Twenty-two teams got back to business on Monday after a lengthy weekend, during which some first-year players participated in the NFLPA Rookie Premiere.
While players use the time at their respective team’s training facilities digesting playbooks and working on the nuances of the game, rumors of ballet bars, health scares and holdouts have emerged. Being as it is early June, the vast majority of the league is in offseason mode, but each team is gearing up for the lulls of summer in their own ways. Here are some news and notes from today’s OTAs:
Dion Jordan bound to ‘explode this season’
No player has had a bigger buzz about them in OTAs the last couple weeks than second-year defensive end Dion Jordan.
Following a forgettable rookie season, Jordan took it upon himself this offseason to fit the mold of a more traditional pass rusher and add some bulk to his frame. His teammates and the coaching staff have definitely taken notice now that he is tipping the scales a rock-solid 265 pounds.
“We have great expectations for Dion Jordan coming into this year,” Dolphins defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle said, via The Miami Herald’s Armando Salguero. “You cannot have enough great pass rushers and we feel with Dion at full speed we have a prime time player that’s going to explode this season."
Coyle, also, noted that the team came very close to “redshirting” Jordan by placing him on the injured reserve last year. With Cameron Wake and Olivier Vernon locking down each respective defensive end position, Jordan will have to earn his way to respectable snaps next season. Adding some bulk to the frame is a good start.
Jeremy Maclin gives Eagles a scare
The Eagles took a calculated risk when deciding to release veteran wide receiver DeSean Jackson this offseason. A major factor in that risk is Jeremy Maclin, who has feverishly rehabbed from a torn ACL over the past year.
Maclin, however, gave the Eagles coaching staff a brief scare as he reportedly went down in practice and immediately grabbed for his knee. After trainers had rushed to his side, Maclin stood up and walked back to the huddle.
With last week’s news that a wide range of notable players, including defensive rookie of the year Kiko Alonso, had offseason procedures done, some more were added to the list:
Seahawks LB Bruce Irvin: Another member of the defending champion Seattle Seahawks had surgery this offseason. As the team is already dealing with linebacker Malcolm Smith (ankle), offensive tackle Russell Okung (foot) and safety Kam Chancellor (hip), linebacker Bruce Irvin confirmed on his Twitter account that he underwent hip surgery. “Didn’t want this to get out but I’m fine!” Irvin wrote. “Will b back by training camp! For all u people saying this a make or break year for me!”
Chargers OT Jeromey Clary: San Diego used a third-round pick on Notre Dame guard Chris Watt in last month’s draft. The rookie guard could be taking much more meaningful snaps quicker than he once anticipated. Eighth-year guard Jeromey Clary reportedly underwent a pair of shoulder and hip surgeries this offseason and is being held out of OTAs while he recovers. With Clary set to earn $4.55 million in the final year of his deal, the Chargers could be looking at other long-term options to fill his role, including second-year guard Johnnie Troutman.
Titans LB Akeem Ayers: Fourth-year linebacker Akeem Ayers told reporters that he underwent offseason surgeries to repair the patella tendon in both knees on Monday. "It started with my right knee and then when I injured the right knee," Ayers explained, via John Glennon of the Tennessean. "I started compensating for it a lot and eventually damaged the left knee." While Ayers continues to rehab from the surgeries, he has been working at his own pace, taking a day-to-day approach, according to the report. "Every day it’s getting better and better," Ayers said. "I’m just learning how to deal with it and constantly treat it to make sure it won’t get any worse.
Jags young WRs banged up
The Jaguars aimed to bolster the wide receiver position by way of the draft last month. Unfortunately, their starts with the team haven’t gone as planned.
Second-round pick Allen Robinson sustained a significant hamstring injury, which will reportedly sideline him for a few weeks.
"We’ll see how it goes," Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley said, via ESPN.com’s Michael DiRocco. "It was unfortunate. Long pass and he tweaked it a little bit. He’s getting treatment. He’s doing things right. We’ll see how fast he comes along."
Former USC wide receiver Marqise Lee was also held out of Monday’s practice with an ankle injury. Lee, however, took part in the Rookie Premiere this past weekend and noted that he feels “100 percent” after slightly jamming his wrist during OTAs.
While health shouldn’t be a factor when the preseason kicks off, the rookie duo will be looked upon to complement the production of wide receivers Cecil Shorts and Ace Sanders.
Calvin Pryor inks his deal
Jets’ first-year safety Calvin Pryor became just the 14th first-round pick to sign his rookie deal.
While details of Pryor’s deal haven’t been announced, he’s looking at a four-year deal in the $8.5 million-range, with a majority of that money guaranteed. The Jets, who have signed 11 of their 12 draft picks, have moved at a furious pace, signing their selections. The lone rookie to have yet to sign his deal is cornerback Dexter McDougle.
Pryor, who was drafted 18th overall in May’s draft, missed the first few days of OTAs last week with a toothache after he had three wisdom teeth taken out.
Other notable rookies who signed their deals on Monday included second-round picks Broncos wide receiver Cody Latimer and Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.
The release of Will Hill
The Giants parted ways with oft-suspended safety Will Hill, just two years after signing him to an undrafted free agent contract.
Hill, who was given a six-game suspension on Friday for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, wore out his welcome after consistently being unable to steer clear of drug violations. While Hill missed the first four games of the 2013 season, he was a pleasant surprise in the team’s secondary alongside Antrel Rolle.
Secondary is an area of concern for the Giants, but they have high hopes for Stevie Brown, who is returning from a torn ACL in 2013. The Giants hope that glimpses of Brown’s 2012 campaign, when he finished second in the NFL with eight interceptions, appear sooner rather than later.