Archive for September, 2010

Union chief: NFL players may lose health coverage in lockout

NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith yesterday said that players may not receive health coverage if a new Collective Bargaining Agreement is not reached by March, according to a Bloomberg News report.  Smith made the statement at an event for Georgetown University graduate students.

Following is an NFL statement on the issue:

“If we do not reach agreement on a new CBA by March, we will have to make a decision on health care benefits for current players. No decision has been made to this point. The way to avoid this decision is to reach agreement on a new CBA before March. The commissioner and owners have committed to continuing to pay and fund retired player benefits even in the absence of a new agreement by March.”

Glazer family donates $5 million, opens “amazing” new children’s museum in Tampa Bay

“New Glazer Children’s Museum adds ‘amazing’ venue for Tampa Bay families” headed a recent story in the St. Petersburg Times.

The museum, a 53,000-square-foot educational and cultural facility, features 175 hands-on exhibits and expects to draw over 200,000 visitors a year. It opens to the public on Saturday.

“Critical to the museum project were the Tampa Bay Buccaneers,” the Times reported, “which donated $5 million…the largest single benefactor… to the capital campaign through its Glazer Family Foundation.”

“Our family is dedicated to enriching the lives of youth in the Tampa Bay area through a variety of programs and grants,” said Darcie Glazer Kassewitz (above right), co-president of the Glazer Family Foundation. “We understand and appreciate the importance of positively shaping the lives of children, which is why we are proud to help finance the construction of this museum for families throughout West Central Florida to enjoy.”

Last Sunday, 50 families won passes to a party to preview the museum. Said 10-year-old museum visitor Noah Cagle, “I thought it was amazing.”

For the complete story, click here.

Hall of Famer Bobby Mitchell: Lerner family and Cleveland Browns show “respect for those who played for them”

The Cleveland Browns yesterday unveiled a new Ring of Honor at Cleveland Browns Stadium to recognize the 16 former Browns in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

“One by one, they held their hands high and embraced the roar and appreciation,” the Akron Beacon Journal’s Jason Lloyd wrote of the former players and family members honored in the halftime ceremony. “Then the curtains were pulled off the upper deck, revealing the names and numbers of every hall of famer to wear a Browns jersey.”

Bobby Mitchell, who played for the Browns from 1958-61, was one of those honored. ”That pumped the old heart up,” Mitchell said. “It shows that the Cleveland Browns have a lot of respect for those who have played for them. It’s such a great honor to see something that will be displayed for a long, long time. This is just fantastic.”

Leroy Kelly, who played for Cleveland from 1964-73, echoed those sentiments. “Being inducted into the hall of fame is the ultimate honor for a professional athlete,” Kelly said. “This is icing on the cake. This is for the Browns fans all over the world. I get a lot of appreciation out of it, but it’s basically for the fans and my family and generations to come.”

For the complete story, click here.

Week 2 Sunday slate features six interconference games

Week 2 of the 2010 NFL season kicks off today with 15 games, including six interconference contests.

Following is today’s game schedule (all times ET):

Arizona at Atlanta 1:00 PM
Tampa Bay at Carolina 1:00 PM
Baltimore at Cincinnati 1:00 PM
Kansas City at Cleveland 1:00 PM
Chicago at Dallas 1:00 PM
Philadelphia at Detroit 1:00 PM
Buffalo at Green Bay 1:00 PM
Miami at Minnesota 1:00 PM
Pittsburgh at Tennessee 1:00 PM
Seattle at Denver 4:05 PM
St. Louis at Oakland 4:05 PM
New England at NY Jets 4:15 PM
Jacksonville at San Diego 4:15 PM
Houston at Washington 4:15 PM
NY Giants at Indianapolis 8:20 PM

Lurie family and Philadelphia Eagles finalist for international sports philanthropy award

The Philadelphia Eagles were selected from among 350 sports organizations around the world as a finalist for the Sports Team of the Year Award. The honor is presented by Beyond Sport, a global organization that promotes, develops and funds the use of sports to drive positive social change.

The Eagles were selected for the work of their Eagles Youth Partnership, which brings health and educational resources to more than 50,000 underprivileged children each year.  The organization provides comprehensive vision care, literacy programs and safe spaces for children to thrive. 

“The announcement of the nomination alone is a remarkable moment for this entire organization,” said Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie (left). “Every member of this team has contributed to our community programs. Social justice is an integral part of who we are and we believe it makes us a better organization.”

Eagles co-owner Christina Lurie is president of the Eagles Youth Partnership. “To be among so many exceptional organizations that use the universal attraction of sports to make the world a better place, is truly a humbling experience,” she said.

The award will be presented later this month at the Beyond Sports Conference in Chicago.

For more information, click here.

Atlanta CB Dunta Robinson: Falcons’ use of technology to help players “a great thing”

Falcons beat writer D. Orlando Ledbetter writes in today’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution under the header “Falcons embrace technology to enhance performance.”

“The Falcons are on the cutting edge when it comes to using technology to enhance athletic performance,” Ledbetter writes. “During practices, the team monitors players’ heart rates, training loads and recovery time. Team officials study how each player can enhance his performance by analyzing the data transmitted from the monitors to a laptop computer on the side of the field.”

Falcons’ trainer Marty Lauzon, assistant strength-and-conditioning coach Bill Hughan and director of athletic performance Jeff Fish oversee the program.

“It takes into consideration their age, weight, maximum heart rate and gives us a value on really how hard and how much energy expenditure each guy has,” Fish said. “It kind of falls into line with what we do with the individual assessments of guys.”

From the data, Ledbetter writes, the team can determine “which player expended more energy, how hard he worked and how much his body was taxed. Finally, data will make a projection on how much recovery time the player needs.”

“They can tell if you’re not recovering and what time you recover the next day,” said veteran Falcons cornerback Dunta Robinson (above right). “This technology is getting crazy, but it’s a great thing.”

Ultimately, Ledbetter reports, the technology could be used to better arrange workouts and practice schedules.

“We want to be able to get to a point where we know what the demands are on a guy like [linebacker] Curtis Lofton for four quarters of football,” Fish said. “That would allow me to build running workouts and conditioning workouts to match his game-day requirements.”

For the complete story, click here.

Ricky Williams on CBA: “We’re going to come to an agreement”

Miami Dolphins running back Ricky Williams (left), who serves as the team’s union representative, yesterday told The Associated Press that he expects a new Collective Bargaining Agreement to be reached without a work stoppage in 2011.

“Personally, I have a positive outlook,” said Williams, who is playing in his 10th NFL season.  “I think that we’re going to come to an agreement.”

“There are certain things that are important to us and we’re going to fight for,” Williams continued. “But I think when it comes down to it, there’s going to be an agreement reached.”

Steve Ross and Miami Dolphins roll out bike ride to benefit cancer research

(From left) Former Dolphins Nat Moore and Jim Mandich and Dolphins CEO Mike Dee announce Dolphins Cycling Challenge

Owner Steve Ross and the Miami Dolphins recently announced the Dolphins Cycling Challenge, a two-day, 170-mile trans-Florida charity cycling event to benefit Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami.

The challenge, a collaborative effort between the Miami Dolphins Foundation and the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine, will feature thousands of cyclists from Florida and across the country biking between 30 and 170 miles to raise funds to support cancer research and treatment at Sylvester.

“We are so grateful to Steve Ross and the entire Miami Dolphins organization for presenting us with this opportunity to create a legacy event that will deliver tremendous benefits to our community for generations to come,”  said University of Miami President Donna Shalala. “The Dolphins Cycling Challenge will play a critical role in helping us achieve Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center’s mission to transform research and treatment in South Florida, while reducing the terrible human burden that cancer brings.”

Former Miami Dolphins tight end and current team radio voice Jim Mandich is being treated at the Sylvester Center.

“I have never been more proud to be a part of this organization,” Mandich said. “The commitment to South Florida and leaving a legacy beyond the field of play is what makes the Miami Dolphins unique.  Whether you’re a diehard Dolphins homer or someone who has been affected in some way by this epidemic, I invite you to join the team and ride for a cause that touches all of us.”

The event begins with a kickoff party in Miami and on November 19 and culminates on Sunday, November 21 at Sun Life Stadium with an on-field celebration to honor those who participated in raising funds for cancer research and treatment. All riders that commit to ride more than 70 miles will receive two complimentary tickets to the Dolphins game against Cleveland on December 5. Riders who attend the game will be honored in a special on-field pre-game ceremony celebrating their fundraising efforts.

NFL calls on AFL-CIO to “ensure that union commits to serious negotiation”

In response to a letter from the AFL-CIO to NFL owners about the league’s collective bargaining negotiations with the NFL Players Association, the NFL called on the AFL-CIO to ensure that the players’ union commits to serious negotiation.

The NFL issued the following statement to The Associated Press in response to the letter:

“We share the interest of the AFL-CIO in achieving a negotiated settlement that is fair to fans, clubs, and players, who have received more than $20 billion in salaries and benefits under the current CBA, and who have experienced steady growth in compensation despite the worst economic downturn in our lifetimes.

“We pledge to the AFL-CIO the firm commitment of the NFL clubs to reach a fair settlement that is good for everyone, especially fans. Nobody knows better than the AFL-CIO that it takes two parties to reach a labor agreement, and we call on the AFL-CIO to encourage the NFLPA to make the same commitment to collective bargaining that NFL owners have made.”

The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations is commonly known as the AFL-CIO.

For the complete story, click here.

Jeffrey Lurie and Philadelphia Eagles treat 1960 title team to “absolutely amazing” reunion weekend

Fifty years after they won the NFL championship, owner Jeffrey Lurie and the Philadelphia Eagles celebrated the 1960 NFL champion Eagles this past weekend, Mark Kram of the Philadelphia Daily News reported.

“From across the country, the Eagles arrived in Philadelphia Friday evening, checked into their hotel and convened for a cocktail party,” wrote Kram. “On Saturday, they had brunch at the NovaCare Complex, watched practice, held an autograph session at Franklin Field and attended a dinner in their honor at Lincoln Financial Field.

“Yesterday, they again had brunch, donned the old jerseys and boarded the trolley (above, left) with their family members,” Kram continued. “In a poignant ceremony at halftime of the season opener between another generation of Eagles and Packers, the old ’60 champs were introduced one by one to the appreciative crowd.”

Tommy McDonald, a Pro Football Hall of Famer who caught an Eagles’ touchdown pass in the game, said of the weekend, “It was absolutely amazing.”

McDonald’s 1960 teammates Eddie Khayat and Pete Retzlaff echoed his sentiments.

“[The] whole weekend was wonderful,” said Retzlaff.

“Everything was first class,” added Khayat.

For the complete story, click here.