With Chargers’ move, NFL’s L.A. love affair breaks yet another city’s heart

We all should hope that somebody in our lives loves us as much as the NFL loves Los Angeles.

it’s a never-ending, unconditional love, at the expense of everything and everyone else. Definitely at the expense of half the cities in the NFL over the past two decades plus, the ones that used L.A. as leverage to extort their hometowns into providing new or improved stadiums.

And, in the past year, at the expense of two long-time pro football-loving fan bases.

Dont ever again delude yourself into thinking that the people who hold the power to give and take away a team really care what you think. St. Louis loved it’s teams the Cardinals once upon a time, then the Rams. San Diego whoa, did it ever love the Chargers.

The NFL doesnt care about that, because it’s love of L.A. overrides all.

John Schneider and Pete Carroll are almost beyond reproach at player evaluation and personnel decision-making. But theyve tried to get away with too much while constructing that line, and theyve failed.

The Falcons game epitomized that, with the Falconsvery vulnerable front seven chewing the Seahawks up and spitting them out up front and with Wilson running for his life all day.

The loss not unexpected, but more lopsided than it should have been brought the Seahawks to a crossroads. Theyre still in the elite conversation. Carroll alluded to that afterward: It aint over, were right in the middle of it. Were still in the process, That’s what it feels like. Were in the middle of it, not at the end of anything.

But those holes up front have to be sewn shut. They dont actually need that much more. But that is a lot.
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NFL reports decrease in concussions in 2016

Minimizing concussions has become one of the NFL’s greatest challenges in recent years, and the league may be winning the battle.

Injury data released by the NFL on Thursday showed a decrease in concussions from 2015 to 2016, according to NFL.com.

The data was compiled by QuintilesIMS Injury Surveillance and Analytics, which noted an 11.3 percent decrease in concussions (from 275 to 244) in 2016.

Since Hue Jackson is coaching the Senior Bowl this week, he’s forced to discuss these topics as they relate to his team. He admitted that a good quarterback is better than an elite non-quarterback, but he’s still going through the process of determining what’s right for the roster.

‘I think you have to go through it and weigh what’s best. Who is the best player We haven’t determined that. Is the best player a defensive end Is it a quarterback Is it a defensive back I don’t know yet until you can evaluate them all and line them all up and see where they are and see what’s best, Jackson said, via the Akron Beacon Journal.

‘We all a know a quarterback is very important to our football team. But is he the best player We’ve got to find that out. We need to put one on our team. We’re going to find one. I promise you guys that. We’re going to do that. I think that’s imperative. I think we all know that, and that’s what we’re going to accomplish.’

Jackson’s discussions with his coaches and staff will likely be centered around North Carolina’s Mitch Trubisky, Clemson’s Deshaun Watson and Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer. If Jackson decides going with a young quarterback is in his best interests, the team could decide not to pay RGIII’s $750,000 roster bonus in March, which would make him a free agent.rams_028

Griffey’s story is well known. He would go on to hit 630 home runs and earn 10 gold gloves in 22 seasons in the majors.

Greene, a high school senior from southern California, may have the most raw-talent in the entire draft, as the 6-3 right-handed pitcher routinely runs his fastball into the triple digits and can maintain mid-90s velocity deep into his starts. He also has the advantage of youth, as the Notre Dame High School star will not turn 18 until August.

Wright, a 6-4, 220-pound right-handed pitcher from Vanderbilt University, possesses some serious zip on his fastball as well, usually sitting in the 93-95 mph range, but showcases more refined secondary pitches than Greene. He is widely thought to be the “safest” pick near the top of the draft given his body of work. Either prospect would be a nice selection for the Twins, Greene for his age and enormous upside, or Wright for his track record and pedigree coming from an institution that has produced current MLB pitchers David Price, Sonny Gray and Mike Minor.

That Hall of Famer is Ken Griffey Jr. Back in June 1987, 30 years ago last week, the two were linked. Both were star high school outfielders and considered among the top prospects available in the MLB Draft. Seattle and Pittsburgh agreed. The Mariners made Griffey the top overall pick and the Pirates chose Merchant at No. 2.

Griffey’s story is well known. He would go on to hit 630 home runs and earn 10 gold gloves in 22 seasons in the majors. He was a near-unanimous selection to the Hall of Fame in 2016.

Merchant, however, never spent a day in the majors. He played 12 years of minor league ball for five organizations, including 85 games at the Triple-A level.nike_cardinals_310

USF’s Rodney Adams will have the most heartwarming workout at the Combine

The higher Rodney Adams can leap at the NFL Scouting Combine, the greater the number of grieving children who may be able to jump for joy once again.

Adams isn’t just aiming to enhance his draft stock next week in Indianapolis. The University of South Florida wide receiver is using the platform to raise money via internet fundraising for Experience Camps, a program designed to provide a one-week getaway for youngsters who recently lost a parent, sibling or primary caregiver.

Adams hopes to solicit $3,000 in donations through pledges for each inch he soars in the vertical jump. Adams was already 70 percent to his goal Tuesday morning through Pledgeit.org.

“It’s a difficult time for those kids being that they don’t have that parent,” Adams told co-host Zig Fracassi and me on SiriusXM NFL Radio. “It’s tragic. We wanted to do this cause to raise money and let them have a week of fun to forget about all the bad things that have happened.”

“I don’t know what the dang rule is …. but I’m pretty sure I caught it.”

For great tipped passes in the biggest game, that ranks with Swann’s legendary catch in Super Bowl 10 for the Steelers against the Cowboys — except that wasn’t in nearly as dire a spot. Edelman’s came right before the two-minute warning, with the Patriots trying to tie the game after falling behind 28-3. The Jones catch came on the previous Falcons possession, which went to pieces in hideous fashion and ended in a punt.

Edelman’s miraculous grab, however, put the Patriots in Falcons territory, and four plays later, they did tie the game at 28. It was the fourth of his fifth catches, for 23 of his 87 yards. It was the biggest of the night.

It put him in exalted company. The competition just this postseason has been stiff, with Jones’ catch and with Jared Cook’s clutch sideline reception that set up the Packers’ overtime playoff win over the Cowboys.seahawks_084

Top prospect Malik Hooker to miss NFL combine after surgery

Danny Amendola, Chris Hogan and Bennett — all major contributors in the championship effort — are among the players who have come aboard to help Brady and the passing game in recent years. And let’s not forget that the Patriots won Super Bowl 51 without the best tight end in the NFL, Rob Gronkowski, who will return from his back injury next season.

Complacency is another problem that often confronts Super Bowl-winning coaches. Not the case for Belichick, who always makes sure the previous season is quickly put in the rear-view mirror with the expectation for success in the coming season. That mindset then is reinforced by Kraft and the New England fan base.

Malik Hooker’s NFL career is being affected by injuries before it’s even started.

The former Ohio State safety and top prospect in the 2017 NFL Draft won’t be participating in the scouting combine after undergoing surgeries Tuesday to repair a torn labrum and hernia.

According to Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller, who first reported the news, Hooker played through the pain of the injuries late this season and won’t be ready to work out for scouts in March.

Hooker, who had two years of college eligibility remaining before declaring for the draft Jan. 2, had seven interceptions, three for touchdowns, and 74 tackles in 13 games en route to unanimous All-America honors this season.
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Tom Brady is a reminder that the NFL still has work to do on concussions

The No. 1 threat to the future of the NFL is the concern surrounding the long-term effects of head trauma. On Wednesday, head trauma made news again when Gisele Bundchen, wife of New England Patriots superstar quarterback Tom Brady, mentioned in an interview that her husband played through a concussion last season.

Brady wasn’t listed on any injury report this past season for a concussion. Gisele’s comments made the news because a) it’s Tom Brady and b) it’s the New England Patriots, who in the past have skirted the rules.

There is no doubt for a long time the NFL ignored the effects of head trauma. I didn’t play in that time period, so it’s hard for me to comment on the process of determining and reporting concussions. Now, teams are ultra vigilant regarding concussions.

“I think that Kaepernick getting the opportunity to be on our team would be really cool, would really be a good place for him because you have a coach like coach [Pete] Carroll who is up for challenges like that,” Bennett told John Clayton and Gee Scott on 710 ESPN Seattle.

Bennett also mentioned how other Seahawks were similar to Kaepernick in their off-the-field interests.

“You have an owner [Paul Allen] who spends and gives back to the homeless. You’ve got players on your team that give back in the community. You’ve got Russell Wilson who shows that our team is built around community. So this is a perfect place for him.”
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NFL Draft 2017: How great was 49ers’ first round? GM John Lynch puts it in perspective

In case there is any doubt the 49ers were a decided “winner” on the first day of the NFL Draft, the players the team landed with the Nos. 3 and 31 overall picks were two of the top three prospects on its board, new GM John Lynch claims.

Those two players: Stanford DE Solomon Thomas and Alabama LB Reuben Foster

“I can tell you right off the bat that what we had on the board was just under 200 players, and in terms of how we rated them, we got two of our top three players,” Lynch said, per ESPN.com. “We were able to do that, and we’re thrilled. We’re ecstatic. We think these guys have a lot of traits of what we want to be about as a football organization.”

As the night began, San Francisco swapped the second and third overall picks with Chicago and also acquired the Bears’ third-round (No. 67 overall) and fourth-round picks (No. 111) this year and their third-round pick in 2018. While the Bears selected QB Mitch Trubisky with the No. 2 pick and the 49ers picked Thomas No. 3, the overwhelming feeling among NFL observers is the 49ers got the far better end of the trade.

Michigan tight end Jake Butt ran into the same thing this season. He suffered a torn ACL in the Orange Bowl and went from what some thought was a late first-round grade, all the way to possibly undrafted.

Ultimately he was selected in the fifth round, No. 145 overall, by the Broncos Saturday, but his injury cost him a large sum of money. Quantifiably $543,000.

Because Butt had an insurance policy taken out on himself prior to the draft in case, he will get that money back, according to ESPN’s Darren Rovell.

While that could never make up for what he could eventually make with a second contract in case he never truly recovers from the knee injury, it’s at least something that can keep him from getting absolutely nothing just because he decided to play in a bowl game.

Brad Stevens mouthed ‘shut up’ when Bulls fans chanted ‘Fire Hoiberg’

For the first few games, the Bulls-Celtics series did not make sense, but it was inevitable that Chicago would take its exit from the playoffs. Before the Celtics eliminated the Bulls on Friday, the fans at the United Center let out their collective frustration at what a disappointing season they witnessed, chanting “Fire Hoiberg” near the end of the game.

ESPN’s cameras caught Brad Stevens in the middle of the chant, shaking his head and mouthing “shut up.” His reaction is understandable because he has a lot of respect for the Bulls coach. And in a way, his reaction to that is justified — the frustration over the Bulls should also be directed toward the front office, not just Hoiberg.

Additionally, Chicago might have had some residual anger after the Bears drafted new QB Mitchell Trubisky on Thursday (after trading up from No. 3 to No. 2 with the 49ers). Trubisky was also at the game, and while the team welcomed him with open arms, the fans actually booed him. Trubisky took it all in stride, though.

Chicago sports fans can be a fickle bunch.

If there’s one thing that Rossi’s and Starkey’s Ovechkin pieces does well, it’s getting people to talk. And talk they did. However, at what point do we step back from our hot takes? Are we really adding anything to the conversation if we’re just writing incendiary things we may not even believe to get clicks?

It’s also hard to take Pittsburgh media’s outrage seriously when they’ve stood idly by as the team employed players such as Matt Cooke in the past. That Cooke, who put into motion the NHL’s stance on headshots with this career ending one to Marc Savard.
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the Atlanta Falcons were coming off one of the most tragic seasons in team history

Back in 2008, the Atlanta Falcons were coming off one of the most tragic seasons in team history. Michael Vick was in prison serving a sentence for a dogfighting conviction, and the team was reeling after head coach Bobby Petrino slid out of town in the middle of the night, letting players know he was leaving with notes in their lockers.

After a 4-12 finish with a combination of Chris Redman, Joey Harrington and Byron Leftwich behind center, the Falcons needed a quarterback. They got one with the third overall pick, and Matt Ryan went on to be named MVP and Offensive Player of the Year last season. But fans didn’t want Matt Ryan in the first round.

After four consecutive winning seasons and back-to-back trips to the playoffs, the Chiefs have one of the NFL’s best rosters. With 10 draft picks (two each in the third, fifth and sixth rounds), it’s difficult to imagine so many rookies making the team. Packaging some of those picks to get better value early would make sense.

It would also be a good move by the Chiefs to find a quarterback to groom for the 2018 season when Alex Smith’s cap hit balloons to $20.6 million, and has the potential for $17 million in savings if Kansas City moves on. Going up to get the No. 1 quarterback isn’t realistic, but if a passer the Chiefs like drops to an attainable range, they’re primed to go up and secure the future of the position.

During the 2016 NFL Draft, there were five trades during the first round, and it’s likely that we’ll see a similar amount next Thursday.

The Browns are reportedly split between North Carolina quarterback Mitchell Trubisky and Texas A&M edge rusher Myles Garrett, although most believe the latter will be the selection.

Brown said Wednesday that one of the teams that called Cleveland about possibly acquiring the No. 1 pick was interested in a quarterback, presumably Trubisky. But the likeliest scenario is that the Browns stick with Garrett, leaving the next 31 picks in the draft open for business.
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Dion Dawkins drafted by the Bills after trade with Falcons

Dion Dawkins did whatever Temple needed him to do in his four seasons with the Owls. The 6’4, 314-pound lineman started at each tackle position and earned All-AAC honors while developing a reputation as a mean, path-clearing run blocker.

That was enough to earn him a second-round grade from the Bills, who snapped him up with the 63rd pick of the 2017 NFL draft.

However, concerns about his pass protection and whether or not he’s good enough to stay at tackle raise one big question: Was Dawkins, who wasn’t highly recruited out of high school in New Jersey and labeled himself a “no-star,” a reach?

The Temple product was projected everywhere from the late first round to the early fourth as scouts and executives struggled to find common ground. He’ll have plenty to prove as he jumps to the next level and cuts his teeth in the league.

Remember Brady Quinn? The Browns traded up to select him in the first round of the 2007 draft, and it cost Cleveland its first-round pick the next year. He started 12 games for them, going 3-9, before Cleveland gave up on Quinn and traded him to the Denver Broncos.

The Browns could have had Julio Jones. Instead, they traded with the Atlanta Falcons and got five picks. On paper, that sounds like a great deal, but Cleveland used those picks to draft Trent Richardson, Brandon Weeden, Phil Taylor, Greg Little, and Owen Marecic.

There are only two players from the first round of the 2014 draft who are no longer in the NFL; the Browns drafted them both. Justin Gilbert played just 23 games for the Browns. Johnny Manziel washed out of the NFL after eight starts.

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