played in this system before. But the more aggressive style up front already has given the Colts a different look at training camp.

                Falcons coach Arthur Smith likes what he’s seen thus far from the offensive line even though the unit still has three unsettled positions. Atlanta is set at left tackle with Jake Matthews and right guard Chris Lindstrom. Both are former first-round picks signed to lucrative contract extensions, but the other spots are less clear. Matt Hennessy and Drew Dalman are battling at center. Elijah Wilkinson has moved past Jalen Mayfield at left guard, and Kaleb McGary, whose team option was not picked up in the offseason, appears to be holding off Germain Ifedi at right tackle. Smith says the team is prepared to wait until as long as Week 1 to settle on a five-man front.

                Frank Clark arrived at training camp for the Kansas City Chiefs noticeably trimmer and much quicker. His attitude? That was better, too. Both were impacted by the decision the defensive end made to clean up his life, even forgoing alcohol, which has gotten him into trouble in the past. Now it's time to see whether those changes translate to the field. The two-time Pro Bowl defensive end had just 4 1/2 sacks last season, and that paltry figure was a big reason why the Chiefs were near the bottom of the league in pressuring the quarterback.

                Starting safety Darnell Savage suffered a hamstring injury during the Green Bay Packers’ traditional “Family Night” practice at Lambeau Field. During one-on-one matchups between receivers and defensive backs early in practice, Savage pulled up while trying to cover Amari Rodgers. Savage watched the rest of practice from the sideline with ice wrapped around his right leg. He says he doesn't think the injury is a major concern and he'll “handle it the right way.” Early in camp, Green Bay’s defense has mostly had its way with an offense led by four-time MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers but adjusting to life without All-Pro receiver Davante Adams.

                The New Orleans Saints have placed undrafted rookie safety Smoke Monday on injured reserve because of his knee injury during practice earlier this week. The Saints also have added veteran free agent linebacker Kiko Alonso to the roster. Monday is an Atlanta native who played four seasons for Auburn. In a social media post, Monday has stated that he will have surgery to repair an anterior cruciate ligament tear. Alonso has played in the NFL for six seasons since Buffalo made him a second-round draft choice out of Oregon in 2013. He also has played with Philadelphia, Miami and New Orleans.

                New Chargers cornerback J.C. Jackson is proving to be a quick study of the Los Angeles defense. The 26-year-old has been making life difficult for wide receivers during practices. The Chargers signed him as a free agent to shore up their defense. Jackson’s 25 interceptions over the past four seasons are the most in the league. He led the league with 23 passes defensed and was second with eight picks as he made his first Pro Bowl last season.

                Keeping their running backs healthy for an entire season has been an issue for the Seattle Seahawks. So while the Seahawks are going into this season with the intention of using Rashaad Penny as their featured back, it seems more likely the depth of Seattle’s running backs room will be tested at some point. Penny closed last season in an impressive manner, which Seattle hopes is a precursor for this year. But he also has a lengthy injury history.

                The NFL Players Association has filed a brief replying to the league’s appeal in Deshaun Watson’s discipline case. Former New Jersey Attorney General Peter C. Harvey now has the necessary paperwork to issue a ruling. Harvey was selected by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to hear the league’s appeal of the six-game suspension given to Watson for violating the personal conduct policy. The players’ union announced the reply brief shortly before Friday’s deadline but didn’t release its contents because it’s confidential.

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                The signing of free agent linebacker Anthony Barr could nudge young star Micah Parsons closer to being primarily a pass rusher for the Dallas Cowboys. The club also had depth in mind with the addition of Barr, who's a four-time Pro Bowler. Barr spent his first eight seasons in Minnesota. He is starting his stint with the Cowboys on the physically unable to perform list. The 30-year-old isn't injured. The Cowboys are taking a conservative approach in getting him ready for camp practices. Barr and Leighton Vander Esch could free up Parsons to chase the quarterback.

                Right guard Wyatt Teller firmly established himself as one of the NFL’s top offensive linemen last season, earning his first Pro Bowl selection. The Cleveland Browns rewarded him with a $56.8 million, four-year contract extension. Accolades and big money only go so far, though, when your primary goal is a winning a championship. Cleveland is one week away from its preseason opener at Jacksonville, which its players view as a fresh start following a disheartening 8-9 campaign. Teller was a rock throughout, being named second-team All-NFL for the second year in a row.

                A 15-year-old boy made his way through the The Pro Football Hall of Fame museum, checking out the memorabilia and bronze busts before stopping to take a picture of Jen Welter’s blue-and-pink jersey to send to his younger sister. Welter became the first woman to coach an NFL game in 2015 when she joined the Arizona Cardinals as an assistant coaching intern for training camp and the preseason. The shirt, pants and sneakers she wore on the sideline in all four exhibition games are on display at a new exhibit in the Pro Football Today area of the museum.  The “Women’s Impact on Football” exhibit debuted ahead of this week’s enshrinement festivities.

                Seven months after undergoing knee surgery, Tampa Bay Buccaneers receiver Chris Godwin is back in pads on the practice field. The sixth-year pro who signed a three-year, $60 million contract this offseason worked out in full uniform at training camp. He ran and caught passes during individual drills, but did not participate in team periods. Coach Todd Bowles reiterated there's no definitive timetable for Godwin to join full-squad work. Godwin's return came on on a day when quarterback Tom Brady missed practice because of what Bowles described as an “excused absence.”

                After Donald Sterling’s racist ramblings were exposed to the world, the NBA moved quickly to banish him from the league. Sure, the forced sale of the Los Angeles Clippers made Sterling even richer, but it sent a clear signal that such behavior would not be tolerated, even from the guys with the biggest checkbooks. Then there’s the NFL, which seems content to let its bad boy owners slide with nothing more than a slap on the wrist. Tampering with some of the game’s biggest names? Suggesting it would be a good idea to lose games intentionally? No problem.

                Arizona Cardinals running backs coach James Saxon has been charged with two counts of domestic battery in Indianapolis stemming from an alleged incident in May. One of the counts includes a charge of domestic battery committed in the presence of a child less than 16 years old. Saxon is a long-time running backs coach who has been with the Cardinals since 2019. He was the running backs coach for the Miami Dolphins from 2000 to 2019. He played eight years in the NFL from 1988 to 1995.

                Denzel Mims was the New York Jets’ exciting new playmaker two summers ago as a potential game-changing wide receiver for years to come. A lot has happened since. And not a lot good. The 2020 second-round pick out of Baylor dealt with hamstring issues as a rookie, an awful case of food poisoning that caused him to lose 20 pounds last offseason, a bout with COVID-19 and seeing his role in the offense dwindle to nearly non-existent. But he hasn’t lost confidence and believes he can still be a No. 1 wide receiver for the Jets.

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