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Kansas City Chiefs LT Orlando Brown aiming to keep QB Patrick Mahomes ‘as clean as possible’



KANSAS CITY, Mo. — New left tackle Orlando Brown said he’s ready for the pressure of protecting Patrick Mahomes, the Kansas City Chiefs’ quarterback and half-billion dollar investment.

“I put a lot of pressure on myself and have very high expectations for myself and that’s keeping Pat as clean as possible, creating many huge gaps and holes in the running game and taking care of that man across from me on a consistent basis,” Brown said Monday, days after being acquired by the Chiefs in a trade from the Baltimore Ravens. “I want to be the best. I want to be the best to play this position in the league. I’m not there yet and I’ve still got a lot of work to do but I’m going to get there.”

Brown will fill a huge hole in the Chiefs’ lineup, one left vacant after their release of long-time left tackle Eric Fisher.

“To have the opportunity to play here for this organization given the history of everything that’s gone on here, everything they’ve done lately, coach (Andy) Reid and his history, Pat and everything he’s done and is going to do . . . I was very surprised to be here. I’m just glad they made the move. I definitely think I’m the guy they want and the guy they need.”

The Ravens granted Brown’s request for a trade. Brown said he wanted out of Baltimore because he wanted to play left tackle. His path with the Ravens was blocked by the presence of Ronnie Stanley.

His father played right tackle in the NFL for 10 seasons and didn’t want the same fate for his son. So the senior Brown insisted that if Orlando Brown Jr. was going to be an offensive lineman, he would be a left tackle.

“This is nothing to do with finances,” Brown said. “This is to do with the opportunity to play left tackle. I grew up with my father playing in this league . . . as a right tackle. In my household, if you weren’t playing left tackle, I won’t say he disowned you but he kind of talked back to you.”

Brown said as a freshman in high school in Maryland, the coach didn’t think he was ready to play left tackle and initially put Brown at guard.

“My dad went to the coach and told him straight up, ‘Hey, if you’re not going to play him at left tackle, play him on defense.’ So I played defensive tackle my first year,” Brown said. “Something (his father) made me promise him was that I was going to be a left tackle and that I was going to play in this league for 10-plus years and be a Hall of Famer.

“My dad understood the magnitude of (being a left tackle), often being the captain of the offensive line, often being one of the better players on offense.”

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Dallas Cowboys CB Nahshon Wright cleared air with Richard Sherman after comparison



After being picked by the Dallas Cowboys in the third round of the NFL draft, cornerback Nahshon Wright said he looked at himself “as a more athletic and agile Richard Sherman.”

It didn’t take long for Sherman to respond on social media, so Wright sent Sherman a direct message to explain himself and said the veteran responded quickly.

“I actually reached out to him because after I said it I kind of seen what people perceived it as,” Wright said after his second rookie minicamp practice Saturday. “I wanted to reach out to him personally and kind of clear it up and just tell him that I actually modeled myself after him, I emulate my game after him.”

Wright said Sherman, a five-time Pro Bowler and three-time first-team All-Pro who is currently a free agent, was not offended.

“We kind of have a mutual respect,” Wright said. “For me, I think it was just genuine confidence in myself and looking up to someone like that. He played under [Cowboys defensive coordinator] Dan Quinn. So now I have the opportunity to play under him and hopefully do the same things that Richard Sherman did. So we spoke, and we have a mutual respect. And he told me if I ever needed help I can reach [out] to him.

“Richard is a great guy.”

At 6-foot-4, 183 pounds, Wright has a similar frame to Sherman, who is 6-3, 195 pounds. The Cowboys can only hope he can be another Sherman.

“I really try to emulate his mental process,” Wright said. “The way he kind of slows the game down for himself. It’s kind of like playing chess. So being able to see the formation, know the call, know what you have and just execute. He has done a great job with that, and hopefully he continues to do that.”

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Saying he feels ‘great about it,’ rookie RB Travis Etienne aims to ‘maximize my opportunity’ at WR for Jacksonville Jaguars



JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Trevor Lawrence is getting a lighter workload while Travis Etienne is getting as much as he can handle … at another position.

The Jacksonville Jaguars have had Etienne taking the majority of his reps at receiver during the first two days of the team’s rookie minicamp to begin the process of turning the ACC’s all-time leading rusher into a player who can line up anywhere — in the backfield, wide, or in the slot.

“At the worst-case scenario, you have a running back with the skill set of a wide receiver,” coach Urban Meyer said. “Best-case scenario, you’ll have a hybrid player who does both and that’s what we’re hoping to develop out of Travis.”

Meyer finalized the plan in his mind the moment the Jaguars selected Etienne 25th overall last month, and Etienne was all in when Meyer told him the next day that once he got to Jacksonville he would spend most of his time learning the fundamentals of playing receiver.

“I feel great about it,” Etienne said. “It’s going to help me maximize my opportunity and skill set. I feel like Coach knows what he’s doing and I think it’s going to work out well. … Football is a game of matchups. We’re just trying to get the best matchups. I feel like he knows what he’s doing and I think it’s going to work out well.”

One of the reasons Etienne returned to Clemson for his senior season was to show that he could be a reliable pass-catcher. In addition to rushing for an ACC-record 4,952 yards and 70 TDs in four seasons for the Tigers, Etienne also caught 102 passes for 1,155 yards and eight TDs — including 48 receptions for 588 yards and two TDs in 2020.

Meyer’s hope is Etienne can turn into another Percy Harvin, who was one of the country’s most dynamic players when he played for Meyer at Florida. Harvin lined up in the backfield, in the slot and at receiver, and ran for 1,852 yards with 19 touchdowns and caught 133 passes for 1,929 yards with 13 touchdowns in three seasons for the Gators.

“I’m glad he’s getting work that, getting those reps right now,” Lawrence said of Etienne. “He’s just a dynamic player. He can do a lot of different things but that’s something that he’s not very used to. At Clemson he was pretty much in the backfield all the time. He ran a lot of routes out of the backfield but splitting out wide is something he hasn’t done a lot.

“It’s cool seeing him out there, working, learning something new. Just to see the improvements he makes every day is really cool.”

It’s unclear how much work Etienne would have gotten at running back during rookie minicamp anyway because of the restricted workload the team placed on Lawrence as he returns from offseason labrum surgery in his left shoulder. He was limited to 30-40 throws and Meyer also said the Jaguars didn’t want him taking snaps or handing off to ensure the shoulder doesn’t get bumped or battered.

“We’re just worried about any chance of that arm getting jammed right now,” Meyer said. “They told me the labrum has healed after three months, which it’s been three months, but we can’t have a guy on the ground. That’s the biggest thing: We’ve got to keep people away from him.

“The pitch count’s not as big as the fact of keeping him upright.”

Meyer said Lawrence should be fully cleared in time for the beginning of training camp in late July. Lawrence said the shoulder feels great and he has full range of motion, though the team is also limiting how much weight he can lift. He said he’s eager to go back to a full load of throws in practice.

“Obviously that’s what I want to do right now but I know there’s a right way to do things and to be careful and put myself in the best position so I’m trusting that,” Lawrence said. “That’s the medical staff, the coaches, everyone’s on the same page. We’ve got a good plan. We know what we’re doing and I’m just trusting that — and it won’t be long before I’m full go.”

It also doesn’t look like it’ll be long before the Jaguars sign Tim Tebow, either. Meyer said the staff will meet Sunday and determine if they want to sign the former quarterback to play tight end.

“I imagine the decision’s going to be soon,” Meyer said. “… All our focus is on [rookies] right now.”

Rookie defensive tackle Jay Tufele did not participate because Meyer said Tufele had a positive and negative COVID-19 test and the team opted to hold him out, though he added Tufele could return for the final day of minicamp on Sunday. Cornerback Tyson Campbell suffered a minor hamstring strain on Friday and was limited on Saturday.

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Green Bay Packers sign QB Kurt Benkert after minicamp tryout



GREEN BAY, Wis. — Last week, the Packers had only two quarterbacks on the roster.

Now they have four.

Less than a week after signing Blake Bortles, they signed Kurt Benkert — one of the two arms they had in for this weekend’s rookie minicamp.

Benkert tweeted a picture of him signing his contract, and a source confirmed the transaction.

Benkert is a former undrafted free agent with the Atlanta Falcons in 2018. He spent the 2018 and 2020 seasons on the Falcons’ practice squad and was on injured reserve (toe) in 2019. He was released by the Falcons in February.

The Packers did not draft a quarterback or sign one in the initial rookie free-agent period but brought in Benkert and Chad Kelly for the rookie camp.

Jordan Love is expected to take part in this week’s rookie development program. While Love was not eligible to take part in the rookie minicamp, he can join the rookies this week because of a rule that allows second-year quarterbacks who played less than 25% of the snaps as a rookie to participate. Love did not play a single snap as the inactive third-string quarterback last year.

Other veterans can come to the team facility beginning Monday for Phase 2 of the offseason program, but Aaron Rodgers is not expected to report for the voluntary program. Organized team activities, which also are voluntary, begin May 24.

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