Brett Favre takes jet to Green Bay, hangs out, flies back
In his first public appearance in Green Bay since he retired from the NFL in 2010, Favre appeared at his eponymous steakhouse in town which was packed to the gills, per reports for a fundraiser for Rawhide Boys Ranch, a local home for troubled youth founded by former Packers quarterback Bart Starr, who is battling ill health.
Favre kicked off the 30-minute chat alongside Steve Young with five big words.
"It's exciting to be back," Favre said.
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Favre's appearance was a surprise. Earlier in the day, media reports swirled that Favre was on his way to Green Bay but that he did not plan to attend the Monday night game against the Atlanta Falcons. He was believed to have left soon after the presentation with Young to return back to his home in Mississippi.
Favre did not speak with the media afterward, and the next time he might be seen in Green Bay could be next season when he's expected to be inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame, along with a ceremony that has been years in the making with a few bumps on the road.
It appears that Favre and the franchise are on the best terms now that they have been since his left the Packers in 2008.
"Obviously the history with my departure from Green Bay and all those things has made wonderful news, good or bad," Favre said, "but I think we're well beyond that."
The fans certainly were. His steakhouse was packed, and fans heard Favre and Young trade stories about their battles together, former Packers and 49ers coach Steve Mariucci and other tales of yore. The audience ate it all up.
Just as the fans will eat up Favre's return for his July induction into the Packers' Hall, along with a ceremony at a regular-season game in 2015 to retire his jersey. Expect the good times to be there once again, like they were ever so briefly on Monday.
Gronkowski Spotlights NFLs 60percent Surge in Knee Injuries From 20112013-12-09
Gronkowski, a two-time Pro Bowl tight end whos scored 42 touchdowns in his 44 career starts, was injured during the third quarter of yesterdays 27-26 win over the Cleveland Browns. After catching a pass down the middle of the field, Gronkowski was taken down after being hit in the right knee by Browns defensive back T.J. Ward, who dove low on the play.
Gronkowski will miss the rest of the season with torn anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments, ESPN said, citing unidentified people familiar with the situation. Its the 40th ACL injury of the season, according to ESPN, up from 32 last year and 25 in 2011.
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You see what defenders are doing -- theyve been put into a tough position getting away from the head, said Merrill Hoge, who retired as a running back because of concussions and is now an ESPN NFL analyst. When you lose a guy like that, that hurts not just the New England Patriots, that hurts the National Football League because hes a guy that people identify with, hes a significant player and hes a difference-maker.
With the loss of Gronkowski, the Patriots odds of winning the Super Bowl moved to 8-1 from 6-1 at the Las Vegas Hotels SuperBook. The Patriots lead the American Football Conference East Division at 10-3, tied for the third-best record in the NFL, with three games left in the regular season.
In the past seven games with Gronkowski in the lineup, the Patriots averaged 32 points a game. Without him for the first six weeks, they averaged 20.8 points a game.
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I dont think too many teams have players of that caliber at any position to just put in another Rob Gronkowski, Patriots coach Bill Belichick said today on a conference call. One way or another, well have to adjust.
Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne and running back Vick Ballard, St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford, New York Jets running back Mike Goodson, Miami Dolphins tight end Dustin Keller and Cleveland Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer are among NFL players to suffer ACL injuries this season.
In an effort to reduce concussions and brain trauma, the NFL has cracked down on hits by defensive players to the head and neck area of offensive players. Safeties Dashon Goldson of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Brandon Meriweather have both been suspended one game this season by the NFL for repeated helmet-to-helmet hits on defenseless receivers.
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The defenseless receiver rule has to extend not only to the head, but also to the knees, said Terrell Davis, the leagues Most Valuable Player in 1998 who now is an NFL Network analyst.
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the leagues competition committee in the offseason routinely reviews all plays and injuries to determine if rule changes need to be made.
Ward, whose hit forced Gronkowski to be taken off the field on a cart, said the rule changes have made many defensive players go low to make tackles.
If I were to hit him up high, theres a chance I would be fined, so I was just being safe, Ward told reporters. Gronks a big dude, hes not small by any means, it just makes it difficult. My intention is not to hurt anyone, thats not what this game is about and thats not how I play.
Gronkowski is listed as 6-foot-6, 265 pounds (2 meters, 120 kilograms); Ward is listed as 5-foot-10, 200 pounds.
Hoge said the NFL needs to address knee injuries. His suggestion is incorporating a target zone so defensive players cant deliberately hit above the neck or below the knees.
Nobody is saying you cant hit the guy as hard you need to hit him still, Hoge said. Thats still going to be a part of the game. Were just saying up around the head and neck area and below the knee, lets make our emphasis there so we can avoid catastrophic injuries like this.
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NFL Health Update: Q&A with Chicago's Dr. Elizabeth Pieroth2013-08-29
Q&A with Dr. Elizabeth Pieroth of Northshore University HealthSystem
Dr. Elizabeth Pieroth of NorthShore University HealthSystem serves as neurological consultant for the Chicago Bears, Chicago Blackhawks, Chicago Fire and Chicago White Sox. Pieroth is also a member of the Heads Up Football Advisory Committee. She answered some questions on culture change and sports safety.
Q. With kids heading back to the playing field this fall, what's the No. 1 thing you tell parents about youth sports safety?
A. I want all parents to know that youth sports organizations take the health and safety of their children very seriously. The governing bodies for each youth sport (football, baseball, hockey, soccer and many more) work diligently to examine injury rates in their sports and seek ways to reduce or eliminate those injuries. I would strongly encourage all parents to talk to the coaches or the heads of their local organizations to make sure they are following proper safety guidelines.
Q. How does your experience with professional teams lend itself to treating youth athletes?
A. To work with athletes, professional all the way down to our youngest participants, you need to appreciate the heart of an athlete. That 10-year-old may not have the experience level of a pro player but he or she may have the same level of determination and love of their sport. We need to value the dedication of the amateur athlete as much as we do the professional.
Q. What concerns do you hear from players and/or parents about head injuries?
A. The most frequent concern relates to the possibility of permanent dysfunction from a concussion. I explain to each parent that if the injury is managed well and the athlete does not suffer another concussion while they are healing from the first, we expect full recovery. Additionally, parents ask a great deal of questions about equipment. I tell them to be very skeptical of any products' claim that it reduces or eliminates concussion. To date, there are no helmets, mouth guards, headbands or other sport accessory that will fully prevent a concussion.
Q. What sort of culture changes have you seen regarding head injuries across all sports?
A. I have been assessing athletes with concussions for 16 years now and have seen a dramatic shift. In the beginning of my career, athletes, their parents and the medical community as a whole tended to minimize the significance of concussions, even multiple concussive injuries. We have seen a rapid change in the focus on concussion, which has resulted in much greater education for athletes, their parents and all those who care for these athletes. Unfortunately, we also have a significant amount of misinformation that is available to the public, which can cause some unnecessary concern. Our challenge now is to make sure that information available is scientifically sound and specific for various age groups and sports.
NFL Foundation donates equipment to Heads Up Football league in Moore, Okla.
NFL Foundation Chairman and Dallas Cowboys Executive Vice President Charlotte Jones Anderson joined former NFL players Kenny Blair and Roy Williams on Monday to announce a donation of equipment to the Oklahoma Elite Football League. The league lost its storage facility and equipment when tornadoes devastated the area in May. The announcement was made during an evening practice for the league.
The donation by the NFL Foundation replaced helmets, shoulder pads and tackling dummies. The Oklahoma Elite Football League is one of the more than 2,700 youth football leagues across the country that is participating in USA Football's Heads Up Football initiative. Blair and Williams are serving as Heads Up Football Ambassadors for two of the league's teams.
During the practice, Anderson, Blair and Williams had the chance to see the children practice Heads Up Football tackling techniques.
Teams host USA Football/Heads Up Football events
Houston Texans: The Texans invited 30 youth football players from the Cy-Fair Sports Association's Spillane Texans to attend practice, meet players and get a demonstration of proper tackling from General Manager Rick Smith. The youth league is taking part in Heads Up Football beginning this season. Smith spoke about the importance of academics and teamwork.
"I think it's important that we teach proper technique and remind these young men of the proper ways to tackle, proper equipment fitting and the certification process that we have for the coaches," Smith said. "All of those elements that are present in the USA Football program are very good for participants and for the game of football."
New York Giants: The Giants hosted a Heads Up Football Protection Tour event on Aug. 20 at MetLife Stadium. USA Football Master Trainer and Northeast Region Manager Ed Passino and former New York Giants Pro Bowl center Shaun O'Hara instructed more than 150 youth football players and 100 parents from the tri-state area on Heads Up tackling, concussion awareness and equipment fitting.
NFL draft questions: Will Philadelphia Eagles take QB?2013-04-24
Will the Philadelphia Eagles draft a quarterback?
Coach Chip Kelly's squad is the biggest mystery of the draft. The Eagles could go in absolutely any direction with the No. 4 overall pick.
Kelly's former Oregon charge Dion Jordan makes sense as a pass rusher as the Eagles transition to a 3-4 defensive attack, but so do defensive linemen like Shariff Floyd and Star Lotutlelei. Outside of defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, the team is starting over on the defensive line. Linebacker similarly is lacking long-term solutions, while the entire starting secondary consists of low-cost, free-agent gambles.
On offense, it's worth wondering if Kelly sees wide receivers DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin as fits for the coming years. Drafting an offensive tackle like Oklahoma's Lane Johnson could give the Eagles the most talented tackle combination in the NFL. (In this scenario, Todd Herremans could move inside.) In short: No one knows anything when it comes to the Eagles. That's just how Kelly likes it.
The options are endless with the No. 4 overall pick, although it's hard to imagine the Eagles taking a quarterback. There just isn't a play-caller in this draft who looks worthy of a top-10 pick. But it's worth wondering if Kelly wants to wait a year to find a young quarterback he can groom from scratch.
The Michael Vick experiment under Kelly is a year-to-year proposition. Kelly has talked about quarterback Nick Foles' potential, but there are questions about how well he will fit into the offensive scheme. To put it another way: If Foles was in this draft, would Kelly select him? If the answer is no, Kelly still might not want to wait a year before investing another pick on the position.
The Eagles' quarterback depth chart is crowded with Dennis Dixon also in the mix, but it lacks clarity. My guess: The Eagles showed what they thought about this draft class with their offseason moves. They paid Vick. They kept Foles. They added a known commodity in Dixon as a reserve.
It's easy to imagine the Eagles adding a mid-to-late round draft pick at the position, but it would be a surprise if they took a quarterback early. Kelly likely won't follow former Eagles coach Andy Reid's approach of taking "his guy" in his first draft.
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Monday Night Football Preview: Giants vs. Cowboys2010-10-25
Sportsbook.com Monday Night Football Betting Odds: Dallas -3, Total: 45
The Cowboys remain desperate for a win, as they’ve dropped two straight games while the Giants have been one of the NFL’s hottest teams with three consecutive victories. The New York pass rush (21 sacks) should give Dallas fits. The Cowboys don’t allow many sacks (seven) but, like the rest of the team, commit a lot of penalties. Dallas is on pace to be the second team in NFL history to average 80-plus penalty yards per game – a stat that can not be ignored by the NFL betting population.
There is some injury news to report and it is all good news. New York WR Hakeem Nicks has been dealing with a bad hamstring all week, but says he will play Monday night. DL Justin Tuck and K Lawrence Tynes have both fully recovered from ankle injuries and will both suit up for this game. For Dallas, WR Dez Bryant will also play despite being limited in practice this week with an ankle injury of his own.
New York is winning in spite of Eli Manning’s highest interception rate (3.9%) since his rookie year, with eight interceptions in six games. The Cowboys have picked off 12 Manning passes in 11 career meetings, but Manning is 6-5 in those contests with 20 TD, a 57.6% completion rate and 221 passing YPG. He threw for 330 yards in a 33-31 win in the first regular-season game at Cowboys Stadium last year. Nicks leads the team with 36 catches, 417 receiving yards and six touchdowns.
Tony Romo has had success against New York, with a 64% completion rate, 204 passing YPG, 16 TD and 10 INT in nine career games against the Giants. But he threw three of those picks in last year’s home loss to New York and the Giants entered the week ranked second in the NFL in both total defense (265 YPG) and passing defense (172 YPG). The Cowboys defense has been nearly as effective as New York, ranking fourth in the league in both total defense (281 YPG) and passing defense (181 YPG). Dallas needs to create more opportunities for the offense as it has forced a league-low four turnovers this season.
The Giants are 4-1 ATS & SU in the past five meetings in the series, but this football betting trend indicates why point spread bettors should be on Dallas:
Play On - Home teams (DALLAS) - after failing to cover the spread in 4 out of their last 5 games, a terrible team (<=25%) playing a team with a winning record. (24-4 over the last 10 seasons.) (85.7%, +19.6 units. Rating = 3*).
If you are looking to bet on the Giants vs. Cowboys total, this betting trend leans ‘under’:
Play Under - Home teams where the total is between 42.5 and 49 points (DALLAS) - off 2 or more consecutive overs, in a game involving two average offensive teams (18-23 PPG). (45-17 since 1983.) (72.6%, +26.3 units. Rating = 3*).
To check on tonight’s Monday Night Football betting odds or to check out the NFL Week 8 betting lines, head over to Sportsbook.com now.