Some troubling news has surfaced regarding the late Aaron Hernandez.
Jose Baez, who served as Hernandez’s lawyer, revealed that testing showed Hernandez showed severe signs of CTE, the degenerative brain disease that can be caused by repeated blows to the head. Hernandez played tight end for the New England Patriots from 2010 to 2012, but was released in 2013 after his arrest stemming from the killing of semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd.
Baez says Hernandez’s case is one of the most severe for someone his age. Hernandez was 27 when he killed himself in April while in prison.
- Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman is never one to shy away from speaking his mind. His latest barbs were thrown in the direction of the NFL, saying its injury reports are solely to aid gamblers. As you can tell with the injury reports released by Chicago Bears head coach John Fox, they are rarely detailed and often as vague as can possibly be. Still, this is the kind of information gamblers obsess over and crave leading up to gameday.
- On a related note, Dustin Gouker of Legal Sports Report wonders if the NFL would consider doing itself a favor and pivot on its gambling stance. Gouker argues it’s time for the NFL to hop on the gambling bandwagon and embrace its truth. With ratings down after Week 1, the NFL could add eyes by embracing the league’s dirty little not-so-secret. At minimum, it’s an interesting angle worth exploring.
- From one part of the secondary to another, the Cleveland Browns are going to new lengths to defend the deep pass. Gregg Williams, one of the most renowned defensive coordinators in recent NFL lore, is deploying rookie safety Jabrill Peppers deep in the secondary. Peppers is lining up 25 yards behind the line of scrimmage, which is quite the distance for a defensive back to cover. Still, it has helped the Browns defense limit the deep ball – though, it has made the unit vulnerable to underneath routes. There is some certain tweaking that needs to happen, but between Peppers’ athleticism and Williams’ game-calling prowess, I’m sure they’ll figure it out.
- The Dallas Cowboys are left figuring some things out after a lopsided loss against the Denver Broncos in Week 2. At the top of the list is Ezekiel Elliott’s status after Hall of Fame running back LaDanian Tomlinson accused the NFL’s reigning rushing champ of quitting in Sunday’s loss. It’s something that fellow Hall of Famer Michael Irvin isn’t taking too lightly. Irvin wants to confront Tomlinson – a colleague on the NFL Network – on labeling Elliott as a quitter, writes Clarence E. Hill Jr. over at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. It’s been a tumultuous summer for Elliott, who was suspended in August only to have it temporarily lifted in September by a federal judge who blocked the ruling.
- If you were hoping for a different kind of Super Bowl halftime act – perhaps a little bit of diversity – you’re going to come away from this bullet a bit disappointed. Rapper Jay-Z has turned down a chance to perform at the Super Bowl, according to TheSource.com. The timing is interesting for the rapper, who dedicated a song to free agent Colin Kaepernick at a recent performance in New York City. Jay-Z isn’t the only artist who has reportedly turned down a Super Bowl performance as Adele rebuffed the NFL’s reported advances to play at the Patriots-Falcons Super Bowl approximately 13 months ago.
- It turns out that Super Bowl was profitable for at least one musician. Rapper Pras (most notably of The Fugees) reportedly cashed in on a six-figure bet while backing his beloved New England Patriots while they faced that daunting third-quarter deficit. TMZ reports a catch, though, because his friend who is paying up is still $30,000 short of completing the transaction. What’s $30,000 between friends, anyway?
- I’m a lover of advanced stats, but perhaps this one needs some tweaking (or a bigger sample):
Deshaun Watson is No. 2 in the NFL in ESPN's QBR. That's almost entirely due to one play, his 49-yard TD run. https://t.co/og8eLlqoD7
— Michael David Smith (@MichaelDavSmith) September 19, 2017
- San Diego football fans eating up the Chargers’ 0-2 start since moving to Los Angeles can also indulge in a tasty treat with every defeat – tacos. According to ABC’s News 10, El Pollo Grill is offering free tacos if they share the phrase that pays “Spanos Taco” to the cashier. In case you’re unfamiliar, the Chargers are owned by Dean Spanos, who moved the team out of San Diego during the offseason.
- At least Chargers fans who are watching their team lose aren’t losing too much time out of their days. The Associated Press reported the average time of game finished in under three hours after the first week of games. Things seemed to follow a familiar pace in Week 2, which is which is a positive sign for the league’s pace of play initiative.
- But what if the up-tempo product still leaves you disappointed? Kevin Clark of The Ringer writes that football – at the NFL level – has stopped being fun. Offense has been on the rise, quarterbacks are throwing more accurately than before, and defenses forcing turnovers seem to be a thing of the past. High-scoring games should bring in an audience, but it has come with a twist. The increase in accuracy has come hand-in-hand with a more conservative approach from offensive coaches. Scoring is down 2.4 points so far, but that’s not the only issue. Attrition at key positions, technique from young players across the board, and the increased awareness of mistakes by risk-averse coaches has sucked some of the life out of a passionate game.
- Deadspin’s Drew Magary offers up an idea that could revolutionize the game and bring it out of its current slumber … but it involves the elimination of one of the game’s most long-standing and controversial rules. Legalize holding for offensive linemen. I’m down with it. Magary dishes out a full explanation and even offers up caveats regarding the potential rule change. It could help lead to more down field passing (which may or may not vibe with Mike Glennon being content with his dink-and-dunk game) and better protection of quarterbacks – football’s most valuable asset. For the record, I’m on board. So, let’s push this through to the league offices and get this legalized by the time Thursday Night Football kicks off. Move it, people!
- But seriously, about that move to Los Angeles…