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  • On This Day in 2004: Redskins Select Sean Taylor Fifth Overall

    April 24, 2018 • Features, Front Page, History, NFC East, NFL Draft, Washington RedskinsComments (0)

    With the 2018 NFL Draft just two days away, it seems like it’s the perfect time to take a look back on memories from previous drafts.

    On this day (April 24) in 2004, 14 years ago, the Washington Redskins selected with the fifth overall pick in the draft.

    The late, great free safety was selected behind Eli Manning (Chargers), Robert Gallery (Raiders), Larry Fitzgerald (Cardinals) and Philip Rivers (Giants).

    (*Rivers and Manning, of course, were later swapped in a trade*).

    Taylor, before being tragically murdered by a home invader at the young age of 24 in November of 2007, played four successful seasons with the Skins.

    The two-time Pro Bowl selection racked up nearly 300 total tackles, 12 interceptions and eight forced fumbles in his 53 starts over that four-year span.

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  • NFL Teams to Announce Draft Picks From Unique Locations

    April 23, 2018 • Front Page, NFL Draft, Press ReleaseComments (0)

    Press release from the National Football League:

    Beginning on Saturday, April 28 at 12:00 PM ET, NFL teams will announce their Day 3 selections for Rounds 4 to 6 of the 2018 NFL Draft from special locations of their choosing. Featuring special guests, clubs will make their picks from around the world, including military bases, state landmarks, and major attractions.

    For the second straight year, Round 6 will be youth football-themed, and youth football players from Pop Warner, NFL FLAG, and local teams will represent various NFL clubs in their individual markets during pick selections.

    Here is a sampling of special team announcements during Day 3 of the NFL Draft:

    *BALTIMORE RAVENS: Former Raven and Hall of Fame Offensive Tackle JONATHAN ODGEN and HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL ALL-STARS will make selections from the USS CONSTELLATION.​

    *BUFFALO BILLS: Bills Legend THURMAN THOMAS and BOYS & GIRLS CLUBS COLLABORATIVE OF WESTERN NEW YORK (WNY) NFL FLAG FOOTBALL PROGRAM will announce picks from NIAGARA FALLS.

    *CLEVELAND BROWNS: Pro Football Hall of Fame President DAVID BAKER and youth football players will make selections from the PRO FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME.

    *JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS: Team defensive linemen CALAIS CAMPBELL and YANNICK NGAKOUE will join Jaguars sweepstakes winners to announce Round 4 and 5 picks from LONDON. Back in Jacksonville, players from the JAGUARS’ 2018 GIRLS FLAG FOOTBALL JAMBOREE will announce the team’s 6th Round Pick.

    *KANSAS CITY CHIEFS: FORT RILEY CHILD AND YOUTH SERVICE TEAMS will announce selections from FORT RILEY MILITARY BASE.

    *LOS ANGELES CHARGERS & LOS ANGELES RAMS: Pick announcements for both teams will occur at the construction site for the LA STADIUM AND ENTERTAINMENT DISTRICT AT HOLLYWOOD PARK.

    *MIAMI DOLPHINS: The MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL TEAM will announce picks with the FAMILY OF SLAIN FOOTBALL COACH AARON FEIS from the DOLPHINS TRAINING FACILITY.

    *MINNESOTA VIKINGS: Members of the 2018 U.S. MEN’S OLYMPIC CURLING TEAM – the first ever U.S. curling gold medalists – will announce picks at the ST. PAUL CURLING CLUB.

    *NEW YORK JETS: BOOMER ESIASON and HIGH SCHOOL ALL-STAR GAME PLAYERS will make picks from THE INTREPID SEA, AIR & SPACE MUSEUM.

    *OAKLAND RAIDERS: YOUTH AND HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL PLAYERS from Las Vegas will make selections from NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE.

    *PITTSBURGH STEELERS: UNITED STATES ARMY CAPTAIN AND BRONZE STAR RECIPIENT JOHN KELLY will make a pick announcement from Heinz Field along with his SERVICE DOG RANGER.

    *SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS: From LUCASFILM, RON HOWARD, CHEWBACCA, STORMTROOPERS, and R2-D2 will make picks along with the SFPAL’S 49ERS PREP FLAG FOOTBALL TEAM.

    *TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS: A PARROT will deliver the team’s selection to a pick announcer at the PIRATE SHIP IN RAYMOND JAMES STADIUM.

    *TENNESSEE TITANS: Members of the TENNESSEE YOUTH FOOTBALL LEAGUE to make picks from the GRAND OLE OPRY music stage.

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  • The NFL officially releases Full 2018 Regular Season Schedule

    April 19, 2018 • Breaking News, Front Page, Lists, Press ReleaseComments (0)

    Official NFL press release:

    The NFL announced today its 17-week, 256-game regular-season schedule for 2018, which kicks off on Thursday night, September 6 in Philadelphia and concludes on Sunday, December 30 with 16 division games.

    The season begins with the NFL’s annual primetime kickoff game, as the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles host the Atlanta Falcons at Lincoln Financial Field on September 6 (8:20 PM ET, NBC).

    Week 1 is a FOX national weekend with key games on Sunday, September 9 featuring the Dallas Cowboys at the Carolina Panthers (4:25 PM ET) and the Seattle Seahawks visiting the Denver Broncos (4:25 PM ET). Week 1 matchups on CBS include the Houston Texans at the New England Patriots (1:00 PM ET) and the Los Angeles Chargers hosting the Kansas City Chiefs (4:05 PM ET). Week 2 represents the first CBS national weekend with doubleheader games showcasing the Oakland Raiders at the Denver Broncos (4:25 PM ET) and the Patriots visiting the Jacksonville Jaguars (4:25 PM ET).

    NBC’s Sunday Night Football gets underway on September 9 when the Green Bay Packers host the Chicago Bears (8:20 PM ET) at Lambeau Field in the 195th regular-season meeting between the storied franchises.

    Kickoff Weekend concludes on Monday, September 10 with an ESPN Monday Night Football doubleheader. The Detroit Lions will host the New York Jets (7:10 PM ET) in the first game followed by the Los Angeles Rams visiting the Oakland Raiders in the nightcap (10:20 PM ET).

    ESPN will televise one game each Monday night in Weeks 2-16. There will be no Monday night game on the final regularseason weekend (Week 17) to provide more flexibility for the scheduling of the opening weekend of the NFL playoffs.

    Primetime games will all kick off earlier this season – Thursday night at 8:20 PM ET (from 8:25 PM ET), Sunday night at 8:20 PM ET (8:30 PM) and Monday night at 8:15 PM ET (8:30 PM) – and all 32 clubs are scheduled for at least one Thursday, Sunday or Monday night game.

    FOX will kick off their Thursday Night Football package in Week 4 with a showdown of NFC playoff teams, as the Minnesota Vikings visit the Los Angeles Rams at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (8:20 PM ET, FOX/NFLN). FOX will broadcast 11 Thursday Night Football games between Weeks 4-15 (excluding Thanksgiving night), with those games also being simulcast via NFL Network and distributed in Spanish on FOX Deportes. In addition, NFL Network will exclusively televise seven games this season, with FOX producing the full slate of 18 games.

    A select number of games will be “cross-flexed,” moving between CBS and FOX to bring potentially under-distributed games to wider audiences. Some of those contests were announced today and other “cross-flexed” games will be decided during the season.

    The regular season will conclude with Week 17 on Sunday, December 30. For the ninth consecutive year, all 16 games scheduled for Week 17 are division contests, enhancing the potential for more games with playoff ramifications.

    Other highlights of the schedule include:

    Nine games in the 2018 regular season will feature a rematch from the 2017 postseason. In Week 2, Jacksonville will host New England at EverBank Field in a rematch of last season’s AFC Championship Game (4:25 PM ET, CBS). Minnesota travels to Philadelphia in Week 5 in a rematch of the 2017 NFC Championship Game (4:25 PM ET, FOX).

    Thanksgiving will feature a trio of divisional matchups on Thursday, November 22. 2018 marks only the second time since 1970 (2014) that the holiday has featured exclusively divisional matchups. The first game will send the Bears to Detroit to face the Lions (12:30 PM ET, CBS). The late afternoon game will feature the Washington Redskins visiting the Dallas Cowboys (4:30 PM ET, FOX). The Thanksgiving Day festivities conclude with an NFC South showdown as the Falcons travel to New Orleans to face the Saints on NBC (8:20 PM ET).

    The NFL’s international slate includes three games in London – occurring in three consecutive weeks (Week 6-8) – and one in Mexico City. English Premier League soccer club Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium is the site of the first game of the 2018 London Series schedule in Week 6 on Sunday, October 14, as the Oakland Raiders host the Seattle Seahawks (1:00 PM ET, FOX). The following week, action returns to Wembley Stadium as the Los Angeles Chargers host the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, October 21 (9:30 AM ET, CBS). The 2018 London Series concludes in Week 8 with the Jaguars hosting the Eagles at Wembley on Sunday, October 28 (9:30 AM ET, NFLN).

    For the third consecutive season, the NFL will return to Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca. On Monday, November 19, the Los Angeles Rams host the Kansas City Chiefs in the historic venue on Monday Night Football (8:15 PM ET, ESPN).

    The NFL’s 32 teams will each play 16 games over 17 weeks. Byes will begin in Week 4 and end in Week 12.

    “Flexible scheduling” will be used in Weeks 11-17. Additionally, in Weeks 5-10, flexible scheduling may be used in no more than two weeks. In Weeks 5-16, the schedule lists the games tentatively set for Sunday Night Football on NBC. Only Sunday afternoon games are eligible to be moved to Sunday night, in which case the tentatively scheduled Sunday night game would be moved to an afternoon start time. A flexible scheduling move would be announced at least 12 days before the game.

    Flexibility for Saturday games in Weeks 15 and 16 is also part of the 2018 schedule. In Week 15, there will be two games played on Saturday on NFL Network: Houston at the New York Jets and Cleveland at Denver, with the game times of 4:30 PM ET and 8:20 PM ET to be determined. In Week 16, two of four possible matchups will be scheduled for Saturday: Baltimore at Los Angeles Chargers, Jacksonville at Miami, the New York Giants at Indianapolis or Washington at Tennessee. Start times and Saturday games for Week 15 and 16 will be announced no later than following Week 8, with the non-Saturday games to be played on Sunday.

    For Week 17, the Sunday night game will be announced no later than six days prior to December 30. The schedule does not list a Sunday night game in Week 17, but an afternoon game with playoff implications will be moved to that time slot. Flexible scheduling ensures quality matchups in all Sunday time slots in those weeks and gives “surprise” teams a chance to play their way into primetime.

    Flexible scheduling will not be applied to games airing on Thursday or Monday nights.

    The playoffs will include four division winners and two wild cards from each conference. The playoffs begin with Wild Card Weekend on Saturday and Sunday, January 5-6. The two division winners with the best records in each conference will earn first-round byes.

    Wild Card Weekend winners join the top two division champions in each conference in the Divisional Playoffs on Saturday and Sunday, January 12-13. The AFC and NFC Championship Games will be played on Sunday, January 20. The winners meet two weeks later on Sunday, February 3 in Super Bowl LIII at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium (CBS).

    The NFL is the only sports league that presents all regular-season and postseason games on free, over-the-air television in local markets. All postseason games are televised nationally.

    Westwood One will broadcast on radio all NFL primetime games, the three Thanksgiving Day games and the entire NFL playoffs.

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  • Dwight Freeney Set to Retire From NFL At Age 38

    April 19, 2018 • Breaking News, Front Page, RetirementsComments (0)

    I suppose we all knew this day was coming.

    At the ripe age of 38 years old, longtime defensive end Dwight Freeney has made the decision to hang up his cleats and call it a career.

    And, oh, what a career it was!

    Freeney and his incredible spin move played 16 NFL seasons, 11 of which were spent in Indianapolis after the Colts selected him 11th overall in the 2002 NFL Draft.

    In those 16 seasons and 218 games (157 starts), Freeney accumulated over 300 tackles, 125.5 sacks, 46 forced fumbles and 17 passes defensed. The seven-time Pro Bowl defensive end played in 22 postseason games, including a Super Bowl win in ’06 with the Colts. He racked up 11.0 postseason sacks and his team went 12-10 in those 22 games.

    Freeney, after leaving Indy, spent two years in San Diego, one in Arizona, one in Atlanta and split the 2017 season between Detroit and Seattle. He put up double-digit sack totals in seven of his 16 seasons.

    One could certainly argue that he’ll find his way into Canton one day.

    Photo: Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

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  • Arena Football: Randy Hippeard, Torez Jones Earn Week 1 Awards

    April 19, 2018 • Arena Football League, Baltimore Brigade, Front Page, Philadelphia SoulComments (0)

    The Arena Football League has announced that Baltimore’s Randy Hippeard and Philadelphia’s Torez Jones have been named as the offensive and defensive players of the week for Week 1, respectively.

    Offensive Player of the Week – QB Randy Hippeard (6’3, 230, Virginia Wise) had a very impressive debut with the Baltimore Brigade (1-0) in their 61-56 victory over the Washington Valor (0-1). The 2017 AFL MVP completed 22-of-31 passes for 240 yards and five touchdowns. He added an additional six yards on the ground and two touchdowns. Only one week into the season, Hippeard leads the League in pass completion percentage (71.0%) and rushing touchdowns (2).

    Defensive Player of the Week – DB Torez Jones (6’1, 190, Western Carolina) began the 2018 season with a notable stat line in Philadelphia’s (1-0) 56-35 win over the Albany Empire (0-1). The second-year defensive back recorded 5.5 tackles, one fumble recovery, and an 18-yard interception return. He leads the AFL in passes defended with two pass breakups and one interception.

    Photo: Philadelphia Soul’s official website

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  • AFL Week 1: Soul Defeats Empire in Albany’s Inaugural Game

    April 14, 2018 • Albany Empire, Arena Football League, Front Page, Game Recap, Press ReleaseComments (0)

    The Albany Empire (0-1) opened their inaugural season with a loss to the Philadelphia Soul (1-0), 56-35, Saturday night in front of a sold-out crowd at the Times Union Center. Soul quarterback Dan Raudabaugh, threw for six touchdowns on his way to winning the Offensive Player of the Game award. Torez Jones was named Defensive Player of the Game with five tackles, a fumble recovery and an interception.

    The Empire offense was led by quarterback Tommy Grady, who tossed for 259 yards and five touchdowns.  His top target Greg Carr, caught eight passes from Grady, tallying for 74 yards and two touchdowns.

    “I was ecstatic with the fan base,” said Rob Keefe, Head Coach of the Albany Empire.  “We didn’t even have a name two or three months ago and to have this many people believe in us and give us a shot, we are greatly appreciative of that.”

    Philadelphia came out firing on all cylinders.  After returning the opening kickoff to nearly midfield, the Soul marched their way into the end zone, capping off their drive with a seven-yard touchdown to wide receiver Shaun Kauleinamoku.

    The Empire answered right back on their first drive.  Despite being the first time in game action together, the Empire gelled quickly and made their way to the end zone.  The empire capped off their first ever offensive possession with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Carr.

    The Soul wasted no time going right down the field again on their second possession. Raudabaugh found receiver Darius Prince 15 yards downfield in the back of the end zone for this first touchdown reception of the night at the end of the first quarter.

    The first score of the second quarter came on a deep, 27-yarder to receiver, to Collin Taylor, for his first touchdown as a member of the Empire. After another Soul touchdown to answer, the Empire recovered a failed onside kick from Philadelphia, giving Albany great field position. The Empire capitalized with another hookup between Grady and Carr for six. To end the half, the Soul scored two touchdowns in the final minute, giving Philadelphia a 35-21 lead. At the end of the half, Grady had 132 passing yards for three touchdowns. His counterpart, Dan Raudabaugh, compiled 110 yards for four touchdowns.

    After a halftime ceremony highlighted by the retirement of Albany Firebird legend “Touchdown” Eddie Brown’s number 17, the Empire took the ball.  Despite moving the ball downfield, Philadelphia forced a turnover on a backwards pass fumble from Grady.  The Soul marched their way down for another score.

    Down 42-21, The Empire made their way down the field in large part to a huge gain on the ground from fullback, Wes Mauia.  The drive was completed with a short, six-yard touchdown pass from Grady to Doug McNeil III.  The next Philadelphia drive ended with a missed field goal that bounced in play and was recovered for a Soul touchdown.  The Empire wasted no time responding, tossing a 48-yard touchdown to receiver, Malachi Jones.

    On a crucial driving being down by only two touchdowns midway through the fourth quarter, the Empire turned the ball over on downs on the opposing three-yard line.  Philadelphia milked a lot of clock and moved the ball down field for another score, increasing their cushion to 21.

    The Empire were unable to convert on their next possession, giving the ball back to Philadelphia.  The Soul maintained control until the final seconds ticked off the clock.  The final score of the game was 56-35.

    “We still have a long way to go, it’s a journey,” said Keefe, post-game. “I don’t want to use the excuse ‘they were two-time defending champs,’ the fans were telling me that it was a great show, and I appreciate that, but our job is to beat the two-time defending champs.”

    Photo: Albany Empire’s official website

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  • Ahead of New League Year, Browns Front Office Hard at Work

    March 9, 2018 • AFC North, Breaking News, Cleveland Browns, Front PageComments (0)

    Holy cow, where do we even begin??

    Today alone, the Cleveland Browns’ front office has acquired a pair of Pro Bowl veterans to bolster its offensive aerial attack.

    https://twitter.com/AdamSchefter/status/972245838545252352

    For a third-round pick, Cleveland added one-time Pro Bowl quarterback Tyrod Taylor, 28, from the Bills just about an hour after acquiring three-time Pro Bowl wideout Jarvis Landry, 25, from the Dolphins. Landry was acquired for two picks, neither of which were first or second-round picks, according to the ever-trustworthy NFL insider Adam Schefter.

    And they didn’t even have to give up either of their first-round draft picks for the pair of vets.

    I know the general public has been excited about Browns’ acquisitions that didn’t come to fruition in the past, but I think if you add a couple of rookies to this offense the Browns may actually win a couple of games in Hue Jackson’s third season at the helm.

    If Tyrod Taylor has enough time before being pummeled by opposing defenses, he’ll have the opportunity to throw passes to a WR trio of Josh Gordon, Jarvis Landry and Corey Coleman. Although, of course, the Browns are still likely to draft a quarterback in the first round. We’ll likely see Taylor paired with a top five signal caller in this year’s draft class.

    At this point, how could you not be excited to see what General Manager John Dorsey does in the draft come April?

    Photo: Scott Halleran/Getty Images

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  • Buccaneers, Evans Agree on Five-year Contract Extension

    March 9, 2018 • Breaking News, Free Agency, Front Page, NFC, NFC South, Tampa Bay BuccaneersComments (0)

    Well it appears as though Tampa Bay Buccaneers veteran wide receiver Mike Evans has set the precedent for guys such as Odell Beckham Jr., as the 24-year old Buccaneers receiver has agreed to a five-year, $82.5 million extension. It includes $55M guaranteed for Jameis Winston’s favorite target.

    https://twitter.com/RapSheet/status/972212858988781568

    In four professional seasons in Tampa, the 2016 Pro Bowl/Second Team All-Pro selection has reeled in 309 passes for 4,579 yards and 32 touchdowns, and has recorded 1,000-yard season all four years in the league.

    Photo: Brian Blanco/Getty Images

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  • Goodbye, Legion of Boom: Hawks Parting Ways with Sherman

    March 9, 2018 • Free Agency, Front Page, NFC, NFC West, Seattle SeahawksComments (0)

    Just another nail in the Legion of Boom coffin.

    The Seattle Seahawks have made the decision to officially part ways with veteran cornerback Richard Sherman today, putting arguably one of the league’s best CBs over the last seven seasons on the market.

    He’s just another crucial member of the 2013 Super Bowl-winning ‘Hawks’ defense to leave town recently, as just a few days ago DE Michael Bennett was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles.

    Sherman, 29, is certainly a key name to monitor as we enter the new league year next week.

    Photo: Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

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  • Rams to Part Ways with Veteran WR Tavon Austin

    March 1, 2018 • Breaking News, Free Agency, Front Page, Los Angeles Rams, NFC, NFC WestComments (0)

    The L.A. Rams are set to part ways with 26-year old veteran receiver Tavon Austin this off-season.

    They’ll either trade or release him — meaning, yes, he’ll probably be cut. A release would save the Rams $8 million. Not sure anyone’s going to be interested in a trade, considering the five-year pro has under-performed so far in his career.

    Austin caught just 13 passes for 47 yards and zero touchdowns in nine starts (16 games) this season.

    The former eighth overall pick has reeled in 194 passes for 1,689 yards and 12 touchdowns over his career, racking up no more than 509 yards through the air in any given season.

    Perhaps a fresh start in a new city will do him some good.

    Looks like he’s already garnering some interest from Baltimore safety Tony Jefferson:

    https://twitter.com/_tonyjefferson/status/969250244193017859

    Photo: Otto Greule Jr./Getty Images

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