Eric Adelson

  • The rise of 7-6 (and growing) Tacko Fall

    Eric Adelson at Yahoo Sports 1 day ago

    TAVARES, Fla. – The grade-schoolers, lined up in the hallway in their uniforms, look skyward and beam with joy.

    "Tacko!!!" they yell.

    He peers down at them through his glasses, grinning and reaching his long left arm out. To the kids, these are very high-fives: Tacko Fall, high school senior, is 7-feet-6-inches tall. And growing.

    The morning greeting looks like a homecoming for a visiting hero, even though Fall is simply on his way to the gymnasium during his free period at Liberty Christian Prep. When he enters, more kids serenade him: "Tackoooo!!!"

    He smiles and stands under the basketball hoop, reaching up with that same left arm and nearly touching the rim without lifting his heels. He smiles for a photo. He's used to that. He gets snapped wherever he goes, even without his permission.

    He understands. He's one of the 60 or so tallest people known ever to walk the Earth.

    "I would be surprised to see me, too," he quips.

    It's intriguing to imagine where a 7-6, 19-year-old basketball player will end up, but it's even more fascinating to trace the winding path Tacko Fall took to get to his unlikely home.



  • Cowboys expose crack in Chip Kelly's system

    Eric Adelson at Yahoo Sports 2 days ago

    PHILADELPHIA – Eagles coach Chip Kelly called into a local sports radio program Monday morning and pleaded with fans: "Don't give up on us."

    Kind of crazy that it's come to that, considering his team is two weeks removed from a direct shot at having home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Now the Eagles could miss the playoffs altogether after home losses to the Seahawks and Cowboys.

    There's no reason to give up on a team with nine wins, two winnable games remaining (against Washington and the Giants), and a tiebreak against Dallas for the NFC East, but there is cause for concern beyond what happens during the rest of this month. To be blunt: the Chip Kelly revolution has run into some counterinsurgency issues.

    The Eagles have had three huge post-Thanksgiving games under Kelly that they have lost: in the playoffs last year against the Saints, and then this year against Seattle and Dallas. In all three games, opponents established the run and turned Kelly's fast-paced attack inside out.

    On Sunday night, though, Mincey looked vindicated. He had two sacks and the Eagles running game was mostly hemmed in.

    Defensive back Barry Church seconded that:

  • Cowboys pay back Eagles, putting past December woes behind them

    Eric Adelson at Yahoo Sports 2 days ago

    PHILADELPHIA – The traditional dogs of December came off the field woofing.

    "Merry Christmas!" a couple of the Dallas Cowboys yelled at jeering Philadelphia Eagles fans as they departed the scene of their crucial 38-27 win here over the rivals who trashed them only two weeks ago.

    Inside the locker room, there was more barking.

    "We don't care about those fans," Dallas defensive back Orlando Scandrick said. "They just talk. Hey, they beat traffic today. We commend them on their commitment to jerk-ness."

    We're all so used to the Cowboys folding at this time of year, winding up as a punch line for hecklers at 8-8. But this team has 10 wins and, more significantly, zero road losses. The very adversity that crushed the Cowboys in prior seasons seems to ignite them now. They've gone to Seattle and won. Now they've gone to Philadelphia and won, pushing the Eagles to the brink of elimination in the process.

    "One thing I knew," said Cowboys defensive end Jeremy Mincey, "is that we're better than them."

  • There's good reason to fear that Jadeveon Clowney might never show his potential for Texans, NFL

    Eric Adelson at Yahoo Sports 7 days ago

    An unsettling possibility hit the sports world on Tuesday night: one of the most talented athletes we've seen in years may have already played his best football.

    Jadeveon Clowney requires a nine-month recovery period after undergoing microfracture surgery Monday on his right knee. That sidelines the Houston Texans' No. 1 overall draft pick into September. What's far more troubling is that a return to his former level of dominance is more of an "if" than a "when."

    "We're trying to convince the body to do something it's not designed to do," said UCF team doctor Michael Jablonski, who has performed microfracture surgery and trained under renowned surgeon James Andrews. "It doesn't work every time."

    Here's how microfracture surgery works to repair the knee and why it's not a sure bet to fully fix Clowney's problem:

    Jablonski compared the missing or torn knee cartilage to a pothole, and the microfracture surgery can fill it with the equivalent of sand.

    "For every person who has come back at a high level," Jablonski said, "there's another one who didn't."

  • Browns coach made mistake by sticking with Brian Hoyer over Johnny Manziel

    Eric Adelson at Yahoo Sports 9 days ago

    CLEVELAND – Cleveland Browns coach Mike Pettine apparently wasn't thinking what everyone else in the football world was thinking all afternoon on Sunday.

    "Did not consider a [quarterback] change in the game," he said flatly after his offense blew a game his defense all but won.

    If that's true, it's befuddling. Johnny Manziel should have had a chance to save the day on Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts, and he should have the chance to save the Browns' season going forward.

    Pettine has handled the difficult decision between Manziel and Brian Hoyer deftly over the summer and to this point in the season. He chose Hoyer, and stuck with him, and the veteran brought the team to the brink of only its fourth .500-or-better season since 1989. Everyone wanted to see Manziel, but it was Hoyer who brought the only thing people want to see more: wins.

    On Sunday, though, Hoyer cost the team a crucial eighth victory. The Browns' defense was nothing short of incredible against Andrew Luck and the Colts. "[Expletive], we scored twice on 'D,' " defensive lineman Billy Winn said after the game.

  • Waiting game begins as Jameis Winston's FSU conduct hearing wraps up

    Eric Adelson at Yahoo Sports 13 days ago

    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The legal advisers walked out of opposite sides of the campus building, fully confident in opposing opinions, trading verbal haymakers with each other. David Cornwell, adviser to Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston, called the just-concluded student conduct hearing "a shakedown." John Clune, lawyer to the woman who accused Winston of raping her, claimed, "Mr. Cornwell and the truth, I don't think, are very close friends."

    It made for good theater, but will this university hearing on Winston's behavior lead to any semblance of a conclusion in this two-year-old case? Despite the fact that this was not a legal trial, the answer may be closer to yes than most think.

    One source of uncertainty is Winston's teammates, Ronald Darby and Chris Casher, who were present on the night of the incident two years ago. They both arrived at the hearing on Tuesday, but it is not known if they testified. They certainly could bolster Winston's side, but Clune is confident they did not.

    All that supports Winston's case, but it won't impede the avalanche of doubt if an adverse ruling comes out of this hearing.

  • Janay Rice still fighting to protect herself when no one else will

    Eric Adelson at Yahoo Sports 16 days ago

    It was a particularly poignant moment in a very trying interview: Matt Lauer asked Janay Rice about the inevitable day when she would have to tell her daughter, Rayven, about the night her mom was punched by her dad.

    Janay Rice calmly explained in the Today Show interview that when the time comes, she would tell her child that domestic violence "is not something that she should tolerate."

    A lot of people may listen to that with frustration. How could she tell her daughter not to tolerate something that she herself forgave? And how could she insist that she is not a face of domestic violence – "not at all," Janay Rice said – when she so clearly is a victim?

    But what seems contradictory is not. Janay Rice, unable to protect herself physically in that moment from her husband, has been trying desperately to protect her identity. She is protecting her identity as a mother, as a wife, as a daughter, and as a woman. She is fiercely working to buttress her strength after her husband put her in a position of helpless weakness.

    It's clear to see: the shame is still there, even though there should be no shame at all.

  • Rice's winning appeal reveals how badly Goodell mishandled case

    Eric Adelson at Yahoo Sports 18 days ago

    Roger Goodell got it wrong at the beginning. Then he got it wrong again at the end.

    What's most alarming, however, is how wrong he got it in between.

    The NFL commissioner's decision to suspend Ray Rice indefinitely was overturned on Friday by a neutral arbitrator, meaning the former Baltimore Ravens running back can sign with any team and play right away.

    So after giving Rice a too-light penalty initially, suspending him for two games for striking then-fiancée Janay Palmer in a hotel elevator in Atlantic City, Goodell erred on the other extreme.

    Former U.S. District Judge Barbara S. Jones, who ruled on the case, wrote in her decision, "I find that the indefinite suspension was an abuse of discretion and must be vacated."

    Goodell didn't just mishandle the decision. He mishandled the truth.

    So if Rice was not misleading, does that mean Goodell misled the public in his account of this ordeal? Jones' decision gives us great insight into that.

  • Nothing cheap about Eagles as contenders with two huge games – vs. Seahawks and Cowboys – looming

    Eric Adelson at Yahoo Sports 19 days ago

    ARLINGTON, Texas – Dez Bryant stood at his locker with a busted lip on Thursday and called the Philadelphia Eagles "kinda cheap."

    He didn't elaborate on what he meant, telling reporters, "I'm out," before walking away quickly, yet another wound to nurse after the Eagles' 33-10 blowout of the Dallas Cowboys. But talk is "kinda cheap" when you get whipped on your home field on a holiday.

    What's not cheap is the Eagles' brand of talk. Philadelphia had some telling quotes as well on Thanksgiving, and they hint at a team that's hoarding confidence instead of spending it.

    The major takeaway from Philadelphia's destruction of the Cowboys wasn't the margin of victory as much as how much greater the margin of victory could have been. The offense settled for field goals three times in the first half and put it in cruise control late in the second half. Their 33 was closer to 50 than 20. And it came with a backup quarterback who is still getting comfortable with a new offense.

    "We left a ton of meat on the bone," Mark Sanchez said.

  • Cowboys' Garrett, Harris get strange explanation for flag: 'He hit him too hard'

    Eric Adelson at Yahoo Sports 19 days ago

    ARLINGTON, Texas – There's a new taboo in the NFL: hitting too hard.

    Late in the Philadelphia Eagles' 33-10 rout of the Cowboys, Dallas kick returner Dwayne Harris decked the Eagles' Nolan Carroll as a punt hit the turf inside the Dallas 10-yard line. A scuffle ensued.

    Harris was flagged for unnecessary roughness, and Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett got a curious explanation: "They told us that he hit him too hard unnecessarily." 

    The hit appeared legal. It was not to the head, and it was not from behind. Carroll saw Harris coming. There was no fair catch on the play, either.

    "If Dwayne were catching the ball," Garrett told reporters after the game, "not in a fair catch situation, that guy would've probably hit him in a very similar fashion. So my understanding is as long as you don't hit him in the head, you're allowed to do that."

    Garrett said he plans to send the play to the league for review.

    Harris, speaking at his locker after the game, was just as mystified.

    Asked why he was flagged, Harris gave the same reasoning Garrett got.