Archive for July, 2010

First-round signings up 70%; 240 of 255 total selections signed

Quarterback Sam Bradford, the first selection in the 2010 NFL Draft, has signed with the St. Louis Rams

With all NFL training camps underway by tomorrow, August 1, signings of first-round draft choices are up 70 percent over last July 31 and nearly 95 percent of all draft choices have signed.

Through July 31 (based on official notification to the league office), 240 of the 255 players selected in the 2010 NFL Draft have signed contracts, up from 224 of 256 draft choices signed as of July 31, 2009.  Among players selected in the first round – 17 have signed this year vs. 10 at this time last year.

Below is a list of the first-round draft picks in 2010 who have signed with their clubs (based on official notification to the league office by July 31).

Club Name Pos College Pick
St. Louis Bradford, Sam QB Oklahoma 1
Washington Williams, Trent T Oklahoma 4
Kansas City Berry, Eric DB Tennessee 5
Oakland McClain, Rolando LB Alabama 8
San Francisco Davis, Anthony T Rutgers 11
Philadelphia Graham, Brandon DE Michigan 13
San Francisco Iupati, Mike G Idaho 17
Pittsburgh Pouncey, Maurkice C Florida 18
Atlanta Weatherspoon, Sean LB Missouri 19
Houston Jackson, Kareem DB Alabama 20
Green Bay Bulaga, Bryan T Iowa 23
Dallas Bryant, Dez WR Oklahoma State 24
Denver Tebow, Tim QB Florida 25
New England McCourty, Devin DB Rutgers 27
Miami Odrick, Jared DT Penn State 28
Detroit Best, Jahvid RB California 30
New Orleans Robinson, Patrick DB Florida State 32

Forum with Commissioner Goodell provides unique experience for fans

Green Bay Packers shareholders in attendance at the annual meeting on Thursday were treated to a visit from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, one that included a “Fan Forum” in the afternoon during which Goodell answered questions from shareholders and special guests of the team in the Lambeau Field Atrium, Packers.com reported.

“I can’t tell you what a privilege it was to be here today,” Goodell said to Packers.com after the meeting.  “As I said to the fans and the shareholders, being in Lambeau Field and looking up at the crowd and all of the green and gold and seeing all of those names up there was really a special treat.  It was one of the highlights of being commissioner, I’ve got to tell you, so it was really great to be here.”

That excitement was mutual for the shareholders that were randomly selected on Thursday to be part of the hour-long “Fan Forum” during which fans were able to interact with Goodell directly.  Shareholders composed more than half of the 120-person audience for a show that was scheduled to be aired for a national audience on NFL Network on Thursday night (click here to find portions of the “Fan Forum” on NFL.com).

“To get the commissioner’s ear for an hour or hour and a half, it was great,” said shareholder Kelly Coyle of Plover, Wisconsin.  “A lot of times you just get the sound bites on TV, but here you got the full answer.

“It was absolutely my favorite part. Everything else becomes pretty standardized in terms of the procedural stuff at the meeting, and certainly this is something that made it really unique.”

For the complete story from Packers.com, click here.

For the complete Green Bay Press Gazette story, click here.

For the complete Milwaukee Journal Sentinel story, click here.

For the complete Associated Press story, click here.

Commissioner Goodell: “Everything we do is focused on the fans”

Commissioner Roger Goodell appeared on NFL Total Access on NFL Network last night to discuss his upcoming tour of training camps with John Madden, who serves as a special advisor, and today’s fan forum in Green Bay (NFL Network, 8:00 PM ET).

“Everything we do is focused on the fans,” said Commissioner Goodell, who will meet with fans, players, coaches and team personnel when he visits eight camps in six days next week. “How do we make the fan experience better? Whether it’s at home through the television with watching the NFL Network or using NFL.com or whether it’s attending our games.  We have focused on making sure that experience in the stadium is safe, enjoyable and fans have the ability to experience as much football as possible when they do come to those games.”

“Anyone who loves the game of football, and you know I do, spending a number of days with [John Madden] on the Madden Cruiser is going to be all about football,” the Commissioner added. “Talking about the game, what we can do to improve the game, talking to fans, players, coaches, team personnel about what we should be doing to make the game even better than it is today. That’s our focus and John’s been a great help. And I’m sure that we’ll have a lot of laughs along the way.”

Below is a transcript of the interview.
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Commissioner Goodell, Giants president John Mara at opening of new NFL Alumni Association offices

Commissioner Roger Goodell and New York Giants president John Mara last night joined NFL Alumni Association president George Martin at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new NFL Alumni national headquarters in Newark, NJ.

Sylvia Mackey, the wife of Pro Football Hall of Fame tight end John Mackey, and Newark Mayor Cory Booker also participated in the ceremony.  Former NFL players in attendance included Super Bowl XXV MVP Ottis Anderson, Hall of Famer Harry Carson, Rich Caster, Bruce Laird, Tommy Luongo, Bart Oates, and Roman Oben.

“We’re here to help support the intentions of this association,” Commissioner Goodell said. “We all have to do a better job helping the retired players, whether it’s with physical, emotional or financial help.”

The NFL Alumni Association represents nearly 4,000 retired NFL players and is the largest alumni group in the sport.  Martin became Alumni Association president last May. 

“The retired players were looking for unified leadership and there’s no more respected or qualified person than George Martin,” Mara said. “I know he wants to do the right thing. While what the Alumni office did under previous management was good in terms of its local charity work, the Alumni Association now needs to focus on the real issues that retired players have. George understands that. The owners all have a priority to listen to what the retired players are saying and we are doing that.”

“We know a vast number of former players, for a variety of reasons, fall on hard times,” said Martin, who played 14 seasons for the New York Giants. “It’s a larger group than people realize, and we want to advocate for a better quality of life for all our constituents.”

Above:  (from left) Newark Mayor Cory Booker, Giants President John Mara, Sylvia Mackey (wife of John Mackey), NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFL Alumni Association President George Martin at ribbon cutting ceremony at opening of the NFL Alumni national headquarters in Newark.

More than 75% of draftees signed; nearly half from Rounds 1-3

New England Patriots first-round pick Devin McCourty, with Patriots owner Robert Kraft, signed with the club today.

With rookies from 11 clubs already reporting to training camp and the remaining 21 rookie reporting dates in the next four days, more than three-quarters of the players selected in the 2010 NFL Draft have signed contracts.

Through July 28, based on official notification to the NFL office, 195 of 255 draft choices have signed with their clubs (up from 171 of 256 on July 28, 2009). In addition, nearly half (45 of 98) of those chosen in the first three rounds in 2010 have signed contracts (vs. 45 of 100 last year).

For the complete list of training camp dates and locations, click here.

San Francisco 49ers welcome fans to state of franchise event tonight

The San Francisco 49ers tonight will hold their 2010 State of the Franchise event, giving fans an opportunity to speak with the team’s top decision-makers. In addition to those in attendance, all 49ers fans can submit questions on 49ers.com and watch the event live on the site.

49ers fans will hear from chief executive Jed York, head coach Mike Singletary and vice president of player personnel Trent Baalke. 49ers radio voice Ted Robinson will serve as master of ceremonies.

For more on the event, click here.

Commissioner Goodell to visit with fans in Green Bay on Thursday, honor Lamar Hunt at New Arrowhead Stadium Friday

Commissioner Roger Goodell (right, with fans at 2010 NFL Draft) this week begins his preseason travel visiting with fans, players and coaches with a pair of stops in the Midwest.

On Thursday he will host a fan forum at Lambeau Field, taking questions from 120 Green Bay Packers fans.  All fans can watch the forum later that night on NFL Network at 8:00 PM ET.

The Commissioner will then join the Kansas City Chiefs on Friday at the New Arrowhead Stadium for the dedication of the Founder’s Plaza honoring Chiefs and American Football League founder Lamar Hunt.

Founder’s Plaza will welcome fans to the stadium and a statue of Lamar Hunt, designed by noted sculptor Bruce Wolfe, will be unveiled at the ceremony. Founder’s Plaza also commemorates the history of the AFL, featuring eight fountains representing the league’s original franchises.

Ready for football: All training camps open by next Sunday

Training camp is already underway for some teams and all clubs kick off camp by next Sunday. For the complete list of training camp dates and locations, click here.

Through Saturday (based on official notification to the league office), 71 percent of the players selected in the 2010 NFL Draft (182 of 255) have signed contracts.

As always, the impact of the rookie class will be closely watched in training camp. Following is a sampling of training camp preview articles written this weekend.
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Philadelphia Eagles: “Fans are the stars” with pictures on season tickets and new advisory committee

Longtime Philadelphia Eagles season ticket holder Mark Esposito is pictured on the game ticket for the team’s October 17 home game against the Atlanta Falcons (right) with the words “I may have never seen a game, but I’ll never miss one.”

Esposito is blind, but attends each game.

Photos of such 10 die-hard season-ticketholders with inspirational stories are featured on Eagles 2010 home tickets, the Philadelphia Daily News reported.

“The stars that never change year in and year out are the fans,” said Tim McDermott, senior vice president and chief marketing officer of the Eagles. “They’re really the centerpiece of who the Eagles are. The fans are the ones that really own the team.”

The team also announced that it will distribute applications for fans to be selected for a 30-person advisory committee, which will meet once a month with members of the Eagles staff.

“It provides everyone a chance to hear directly from the fans on different items that may come up,” McDermott said.

For the complete story, click here.

Draftee signings up 29% as training camps open

As the first training camp opens today with Cleveland Browns rookies reporting, signings of this year’s draft choices are up 29 percent over last year at this point.

Through July 22 (based on official notification to the league office), 163 of the 255 players  selected in the 2010 NFL Draft have signed contracts up from 126 of 256 draft choices signed as of July 22, 2009.  Among players selected in the first three rounds – 26 have signed this year vs. 20 at this time last year, an increase of 30 percent.

In addition, the Dallas Morning News reported today that Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant (above left) became the first player selected in the first round to agree to a contract, which includes more than $8 million guaranteed. (Note: Bryant is not included in the above signing count as the league office did not receive official notification by yesterday afternoon).

Below is a team-by-team list of the players drafted in 2010 who have signed with their clubs (based on official notification to the league office by July 22).
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