Archive for July, 2010

NFL’s Jeff Pash: “Our commitment to fans, everyone is to reach a new CBA”

“Our commitment to everyone – to our fans, to all of the clubs and the players – is to work as hard as we can to reach a new agreement. There will be an agreement. I am very confident of that,” NFL Executive Vice President of Labor/League Counsel Jeff Pash (right) said today on Mike and Mike in the Morning on ESPN Radio.  

 “When someone tells you that they’re happy with the deal and we should just extend it without changing a thing, that’s a code for saying it’s a pretty one-sided deal,” Pash said.

“Let’s come up with a system that builds the game, that grows the game and that delivers better value for fans, and that’s going to take some changes,” Pash continued. “Commissioner Goodell has a vision for this league which is fundamentally optimistic: more football for more fans in more markets, more international games, more television and more use of new media, social media and digital media, which is exploding all over this country. He wants the NFL to be at the forefront of that. If we can do that, if we can continue to build and continue to grow, it’ll be better for everyone.” 

Following is the complete transcript of Pash’s interview with Mike and Mike.
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ESPN.com: “Play an 18-game NFL season!”

“Frankly, I can’t spot the downside,” ESPN.com’s Patrick Hruby writes on the enhanced 18-game regular season concept.

“In a nutshell, here’s the league’s big scheduling idea,” Hruby writes. “Increase the regular season from 16 to 18 games. Decrease the preseason from four games to two. Tinker with roster sizes and injured reserve rules accordingly. Shazam! Just like that, more football. Read that last part again. More. Football… Everyone wins.”

For the complete story, click here.

Record 15 NFL players among Sports Illustrated’s “Fortunate 50” top-paid athletes

NFL players are well represented on Sports Illustrated’s seventh annual list of the 50 highest-earning American athletes, which was released today on the magazine’s website.

“The NFL has its most prolific showing ever on our list: an unprecedented 15 players, thanks to a rash of contracts that pay out big in a 2010 season without a salary cap,” writes SI.com’s Jonah Friedman. Nine NFL players were on last year’s list.

Five 2009 rookies – Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford (No. 11 with $27.7 million in total income, above left), Oakland receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey (No. 28, $21.5 million), St. Louis tackle Jason Smith (No. 33, $20.6 million), Kansas City defensive end Tyson Jackson (No. 42, $18.2 million) and New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez (No. 48, $17.0 million) – were among the 15 NFL players on the list.

Other NFL players on the SI.com list include Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning (No. 9, $30.8 million), San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers (No. 17, $25.9 million), Baltimore linebacker Terrell Suggs (No. 19, $25.0 million), Washington defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth (No. 20, $24.8 million), New England nose tackle Vince Wilfork (No. 38, $19.0 million) and Washington cornerback DeAngelo Hall (No. 40, $18.6 million).

For the complete story and list of the “Fortunate 50,” click here.

Commissioner Goodell wants to make game safer for players

Players from 12 clubs will experiment with newer, lighter knee, thigh and hip pads during training camp and preseason games, writes USA Today’s Michael McCarthy in a front page sports story.

“Many NFL players have abandoned knee, thigh and hip pads to try to gain a speed edge,” McCarthy explains. “Many wide receivers, defensive backs and linebackers wear little more than helmets and shoulder pads. But Commissioner Roger Goodell wants to make the game safer for players … The league also wants to set a safety example for college and high school players.”

“It’s not mandated for 2010. But we anticipate we’ll need to mandate it going forward,” said Ray Anderson, NFL executive vice president of football operations. “We’re not going to relinquish on player safety.”

For the complete story, click here.

Report: New test on horizon for estimated 1.4 million annual brain injury victims

A new test is being developed to detect brain injuries using biomarkers present in a simple blood test, Thomas Burton reported in the Wall Street Journal.

Writes Burton, “Presence of these biomarkers—proteins produced by an injured brain—could end up determining the future treatment of the estimated 1.4 million athletes, car-crash victims and others in the U.S. who are treated for brain injuries in emergency rooms each year, in addition to hundreds of thousands of soldiers injured in blasts.

“The U.S. Defense Department is soon expected to provide $17 million to fund a major study of brain-injury biomarkers in more than 1,000 human patients at 20 hospitals in the U.S. and overseas,” Burton continues. “The first-of-its-kind study – which is expected to start next year and take 18 months – will explore whether biomarkers can reliably assess the extent of brain injury and help doctors decide on treatment.”

In June, medical staffs from all 32 NFL clubs and the Department of Defense attended a conference led by the co-chairmen of the NFL’s head, neck and spine medical committee to discuss diagnosis and treatment of brain injuries.

For the complete story, click here.

NFL-USA Football youth summit to host more than 100 high school coaches and administrators this week

Beginning Wednesday, 51 top high school football coaches – one from each state and Washington, DC – and more than 50 administrators of youth and high school football will participate in the 11th annual NFL-USA Football Youth Summit in Canton, Ohio.  Attendees also include 14 former NFL players who are now high school coaches.

Former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Merril Hoge will address Summit participants on the importance of coaching. Pro Football Hall of Famer Mike Haynes; former Green Bay Packers all-pro linebacker Dave Robinson; and Canton native and former Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Todd Blackledge will also address the group.

The attendees will hear from experts in sports medicine and sports psychology on youth topics including the importance of concussion education and awareness, injury prevention, performance enhancing drugs, and heat and hydration.

For more on the Summit, click here.

Seattle Seahawks owner Paul Allen to donate billions

Seattle Seahawks chairman Paul Allen (left) “intends to leave the bulk of his $13.5 billion estate to philanthropic causes,” the Seattle Times recently reported.

Allen, writes the Times, “has already established a cutting-edge brain-science institute in his hometown, helped build a computer-science center at the University of Washington, and funded local research on tuberculosis drugs.”

“His past investments have been significant both for the Seattle area and for science as a whole,” University of Washington professor of computer science and engineering Ed Lazowska told the Times. “His future investments will be dramatically greater and will have dramatically higher impact.”

“Since the beginning,” Allen said, “our philanthropy has been focused in the Pacific Northwest, where I live and work. I’m proud to have helped fund great work done by nonprofit groups throughout the region. But there’s always more to do.”

Allen made the announcement to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation. The foundation, established in 1990 with his sister Jo Lynn Allen, has given 3,000 grants totaling about $400 million to a wide range of cultural, educational, scientific and philanthropic organizations. Allen has separately funded $600 million in projects.

For the complete story, click here.

Commissioner Goodell’s training camp tour kicks off August 2

The first NFL training camp opens in six days with Browns rookies due to report to camp in Cleveland on Friday, July 23.

Commissioner Roger Goodell kicks off his tour of training camps – seven camps in six days leading up to Hall of Fame weekend in Canton, Ohio – soon after on August 2 with the New Orleans Saints.

“Roger is really looking forward to visiting with fans, players, coaches and team staff. He wants to know what’s up and how we can improve,” said NFL spokesman Greg Aiello.

The tentative schedule for the Commissioner’s training camp tour is as follows:

Commissioner’s Training Camp Tour
August 2 – New Orleans Saints
August 3 – Philadelphia Eagles
August 4 – Baltimore Ravens
August 4 – Washington Redskins
August 5 – Pittsburgh Steelers
August 5 – Cleveland Browns
August 6 – Pro Football Hall of Fame festivities
August 7 – Indianapolis Colts
August 7 – Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony

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

One week ‘til camp: Nearly 60 percent of draft picks signed

With the first training camp opening in exactly one week – Cleveland Browns rookies report on July 23 – 57 percent of this year’s draft choices have signed contracts.

Through July 16 (based on official notification to the league office), 145 of the 255 players  selected in the 2010 NFL Draft have signed contracts – up from 45 percent of draft choices (116 of 256) signed as of July 16, 2009 and 42 percent of selections (106 of 252) signed as of July 16, 2008.

Below is a team-by-team list of the players drafted in 2010 who have signed with their clubs.


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Two players selected in NFL Supplemental Draft

The Chicago Bears and Dallas Cowboys each selected a player in today’s seven-round supplemental draft, the NFL announced today.

The Bears, picking 12th, chose Brigham Young University running back Harvey Unga in the seventh round.  The Cowboys, selecting 30th, picked Illinois defensive end Josh Price-Brent in the seventh round.

With today’s selections, Chicago and Dallas will forego their seventh-round picks in the 2011 NFL Draft.

Unga was an Associated Press All-Mountain West Conference First Team selection as a redshirt junior in 2009 and is BYU’s all-time leading rusher with 3,455 yards.  He led the MWC with 1,087 rushing yards (5.23 yards per carry) in 2009, his third consecutive 1,000-yard rushing season.

Price-Brent played in 32 career games for Illinois, including 20 starts, totaling 17.5 tackles for loss and five sacks.  He led the team with three forced fumbles in 2009, and finished third on the team with three sacks.

The supplemental draft was conducted electronically today from NFL headquarters in New York.  There were no other players selected.