- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner7 hrs ago
“Ladies and gentlemen, we have a signed contract in hand! The Browns are indeed coming to Baltimore.” – Maryland Gov. Parris Glendening, Nov. 6, 1995
With those words, two football-steeped cities’ fates changed forever. For Cleveland, it was a death knell whose ringing never could have been predicted. But for Baltimore, it was shocking relief to a city that could commiserate; it too had lost a team. Twelve years after its residents watched their beloved Colts flee in the dark of a snowy March morning in 1984, the NFL was returning to the city again.
It took months for the team that eventually became known as the Ravens to form an identity and win over some dyed-in-the-wool Colts fans, and the road they took that first season was quite rocky. Comically so at times.
“A season of wins it was not,” Ravens offensive guard Wally Williams said.
And little did the people involved in that inaugural 4-12 season of 1996 know it then, but the team that had a shoddy defense, a third-rate facility, a crumbling stadium (with an elevator that stopped in the middle of a game) and a healthy dose of bad luck that season was less than five years away from hoisting the Lombardi Trophy.
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner7 hrs ago
Veteran reporter Chris Mortensen, who has been battling Stage IV throat cancer, said he anticipates making a return to ESPN’s NFL coverage on a limited basis this season.
Mortensen said in a statement through ESPN that his oncologists told him after chemotherapy and radiation, the cancer has been “virtually reduced to zero detection of the disease.” Mortensen was diagnosed in January.
Mortensen said he’ll be returning to the network’s NFL coverage on a limited basis with no definitive date for his return. He said in his statement he is still recovering from “significant weight loss, strength, endurance and related health issues.” After his battle this year, any return to television is wonderful news.
Mortensen’s statement: “I received very encouraging news last week from my oncologist team of doctors at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center that now enables me to completely focus on recovery rather than treatment. The Stage IV throat (oropharyngel) cancer that was diagnosed in early January and treated with intensive chemotherapy and radiation has been virtually reduced to zero detection of the disease through the latest scans and exams.
- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner8 hrs ago
We don’t yet know who will be holding the first pick of the 2017 NFL draft, but we know where it’s going to be located.
Philadelphia widely had been reported to be the favorite to land the draft, which had been held in Chicago. On Wednesday, ESPN reported that Philly officially will be named the draft host for 2017 on Thursday. The league has not made it official yet.
Back in April, ESPN reported Philly was the leading contender to host the 2017 draft. On Thursday, it will become official. Philly, 2017.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 31, 2016
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner9 hrs ago
The first regular-season game at the Minnesota Vikings’ new U.S. Bank Stadium is a tough ticket.
The Vikings opened their impressive new stadium last week, but that was just a preseason game. The first official game? That’s an event. The Green Bay Packers are coming to town on Sept. 18. It’s “Sunday Night Football” on NBC. There have been many incredible sporting events in Minnesota history, but this is somewhere on that list of big games.
“You can’t buy a ticket to the Green Bay game to save your soul,” Sue Arcand of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, which owns and operates the stadium, told the USA Today Network in Wisconsin.
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner10 hrs ago
The NFL cleared Green Bay Packers linebackers Julius Peppers and Clay Matthews, and Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison, who were accused in an Al Jazeera America hidden camera report of performance-enhancing drug use.
That the players were cleared isn’t a surprise. There was no other evidence and no failed drug tests. The league said it found “no credible evidence” that the players “were provided with or used substances prohibited under the NFL-NFLPA Policy on Performance-Enhancing Substances.”
- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner12 hrs ago
Former NFL running back Fred Taylor, who played the majority of his career with the Jacksonville Jaguars, says NFL doctors failed to reveal to him some major injuries during his career.
Taylor posted on Twitter a string of messages after he visited a doctor recently, saying that tests he underwent showed he suffered injuries that he previously was unaware of.
Visited Chicago last week for full Ortho exam. Took 11 MRIs and 12 X-rays. Got results yesterday. Somehow I played career with fractured->
— Fred Taylor (@FredTaylorMade) August 31, 2016
clavicle, 2 partially torn labrum, one in each shoulder. I'm Appalled! I was never told this as a player. Oversight? Or BS!
- Shalise Manza Young at Shutdown Corner13 hrs ago
Antonio Brown’s bank account got a nice little bump.
The Pittsburgh Steelers’ All-Pro receiver has reportedly restructured his contract with the team, moving $4 million of his 2017 salary to 2016. He will now make $10.25 million for this season.
The bulk of that money, nearly $9 million, is a signing bonus that Brown gets up front. The rest is his base salary.
There were no additional years added to his contract, which is still set to expire after 2017. The Steelers have reportedly promised to give Brown a true extension next year.
The 28-year-old Brown, who was a third-round draft pick in 2010, totaled 265 receptions over the past two seasons, the highest two-season catch total in NFL history.
- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner14 hrs ago
There are few players who have sniffed death on the front lines and life in the NFL, as Nate Boyer has.
The former Green Beret returned from service to make an unlikely run at making the league — as a long snapper — and got a one-game taste as an undrafted free agent with the Seattle Seahawks, in a preseason game against the Denver Broncos last year.
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner1 day ago
To everyone speculating on the possible acquisitions for the Minnesota Vikings to replace Teddy Bridgewater: Good luck finding a good, available quarterback on Aug. 30.
Bridgewater is out, probably for the season, with a significant knee injury suffered in practice. That’s a terrible blow for a team that is coming off an NFC North championship and had high hopes this year.
Shaun Hill is next in line at quarterback, which prompted people to name every possible quarterback who might actually become the starter instead of Hill. That’s not realistic. Any quarterback available in late August is not saving your season.
- Shalise Manza Young at Shutdown Corner1 day ago
Let me preface this thusly: as a former New England Patriots beat writer for the Providence Journal, I covered Rodney Harrison for two-plus years. I admired him as a player, a passionate, hard-hitting safety who forever carried a chip on his shoulder as a fifth-round pick from a I-AA school, and as a locker room leader valued by teammates. He could be cutting, as he was during his takedown of Freddie Mitchell before Super Bowl XXXIX, and kind, as he was one day when he pulled his Bible from his locker to read me a passage to try and offer comfort on a particularly bad day. Like so many of us, he could be emotional, but also capable of being reasonable.