NFL

Yoga helped Kendricks beat training camp heat

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ST. LOUIS (AP)

The often blistering heat that goes along with NFL training camps is no big deal for St. Louis Rams tight end Lance Kendricks.

During the offseason, the 251-pound Kendricks got acclimatized attending hot yoga classes twice a week, doing his poses with the thermometer ratcheted up to 90 degrees for 90 minutes. He's proud to say he never ducked out.

''About halfway through you're dead tired,'' Kendricks said Monday. ''You've got to stay focused, keep the posture.''

Kendricks, a second-round pick last year, decided to give hot yoga a shot after reading articles piqued his interest. He also learned of pro athletes reporting gains in flexibility, making them less injury-prone.

''It's kind of addicting,'' Kendricks said. ''You tell yourself you don't want to leave the room. But you're really tired, so it's kind of like you make yourself stay.''

Just like his rookie year, Kendricks is having a nice preseason. He muscled his way into the end zone on a 23-yard catch up the middle for the Rams' first touchdown in Saturday's victory over the Chiefs.

Coach Jeff Fisher likes getting the tight ends involved, and has a lot of choices with seven still in the hunt. He likes what he's seen from Kendricks.

''He's getting coached right now and he's doing the right thing,'' Fisher said. ''I don't have any reason to think there'll be a fall off or drop off in production.

''Obviously he likes making plays, and he can make plays.''

Big things were expected after Kendricks led the team with 11 receptions and three touchdowns last preseason. He started 10 games and had 28 catches with no touchdowns in the regular season with some key drops early in the year, and is determined to be more than an August producer.

''I didn't know what to expect. We were 4-0 and I had a lot of big catches,'' Kendricks said. ''But you've kind of got to expect the unexpected in the NFL.

''I just went out there and played as hard as I could. I think I learned a lot from it.''

Several players are pushing Kendricks, including returnee Mike Hoomanawanui, free agent pickup Matthew Mulligan and Mike McNeill, who was active a handful of games with the Colts last year before joining the Rams (No. 28 in the AP Pro32) late in the season.

''We've got a lot of competition and that's kind of driven everyone to play well,'' McNeill said. ''There's a couple guys with long-term extensions but everyone else is battling.

''Even the guys with contracts, everyone's out to prove themselves.''

Center Scott Wells (right knee surgery), safety Darian Stewart (hamstring) and wide receiver Brandon Gibson (hamstring) returned as expected to practice. Fisher said it had been a close call with all three whether to give them playing time against the Chiefs. Wide receiver Brian Quick and safety Quintin Mikell did not practice while nursing minor aches.

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Online: http://bigstory.ap.org/NFL-Pro32 and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Tagged: Mike McNeill, Rams, Lance Kendricks

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