Boot camp took on new meaning this week for military service members.

Participants got to train at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey like NFL stars for a day as part of “USAA’s Salute to Service NFL Boot Camp.” They performed drills similar to those used by NFL coaches to evaluate talent Ryan O'Reilly Jersey , under the watchful eye of Pro Football Hall of Famer Brian Dawkins.

“Members of my family have served in the military, so I respect the simple impact that saying ‘thank you’ can have, and that’s what USAA’s Salute to Service NFL Boot Camp is all about,” Dawkins said. “It was great to get onto the field and help coach military members through drills that I did as a player.”

In addition to active duty participants, military veterans from the Wounded Warrior Project took part.

“It was very competitive,” said Senior Airman Brandon Castillo, one of the participants. “We had different branches out there today and everybody was itching to go. We all wanted to compete and put up the best scores we could for all of the drills.”

The seventh such boot camp is part of the military appreciation events that USAA and the NFL have created.


The eight inductees in the 2018 class for the Pro Football Hall of Fame will receive their rings during special halftime ceremonies this season.

First up in the second week of the season will be Packers guard Jerry Kramer on Sept. 16 when Green Bay faces Minnesota.

The next night, Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher gets his when Chicago plays Seattle.

A week later, it will be Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis when Baltimore takes on Denver. Three weeks later, Robert Brazile, an outstanding linebacker for the Houston Oilers — the forerunner of the Titans — will be honored when Tennessee plays Baltimore.

Eagles and Broncos safety Brian Dawkins will be next up on Oct. 21 during the Eagles-Panthers game. On Nov. 1, Terrell Owens, who didn’t show for the inductions in Canton Jack Doyle Jersey , Ohio, gets his ring as the 49ers play the Raiders in a Thursday night game.

Finally, former general manager Bobby Beathard will be honored when Washington takes on Houston in Week 12, and Vikings receiver Randy moss gets his ring on Nov. 25 during a Packers-Vikings matchup.

The Hall of Fame Ring of Excellence is set in 14-karat gold with a total diamond weight of 1¾ karats.


Count Hall of Famer Brian Urlacher among those thrilled to see the Chicago Bears swing a blockbuster trade with the Oakland Raiders for two-time All-Pro Khalil Mack.

He was “ecstatic” to see his former team land one of the league’s best defensive players. And he was “shocked” the Raiders would trade Mack.

“I love it,” Urlacher said this week. “They want to win now. I feel like they feel they have the people in place to win now. The NFC is a tough conference. The NFC North is a tough division. But you look at that roster on the Bears, they match up with everybody in that division.”

Urlacher was promoting FanDuel’s weekly Gridiron Pick’em contest, where users select the winners of each game for a chance at a share of a $10,000 prize pool. They can also play alongside him this week.

Mack’s arrival capped a busy offseason for a team with four straight last-place finishes in the NFC North. But Chicago’s defense ranked 10th overall last season. And the Bears added one of the league’s best players.

They paid a high price, sending two first-round picks to Oakland as part of the deal. They also gave their new star a six-year, $141 million extension that guarantees $90 million and makes him the highest-paid defensive player in league history.

“To give up two first-round picks is really, in my opinion, minor for the kind of player they got,” Urlacher said. “Last year Buccaneers Cheap Jerseys , the Bears were a top 10 defense. Now, you add him to the mix, it’s gonna be even better.”

Urlacher said having Mack should create more opportunities for Leonard Floyd on the other side at outside linebacker. He also thinks the trade will benefit Mitchell Trubisky and the offense. And he dismissed the idea that there will be more pressure on the young quarterback with the Bears in a win-now mode.

“You’re supposed to win every year,” Urlacher said. “Your mindset should be we have to win right now, every single season. The pressure shouldn’t change based on that.”


Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert is keeping his mullet for the season, adding a new look to what he hopes is a resurgent time in his career.

Eifert was limited to two games last season because of another back injury that required surgery. During his latest rehab, he decided to let his hair down. He made it through training camp without physical problem, and he’s going to let the hair hang out of the back of his helmet starting with a game Sunday at Indianapolis.

He has no plans for getting a haircut.

“I’m just kind of rolling with it,” Eifert said. “It kind of started as — not really a joke, just a ha-ha thing. It’s taken a lot of work getting through the awkward stages of it, but it’s turned out pretty good.”

The Bengals signed Eifert, their first-round pick in 2013, to a one-year deal for 2018 that’s loaded with incentives. He’s been limited to 24 games in the past four seasons because of back Rams Authentic Jerseys , elbow, shoulder and ankle injuries as well as a concussion. The Bengals limited him to 14 plays in the preseason to keep him healthy, although that’s not a concern for Eifert.

“I feel like every injury has been somewhat of a fluke thing,” he said. “That’s not even a All-America defensive tackle Maurice Hurst has been given the OK by doctors to participate fully at Michigan’s pro day, according to a person familiar with the situation. The person spoke Thursday night to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the clearance wasn’t announced.

Hurst, a potential first-round pick, was held out of drills at the combine three weeks ago after doctors red-flagged a heart condition.

NFL teams will have an opportunity to watch Hurst and other former Wolverines go through drills, run and lift weights on Friday.

The 6-foot-2, 280-pound Hurst had 59 tackles, including 13 for losses and 5 1/2 sacks last season. Hurst, who is from Westwood, Massachusetts, is regarded as one of the top prospects at defensive tackle available in the draft. His father played for the New England Patriots as a cornerback for seven seasons Aaron Burbridge Jersey , starting 102 games.

At the combine earlier this month, Hurst told Utah defensive lineman Lowell Lotulelei he had been diagnosed with the same heart condition as Lotulelei’s older brother, Star.

”I just found out in the NFLPA meeting that we just had. He just said, `Star was your brother?’ And I said yeah. He’s like, `Man, I just got the same thing that he did,”’ Lowell Lotulelei told reporters. ”Obviously I didn’t go through it, so I don’t really know what he’s feeling like. But I kind of understand the disappointment just because my brother trained just like he trained and you’re expecting one thing and getting another. I feel for him. It sucks. But I think he’ll be fine just like my brother was.”

Five years ago, Star Lotulelei arrived at the combine as the expected first pick in that year’s draft. Things changed dramatically after doctors identified an ”abnormal” test on his heart. Lotulelei sought additional opinions and was eventually cleared to exercise. He was taken by Carolina with the 14th overall selection in the 2013 draft. And has missed just four games over five NFL seasons.

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