James Says He's Ready For Anything

Erasmus James didn't get his contract signed in time to join the team for Tuesday morning's practice, but the first-round defensive end said he is ready for whatever his teammates throw his way. On the other side of the line, the starting battle was renewed at offensive left guard.

Erasmus James was in Mankato on Tuesday, but the first-round draft pick did not participate in the morning practice, signing his first professional contract about the same time his new teammates were leaving the Minnesota State fields.

"I"m definitely glad to be here, James said. "I miss my teammates, I miss playing the game. I'm just happy that everything is over and behind me now."

James, the No. 18 pick from Wisconsin, reportedly agreed to a five-year contract, and he'll only participate in the non-contact portion of Tuesday night's scrimmage.

Though he's been training in Arizona and studying his playbook, he'll start the process on regaining his position on the depth chart at right end with Wednesday's practices. Darrion Scott has had a good camp, and it might be hard for James to compete for the starting position before the team leaves Mankato.

"All those things always come when you work hard so I know those things will come," James said. "I'm going to go out every day and give 110 percent."

The toughest part of Tuesday may be the ribbing he'll get in the locker

"Oh, they're going to kill him," defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell said with a laugh. "The vets, they're waiting for this guy. He'll probably be signing before every meal."

But James is prepared.

"I'm always ready for anything," he said. "It really doesn't bother me."

Coach Mike Tice was unavailable to the media Tuesday morning.

Battle at left guard

Adam Goldberg is still the starter at left guard, but offensive coordinator Steve Loney said that rookie Marcus Johnson has been making a strong push.

Goldberg, who played tackle last season, and Johnson are the only left guards in camp, so Goldberg will take most of the reps with the first team. Johnson will take some snaps with the first team, but most of his work will come with the second unit. Both guys will rotate with the third team.

"They're both young players," Loney said. "(Goldberg) can use all the experience, and obviously with Marcus being a rookie, this is good experience for him."

Highlight plays

Rookie cornerback Adrian Ward made a nice interception, leaping high along the sideline to snare the pass to thwart a two-minute drill. Later, Keenan Howry hauled in a 20-yard pass along the sideline to continue a drive that was capped by a short touchdown pass to tight end Richard Owens.


Offensive lineman Shannon Snell was back at practice after leaving Mankato for three days to return home to tend to his twins, who were born prematurely on July 29. Snell had also left camp when the twins were born.

Running backs Ciatrick Fason and Adimchinobe Echemandu returned to practice after leaving Monday afternoon's practice with heat-related problems.

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