The 2021 regular season is just around the corner, and NFL Network has you covered with wall-to-wall training camp coverage each day starting at 10 a.m. ET. Follow along here for some of the best sights, sounds and moments from "Inside Training Camp Live" and around the NFL.
- Doug Pederson has close ties with Bears head coach Matt Nagy and backup quarterback Nick Foles. Is Pederson forging a connection with the franchise itself? The former Eagles coach attended Bears training camp Friday. At the very least, it was an opportunity to catch up with old partners. Foles, of course, led Philadelphia to a surprising Super Bowl triumph in the second year of Pederson's tenure. The following season, Foles again replaced an injured Carson Wentz and guided the Eagles past Nagy's Bears in the Wild Card Round. Nagy and Pederson go even further back. The two were assistants together under Andy Reid in Philadelphia and Kansas City for seven consecutive seasons (2009-15). With Nagy likely needing a big season to extend his stay in Chicago, perhaps he'll tap on his friend's shoulder for a little help.
- The Houston Texans had an even more famous guest attend training camp. NFL Network's James Palmer reported Olympic gymnast Simone Biles was on hand to watch her boyfriend, defensive back Jonathan Owens. Biles is just three days removed from winning bronze in the women's balance beam event. That increased her career total to seven Olympic medals between the 2016 Summer Games and this year's iteration in Tokyo. Owens is entering his third season with the Texans, where he's primarily worked on special teams.
- The Los Angeles Chargers have suffered a precipitous decline on defense over the past two years. Enter Brandon Staley, who transformed the Rams into the league's top total and scoring defense in his one year as their defensive coordinator. Adding safety Derwin James into the equation could be comparably valuable. The fourth-year safety has appeared in all of five games since earning All-Pro honors as a rookie in 2018. That includes missing all of the 2020 season with a torn meniscus. But he's back on the field now and looking a lot like his healthy self. General manager Tom Telesco was in the midst of singing his praises Friday on Inside Training Camp when James picked off a Justin Herbert pass to Keenan Allen. "It's pretty darn nice," Telesco told NFL Network's Omar Ruiz of James' return. "Last year, we could say next man up all we want. But in reality, when you lose Derwin, it was a pretty big hit for us. Not only his athletic talent but his leadership ability, the grit, the aggressiveness he plays with is just hard to (replace). … There's not a lot of safeties that can go out and cover a receiver, cover a tight end and the rush the passer. So, we're lucky to have him."
- Our own NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport had to make things right at Tennessee Titans practice with head coach Mike Vrabel. Vrabel had Rapoport tossed off the field recently for talking to offensive lineman Taylor Lewan. "We don't need anybody bothering the players. Let's not bother the players. There's a media time and obviously it's fine line having been where I come from," Vrabel joked, likely referring to his time as a player with the New England Patriots, who are known for being a wee bit standoffish with the media. "Having spoke to the media as a player and now that I get to see him every day. Just, we don't need Ian or anybody else [talking to players]." After Vrabel explained this to former teammate and NFL Network analyst Willie McGinest, McGinest brought over Rapoport, who owned up to his snafu. "I apologize. I take full responsibility for my actions. I really am sorry," Rapoport said. With splendid comedic timing and dry delivery, Vrabel immediately responded, "We accept your apology. Don't talk to the players during practice." All is well for Rapoport and Vrabel with an assist from McGinest.
- Julio Jones didn't take part in Titans practice on Friday due to a minor lower-leg injury, per Rapoport. Following a final season with the Atlanta Falcons in which he missed seven games and ahead of his first season with the Titans, Jones could be providing a glimpse of what's to come as his new team puts an emphasis on the wideout being healthy for Sundays. "I wouldn't be surprised if Julio Jones does this throughout the season – on again, off again practice – making sure not to put too much strain on him, because they know he's going to be out there on Sundays when it counts," Rapoport said. "And by all accounts, based on the people I've spoken with here, Julio Jones is exactly what they thought." And that's a seven-time Pro Bowler with nearly 13,000 receiving yards who's looking to show that his greatness extends beyond Atlanta.
- Lions fans better get used to seeing plenty of the Jared Goff- T.J. Hockenson connection throughout the upcoming season. Here's a shot of the QB firing a dart to his TE through the narrowest of windows.