- Shalise Manza Young at Shutdown Corner39 mins ago
Over the last two seasons, Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Antonio Brown has totaled an NFL-high 265 catches for 3,532 yards and 23 touchdowns; he's been an All-Pro pick both years.
And on Thursday, he said he might be even better.
The 27-year-old is just coming off a successful run on "Dancing With the Stars," where he and partner Sharna Burgess were one of the final five couples, and voted off in the semifinals. The duo spent hours preparing for their performances on the show, and Brown learned dances like the quickstep, rumba, foxtrot, tango and Viennese waltz, all of which may help him be a better player.
He told NFL Network the experience helps his footwork and hip placement.
"I don't want to say it made me faster, but I feel like it has helped me a lot with my 'shock absorbers'," he said. "I've been able to drop my hips and get on the ball of my foot."
- Jay Busbee at Shutdown Corner2 hrs ago
You knew when Rob and Rex Ryan reunited on the sideline in Buffalo this yearthat there'd be some saltiness thrown in all directions. It has begun, with Rob cutting loose on his former employer in The MMQB.
Rob Ryan served as defensive coordinator in New Orleans for parts of three seasons before he was fired 10 games into the 2015 season. And, according to Ryan, only one of those three years reflects the kind of coach he is.
"There are two years that don't have my signature on them, and it's the last two years in New Orleans," Ryan said. "And that's just the truth."
Ryan took over in 2013 for a team that had ranked last in yards allowed and immediately vaulted the Saints to fourth in that category. The team went 11-5 and reached the playoffs. But in 2014 and 2015, the team sank back down into the cellar, ranking 31st in points allowed both years.
- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner12 hrs ago
It's common for this generation of sports fan, and especially those who follow the NFL closely, to pan the work of ESPN's Chris Berman and dismiss him as a has-been who is past his prime.
Those folks likely will celebrate the news that Berman, reported by The Big Lead, will retire after the 2016 NFL season. The rest of us will tip our caps at a true giant in the industry who changed the way the game was presented to fans everywhere.
Berman, 61, joined the network in 1979, shortly after it started, having gone to school nearby at Brown and broadcasted in nearby Hartford, Conn. previously. And he's been at ESPN ever since, the longest-tenured on-air talent there along with Bob Ley.
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner16 hrs ago
The Baltimore Ravens supported Ray Rice after his domestic violence incident in Atlantic City two years ago, until the infamous video of Rice punching his then-fiancee (now his wife) was published. Then the team cut him.
It seemed like the team cut him somewhat reluctantly, however, because the pressure was too great to keep him. An ESPN report said Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti texted Rice after he was cut, telling Rice he could have a job with the team "helping young guys getting acclimated to the league."
And even though the entire ordeal was a stain on Rice, the Ravens and the NFL, less than two years after the video surfaced and Rice was cut, the team brought Rice back to talk to its rookies.
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner17 hrs ago
By now we all know that "voluntary" NFL offseason workouts are anything but, and a player skipping one is news.
Usually a player's absence is over a contract, which makes New York Jets receiver Eric Decker's silent protest normal. What's unusual about Decker is he's reportedly skipping practices over someone else's contract.
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner20 hrs ago
The Baltimore Ravens' failure to study the rule book has cost them a week of offseason practices.
The Ravens held at least one drill earlier this month in which rookies were in pads. The team claimed it didn't know rookie minicamps were under the same "no pads" umbrella as normal OTA practice rules, but that never made much sense. They've paid the price for violating the rules. The Ravens will forfeit a week of OTA practices, which were scheduled from June 1-3, and the organization and coach John Harbaugh were fined. The Ravens were fined $343,057 and Harbaugh was fined $137,223 according to ESPN's Jim Trotter.
That's three of 10 OTA practice sessions they're giving up.
- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner23 hrs ago
This offseason, Shutdown Corner will travel down memory lane with a series of stories presenting some interesting and sometimes forgotten stories from the NFL's past. Join us as we relive some of the greatest and craziest moments in the sport's history.
Watching a high school game almost 15 years ago, I remember some poor option-based offense facing a third-and-55 after a fumble and a slew of penalties. Naturally, they handed off before punting.
I also recall a few wild long-yardage situations I’d seen in a few college football games — Georgia faced a fourth-and-57 at Tennessee in 2011, and Minnesota facing a third- (and fourth) and-49 against Texas Tech in a bowl game the next year.
These things look funny on a TV screen.
Heck, the wildest thing I ever remember was Michigan State punting on fourth-and-goal. Granted, it was from the 40-yard line after Kirk Cousins had to fall on a fumble that went more than 30 yards the wrong direction.
But it got me wondering: What was the longest down and distance to go in NFL history? I had no clue. Luckily, the Internet had some fast answers — and they even appear to be correct.
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner1 day ago
I'm not a fan of how every single thing the NFL does is compared to deflate-gate. We probably don't need, after every NFL discipline announcement, a million "But if it was Tom Brady ... " messages on social media.
However, it's hard to grasp how the league could act so quickly, strongly and vigilantly toward the New England Patriots and Brady for maybe, kinda, sorta knowing about deflated footballs, and act at a "maybe everyone will just forget" pace when some high-profile players were accused of PED usage in an undercover Al Jazeera America report last year.
- Shalise Manza Young at Shutdown Corner1 day ago
Earlier this year, we told you Baltimore Ravens offensive lineman John Urschel was beginning his pursuit of a Ph.D in mathematics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, one of the foremost math and science schools in the country.
Well, Urschel didn't just attend classes, he crushed them, according to one of his recent tweets.
My first semester in school in nearly three years. Four PhD classes at MIT. Four A's. The streak continues!!!
As an undergraduate and graduate student at Penn State, Urschel had a perfect 4.0 grade-point average, and so far his time at MIT is trending the same way.
During his time on campus, Urschel worked out with the MIT football team. The Division III program can't offer scholarships, and even if the coaches recruit a player, they have to hope he's good enough to get into the college. Yet the team posted a 10-1 mark in 2014.
- Jay Busbee at Shutdown Corner1 day ago
Say, did you remember that the NFL is moving kickoff touchbacks to the 25-yard-line this year?Devin Hester did, and he's none too pleased.
"It’s like taking away a job from people," the Falcons return man told ESPN, and by "people" he means himself.
Hester is one of the most notable return men in NFL history, boasting five kickoff returns for touchdowns and a dramatic TD return to start Super Bowl XLI.
The kickoff is one of the most dangerous routine plays in the NFL, with two teams running full-tilt toward one another from a distance of many yards. The NFL has sought to cut down on the possibility of injury with a number of rules changes, including banning running starts by the kicking team and moving the kickoff line up to the 35 in 2011.