Armstead finally gets his NFL chance

Frank Cooney, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

New England Patriots defensive lineman Armond Armstead took a circuitous route to get to the National Football League. The trip began in the usual manner as he starred at Pleasant Grove High in Elk Grove, Calif., then played three years on scholarship at University of Southern California and was projected as a high draft pick.
Then everything changed in a heartbeat, literally.
Armstead's journey to the NFL eventually required stops in the hospital, Los Angeles Superior Court, Canada and outposts between.
Heading into his 2011 senior season at USC, Armstead (6-5, 298) was projected as high as a third-round pick by But that spring he suffered a heart attack and was not cleared to play by the USC medical staff.
He claimed the heart attack was caused from injections of the painkiller Toradol by the school's doctors. So he sat out the season and even when he decided to declare for the 2012 draft, USC denied him permission to work out at the school's Pro Day. So he took part in a Pro Day at Sacramento State, near his home.
Despite feeling great and working out well, Armstead was not drafted or even signed as a free agent even after numerous workouts for teams, including the Patriots.
Rejected by the NFL, Armstead sued USC for more than $7 million in the summer of 2012, alleging that the school's doctors forced on him the painkiller Toradol without informing him of the possible side effects. Armstead believes the drug caused the heart attack after his junior season and damaged his future earning potential.
And it got nasty.
His lawyer, Roger Dreyer from Sacramento, alleged that USC knew Armstead suffered a heart attack and purposely withheld that he had received Toradol from doctors at UCLA and elsewhere.
"Lane Kiffin knew," Dreyer said, naming the USC coach. "Pat Haden knew. All these people knew that Armond had a heart attack."
When asked how he might calculate damages, Dreyer referenced former USC defensive end Nick Perry, who signed for $7.5 million with the Green Bay Packers after being taken in the first round of the 2012 draft.
"One he has a history of having a heart attack, that's something he has to deal with the rest of his life. The consequences are major."
The 37-page lawsuit also listed an unnamed pharmaceutical company, team physician Dr. James Tibone and the University Park Health Center as defendants.
But Armstead needed to move on.
To prove to himself and NFL teams that he was fit for football, Armstead signed with the Canadian Football League's Toronto Argonauts last year. He starred by making 43 tackles and led the team with six sacks.
Finally, this January several NFL teams were ready to take a chance of him. He chose the Patriots. And now he appears to be one of those versatile defensive linemen that coach Bill Belichick likes to move here, there and everywhere.
Armstead admits he appreciates the chance more now than he might have under more ordinary situations. Although he isn't forgiving of forgetting his bad experience at USC as the law suit is still pending, Armstead takes a positive attitude about his ordeal.
"It was a great experience living in a different country and getting to experience a different culture and everything," he said of his time in Canada. "Just having an opportunity to play professionally, even though it was Canadian, I was just excited to have the opportunity.
"I feel like I learned a lot -- how to be a pro and how to approach your work and everything. I feel like it's going to help me out a lot."
After being in Foxborough for a few weeks, and with a year of CFL action under his belt, Armstead is clearly a few steps ahead of the draft picks and rookie free agents he worked with during the rookie minicamp last weekend. Technically, he is an NFL rookie with pro football experience.
"I don't know what to consider myself," he said. "I would say I'm a rookie in the NFL, so yeah I'm a rookie."
Armstead has prior experience at a variety of spots on the defensive line, working as a tackle, end, situation pass rusher and even a standup defender.
"Whatever I can do to get on the field, that's what I'll do," he said.
And while he already has done plenty to get on the field with New England, Armstead isn't taking anything for granted. He knows he is the guy that former USC coach Pete Carroll projected as a future first-round pick. But he also knows how suddenly things change.
"I feel like a lot of the experiences I've had the last two or three years have humbled me a lot. It just made me appreciate everything I'm given more and not take stuff for granted.
"Being a highly-recruited player and going to a school like USC, you kind of take for granted the opportunities. You see guys who don't even play go to the NFL. So you take that for granted. You think, 'Oh, I'm going to go to the NFL too.' My experience, what happened to me, definitely made me more hungry and made me more humble.
"I feel like the experiences I've had, I wouldn't say it's a chip on my shoulder but I don't take anything for granted. I approach work every day and I appreciate everything I'm given a lot more. I'm not angry at anybody, but I just want to show everyone what I can do."
And now he finally is getting that chance.

  • Teddy Bridgewater's Gruesome Injury Was Reportedly So Bad He Nearly Lost His Leg

    Teddy Bridgewater suffered what sounded like an absolutely horrific leg injury in Vikings practice on Tuesday, and he’ll almost certainly be out for the entire season with a torn ACL and a dislocated knee. Source confirms tibiofemoral dislocation, ruptured ACL for Bridgewater. Tibiofemoral dislocation … basically, Bridgewater's femur (upper leg) went off the tibia (shin, lower leg.) Yeah.

  • The beginning of the end of the Ryan family dynasty is upon us

    Take a long glance at the Buffalo Bills. Pay special attention this NFL season to the team's head coach and his twin brother. It is rare to watch a once dominant species go extinct, to see something that once helped define an ecosystem fade before your eyes and then, whoosh, vanish. But that is what is now unfolding for the Ryan football family. Once proud, powerful and far-reaching, the Ryans are fading from the landscape their father helped craft. This is not hyperbole. The Bills have been maligned by a rash of injuries, bad luck that may be the final straw in the family's fading legacy. Rex Ryan has already jumped the shark, professionally and off the field with that megawatt, over-the-top

    CBS Sports
  • Picture of Alabama RB Bo Scarbrough goes viral on Twitter

    The Alabama football program has a great history of running back play, and humongous sophomore Bo Scarbrough figures to keep the tradition alive… The Alabama Crimson Tide are a factory for running backs, but the way they are cranking out these incredibly gifted physical specimen is beyond explanation. If you haven't already, meet sophomore running back Bo Scarbrough, the youngster who is in line to replace Heisman Trophy Winner Derrick Henry as the lead ball carrier for Nick Saban… More from NFL Mocks Minnesota Vikings: Details emerge on Teddy Bridgewater injury1 h ago Chicago Bears: Schedule Prediction Post Bridgewater Injury1 h ago Eagles to Induct Jeremiah Trotter, Merrill Reese Into Hall

    Fox News
  • Rumor Roundup: Triple H vs. Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns plans, Cesaro injury, more!

    Speculating on the rumors surrounding pro wrestling is a favored pastime of many fans, perhaps second only to actually watching the matches. In this daily column, we take a look at the latest rumors being churned out by the pro wrestling rumor mill. Important reminder: Rumors are just that -- rumors. None of this has been confirmed as legitimate news or fact, it's just circulating around the pro wrestling rumor mill. Remember, take it all with a grain of salt. Rumors for the Day: Triple H vs. Seth Rollins could be planned for WrestleMania 33, which they may have started building to already on Raw this week. Roman Reigns is expected to pick up his feud with Rusev again now that he lost in the

    Cageside Seats
  • NFL Executive on ‘Traitor’ Colin Kaepernick: ‘I Don’t Want Him Anywhere Near My Team’

    Many NFL executives and front office members “truly hate” San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick for refusing to stand for the national anthem, according to Bleacher Report. Bleacher Report’s lead NFL writer Mike Freeman wrote that NFL execs who despise Kaepernick’s actions outnumber the front office members who support the polarizing decision to protest the national anthem.

    The Wrap
  • Coleman can be a 6'6 225-pound wrecking machine

    With Marques Colston's retirement, the departure of tight end Ben Watson and the Jimmy Graham trade last offseason, this year's New Orleans Saints offense is going to look different from just two years ago. Oh, they still have Drew Brees pulling the trigger, which means they will be a threat no matter what, but who is going to be on the other end of his passes and how productive they will be is an open question. A somewhat under-the-radar guy who I think is ready to really break out this year and help take up the slack is Brandon Coleman. I know other receivers like Brandin Cooks -- who's been impressive in his first two seasons -- and rookie Michael Thomas will get a lot of the attention heading

    SB Nation
  • Rules experts trying to simplify the complex game of golf

    For the last five years, the top rules experts in golf have come together from around the world to study a jigsaw puzzle. That's what Thomas Pagel of the USGA refers to as the book more commonly known as the Rules of Golf. The purpose of these private meetings essentially is to break up the puzzle and start over so the rules make more sense, without losing sight of the tradition or ethos of a game with six centuries behind it. Sessions can last at least eight hours. The singular goal is to make the rules less complicated. It has not been easy. "Everyone wants the game to be simple, but it's a complex game," Pagel, the USGA's senior director of rules, said in an interview at the Olympics. "You

    Fox News
  • Froome edges Quintana on summit to win 11th Vuelta stage

    PENA CABARGA, Spain (AP) — Chris Froome won a thrilling uphill duel against climbing rival Nairo Quintana by a bike length to win the 11th stage of the Spanish Vuelta on Wednesday. Quintana defended his race lead and is now 54 seconds ahead of Froome, who overtook Alejandro Valverde to move second overall. Valverde finished six seconds behind, dropping to third overall and 1:05 behind Quintana. Froome, who clinched his third Tour de France title in July, got his first stage win at a major race on this same Pena Cabarga peak in 2011 — the year the British rider finished as the Vuelta runner-up. Froome and Quintana, who have had some memorable climbing contests on the Tour, tested one another on

    USA Today
  • Murray: Brook won't last more than six with GGG

    Martin Murray has firsthand experience going up against Golovkin. After all, he's the man who has survived the longest against him when he made it to see round 11 before being stopped last year. And Murray was a solid-sized middleweight too -- so much so that he's recently moved up to super middleweight because making 160lbs was becoming increasingly difficult. So as much as he'd like to see his fellow compatriot in Kell Brook grab a win over Golovkin, he admits to ESPN that he thinks Brook is in too deep. "It's a step too far for Kell," Muray told ESPN. "Golovkin is another level and he's in deep, deep water and I don't think he's going to be able to swim. "I don't think Kell can go as long

    Bad Left Hook
  • Report: Three minor leaguers arrested on Sunday after a bar brawl

    Pirates minor leaguers Gift Ngoepe and Dovydas Neverauskas (pictured) were arrested on Sunday morning in Toledo, Ohio after a bar brawl, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports, citing documents provided by the Toledo Municipal Court. Ngoepe was charged with one count of simple assault and two counts of resisting arrest. Neverauskas was charged with two counts of resisting arrest and one count of misconduct. Tigers minor leaguer Warwick Saupold was involved as well and was arrested for simple assault. Saupold allegedly punched Andrey Goncharuk (not a player for either teams’ affiliates) in the face outside of the Bronze Boar bar, which is across from the Toledo Mud Hens’ ballpark.

  • Still ‘a hooper,’ Chris Bosh expects to be cleared to return to Heat for training camp

    Chris Bosh watches from the bench as the Miami Heat take on the Charlotte Hornets during Game 4 of the 2016 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. With NBA teams’ training camps set to get underway in less than one month, Chris Bosh hit social media on Monday to show that, nearly eight months after pulling out of the 2016 NBA All-Star Game amid concerns related to another round of the frightening blood-clotting problems that have prematurely ended his last two seasons, he’s stepping up his workouts in what would seem to indicate continued interest in returning to the Miami Heat this season. “I know I’ve been gone for a moment, but now I’m back,” Bosh says.

    Ball Don't Lie
  • Alabama OL Alphonse Taylor not guilty of DUI charge

    Taylor started all 15 of Alabama’s games in 2015 (Getty). Alabama offensive lineman Alphonse Taylor has been found not guilty regarding his July DUI arrest. Taylor was arrested Sunday, July 17, after he placed a call to police saying he hit a parked car.

    Dr. Saturday
  • Watch This Woman Effortlessly Make American Ninja Warrior History in a Mini-Skort and Sports Bra

    If you're not already familiar, American Ninja Warrior has undeniably raised the bar for game shows by sending contestants through impossible obstacle courses and severely testing athletic ability for our viewing pleasure. On Monday, Stuntwoman Jessie Graff made show history after becoming the first woman to complete Stage 1 in the show's national finals. And if being a #GIRLBOSS wasn't enough, Graff conquered the obstacle course with 12 seconds to spare wearing a custom-made, Green Lantern costume in all its sparkling, mini-skort glory. The 32-year-old Graff, who's done stunts on Supergirl (how fitting), went on to the finals after running record time in Los Angeles. At the finals, she flew

    Marie Claire
  • Keep your head up: Hurricanes reportedly hand Raffi Torres a PTO

    From opting against fighting the NHL’s 41-game suspension to seeing his season derailed by knee issues, there was the feeling that the league had seen the last of controversial forward Raffi Torres. Perhaps not. The Carolina Hurricanes reportedly handed the 34-year-old a PTO, according to former Hurricanes defenseman Aaron Ward. It’s something the Raleigh News & Observer’s Chip Alexander also mentioned on Monday. With Bryan Bickell added to the mix during this off-season, the Hurricanes seem interesting in adding some beef. It’s unclear if Torres is really in the sort of condition to make a mark, but Carolina’s going to at least take a look at him. Beware, pre-season opponents and training camp

  • Patriots 53-Man Roster Projection: Tough Cuts At D-Line, Wide Receiver

    The New England Patriots have just one more preseason game before they must trim their roster to 53 players. The Patriots cut down from 80 to 75 players Tuesday by releasing linebacker Ramon Humber, tight end Steven Scheu and offensive lineman Keavon Milton and placing running back Dion Lewis and offensive tackle Sebastian Vollmer on the physically unable to perform/reserve list. Here’s how Patriots beat reporters Doug Kyed and Zack Cox see the 53-man roster shaking out. QUARTERBACK Doug Kyed In: Jacoby Brissett, Jimmy Garoppolo (2) Suspended: Tom Brady (four games) Out: None No surprises and no need for a fourth quarterback on the roster. Zack Cox In: Jacoby Brissett, Jimmy Garoppolo

    New England Sports Network
  • NASCAR drivers react to Colin Kaepernick’s decision not to stand for anthem

    NASCAR champion Tony Stewart and a few others in the sport have responded to San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for the national anthem before a preseason football game last weekend. Kaepernick pointed to police brutality against people of color and said people are “not being held accountable” for their actions. Kaepernick said he would continue to sit during the song. He said: “There are a lot of things that are going on that are unjust, people aren’t being held accountable for, that’s something that needs to change. That’s something, that, this country stands for liberty, freedom, justice for all. And it’s not happening for all right now. … I’ll continue to

    NASCAR Talk
  • Yasiel Puig claimed off waivers, but don't count on a trade from Dodgers

    The Los Angeles Dodgers seem to have found another team that wants Yasiel Puig. According to Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball, an unknown team has made a waiver claim on Puig, who the Dodgers sent down to Triple-A earlier this month after not being able to move him at the Aug. 1 non-waiver trade deadline. What that means essentially in modern terms: Some unknown team out there swiped right on Puig.

    Big League Stew
  • Football Fan With Muscular Atrophy Gets Huge Surprise from Tom Brady

    It was a bittersweet moment for a Connecticut man on Sunday when one of his heroes reached out in a very public way.

    WTIC - Hartford
  • Welcome back to the Yo Show

    Matthew Cerrone | Snapchat | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | About Me If the Mets are going to win a Wild Card spot and get back to the playoffs, Yoenis Cespedes is going to have to carry them like he did last Monday night. Cespedes hit a monster walk-off home run with two outs in the 10th inning to lead New York to a 2-1 win over the Miami Marlins at Citi Field. It was the same type of exciting and inspiring moment that he provided over and over again last summer, when the Mets caught fire and won the NL East. It's what they've been missing since April, and it was finally back last night. "He's that kind of player," manager Terry Collins said after the game. "You expect big things each and

  • NBA 2K17 ratings revealed for LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and the Cavaliers

    There are a number of signifiers that the NBA season is getting close. Training camp begins, preview content starts churning ... and the latest NBA 2K game promotion kicks in. I don't play video games, but it's an indelible feature of the NBA culture. It's also a way to see where your favorite player stacks up against the game's elite. We don't know where the full league will be this year, but we did see a decent percentage of the Cavs roster leaked. Here it is: There are immediately a few things to unpack, though I'm not exactly qualified as someone who doesn't spend a lot of time gaming. I do, however, watch a bit of NBA. Channing Frye is a D+ in three point shooting? That's pretty nuts. LeBron

    Fear The Sword
  • If you want to see Vikings' first official game at new stadium, pay up

    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 Green Bay Packers are coming to town on Sept. 18.

    Shutdown Corner
  • Lindsey Vonn: Most Broncos players don't understand what I do

    Lindsey Vonn is a downhill skier. A very good one. A gold medalist and a four-time overall winner of alpine skiing's World Cup. She's world-famous. People know her. But the Denver Broncos apparently don't really know what she does. Vonn moved from Minnesota to Vail, Colorado when she was 12 years old and has been a Broncos fan ever since. This offseason, she hung out with some of the Broncos (she and Von Miller rehabbed their knees together back in 2013) and it became clear to her that a lot of Broncos mostly don't understand her job. A photo posted by Lindsey Vonn (@lindseyvonn) on Aug 28, 2016 at 8:45am PDT Here, from an interview with I do take some from them. Not often,

    CBS Sports
  • Dwight Howard is shooting 19-footers to better his free throws (Video)

    Dwight Howard takes in the fights. Dwight Howard hit a career-low 48.9 percent from the free throw line in 2015-16, a pretty significant millmilestone for someone who entered the league in 2004, and someone whose free throw work has been endlessly scrutinized for over a decade. Howard, then working for the Houston Rockets, was also a repeated target of the ‘Hack-a-Shaq’ defensive philosophy, fouled purposely throughout contests in order to send his sub-standard stroke to the charity stripe in hopes for a pair of clangs.

    Ball Don't Lie
  • Report: Zardes injury is serious, broken foot could end his season

    According to’s Ives Galarcep, the injury that forced Gyasi Zardes to withdraw from USMNT consideration for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers is serious and could have much larger consequences. Zardes reportedly suffered a broken right foot, and could not just miss the rest of the 2016 MLS season, but the rest of the calendar year, ruling him out of not just the two upcoming matches, but also the beginning of the Hexagonal in November should the U.S. advance to the next round. The 24-year-old was injured just after halftime in an MLS match against Vancouver on Saturday, when he was brought down by Kendall Watson. It’s hard to see in full-speed what happens, but upon closer inspection,

  • College Football Player Sees Boy With Autism Sitting Alone at Lunch, Joins Him

    While visiting a middle school with teammates on Tuesday, Florida State University wide receiver Travis Rudolph spotted a boy sitting by himself at lunch and asked if he could sit next to him.