The Baltimore Ravens released safety Earl Thomas. Several teams were affected by a series of positive COVID-19 results that have all been traced to the same laboratory. And padded 2020 NFL training camp practices continued Sunday, just three weeks from the first full slate of regular-season games.
Here’s what you need to know from camps across the league for Aug. 23:
Top news of the day
Ravens release safety Earl Thomas after on-field altercation The Baltimore Ravens are abruptly parting ways with seven-time Pro Bowl safety Earl Thomas two days after an on-field altercation with teammate Chuck Clark, the team announced. The Ravens announced they had terminated his contract for personal conduct that has adversely affected the team. The Ravens are expected to try to void his $10 million guaranteed salary this season. It is expected the safety will file a grievance.
NFL puts some teams on hold while looking into COVID-19 tests from New Jersey lab The NFL is working Sunday to assess a series of positive COVID-19 results that have all been traced to the same laboratory in New Jersey, raising concerns about the efficacy of the testing program established to minimize spread of the disease. “Saturday’s daily COVID testing returned several positives tests from each of the clubs serviced by the same laboratory in New Jersey,” the NFL said in a statement Sunday morning.
What our NFL Nation reporters saw and heard today
It feels like Jarrett Stidham‘s status in the New England Patriots‘ quarterback picture is slipping, as Cam Newton and Brian Hoyer took the bulk of the reps Sunday. Newton, in particular, is growing in his comfort level. Stidham hasn’t taken any full-time reps over the past two practices, so if he’s going to make a serious charge to become the No. 1 option, he has notable ground to make up. — Mike Reiss
Here’s something you don’t see every day in training camp — or any day in a training camp practice over the past couple of decades in Green Bay: live tackling. Coach Matt LaFleur excused most veterans and then took the young players to the south end of the practice field for a full contact, live session to close the nearly two-hour practice. One of the highlights was rookie running back AJ Dillon stiff-arming Kabion Ento for extra yardage. But to Ento’s credit, the 187-pound cornerback eventually got the 247-pound Dillon down. “We definitely want to expose these guys to some live situations because until you get into those situations, you’re not truly sure how guys are going to respond,” LaFleur said. — Rob Demovsky
It’s safe to say the time of training camp where players are starting to feel the effects of practicing almost every day has arrived. It hit the San Francisco 49ers hard on Sunday as they slogged through a practice that saw receiver Brandon Aiyuk, defensive end Dee Ford and offensive lineman Ross Reynolds leave with apparent injuries. The extent of those injuries isn’t yet known though Aiyuk reached for his left hamstring as he ran a deep route late in the session. Reynolds appeared to have the most serious issue as a cart took him to the locker room. Regardless, the 49ers have a much-needed day off on Monday as they look to get the gas tank back to full. “We’re getting to that dog day point in camp where guys are getting tired, guys are getting sore, things are starting to slip,” tackle Mike McGlinchey said. “There are certain things that you can’t let slip through the cracks. You got to stay on your routines, you got to stay your sleep schedules, you got to stay on your workout schedules, you can’t cut corners in this league if you want to be successful.” — Nick Wagoner
Pittsburgh Steelers training camp has been pretty physical and competitive on the field — but that competition also carries over to the locker room. During their downtime, the Steelers have been playing spikeball. Sunday, defensive lineman Tyson Alualu said he and T.J. Watt are the best team at 11-1, and the worst pairing was Isaiah Buggs and Dan McCullers, until they were kicked out of the league. “With anything, as athletes, you get really competitive,” Alualu said. “You form teams and talk a lot of smack. … It’s been fun to build that camaraderie with the guys.” — Brooke Pryor
New Dallas Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy does a lot of mixing and matching in practices with his regulars and backups and not just because of injury. Safeties Darian Thompson and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix have split time with the top two groups. Quarterback Andy Dalton has taken snaps behind the first-team offensive line, and not just because of the health of tackles Tyron Smith and La’el Collins. The cornerbacks have had a deep rotation, and flexibility is important, so Chidobe Awuzie received some looks inside. Defensive linemen Everson Griffen and Tyrone Crawford play multiple positions, which could allow them to have Griffen, DeMarcus Lawrence and Aldon Smith on the field together. By getting players looks at multiple spots now, it can prepare them for things that will come up unexpectedly during the season. — Todd Archer
Jameis Winston had by far his best set of full-team drills at New Orleans Saints practice on Sunday, completing a beautiful 50-yard strike to receiver Bennie Fowler Jr., a TD high in the back of the end zone to rookie receiver Juwan Johnson and a strike over the middle to rookie receiver Marquez Callaway. He also showed some nice wheels on two scrambles. Winston’s big arm has stood out throughout the first week of practices open to the media, but this was the first time he hit on a deep ball in stride in full-team drills. Meanwhile, Taysom Hill got to work with the starters Sunday while Drew Brees took a day of rest. Hill was shaky enough early in practice for Sean Payton to joke that he looked like the one who just delivered a baby this weekend instead of his wife. But Hill did finish with two nifty scoring passes in the final set of drills. — Mike Triplett
The Detroit Lions have been in the middle of a punting competition throughout training camp, and at the end of practice Sunday, coach Matt Patricia found a way to keep it light while also creating a pressure situation for Jack Fox and Arryn Siposs. He had each of the players pick a side and then had Fox and Siposs compete with longest punt and closest to the goal line without going into the end zone. The losing team would have to run. The players, at the end of a long, hot practice humid enough where a water break was placed in the middle of the schedule and almost the whole team retreated to a tent to cool off, really got into it. Players who chose Fox chanted “USA, USA.” Siposs supporters did some Aussie chants — since Siposs is from Australia and a former Australian Football League pro. Siposs won the competition 2-1, which sent Fox’s supporters running a lap around the field to close out the day and the first week of padded practices. — Michael Rothstein
Washington‘s defensive backs have been solid throughout camp, though it’s sometimes hard to tell whether it’s because of how well they’re doing or because the team lacks depth at wide receiver. Regardless, the coaches have been pleased with the overall depth in the secondary, especially at corner. Ron Darby, Fabian Moreau, Kendall Fuller and Jimmy Moreland all have spent time with the first group. Darby has shown good recovery skills, as he displayed on one slant route to Terry McLaurin. Darby stayed tight on his back hip and stripped the ball after it arrived. McLaurin has won his share of battles, but the defensive backs have produced more than their share of wins overall. Coach Ron Rivera has also liked what he has seen from veteran Aaron Colvin. There might not be a star in the group, but Rivera said, “As five guys go, you feel pretty strong about it.” — John Keim
Andy Reid acknowledged that between the Kansas City Chiefs staying home for the summer, the ramp-up period leading to padded practice, the absence of preseason games and everything else that makes 2020 unique, it initially didn’t feel like training camp. But he said that has changed now that the Chiefs are able to practice six days a week and are able to work in front of fans at Arrowhead Stadium once more by the time camp ends. “I think if you asked the guys if it felt like camp they’d probably tell you, ‘Yeah,'” Reid said. “All of that other stuff kind of wore off about a week ago and the guys are in the grind of it.” — Adam Teicher
The Tennessee Titans‘ defense got the best of the offense throughout practice on Sunday. Kevin Byard picked off Ryan Tannehill during the team period. Byard baited Tannehill into thinking Anthony Firkser was open and swooped in for the interception at the last second. Adoree’ Jackson also had a pass breakup during the low red zone team period when Tannehill was looking to get the ball to Adam Humphries in the corner of the end zone. The defensive backs had an impressive showing during one-on-ones as well, with strong performances from Jackson, Kareem Orr and Malcolm Butler. — Turron Davenport
It’s a special day. pic.twitter.com/AMMVCnBeBa
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) August 23, 2020
— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) August 23, 2020
— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) August 23, 2020
— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) August 23, 2020
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) August 23, 2020
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) August 23, 2020
— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) August 23, 2020
Lace ’em up and GRIND.
📹 HIGHLIGHTS from today 👇 pic.twitter.com/q8km5OB31L
— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) August 23, 2020
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 23, 2020
— Houston Texans (@HoustonTexans) August 23, 2020
— Josh Jacobs (@iAM_JoshJacobs) August 23, 2020
Calves fully engaged. pic.twitter.com/grVUgTylxB
— Rob Demovsky (@RobDemovsky) August 23, 2020
— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) August 23, 2020
Be better today than you were yesterday 👏
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) August 23, 2020
Julian Edelman with the custom Bruins sweater for today’s video conference. He wishes the Bruins luck, as well as the Celtics, noting the good vibes throughout Boston sports. pic.twitter.com/vPV7n7ihqJ
— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) August 23, 2020
Quote of the day
“They put us in this box, four to five years and typically you’re out. What people look at as a successful career is seven or eight years in the NFL. Why not 15? Why not 18 years? It’s me playing my role in trying to empower our next generation.”
Washington running back Adrian Peterson, 35, who said he wants to play five more years.