Alumni Alert: More Camp Reports on Former Lions

Fight On State continues to keep a close eye on the many Penn State alumni in NFL camps around the league to track their progress as they prepare for the upcoming 2005 season.

Larry Johnson - Kansas City Chiefs: Running back Larry Johnson sat out the indoor morning practice session on Tuesday with a bruised quadricep. Dick Vermeil said that the injury was not serious, but felt it was best to keep Johnson on the sidelines to give him some time to rest.

Johnson talked about the injury, saying, "It's just a bruise, no big thing. I've always been a quick healer. I'm still young so anything like this is ... just precautionary."

Opinions around camp have reflected that Johnson has had the best overall performance so far of any offensive player on the squad. Johnson says he plans on returning soon so he can be ready for the upcoming game against the Minnesota Vikings.

Tony Stewart - Cincinnati Bengals: The starting tight end has been sidelined with what is described as a minor injury. He has yet to see the prctice field in camp.

His recovery is progressing, but he is listed as questionable for the upcoming game against the New England Patriots.

Brandon Short - Carolina Panthers: Short is expected to earn a starting spot on the Panthers' linebacker unit, playing the strong-side position.

His role has been a bitter one given that he has to fill in for Mark Fields, who is battling Hodgkin's disease. Short discussed the situaiton with Scout, saying, "I don't even like to talk about it, you know. It doesn't feel right to talk about it. I just want Mark to get better. That is what is important."

Sean McHugh - Green Bay Packers: Though he hasn't emerged as a consistent threat, McHugh has seen some success at the tight end position for the Packers. In their most recent scrimmage he pulled in a 30-yard pass down the middle for quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

With Bubba Franks out of practice due to a contract dispute, McHugh finds himself getting a lot of reps and in the middle of a battle with Ben Steele and Steve Fleming. Currently he is running second team.

Bryan Scott - Atlanta Falcons: The Falcons' free safety has been cleared for contact after recvoering from an off-season shoulder surgery.

Scott has been participating in much of training camp, but was not medically cleared for full contact until Tuesday. Coach Jim Mora stated he was going to limit Scott to 10 hits in practice.

Scott responded to the limit, saying, "They tried to limit me to that [10 hits]. It was more than that. It felt good; we'll see how I feel tomorrow. Oh man, the days were getting long on the sideline. Some would say, 'Enjoy it, rest your legs,' but this is the time to be on the field."

Scott is not expected to play Saturday against the Baltimore Ravens.

Matt Kranchick - Pittsburgh Steelers: Kranchick, another tight end in the league, has been seeing a lot of passes in camp. With the Steeler offense tossing an unusual number of ball to the tight ends, he has had the opportunity to work on his receiving skills.

Aside from this, he is running with the first team kickoff team and has had a nice showing on special teams.

Kranchick has made some strides in his blocking abilities as well. He has a ways to go to be a consistent, effective blocker at the pro level, but he has shown the ability to match up well against OLB Alonzo Jackson.

Justin Kurpeikis - Cleveland Browns: Kurpeikis is seeing his reps with the Browns at right outside linebacker. The Browns' staff like his experience with New England under Romeo Crennel and the fact he played in a 3-4 scheme during his tenure as a Steeler.

He is in a crowded field looking for a roster spot on the linebacker depth chart. He's off to a good start in camp, but will have to work overtime to separate himself from the pack.

Bryant Johnson - Arizona Cardinals: With Arizona looking to incorporate a vertical passing attack with Kurt Warner at the helm, the team is working to feature Anquan Boldin, Larry Fitzgerald and Bryant Johnson as an imposing wideout trio.

After hitting Johnson with a 45-yard out, Warner praised the receiver's play, saying, "He's going to surprise a lot of people. Everybody is going to be looking for those other two guys, and I think B.J. is going to have a tremendous year."


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