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Golden Nuggets: Checking in With Bears in the Pros

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Today we check in with some recent Cal alumni in the NFL.

After having his rookie season cut short due to a nagging hamstring issue, Shane Vereen is making a push to become New England's top running back. He received first-team reps at RB during a practice session open to the media.

The big thing that jumped out was Vereen served as the top back during practice. The unknown is whether or not it means anything, particularly since I have no idea who took on that role during their first two sessions. It’s just like preseason carries in that regard, as Bill Belichick will designate certain times for certain players to have their time with the first-team offense. But again, Vereen is high on my list of players to watch during the offseason, since it was difficult to make any lasting impressions last year.

Mychal Kendricks is one of NationalFootballPost's 10 players who will make an immediate impact as rookies.

If Kendricks was 6-1 instead of 5-11 he would have easily gone in the first round. The Eagles had a need at linebacker and Kendricks fits the scheme. Like Kuechly, Kendricks is an instinctive playmaker and should make an early impact with the Philly D.

Mitchell Schwartz has always loved baseball and played pitcher and first baseman. Even while playing football Schwartz keeps close to his baseball roots.

He never stopped loving the act of throwing a ball.

At one point during his football career at Cal, where he was a four-year starter at offensive tackle, he established an unusual pre-game ritual.

When he first hit the field during pre-game warmups, he would grab a football and play catch. He would close the ritual by trying to throw a football to the center of the crossbar, first from 40 yards, then 50 ... then 60.

One time, Rick Neuheisel, then the head coach at rival UCLA, gave him a throwing tip. Mitchell tried it, and it worked.

After the jump softball heads to Oklahoma City and men's golf prepares for play in the NCAA Championship.