The 2016-17 NFL regular season is just around the corner which means that training camps around the league are underway. That means we get to see live action in practice, contact and players who have been holding it all in for months finally getting the chance to get back on the football field.
For former Florida Gators star Keanu Neal, who is kicking off his first NFL training camp after being selected by the Atlanta Falcons in the first-round of the 2016 NFL Draft, he needed a quick reminder to slow down and take it easy on his teammates.
During Monday’s training camp session, Neal, who has a reputation for being a hard-hitting safety, walloped tight end Jacob Tamme to spark the first fight of Falcons camp.
D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution shared a video of the big hit.
— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) July 31, 2016
After the scuffle, Neal got a little talking to from the coaching staff and was reminded to tone things down and protect his teammates.
“He just really emphasized that we are trying to protect the team,” Neal said, according to Ledbetter. “That was the point he was trying to get across. That’s the biggest thing and it’s true. He held me accountable. So, he put me in check. I got out of hand hitting him like that. We are a physical team, but we’ve got to protect the team. He emphasized that.”
While most rookies are struggling to transition to the speed of the NFL, it looks like Neal should be just fine.
He just needs to ensure he is only laying the lumber on his opponents and that should lead to everyone being happy about the team selecting him in the first round just a few months ago.