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    Derwin James signed a four-year, $76.5 million contract extension with the Los Angeles Chargers Wednesday morning, making him the NFL’s highest-paid safety. The deal includes $42 million in guaranteed salary. James is going into his fifth season. He was expected on the field Wednesday when the Chargers begin two days of joint practices with the Dallas Cowboys. He did not participate in the first two weeks of practice and took part only in walkthroughs as the two sides worked on an extension. James’ deal eclipses the four-year, $72.98 million extension Pittsburgh’s Minkah Fitzpatrick signed in June. That included $36 million in guaranteed salary.

      Duane Brown was simply exploring his job options two weeks ago while visiting the New York Jets and seeing if they might be a good fit. Right tackle Mekhi Becton went down with a season-ending knee injury a few days later and signing Brown suddenly became a priority for the Jets. After signing a two-year deal worth $22 million, Brown is slated to be New York’s starting left tackle this season. Brown also plans to prove he's still a top-notch player at his position despite heading into his 15th season and turning 37 at the end of the month.

        NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Derrick Henry has been seen jogging on the field with his daughter after practice. Green Bay Packers are once again borrowing kids' bicycles for rides to practice. Fans are rubbing elbows with their favorite players to get those coveted autographs.

          The NFL essentially is back to normal entering its third season amid COVID-19. Derrick Henry has been seen jogging on the field with his daughter after practice. Green Bay Packers are once again borrowing kids’ bicycles for the ride to practice. Fans are up close to their favorite players getting autographs, high-fives and handshakes. There are no more trailers or tents for testing and masks are rare.  All the protocols devised and tweaked by the league and the NFL Players Association implemented in 2020 and 2021 were suspended last March with the NFL citing trends showing the spread of the coronavirus declining.

            The Seattle Seahawks seem likely to be relying on a pair of rookie tackles on their offensive line. Left tackle Charles Cross was Seattle's first-round pick. Right tackle Abe Lucas was drafted in the third round. They've both impressed during the offseason program and training camp and Seattle seems to be inching closer to having the pair be the starting tackles when the season begins. Both are likely to get time as starters this week as the Seahawks host Chicago on Thursday in their second preseason game.

            Seattle Seahawks quarterback Drew Lock has tested positive for COVID-19 and will miss the team’s preseason game against Chicago. The Seahawks issued a statement regarding Lock’s positive test about two hours following the end of a practice in which Lock was a full participant and led the No. 1 offense. Seattle coach Pete Carroll announced after practice that Lock would start Thursday’s game against the Bears after he served as the backup to Geno Smith in last weekend’s preseason game in Pittsburgh. Lock was acquired from Denver as part of the trade that sent Russell Wilson to the Broncos and has been competing with Smith for the starting job with the Seahawks.

            Matthew Stafford showed no throwing limitations while fully participating in a scrimmage with the Los Angeles Rams on Tuesday. Stafford's smooth play further underlined the Super Bowl-winning quarterback’s declaration that his injured elbow will be fine. Stafford made all sorts of throws during the lengthy scrimmage at the Rams’ training complex. Coach Sean McVay was pleased by the latest step in the veteran quarterback’s increased workload. The 34-year-old Stafford played through elbow pain last season while leading the Rams to the title in his first season with the team. He had an unspecified elbow injection in the offseason.

            First-year Las Vegas Raiders coach Josh McDaniels has been searching this preseason for a dependable offensive line to protect Derek Carr once the start starts. The Raiders have used 14 offensive linemen in 13 rotations across 20 possessions in their first two preseason games in a process McDaniels described as normal for this time of year. The results so far haven't been great with the Raiders allowing nine sacks in the first two preseason games as the issues in protection that were a problem in 2021 haven't been solved as of yet.

            Lewis Cine has packed more life experiences into 22 years than the typical NFL rookie. He's not worried if he’s not in the starting lineup at safety for the Vikings at the beginning of his first season. The first-round draft pick from Georgia was born in Haiti and lived in four different states before landing in Minnesota this year. Cine has been working primarily with the second-team defense during training camp behind current starters Harrison Smith and Camryn Bynum.

            Both defenses were feeling good about themselves after the first of two days of joint practices between the Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints before the teams face off in an exhibition game Friday. The frequent mistakes by Green Bay's offense had reigning MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers offering a reminder that the Packers must avoid repeating those errors now that the regular season is drawing closer. Green Bay’s defense shut down a Saints offense that featured Andy Dalton and Ian Book at quarterback with Jameis Winston sidelined by a sprained foot.

            Cleveland Browns starting center Nick Harris will miss the season after being placed on injured reserve along with one of his backups, rookie Dawson Deaton, who got hurt during practice. Harris suffered a serious right knee injury on the second play of last week’s exhibition opener at Jacksonville. The 23-year-old was dropping back to block for quarterback Deshaun Watson when his knee gave out and he crumpled to the grass. Browns coach Kevin Stefanski did not provide any specifics on Harris’ injury. The team has not disclosed whether he’s undergone surgery. Deaton tore his anterior cruciate ligament early in Monday's practice.

            Mekhi Becton’s third season with the New York Jets is officially over before it even started. The starting right tackle was placed on season-ending injured reserve Tuesday with a chip fracture in his right kneecap suffered during practice on Aug. 8. Becton traveled to Los Angeles for a consultation with Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who performed arthroscopic knee surgery on quarterback Zach Wilson to repair his torn meniscus. Becton is expected to have surgery and miss the upcoming season, which the Jets believed would be the case. The move Tuesday came as the Jets got their roster down to the mandated 85-player limit.

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            Two weeks into training camp, the New York Giants are still waiting for receiver Kenny Golladay to start making big plays. Golladay had a dismal first season in New York in 2021 after signing a $72 million contract. His stats for the year were 37 catches for 521 yards and no touchdowns. Granted, it was a 4-13 season in which the offense struggled and Golladay dealt with a variety of injuries. Golladay needs to revert to the wide out who caught 11 TDs in 2019 with Detroit. The bad news is Golladay dropped a potential TD in the preseason opener.

            A person with knowledge told The Associated Press that New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson had arthroscopic surgery Tuesday to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee and remains on track to return in a few weeks. Wilson flew to Los Angeles to have the procedure performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who trimmed the meniscus and found no further damage in the knee, said the person who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the team didn’t announce results of the surgery. That timeline means the Jets could still have their starting quarterback for Week 1. ESPN first reported that no additional damage was found during Wilson’s surgery.

            JuJu Smith-Schuster missed a soggy practice with the Kansas City Chiefs on Tuesday because of a sore knee, though the injury to the veteran wide receiver is not expected to keep him out long. Kicker Harrison Butker was back on the field after missing Monday’s practice because of a sore ankle, though punter Tommy Townsend remained absent while dealing with a family matter. Tight end Blake Bell was still out with a hip flexor injury and safety Zayne Anderson with a shoulder injury. The Chiefs also waived defensive lineman Austin Edwards and wide receiver Devin Gray to get to the 85-man roster limit.

            The Patriots and Panthers opened two days of joint practices Tuesday both hoping to see progress on the offensive side of the ball. Carolina is trying to sort out its situation at quarterback after bringing Baker Mayfield to compete alongside Sam Darnold. New England is still working through tweaks it has made since former offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels left in the offseason for Las Vegas. Both teams had their moments during the two-hour session. The highlights came after two fights broke out minutes apart during the first half of practice that resulted in five players being kicked out.

            Center Bradley Bozeman left the Carolina Panthers' joint practice session with the New England Patriots on a cart after suffering an apparent leg injury. Bozeman got tangled up during an 11-on-11 period and was attended to by trainers for several minutes. He was able to sit upright and get to his feet on his own power. But he walked gingerly with trainers to a nearby cart before heading to the locker room. The 6-foot-5, 325-pounder signed with the Panthers as a free agent this offseason after starting 48 of 49 games the last three seasons for the Baltimore Ravens.

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