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  • Opinion: Yes, Frank Gore is a Hall of Fame Player

    June 2, 2018 • Features, Front PageComments (0)

    It feels a little weird to say out loud, but Frank Gore may have quietly run himself into a Hall of Fame career.

    Following his 961-yard rushing performance in Year 34 last season, Gore finds himself fifth on the all-time rushing yards list (14,026) behind legends Emmitt Smith, Walter Payton, Barry Sanders and Curtis Martin.

    Gore, now a 35-year-old Miami Dolphin, is just 76 yards away from passing Martin for fourth on the list and is 1,244 yards away from passing Sanders for third all-time.

    While it’s incredibly rare these days to see a 35-year-old break 1,200 yards on the ground, the fact he started all 16 games and ran the ball 261 times at the age of 34 is promising. Not to mention he’s sharing the RB duties with Kenyan Drake, Kalen Ballage (rookie) and Senorise Perry in Miami this year. So, yes, I think it’s safe to say he’ll receive another 200+ carries as long as he’s healthy.

    Although Gore’s Dolphins contract is only a one-year, $1 million contract, give him two more seasons in the league and I have little doubt that he’ll have a shot at finishing up his career third on the all-time rushing list.

    Add to the fact he’s a five-time Pro Bowler who has racked up nine 1,000-yard seasons and has accumulated 1,200+ yards from scrimmage in all but one of his 13 seasons and you have a recipe for a Hall of Fame career.

    Photo: Stacy Revere/Getty Images

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  • Manziel Tosses for 80 yards in CFL Preseason Debut

    June 2, 2018 • Canadian Football League, Features, Front PageComments (0)

    Whether or not you’re a fan of Johnny Manziel, this is the moment many of us have been waiting for since he last suited up for the Cleveland Browns in 2015.

    The 25-year-old Manziel is back in a football uniform.

    Friday, June 1, Manziel made his CFL debut during the Hamilton Tiger-Cats’ preseason showdown with the Montreal Alouettes.

    Toronto won the game 36-18, but the former first-round NFL draft pick and Heisman Trophy winner tossed for 80 yards on 9-of-11 passing, rushing for another 10 yards on two attempts in the losing effort.

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  • AFL: Brigade Extend First-Place Lead with 54-35 Win Over Soul

    May 25, 2018 • Arena Football League, Baltimore Brigade, Front Page, Press ReleaseComments (0)

    Press Release from Baltimore Brigade website:

    The Baltimore Brigade (5-1) defeated the Philadelphia Soul (3-3), 54-35, Friday night at Royal Farms Arena, extending their lead in the league standings to 1.5 games over the Albany Empire.

    Brigade quarterback Randy Hippeard was named the game’s Most Valuable Player for his 210-yard, three-touchdown performance. Hippeard has won the MVP award in all five of the Brigade’s wins this season. Baltimore defensive back Virgil Gray recorded six solo tackles and four pass break-ups and was named Defensive Player of the Game.

    “Any time you can win in this league you have to appreciate it,” Brigade Head Coach Omarr Smith said after the game. “Our guys came in here with a good focus. We made some plays in the first half. Defensively, we made the stops we needed to make. I’m proud of the guys.”

    The Brigade jumped out to an early 14-0 lead after a pair of touchdown passes from Hippeard – the first, a 26-yard throw to wide receiver Quentin Sims and the second, a five-yard screen pass to tight end Jordan McCray. With 1:06 left in the first quarter, Philadelphia cut the Baltimore lead to 14-7 when wideout Darius Reynolds scored on a 28-yard catch-and-run from quarterback Greg McGhee. Hippeard answered with his third touchdown pass of the night, a 39-yarder to wide receiver Milton Williams, giving Baltimore a 20-7 lead with 12:35 left in the first half. After Philadelphia threw an interception on the following possession, Brigade fullback Rory Nixon scored his third rushing touchdown of the season, giving Baltimore a 27-7 lead. A fumble recovered in the end zone on the ensuing kickoff extended the Brigade’s lead to 33-7. With one second left in the half McGhee threw his second touchdown of the night to cut the lead to 33-14.

    Defense dominated the early portions of the third quarter. Philadelphia scored the first points of the second half on a one-yard run by McGhee with 7:31 on the clock, cutting the Baltimore lead to 33-21. Nixon’s second rushing touchdown of the night put the Brigade back up by three possessions with just over 13 minutes left in the game. McGhee threw his third touchdown of the night, a nine-yarder to wideout Aaron Wascha, making the score 40-28, Baltimore, with 9:50 left in the game. With just over a minute remaining in the game, Brigade linebacker and wide receiver Lamark Brown scored a pair of touchdowns within a 12-second span. Brown first scored on a two-yard run and followed it up with an eight-yard interception return on the following possession. Philadelphia added another score with 39 seconds left, setting the final score at 54-35, Baltimore.

    MVP: BAL QB Randy Hippeard – 18/23 passing, 210 yards and three touchdowns

    OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME: PHI QB Greg McGhee – 14/26 passing, 164 yards and five total touchdowns

    DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME: BAL DB Virgil Gray – six solo tackles and four pass break-ups

    The Brigade are on the road next weekend, taking on the Albany Empire on Saturday, June 2 at 7 p.m. at Times Union Center. Baltimore’s next home game is on Friday, June 15 at 7 p.m. at Royal Farms Arena against the Washington Valor.

    Photo: Baltimore Brigade Twitter account

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  • The 2019 NFL Draft Set to be Hosted in Nashville

    May 23, 2018 • Breaking News, Events, Front Page, NFL DraftComments (0)

    Press release from NFL Communications:

    The 84th NFL Draft will take place on April 25-27, 2019 in Nashville, incorporating iconic city landmarks across the Music City stretching from Lower Broadway to Nissan Stadium.

    The announcement was made today at the annual Spring League Meeting in Atlanta following a review of the proposal by the Super Bowl & Major Events Advisory Committee and full ownership. This is the result of a comprehensive evaluation process over the past several months of plans submitted by various cities to host the 2019 NFL Draft.

    “Following an exciting and successful event in Dallas, we’re thrilled to take the NFL Draft to Nashville. The city has a passionate fan base and offers iconic locations that will enable us to expand the Draft in unique ways,” said NFL Commissioner ROGER GOODELL. “We look forward to working with the Tennessee Titans, the City of Nashville, and the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp to deliver a memorable celebration of football to our fans and incoming players.”

    The NFL Draft returns to primetime with Round 1 on Thursday, April 25. Rounds 2 and 3 will follow on Friday, April 26, and Rounds 4-7 will conclude the event on Saturday, April 27.

    As part of the event, the NFL Draft Experience Presented By Oikos Triple Zero®  a massive free football festival – will allow fans of all teams to participate and test their football skills, enjoy interactive exhibits and autograph sessions, and take pictures with the Vince Lombardi Trophy. The Draft Experience will be open all three days of the event.

    “We are thrilled for the city of Nashville, our fans and our team, that we have been selected to host the 2019 NFL Draft,” said AMY ADAMS STRUNK, Tennessee Titans Controlling Owner. “The city and the Titans put a lot of effort into this proposal and we can’t wait to see it come to life next year. I personally would like to thank Commissioner Goodell and the NFL for this opportunity; Metro Nashville Government, led by Mayor David Briley; Butch Spyridon at the CVC; Scott Ramsey at the Sports Council; and all those who have contributed to this effort. Nashville is known as an entertainment destination and we look forward to showing the football world what that looks like on a very big stage.”

    “Nashville is honored to host the 2019 NFL Draft. We are prepared to deliver a unique Music City experience and an NFL-caliber event,” said Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp President and CEO BUTCH SPYRIDON. “I would like to thank the Titans and owner, Amy Adams Strunk, for their support and the NFL for their confidence.”

    The NFL Draft has grown into one of the biggest and most-anticipated sporting events of the year. The 2018 event set a record as the highest-rated and most-watched Draft ever, eclipsing the previous record set in 2014. The 2018 Draft marked the first time that the entirety of the event was aired on broadcast television, which helped attract more than 45 million total viewers over three days of coverage. The Draft achieved a combined 3.57 HH rating and average of 5.5 million viewers across NFL Network, FOX, ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes. The event also created tremendous fan engagement across social platforms with the 2018 NFL Draft being the second-most talked about sports event of the year so far, behind only Super Bowl LII.

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  • Arena Football: Metz Makes Return to Philadelphia Soul

    May 15, 2018 • Arena Football League, Front Page, Philadelphia SoulComments (0)

    Press Release from philadelphiasoul.com

    The Philadelphia Soul announced the return of DL Jake Metz (6’6, 275). The Souderton Area High School graduate played a key defensive role for the Soul in the 2015 and 2016 seasons and helped the Soul to an ArenaBowl Championship in 2016.

    In just two seasons with the Soul, Metz tallied 45 total tackles, 7.5 sacks, three pass break-ups, two forced fumbles and a quarterback hurry. He led the league in sacks for the 2016 season with eight and was awarded Defensive Lineman of the Year and First Team All-Arena honors for his performance.

    “The addition of Jake gives us another All Arena weapon to our pass rush,” said Soul General Manager and Assistant Head Coach Phil Bogle. “Jake is a natural leader on and off the field and we are happy he is home.”

    It was during his time at the Soul that Metz caught the eyes of multiple NFL teams. Metz was one of four 2016 Soul players to receive an invitation to workout with an NFL team. The Pennsylvania native was signed by the Philadelphia Eagles and participated in their final preseason game in 2016. Then in 2017, after a stint in the China Arena Football League playing linebacker for the Qingdao Clipper, Metz was presented with another NFL opportunity when he signed with the Buffalo Bills. Metz participated in four pre-season games with the Bills and tallied seven tackles.

    Metz recently completed his Bachelor’s degree in Sociology at Shippensburg University (SU) and was a standout defensive end on the SU football team. Metz finished his SU career as the all-time sacks leader with 30.5 and all-time career tackles-for-loss leader with 55. He also broke the school’s single-season record for sacks in 2012 with 11.5.

    The Soul are home in Week 6 this Saturday, May 19th at the Wells Fargo Center and are going for 21 straight home game wins. The Soul will face the Albany Empire on their first appearance in Philadelphia and kickoff is set for 6:00 p.m.

    Photo: Philadelphia Soul official website

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  • Long-time Dallas Cowboys’ TE Jason Witten Hangs Up his Cleats

    May 3, 2018 • Dallas Cowboys, Features, Front Page, History, NFC East, RetirementsComments (0)

    Jason Witten, long-time Dallas Cowboys’ tight end, hass officially announced that he’d be hanging up his football cleats after his illustrious 15 seasons in the National Football League.

    The 36-year old spent all 15 of his seasons donning the blue and silver star on his helmet, making 229 starts (239 games overall) and earning 11 Pro Bowl selections and four All-Pro honors (two First-Team, two Second-Team selections).

    At his retirement, Witten has accumulated 1,152 receptions, 12,448 receiving yards and 68 touchdown catches. His receptions and yards rank second all-time among tight ends as he sits behind only Tony Gonzalez on those two lists. On the catch list, he ranks fourth all-time behind Jerry Rice, Gonzalez and Larry Fitzgerald.

    Witten has made 179 consecutive starts, dating back to Dec. 16, 2006 — this marks the longest streak by a TE in history.

    So yes, while he never won a Super Bowl championship in his 15 years, his numbers are certainly on-par with the Hall of Fame standards.

    Photo: Getty Images

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  • 2018 NFL Draft Recap: Year of the Rookie Quarterback?

    April 30, 2018 • Features, Front Page, NFL DraftComments (0)

    It was a busy weekend across the National Football League, as the three-day 2018 NFL Draft is officially in the books.

    The first round saw five quarterbacks come off the big board, including four in the top 10. Perhaps the biggest quarterback storyline of the opening round, aside from the Browns making the surprise No. 1 pick of Oklahoma’s Heisman-winning signal caller Baker Mayfield, is UCLA’s Josh Rosen dropping to No. 10 (Cardinals).

    The New York Jets, rather than going with Rosen, selected USC’s Sam Darnold at the No. 3 overall position.

    The Buffalo Bills found Tyrod Taylor’s successor, Wyoming’s Josh Allen at No. 7 overall.

    Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson nearly dropped out of the first round, with the Baltimore Ravens adding to its quarterback depth behind Joe Flacco and Robert Griffin III by snagging Jackson at No. 32.

    After that first round, no more quarterbacks were selected until the Pittsburgh Steelers selected Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph in the third round (76th overall pick). Rudolph will be able to sit behind the veteran, potential Hall of Fame quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for a year or two before replacing him once he retires. Let’s face it, Ben may not play past the 2018 season.

    After grabbing the top running back, Saquon Barkley out of Penn State, with the No. 2 overall pick, the New York Giants snatched up Richmond quarterback Kyle Lauletta in the fourth round (108th overall pick). He’ll join aging veteran Eli Manning and 23-year old Davis Webb on New York’s QB depth chart this fall.

    The rest of the quarterbacks:

    *Cowboys: Western Kentucky’s Mike White (fifth round)
    *Titans: Washington State’s Luke Falk (sixth round)
    *Jaguars: Nebraska’s Tanner Lee (sixth round)
    *Patriots: LSU’s Danny Etling (seventh round)
    *Seahawks: Florida International’s Alex McGough (seventh round)
    *Bengals: Toledo’s Logan Woodside (seventh round)

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  • Ryan Shazier Walks to Podium, Steals Show in First Round

    April 26, 2018 • AFC North, Front Page, NFL Draft, Pittsburgh Steelers, VideoComments (0)

    Thursday’s first round of the 2018 NFL Draft was spectacular.

    It had surprise picks, steals and trade aplenty, but no moment was greater than when Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier walked to the podium to announce Pittsburgh’s No. 28 pick. Incredible:

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  • Gronkowski Says He’ll Be Back For 2018 Season

    April 24, 2018 • Breaking News, Front PageComments (0)

    We all knew it was coming, right?

    There was no way the 28-year-old tight end would step away from the game in his prime, despite nagging injuries throughout his eight-year All-Pro career with the New England Patriots.

    Well, now it’s officially official. Gronk will be back in ’18, we can all breathe a heavy sigh of relief knowing we’ll get to witness a few more Gronk spikes.

    https://twitter.com/RapSheet/status/988906831937490946

    Photo: Getty Images

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  • AFL: Philadelphia Soul Going For 20th Straight Win at Home

    April 24, 2018 • Arena Football League, Front Page, Philadelphia Soul, Press ReleaseComments (0)

    Press release from Philadelphia Soul official website:

    PHILADELPHIA, PA – April 11, 2016. Final score Jacksonville 59 – Soul 41. That was 742 days ago, and it’s the last time the Soul lost a home game. A few days later, on April 17, the Soul took down the Portland Steel in a home game at the Wells Fargo Center and the winning feeling has continued ever since. This Saturday, the Soul go for 20 home victories in a row when they take on the Washington Valor at the Wells Fargo Center. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30pm.

    It’s been more than two calendar years since Soul fans in Philadelphia have had to leave their home arena disappointed. For a roster and coaching staff that appreciate the impact that fans have on an Arena Football game, it is important to deliver victories in front of the home crowd.

    “We place a lot of emphasis on defending our own backyard,” said Soul General Manager, Assistant Head Coach, and former Soul Player, Phil Bogle. “Philly is the best sports city in the country, and our fans give us a huge home-field advantage, so it’s important to us that we give them their monies worth every time we’re out there.”

    Along the way there have been milestones, last second victories, and dominant performances. Several players on the current roster have been here throughout the entire streak, including QB Dan Raudabaugh, WR Darius “Money” Reynolds, WR Shaun Kauleniamoku, LB Joe Goosby, DB Dwayne Hollis, DB James Romain, DB LaRico Stevenson and OL Wayne Tribue, himself a former Temple Owl. That consistency, and a commitment to excellence, are what most folks around the organization credit for the continued success.

    “It is hard to win in professional sports, and all these guys do is win,” said Philadelphia Soul Majority Owner and former Philadelphia Eagle, Ron Jaworski. “This is a very special group of not only players, but people.”

    In fact, it would seem as though the “winning streak bug” has become a bit contagious here in Philadelphia, now affectionally referred to as the City of Champions. Since the beginning of the Soul’s streak in 2016, several of the Philadelphia sports teams have enjoyed impressive winning streaks of their own. Most recently, the Sixers were winners of 19 straight, including 11 at home, and the Eagles, en-route to winning Super Bowl 52, won 7 straight at home and let’s face it, that Week 17 game against the Cowboys shouldn’t really count as a loss! And of course, let’s not forget the current hot streak for the Phillies, who have started off 9-1 at home this season, their best start at home since 1964!

    Add to all of this the Super Bowl victory, another National Championship from Villanova and two ArenaBowl titles for the Soul, and you can understand why opposing teams are not exactly thrilled when they have to visit Philadelphia. Philly fans are proud, they’re energized, and they demonstrate what a true home-field advantage can do for its teams. We’ll see if the Soul can deliver once again on Saturday night.

    Photo: philadelphiasoul.com

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