Football is back! It's time to forget about the offseason tropes and actually get answers to key storylines that matter now that training camps are underway throughout the league. We've got you covered from July 24 through August 5 with NFL Network's "Inside Training Camp Live" providing 12 hours of live coverage each day beginning at 10 a.m. ET. And we begin with:
» Josh Gordon, who awaits an Aug. 1 appeals hearing on his potentially lengthy suspension, practiced with the third team Friday, per NFL Media's Aditi Kinkhabwala. Pettine has said the team doesn't plan to cut ties with the receiver, but, if the first day of practice is any indication, the Browns don't seem confident that Gordon's appeal will be successful.
» In talking about Andrew Luck's Colts, former Seahawks fullback Michael Robinson declared, "I think Trent Richardson and that run game will have a lot to do with the success of Andrew Luck. This is a big year for Trent Richardson and that run game." When asked if he believed in the third-year running back from Alabama, Robinson candidly replied, "I don't believe in Trent Richardson, I have to say it. I don't believe in him."
» Is Johnny Manziel backtracking on his off-the-field behavior of the past few months? Not exactly. The Browns rookie quarterback took to the podium Friday and attempted to shut down any character debate right off the bat. Though he admitted that he made "some rookie mistakes" in previous months, Manziel remained adamant that he doesn't see anything wrong with "having a nightlife."
» Owner Jimmy Haslam appears at least to disagree with how Manziel's nightlife makes frequent headlines:
Jimmy Haslam said he told Johnny Manziel: "The really great athletes make their news on the field, not off the field."â Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) July 26, 2014
» Browns coach Mike Pettine reiterated yesterday his stance that Brian Hoyer would train with the first team at the onset of camp -- as well as start the preseason opener -- and has the edge over JFF to win the starting job. But Manziel isn't down and out; Pettine said that there "absolutely" is a competition at the position. Looks like it's still Manziel versus the playbook.
» Looks like the crowd, composed of folks from 10 different states per NFL Media's Dan Hellie, also believes that Hoyer has the slight edge. According to Hellie, who's on the scene with Willie McGinest in Berea, Ohio, "there was a smattering of applause" for Manziel but a full-fledged cheer for Hoyer. "The crowd went crazy and they had a little chant going, 'Let's go Hoyer,'" McGinest said. "So I would say it's kind of even when it comes to the excitement about quarterbacks, but Hoyer, being a hometown kid, had a little extra to the crowd this morning."
» Apparently the football gods were smiling upon Richmond this morning. NFL Media's Jeff Darlington reports that Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III connected with offseason addition DeSean Jackson, who took it to the house.
» It seems the moment was more of a lightning strike than standard fare. Darlington reported later on ITC Live that DeAngelo Hall picked off a pass intended for DJax. Griffin spoke yesterday about how crucial it is for him to get familiar with Jackson's speed. Looks like that's an ongoing assignment. Darlington added that the team's biggest challenge is simply getting the signal-caller comfortable with the new playbook.
» Vick continues to sound incredibly well-adjusted when discussing the quasi-battle going on in Cortland, New York, between him and second-year QB Geno Smith. Long story short: he's "cool with it." But it was his description of Chris Johnson that really caught our eye. After a reporter asked the veteran signal-caller if he would ever consider racing CJ2K, Vick responded thusly: "Chris Johnson? Honestly who do you think would win in a race between me and Chris Johnson? For real. All jokes aside who do you think will win? It won't hurt my feelings if you say Chris. Yeah I mean, Chris Johnson, I'm not racing Chris. Wasn't he on TV racing a cheetah last or something a couple of months ago? Yeah, no I'm not doing that."
» NFL Media's Kimberly Jones reported that Jets safety Calvin Pryor left practice early today. The team said he's being evaluated for a head injury after the rookie was involved in a collision as a personal protector on the punt team. Per Jones, coach Rex Ryan said "don't know yet" if Pryor has a concussion.
"I mean the chemistry with all the guys has come along well. Eric has been a guy that from day one has been working hard," Smith said. "He's been willing to learn and listen, and for a guy like Eric, going from Peyton Manning, coming to this offense, to be able to still be disciplined ... "
» In what is one of the most unique -- and oddest -- traditions in the NFL, the Packers dutifully rode to their first practice today on kids' bicycles. The tradition began during the Lombardi era, and we're glad it continues every year. Little else beats watching full-grown men attempt to pedal on those things:
Green Bay Packers (@packers) July 26, 2014
"It's big," Nelson said. "You try not to think about it as much if you wouldn't have been able to do it. But it's always gonna hang over your head, especially when you come into training camp. ... So to have that security and just know that you're done with it and go out and play football, and hopefully, you know, make another run this year."
» From Philadelphia Eagles camp, NFL Media's Daniel Jeremiah provided some insight in the new LeSean McCoy-Darren Sproles tailback tandem, saying he expects both players to share the field some of the time. "I think Sproles is a perfect complement in this Chip Kelly offense," Jeremiah said on ITC Live.
Regarding departed receiver DeSean Jackson, Jeremiah added Sproles could see some time returning kicks, filling Jackson's void on special teams. Regarding his targets in the passinga game, though, Jeremiah looked away from the wideuots. "I think people are focused on the receiver position. ... I keep an eye on the tight ends," Jeremiah said. "Zach Ertz, in his second year out of Stanford, looked really good out here in practice today. Brent Celek, another good option. I think youâll see the targets for both those players jump with DeSean (Jackson) gone."
» Super Bowl-winning quarterback Kurt Warner interviewed fellow signal-caller Luck today on NFL Network, where he called one of his receivers a "workaholic." Who earned that honor? The incomparable Reggie Wayne, of course.
» NFL Media's Desmond Purnell was at Texans camp, where he was able to secure a one-on-one interview with franchise icon Andre Johnson. The wide receiver said he's looking forward to being moved around the formation more than in the past.
"I think it's just gonna be fun for me, me picking up the things I need to pick up, him telling me that he's gonna move me around a lot and stuff like that. So it's going to be interesting to see because I really wasn't moved a whole lot before, so I just got to, day-by-day, just progressively get better and make sure that I'm on top of everything ... "
» There's a lot going on in this short vine from the Buccanners training camp. Most notably, former Buccaneer Warren Sapp appears to be coaching up Clinton McDonald, who signed with Tampa Bay in the offseason.
» NFL Media's Alex Flanagan is in sunny Southern California paying the San Diego Chargers a visit. Flanagan caught up with Mike McCoy and the Bolts coach discussed if Pro Bowl quarterback Philip Rivers can build on his 2013 campaign:
"Without a doubt -- we actually expect (Rivers) to play better -- and I think he'll tell you the same thing. There's some things he can improve on, and when you have a guy like that, you got a chance every Sunday to line up, go out there and succeed. He puts so much time and effort into it, it means so much to him. We're very fortunate to have him as the leader of our organization."
» In case you need to double check: here's a handy guide for where and when every team is training.