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Chicago Bears Q&A: What will get a deal done with Roquan Smith? What are the chances Teven Jenkins wins the right guard job?

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The Chicago Bears are hitting the road for their second preseason game Thursday night against the Seattle Seahawks.

But Brad Biggs’ weekly Bears mailbag leads off — again — with a player who won’t be in uniform, disgruntled linebacker Roquan Smith.

Let’s cut through the drama of the Roquan Smith situation. What really matters right now and how will a deal to keep him with the Bears be done? — Frank, Pittsburgh

What fun would cutting through the drama be? We need the knife of a master chef to slice our way through this. When you boil down this situation, the Bears hold the most leverage and the leverage that really counts. They have Smith under contract this season and also have the franchise tag available for 2023. Smith’s only recourse once the season begins is to withhold his services, and that’s when he would start losing money. He’s not missing out on paychecks now and I doubt the Bears are issuing any fines because that wouldn’t be a productive way to get a deal done with their star linebacker.

If deadlines spur action, the season opener on Sept. 11 is the date to watch. Obviously Smith needs to be on the practice field before then to show the coaches he’s ready to roll. Coach Matt Eberflus indicated that Smith will travel with the team to Seattle for Thursday’s preseason game and that Smith remains “engaged.” That’s a positive sign amid some head-scratching developments, such as a non-NFLPA-certified representative trying to gauge trade interest with other teams on Smith’s behalf. We’ll see which direction this heads, but I believe the Bears hold the upper hand in this negotiation.

Is Teven Jenkins going to wind up winning the right guard job? — Chris V., Palos Heights

The door is open for Jenkins to push for the job. He lined up with the first team at right guard in practice Tuesday, which indicates there’s a good chance he starts Thursday night in Seattle. Jenkins had a rough go in one-on-one pass-rush drills from my vantage point, but it’s a new position and he has to settle in. Action happens much quicker on the inside, so it might take some time for him to adjust.

Michael Schofield was signed before training camp to a one-year contract for the minimum, so it makes sense for the Bears to evaluate a younger player with the ability to improve. I don’t know if the Bears did Jenkins any favors by waiting this long to slide him inside, but he needs to prove he’s a good fit as the team searches for its best five linemen.

I’ve heard the Bears only get a second-round pick for Roquan Smith. Why not force his hand this year by saying no, just go play, but we’ll let you walk out the door next year? Then the Bears get a compensatory pick anyway. Is anyone saying that in the media? Isn’t that how it would work? — Ned R.

I assume you’re saying the Bears might get only a second-round pick in return if they were to trade Smith. You’re probably not far off. I don’t think a team would surrender a first-round pick for a linebacker, especially one it would have to give a big contract in order to keep. So my guess is they might get a second-round pick and perhaps be able to haggle for a little more — if they explored trading him.

Smith would factor into the equation for 2024 compensatory draft picks, but keep in mind that formula measures a team’s net gains and losses in free agency. So if the Bears signed a bunch of free agents — and signed one to a huge contract — it’s not a given general manager Ryan Poles would add a plum third-round compensatory pick when all was said and done. I don’t think the Bears are examining the Smith situation in terms of a future compensatory pick.

If they’re playing the what-if game looking far down the road, maybe they would use the franchise tag on him after this season and then try to trade him. That might be a better way of getting better value for Smith if contract talks fall apart and they opt to keep him for the 2022 season.

Have you seen that the “HITS” mentality applies to not only players but coaches and personnel? For example, I get the impression that all coaches are expected to pay close attention to details and provide immediate feedback. No “loafing” there either? — @bearingdowngirl

No loafing when the coaches have to grade practice film each day. Matt Eberflus has talked at length about his system to grade everything, so that means the coaches are doing homework to produce those grades on a daily basis. It’s a little more labor-intensive than a teacher who has to grade maybe a couple of quizzes and one test a month — and I’m not saying teachers don’t have an overabundance of work too.

Does Lamar Jackson have a shot to be the outside cornerback across from Jaylon Johnson strictly due to him being healthy unlike Kindle Vildor and Duke Shelley? — @dabears12316244

Vildor returned to practice this week, a good sign for him as he has a chance to impress this coaching staff. I don’t see Jackson as a viable starting option in Week 1 unless more injuries hit the secondary. However, he has taken advantage of chances to be the “next man up” throughout training camp, and that might give him a shot to make the 53-man roster. He has good size at 6-foot-2, 208 pounds, and he got a little experience in 2020 with the New York Jets. The thing to keep an eye on here is the health of other players such as Shelley, Tavon Young, Thomas Graham Jr. and other cornerbacks who have been dinged up.

Any clues from the club on how much the starters will play against the Seahawks on Thursday night? — @jazz_trpt

My advice is to be settled in for the 7 p.m. kickoff because if you’re late, you might miss them. Matt Eberflus said the plan is for most starters to play only six to 10 snaps or perhaps two series. He said the concern is the five-day turnaround between games, and he wants to keep his players healthy and fresh.

The five-day turnaround isn’t unprecedented in the preseason for the Bears. They had a couple of recent instances (2017 and 2018) with five days between the third and fourth preseason games. That wasn’t such a big deal as teams weren’t playing any starters in the final preseason game. However, in 2012 the Bears had a home preseason game against Washington on Aug. 22 followed by a road game against the New York Giants on Aug. 27, then one more in Cleveland on Sept. 1. That was three games in 11 days.

Why did the Bears run such a vanilla offense in the preseason game against the Chiefs? The usual explanation is that teams keep most of their offense under lock and key to limit other teams from putting together a defensive game plan during the regular season. But it is ridiculous to think other teams won’t game plan for Justin Fields to move around the pocket or run plays from a pistol formation. More importantly, the Bears need to open up the playbook during preseason to work out problems and see what works. Thoughts? — Jim A., Plymouth, Minn.

For starters, we’re talking about a really limited sample size. The offensive starters were in the game for three series and 18 snaps. What you saw is some core stuff in the offense. The offensive linemen need to practice some of the bread-and-butter run plays that offensive coordinator Luke Getsy will be calling. We saw Fields identify a pressure on the nice throw to the outside to wide receiver Tajae Sharpe.

Hate to break it to you, but it doesn’t sound like you’ll see much action from the starters Thursday night in Seattle. Matt Eberflus is concerned about overworking the players in a short week with a trip across the country, so starters might be on the field for 10 snaps or fewer. The preseason is an opportunity to work on core plays the Bears will be using, basic stuff in the playbook. It’s hard to “open up the playbook” when you have only 18 snaps and a handful are deep in your own end.

How many offensive linemen do the Bears carry on the roster into the regular season given Lucas Patrick might not be ready until Week 1? — @thevenerablev

Typically teams carry nine offensive linemen on the 53-man roster, and usually only seven are active on game days. The problem with carrying more than nine linemen is they don’t provide any value or flexibility for the special teams coordinator. Barring another injury on the offensive line, I figure the Bears will have nine. That would leave perhaps four slots on the practice squad for offensive linemen.

In your opinion, who do you think the Bears choose to become WR2 and WR3 behind Darnell Mooney? — @carolinabearfan

I would have put Byron Pringle in that mix before he was sidelined with a quadriceps injury. That’s based on the investment in him and his experience in the league. He still probably falls in that category, and based on usage in training camp, you have to think Equanimeous St. Brown has a good chance to get a lot of reps at the start of the season. Figure rookie Velus Jones works his way into the mix as well.

Deandre Houston-Carson has survived three Bears coaching staffs and a series of one-year contracts. Does he make the roster? — @stephenclapp1

I would be stunned if Houston-Carson isn’t on the 53-man roster. He’s the most experienced and best special teams player on the roster. If the Bears assign captains by unit, he has to be the leading candidate to have that designation for special teams. Houston-Carson also can fill in at safety or nickel back on defense. He signed for a guaranteed $1.77 million this season. The new staff was wise to bring him back.

Any updates on the new director of pro personnel and director of college scouting? — @georgeschimmel

It appears the Bears won’t have anyone with those titles after beefing up the front office under new general manager Ryan Poles. They hired Ian Cunningham as assistant GM, a title they haven’t handed out in some time. Instead of having a director of pro personnel, they have co-directors of player personnel in Jeff King and Trey Koziol. That makes it look like Cunningham, King and Koziol will divide and conquer when it comes to overseeing both pro and college scouting. Chris White has the title of assistant director of pro scouting and Breck Ackley is the assistant director of college scouting, so the Bears have forgone the director titles over those two silos in order to have co-directors of player personnel.

Who are the cornerbacks who have stood out to you? Who has disappointed? And which do you predict to make the roster? — @bearsfan1235

Jaylon Johnson has stood out since training camp opened, and that should surprise no one. Rookie Kyler Gordon has flashed when he has been on the field, and it will be interesting to see how he looks Thursday night in Seattle. Players worth attention in the preseason based on how much time they have had on the field in training camp include Lamar Jackson and undrafted rookie Jaylon Jones, who has been one of the few consistently healthy bodies at the nickel position. It’s disappointing that veteran Tavon Young has been injured for most of camp, but that sort of defines his NFL career. He has had trouble staying on the field. We should see more preseason action before we start predicting who makes it.

After watching one preseason game, am I seeing things through rose-colored glasses when I say the Bears look like a team that hustles, tackles, calls smart offensive plays and has five more wins in them than last year’s team? — @huskies714

Rose-colored? Those might be the finest navy-and-orange-tinted glasses you can find. Five more victories would make this an 11-6 team. If you have that much conviction, you should scoot over to the sportsbook and make a tidy wager because I’m sure the odds on such a season would have a handsome payoff.

I expect the Bears to be in the bottom quarter of the league on offense and, if everything goes well, maybe the middle of the pack on defense. Hustle, sure tackling and smart offensive play calling are hallmarks of good teams, and the Bears may be better in each category this season. I don’t think I’m being pessimistic by saying I don’t see them being five games better than they were in 2021.

Any chance linebacker Jack Sanborn makes the 53-man roster? How impressed were you with his performance on Saturday? — @just_acy

The undrafted rookie from Wisconsin maximized his opportunities in the preseason opener against the Kansas City Chiefs when he made five tackles, one for a loss, and had an interception, a fumble recovery and two tackles on special teams. Plenty of roster predictions have turned out very wrong based on one preseason game, but Sanborn certainly caught everyone’s attention. If he continues to be in the right place at the right time, he has a chance to make this team as a reserve with an eye toward special teams.

What is the trade value of Roquan Smith? If the Bears get a high second-round pick, I’m taking it. How about you? — @themaxconnor1

It’s hard to say what Smith’s value on the trade market would be because this isn’t the ideal time of year to be dealing a high-priced player. It’s much easier to make moves like this in March or April. I have one problem with the idea of getting a “high” second-round pick. I don’t see a team that expects to struggle in 2022 — and therefore would be picking near the top of Round 2 — trading for an off-ball linebacker. Why would a team that isn’t going to have a great season fork over a valuable draft pick and presumably then pay Smith what he wants when it knows it has many missing pieces on the roster?

The Bears would have a better chance, if Ryan Poles decides to try to trade Smith, of finding a team that believes it is a contender. That would mean potentially getting a low second-round pick in return. That’s why I’ve said I could see the Bears dealing Smith for a second-rounder and then haggling over another, later-round draft pick. Of course, that’s only if the Bears head down that path. We’re being a little premature because, at least publicly, Poles has shown no desire to consider a trade.

One of the more important but underrated components of Justin Fields’ development this year will be how quickly on average he gets rid of the ball. That was a knock on him coming out of college and was also true last year. He has a longer windup than average and if he’s not decisive with his reads, that can lead to sacks. Though he had a couple really nice throws in the first preseason game, his average was 3.4 seconds, which was similar to last year. Have you seen improvement in practice thus far and is this a point of emphasis with Luke Getsy? — Nick V., Glenview

It’s a big point of emphasis for the Bears, no question about it. They want Fields to operate more efficiently in the pocket and have the ball come out on time. That being said, I want to point out one thing. Fields’ rare athletic ability and movement skills will naturally lead to having more time to throw. He can extend plays with his legs better than the vast majority of quarterbacks by eluding defenders and at times fleeing the pocket. So you have to keep in mind that his time always will be skewed by what is actually a positive in his game.

To take major steps forward, he has to be able to read plays quicker in the pocket and deliver the ball on time, and we’ve seen him scramble more in training camp than I believe the coaching staff would like. Pulling the ball down and escaping the pocket can lead to some huge off-schedule plays. It also can result in him missing opportunities in the coverage.

“It’s just part of who we are and part of our makeup as an offense that we have our progression, we have our footwork and then we have the expectation of the play,” quarterbacks coach Andrew Janocko said. “So what are we trying to get out of this play? What is the timing? What is everything around us? What’s this telling us, what’s that telling us? Going through your progression, going through your footwork, it’s just something we’re always emphasizing. That’s a constant emphasis.”

It’s also an emphasis for the other 10 players on offense. For a well-timed throw to happen, the protection has to be on point and the receiver has to be where he is supposed to be — and when — with hopefully a window for Fields to complete a throw.

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Naperville City Council passes ban on commercial sale of assault rifles – NBC Chicago

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Naperville City Council Passes Ban On Commercial Sale Of Assault Rifles - Nbc Chicago

Just before 1:30 a.m. Wednesday morning — after several hours of heated discussion — Naperville City Council, by an 8-to-1 margin, passed an ordinance banning the commercial sale of high-capacity assault rifles and magazines in city ​​limits.

Residents and business owners thronged City Hall in the western suburbs from Tuesday evening through Wednesday morning, with more than 130 people from both sides of the issue registering to speak.

“This common sense ordinance represents an important step in helping us live in peace and without fear,” said a woman who registered to speak, supporting the proposal.

But not everyone shared his view.

“This order will not allow me and other women access to the tools needed to defend our families in our own homes,” another resident said.

The order comes about six weeks after a suspected shooter killed seven people and injured more than 40 others with an assault rifle during a July 4 parade in Highland Park – which also has a municipal firearms ban. assault – about 45 miles away from Naperville.

The suspect, who has pleaded not guilty to more than 100 charges against him, legally bought the gun in 2020 after obtaining a gun owner’s identification card in 2019 with the help of sponsorship from his dad.

While dozens of people said the order was a step in the right direction, Robert Bevis, the owner of one of Naperville’s two gun stores, opposed it.

“It will bankrupt me – no doubt,” Bevis said. “Just losing the AR-15 – as a product we sell – would put me out of business.”

“It’s a program, its theatre, its smoke and its mirrors,” Bevis continued. “It’s not a way to stop crime or prevent a bad guy from getting a gun.”

Bevis, owner of Law Weapons and Supply, said he plans to take legal action against the city of Naperville.

NBC Chicago

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The best summer recipe is assembled, not cooked

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Ingredients To Make A Shrimp Salad, In New York, On July 20, 2022. Against The Sweet Melon, The Grilled Shrimp Seems Almost Savory. Food Stylist: Simon Andrews. (Christopher Testani/The New York Times)

Much of the so-called cooking I do in summer is just assembling. Slice up whatever produce is on hand, add something creamy or salty for texture and tang, then dress it all with olive oil and a handful of herbs. Total time spent: 20 minutes. Pleasure received: an entire evening’s worth. Repeat for the whole month of August.

For hot-weather meals such as these, the classics never fail. Tomatoes with mozzarella, basil, maybe a few peaches; cucumbers with red onions, olives or capers; melon with feta and a few leaves of mint.

When the heat becomes especially oppressive, my family is happy to eat one of these light salads for dinner and call it a night. Add a little bread to catch the juices, and pair it with a spritz or cold white wine to round out the meal.

But there are nights when something more substantial is required — maybe people are coming over, or the temperature dropped enough to restore our appetites.

My current strategy for turning almost any summer salad into a robust meal is to throw some quickly grilled or broiled shrimp on top. This works with tomatoes and mozzarella, and it works with cucumbers and onions. But it’s especially wonderful with melon and feta in this speedy, weeknight-friendly recipe.

Often when I cook shrimp, they’re the sweetest, mellowest elements on the plate, sharpened by the likes of garlic and lemon. But here, next to the melon, they taste more savory, their briny succulence and some char from the grill a contrast to the juicy cubes of melon (any kind will do: watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew or a combination for the more colorful salad).

Chunks of creamy, pungent feta liven the whole thing up. Here’s a tip for using feta. Taste it right out of the package; if it’s too salty and intense, let it soak in some fresh water for an hour or two. This really tones it down.

There aren’t a lot of other ingredients here, just slivers of chile for heat, the grated zest and juice of a couple of floral-scented limes for acidity and some toasted coriander for crunch. It’s a simple yet powerful mix.

And if applying heat to anything just seems out of the question, you can substitute precooked shrimp here, marinating them in the chile-lime mixture for a half-hour or so. It’s an assembled summer dinner, in a very deluxe way.

GRILLED SHRIMP SALAD WITH MELON AND FETA

Ingredients to make a shrimp salad. Against the sweet melon, the grilled shrimp seems almost savory. Food Stylist: Simon Andrews. (Christopher Testani/The New York Times)

Yield: 4 servings

Total time: 30 minutes

  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 2 limes
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 Fresno chile, serrano or other fresh chile pepper, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound cleaned extra-large shrimp
  • 1 pound cubed melon (about 4 cups; any kind, or a combination)
  • 1 small cucumber, preferably Persian or kirby, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion or shallot
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta
  • 1/2 cup chopped soft herbs, such as mint, basil or cilantro, plus more for garnish

1. Light a charcoal or gas grill or heat the broiler. Make the fire as hot as it will get, and if using a broiler, put the rack close to the heat source.

2. While the grill heats up, lightly crack the coriander seeds in a mortar and pestle, or with the side of a knife on a cutting board. (Careful: They can roll around.) Put them in a small dry skillet over medium heat and toast, shaking the pan once or twice until fragrant, 1 to 3 minutes. Pour into a small bowl.

3. Using a Microplane or other grater, grate zest from both limes straight into the bowl with coriander. Grate in the garlic (no need to wash the grater in between), then add the chile and a large pinch of salt and pepper. Whisk in oil.

4. Pat shrimp dry, then transfer to a medium bowl and season with a pinch each salt and black pepper. Give the coriander mixture a stir, then pour half of it over the shrimp, reserving the rest for the salad. Toss shrimp to coat and set aside while preparing the other ingredients.

5. Cut the zested limes in half, squeeze out 2 tablespoons juice and whisk into the coriander mixture to make a dressing. Cut leftover lime into wedges.

6. Arrange the shrimp in a grill basket or on skewers (or just on a sheet pan if broiling), and grill or broil shrimp until well browned on one side, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip and cook until just opaque and cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the shrimp to a plate and squeeze a wedge of lime all over.

7. In a large bowl, combine melon, cucumber, onion, feta and herbs. Pour in coriander dressing and toss to combine. Taste, and add more salt or lime juice to taste. Top melon salad with grilled shrimp and more herbs, if you’d like.

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Woman dies after being hit by Delhi fire engine: police

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Woman Dies After Being Hit By Delhi Fire Engine: Police

The incident happened as Ramwati was traveling to a factory in Mundka for work.

New Delhi:

A 40-year-old woman was killed after being hit by a Delhi fire engine returning from attending a fire call on Wednesday morning in the Raj Park area outside Delhi, police said.

The victim, Ramwati, lived in Mangolpuri and worked in a factory in Mundka, they said.

The incident happened when Ramwati was on his way to a factory in Mundka for work, police said.

Deputy Police Commissioner (External) Sameer Sharma said the matter was reported at around 9.30am at Raj Park Police Station.

He said Ramwati would have been lying under the rear tire of the truck.

The offending vehicle belongs to Mangolpuri Phase 2 Fire Station and the driver has been identified as Pardeep. The vehicle was arriving after responding to a call in the Prem Nager area, he said.

SHO Raj Park and staff are at the scene with the crime squad, police said, adding that further investigation is ongoing.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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Finland to reduce number of tourist visas for Russians, an issue that divides the EU

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Finland To Reduce Number Of Tourist Visas For Russians, An Issue That Divides The Eu

“Tourist visas are not going to stop completely, but their number will decrease significantly,” Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said on August 16. Helsinki intends, from September 1, to limit the number of visas issued to Russian tourists to 10% of the current volume.

As AFP reports, the number of Russian tourists traveling to Finland has steadily increased after Russia lifted Covid-19 travel restrictions in mid-July. According to Pekka Haavisto, the Finnish authorities currently process nearly 1,000 visa applications per day from Russia.

Helsinki wants to end the European visa facilitation agreement with Russia

The head of Finnish diplomacy announced that the opening hours allocated to the application for tourist visas would, for example, be reduced, in order to cause a drop in the number of applications. He assured that priority would be “from now on given to other types of visas: visits to relatives, family contacts, work, studies”.

In addition, Helsinki pleads in favor of stopping the European visa facilitation agreement with Russia, which could increase the price of tourist visas from 35 to 80 euros. The country plans to raise the issue at the next meeting of EU foreign ministers scheduled in the Czech Republic on August 30.

Still according to AFP, Finland also intends to examine the establishment of a specific category of humanitarian visa, which does not currently exist in the country.

Europe divided over sanctioning Russian tourists

The idea of ​​sanctioning Russian tourists in reaction to the military conflict in Ukraine where Russia is one of the stakeholders is currently generating disagreements between European countries. At the beginning of the week in Oslo, the Nordic countries and Germany indeed showed divisions on this subject.

“Ordinary Russians did not start the war, but at the same time we have to understand that they support the war,” Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin said after a meeting between leaders Nordic and German governments. “It is not fair that Russian citizens can enter Europe, the Schengen area, be tourists[…] while Russia is killing people in Ukraine,” she also said.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, for his part, has expressed reservations about such a measure. “It was an important decision on our part to impose sanctions against those who are responsible for the war, against many oligarchs and those who profit financially and economically from the Putin regime,” he argued, continuing “We will continue to do so, but I think it’s not the Russian people’s war, it’s Putin’s war.”

While Sweden has explained that it has no firm position on the issue for the time being, Denmark has warned against a shake-up of European unity on the Ukrainian file.

Since the start of hostilities in Ukraine, the EU has adopted six sets of sanctions against Moscow, including the gradual cessation of its purchases of coal and oil. It has also added more than a thousand Russians to its blacklist of people banned from entering, and restricted the issuance of short-stay visas for officials linked to the Russian government.

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Ravens Q&A: Rookie safety Kyle Hamilton on Drake’s latest album, his viral moment, handling NFL spotlight and more

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Ravens Q&Amp;A: Rookie Safety Kyle Hamilton On Drake’s Latest Album, His Viral Moment, Handling Nfl Spotlight And More

After the Ravens concluded practice Monday, a group of kids called for rookie safety Kyle Hamilton, asking him to sign their posters.

“I have to do some media stuff first,” Hamilton, a first-round draft pick in April, told them.

Wide receiver James Proche II, however, stepped in and said, “You have 30 seconds.” So, Hamilton walked over and made those kids’ days.

For the former Notre Dame standout, those are the moments he treasures. He knows somewhere in the bleachers at the team’s facility in Owings Mills could be the next Kyle Hamilton, and he would feel bad if he walked away.

Since Hamilton arrived in Baltimore, he has kept a level-headed, self-effacing mindset that has helped him deal with the pressure that comes with being one of the top players in his draft class while also facing criticism on social media.

Hamilton recently sat down with The Baltimore Sun to talk about handling the spotlight, adjusting to a new defense, having a viral moment during last month’s stadium practice, his favorite rapper and playing golf.

Editor’s note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

I know you are a big Drake fan, so what did you think of his last album, “Honestly, Nevermind?”

I thought it was good. I don’t think it was his best album, but it wasn’t a bad album. It was a vibe. It was an acquired taste, I would say. He kind of went outside the box, but I appreciated it.

Do you think the album received too much hate?

At that point, it’s like [NBA star] LeBron [James]. If you are successful so often, people [will] find a reason to hate you.

If you had to pick your favorite Drake song, what would it be?

I got like three. I’m going to go with “Tuscan Leather,” “Marvins Room” and “Pipe Down.”

I’ve heard the rookies have to sing in front of everybody. Have you sung already?

I have not, but I already know which song I’m going to sing.

Do you want to share it or keep it a secret?

Umm, I will keep it a secret.

Are you looking forward to that?

Yeah, because I think it’s something everybody has to go through, and I’m excited to be the next one.

You went viral on social media during open stadium practice after you got beat by receiver Bailey Gaither during one-on-ones. How did you react to that?

I mean, it’s funny. I woke up the next morning, and my family was like, “Yo, are you trash at football?” And I was like, “I don’t think so.” And they were like, “Check Twitter.” I checked Twitter, and it was blowing up. But it was kind of funny how you can become such a big deal for a rep at practice. At this point, people are yearning for moments to talk about. So it’s funny to be one of the things to be laughed at.

You mentioned how people are looking for something to talk about, whether good or bad. With that being the reality of Twitter and social media, how do you handle that?

I never try to get too high or get too low. Even the Ravens and the NFL [posted] stuff about me recovering a fumble. It was like “I just recovered a fumble.” It wasn’t that big a deal in my eyes. But that’s something they push. I understand at this level, you have to have your own humility. Everybody is going say you’re the best [or] the worst. So you [need] your own self-talk to keep you up. But then also keep you humble when you’re doing well.

We’ve seen players go back and forth with fans. Are you that type of person?

Nah, it’s just social media. I don’t respond to fans for real. I mean, if I was a fan, my main goal would be to get a response out of this person. So I’m not going to try to give them satisfaction unless it’s something genuine that they’re asking. But yeah, I just tried to keep to myself.

During rookie minicamp, you mentioned how you didn’t play a lot of Cover 3. How have you adjusted to the new things you have learned under defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald?

I’m getting more comfortable every day. I’m louder, more communicative, talking a lot more, understanding the defense [and] why we are doing it. I still mess up, obviously, but I try to make a good mistake every day. And when I do, I try to focus on what I’m doing wrong and fix it. We have a game in less than a month, so I’m ready for it.

How have veterans like Marcus Williams, Chuck Clark, Tony Jefferson and even Marlon Humphrey helped you adjust?

They helped me in the film [room] and all that stuff. But the most they’ve helped me is being a friend. It can be a very stressful time for every rookie. There’s a bunch of eyes on me, but I try not to feed into that. The guys are normal. And it almost feels like college when we are sitting down [and] eating. I need that on a day-to-day basis to keep [my] head on straight. So I appreciate them for that.

It was a life-changing moment going from a student-athlete at Notre Dame to the NFL. How have you handled that transition?

I don’t think it has set in yet. I feel like when we run out of that tunnel at [M&T Bank Stadium] for the first time, and even in New York, it’s going to hit me. But I mean, I’m just blessed to be here, honestly. Training camp may seem like a struggle on a day-to-day basis, but it’s a blessing to be here every day. People are really struggling with other things. We’re all blessed and fortunate to be in the position we’re in.

Throughout camp, you have matched up against rookie tight end Isaiah Likely in one-on-ones. What have those battles been like?

It’s been back and forth. We trade off pretty much, but it’s awesome. He’s a great tight end. He is different from Mark [Andrews]. But I can tell he’s picking up some of Mark’s tendencies. He’s athletic, has great hands and is deceptive in his route running. He’s a tough cover. I think I’m getting great reps against him. Even in my losses, I’m learning something. I’m sure he would say the same thing. It’s a good competition.

How would you describe yourself as a player to people who are not familiar with your game?

I would say I try to be like a security blanket. I try to be in the right place at the right time. I make plays when they are there [and] I try not to force a lot of things. But again, be aggressive, go make plays and let them develop, and try to be a smart player.

Offensive tackle Daniel Faalele mentioned how the Maryland heat was one of the things he didn’t expect heading into training camp. What are some things that have caught you by surprise?

I’m from Atlanta, so the heat is what it is. One thing that surprised me is how many fans are at each practice. It’s kind of weird. I’ve never had fans at practice in my life. I’ve had media at practice but never fans. It’s cool, though. It breaks down that celebrity-fan wall, and you get to talk to people and sign a bunch of stuff. I try to sign as many things as possible because I was that kid at some point. It would be kind of sad if Kyle Hamilton walked away from me. But it’s been fun.

Is there a particular quarterback or player, in general, you’re looking forward to playing against this year?

I would say not one in particular. I want to do well against every one of them. But I’m 21 years old, and I don’t turn 22 until next year. So I’ve grown up watching all these guys. I know there’s going to be a moment in a lot of games where I get the defensive call and look across the line of scrimmage, and there’s somebody I’ve been watching since I was 10 years old. Like they say, “Your idols become your rivals,” but I think it will be pretty cool.

How crazy is it that you are going to face Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady, and he played his first game before you were born?

Is that true?

Yeah, his first game was in 2000.

Oh yeah, I was not born. That’s crazy. He’s been playing NFL football longer than I have been alive. It shows the amount of work I’ve put in to be on the same platform as Tom. To play against the GOAT is something that not a lot of people can say they’ve done, so I’m excited about that. But still, I think there’s a good amount of games to go before we get there.

Your brother and dad played basketball. What made you pursue a football career?

I’ve always been, and they’re not going to like that I said this, but more physically dominant than them. They are basketball players and finesse players, and I would foul out of games. But I’ve always flown around the football field since I was younger, and basketball became such a business for me so early that playing football was my release. I had the opportunity to play both in college, but I realized I love football more. And I kind of burned myself out with basketball and decided that football is what I wanted to do. Now, I’m here, so I think I made the right choice.

Do you still plan to continue your podcast?

Yes, that is the plan right now. We’re trying to figure out some business things currently.

I also saw that you are a golfer. Have you been able to hit any courses since you’ve been in Maryland?

I’ve not. I’ve had some off days where I thought about it, but then my body said no. [Cornerback] Kyle Fuller is a really good golfer as well. I need to get out there with him. But that’s my plan this season. Every off day, play 18 holes and reset because golf is something where if you are not focused on golf, you’re not going to [do well]. It forces you to get your mind off whatever stresses you and enjoy nature.

Have you paid for any dinners yet?

No, I have not had to pay for any dinners. I’ve had to pay for some things but not dinners. I think we do that midseason.

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