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NFL: Ravens, Bears in preseason opener

Ray Lewis and Brian Urlacher, two of the NFL’s greatest linebackers, enter the Pro Football Hall of Fame this week. When their teams meet in Thursday night’s preseason opener at Canton, Ohio, the game could very well honor them by being a defensive battle.

On one hand, the Chicago Bears are installing a new offense under first-year coach Matt Nagy. On the other side, few if any of the Baltimore Ravens’ starters at the offensive skill positions are likely to get much action.

So if this winds up 10-9 or something similar, well, the smiles on the faces of Lewis and Urlacher might get a bit broader.

Nagy has a second-year quarterback, Mitchell Trubisky, who will be taking his first major steps running the new scheme Nagy brought from Kansas City.

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As for the Ravens, don’t look for Joe Flacco in this one. The Hall of Fame game is an extra exhibition outing for the participants, and provides an opportunity for Baltimore coach John Harbaugh and his staff to look at first-round draft pick Lamar Jackson and veteran Robert Griffin III, who is attempting a comeback after not playing last year.

Cowboys’ Gregory is activated

The Dallas Cowboys have activated defensive end Randy Gregory off the non-football injury list after a year away from football on a substance-abuse suspension.

Gregory has played in just two of the last 32 regular-season games because of multiple suspensions. Commissioner Roger Goodell reinstated him not long before the Cowboys reported to training camp in California.

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The 25-year-old was banned for the first four games of 2016 before a 10-game suspension was announced while he served the first penalty. Gregory was suspended indefinitely after getting his first career sack in the final game of the 2016 regular season.

Early retirement

Jack Mewhort kept trying to play through knee pain. Eventually, the 26-year-old offensive lineman simply couldn’t any more.

After the Indianapolis Colts gave him a second chance last spring, Mewhort abruptly announced he was retiring Wednesday.

Mewhort came to Indianapolis as a second-round draft pick in 2014, billed as part of the long-term solution to protecting quarterback Andrew Luck. The devastating knee injuries began in 2016.

He missed six of the last 10 games that season and all but five games in 2017, finishing both seasons on injured reserve. Even when he did play, he was rarely at full strength.

Wentz takes it slow

Carson Wentz is trusting the process.

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The Philadelphia Eagles quarterback didn’t participate in 11-on-11 drills for the third straight practice for precautionary reasons after taking part the first three days.

Coach Doug Pederson emphasized that Wentz hasn’t suffered any setbacks. He said he’s encouraged by Wentz’s recovery from surgery to repair a torn left ACL last December. Wentz again was on the field for the seven-on-seven portion of practice.

Saints’ additions

Veteran receivers Brandon Tate and Michael Floyd joined practice at New Orleans Saints training camp bolstering a receiver corps thinned by injuries and adding to the mix of players competing in the return game.

New Orleans also has activated veteran tight end Michael Hoomanawanui, who began training camp on the physically unable to perform list.


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