Tag Archives: NFL

“You are a black male athlete. I’m a white girl. They are not going to believe you.” Ezekiel Elliott Set To Appeal Suspension After Claims His Ex Stalked Him, Hacked His Email And Threatened To Ruin His Life

(SL) –  Fox News reports, Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott is reportedly set to appeal his six-game suspension for alleged domestic violence, and could show evidence his accuser made racially-charged statements and threatened to “ruin” his life before she made the charges.

Elliott, 22, was suspended Friday by the NFL after the league conducted a yearlong investigation into allegations the league’s leading rusher reportedly injured his former girlfriend, Tiffany Thompson, during three separate incidents last summer.

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Elliott has three business days to file the appeal following the suspension and sources close to the running back told NFL Network he would file an appeal either Tuesday or Wednesday.

The NFL said in a letter to Elliott it believed he used “physical force” three times during a span of five days in a Columbus, Ohio, apartment last July, resulting in injuries to Thompson’s neck, face, shoulders, arms, hands, wrists, hips and knees. Prosecutors in Columbus decided nearly a year ago not to pursue the case in the city where Elliott starred for Ohio State.

Robert S. Tobias, Columbus’ city attorney, told USA Today: “I personally believe that there were a series of interactions between Mr. Elliott and [his accuser] where violence occurred. However, given the totality of the circumstances, I could not firmly conclude exactly what happened.”

NFL Network reported Elliott filed a police report in September in Texas against Thompson. Elliott informed police Thompson called him “more than 50 times in less than eight hours,” according to Deadspin.

Elliott said he told Thompson she could not contact him due to the ongoing investigation at the time but contacted him from a blocked number. Elliott also said Thompson “hacked into his email” and called numbers she discovered and contacted them to share “untruthful things that can hurt his image.”

Continue reading “You are a black male athlete. I’m a white girl. They are not going to believe you.” Ezekiel Elliott Set To Appeal Suspension After Claims His Ex Stalked Him, Hacked His Email And Threatened To Ruin His Life

Ezekiel Elliott Suspended Without Pay For Six Games

(SL) – Ezekiel Elliott of the Dallas Cowboys was notified today by the NFL that he will be suspended without pay for the team’s first six 2017 regular-season games for violating the league’s Personal Conduct Policy.

Over the course of the last year, the league conducted an extensive investigation. League investigators interviewed more than a dozen witnesses, including Ms. Tiffany Thompson, who had alleged multiple instances of physical violence in July 2016, and Mr. Elliott. The league also consulted with medical experts. League investigators examined all available evidence, including photographic and digital evidence, thousands of text messages and other records of electronic communications.

Pursuant to the Personal Conduct Policy, Commissioner Goodell sought the views of four external advisors (see below) to assist him in evaluating potential violations. These experts range in experience from law enforcement, judicial and public service, and other specialized subject areas.

The advisors participated in a meeting on June 26, 2017 in New York City with Elliott, who was represented by his legal team and the NFL Players Association. The group also reviewed the league’s investigative reports and materials, the expert medical reports, and multiple NFL Players Association submissions on Elliott’s behalf.

In a letter to Elliott advising him of the decision, Todd Jones, the NFL’s Special Counsel for Conduct, said these advisors “were of the view that there is substantial and persuasive evidence supporting a finding that [Elliott] engaged in physical violence against Ms. Thompson on multiple occasions during the week of July 16, 2016.”
After reviewing the record, and having considered the views of the independent advisors, the commissioner determined that the credible evidence established that Elliott engaged in conduct that violated NFL policy.

Elliott may appeal this decision within three days. If he does not appeal, Elliott’s suspension will begin September 2, the day of final roster reductions for NFL teams. He is eligible to participate in all preseason practices and games. Elliott will be eligible to return to the team’s active roster on Monday, October 23following the Cowboys’ Sunday, October 22 game against the San Francisco 49ers.

Cover Up? No Drugs Found In Aaron Hernandez’s System, Current Estate Valued At $0

(SL) – There’s something very off about the death of former NFL player Aaron Hernandez.

The body of the ex-pro reportedly did not contain any traces of drugs, according to toxicology reports.

After Hernandez’s body was found hanging from a sheet in his cell at Souza Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley, Massachusetts earlier this month, authorities ruled it out as a suicide. Claims soon surfaced that he could’ve smoked synthetic marijuana before allegedly killing himself, but those reports have been refuted.

54741651Sources say the tests performed as part of Hernandez’s autopsy showed he hadn’t used any illegal drugs or synthetic marijuana ‘K2’.

The toxicology results came around the same time Hernandez’s close jailhouse friend and alleged lover Kyle Kennedy said he would not be surprised if the synthetic drug played some part in his death, according to the Boston Herald.  And speaking of Kennedy, none of the letters released have indicated that there was anything outside of a friendship going on between the two.

Kennedy is serving 3-5 years for armed robbery. Hernandez reportedly requested to be housed with Kennedy in his cell, but was denied. That’s no indication that anything was going on between the two. A lot of prisoners complain about not having a cellmate in isolation.

Hernandez  reportedly wrote suicide notes to his fiancee, daughter, and Kennedy, who allegedly was put on suicide watch after his death. It’s being reported that the notes were tucked next to a Bible that was opened to verse 3:16 – the words of which were also written on his forehead in red ink.

The Daily Mail reports, it has been speculated that Hernandez’s sexual orientation may have been a motive for the murder of Odin Loyd, for which he was imprisoned. In April 2015, Hernandez was convicted for shooting and killing Lloyd, a semi-professional football player, on June 17, 2013.

Lloyd may have known that Hernandez was carrying on an affair with a male friend who was forced to testify before the grand jury in the Lloyd case.

Five days before he died, he had been acquitted in a double-murder. His death came on the same day his former teammates visited the White House after winning their fifth Super Bowl.

There are also reports that a civil fight could be brewing with family members of the victims wanting to cash in on a portion of the estimated 3.5 million that could be released to his estate from the NFL.  However, currently the estate is valued at $0.

 

Family Lays Aaron Hernandez To Rest, Prepares To Fight Suicide Notion

(SL) — Funeral services were held for former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez. The 27-year-old Hernandez reportedly took his own life in a Massachusetts prison cell last week, where he was serving a life sentence for murder. Today’s services for Hernandez in his hometown of Bristol, Connecticut were by invitation only. A private burial will take place at a later date.

In related news, the family of the  former New England Patriots tight end will gain access to three handwritten notes that the player allegedly wrote before he killed himself, a lawyer for the family said Monday.

Attorney George Leontire told reporters early Monday afternoon that a Bristol Superior Court judge in New Bedford, Mass., ordered the release of the notes to the family, the Boston Globe reported.

The legal action came minutes before funeral services were scheduled to. As part of his motion, Leontire said Hernandez’s family deserved “know their loved one’s final thoughts” and termed it a necessary part of the “grieving process.”

170419-aaron-hernandez-trial-family-ew-933a_0629be43b77a088b00ab019c9a42a3b4.nbcnews-ux-2880-1000Superior Court Judge Thomas F. McGuire Jr., in an order to the office of Worcester District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr., wrote that “the note(s) shall be produced in time for the family to have them for his burial, which is scheduled for this afternoon.”

A spokesman for Early’s office said copies of the notes were being prepared to send to Hernandez’s family. As part of McGuire’s order, the district attorney was to redact any information that would be pertinent to an ongoing investigation into Hernandez’s death.

Guards discovered the 27-year-old Hernandez in his single cell at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley just after 3 a.m. ET last Wednesday morning. He was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital about an hour later.

sad-twisted-life-of-aaron-hernandez-football-player-29206a41-eb05-485c-84cf-563106c12a71Hernandez was serving a life sentence for the murder of Odin Lloyd. The state medical examiner officially ruled it a suicide on Thursday, but his family doesn’t believed that Hernandez took his own life. Three handwritten notes were found in the cell but the contents weren’t immediately released. John 3:16 had also been written on the former NFL starts forehead.

While Leontire said he did not know who the recipients of the notes were, the newspaper reported that one of them was addressed to his fiancee, Shayanna Jenkins Hernandez, and another to their 4-year-old daughter.

Prior to his death, reports claimed he had been in a few altercations with gang members in the prison. The 27-year old reportedly was found naked, hanging in his cell. Thoughts of foul play have been shared but until a complete investigation is complete no one will know.

Messin’ Up The Church’s Money, TOP 10 NFL Draft Pick Sent Home From Indianapolis Scouting Combine And The Reason Why Is Simply Stupid

(SL)-Former Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster better get his attitude in check before he sees a large chunk of his potential earnings missing. Foster was reportedly sent home from the Indianapolis scouting combine Friday after having a heated argument, that almost turned physical, with a hospital worker.

What could Foster possibly be arguing with a hospital worker about?? Ready for this…… waiting in line for a medical exam. Reportedly, the LB then pulled the ‘Do you know who I am?’ card which obviously didn’t matter one way or the other.

3df5f05d00000578-0-image-a-2_1488652384997At one point, Foster allegedly threatened to ‘put hands’ on the male hospital worker who responded ‘do it’. One NFL spokesperson told reporters Foster left for ‘personal reasons’. And In an Instagram video, Foster denies that anything happened. Saying, “Y’all, stop asking me what happened, for real. Nothing happened.”

But Multiple sources allege that the ‘heated’ argument was the reason the potential top 10 NFL pick was booted from the scouting combine. The 22-year old is recovering from rotator cuff surgery and has about four more months to fully heal. He was not going to take part in drills on Friday.

Foster was supposed to go through team interviews Friday and testing Saturday. Instead, he will be flying home to Tuscaloosa.

This altercation could cost Foster his place as a top 10 pick if coaches see this as a reason to question his character.

Pro Football Hall Of Fame Class of 2017 Announced

CANTON, OHIO – The Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Selection Committee met  in Houston to hold its annual selection meeting. Seven Heroes of the Game were elected to the Hall of Fame. The Class of 2017 consists of kicker Morten Andersen; running back Terrell Davis; safety Kenny Easley; owner, president and general manager Jerry Jones; defensive end Jason Taylor; running back LaDainian Tomlinson; and quarterback Kurt Warner.

Today’s annual selection meeting was held inside the Super Bowl LI Media Center in downtown Houston and capped a year-round selection process. The newly elected Hall of Famers were chosen from a list of 18 finalists who had been determined earlier by the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Selection Committee.

Representatives of the accounting firm Deloitte & Touche tabulated all votes during Saturday’s meeting.

The Class of 2017 were introduced for the first time as a group during “NFL Honors,” a two-hour prime-time awards special that aired nationally Saturday night from 8-10 p.m. (ET and PT) on FOX.

The Class of 2017 will be formally enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday, Aug. 5. The Enshrinement Ceremony is held at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton as a part of the spectacular Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Week Powered by Johnson Controls that celebrates the newest enshrinees of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

 PRO FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME CLASS OF 2017

MORTEN ANDERSEN

Kicker … 6-2, 218 … Michigan State … 1982-1994 New Orleans Saints, 1995-2000, 2006-07 Atlanta Falcons, 2001 New York Giants, 2002-03 Kansas City Chiefs, 2004 Minnesota Vikings … 25 seasons, 382 games … Selected by Saints in 4th round (86th player overall) of 1982 draft … Began career in strike-shortened 1982 season … Scored more than 90 points in 22 seasons … Topped 100-point total 14 times in career … First 100-plus season, 1985, connected on 31 of 35 field goals, 27 extra point conversions, for 120 points, earning first of seven Pro Bowl selections … Also named All-Pro five times … After 13 years with Saints and ranking as team’s all-time leading scorer, joined the Falcons in 1995 … Became Falcons career scoring leader … Spectacular 1995 season, scored a career-high 122 points, including then NFL-record for most 50-yard field goals in season (8) … Dec. 10, 1995, became first kicker to convert three field goals of 50 yards or longer in single game … Set NFL records for career points (2,544), most field goals (565), games played (382) … His 40 field goals of 50-plus yards most in NFL history at retirement … Named to two NFL All-Decade Teams (1980s and 1990s) … Converted 565 of 709 field goal attempts, 849 of 859 point-after-attempts … Led NFL in field goals, 1987 … Led NFC in scoring, 1992 and topped all conference kickers in most field goals in 1985, 1987, and 1995 … Born August 19, 1960 in Struer, Denmark.

 TERRELL DAVIS

Running Back … 5-11, 206 … Long Beach State, Georgia … 1995-2001 Denver Broncos … 7 seasons, 78 games … Selected by Broncos in the sixth round, (196th player overall) of 1995 NFL Draft … Made big splash when he earned starting tailback position as rookie … Despite missing final two games of rookie campaign with hamstring tear, eclipsed 1,000-yard mark and added career-high 49 receptions for 367 yards … In second year, gained 1,538 yards rushing, named Offensive Player of the Year … Rushed for 1,750 yards and league-high 15 TDs in 1997 … In 1998 became fourth runner in NFL history to rush for 2,000 yards in season (2,008) and led NFL with 21 rushing TDs en route to Denver’s second straight Super Bowl title … Set NFL playoff record seven straight 100-yard performances spanning 1997-98 postseasons … Earned MVP honors in Super Bowl XXXII after rushing 157 yards, 3 TDs in victory over Packers … Scored 8 rushing touchdowns in ’97 playoff run … In 1998 playoffs, rushed for franchise postseason-record 199 yards against Dolphins in divisional playoff, 167 yards vs. Jets in the championship and 102 yards in Super Bowl XXXIII victory over Falcons … Devastating knee injury limited him to just 17 games over his final three seasons … Three-time All-Pro selection … Rushed for 7,607 yards, 60 TDs in just 78 career games … Added additional 1,280 yards on 169 career catches and five TD receptions … Selected to three Pro Bowls and named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 1990s … Born October 28, 1972 in San Diego California.

 KENNY EASLEY

Safety … 6-3, 206 … UCLA … 1981-87 Seattle Seahawks … 7 seasons, 89 games …  Drafted as fourth player overall by Seahawks in 1981 NFL Draft … Three-time consensus All-America at UCLA … Made immediate impact in Seattle with his intimidating style on defense … Developed reputation as punishing tackler … Picked as Defensive Rookie of the Year after sensational first season in which he recorded 3 interceptions for 155 yards and 1 TD (82-yarder vs. Browns), 1981 … Defensive leader of Seahawks team that advanced to franchise’s first-ever AFC championship game, 1983 … Registered 7 interceptions for 106 yards to earn AFC Defensive Player of the Year honors, 1983 … Named Defensive Player of the Year in 1984 after recording league-high and career-best 10 interceptions including pair of pick-sixes (25 yards vs. Patriots; 58 yards vs. Chiefs) … All-Pro four straight seasons, 1982-85 … Named to five Pro Bowls (1983-86, 1988) … Member of NFL’s All-Decade Team of 1980s … Intercepted multiple passes in each of seven NFL seasons … Led team in interceptions four times (1982, 1983, 1984, 1987) … Career stats: 32 interceptions, 538 yards and 3 TDs … Also had 8 career sacks and returned 26 punts for 302 yards … Born January 15, 1959 in Chesapeake, Virginia.

JERRY JONES

Owner, President & General Manager … Arkansas … 1989-Present Dallas Cowboys … Purchased Cowboys in 1989 and quickly restored winning tradition to franchise … Has led Cowboys to unprecedented success on and off the field … Leadership in sports marketing and promotion has influenced landscape of NFL and America’s sports culture … Became first owner in league history to win three Super Bowls in first seven years of ownership … Cowboys made seven playoff appearances, six division titles and wins in Super Bowls XXVII, XVIII and XXX in Jones’ first decade of owning team … Dallas has advanced to postseason 13 times under Jones … Cowboys have posted 10 wins in a season 12 times during Jones era … Led franchise to NFC Eastern Division titles five straight seasons, 1992-96 .. Also won NFC East crowns in 1998, 2007, 2009, 2014 and 2016 … Vision was driving influence in the creation and development of AT&T stadium, “crown jewel” of all sports venues … Continues to provide leadership for NFL in areas of marketing, sponsorship, television, stadium management, labor negotiations and television … Leadership has shaped and enhanced NFL’s standing as world’s premiere sports league … Co-captain of national champion Arkansas Razorbacks, 1964 …Born October 13, 1942 in Los Angeles, California.

 JASON TAYLOR

Defensive End … 6-6, 260 … Akron … 1997-2007, 2009, 2011 Miami Dolphins, 2008 Washington Redskins, 2010 New York Jets … 15 seasons, 233 games … Drafted in 3rd round (73rd overall) by Dolphins in 1997 NFL Draft … Registered double-digit sack total in a season six times over an eight-year span (2000-07) … Earned NFL Defensive Player of the Year in Honors in 2006 after recording 13.5 sacks, two interceptions returned for TDs (20 yards vs. Bears and 51 yards vs. Vikings), 11 passes defensed, 10 forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and 62 tackles … Returned fumble career-long and team-record 85 yards for TD vs. Broncos, Sept. 11, 2005 … Led NFL with career-high 18.5 sacks, 2002 … Recorded more sacks than any player in NFL from 2000-2011 … Career statistics: 139.5 sacks; 8 interceptions for 110 yards and 3 TDs; league record-tying 29 opponents’ fumbles recovered; NFL record 6 TDs on fumble recoveries; and 3 safeties (two with Dolphins, one as a member of Jets) … Voted to six Pro Bowls … Named first-team All-Pro in 2000, 2002 and 2006 … All-AFC four times (2000, 2002, 2004, 2006)… Picked as Dolphins Most Valuable Player four times … Named to NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 2000s … Born September 1, 1974 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

 

LADAINIAN TOMLINSON

Running Back … 5-10, 221 … Texas Christian … 2001-09 San Diego Chargers, 2010-11 New York Jets … 11 seasons, 170 games … Selected by Chargers in 1st round (5th player overall) of 2001 NFL Draft … Sensational rookie season with 1,236 yards and 10 TD rushing plus 59 receptions for 367 yards … Eclipsed 1,600-yard mark in back-to-back seasons, 2002-03 … Rushed for 1,000 yards in each of first eight NFL seasons … Scored 10 or more rushing TDs each of nine seasons with Chargers … Captured back-to-back rushing titles, 2006-07 … Named NFL’s 2006 Most Valuable Player with leading-leading and career-high 1,815 yards and 28 touchdowns rushing in addition to 56 catches for 508 yards and 3 TDs to set NFL record with 31 touchdowns and 186 points in a season … Hauled in 100 receptions in 2003 … Set NFL record with rushing touchdown in 18 straight games (2004-05) … All-Pro four straight seasons (2004-07) … Named Chargers Most Valuable Player five times … Voted to five Pro Bowls over six-season span … Rushed for 13,684 career yards on 3,174 carries and scored 145 rushing touchdowns … Added 4,772 yards on 624 catches and 17 TD receptions … Also threw 7 TD passes … Named to NFL’s All-Decade Team of 2000s … Born June 23, 1979 in Rosebud, Texas.

 

KURT WARNER

Quarterback … 6-2, 220 … Northern Iowa … 1998-2003 St. Louis Rams, 2004 New York Giants, 2005-09 Arizona Cardinals … 12 seasons, 124 games … Not drafted in the NFL … Originally signed by and then released by Green Bay Packers in 1994 … Went on to play in Arena Football League with Iowa Barnstormers (1995-97) … Returned to NFL with Rams as free agent and allocated to NFL Europe’s Amsterdam Admirals … Returned to Rams in 1998 … Went on to become a two-time NFL MVP (1999 and 2001) and named Super Bowl XXXIV MVP after leading Rams to victory 23-16 victory over Tennessee Titans … Set Super Bowl record with 414 passing yards … He recorded another MVP season two years later when he guided Rams back to the Super Bowl … His season totals included a league-leading and career-high 4,830 yards and 36 touchdowns to post a 101.4 passer rating … Warner made a third trek to the Super Bowl in 2008 season when he led Arizona Cardinals to franchise’s first division title since 1975 and first-ever Super Bowl appearance … Only quarterback to throw for 300 or more yards in three Super Bowls … A four-time Pro Bowl choice, led NFL in average gain per attempt, three times … Had highest passer rating and led NFL in TD passes twice … Born June 22, 1971 in Burlington, Iowa.

 

Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald and New York Giants QB Eli Manning Named Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year

(Houston, TX) – Arizona Cardinals wide receiver LARRY FITZGERALD and New York Giants quarterback ELI MANNING were named the 2016 WALTER PAYTON NFL MAN OF THE YEAR, the NFL announced today. The award, which is presented by Nationwide, recognizes a player for his excellence on and off the field.

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The announcement was made during NFL Honors, a two-hour primetime awards special that aired nationally from 8 – 10 p.m. ET/PT on FOX Saturday night.

ANQUAN BOLDIN, the 2015 Man of the Year, will honor Fitzgerald and Manning on-fieldtomorrow before kickoff of Super Bowl LI.

920x920“Quite simply this is the most meaningful honor an NFL player can receive and I am flattered beyond words that the selection committee deemed me worthy of it,” said LARRY FITZGERALD. “More than anything it is a reflection on my parents whose words and example taught my brother and me the value of service and the importance of giving back.”

“It’s a commitment that I know is shared by Eli (Manning), Greg (Olsen), all the other 2016 Man of the Year nominees and countless others throughout the NFL. I accept this honor with immense gratitude and humility but also in full recognition that it is on behalf of all of them as well.”

Continue reading Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald and New York Giants QB Eli Manning Named Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year

Falcons Wrap Up Final Pre-Super Bowl Practice, Look Ready To Rise Up

(SL) – With one day left before the big game, the Atlanta Falcons wrapped up their final pre-Super Bowl LI practice Friday. Julio kept it light to avoid further strain on his toe but all in all the hour and a half practice reflected an excited Atlanta Falcons team ready to Rise Up and get the job done!  Pro Football Writer Peter King breaks it down for us!
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By Peter King
The NFC champion Atlanta Falcons, in their final regular pre-Super Bowl LI practice Friday, got a terrific red-zone performance from quarterback Matt Ryan on a chilly, breezy afternoon practice at Rice University.
In slightly more than 20 minutes of plays from the 20-yard-line and closer against a scout team defense, Ryan was perfect. No pass from Ryan to any of his wide receivers, tight ends or backs ever hit the ground. The NFL will announce its 2016 Most Valuable Player Saturday night in Houston, and you could see exactly why Ryan is a leading candidate for the award after his pristine performance on Rice’s grass practice field.
“That’s Matt,’’ coach Dan Quinn said after the 79-minute practice. “I am so pumped for him, the way he has worked. It is not surprising the offense feels so good about the plan and has practiced so clean. In the past, I think he has overburdened himself at times, going so deep in the gameplan. This year, he’s really found his rhythm. A week like this, you can see he doesn’t force it to one player. What was it—13 different players caught touchdown passes from him this year?’’
That’s what it was, and many of those shuffled in an out of the first unit on Friday. This was a crisp, decisive and impressive performance by the NFL’s highest-scoring offense in 2016.
Also Friday, Falcons center Alex Mack (fibula), wide receiver Julio Jones (sprained toe) and pass-rusher Dwight Freeney (calf) practiced on a limited basis and all three were removed from the game status portion of the injury report.
Backup center Ben Garland continued to get some work in Mack’s place Friday, but it was clear from Quinn’s comments that he expects Mack to play and play well against the defensively diverse Patriots. On Thursday, Quinn had said he was “not panicked, but I’m concerned’’ about Mack’s status for Sunday. But he said Friday he watched the tape from Thursday’s practice and had a different feeling.
“I felt good after watching Alex last night,’’ Quinn said, “because I felt good about what he was able to do on the things we’re going to ask him to do in the game. It’s going to hurt, but a lot of guys are playing through stuff. The important thing is Alex’s mind is clear. He needed to test it and have guys go on him full speed, and he was able to do that Wednesday and Thursday.”
The Falcons were a loose group as they wound up the serious portion of their practice week. With the field situated next to a residential area abutting the Rice campus, there was extra security between the edge of the field (with a fence and high hedges) and the neighborhood, so the Falcons could feel secure running a practice as though they were at their home facility. There was only one brief security heads-up: Security officers grounded a drone that was sent airborne by one of the residents in the neighborhood on Thursday.
The team will drive to NRG Stadium to walk around the field and the locker room Saturday, then return to Rice for a final walk-through practice before Sunday’s game.

One Last Presser For Tom Brady And The Pats Before the Big Game

(Houston, TX) – As the NFL gears up for the big game, the pressers keep coming. The Patriots had their last dance with the press and the energy was electric. One man that many wanted to talk to was QB and Super Bowl champ Tom Brady. He’s talked about everything this week from family to football. Brady hasn’t held back and his latest meeting with press was no different. As we all gathered around to throw questions at the Football legend, here’s how it went down:

(on how he maintains normalcy in his life throughout the season) “Well, I talked the other day about compartmentalization. I think it’s just I owe it to the team to be focused on them when I’m at work and when I’m preparing. You just have different facets of your life that you do at the different times. I think over the course of a long career, you get better at those things because you have to. You can’t let everything that’s going on in your life affect the way that you go out and play. Everybody’s dealing with something. It’s life. We work for a long time over the course of the entire season. You’ve just got to learn to deal with it the best you can.”

(on who in his life keeps him grounded) “Yeah, I have lot of people that keep me grounded, both at work and outside of work. I have a wonderful wife and wonderful parents and sisters that have always supported me, so I’m very blessed.”

(on the key to his longevity and sustained success) “I could take the up the rest of this 15 minutes. I think being to seven Super Bowls just means I’ve been a part of seven really great football teams that have made it this far. I think we’ve got to do our best to finish it off, and that’s going to be very tough because we’re playing a great football team. I love this sport and I commit my life to playing it. There’s a lot of decisions that I make based on my lifestyle that help me play at this more experienced age than most. I love doing it as you get older, it gets actually, I think, easier because you have priorities. If one of my priorities is to try to be a great quarterback, everything else kind of falls in line. When I was younger, there were different priorities. When you’re married and you have three kids, you have different priorities. That’s just what happens with life. I’m sure you guys realize that, too.”

(on if the team has been relaxed this week and if there is a point when the team will become more focused) “It’s a little tricky because the week ebbs and flows. There’s a lot. You come off the high of winning the championship game and then you have a week off. Then you kind of get revved up to come down here and then you have, really, two days off and there’s a lot of other obligations. Finally, you get into practice, which is great, and then a lot of families come in tonight. Tomorrow is our last day of practice. It’s been, actually, great to get on the field these past two days and really get to work on the things that we need to work on that are going to try to help us win this game. You can sit up here and talk about those things all day, but ultimately, you have to go out and work on them, practice them and work through the communication with your teammates. I think that’s what the last three days are really about kind of bringing everything that we talked about into focus. There’s a lot of things that we’ve been coached on. There’s a lot of things that, ‘Hey, don’t forget about this or verses this look, we’ll do this.’ A lot of those things you talk about and I think because of the heightened sense of focus and urgency, you’ve got to understand those things, but also once you go out on the field for kickoff, you’ve just got to cut it loose.”

(on how he balances football and family this week and his advice for younger teammates) “I think for our families, it’s great because they’re coming in as fans and they get to enjoy the festivities. I think for the players, we’re busy trying to win a game. For me personally, I don’t plan on doing anything other than getting ready to play football. Obviously, I’ll see everybody at some point, but there’s plenty of time after Sunday to do that. They’ll kind of enjoy the game, enjoy the Super Bowl and all the wonderful things that go along with being here and this week. I know there’s some events for families tonight and all the way through the weekend. I think it’s just staying focused on what our job is, trying to actually regain some of our energy over the course of the next three days that we’ve kind of spent in other places.”

(on how he was able to help Jay Flannelly of Ann Arbor, Michigan) “I’ve known him for a long time. He’s just been a longtime friend. I met him through Jason Carr. He was a good friend of Jason Carr, and actually, Joe Marinaro, who was one of our team captains at Michigan, is from Andover in Massachusetts. Just knowing those guys and being an incoming freshman, I got to meet Jay, and he’s always kind of kept in touch being from Massachusetts.”

(on if he knows if his mom will be able to attend the game) “I’m still hopeful. I’m not sure, but yeah, hopeful. That’s a good word.”

(on if the team has shown energy and focus this week on the finer points of the game plan) “Yeah, there’s a lot of nuances. I think the thing is we have a volume of plays. I’d say it’s a pretty big library at this point, me being in this system for 17 years and having the relationship I have with (Offensive Coordinator) Josh (McDaniels). So we can recall a lot of plays—I mean, thousands and thousands of plays—but again, there’s 70 left. If we’re talking about yeah, it could be a great idea, but the likelihood of calling it in the game is low, you’re just wasting your energy talking about things that probably won’t come up. You can’t really go in just with 70 plays because the situation of the game could change very quickly if you lose any particular skill player because, when you go in with a plan, there’s only a limit of how many guys you can have active for the game. You have to have flexibility within your system, within your call sheets to be able to withstand things that you’re going to have to change or adjustments. That’s part of it. It’s stuff you deal with all season long. It’s not new to the Super Bowl or anything like that, but I think just based on the fact of the finality of this game and this season, we’re trying to really hone in on the ones that we like best. That will really get widdled down here in the next couple of days, but there’s still a good volume of stuff. Hopefully, we can narrow it down and really focus in on those details that we really need in order to execute against a really good defense.”

(on his pregame routine) “Yeah, we haven’t really gotten the schedule. We have to go over, I think, a little bit earlier just for security reasons and so forth. I think we’re going to get our schedule for that. I’ll just kind of work my way back from when that moment is and try to get as much rest as I can during the day. I’ve been sleeping good lately, so I’ll sleep good the night before the game, and hopefully that helps, and just rest all the way up until the time we get on the bus to go. Then we’ll go cut it loose.”

(on how his prior Super Bowl experience can be an asset, especially in the fourth quarter) “Well, I mean, there was a first time for all of us being in this game or being in this situation. The first time I was in it, we had a two-minute situation and we went down and won the game. I think it comes down to how you play this week and not necessarily what happened many years ago. I think just relying on the two weeks of practice that we’ll have had should be enough. We’ve got a whole season that we had to prepare for all these different moments and situations that have come up. Whatever comes up this weekend, we’ll have to be ready for. A lot of those things you try to prepare for over the course of the season so we’re ready for them when they come up.”

(on whether this Super Bowl will have greater significance to him than his previous six) “They all were pretty meaningful. At different points—I mean, they’re all very important and very meaningful. I think they’re meaningful, obviously, for me, for this game. A lot has gone into this game. A lot has gone into it for every player that’s going to be taking the field. When you play in the Super Bowl, and I said the other day, it is once in a lifetime. You can’t take these things for granted. We’ve been very blessed, as part of this organization, for the guys that have been on these teams to make it this far, but it’s a very steep mountain to climb. When you get to this point, walking off the practice field today, there’s two quarterbacks probably in the world that are practicing today preparing for this game. Myself and (QB) Matt (Ryan) should feel very privileged to be able to do that. There’s a lot of guys that don’t have the chance, and I think you do feel very humbled when you’re walking off the field to say, ‘Wow, we had an opportunity to go out and practice and prepare for a game that’s so meaningful to all of us that we’ll remember for the rest of our lives.’ I’m just very blessed for that. Ultimately, it’s going to come down to—again, how we remember this week will be determined by the score of the game. There will be great feelings if we win, and I’ve been on the other end of that, too, which those are some crappy feelings that I’m sure the Giants fans still love, but that’s just the way it goes.”

(on what it has meant to him to have Head Coach Bill Belichick as a coach and who will retire first) “That’s a good question. I don’t know what he plans on doing. He’s the best, and I’ve been very lucky to play for him. He’s so focused on coaching and doing anything he can to help us win. There’s no B.S. with Coach Belichick, and I think that’s what players appreciate. When you come into the program, you realize it’s all about football and it’s not a bunch of ra-ra crap that’s not going to matter and has no bearing on preparing you for the game, but it’s just coaches screaming louder and louder and thinking that’s going to emphasize some certain point. I think Coach does a great job of every week putting the urgency on the team and making us understand that we’re going up against a very competitive team that could beat us if we don’t play the way that we should play. Every week, he’s so consistent, and I think that’s a great thing for us as players is to have a leader like that who brings it every day. Whether that’s April or whether that’s early February, his attitude is the same. He’s trying to do and coach the best way that he can in order to get us to go out there and execute at the highest level possible. I love it. He’s certainly a disciplinarian, so in that sense, it’s great because when you’re the quarterback and you coach does that for you, I don’t really have to do any of those things. I can be just like one of those other guys. I’m yelled at just like everybody else, but it’s nice to feel, especially in my 17th year, that I am one of the guys because I think that’s ultimately the best thing for our team. He certainly takes the lead and we all fall in line.”

(on how TE Martellus Bennett’s personality fits within the Patriots’ culture) “Well, I think with Marty, absolutely football is No. 1. He has a high football IQ. I mean, I have so much respect for Marty to come in, being in the different organizations that he has, and he came right in from OTAs, didn’t miss any practices all through training camp. He’s been available every game this season, he’s played several different positions and he’s practiced almost every day, too. I wouldn’t say he’s feeling great at this point in terms of his body, but he’s fought through it. He’s got a lot of mental toughness. He’s obviously got a great personality. He’s got a lot of life to him, so we in the locker room love that.”

(on Bennett’s funniest joke) “I don’t think they’re appropriate for this room.”

(on how Belichick has been able to get the best out of him throughout his career) “His style, I think, is very conducive to just getting the best out of me, so I think it’s a good fit. I probably don’t take compliments very well is something you guys probably know covering us, and he doesn’t give very many compliments out. I think in that sense, he coaches us hard. There’s some throws that I make and you throw it 50 yards downfield and hit the guy in stride, and I’m like, ‘Damn, that was a pretty good throw.’ And I’ll look back at him and he’ll be looking for the next play. That’s just his style. He has a very high level of expectation. He’ll say all the time, ‘I hope my expectation for you guys isn’t better or more than your expectation for yourself.’ I think those types of things really challenge us as players to be at our best every single day, to never take these opportunities for granted and to try to keep reaching a higher level as the season goes.”

(on if he was accustomed to Belichick’s coaching style from his time at Michigan) “Yes. I’ve pretty much been used to that through college and even in high school I had a coach who was pretty tough, as well. So my entire football career, I’ve really had a defensive head coach that’s been a disciplinarian. It’s been great for me. I mean, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I hear different stories of offensive coaches, and it’s a little different. I mean, we practice outside every day in the crappy weather in Foxboro. It’s great for defensive football, not always great for offensive football, so sometimes I’m like, ‘Coach, how about we go in the bubble?’ And he’s like, ‘Outside.’ He’s just a defensive-minded coach and he wants to make it tough it on us, and he certainly does, and he wants to see if we respond. I think this team has done a great job of responding over the course of a long season and we’re at the finish line, so we’ve just got to make it a great sprint to the end.”

Let The Game Begin, Super Bowl LI Starts With Massive Opening Night

(Houston, TX) – Super Bowl LI officially kicked off in Houston Monday with a mass media opening night featuring both the Atlanta Falcons and the New England Patriots, fans and broadcasting networks from all over the world. Each team had an hour to entertain the press. Here are some of the highlights from opening night from both QBs, top receiver Julio Jones and Coach Belichick
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 Falcons QB Matt Ryan
(on how he feels) “I feel good. We had a good practice, walkthrough today and to get here and see this deal tonight, it’s pretty cool. It’s fun to be apart of with my teammates.”
(on following an 8-8 season in 2015 with a MVP-caliber campaign and Super Bowl appearance the next year) “I think we’ve come a long way. We’ve gotten better, and that was one of the things we focused on this offseason, trying to find ways to improve as a team, as an offense. I think the addition of some of the players that we picked up – guys like Taylor (Gabriel), Alex Mack, Aldrick Robinson, Mohamed Sanu – just have added to our team and made us a better offense.”
(on the Falcons’ top-ranked offense competing with the Patriots’ defense) “New England has a great defense and watching them on film, their ability to keep people out of the end zone has been unbelievable all year. So we’ve certainly got our work cut out for us, but I think everybody’s looking forward to Sunday.”
(on combating New England’s attempts to take Julio Jones out of the game plan) “We’ve got to move him around a little bit and try to make it difficult for them to tee off on where he’s going to be. Even when he gets double teamed he has made plays for us all year. So we’ve got a lot of guys who can do it and I know Julio is going to have a great game for us.”
Falcons WR Julio Jones
(on the best part about making it to the Super Bowl) “The hard work paid off. That’s the best part of being here for us. It’s any other day for us. We just have to continue to keep putting that work in. There’s nothing spectacular for us that we need to go out here and make stuff up.
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(on what a win on Sunday will mean to him) “It’ll be great. It’ll be great. Just looking to celebrate after the game but now just staying in it. The process – don’t want to overlook anything. It’s just one day at a time for me.”
(on the bracelet he wears) “Friends of the family for about nine years now. Christina Jones is a good friend of mine. Through my recruiting process and everything, we became friends going to the University of Alabama. Obviously, you know her brother passed away in a basketball game with no meaning behind it. We didn’t know the cause of it so I wear the bracelet every game now. After the Chiefs game, the family came down and they gave me the bracelet so this signifies just him, me going out there and just playing and leaving it all out on the line.”
Patriots QB Tom Brady
(on how long he can play) “I think as long as I’m willing to make the commitment to taking good care of myself. I got a good routine. It has gotten better as the years have gone on. You (Willie McGinest) taught me. 2004, you said this is what you got to do, and I listened. It’s nice to feel better as the season goes. To be an older player and have the mental experience and then to also feel great physically, I think it’s a great benefit for me. Hopefully I can keep going. I don’t see any end in sight.”
Super Bowl Opening Night at Minute Maid Park
HOUSTON, TX – JANUARY 30: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots speaks with the media during Super Bowl 51 Opening Night at Minute Maid Park on January 30, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
(on playing in his seventh Super Bowl) “It hit me today (at) the pep rally. When I saw those fans out there, you realize this is different and this just is special. It’s a special experience. Getting on the plane was great and landing, seeing all the cameras and then getting to the hotel. It has been a long day for us, but I think everyone is excited to be here, get in a little bit of a routine and then focus on playing some football.”
Patriots Coach Dan Belichick
(on best coaching advice he has received) “I have received a lot. I would say probably most of the best advice I have ever received was from my dad. Either what he told me or watching him coach. I would be here all night talking about that. A lot of life lessons. I would say my dad and the things he told me.”
Super Bowl Opening Night at Minute Maid Park
HOUSTON, TX – JANUARY 30: Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots speaks with the media during Super Bowl 51 Opening Night at Minute Maid Park on January 30, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
(on advice for Brady) “I think for the entire team we all understand we need to play our best game. We need to do a great job in our execution and in all of the things that are important fundamentally to having good plays no matter what the plays are. Hopefully we can do that as a team. That goes for everybody.”
(on players willing to take less money to play in New England) “We can’t control what the other 31 teams do. We don’t try to control that. We just try to do what we can do. Sometimes that works in the negotiations, sometimes it doesn’t. Each one is different. If a player and a team can agree on a contract, then they sign it. If they can’t they don’t. We don’t really know what anyone else does. We can’t control that anyways. We just do what we can do. Some work out. Some don’t.”
(on his coaching career without Tom Brady) “Tom missed the 2008 season.”
(on the partnership between Brady and himself) “I have been very fortunate to coach Tom. Tom is a tremendous player. He is a tremendous competitor. He prepares extremely hard. He comes to work every day and gives his very best effort. I am fortunate to have the opportunity to coach Tom for these years. I think I have a lot of respect for him. There is a mutual respect there. We each have a job to do. It is very different. All the jobs are important, but we try to find a way to do our jobs and help the team win the best that we can. I think he does a great job of that. That is what I try to do. From that standpoint we have a great relationship. We both want to win. We both want to do what it takes to win. That is our focus pretty much every game. It is not always the same game plan, but trying to get to the same end point.”
Opening night was the kickoff to a long week of several activities for fans to enjoy. There will be one more media event with the coaches and players today. The last one until Super Bowl Sunday. Another highlight of the week will be the NFL Honors Show scheduled for Saturday night and hosted by Keegan-Michael Key. Super Bowl LI Kickoff is Sunday at 6:30 pm.