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Training Camp in Tampa


Now that I have been in Tampa for the past few weeks preparing for the upcoming season with the Berlin Thunder in the NFL Europe League, I have gotten accustomed to a regular routine each day. We get up around 6 a.m., have breakfast and get on the bus to head out to practice at a local high school. We then get dressed and have our morning session of two-a-days. After that, we get 30 to 45 minutes off and are back at it for the second session at the high school. Once we finish, we come back to the hotel and have lunch. Then we are off for about three hours before having meetings, dinner and more meetings. By then it's bedtime. And that's our day. I don't go out much in my spare time. I like to spend time with the other players around the hotel. I also like to read a little bit and catch up on some rest.

I have a great situation on the team at the quarterback position. My main competition is my roommate, Leon Murray, who played at Tennessee State and is now with the New York Giants. We knew each other back in college when we played in the same division 30 miles from each other when I was at Middle Tennessee State. He is a good athlete and he is good competition. We work together well. We don't see each other really as competitors, but as teammates. Who gets the majority of the playing time is the coach's decision from there.

We scrimmaged with the Frankfurt Galaxy on Saturday, and it went really well. They jumped on us early but we responded well. We kept our competitiveness up and I hit a late touchdown on them. Our guys connected on a few more field goals than they did to give us the edge. Overall, I think as a team we played well but we still have a long way to go. But we are starting to come together. I am also getting a lot more comfortable with my teammates. It is very different without having Jimmy Smith and Keenan McCardell to throw to here. Some of the routes we have are very similar, and I am expecting our receivers to do some things that Jimmy or Keenan can do, but these guys can't do. I try to explain to some of these guys, but physically some of them aren't ready to perform at that high a level yet. It's hard to compare them because Jimmy and Keenan are All-Pro receivers and they do almost everything right.

I did hear that Mark Brunell and Jamie Martin were both re-signed by the Jaguars this week. I think Mark is a great quarterback. He got everything that he deserves because he got it through hard work. He is the starter now and good for him. Jamie was the backup last year as well as three years ago, and he goes in as the backup again this year. The only way I can take over the backup role is through good play. Jamie has deserved it for now and there is nothing I can do about the past. It's out of my control. Which is why I'm playing in the NFL Europe League.

Right now, the thing that motivates me the most is the drive to play football. I am getting another opportunity to play, and I am having a lot of fun here. I know in Berlin, I am going to play. With the Jaguars, I have been the third quarterback and haven't gotten many chances to play. Over here, I expect to play and am looking forward to playing. And it will be fun again.

We leave next Thursday (April 12) for Europe. I think the team is starting to come together. We have a lot more cohesiveness as a team. I think by opening day on April 21, when we host the Barcelona Dragons, we will be ready to go.

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