NFL training camp updates 2022: Ric Flair visits Tennessee Titans practice; Lamar Jackson, DeVant...

ByESPN staff ESPN logo
Friday, July 29, 2022

There's a distinct wrestling vibe in Nashville this week, and it spilled over into the Tennessee Titans' training camp on Thursday.

WWE is hosting SummerSlam on Saturday, and on Sunday, pro wrestling legend Ric "The Nature Boy" Flair will perform in the ring for the last time on an independent show. Before that milestone event, Flair, 73, took time to stop by the Titans' practice and speak to the players at the invitation of coach Mike Vrabel, according to ESPN Titans reporter Turron Davenport. Flair walked onto the field after practice as the team played his theme music and shared who his favorite NFL player is, and said Vrabel could have had a career in wrestling.

The first week of the 2022 NFL training camp schedule has had its share of news, including word Thursday that Tampa Bay Buccaneers center Ryan Jensen was carted off the field with a left knee injury. Meanwhile, Carlos Dunlap II is going to sign with the Kansas City Chiefs, and after Cameron Heyward's rebuttal to Ben Roethlisberger's claim that today's players are more "me-first," the retiredPittsburgh Steelersquarterback tried to add some context to his statement.

Here's what you need to know from camps across the league:

What our NFL Nation reporters saw Thursday

Dallas Cowboys: Dalton Schultz talked for the first time since the deadline passed to sign a long-term deal, which means he will play this season on the $10.9 million franchise tag. "I'd be lying to you if I said I wasn't disappointed," he said. "Obviously, I think we all came into it thinking we'd be able to get a long-term deal done, and that's something that we pushed for. They were trying to push for as well ... I think I'm at peace with knowing that I put my absolute best foot forward. I personally went in there, and we tried to work something out, but at the end of the day I get it -- business is business sometimes. I've had my emotions about the whole thing but I'm focused on getting better in this training camp, helping this team and try to get to the Super Bowl." -- Todd Archer

Seattle Seahawks: The Seahawks' receiving corps has been missing some serious firepower over the first two days of camp because of DK Metcalf's "hold-in" and the hamstring injury that has limited Dee Eskridge. But shortly after they wrapped up their second practice of camp -- in which Metcalf was once again a spectator -- ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that Metcalf's agent and the team had agreed to a three-year, $72 million extension. Metcalf should be participating again when the Seahawks practice next on Saturday. It doesn't sound like Eskridge will be out long, with coach Pete Carroll describing his injury as minor. In their absences, speedy veteran Marquise Goodwin has been an early standout, getting open several times on deep routes. -- Brady Henderson

Baltimore Ravens: Lamar Jackson has visibly bulked up, adding more lean muscle, and it showed on his throws. He threw the ball with more velocity and had tighter spirals. Jackson was 12-of-17 (70.5%) on his passes in team drills, including a 55-yard touchdown pass to rookie Isaiah Likely. "He's strong and he looks great," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. -- Jamison Hensley

Pittsburgh Steelers:Kenny Pickett had a rough day during his second camp practice, throwing an interception on his first live, team-period rep. Pickett also had an interception to end Wednesday's practice. Another ball on Thursday was batted down. Pickett has consistently taken reps with the third string, but the early bumps aren't cause for major concern. Mike Tomlin is insistent this quarterback race won't be micromanaged, and he isn't evaluating his options on a throw-by-throw basis. That's good news for Pickett as he gets his footing in the NFL.-- Brooke Pryor

Denver Broncos: When running back Melvin Gordon III signed a one-year deal to return to Denver earlier this year, he said he knew the Broncos had big plans for Javonte Williams as a potential lead back, but Gordon said he intended to not surrender carries without a fight. And in training camp's early going, it is indeed Williams who gets the first look with the starters each day, but Gordon has received some snaps with the starters as well. Coach Nathaniel Hackett continues to say he sees an active role for both in the offense. -- Jeff Legwold

Indianapolis Colts: The Colts have had an expeditious first couple days of training camp, finishing 10 minutes prior to their scheduled finish time each day, despite running the same number of plays as last year. Why? "That's because of the quarterback," coach Frank Reich said. "The quarterback is pushing the tempo." Quarterback Matt Ryan has followed through on his vow to raise the intensity of training camp and has done it by demanding a greater tempo between snaps. "It's unbelievable," Reich said. "We've never practiced that fast. It's a mentality. It's a confidence. He told me at the start, 'I'm gonna push the tempo.' And I said, 'We'll follow your lead. Go.'" -- Stephen Holder

Carolina Panthers: Quarterback Baker Mayfield admitted Wednesday he was "pretty stupid'' for showing up in the hot, humid conditions of Spartanburg, S.C., wearing long pants, so he made a good decision wearing short pants for Thursday's second practice. He still made some poor decisions on the field while taking first-team reps with Sam Darnold taking second, flip-flopping from the previous day. Two of Mayfield's first three passes in 7-on-7 drills should have been intercepted. They were the type of mistakes the Panthers are trying to eliminate, the kind Darnold made way too often a year ago, and the reason coach Matt Rhule will continue flip-flopping who works with the first-teamers. -- David Newton

Green Bay Packers: Rookie receiver Romeo Doubs looks NFL-ready. After a solid first day, Doubs was the star of practice No. 2. The fourth-round pick from Nevada made the play of the day when he caught an 8-yard touchdown pass on a fade from Aaron Rodgers over cornerback Eric Stokes. "Stokes' back was turned," Doubs said. "Aaron gave me a chance, and I was able to make something happen." One way to gain Rodgers' trust is to make 50-50 balls like that one closer to a 90-10 ball. Doubs also beat veteran linebacker De'Vondre Campbell for another red zone touchdown on a drag route, and he held on to a ball over the middle after an accidental hard collision with safety Darnell Savage. This was all while fellow rookie receiver Christian Watson (a second-round pick) has been out of camp while recovering from a knee injury.-- Rob Demovsky

Cleveland Browns:QuarterbackDeshaun Watson continues to develop chemistry with his new WRs as he waits to see whether he'll be suspended for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy after multiple accusations that range from inappropriate behavior to sexual assault during massage sessions. Watson has maintained he is innocent of the accusations. During Thursday's practice, Watson found Donovan Peoples-Jones on several nifty throws. But WR Anthony Schwartz had to leave practice early because of what appeared to be a left knee injury. With Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. no longer around, the Browns are counting on DPJ and Schwartz to fill the void at receiver, alongside Amari Cooper. --Jake Trotter

New England Patriots: Veteran WR DeVante Parker had one of the plays of the day, catching a back-shoulder TD pass from Mac Jones near the left pylon of the end zone as CB Jalen Mills had tight coverage. In fairness to Mills, he was wearing mitts on his hands as part of a technique that coaches use to help cornerbacks avoid grabbing, and these aren't padded practices, so there is no contact. But Parker has made an early statement nonetheless. -- Mike Reiss

Jacksonville Jaguars: Cornerback Shaquill Griffin didn't have an interception in his first season with the Jaguars in 2021, but he did drop four potential picks, which is why he made working on his hands a priority in the offseason. It appears to have paid off early in training camp. Griffin made a diving, one-handed catch to secure a tipped pass in the end zone during red zone work on Thursday. Trevor Lawrence tried to zip a pass to tight end Evan Engram, but linebacker Shaq Quarterman deflected it and Griffin nabbed it. Griffin, who signed a three-year contract worth $40 million in March 2021, said in the spring that he had been trying to catch 75-100 balls per day. -- Mike DiRocco

Washington Commanders: The Commanders' offense did not look sharp Thursday, especially the passing game. Too much pressure by the defense; too many hands in passing lanes and too many errant throws. But late in practice, quarterback Carson Wentz showed off his arm on a deep ball to rookie receiver Jahan Dotson, hitting him in stride on an approximately 40-yard throw vs. tight coverage by corner Benjamin St-Juste. The play also highlighted Dotson's strengths as he maintained leverage and made an over-the-shoulder catch. Dotson has been impressive since the spring.-- John Keim

Los Angeles Chargers:Chargers star safety Derwin James Jr. did not practice for a second consecutive day as negotiations over a contract extension continue. James is, however, participating in the walk-through portions of practice. Edge rusher Joey Bosa went through the contract process two years ago and said he's talked with James about the situation. "He's, I think, doing the right thing," Bosa said about James, a two-time Pro Bowl selection. "He obviously deserves whatever he's going to get," Bosa said. "He puts in 100 percent every single day.... the fact that he's out here, coaching the guys, fully involved, 100 percent locked in every day, it obviously means a lot to all of us." James is scheduled to earn $9 million in the final season of his rookie deal. -- Lindsey Thiry

Atlanta Falcons: It's beenonly two days, but quarterback Marcus Mariota has looked good. Based on unofficial calculations, Mariota has completed all 24 passes he's thrown so far in camp -- although to be fair, a lot of them have been short passes, and Thursday he was bailed out a few times by nice plays from his tight ends, including Anthony Firkser with a one-handed, diving catch. Rookie QB Desmond Ridder also has looked like he's getting a handle on the offense -- a deep throw to Drake London in particular sparkled Thursday -- but he also held the ball too long in multiple instances. The Falcons have essentially indicated that they are starting out with Mariota as their No. 1, but it's going to be an interesting competition to watch. -- Michael Rothstein

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