Brady working to develop chemistry with new receivers
Tom Brady celebrated his completion by throwing his hands into the air and shouting as if it was a game-winning catch.
Whoa, calm down.
It was only a pass to newcomer Danny Amendola at minicamp more than a month before training camp and with no one allowed to hit the quarterback.
But to Brady, it was a sign that he and his likely top wide receiver are making progress as he tries to develop chemistry with a new group. In the offseason, the New England Patriots parted with Wes Welker and Brandon Lloyd following a season in which they were the team's top two pass catchers.
"Danny has come in and he's been fun to play with," Brady said. "He's diving out there for catches. He's really done everything that we've asked him to do."
That excites the two-time NFL most valuable player entering his 14th season with the Patriots but with just one wide receiver who has ever caught a pass from him. That's Julian Edelman, who had 21 receptions last season but missed minicamp with a foot injury.
Brady knows it will take time to develop chemistry with his new receivers but was excited when Amendola made a catch over the middle during an 11-on-11 drill on Tuesday, the first day of minicamp.
Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez were quick learners as rookies in 2010 and developed into an excellent tight-end duo. Welker began playing with Brady in 2007 and their communication and precision were outstanding.
Amendola, signed as a free agent from the St. Louis Rams, still hasn't caught a pass from Brady in a game.
Michael Jenkins is another free-agent addition after seven years in Atlanta and the past two in Minnesota. He's averaged 39 catches per season and played with the first team during minicamp. The final scheduled practice on Thursday was canceled.
Two rookie draft choices are missing valuable time doing that. Second-rounder Aaron Dobson and fourth-rounder Josh Boyce have been nursing injuries.
Broncos release top rusher McGahee
The Denver Broncos have released Willis McGahee, their leading rusher last year.
The 31-year-old running back is the NFL's active leader with 33 100-yard games. McGahee is coming off a right knee injury that sidelined him for the final two months last season. The 11-year veteran was set to make $2.5 million in 2013.
McGahee skipped all of the team's 10 voluntary workouts but returned to Dove Valley for their three-day mandatory minicamp that ends Thursday.
With second-year pro Ronnie Hillman and rookie Montee Ball getting most of the work out of the backfield this week, McGahee was relegated to a handful of snaps.
McGahee said Tuesday he was confident he'd keep his starting job and didn't regret skipping the workouts. He says he "probably would have been behind the 8-ball either way."
No comment? No issue between Jets' Smith, Sanchez
Geno Smith says he definitely intends on attending Mark Sanchez's private workouts, if invited, with New York Jets teammates in California.
Smith clarified his "no comment" responses from Wednesday - that seemed to suggest there could be some tension between the Jets quarterbacks - when asked if he would join Sanchez's camp next month at Mission Viejo High School.
Smith says Thursday he was "caught off guard" by the question since the two hadn't discussed the workouts. He says he was "always taught that if you don't know exactly what you're answering about not to comment on it."
The second-round draft pick, competing with Sanchez for the starting job, says he hasn't officially been invited but is "more than willing to go there." Sanchez normally invites all offensive skill players.
NFL to limit bags brought into stadiums
Bring yourself to the game. Leave the cooler and backpack at home.
The NFL is tightening stadium security starting this preseason, limiting the size and type of bags fans can bring to the game.
The restrictions are designed to enhance security while speeding up entry into stadiums.
With the exception of medically necessary items, only clear plastic, vinyl or PVC bags no larger than 12 inches by 6 inches by 12 inches will be allowed. One-gallon clear plastic freezer bags also will be OK, as will small clear plastic bags approximately the size of someone's hand, with or without a handle or strap.
One of those clear bags and a small clutch bag will be allowed per person.
Binoculars, cameras, and smartphones also will be permitted.
Banned items will include purses larger than a clutch bag; coolers; briefcases; backpacks; fanny packs; cinch bags; seat cushions; luggage; computer bags; and camera bags or any bag larger than the permissible size.
The league is encouraging fans not to bring any bags to games.
"Our fans deserve to be in a safe and secure environment," Jeffrey Miller, the NFL's chief security officer, said Thursday. "Public safety is our top priority. This will make the job of checking items much more efficient and effective. We will be able to deliver a better and quicker experience at the gates and also provide a safer environment. We appreciate our fans' cooperation."
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