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Messaggiodi officialsbaseball il 19/09/2018, 8:14

Quenton Nelson heard all the adjectives before this spring's NFL draft.

The "experts" called him nasty Alex Lewis Jersey , a generational guard, the best player available and even suggested he could change the long-term image of all future interior offensive line prospects.

Nelson didn't pay much attention to what was being said then or now. The 6-foot-5, 330-pound rookie remains focused on the only thing he believes matters 鈥?keeping Andrew Luck upright and healthy.

"I'm just trying to improve every single day and get better," he said Monday as his pro debut against Cincinnati nears. "That's all I'm worried about is getting better each and every Sunday 鈥?and not letting down my teammates."

The Colts couldn't expect much more out of the soft-spoken Nelson, who they took No. 6 overall.

He was the highest-chosen guard since Leonard Davis went No. 2 in 2001, and he's not just another big body on the offensive line.

His mobility and athleticism make him an effective pulling guard, and he possesses rare flexibility that helps him stay in front of defensive linemen 鈥?as he demonstrated routinely at training camp and throughout the preseason.

Now the real tests begin.

In Sunday's season opener, Nelson will no longer be working against vanilla defenses and backups trying to win roster spots. He'll be trying to slow down sack artists such as Geno Atkins and Michael Johnson in a more complex scheme.

With each game comes a new challenge. Against Washington in Week 2, he could face Ryan Kerrigan. Against Super Bowl champion Philadelphia in Week 3, Nelson might line up against Fletcher Cox or Tim Jernigan. When the Colts start playing AFC South rivals Houston, Jacksonville and Tennessee, he could be blocking J.J. Watt, Marcell Dareus or Jurrell Casey, among others.

And if Nelson unleashes the full arsenal each week, those who have monitored his steady progression believe the highly-touted rookie will meet the hype.

"I think it (cohesion) just naturally comes along," center Ryan Kelly said. "But when you're playing next to a guy every single day 鈥?OTAs, training camp and now 鈥?it's just great. He has really come a long way."

Kelly understands Nelson's situation better than most.

Three years ago Willie Snead IV Jersey , Kelly arrived in Indy as a first-round pick out of Alabama and immediately was plugged into a spot that had been a revolving door for Luck's first three seasons. Kelly played admirably as a rookie before missing nine games last season with injuries.

This year, a healthy Kelly reclaimed the starting job playing next to Nelson and free-agent signee Matt Slauson. All three have worked hard to get in sync, and all three have been leaning on one another for help.

"Ryan has shown me how to be a pro and handle yourself off the field and on the field, too," Nelson said. "I feel like it's not only been Ryan, though, it's been a bunch of the veteran guys, especially Matt Slauson. He's been great and (Anthony) Castonzo, too."

With Nelson at left guard, Slauson is expected to start at right guard, and the Colts remain hopeful Castonzo can return from a hamstring injury for Sunday's game. Castonzo has been the starting left tackle since being a first-round pick in 2011 but missed most of training camp with a hamstring injury.

That leaves one opening on the line, at right tackle, with no clear-cut starter.

"We have made decisions on all those areas and feel good about those decisions," first-year coach Frank Reich said when asked who the starters would be at right tackle, defensive end and cornerback. "But just to protect our team and our fans and our players, we are going to hold off on announcing those decisions."

Still, there's little doubt about Nelson's skills 鈥?or even his own goal of breaking the will of an opponent each week as he first explained during the NFL's annual scouting combine in Indy.

"Yeah Takkarist McKinley Jersey ," Nelson said when asked if he still embraces such a notion. "I feel like we've grown as an offensive line, as a unit, playing together and trusting in one another that each of us will do our job on each and every snap."

Note: Luck returned to practice Monday and is expected to start against the Bengals. He missed practice Monday and Tuesday last week with a minor foot injury. ... The Colts signed tight end Ryan Hewitt to the active roster and put defensive lineman Tyquan Lewis on injured reserve. Lewis was one of the Colts' four second-round picks last spring. ... The Colts also added offensive lineman Jamil Douglas, defensive end Carroll Phillips, linebacker Ahmad Thomas, defensive tackle Jihad Ward and running back Jeremy McNichols to the practice squad.

Digging deeper into a culture war that he’s repeatedly stoked, President Donald Trump on Monday called off a visit to the White House by the Philadelphia Eagles, citing the dispute over whether NFL players protesting racial injustice must stand during the playing of the national anthem.

Trump said in a statement that some members of the Super Bowl championship team ”disagree with their President because he insists that they proudly stand for the National Anthem, hand on heart, in honor of the great men and women of our military and the people of our country.”

He said the team wanted to send a smaller delegation Tuesday, but ”the 1,000 fans planning to attend the event deserve better.”

Instead, Trump said he would be hosting ”a different type of ceremony,” featuring the U.S. Marine Band and the U.S. Army Chorus, that ”will honor our great country, pay tribute to the heroes who fight to protect it, and loudly and proudly play the National Anthem.”

None of the Eagles took a knee during the anthem in 2017.

One of the people set to attend the ceremony told The Associated Press less than half of the team’s 53-man roster planned to go. The person spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the decision.

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney replied with his own statement C. J. Beathard Jersey , saying that he is ”equally proud of the Eagles’ activism off the field” and that the players ”represent the diversity of our nation – a nation in which we are free to express our opinions.”

”Disinviting them from the White House only proves that our President is not a true patriot, but a fragile egomaniac obsessed with crowd size and afraid of the embarrassment of throwing a party to which no one wants to attend,” Kenney said.

Last week, Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins said he would not attend the ceremony because he didn’t want to be part of a photo op and wanted ”to avoid being used as any kind of pawn.” In addition to Jenkins, defensive end Chris Long was the most outspoken player against going. Quarterback Carson Wentz had planned to attend.

It was unclear exactly what prompted the change of plans. The White House did not immediately respond to questions about what had sparked the decision and why the circumstances were different from other events honoring winning teams, which some players have boycotted.

Late Monday, though, Trump wrote on Twitter that ”Unfortunately, only a small number of players decided to come, and we canceled the event.”

Several players asked about Trump’s decision not to host them declined to respond. The Eagles issued a statement without directly addressing the White House cancellation.

”Watching the entire Eagles community come together has been an inspiration,” the team statement read. ”We are truly grateful for all of the support we have received and we are looking forward to continuing our preparations for the 2018 season.”

Wide receiver Torrey Smith, who said previously that he planned to skip the visit, responded with a series of tweets.

”So many lies,” he wrote, adding, ”Not many people were going to go.”

Smith, who played on the Super Bowl-winning Philadelphia team before being traded to the Carolina Panthers in March John Randle Jersey , added: ”No one refused to go simply because Trump `insists’ folks stand for the anthem. … The President continues to spread the false narrative that players are anti military.”

He went on: ”There are a lot of people on the team that have plenty of different views. The men and women that wanted to go should’ve been able to go. It’s a cowardly act to cancel the celebration because the majority of the people don’t want to see you. To make it about the anthem is foolish.”

The announcement was the latest signal that tensions remain high around the NFL protests that began in 2016 when San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began silently kneeling on the sidelines while the anthem played. Kaepernick’s protest was an effort to raise awareness around systemic racism and, specifically, the killing of black men by police.

He was soon joined by teammate Eric Reid. Both Reid and Kaepernick have filed grievances against the NFL and remain unsigned since their contracts with the 49ers expired.

Last season, Vice President Mike Pence left the 49ers game against the Indianapolis Colts after about a dozen San Francisco players took a knee during the anthem. Pence, who left before kickoff, tweeted soon afterward, ”I left today’s Colts game becaue (at)POTUS and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem.”

Trump has repeatedly decried the players’ protest, referring to them as ”sons of bitches” who should be fired at a rally for supporters in Alabama last year. Last month, the NFL announced a new policy – praised on Twitter by both Trump and Pence – requiring players to stand for the anthem if they’re on the field before a game.

After the New England Patriots won the Super Bowl in 2017, several players declined to attend the White House ceremony honoring their team last August, citing their differences with the president. In February, the Golden State Warriors declined to attend the White House ceremony honoring their 2017 NBA Championship, instead using their trip to Washington to visit the Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture.

During an interview after the new NFL policy was announced, Trump praised the league for doing ”the right thing.”

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