University of Delaware Press ReleaseNEWARK, Del. — When Connor Bozick walked off the field at Delaware Stadium this past November at the conclusion of the annual Battle of the Blue Hen matchup with rival Villanova, he capped an outstanding career as one of the top offensive linemen in University of Delaware football history.Just over three months later, Bozick continues to work hard to make sure that his playing days are far from over.That’s why he was sweating and hustling again Wednesday morning in front of approximately 12 National Football League scouts as Delaware hosted its annual Pro Day at the Delaware Field House.Bozick, a 6-5, 320 lb. tackle from Severn, Md., was among three former Blue Hen standouts and several other area players who took part in measuring, testing, and on-field drills as part of the annual event that happens on hundreds of campuses this time of the year. He was joined by a pair of 2016 UD teammates in safety Simba Gwashavanhu (below right) and punter Will Stephenson (below left).The day began with height and weight measurements and testing in the bench press, vertical leap, and broad jump in the Chuck Hall Weight Room inside the Bob Carpenter Center.The group then headed to the inside turf at Delaware Field House where they went through various speed and agility drills and skills work pertaining to their individual positions. Scouts huddled around with clipboards in hand and stop watches around their necks watching and reporting every move. About 100 family, friends, and teammates were among those watching from the sidelines and in the stands high above the field.“I expected to come in here and perform well today,” said Bozick, a hotel, restaurant, and institutional management major who was a two-time All-Colonial Athletic Association performer, played in 46 career games, and participated in two post-season all-star games after the 2016 season. “I didn’t expect this many teams (to have scouts there), so that was pretty cool. I have been training for the last couple of months up in Boston and had a plan to come in here and be ready for any scenario. It was almost like preparing for a game and I think I did really well. I hit some consistent numbers in the broad (jump), bench, and vertical (leap) and felt good running and in the position work.”Gwashavanhu, who recorded 93 tackles in 31 career games for the Hens, also went through drills for the scouts inside DFH and Stephenson, who averaged 41.3 yards per kick in his lone season with UD this past fall, later took his game outside and went through punting exercises in front of the scouts on the Delaware turf practice field.All three are hoping to hook on with a professional team and earn a tryout later this spring. Each would love to join a group of seven former Blue Hens currently playing in the NFL, tied for the most of any NCAA FCS program.“I just want to get in the best shape of my life and hopefully a team will give me an opportunity,” said Bozick when asked about what the coming months will bring leading up to the NFL Draft in April and the subsequent free agent signing period. “It’s all up in the air right now. If a call comes, I just have to be ready to go.”
With future Hall of Fame running back Adrian Peterson hitting the open market this spring, it’s been made pretty clear that his 11th NFL season will be spent somewhere outside of Minnesota.
Although he’s mentioned that he’d consider giving the defending champion Patriots a discount, it appears as though the Oakland Raiders and Seattle Seahawks are the two teams at the top of the 31-year old’s FA wish-list.
With quarterback Derek Carr coming back from injury and Seattle still just on the brink of returning to the Super Bowl, the seven-time Pro Bowler could easily turn one of these two teams into immediate Super Bowl favorites.
Oakland’s star running back Latavius Murray is also hitting the FA market, so if the three-year pro finds a new home I’m sure the Oakland front office would love to have AP fill the void left behind.
As for Seattle, Pete Carroll’s offense ranked 25th in rushing yards last season and has still been looking for a true No. 1 power back to replace the void Marshawn Lynch left behind at the end of 2015.
Photo: Hannah Foslien/Getty Images
With the legal tampering period kicking off at noon today, we’re rapidly approaching free agency period. Here’s a list of some of the top offensive free agents hitting the open market this week.
Top 40 Unrestricted and Restricted Free Agents (ordered by position):
Photo: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
As an NFL General Manager, would you give up two of your first-round picks (one this year, one next year) for a back-up quarterback with just two career NFL starts under his belt?
Well that’s apparently the defending champion New England Patriots’ new asking price for 25-year old Jimmy Garoppolo.
Garoppolo, the former first-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, has appeared in 17 games over his three-year professional football career in New England. His only two career starts came at the beginning of this season during Tom Brady’s four-game suspension.
Jimmy G tossed for 502 yards, 4 touchdowns with no picks on 43-of-63 passing in 2016, putting up a 113.3 QB rating in place of Brady. But that’s about the most playing experience he’s had at the pro level. And they expect to receive TWO first-round picks for him?
I guess the only potential interest this offer will garner is from the Cleveland Browns. With the No. 1 and No. 12 overall picks in this year’s draft, the Browns are actually considering giving up the No. 12 pick — and next year’s first-rounder — in order to land Jimmy while also keeping the top pick in the draft for this season.
It sounds like the most Browns move ever, doesn’t it?
Photo: Eric Espada/Getty Images
Press release: Former NFL players and military combat veterans are teaming up with the Waterboys Initiative for its second-annual climb of Mt. Kilimanjaro in an effort to raise awareness and funds for water scarcity; The 2016-17 “Conquering Kili” Class begins the climb on Tuesday, March 7
Waterboys is set to kick off its second-annual climb of Mt. Kilimanjaro alongside military combat veterans and alumni of the National Football League today, The Chris Long Foundation announced.
The summit, which is known as “Conquering Kili,” is an extension of the Waterboys Initiative created by Patriots Defensive End CHRIS LONG and NATE BOYER, a Green Beret and former Seattle Seahawk, with the goal of amplifying awareness of water scarcity and empowering former NFL players and military combat veterans to continue their commitment to service.
“We’ve got an incredible class of climbers who humbly accepted our challenge to conquer Mt. Kilimanjaro,” Long said. “This summit is a once in a lifetime opportunity, but our 2016-17 ‘Conquering Kili’ class will climb with the added weight of helping impoverished communities gain access to clean water. The entire group has been dedicated and faithful throughout the fundraising and training process, but now we’re ready start the climb.”
For the second consecutive season, Long and Boyer challenged veterans and former NFL alumni to join them on their mission to conquer Mt. Kilimanjaro. The 2016-17 Class includes:
· Chris Long, “Conquering Kili” Co-Captain; NFL Defensive End (New England Patriots, St. Louis Rams)
· Nate Boyer, “Conquering Kili” Co-Captain; Former Green Beret and NFL Long Snapper (Seattle Seahawks)
· Chad Brown, Former NFL Linebacker (Pittsburgh, Steelers, Seattle Seahawks, New England Patriots)
· Luis Castillo, Former NFL Defensive End (San Diego Chargers)
· Major Ivan Castro, Retired, United States Army
· Sgt. Kirstie Ennis, Retired, United States Marine Corps
· Nick Hardwick, Former NFL Offensive Lineman (San Diego Chargers)
· Jim Mora, Head Coach of UCLA Football
· Lisa Keys, Wife of the Late U.S. Army Sgt. Bradley Keys
· Mark Pattison, Former NFL Wide Receiver (LA Raiders, LA Rams, New Orleans Saints)
· Cory Procter, Former NFL Offensive Lineman (Detroit Lions, Dallas Cowboys, Miami Dolphins)
· Pete Quintanilla, Retired, United States Army
This year’s class of climbers was tasked with raising $150,000 to support the climb and to construct clean water wells. Last year, “Conquering Kili” raised $110,000 and built two wells to benefit the Longido Secondary School and the Mwanga School for the Deaf. Over 5,500 Africans are served on a daily basis through these two wells alone.
The 2016-17 “Conquering Kili” group will spend 10 days in East Africa. The trip will include visits to East African water projects and a six-day Kilimanjaro hike. In honor of the program’s supporters, the team will carry a flag up the summit with the names of donors who contributed $25 or more to the cause. To date, the Waterboys Initiative and its sub-program, “Conquering Kili,” has delivered clean water to over 56,000 people and funded 17 sustainable wells.
For more information please contact Nicole Woodie at email@example.com.
Photo: Associated Press
Despite being offered an extension, it appears as though six-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Brandon Marshall is ready to move on from his New York Jets’ tenure.
Adam Schefter took to Twitter to make it official:
With the Jets looking to get younger, and clearly not in position to win any time soon, the 32-year old (soon to be 33) is likely looking for a team ready to compete in 2017.
In his 11 NFL seasons, Marshall has spent time on four different teams (Broncos, Dolphins, Bears, Jets). In two seasons with the Jets, Marshall racked up 2,290 yards and 17 touchdowns on 168 receptions, including a league-leading 14 touchdowns in 2015.
Note: We’re exactly a week away from the official start to the new league year. The countdown begins!
Photo: Getty Images
This afternoon at 4 p.m. ET is the deadline for NFL teams to place the franchise tag on a player, if they so choose to do so.
Here’s a running list of all the players who have been franchised by their respective team:
Arizona Cardinals: DE Chandler Jones
Carolina Panthers: DT Kawann Short
Los Angeles Chargers: LB Melvin Ingram
Los Angeles Rams: CB Trumaine Johnson
New York Giants: DE Jason Pierre-Paul
Pittsburgh Steelers: RB Le’Veon Bell
Washington Redskins: QB Kirk Cousins
Updated: Wednesday, March 1 at 12:35 p.m. ET
Photo: Rob Carr/Getty Images
WR Poppy Livers Assigned to Soul from Open Tryout in January
PHILADELPHIA — The Arena Football League today announced that WR Poppy Livers (5’7, 170, Villanova) has been assigned to the Philadelphia Soul 2017 roster. This will be Livers’ first season with the Soul and first in the Arena Football League.
“We had over 200 guys at our open tryout and Poppy definitely stood out,” said Soul head coach Clint Dolezel. “We are excited to get Poppy into training camp and hopefully have him confirm our thoughts that his skillset can lead to a phenomenal career in the Arena Football League.”
The former Villanova star was named Second-Team, All-CAA and team captain for the 2014 season, racking in a personal best 67 receptions for 987 yards and nine touchdowns, while also tallying seven rushes for 64 yards and 17 punt returns for 129 yards and a touchdown. He played in all 11 games during the 2013 season for the Wildcats, recording 53 receptions for 580 yards and three touchdowns, five rushes for 19 yards and 16 kick returns for 323 yards. In 2012 he played in all 12 games, catching 20 passes for 215 yards, three rushes for 68 yards and 10 punt returns for 168 yards and one touchdown.
“I couldn’t be more excited to get an opportunity to continue my football career at the next level, all while staying in the Philadelphia area, the city that has been so great to me,” said Livers. “I am looking forward to getting into training camp and proving that my best football days are still ahead of me.”
Livers is one of three players selected from the Soul open tryouts this past January. He will be joining rookie OL John Kling (6’8, 320, Buffalo) and rookie DL John Sheehy (6’5, 265, Western Texas A&M) as they compete for a spot on the final roster at the end of training camp.
Press release from philadelphiasoul.com
Photo: Special to the All-Out Blitz
The free agency period and new league year doesn’t officially roll around until next month, but that isn’t stopping the Miami Dolphins from making moves now.
In a deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Miami’s front office has acquired tight end Julius Thomas. Thomas, 28, passed his physical but will not officially be a member of the Dolphins until the new league year begins March 9.
At 28 years old, Thomas has yet to replicate the success he had in Denver during the 2013 and 2014 seasons. In those two Pro Bowl years, Thomas combined for 1,277 yards and 24 touchdowns on 108 receptions.
He was catching passes from future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning during his Denver tenure, so it was a tough adjustment going from Manning down to two years with Blake Bortles. In two seasons with the Jaguars, the veteran tight end missed 15 starts. But a healthy Thomas in the lineup for Miami could prove helpful to a Ryan Tannehill in 2017.
Shortly after the Thomas deal hit the press, a separate Jacksonville/Miami deal went public, which will send veteran 32-year old offensive tackle Branden Albert from Miami to Jacksonville.
- In addition, Miami unloaded under-performing defensive end Mario Williams after just one season on Feb. 16.
- After posting his fourth double-digit sack season in eight years with the team, Miami inked five-time Pro Bowl pass-rusher Cameron Wake to a two-year, $19 million extension.
- In an odd reminiscent moment, the front office signed six former Dolphins to one-day contracts in a strange “celebration” yesterday, including legendary quarterbacks Dan Marino and Bob Griese.
Yeah, it’s been a busy month for Miami.
Photo: Rich Schultz/Getty Images
Press release from arenafootball.com
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Washington Valor have signed veteran QB Erik Meyer to their roster for their inaugural season presented by MedStar Health. Meyer was named the Arena Football League’s MVP in 2013.
Meyer brings a wealth of professional experience to the Valor. He has spent time with the Cincinnati Bengals, Seattle Seahawks and Oakland Raiders as well as NFL Europa’s Cologne Centurions. Meyer joined the Arena Football League in 2009 when he was assigned to the Spokane Shock.
“This is a key acquisition for the Valor as the quarterback position is vital to your success in the AFL,” said head coach Dean Cokinos. “Erik will be a tremendous fit for our style of play and he will also be a great ambassador of the arena game to the Washington D.C. community. We are very excited to have Erik on board with us as we build the Valor brand.”
Meyer was assigned to the Utah Blaze in 2010 before returning to the Shock for the following season. The 2011 season was Meyer’s breakout season. He set a new Shock record in touchdowns (112) and passing yards (4,667) while leading the team to a 14-4 record and clinching the second seed in the National Conference. Meyer’s 112 touchdowns were a league best that year.
“I am excited to play for the Valor,” said Meyer. “I can’t wait to be back on the field and play for this franchise. The season can’t come soon enough.”
In 2014 as the quarterback of the San Jose Sabercats, Meyer led his team to a 17-1 record on their way to winning ArenaBowl XXVIII.
Meyer has earned numerous accolades including First Team and Second-Team All-Arena, Offensive Player of the Year and League MVP Awards.
Photo: azcentral sports