Floyd misses first day of training camp
BOURBONNAIS -- There were more than a few moments of consternation when first-round draft pick Leonard Floyd left the field Wednesday morning on a golf cart, less than an hour into the Bears' first practice of training camp.
Would the rookie linebacker suffer the same fate as last year's No. 1 draft pick Kevin White, who missed his entire rookie season with stress fractures in his left shin?
Not to worry. Floyd simply succumbed to an illness that had affected him for the previous couple days, what he called "a little stomach bug," and he expects to be back on the field Friday, as he explained at lunch.
"I'm feeling good right now," he said. "I've been a little under the weather the past couple of days, and the trainers knew that. They told me to go out and give it a shot today and then they shut me down. I was begging them to let me go back out there."
It was just one practice, the first of two non-padded workouts to start camp, but Floyd had his reasons for wanting to get his work in.
"I knew everybody was excited about me being out there, and I didn't want to let anybody down," he said. "I was really mad at the trainers for not letting me go back out there. I'm looking forward to going back out there (Friday) and attacking the day.
"I wasn't fatigued, more just feeling bad."
Linebacker Roy Robertson-Harris and offensive lineman Nick Becton also left practice early with illnesses, and tight end Khari Lee suffered a sprained shoulder.
Long comes up lame:
Of much greater concern was the left calf injury suffered by three-time Pro Bowl offensive lineman Kyle Long near the end of Thursday's practice.
Long appeared a short while later at lunch wearing a walking boot, an indication that the injury might be serious, or at least require some missed practices, but he did not address his injury. Long is by far the most accomplished member of an offensive line in transition. None of the five players who started the 2015 season opener will man the same positions this year, and Long is the only returning member of the group. He played right tackle last season but this year has moved back to right guard, where he played his first two seasons and where he is one of the top players in the league.
Bears coach John Fox did not mention Long's injury after practice when he discussed the other injured players.
Worth the wait:
On the first day of training camp, wide receiver Kevin White did something he couldn't do all of last year -- he practiced.
The 2015 first-round pick (seventh overall) showed no ill effects from last year's surgery for shin splints in his left leg, as he sprinted effortlessly, cut sharply, elevated with ease and caught passes in stride.
"All smiles," the 6-foot-3, 216-pound White said. "I was so excited; kind of like a kid in the candy store. Last year I was very, very frustrated, a lot of stress. And this year I'm out there having fun and I'm able to contribute."
Akiem Hicks is 6-feet-5 and 336 pounds, but it's more than just sheer size that convinced the Bears to pursue him in free agency and install him as their cornerstone at left end in the 3-4 base defense.
Even though Thursday's opening practice of training camp was without shoulder pads, Hicks' performance was noteworthy.
"He's explosive and big," coach John Fox said. "Those are the attributes that help when you match up. I've been very impressed. I think he came back in great shape. He made a few hustle plays (Thursday) that caught my eye."
Short and sweet:
Wide receiver Alshon Jeffery is a man of very few words, so his terse response to not getting a long-term deal done in the off-season wasn't surprising.
"It wasn't difficult," the 2014 Pro Bowl pick said. "I'm here. I'm playing football. I've got a contract. I'm blessed."
Jeffery is playing for the franchise tag of $14.599 million for the 2016 season, and he's eligible for free agency again next year.
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