- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner36 mins ago
The kids at North Ridgeville High School in Ohio got new helmets presented to them by Cleveland Browns offensive lineman Cam Erving, a first-round pick last year, and that's a pretty full day on its own.
It got better.
When one of the players was asked to take the helmet off the "mannequin" onstage and show it around ... well, see for yourself:
Not every day a Heisman Trophy winner helps pull off a prank at your school.
- Jay Busbee at Shutdown Corner48 mins ago
The NFC champion Carolina Panthers are the toast of Charlotte. NASCAR is based in Charlotte. So it stands to reason that the two Queen City entities would cross paths every now and then. On Wednesday, Panthers kicker Graham Gano and driver Austin Dillon met at Charlotte Motor Speedway to give each other an idea of how to do a very different job.
First, Dillon tried to kick a field goal ... and did pretty well, all things considered:
Now throw in a full rush and a crowd full of screaming fans and see how well he does. (For non-NASCAR fans: Dillon is the guy who took over driving the legendary #3 of Dale Earnhardt, so Dillon knows a thing or two about pressure.) Gano offered up a bit of his own expertise:
- Jay Busbee at Shutdown Corner3 hrs ago
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The NFL draft class of 1998, much like the class of 2016, featured two marquee-level quarterbacks at the top of the pyramid. Both were projected as can't-miss, with bright futures ahead. And, if you average their careers out, that's exactly what happened: one became the greatest quarterback of all time, and one was out of the league within four years.
The first, of course, was Peyton Manning, who just capped one of the finest careers in sports history. The second was Ryan Leaf, who has been in and out of prison and is now attempting to atone for the damage he did to himself by seeking to help others.
Leaf appeared on The Dan Patrick Show on Wednesday to provide a remarkable look at the way that addiction, the NFL, and celebrity combined for a wicked, devastating blast that leveled him and destroyed his life. "The power, the prestige, and the money," Leaf said, naming his demons. He even conceded that prison helped him get his life in order and put those demons aside once and for all.
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner3 hrs ago
There are many ways to judge an NFL offseason, including the grades we all love. But what about checking in with the oddsmakers in Las Vegas? They get paid to figure this stuff out, after all.
The sportsbook at the Westgate in Las Vegas is one of the most best known in that city, and it put out Super Bowl odds on Jan. 10. That's way too early, but why not? It constantly updates those odds, and Covers.com tweeted out the changes in the odds from Jan. 10 to May 1, when the draft came to a close.
Here's a disclaimer: Changes in odds aren't necessarily reflective of what an oddsmaker thinks of a team's offseason. The Broncos went from 20-to-1 to 16-to-1, and it would be hard to find anyone who thinks they're better now than they were on Jan. 10. But plenty of bettors probably saw that 20-to-1, figured it was good value, and the Westgate presumably changed the odds because plenty of people were betting on Denver. So a change for good or bad isn't necessarily a reflection of a team's offseason. It's not a scientific approach to rank offseasons based on odds moves.
- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner5 hrs ago
Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman was just getting in a nice little evening jog Monday when he saw a woman struggling in her front yard.
Eleanor Szendel, 82, was having trouble unloading her lawnmower, and Freeman decided to veer his workout a little bit. Pretty soon he was offering to step in and mow Szendel's grass for her as she was struggling to empty the grass clippings from the mower, because it was getting dark as afternoon quickly was turning to night.
According to the Tallahassee Democrat, Freeman's offer was respectfully rebuffed — she was pretty much finished — but he instantly endeared himself to Szendel and her daughter-in-law, Denise Szendel, who was planting rose bushes for Mother’s Day nearby.
Although the famous Falcons and former Florida State footballer didn't initially identify himself, Szendel knew exactly who he was.
- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner6 hrs ago
All is good for Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff, who was the No. 1 overall pick in last week's draft and now has become one of the faces of a franchise that's re-embarking on its old city.
Fans are excited about the Rams, and they appear to be excited about Goff possibly taking over as the franchise quarterback in short order, too. But perhaps no one is more excited than the Goff family, namely father Jerry Goff.
Dad was a former major-league backup catcher with three teams in the early-to-mid 1990s and then raised his baseball- and football-playing son, who went on to star on the gridiron at Cal, the same school Jerry did in the 1980s.
And as great as Jared's NFL ascension has been, there was a bit of a fear for a long time that his future team could be the Cleveland Browns.
"There was a time ... we had a really good feeling he was going to end up in Cleveland, which isn't — nothing against Cleveland, it's fine," Jerry Goff, now a firefighter in the Bay Area, told Mitch Melnick and Rod Francis ofTSN 690 in Montreal. "That would have been great; just to get drafted and go anywhere is fine."
- Shalise Manza Young at Shutdown Corner7 hrs ago
It's a good week to be a left tackle.
On the heels of Tuesday's news that the Buffalo Bills made Cordy Glennthe highest-paid left tackle in the NFL comes news Wednesday morning that the New Orleans Saints made their own young left tackle, Terron Armstead, the third-highest paid.
Armstead doesn't have the name recognition of others at the position, like Glenn or Cleveland's Joe Thomas, and he doesn't yet have a Pro Bowl or All-Pro honor on his resume. But the 2013 third-round pick out of Arkansas-Pine Bluff has quietly been playing at a very high level for New Orleans.
And the Saints have rewarded him with a reported five-year, $64.5 million deal that includes $38 million guaranteed for injury and $25 million fully guaranteed.
- Shalise Manza Young at Shutdown Corner18 hrs ago
Even for professional athletes, one of the benefits to being on vacation is to be able to indulge. Dinner lasts a little longer and may include one or two extra courses, the dessert menu is a requirement, an extra drink or two are consumed at the resort bar.
But for Houston Texans left tackle Duane Brown, an indulgent getaway almost led to a lost season.
On Tuesday, ESPN.com reported that the 30-year old veteran was facing a 10-game suspension for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing drugs but won his appeal when the NFL Players' Association was able to prove that Brown's positive test came from Mexican beef.
The cliche has long been not to drink the water in Mexico, but now you can't eat the beef either? Apparently not if you don't want to test positive for the anabolic substance clenbuterol.
- Shalise Manza Young at Shutdown Corner18 hrs ago
“Dancing with the Stars” welcomed many an NFL player over its first 21 seasons, but Season 22, which premiered on Monday, March 21, features three: newly-minted Super Bowl MVP Von Miller from the Denver Broncos, Pittsburgh Steelers All-Pro Antonio Brown and former Heisman Trophy winner Doug Flutie, a Canadian Football League legend who also spent 13 years in the NFL. We’ll be posting recaps each Tuesday morning until all three are eliminated – or one wins.
Music icons week, with songs from some of the biggest acts in history, saw another NFL player sent home, though not the one we expected to see.
Antonio Brown and his pro partner Sharna Burgess trained to dance a tango to the Rolling Stones’ “Paint it Black.”
Burgess tells us that the pair stayed in Los Angeles for the week, not traveling to Pittsburgh as they’d done previously, and it was a plus that they did since they had two dances to learn (in addition to their couple’s dance, the two were part of a group number).
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner22 hrs ago
Cordy Glenn should thank the people in the Buffalo Bills organization who saw him as a left tackle, and not the guard some viewed him as coming out of the University of Georgia.
Glenn is not only making left tackle money, he's making more money than all the left tackles. He signed a five-year extension on Tuesday worth $65 million, including $36 million guaranteed and $30 million in the first two seasons according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. According to Spotrac, the $13.6 million annually makes Glenn the highest paid left tackle in football, based on average per year. Although Glenn hasn't made a Pro Bowl, he is considered one of the best tackles in the NFL. He has the paycheck to match now.