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    Stephon Gilmore waited patiently to find the right team in free agency. It looks as if he found the perfect landing spot. The 2019 NFL Defensive Player of the Year has looked like his old self through the first two weeks of practice — blanketing receivers, breaking up passes, even picking off Matt Ryan with an acrobatic play Sunday. He's turning heads and making the Colts feel as if they got a bargain with the 31-year-old cornerback.

      Atlanta Falcons left guard Jaylen Mayfield has returned to practice after missing time with a lower back injury. It’s not known if Mayfield will be able to play Friday night in the first preseason game at Detroit. Mayfield started all but one game a year ago. He had missed the two previous practices before turning Monday. Mayfield was a third-round draft pick in 2021 after playing tackle in college. He moved to guard with the Falcons but struggled as a rookie. Mayfield has been working with the second team behind newcomer Elijah Wilkinson in training camp.

        More than a decade has passed since the Green Bay Packers had a defense that could be described as elite. This could be the year that changes. Reigning MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers conceded at the start of training camp that the offense could take its lumps early as it faces a defense that didn’t allow a single touchdown in a 13-10 NFC divisional playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers. That’s pretty much been the case. The defense's performance in training camp has raised hopes it can build off the momentum it established in the postseason.

          The Carolina Panthers’ quarterback competition remains unsettled two weeks into training camp. Coach Matt Rhule said Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold have had good days, but he's not ready to declare a starter. Rhule has said that decision could come after the team’s second preseason game against the New England Patriots on Aug. 19. Mayfield and Darnold continue to split reps at Wofford College in the meantime as the Panthers work through the process.

            With the New York Giants ramping up practices in the middle of a heat advisory days before their first preseason game, it was only a matter of time before tempers flared. In a span a four plays Monday, running back Saquon Barkley plowed over cornerback Aaron Robinson and linebacker Tae Crowder got into it with running back Antonio Williams. The main attraction was starting center Jon Feliciano seemingly kneeing Crowder on an ensuing play and then exchanging punches with linebacker Cam Brown. The incidents forced coach Brian Daboll to stop practice for five minutes and address the team.

              Detroit Lions rookie offensive tackle Zein Obeid has retired, the fourth player to end his career with the team in two months. Lions coach Dan Campbell said Monday that Kendall Lamm was signed to fill Obeid’s roster spot. Obeid, who played at Ferris State, was an undrafted rookie as were recent retirees Jermaine Waller, a defensive back from Virginia Tech, and Corey Sutton, a former Appalachian State receiver. Defensive tackle John Penisini retired in late July after starting 12 games as a sixth-round pick in 2020 and playing in 16 games as a reserve last year.


              The injury to New York Jets offensive tackle Mekhi Becton’s surgically repaired right knee is more serious than initially believed after he left early in practice. A person with direct knowledge of the injury told The Associated Press that Becton will continue to have tests on the knee, and the injury is unrelated to the one that sidelined him for almost all of last season. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the team did not announce details on the injury. Coach Robert Saleh said preliminary tests indicated Becton's knee was stable but an MRI apparently showed otherwise.

              Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ use of the hallucinogenic drink ayahuasca during an offseason retreat isn’t considered a violation of the NFL’s drug policy. Rodgers discussed on “The Aubrey Marcus Podcast” last week how he went on an ayahuasca retreat to Peru in 2020. Ayahuasca is defined as a psychoactive beverage native to South America and is often used for religious, ritualistic or medicinal purposes. NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy says it wouldn’t have triggered a positive test result on either the substance abuse or performance-enhancing substance policies collectively bargained by the NFL and its players’ association.

              Matt Judon won over his New England Patriots teammates and the fanbase last season with his outsized personality and ability to disrupt opposing quarterbacks. A year after having a career-best 12 1/2 sacks and providing the Patriots with plenty of return on their four-year, $56 million investment, Judon says he's feeling even more at home in New England than he initially did after arriving in free agency. Coach Bill Belichick says Judon remains anxious to learn in Year 2 and he is expected to again be part of a defense looking to be much better stopping the run.

              Micah Parsons is the reigning NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year because the Dallas Cowboys linebacker excels at rushing the passer. The Cowboys want to move their versatile young star around as they face the challenge of helping him improve on a remarkable debut. His 13-sack performance last season is among the best in league history at his position. Parsons believes he can play all over the field, offense included. The Cowboys want to keep fueling that competitive desire in their 2021 first-round pick.

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