As the National Football League’s organized team activities, or OTAs, come to a close and some teams finish off with short mandatory training camps, multiple Georgia players are coming off injuries, fighting for spots on teams and impressing coaches across the league.
A.J. Green coming back from injury
After suffering a toe injury that needed surgery late last year, A.J. Green is on his way back to the football field. Last season, Green was on pace for a second year best of 1,388 yards and a career-high 12 TDs before suffering the injury against the Denver Broncos in early December.
Green will sit out the team drills Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, but will first participate in individual drills to ease his way back into full involvement.
“Everybody says it should be back to normal and it feels good. No setbacks,” Green said. “Nothing. No soreness after I run. It just feels good.”
Green is entering the final year of his contract and is due for an extension. He said earlier this summer that Cincinnati, Ohio, is as much a home as his actual home in Summerville, South Carolina. The Bengals will look to lock up the pass-catching stalwart to a long term contract and try to fit him into the offense of newly-minted head coach Zac Taylor this coming fall.
Mecole Hardman impresses Andy Reid
When the Kansas City Chiefs selected Mecole Hardman with the 56th pick of the NFL Draft this past April, it looked like a perfect match with Tyreek Hill’s legal problems looming.
With a lot of pressure for the Chief’s top draft pick to show up, Hardman has impressed head coach Andy Reid and the rest of the coaching staff during his time with the team.
"We're asking him to do a lot and he's staying up on it,” Reid said via the team transcript last Thursday following organized team activities. “Sometimes he's not quite sure and there's a little hesitation, then the next time he runs it, he's got it. So that's what you're looking for. We've been happy with his progress."
Hardman has spent much of the offseason learning the extensive offensive and building strong chemistry with reigning NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes. Although Georgia fans will miss the speedster on Saturdays this fall, they will undoubtedly be hearing his name on Sundays if that’s any consolation.
Todd Gurley unconcerned with knee injury
Todd Gurley wasn’t used nearly as much as expected during the Los Angeles Rams’ Super Bowl run last season due to a left knee injury.
Although Gurley is not hurt anymore and is set to be ready for the season opener against the Carolina Panthers, the Rams still clearly have their reservations. After losing back-up C.J. Anderson this offseason, the Rams drafted Darrell Henderson in the third round and brought in Malcolm Brown to provide cover if the knee continues to be an issue. The injury issue doesn’t seem to bother Gurley at all.
"I had bigger problems to worry about coming out of college," Gurley said Tuesday at the start of a mandatory minicamp. "This is small."