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Golden Nuggets: As Cal's Fall Camp Opens, Brendon Bigelow Feels Better than Ever

Prior to yesterday's practice, it had been about 18 months since Brendon Bigelow last suited up to play football.  After the first day of practice, Tedford said the star-in-the-making is at 100%.  Of course, now that he's healthy, several players want to challenge him to a footrace.

One of the biggest factors in Bigelow's recovery has been the Bears new strength and conditioning guru, Mike Blasquez.

"He's had me do hamstring curls, start and finish, I always have to make sure I have a good lean with it, no false steps," Bigelow said. "I'm just staying positive, making sure I have a clear mind going into it. I find it easy, because I have a brace now and I know that it's stable."

Tedford said that Bigelow could indeed be the fastest player on the team, if he ever lets it all hang out, and likens a race between Bigelow and wide receiver Kaelin Clay to the fabled match-ups between Best and DeSean Jackson. On a side note, Clay was sidelined late in practice with a tweaked knee. Tedford said it wasn't a big concern, and that Clay will get checked out before tomorrow's session.

"I would guess he's the second-fastest guy on the team," Tedford said of Clay. "Now, Bigelow, he may have taken it over for the fastest guy on the team. That would be a good race. That would be like DeSean and Jahvid. That'd be one of those. I think because Bigelow's been injured, we wouldn't know, but when Jahvid came here, that was a big deal: who was fastest, between those two. They ran 100s one day, and lined up next to one another, and they got out and they went. It was really just on the first one that they went out and Jahvid got out early and then went to the side and DeSean went woosh! I don't know if it was a real race, because I think Jahvid was being the young freshman, like, 'I know what should happen.' Those are two of the fastest people I've ever seen on the football field."

Bigelow admits to having that competitive itch to see who indeed is the fastest.

"There's a couple guys who want to race me," he smiled. "I'm going to give them their race in due time. I feel faster [than before the injury]. The rehabbing stuff and just feeling confident in my speed and making sure it feels good, I feel a lot stronger. I feel like I've got an extra gear, just waiting to come out. It's been a while since I put on a helmet and pads, but it's definitely a good feeling. It's been a while: a year and a half."

After the jump everyone and their uncles report every detail from practice and Les Richter earns a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.