- The Washington Times - Monday, July 28, 2008

From combined dispatches

A half hour into his first practice of training camp Sunday, Devin Hester got behind cornerback Charles Tillman and hauled in a 40-yard pass from quarterback Rex Grossman.

It’s the type of play the Chicago Bears are hoping to see a lot during the regular season after signing Hester to a four-year contract extension, reportedly worth up to $40 million.

“I think the Bears have a lot of faith in me, and they feel that I do a lot of things on the offensive side of the ball, so they rewarded me,” said Hester, who in two seasons is two touchdown returns short of Brian Mitchell’s record of 13 kick or punt returns touchdowns - a mark that took 14 years to set.

After a standoff between Hester’s agent, Eugene Parker, and the team ended Sunday morning, Bears coach Lovie Smith wore a huge smile.

“I’m smiling most of the time I’m talking about Devin Hester; now I can … a little bit more,” Smith said after practice.

At issue for the Bears was whether to pay Hester like a return man or like a top wide receiver when they made him the 22nd player on the current roster to receive a contract extension. They converted Hester to wide receiver last year when he made 20 catches and this year expect him to start in place of lost free agent wide receiver Bernard Berrian.

BENGALS: Receiver Chad Johnson had nothing to say when he reported for training camp, ending Cincinnati’s offseason drama with a pillow under his arm and a leave-me-alone look on his face.

By showing up on time and without complaint, the Pro Bowl receiver brought his teammates some relief from his failed attempts to get traded.

“I think it’s water under the bridge,” said receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh, one of Johnson’s closest friends on the team.

The only absence was first-round draft choice Keith Rivers, a linebacker who was the ninth pick overall. The first full practice was scheduled for Monday morning.

Johnson had bone spurs removed from his right ankle June 18 and hasn’t fully recovered. He had a pronounced limp when he ran 40-yard dashes at less than full speed Sunday afternoon with the rest of the receivers. He didn’t fully participate in the 45-minute workout, which included stretching and running.

RAVENS: Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata was carted off the field with an injured right leg after getting caught in a pileup during a full-contact drill.

Ngata was on the ground for several minutes before limping with assistance to the sideline, where he was then driven off the field.

“We don’t think it’s serious, but we’ve got to find out as we go,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said.

Running back Willis McGahee didn’t practice because of a lower left leg injury, and former Maryland offensive tackle Jared Gaither also didn’t practice after spraining his right ankle Saturday.

Others who did not practice: safety Ed Reed (physically unable to perform list, undisclosed injury), cornerback David Pittman (PUP, foot), running backs Cory Ross (arm) and P.J. Daniels (cramps) and offensive tackle David Hale (undisclosed).

Cornerback Samari Rolle has been excused from practice following his father’s recent death.

EAGLES: All-Pro cornerback Asante Samuel is day-to-day with a mild hamstring strain.

Samuel was hurt Saturday while working in 7-on-7 drills during the team’s first practice in full pads this summer. He had an MRI on the injured right hamstring Sunday.



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