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Former Patriots linebacker on the NFL: ‘They don’t care about you’ 05.10.17 at 4:33 pm ET
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The NFL continues to come under fire for its treatment of ex-players. (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)

The NFL continues to come under fire for its treatment of ex-players. (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)

Nick Buoniconti has lived an incredible life. The Springfield native played linebacker in the NFL for 14 seasons, including seven for his hometown Patriots from 1962-68, and was a part of the Dolphins’ undefeated team in 1972. He entered the corporate world after his playing career was over, serving as an agent to Andre Dawson, Bucky Dent and other baseball players.

But now, at 76 years old, Buoniconti’s mind and body are failing. He can’t knot a tie or dry off his back with a towel. His left-handed is almost useless and he frequently visits the emergency room. In a feature story by Sports Illustrated’s S.L. Price, Buoniconti recalls an instance in which he yelled about killing himself after he had fallen down a flight of stairs.

Thanks to a successful life in business, Buoniconti has enough money to pay for his medical procedures. But the same can’t be said for tens of thousands of other ex-players, who are left to wither away.

“I feel for these guys,” Buoniconti said. “They have no direction. It’s not fair that you make the league all this money, and they don’t care about you anymore. You think they care about a player who no longer can contribute to their financial success? Come on.”

Last year, the NFL officially reached its $1 billion settlement with the estimated 20,000 players who sued the league for its negligent handling of head trauma and concussions. But it doesn’t cover CTE, which can only be diagnosed posthumously at this point.

Buoniconti says the arrangement is unacceptable.

“We’re the players who built the game, but have been forgotten,” he said. “The settlement is a joke; the way it was structured is a joke. They are waiting for us to die. They’re going to play the clock out until everybody dies.”


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NFL will release video teaching players how to celebrate touchdowns 03.22.17 at 11:53 am ET
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It seems as if the NFL is going to continue cracking down on touchdown celebrations.

Troy Vincent, the league’s executive vice president of football operations, tweeted Tuesday the NFL is going to develop a video that teaches players how to act when they get into the end zone. Last year, the league levied out 30 “demonstration penalties” –– up from 29 over the previous two seasons.

While players should be expected to follow some rules for touchdown celebrations –– it’s not necessary for Odell Beckham Jr. to propose to the kicking net –– the league’s intensive focus on this topic is overblown.

Given all of the problems facing the NFL, including new revelations of systemic painkiller abuse, it seems like there are much bigger problems to worry about than how Antonio Brown acts after he catches a touchdown pass.

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Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: 76 dead as plane carrying Brazilian soccer team crashes; Johnny Manziel sued by bartender 11.29.16 at 8:31 am ET
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Good morning, here is your Tuesday Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories and scores from our news wire.

NHL: Boston at Philadelphia, 7:30 p.m. (NESN; NBCSN)
NHL: Toronto at Edmonton, 9 p.m. (NBCSN)
NBA: Houston at Utah, 9 p.m. (NBATV)
College basketball:  Delaware State at Saint John’s, 6:30 p.m. (FS2)
College basketball: North Dakota State at Xavier, 6:30 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Georgia Tech at Penn State, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Pittsburgh at Maryland, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Syracuse at Wisconsin, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Buffalo at Creighton, 8:30 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Iowa at Notre Dame, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: N.C. State at Illinois, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Michigan State at Duke, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN)


— Seventy-six people were killed when a plane carrying Brazil’s Chapecoense professional soccer team crashed in Colombia late Monday, according to reports out of South America.

According to authorities, five people survived the crash. There were nine crew members and 72 passengers on board, including the soccer team. There were initially six survivors but one died in the hospital, according to police.

The plane was traveling from Santa Cruz in Bolivia to Medellin’s international airport in Colombia.

Reports say the plane crashed due to an electrical failure.

According to Colombia’s El Tiempo newspaper, there were 22 members of the soccer team on board. There were also 22 Brazilian journalists on the flight.

The Colombian disaster management agency named Chapecoense player Alan Ruschel as one of the survivors and said he is in stable condition in the hospital.

The South American soccer federation has canceled all games until further notice.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Johnny Manziel, NFL,
RB Matt Forte says Bears won’t re-sign him, making him free agent 02.12.16 at 12:08 pm ET
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Matt Forte

Matt Forte

In an Instagram post Friday morning, running back Matt Forte announced his days as a member of the Bears are over.

“Despite my wishes, my days as a member of the Chicago Bears have sadly come to an end,” wrote Forte. “I was informed earlier this week from the GM that they will not be attempting to re-sign me in free agency.”

Although he seemed disappointed with the team’s decision to move on, the two-time Pro Bowler made it clear he harbors no ill will toward the organization.

“I will remain forever grateful for my time spent in Chicago and being able to play for an organization with such a rich history,” Forte said. “My only regret is not being able to win a Lombardi trophy for the best fans in all of sports. I’m excited about the next chapter of my NFL career. But, Chicago will always be home.”

Forte played eight seasons for the Bears, who drafted him out of Tulane in 2008. Statistically, he is the second-most productive running back in team history.

“These decisions are never easy, especially given what Matt has meant to our team and community. We have a tremendous amount of respect for him,” Bears owner Ryan Pace said. “Matt is one of the all-time great Bears and did an excellent job for us on and off the field last season. He was a tremendous teammate. We thank him for his professionalism and wish him the very best as he continues his career.”

Forte is set to hit free agency, where he undoubtedly will be a hot commodity for teams in need of a feature running back.

Read More: Chicago Bears, Matt Forte, NFL,
GM John Elway: Broncos defense ‘in the argument to be one of the best ever’ 02.10.16 at 12:20 pm ET
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The Broncos were feted at a victory celebration in Denver on Tuesday. (Isaiah J. Downing/USA Today Sports)

The Broncos were feted at a victory celebration in downtown Denver on Tuesday. (Isaiah J. Downing/USA Today Sports)

After finishing the season as the NFL’s top-ranked defense and dominating throughout the postseason, the Broncos brought a Lombardi Trophy back to Denver and celebrated with their fans Tuesday.

At the team’s victory parade, general manager John Elway raised some eyebrows when he said the defense should not only be considered elite, it should go down as one of the best in the history of the league.

“To me, to sit here and say, if you look at it, if you look at the performance in that Super Bowl, they are in the argument to be one of the best ever,” Elway said. “It’s hard to say that they’re going to be that, but they’re in the argument, which is a [great] compliment to them.”

Elway was the man who constructed the defense piece by piece following Denver’s blowout loss to the Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII. The Broncos transformed from an offensive-minded team to one that was carried by its defense.

“I know one thing: I wouldn’t want to play them. I’m glad I didn’t have to play them,” Elway said. “Obviously, we’re biased in the fact that we rode their coattails all the way to the championship.”

Denver’s mayor estimated that a million fans turned out for Tuesday’s celebration, with players riding a convoy through city streets after an outdoor concert.

Read More: Denver Broncos, John Elway, NFL,
NFL’s Rooney Rule update will require women be interviewed for executive positions 02.05.16 at 11:04 am ET
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At the first ever NFL Women’s Summit on Thursday, Commissioner Roger Goodell announced that he will be implementing an update to the Rooney Rule that will make it a requirement that women be interviewed for executive positions throughout the league, as well as in NFL offices.

“We believe in diversity,” Goodell said. “We believe we’re better as an organization when we have good people at the table. We have great people at the table. We’re also seeing it on the field.”

The first full-time female assistant coach, Kathryn Smith, was hired by the Bills last month. Jen Welter made headlines when she joined the Cardinals as an inside linebackers coach during the preseason, and this season Sarah Thomas became the first female official in NFL history.

“Sarah was our first female NFL official on the field this year,” Goodell said. “She did a fantastic job, and we’re very proud of her. We also have people breaking into the coaching ranks. Jen was the first coach last year. She set a trend, and we now have a second coach with the Buffalo Bills.”

Because of the new rule, the NFL should see this trend continue in the near future.

“You can see that progress is being made and our commitment is, we have something called the Rooney Rule, which requires us to make sure when we have an opening that on the team or the league level that we are going to interview a diverse slate of candidates,” said Goodell. “Well, we’re going to make that commitment and we’re going to formalize that we, as a league, are going to do that for women as well in all of our executive positions. Again, we’re going to keep making progress here and make a difference.”

Read More: NFL, Roger Goodell,
Police: Johnny Manziel allegedly struck girlfriend, threatened to kill them both at 8:48 am ET
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Johnny Manziel

Johnny Manziel

Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel is in the midst of yet another off-field controversy this week. According to a police report released Thursday, Manziel allegedly struck his girlfriend several times during a dispute at a downtown Dallas hotel on Saturday.

The report goes on to say that Manziel and his ex-girlfriend then left the hotel, and he drove them to her apartment in Fort Worth. In his ex-girlfriend’s testimony, she says that she and Manziel were screaming angrily back and forth during the drive, which followed with him striking her several more times.

ABC affiliate WFAA talked to several unnamed sources regarding the case, one of whom says Manziel told his ex-girlfriend, “Shut up or I’ll kill us both,” after they were in the car. She also alleged that Manziel acted “as if he were on some kind of drugs.”

When reached for a comment by TMZ Sports, Manziel maintained his innocence. “It didn’t happen,” he said. “I’m completely stable. I’m safe and secure.”

Manziel was not charged by the Fort Worth or Dallas police departments, who say their investigations are closed.

“We’re trying to get our son better,” Manziel’s father, Paul, said in an interview with WFAA on Thursday. “We’re not there yet.”

Read More: Cleveland Browns, Johnny Manziel, NFL,
CTE found in brain of deceased former Giants S Tyler Sash 01.27.16 at 10:41 am ET
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Tyler Sash

Tyler Sash

Former Giants safety Tyler Sash is the latest ex-NFL player with chronic traumatic encephalopathy found in his brain. Sash, who died at the age of 27 due to an accidental overdose of pain medications, had his brain donated by his mother to be tested for the degenerative brain disease.

An issue that has been put under a microscope in recent years, CTE is caused by repeated blows to the head that cause brain trauma. Sash’s mother, Barnetta Sash, had noticed dramatic changes in behavior since he was cut from the Giants in 2013 after what was at least his fifth concussion.

Sash returned to his hometown of Oskaloosa, Iowa, after leaving the NFL. Not long after moving back, he was arrested for public intoxication and tried evading police on a motorized scooter. He also had been experiencing memory loss, developed a temper and often showed signs of confusion.

Although his mother felt the prescription drugs he was taking were causing his mood swings and outlandish behavior, she still wanted to have his brain examined after he passed away in September.

Wrote Bill Pennington of The New York Times:

Last week, representatives from Boston University and the Concussion Legacy Foundation notified the Sash family that C.T.E. had been diagnosed in Tyler’€™s brain and that the disease, which can be confirmed only posthumously, had advanced to a stage rarely seen in someone his age.

Dr. Ann McKee, chief of neuropathology at the V.A. Boston Healthcare System and a professor of neurology and pathology at the Boston University School of Medicine who conducted the examination, said Tuesday that the severity of the C.T.E. in Sash’€™s brain was about the same as the level found in the brain of the former N.F.L. star Junior Seau, who committed suicide in 2012 at age 43.

Sash is another on what is a growing list of deceased former NFL players with CTE found in their brains.

Read More: CTE, Junior Seau, NFL, Tyler Sash
Adalius Thomas will attend NFL broadcasting boot camp 06.02.15 at 10:41 am ET
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Retired linebacker Adalius Thomas is participating in the NFL’s annual broadcasting boot camp. The ninth rendition of the four-day workshop begins Monday at NFL Films in Mount Laurel, New Jersey.

Thomas, 37, was a two-time Pro Bowl selection drafted in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL Draft out of the University of Southern Mississippi. Though the $35 million man holds a legacy in New England for his tardiness, he remains one of the most respected players around the league. He retired with 53 career sacks and one first-team All-Pro selection in 2006, when he recorded 11 sacks and one fumble return touchdown.

The former Raven and Patriot joins 24 current and former players attending the boot camp, including Mike Adams, Greg Camarillo, Braylon Edwards, Antonio Cromartie, Ronnie Brown, Ike Taylor and others.

The program includes instructors from all of the major NFL broadcasting agencies and hosts personalities like Kenny Albert, James Brown, Greg Cosell, Curt Menefee and Solomon Wilcots.

The workshop educates participants on tape study, editing, show preparation, radio production, studio preparation, production meetings, field reporting and game preparation. Each participant tapes segments as a game analyst and as a field reporter. Additonally, each of them will serve as a live guest host on SiriusXM NFL Radio.

“You can turn on your television at home and see how beneficial Boot Camp: Broadcasting has been for the players who have participated in the past,” NFL vice president of engagement Charles Way said. “Broadcasting is a competitive field to break into, and we’€™re thrilled that this program has assisted so many players with achieving their career goals.”

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NFL, NFLPA reportedly close to agreement on HGH testing 09.05.14 at 10:14 am ET
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The NFL and the NFL Players Association are close to an agreement that would allow for HGH testing for the first time in the history of the league after three years of back-and-forth negotiations, according to an ESPN report.

It appeared that the league would have testing in place in 2011 when a new collective bargaining agreement was put in place, but disagreements have kept HGH testing on the back burner. Thanks to a push by NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith, the issue is back at the forefront and close to becoming a completed deal.

“Players who have been to any collective bargaining negotiation understand that we never describe them as ‘very close,’ ” NFLPA president Eric Winston said in a statement. ‘€œWe look at every issue we can to improve the rights and benefits of players. This process takes time, it takes creativity and it is never easy. We want to get a new agreement in place, but we understand the responsibility we have to the players and to the game. It is critical that we get this right.”€

While both sides apparently would like to come to an agreement before Sunday’€™s Week 1 games, there remain points of contention with other changes. One idea the league proposed that has been debated and hotly contested is a player getting disciplined immediately for a DUI arrest. There is concern that the negotiations could come to a halt if the proposed changes other than HGH testing lead to more bickering.

If the negotiations were to be finalized, the league would be allowed to test players for HGH the day before a game and the day after one. It would not allow the NFL to test players during the day of a game. Testing could begin as little as 10 days after an agreement is put into place.

Read More: DeMaurice Smith, NFL, NFLPA,