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The Baltimore Ravens became the first team to report to training camp and held their first practice on Thursday ahead of their matchup with the Chicago Bears in the Hall of Fame Game in two weeks.
Ravens head coach John Harbaugh is taking it easy on some of his veteran players in hopes of easing into the grind of camp with an extra exhibition game to play before the start of the regular season. According to Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com Trey Hopkins Jersey , quarterback Joe Flacco, linebacker Terrell Suggs and safety Eric Weddle are among the group of veterans that won’t participate in a full practice until after the first weekend of camp.
Harbaugh wants the NFL to institute of a week prior to the start of practices that would allow for players to acclimate more seamlessly into the rigors of training camp.
“Acclimation is very important,” Harbaugh said. “If we could get a week instead of two days — not to push it back so we have a shorter time to get our guys ready for football — to put in front of training camp where we can get our guys ramped up for the collisions and hard movements, maybe we would avoid some of those first two- to three-day injuries that we get during training camp. That’s our goal this year.”
Veterans are being limited to individual drills and conditioning in the first week in hopes of avoiding serious injuries, such as the knee injuries sustained by tight end Crockett Gillmore and cornerback Maurice Canady on the second day of camp last year.
Training camps typically begin with veterans reporting for camp one day and practices beginning the next. A mandated acclimation period could potentially yield fewer injuries. However Chris Baker Jersey , coaches aren’t going to voluntarily give up practice time while their competitors are able to practice. It’s also no guarantee that injuries would be reduced.
But with the Ravens getting an extra week of practice due to their presence in the Hall of Fame game, it gives Harbaugh a chance to ease into a full workload more easily than in most seasons.
The NFL is joining an effort for nonprofit organizations to support healthy lifestyle programs for veterans and their families.
The league will contribute $2 million to the Bob Woodruff Foundation, which was established in 2006 after the television journalist was wounded by a roadside bomb while covering the war in Iraq.
The foundation has invested more than $55 million for programs that empower the military and their families. The NFL will work with the Woodruff group in creating a grant referral system for nonprofits.
Anna Isaacson, the NFL senior vice president of social responsibility, says the league is committed to ”evolving its work in the military landscape and funding programs that will make a tangible Levine Toilolo Jersey , long-lasting impact.”
One of those programs is Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, a nationwide nonprofit that provides rehabilitative fly fishing programs for disabled active duty personnel and for disabled veterans. It has 8,500 participants and another 3,500 volunteers who teach disabled veterans the intricacies of fly fishing and stages events locally, regionally and nationally.
”The BWF provides us with a grant each year that supports one of our largest programs for rod building Joe Mixon Jersey ,” says Todd Desgrosseilliers, president and CEO of Project Healing Waters who spent 31 years in the military and sustained traumatic head injuries in combat. ”We had over 900 veterans participate in it thanks to that. It’s part of a larger core of activities we have that include fly fishing education and outings.
”We meet on a regular basis, whether weekly or twice or month, with a minimum of once a month. This is a group of disabled veterans coming together with folks who care about them, and involved in an activity that is fun and therapeutic.”
An affiliation with the NFL is logical Logan Cooke Jersey , says Marshall Lauck, chief growth and marketing officer for the Bob Woodruff Foundation.
”The NFL is such a prominent American brand and one that has a longstanding commitment to the vet community,” Lauck says. ”This is not something new to them, given their history with supporting veterans and the active military. It’s a time of increased interest on their part in how most effectively they can support the veteran community (through nonprofits).
”Our expertise can be very helpful for the NFL in its goals in supporting the veteran communities.”