On the second day of training camp Friday Josey Jewell Jersey Broncos , Miami Dolphins middle linebacker Raekwon McMillan spent much of the morning dropping into pass coverage and chasing tight ends, running backs and even speedy receiver Kenny Stills.
It’ll be different Saturday, when the Dolphins put on pads for the first time and conduct contact drills.
”That’s what middle linebackers live for,” McMillan said with a grin, ”so I’m ready for all of that.”
Especially since McMillan hasn’t had much of a chance to make an impact in the NFL. The 2017 second-round draft pick from Ohio State won raves and a starting job in his first few months as a pro, but on his first play in the first exhibition game, he blew out his right knee covering a punt.
”First injury I’ve had ever – college, high school, little league,” he said.
The torn ACL sidelined McMillan for his entire rookie season. He participated in offseason drills this spring still mindful of his surgically repaired knee, but is now more confident it’ll hold up.
”On the field I don’t really think about it much at all,” he said. ”In OTAs I was still thinking about it. I was still worrying about whether it was strong enough Mitch Haniger Seattle Mariners Jersey , or if it was ready yet to take every snap. I finally feel like I’m back to where I was.”
That sounds good to coach Adam Gase, who considers his evaluation of McMillan incomplete only because the former Butkus Award finalist has yet to play in an NFL game.
”Everything else tells us he’s exactly what we drafted him to be,” Gase said.
A year ago, McMillan impressed coaches with his aptitude and leadership skills, and he thrived in contact drills.
He’s expected to bolster a defense that needs him after ranking fourth-worst in the league in points allowed last year. The upgrade parallels the return of quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who’s back after suffering a season-ending injury one week before McMillan was hurt.
The veteran QB and rookie linebacker rehabbed together, to the benefit of both.
”They did a good job of pushing each other,” Gase said. ”You hate to say it was good they had each other to go through that with, because it hurt us not to have them. But it was good for those two guys to have that other guy.”
McMillan said Tannehill helped him cope with the frustration and physical challenges of recovery.
”Throughout the whole rehab process, Ryan kind of walked me through what I was going to feel, how I was going to feel and some of the pains I was going to have, and how to get through them Authentic Leon Draisaitl Jersey ,” McMillan said.
He began to envision a career as an NFL middle linebacker when he first arrived at Ohio State and discussed his future with head coach Urban Meyer and an assistant coach.
”They sat me to the side and told me that was going to be the best position for me, for my future and for my family,” he said. ”So I took that and ran with it.”
On the night the Dolphins drafted McMillan, he cried tears of joy. Now, after an unlucky interruption, he’s back on track toward fulfilling his potential. Time to put on the pads.
鈥?Social activists say Minneapolis is turning into a playground for the rich during Super Bowl week, and critics are using the spectacle to rally against economic injustice such as the displacement of dozens of homeless people, and the police shootings of blacks that spawned player protests at some NFL games.Activists say the Super Bowl represents the pinnacle of corporate greed with its expensive ticket prices, lavish parties and exclusive dinners. They note that as wealthy football fans are celebrating, dozens of homeless people are displaced because their shelter was inside the secure area around U.S. Bank Stadium.“There is a full section of our community that sees the Super Bowl not as a party, but as a problem,” said Jess Sundin Authentic Troy Apke Jersey , an organizer for a coalition of community groups who are speaking out against racism and corporate greed.The Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee says it’s focused on putting on a safe and successful festival where all are welcome and everyone is respected. Super Bowl Live, one of the main attractions surrounding the game, is free and open to the public. The host committee has also used this opportunity to give out about $5 million in community grants 鈥?most to help children living in poverty and kids of color.“We have worked with local public safety officials and community stakeholders for more than two years to create a welcoming environment … and we invite all Minnesotans to come and share in the excitement,” host committee spokesman Michael Howard said in a statement.But local activists say the event makes the city inaccessible to most. Planned actions this week include a march and rally outside U.S. Bank Stadium before Sunday’s game to protest corporate greed and racism. The Minneapolis chapter of Black Lives Matter also plans rallies to demand renter’s rights, living wages and the renewal of a program to protect young immigrants from deportation.One group called Take a Knee Nation is holding a two-day conference against police violence.The Minneapolis area has seen some high-profile police shootings in recent years, including the 2016 killing of Philando Castile by a St. Anthony officer and the 2017 killing of Justine Damond in Minneapolis. Take a Knee Nation organizer Mel Reeves said the conference is designed to educate people about race, police violence and the right to protest.Mothers who have lost their children to police violence, including Castile’s mother Valerie, will speak. Student athletes who have suffered consequences for taking a knee will also be part of the conference.Reeves said the event is an outgrowth of what former San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick started last season when he knelt during the national anthem to bring more attention to the killings of black men by police officers. The protests spread this season after Kaepernick was unable to sign on with another team.Reeves said his group wants police who harm citizens to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and he called for all police shooting cases nationwide to be re-opened.“One of these days we are going to have a more equitable society,” Reeves said. “It’s going to happen. But you sure won’t get it if you don’t ask for it.”The Take a Knee Nation conference will be held Saturday and Sunday and end with a rally outside U.S. Bank Stadium.The Minneapolis area has a history of vigorous protests, including some that have shut down interstates in the wake of Castile’s shooting. While community organizers say they aren’t planning any disruptions during Super Bowl week Ravens Hayden Hurst Jersey , Miski Noor of the Minneapolis chapter of Black Lives Matter said “we’re not discouraging anyone from pursuing a different way forward.”Noor said the Super Bowl has put marginalized communities in danger and highlights the militarization of police departments.“They’re calling it a national security event,” Noor said. “It’s a national security crisis that they created without our consent.”While activists demand an end to police violence, Sundin said the coalition is also calling for economic justice, noting that Super Bowl ticket holders will be the only riders allowed to use the light rail on game day for security purposes. Local riders are instead being offered free bus service.“We don’t want our cities to be playgrounds for billionaires,” Sundin said.Some activists are also calling for changes to team names that some find offensive.Clyde Bellecourt, co-founder of the American Indian Movement, was among those who protested the 1992 Super Bowl in Minneapolis, when the Washington Redskins beat the Buffalo Bills. He is still calling for the Redskins name to be changed.His group plans to rally Thursday outside an invite-only dinner for NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the league’s other team owners. He’ll also be part of Sunday’s rallies.“We always hope that we have a great peaceful demonstration to educate people, but we’re not backing down. We’re not going to let anybody push us around,” Bellecourt said. “The whole world is going to be watching what happens here on Super Bowl day … there can never be a better time to do what we’re doing.”.