NCAAF and NFL Off the Field News

NCAAF and NFL Off the Field News

Alabama Favorites to win CFP Championship

The Alabama Crimson Tide will enter the College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Levi’s Stadium as 6.5 Point favorites vs the Clemson Tigers. It will be the 3rd time in 4 years that these two teams have met in the finals, with both teams 1-1 in the rivalry. Last season, Alabama defeated Clemson in

The Alabama Crimson Tide will enter the College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Levi’s Stadium as 6.5 Point favorites vs the Clemson Tigers. It will be the 3rd time in 4 years that these two teams have met in the finals, with both teams 1-1 in the rivalry. Last season, Alabama defeated Clemson in the Sugar Bowl by a score of 24-6. This years championship will likely resemble the previous championship matchups and be a high scoring shootout that could very possibly come down to the final drive.

Both of the championship matchups between these teams resulted in the #2 seed winning the championship. With #1 Alabama as 6.5-point favorites, it’s likely we’ll see that streak come to an end. Also, the past three championships have been decided by 5 points or less, so expect a good one out of next Monday’s matchup.

Notable previous matchups between Alabama and Clemson:

January 11, 2016 (CFP National Championship)

Alabama defeats Clemson 45-40. Clemson scored a touchdown with under a minute left to bring it to a 1-possession game, but were unable to secure an onside kick.

January 9, 2017 (CFP National Championship)

Clemson defeats Alabama 35-31. Clemson scored the go ahead touchdown with one second left on the clock to win the title.

January 1, 2018 (Allstate Sugar Bowl)

Alabama defeats Clemson 24-6. Clemson only managed a pair of field goals in this 18-point rout by Alabama.

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Browns releasing troubled wide receiver Josh Gordon

CLEVELAND (AP) — Josh Gordon's troubled tenure with the Cleveland Browns has ended.

The team announced Saturday night that it intends to release the former Pro Bowl wide receiver, whose immense talent has been overshadowed by substance abuse that has derailed a promising career.

The stunning news came just hours after the Browns said Gordon

CLEVELAND (AP) — Josh Gordon’s troubled tenure with the Cleveland Browns has ended.

The team announced Saturday night that it intends to release the former Pro Bowl wide receiver, whose immense talent has been overshadowed by substance abuse that has derailed a promising career.

The stunning news came just hours after the Browns said Gordon would miss Sunday’s game in New Orleans with a hamstring injury. Gordon has been suspended by the NFL for most of the past four seasons because of multiple drug violations, and the Browns have been supportive of the 27-year-old for years as he tried to get his life together.

Not anymore.

“This afternoon we informed Josh Gordon and his representatives that we are going to release him on Monday,” general manager John Dorsey said in a statement. “For the past six years, the Browns have fully supported and invested in Josh, both personally and professionally and wanted the best for him, but unfortunately we’ve reached a point where we feel it’s best to part ways and move forward. We wish Josh well.”

The team provided no details behind their decision to part ways with Gordon. He missed three weeks of training camp this summer to undergo counseling and treatment, and he recently said he was in a good place mentally and physically.

Gordon played in last week’s season opener against Pittsburgh, his first appearance in a Week 1 game since 2012, when he was a rookie.

Gordon was expected to have an expanded role this week against the Saints after being targeted just three times in a tie against Pittsburgh. He caught a game-tying, 17-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter against the Steelers, but was mostly used as a decoy.

Gordon started the opener despite coach Hue Jackson saying he wouldn’t be on the field for the first snap as punishment for missing camp. Jackson blamed Gordon’s appearance on the first played a “mistake” and “miscommunication.”

Jackson refused to elaborate on the situation this week, saying he and the coaching staff wanted to “move on.”

Gordon emerged as one of pro football’s most dynamic players in 2013, when he led the league with 1,646 yards receiving and scored nine touchdowns. Gordon was suspended for the entire 2015 and 2016 seasons.

He sat out the first 11 games last year before returning for Cleveland’s final five games.

The Browns selected Gordon in the 2012 supplemental draft despite his background of drug use in college.

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Former Jets LB Donahue suspended 14 weeks by NFL

NEW YORK (AP) — Former New York Jets linebacker Dylan Donahue has been suspended 14 weeks by the NFL for violating its substance abuse policy.

The 26-year-old Donahue pleaded guilty last month to charges in two separate incidents in which he was arrested for driving while intoxicated.

Police said he caused a wrong-way

NEW YORK (AP) — Former New York Jets linebacker Dylan Donahue has been suspended 14 weeks by the NFL for violating its substance abuse policy.

The 26-year-old Donahue pleaded guilty last month to charges in two separate incidents in which he was arrested for driving while intoxicated.

Police said he caused a wrong-way crash in February that injured four people in New Jersey. He also received a three-month suspended sentence and was fined $1,000 for a DUI crash in his hometown of Billings, Montana, in May 2017.

Donahue was among the Jets’ final roster cuts two weeks ago and is currently a free agent.

Howard Balzer of BalzerFootball.com first reported the league’s punishment Friday.

Donahue spent a month in a substance-abuse treatment facility in Florida shortly after crash in the Lincoln Tunnel in February. He told reporters last month that he hadn’t had alcohol since.

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Best Gambling And Sports Betting Scenes: ‘I’m Shocked’ In ‘Casablanca’

The post Best Gambling And Sports Betting Scenes: ‘I’m Shocked’ In ‘Casablanca’ appeared first on SportsHandle.

Time for another installment in Sports Handle’s ongoing series on The Best Best Gambling And Sports Betting ScenesThere’s a lot of high-quality movies centered on gambling, including on horse racing and poker Let It Ride and

The post Best Gambling And Sports Betting Scenes: ‘I’m Shocked’ In ‘Casablanca’ appeared first on SportsHandle.

Time for another installment in Sports Handle’s ongoing series on The Best Best Gambling And Sports Betting ScenesThere’s a lot of high-quality movies centered on gambling, including on horse racing and poker Let It Ride and Rounders). All quality gambling scenes, whether strictly sports betting or not, the focus of the film or a short aside, will be included/considered. 

We were reminded recently of this scene from the classic 1942 film Casablanca after reading U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse’s written questions regarding the nomination/confirmation Brett Kavanaugh to become an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

In case you missed it, Whitehouse has grilled Kavanaugh about gambling, asking about debts, an apology in 2001 for “growing aggressive after blowing still another game of dice,” and his participation in a poker game and more.

Saying absolutely nothing about whether or not Kavanaugh has a problem (he has denied that) and the serious threat that such debts could pose to the high court and the nation… here is the “I’m shocked” scene from Casablanca. Gambling has always existed in the U.S. and always will, while occasionally a game gets shut down, as it is here by Major Heinrich Strasser (Conrad Veidt), who tasks Captain Louis Renault (Claude Reins) with sending everyone out.

Read more Best Gambling And Sports Betting Scenes: ‘I’m Shocked’ In ‘Casablanca’ on SportsHandle.

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Raiders RB Marshawn Lynch sits during national anthem

ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) — Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch sat during the national anthem ahead of the team's season opener.

Lynch declined to stand for the anthem before a game against the Los Angeles Rams on Monday night. Lynch also sat for the anthem all of last season but never gave a reason for

ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) — Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch sat during the national anthem ahead of the team’s season opener.

Lynch declined to stand for the anthem before a game against the Los Angeles Rams on Monday night. Lynch also sat for the anthem all of last season but never gave a reason for his decision.

No other players on either team demonstrated during the anthem. Only a handful of players took some sort of action to protest police brutality and social injustice in America on opening weekend.

The league and the players’ union have yet to announce a policy for this season regarding demonstrations during the anthem after the league initially ordered everyone to stand on the sideline when “The Star-Spangled Banner” is played, or remain in the locker room.

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The Latest: Pair of Dolphins only NFL players seen kneeling

The Latest on the NFL's first Sunday of the regular season (all times eastern):

1:10 p.m.

Miami Dolphins wide receivers Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson are the only NFL players seen kneeling during the national anthem of early games in protest of police brutality and social injustice.

Dolphins defensive end Robert Quinn raised

The Latest on the NFL’s first Sunday of the regular season (all times eastern):

1:10 p.m.

Miami Dolphins wide receivers Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson are the only NFL players seen kneeling during the national anthem of early games in protest of police brutality and social injustice.

Dolphins defensive end Robert Quinn raised his right fist, and San Francisco wide receiver Marquise Goodwin raised his right arm with fist clenched during the anthem in New Orleans.

Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey and linebacker Telvin Smith Jr. stood during the national anthem after staying in the locker room for “The Star-Spangled Banner” during the preseason before playing the New York Giants.

Titans wide receiver Rishard Matthews also was on the sideline after staying in the tunnel or locker room during the anthem much of last season.

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10:10 a.m.

President Donald Trump has tweeted his disapproval of the NFL on Sunday morning before the first full slate of games.

The president has criticized players for their demonstrations protesting social injustice during the national anthem, and the league for not requiring players to be on the sideline at attention when “The Star-Spangled Banner” is played.

He made reference to lower ratings on NBC in Thursday night’s season opener in which Super Bowl champion Philadelphia beat Atlanta 18-12.

“Wow, NFL first game ratings are way down over an already really bad last year comparison,” Trump tweeted. “Viewership declined 13%, the lowest in over a decade. If the players stood proudly for our Flag and Anthem, and it is all shown on broadcast, maybe ratings could come back? Otherwise worse!”

The NFL unilaterally passed a policy requiring players to stand at attention for the anthem or to stay in the locker room or in the tunnel under the stands. When that policy met with heavy criticism, it was put on hold while the league and players’ association discussed other options. Those discussions are continuing.

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Ex-Browns LB Kendricks pleads guilty to insider trading

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Former Cleveland Browns linebacker Mychal Kendricks has pleaded guilty to insider trading charges in a Philadelphia courtroom.

The 27-year-old told the judge on Thursday he knows he was wrong and entered the guilty plea because "it's the right thing to do."

He faces up to 25 years in prison when he's sentenced

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Former Cleveland Browns linebacker Mychal Kendricks has pleaded guilty to insider trading charges in a Philadelphia courtroom.

The 27-year-old told the judge on Thursday he knows he was wrong and entered the guilty plea because “it’s the right thing to do.”

He faces up to 25 years in prison when he’s sentenced in December.

Prosecutors say analyst Damilare Sonoiki fed Kendricks confidential information on four companies about deals that sent their stock prices soaring.

They say at the end of the two-year scheme, Kendricks made about $1.2 million.

Sonoiki’s lawyer tells the Philadelphia Inquirer that his client also would plead guilty, but no date is set.

Kendricks, who signed a one-year contract with the Browns in June after winning a Super Bowl title last season with the Eagles, was released from the Browns last week after the charges were filed.

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Information from: The Philadelphia Inquirer, http://www.inquirer.com

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NFL Ownership Position on Player Protests

Before the third preseason game of the 2016 NFL season, then San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeled during the national anthem. His protest set off a slow-building storm across the league that effectively ended Kaepernick's career and brought politics into the middle of the sports arena. 

Two years later, there is no formal league-wide

Before the third preseason game of the 2016 NFL season, then San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeled during the national anthem. His protest set off a slow-building storm across the league that effectively ended Kaepernick’s career and brought politics into the middle of the sports arena. 

Two years later, there is no formal league-wide policy on how to handle anthem protests. In May, the NFL announced that it would fine teams if players sat or kneeled. Two months later, after it was revealed that Miami Dolphins players would be suspended for up to four games for protesting, the league put its policy on hold. 
 
Every team and owner has handled the protests in different ways. This list serves as a cursory look at each NFL owner and their policy on the anthem protests. Many owners policies have been separated into two parts. For many owners they have had two separate stances. After Trump initially tweeted about the anthem in week 3 of the 2017 season, the owners responses were mostly to side with their players. Now that the owners have met and had a season to reflect on what it means for the business, most owners are taking a side of neutrality or support for punishing players who kneel.
 



AFC East

Buffalo Bills

Co-Owners: Terry and Kim Pegula

At the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in Boston in February, Kim Pegula said of the players protesting “They came in on the player side, so a lot of them just didn’t understand or know the impact that it had on the business, on the organization, on our community, good or bad. I do think there’s definitely an impact.”  She later added  “I wouldn’t shy away from it at all, because I think there is a common ground and I think a lot of it is just more about communicating and learning from each other on both sides and coming to some type of compromise at some points. And sometimes, you won’t be able to come to a compromise, but something usually gets done when that happens.”

The Pegulas bought the team in 2014 after the death of founder and original owner Ralph Wilson. 

 

Miami Dolphins

Owner: Stephen Ross

Stephen Ross released this statement through twitter on July 20th. The tweet and statement came after a reference from a leaked club document suggested that players could be fined or suspended for protesting.

New England Patriots

Owner: Robert Kraft

Back in 2017, Kraft seemed to take the side of the players when he criticized the president’s tone in a statement from September 2017.

Still, Kraft voted in favor of the new anthem policy which comes with penalties for players who kneel. The month before, at a confidential meeting about the anthem protests, Kraft called the president’s policies horrible. “The problem we have is, we have a president who will use that as fodder to do his mission that I don’t feel is in the best interests of America,” said Kraft, in that meeting as reported by the New York Times. “It’s divisive and it’s horrible.”

New York Jets

Co-Owner: Woody Johnson and Christopher Johnson

Christopher Johnson is the acting chairman and CEO of the New York Jets while his brother Woody serves out his term as the U.S. Ambassador to Britain. In a May interview with Newsday Johnson said, “If somebody [on the Jets] takes a knee, that fine will be borne by the organization, by me, not the players. “I never want to put restrictions on the speech of our players. Do I prefer that they stand? Of course. But I understand if they felt the need to protest. There are some big, complicated issues that we’re all struggling with, and our players are on the front lines. I don’t want to come down on them like a ton of bricks, and I won’t. There will be no club fines or suspensions or any sort of repercussions. If the team gets fined, that’s just something I’ll have to bear.”

AFC North

Baltimore Ravens

Owner: Steve Bisciotti

Back in September, Steve Bisciotti released this statement, “We recognize our players’ influence. We respect their demonstration and support them 100 percent. All voices need to be heard. That’s democracy in its highest form.”

Cincinnati Bengals

Owner: Mike Brown

Pro Football Talk reported that former 49ers safety and free agent Eric Reid met with the Bengals and talked with Brown personally.  According to PFT, Brown “initiated discussion regarding the issue of kneeling” and “the conversation almost exclusively centered on the topic.” During the conversation Brown told Reid he planned to prohibit kneeling during the anthem.

Cleveland Browns

Co-Owners: Jimmy and Dee Haslam

The owners of the Browns have been in conversations but haven’t put a clear stance on the record. The most recent statement defers to the ongoing discussions happening between the NFL and NFLPA.

“The league and the players’ association are working to come up with a win-win solution and I think there’s cautious optimism on both sides that that will happen,” Jimmy Haslam said. “So, until that happens, I don’t think we have any comment.”

Pittsburgh Steelers

Owner: Art Rooney II

After the policy to penalize players was put in place the Washington Post reported that Rooney said, “Those who are not comfortable standing for the anthem have the right to stay off the field.  We’re not forcing anybody to stand who doesn’t feel that that’s within the way they feel about particular subjects. But those that are on the field are going to be asked to stand. We’ve listened to a lot of different viewpoints, including our fans, over the last year. I think this policy is meant to come out at a place where we’re respecting everybody’s point of view on this as best we could.”

He later told the Post that he believes there is a “common ground” to be found that he is pleased at the NFLPA is willing to talk with the owners about a policy.

AFC South

Houston Texans

Owner: Bob McNair

The New York Times reported that during the confidential NFL meeting to discuss the national anthem protests in April, McNair thought that the players should influence their colleagues to stop kneeling, saying “You fellas need to ask your compadres, fellas, stop that other business, let’s go out and do something that really produces positive results, and we’ll help you.”

McNair is also the owner who compared the players to prisoners saying “we can’t have inmates running the prison.”

Indianapolis Colts

Owner: Jim Irsay

Back when the anthem protest first began in 2016 Jim Irsay told USA Today’s Jarrett Bell, “I think it’s the wrong venue,” and that “It hasn’t been a positive thing. What we all have to be aware of as players, owners, PR people, equipment managers, is when the lights go on, we are entertainment. We are being paid to put on a show. There are other places to express yourself.”

In May, Irsay came out in favor of the league’s idea to fine players. 

Jacksonville Jaguars

 

Owner: Shad Khan

Jaguars owner Shad Khan released a statement to Adam Schefter last year when he said, “Our team and the National Football League reflects our nation, with diversity coming in many forms — race, faith, our views and our goals. We have a lot of work to do, and we can do it, but the comments by the President make it harder.” Khan released the statement below after the policy vote in May. 

Tennessee Titans:

Owner: Amy Adams Strunk

Strunk herself hasn’t personally offered a statement, but before the protest policy was put on hold, WKRN reported that head coach Mike Vrabel said that if Titans players decide to stay inside during the national anthem they have Strunk’s full support. He said, “I told them this morning they had the entire organization’s and Miss Amy’s support to make a decision when that time came.” 

No Titans player has taken a knee and the team has not addressed how it will respond should a player decide to protest on the field.

AFC West

Kansas City Chiefs

Owner: Clark Hunt

Last year, before a game with the Cowboys in November Clark Hunt said, “When it rolled around last year, it really wasn’t a big deal for us, and we’ve tried to stay with that this year. Obviously we’ve had some guys who have sat or knelt during some of the games this year, but we’ve continued to work with them and communicate with them that we prefer for them to stand. But at the end of the day, it’s their decision.”

With the NFLPA and NFL currently discussing the anthem policy, Hunt has taken a position of neutrality. “As you guys have probably read or seen elsewhere, the league and the players’ union are discussing that policy right now,” Hunt said in a press conference. “There’s really nothing to report on that. We’re not doing anything on it and until the league tells us what the policy is, there’s really nothing to talk about.”

Los Angeles Chargers

Owner: Dean Spanos

Despite standing and linking arms with players in Week 4 last season, Dean Spanos said, “I have the upmost respect for our players, and everybody has the right to express themselves the way they want to. I believe that all the players and everybody in our organization should stand for the anthem. I think the players know that. But if they elect not to? So be it.”

Oakland Raiders

Owner: Mark Davis

Last year when speaking with ESPN, Davis said, “About a year ago, before our Tennessee game, I met with Derek Carr and Khalil Mack to ask their permission to have Tommie Smith light the torch for my father before the game in Mexico City. I explained to them that I was asking their permission because I had previously told them that I would prefer that they not protest while in the Raiders uniform. And should they have something to say, once their uniform was off, I might go up there with them. Over the last year, though, the streets have gotten hot and there has been a lot of static in the air and recently, fuel has been added to the fire. I can no longer ask our team to not say something while they are in a Raider uniform. The only thing I can ask them to do is do it with class. Do it with pride. Not only do we have to tell people there is something wrong, we have to come up with answers. That’s the challenge in front of us as Americans and human beings.”

Denver Broncos

Owner: Pat Bowlen

Bowlen is the owner but gave up football operations in 2013 because of a battle with alzheimer’s disease. That means the anthem policy rests on team president Joe Ellis. The Broncos made headlines last season when nearly half the team kneeled before a game in Buffalo. After that game, the players held a team meeting where they agreed to be unified and the whole team stood for the rest of the season. 

Now, with the NFL taking a new stance, the Broncos aren’t concerned. Von Miller believes the team already confronted this issue last year. “We have an understanding as players on what needs to be done regarding the national anthem,” Miller told the Denver Post. “We were already done with that last year and we came together as a team. It’s a situation that we were already past. Any new policy the league imposes it really doesn’t affect us.”

Ellis has basically left it up to his players but released a statement the week prior, “We want all members of our organization to stand for the national anthem. At the same time, we need to listen to our players and support the issues and causes that matter to them.”

NFC East

Dallas Cowboys

Owner: Jerry Jones

Jones has been quite outspoken about his stance on the national anthem protests.  Even after the NFL decided to freeze the national anthem policy, he said in a press conference, “Our policy is you stand during the anthem, toe on the line.” Jones also said that players would not be permitted to stay in the locker room during the anthem, and last year said that he would bench a player for an anthem protest.

New York Giants

Co-Owners: John Mara and Steve Tisch

The Giants have taken one of the most supportive stances of the protests when Tisch told the Hollywood Reporter that no Giants would be punished by the organization if they chose to protest during the national anthem.

Philadelphia Eagles

Co-Owners: Jeffrey Lurie

In May, Jeffrey Lurie released a statement saying, “I have always believed it is the responsibility of sports teams to be very proactive in our communities. In this great country of ours, there are so many people who are hurting and marginalized, which is why I am proud of our players for continuously working to influence positive change. Their words and actions have demonstrated not only that they have a great deal of respect for our country, but also that they are committed to finding productive ways to fight social injustice, poverty and other societal issues that are important to all of us. We must continue to work together in creative and dynamic ways to make our communities stronger and better with equal opportunities for all.”

Washington Redskins

Majority Owner: Daniel Snyder

Snyder stood locking arms with players last season, and a 2017 statement that was attributed to the team but not signed by Snyder, said: “Football has always served as the great unifier, bringing people together to celebrate the values of courage, commitment and achievement. We are proud of the players, coaches and fans of the Washington Redskins for all that they have done to improve the lives of others in neighborhoods all across our region. We are also grateful for the sacrifices made by the brave men and women of our armed forces that have provided us the freedom to play football. In that great tradition, the Washington Redskins will work to address divisions and bring unity, civility and respect to our greater community.”

NFC North

Chicago Bears

Principal Owner: Virginia Halas McCaskey

Bears chairman George McCaskey, according to the Chicago Tribune, told reporters after the NFL announced the anthem policy, “There is no easy answer to the anthem issue. No one is entirely right, nor entirely wrong. The policy change enacted a couple of weeks ago by NFL teams, including the Bears, isn’t perfect. But we think it will return the anthem to what it should be — a unifying force — while providing an option to those players and other team personnel who choose not to stand.”

He went on to say that he personally believes that players should stand during the anthem. 

Detroit Lions

Owner: Martha Firestone Ford

Last season, Ford stood and linked arms with protesting players. Later in the season it was reported by the Detroit Free Press that she asked her players not to kneel before a game with the Vikings.  In exchange for not kneeling, Ford told players she would donate money to causes they care about in the community.

Green Bay Packers

Owner: Stockholders

Chairman and CEO Mark Murphy, the only person who is not an owner to vote on the national anthem policy, explained to NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero on twitter the thoughts behind the policy.

Minnesota Vikings

Owner: Zygi Wilf

Wilf, who stood and linked arms in support of the players last season, hasn’t made a statement in regards to how the team would deal with protests this season only saying, “Whatever we do, we’re going to do as a team.” Wilf supports the policy the NFL rolled out in May.  

NFC South

Atlanta Falcons

Owner: Arthur Blank

The Associated Press reported that Blank said the Falcons are “very committed to the military.” He also said he believes players have “very significant rights” and appeared to say he wouldn’t fine players for exercising those rights. Blank said players should be allowed to make their own decisions on what he described as the “complex issue” of standing or kneeling for the national anthem.

Carolina Panthers

Owner: David Tepper

Tepper, the NFL’s newest owner, hasn’t addressed the national anthem policy specifically, but during a press conference in July he said he wants to be committed to social justice, reciting the pledge of allegiance and zeroing in on its final six words—”with liberty and justice for all.” Those words, as he described the players’ protests, are the “most patriotic thing going.”

Tepper was introduced as the Panthers’ new owner in early July. 

New Orleans Saints

Owner: Gayle Benson

Benson recently took over ownership and operations of the Saints after her husband, Tom Benson, passed away in March.  She hasn’t publicly announced her stance regarding the anthem protests.  Tom Benson was against kneeling during the national anthem, and although no reports of him benching players were made last season, some players for the Saints sat on the bench during the national anthem.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Owner: Malcolm Glazer

In the middle of last season co-chairman Joel Glazer posted this statement to twitter.

NFC West

Arizona Cardinals

Owner: Michael Bidwill

ESPN.com’s Josh Weinfuss shared Bidwill’s stance in July: “I think it’s important to speak up. People are saying stick to sports? You know what? We ask our players 20 days a year—game days—to restrict their statements. The rest of the days, we want our players to get engaged in the community. Just like I am and other owners are. In fact, I’m working with [an NFL] committee called the Social Justice Committee, where we’re working with players across the league to get them more involved in changing policy and making America a better place for everyone.”

Los Angeles Rams

Owner: Stan Kroenke

Kroenke released this statement last season addressing the anthem protest, “The Los Angeles Rams, our fan base and our city are all comprised of people from a variety of backgrounds and beliefs. When we recognize that this diversity is our strength and seek to understand different perspectives, we are more enlightened and empathetic human beings. Our organization is committed to celebrating diversity, inclusion and respect, values that help define Los Angeles. We are proud of the work that our players and all NFL players do to make our communities better places to live. We believe in the tenets of the national anthem, which is a pillar of this country; just as freedom of speech is another pillar and a constitutional right. We will continue to support our players’ freedom to peacefully express themselves and the  meaningful efforts they make to bring about positive change in our country.”

San Francisco 49ers

Owner: John Edward York

York was the only owner to abstain from voting on the NFL’s anthem policy. KRON4 was able to question him on the subject.

Seattle Seahawks

Owner: Paul Allen

Allen released this statement on behalf of the Seahawks regarding the anthem protest.

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Barkley has top-selling NFL jersey without playing a down

Nice job, rookie.

A guy who has yet to take a snap in a real NFL game has the best-selling jersey in the league.

Saquon Barkley, the All-America running back from Penn State selected second overall in the draft by the Giants, is the leader according to DICK'S Sporting Goods Jersey Report .

Nice job, rookie.

A guy who has yet to take a snap in a real NFL game has the best-selling jersey in the league.

Saquon Barkley, the All-America running back from Penn State selected second overall in the draft by the Giants, is the leader according to DICK’S Sporting Goods Jersey Report .

Barkley is one of two rookies in the top 10; top overall pick Baker Mayfield, Cleveland’s quarterback, is ranked ninth.

Only one defensive player makes the top 10: Denver linebacker Von Miller.

Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz ranks second, followed by Tom Brady.

A year ago, Cowboys QB Dak Prescott was first, followed by Brady. Prescott is fourth this year.

Along with Barkley and Mayfield, popular rookie jerseys belong to Buffalo QB Josh Allen, followed by Denver DE Bradley Chubb and Cleveland DB Denzel Ward.

Joining Miller on the defensive list are Carolina LB Luke Kuechly, Houston DE J.J. Watt, Cleveland DE Myles Garrett, and Chubb.

The NFC East dominates sales on the Jersey Report with the top three teams: the Giants, Eagles and Cowboys, New England is fourth, Denver fifth.

San Francisco is the least-popular club, though if Jimmy Garoppolo and remain unbeaten as a starting quarterback, who knows if that will last.

BIRDS OF PRAY

The story of the Philadelphia Eagles’ first NFL championship since 1960 has been told in many ways and with many angles.

None has been as refreshing or unique as the theme taken by AP Football Writer Rob Maaddi in his new book, “Birds of Pray.”

With a foreword by Carson Wentz , Maaddi examines how the strong faith and religious devotion in the Eagles’ locker room helped drive them to the highest achievement in pro football. Maaddi, who has covered Philadelphia sports since 2000, not only interviews dozens of players and their families, he chronicles the ups and downs of the team’s title season with a pinpoint focus on the power that belief — whether it be in God or each other — can bring.

“The real story of the Super Bowl champions can’t be told without talking about the strong faith and the unique bond many of the players shared,” Maaddi says. “I’ve never seen a team that was more united than the 2017 Philadelphia Eagles, and their faith is what created that special brotherhood, and their faith is what allowed them to persevere and overcome so much adversity and ultimately become champions.”

IN DEMAND

The Dallas Cowboys are the NFL’s No. 1 team, while the Jacksonville Jaguars and San Francisco 49ers are coming on strong?

Who says?

Ticket buyers on the secondary market, according to StubHub .

For the fifth straight year, demand for Cowboys tickets is the highest in the league. StubHub sees an increase of nearly 300 percent in sales over the average when the Cowboys are the visiting team.

“The Cowboys are an iconic franchise with a reputation that continues to draw a crowd season after season,” says Scott Jablonski, StubHub’s general manager of NFL, NBA & NHL.

But a Cowboys contest is not the most-sought ticket heading into the season. That game actually is in London, where the Jaguars host the Eagles on Oct. 28. It’s the first time an international series game has appeared in StubHub’s top 10 most in-demand games.

“Eagles fans have always been passionate, but their Super Bowl win has truly ignited the fan base to unprecedented levels,” says Jablonski. “We’re seeing Eagles fans willing to travel long distances to watch their team play, including internationally for their game in London.”

The Jaguars and 49ers have seen large demand growth compared to last season; San Francisco has moved up from 19th to sixth, while sales for Jacksonville games are up 318 percent following the team’s run to the AFC title game last January.

ROSEN ON LEBRON

Like many — probably most — athletes, Josh Rosen is impressed by the career and stature of LeBron James. The rookie quarterback of the Arizona Cardinals, who has drawn criticism from some for being arrogant because of his frankness and willingness to take a stand, has strong praise for the latest venture of the NBA’s biggest star.

Asked by Adam Schein on his SiriusXM satellite radio program how Rosen sometimes has been perceived, the 10th overall selection in this year’s draft noted: “I think it is always about crafting the message. There is always a good intention at heart; anything I do or say in putting myself out there is for the sake of helping others and trying to give people a voice who don’t actually have one.

“And on that topic, LeBron’s new show, ‘The Shop,’ it is exactly what this country means when they talk about ‘We need to have a conversation.’ And people are like, ‘What does that even mean, it’s conceptualist.’

“This show and that concept of athletes taking a lead and taking a role of sort of progress is really admirable, and that is exactly what we all should be rooting for, not criticizing.”

___

More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/tag/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

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NFL Banned Substance List

The NFL banned substance list covers a wide range of drugs from steroids to supplements. Players test positive defense is often a variation of, "I didn't know it was in the supplement I took."

It sounds like a questionable defense at first, but see for yourself the vast number of substances

The NFL banned substance list covers a wide range of drugs from steroids to supplements. Players test positive defense is often a variation of, “I didn’t know it was in the supplement I took.”

It sounds like a questionable defense at first, but see for yourself the vast number of substances players have to be aware of. Here’s the this list of all the NFL’s banned substances:

   
   
The following substances and methods are prohibited by the National Football League:
   
I. ANABOLIC AGENTS  
   
A.   ANABOLIC/ANDROGENIC STEROIDS:  
   
Generic Name Brand Names (Examples)
Androstenediol Androstederm
Androstenedione Androstan, Androtex
Androsterone  
1-Androstenediol 1-AD
1-Androstenedione  
5?-androst-2-ene-17-one  
(Delta-2-androst-17-one) Delta-2
Bolandiol  
Bolasterone Myagen
Boldenone Equipoise, Parenabol
Boldione  
Calusterone  
Clostebol Turinabol, Steranabol
Danazol Cyclomen, Danatrol
Dehydrochloromethyltestosterone Oral-Turinabol
Dehydroepiandrosterone DHEA, Prasterone
Desoxymethyltestosterone DMT, Madol
Dihydrotestosterone DHT, Stanolone
Drostanolone Drolban
Epi-dihydrotestosterone  
Epitestosterone  
Ethylestrenol Maxibolin, Orabolin
Etiocholanolone  
Fluoxymesterone Halotestin
Formebolone Esiclene, Hubernol
Furazabol Miotolon
Gestrinone Tridomose
17-Hydroxypregnenedione  
17-Hydroxyprogesterone  
Hydroxytestosterone  
4-Hydroxytestosterone  
17-Keto-DHEA  
Mestanolone  
Methasterone  
Mesterolone Proviron
Methandienone Danabol, Dianabol
Methandriol Androdiol
Methandrostenolone Dianabol
Methenolone Primobolan
Methyldienolone  
Methyltestosterone Metandren
Methyl-1-testosterone M1T
7?-Methyl-19-nortestosterone MENT
Methylnortestosterone  
Methyltrienolone  
Metribolone  
Mibolerone Testorex
Nandrolone  
19-Norandrostenediol 19-Diol
19-Norandrostenedione 19 Nora Force
19-Norandrosterone  
Norboletone Genabol
Norclostebol  
Norethandrolone Nilevar
19-Noretiocholanolone  
Normethandrolone  
19-Nortestosterone (Nandrolone) Deca-Durabolin
Oxabolone  
Oxandrolone Anavar, Lonovar
6-Oxoandrosterone 6-Oxo
Oxymesterone Oranabol
Oxymetholone Anadrol
Prostanozol  
Quinbolone Anabolicum Vister
Progesterone  
Stanozolol Stromba, Winstrol
Stenbolone  
Testosterone Andronate
1-Testosterone  
Tetrahydrogestrinone THG
Trenbolone Finaject
  and other substances with a similar chemical structure and similar biological effect(s)
   
B.   PROTEIN AND PEPTIDE HORMONES:  
   
Generic Name Brand Names (Examples)
Human Growth Hormone (hGH) Saizen, Humatrope, Nutropin AQ
Animal Growth Hormones  
Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) Novarel, Menotropins
Insulin Growth Factor (IGF-1)  
Erythropoietin (EPO)  
Growth Hormone Releasing Hormones (GHRH) CJC-1295, Sermorelin, Tesamorelin
Growth Hormone Secetagogues (GHS) Ghrelin, Ghrelin mimetics (Anamorelin, Ipamorelin)
Growth Hormone Releasing Peptides (GHRP)    Alexamorelin, GHRP-6, Hexarelin, Pralmorelin (GHRP-2)
   
   
C. OTHER ANABOLIC AGENTS (INCLUDING BETA-2-AGONISTS)  
   
Generic Name Brand Names (Examples)
Clenbuterol  
Zilpaterol Zilmax
Tibolone  
Zeranol  
   
D.   ANTI-ESTROGENIC AGENTS:  
   
Generic Name Brand Names (Examples)
Aminoglutethimide Cytadren
Anastrozole Arimidex
Androsta-3,5-diene-7,17-dione Arimistane
4-androstene-3,6,17 trione 6-oxo
Clomiphene Clomid
Cyclofenil  
Exemestane Aromastin
Fadrozole Afema
Formestane Lentarone
Fulvestrant Faslodex
Letrozole Femara
Raloxifene Evista
Tamoxifen  
Testolactone Teslac
Toremifene Acapodene
Vorazole Rivizor
   
E. SELECTIVE ANDROGEN RECEPTOR MODULATORS (SARMs) (LGD-4033, etc.)
(brand names include Andarine, Ostarine)  
   
II. MASKING AGENTS  
   
A.     DIURETICS  
   
Generic Name Brand Names (Examples)
Acetazolamide Amilco
Amiloride Midamor
Bendroflumethiazide Aprinox
Benzthiazide Aquatag
Bumetanide Burine
Canrenone  
Chlorothiazide Diuril
Chlorthalidone  
Cyclothiazide Anhydron
Ethacrynic Acid Edecrin
Flumethiazide  
Furosemide Lasix
Hydrochlorothiazide Aprozide
Hydroflumethiazide Leodrine
Indapamide Lozol, Natrilix
Methyclothiazide Aquatensen
Metolazone Zaroxolyn
Polythiazide Renese
Probenecid Benemid
Quinethazone Hydromox
Spironolactone Aldactone
Triamterene Jatropur, Dytac
Trichlormethiazide Anatran
  and other substances with a similar chemical structure and similar biological effect(s)
   
III. STIMULANTS  
   
Generic Name Brand Names (Examples)
Adrafinil  
Adrenaline  
Amfepramone  
Amiphenazole  
Amphetamine Greenies, Speed, Adderall
Amphetaminil  
Armodafinil Nuvigil
Benfluorex  
Benzphetamine  
Benzylpiperazine  
Bromantan  
Cathine  
Clobenzorex  
Cropropamide  
Crotetamide  
Dimethylamphetamine  
Ephedrine Ma Huang, Chi Powder
Etamivan  
Etilamphetamine  
Etilefrine  
Famprofazone  
Fenbutrazate  
Fencamfamin  
Fencamine  
Fenetylline  
Fenfluramine Phen-Fen, Redux Fenetylline
Fenproporex  
Furfenorex  
Heptaminol  
Isometheptene  
Levmetamfetamine  
Lisdexamfetamine Vyvanse
Meclofenoxate  
Mefenorex  
Mephentermine  
Mesocarb  
Methamphetamine  
2-amino-6-methylheptane Octodrine
P-Methylamphetamine  
Methylenedioxyamphetamine  
Methylephedrine  
Methylhexaneamine (Dimethylpentylamine)  
Methylphenidate Ritalin, Daytrana, Metadate, Methylin
Modafinil Provigil
Nikethamide  
Norfenefrine  
Norfenfluramine  
Octopamine  
Oxilofrine  
Parahydroxyamphetamine  
Pemoline  
Pentetrazol  
Phendimetrazine  
Phenmetrazine  
Phenpromethamine  
Phentermine Fastin, Adipex, Ionamin
Prenylamine  
4-Phenylpiracetam Carphedon
Prenylamine  
Prolintane  
Propylhexedrine  
Pseudoephedrine * Sudafed, Actifed
Selegiline  
Sibutramine  
Strychnine  
Synephrine Bitter Orange,Citrus Aurantium
Tuaminoheptane
   
* Except as properly prescribed by Club medical personnel.  

 

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The NFL Testing Procedure for PEDs

The official NFL testing procedure for performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs):

The independent administrator for the NFL has the sole discretion to make determinations, consistent with the terms of the policy.

Typically urine testing is used but blood testing may be used during the off-season or under special circumstances when it's deemed necessary by the independent administrator.

The official NFL testing procedure for performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs):

The independent administrator for the NFL has the sole discretion to make determinations, consistent with the terms of the policy.

Typically urine testing is used but blood testing may be used during the off-season or under special circumstances when it’s deemed necessary by the independent administrator.

The NFL outlines the following circumstances for testing:

Pre-employment: Pre-employment tests may be administered to free agent players (whether rookies or veterans). In addition, testing will be conducted at the annual scouting combines.

Annual: All Players will be tested for Prohibited Substances at least once per League Year. Such testing will occur at training camp or whenever the Player reports thereafter and will be deemed a part of his preseason physical.

Preseason/Regular Season: Each week during the preseason and regular season, ten (10) Players on every Club will be tested. By means of a computer program, the Independent Administrator will randomly select the Players to be tested from the Club’s active roster, practice squad list, and reserve list who are not otherwise subject to ongoing reasonable cause testing for performance-enhancing substances. The number of Players selected for testing on a particular day will be determined in advance on a uniform basis. Players will be required to provide a specimen whenever they are selected, without regard to the number of times they have previously been tested consistent with the limits set forth in the Policy.

Postseason: Ten (10) Players on every Club qualifying for the playoffs will be tested weekly so long as the Club remains active in the postseason. Players to be tested during the postseason will be selected on the same basis as during the regular season.

Off-Season: Players under contract who are not otherwise subject to reasonable cause testing may be tested during the off-season months at the discretion of the Independent Administrator, subject to the collectively bargained maximum of six (including blood tests) off-season tests. Players to be tested in the off-season will be selected on the same basis as during the regular season, irrespective of their off-season locations. Any Player selected for testing during the off-season will be required to furnish a urine specimen at a convenient location acceptable to the Independent Administrator, subject to the qualification set forth in Section 3.2 for specimen collections occurring away from the Club facility. Only Players who advise in writing that they have retired from the NFL will be removed from the testing pool. If, however, a Player thereafter signs a contract with a Club, he will be placed back in the testing pool.

Reasonable Cause Testing For Players With Prior Positive Tests Or Under Other Circumstances: Any Player testing positive for a Prohibited Substance, including a Player who tested positive or for whom there is sufficient credible evidence of steroid involvement up to two football seasons prior to his applicable college draft or at a scouting combine, will be subject to evaluation by the Independent Administrator, after which the Independent Administrator may in his or her discretion place the Player into the reasonable cause testing program. Reasonable cause testing may also be required when, in the opinion of the Independent Administrator, he receives credible, verifiable documented information providing a reasonable basis to conclude that a Player may have violated the Policy or may have a medical condition that warrants further monitoring.

Notification and Collection

Collection is done by the Independent Administrator and  Collection Vendor.

Collection at a Club facility, stadium or scouting combine venue requires no advance notice to the player and is required in no more than three hours.

For collection occurring away from the Club facility, the player will be contacted by telephone, voicemail or text message to notify him that he has been selected and to schedule a collection time within 24 hours at a site not more than 45 miles from the players’ location.

Urine may be collected on any day of the week. The collection of blood specimens is prohibited on game days unless the player’s day off is scheduled for the day following a game day, in which case blood collections may occur following the end of the game.

Failure or Refusal

Unexcused failure or refusal to appear for testing, or cooperate will result in disciplinary action.  Any attempt to substitute or dilute a specimen is considered a violation of policy and may result in more severe discipline than would have been for a positive test.

Notice to Player

After a positive result is confirmed, the Independent administrator will notify the player in writing of the positive result and request that the player call him to discuss the result.  The player with then go in for a medical evaluation and be placed on reasonable cause testing at a frequency decided by the independent administrator.

Discipline

Discipline comes in the form of game suspensions dependent on the severity of the offense and will begin when the player accepts discipline or the decision on appeal becomes final.

In the final article of this series, we’ll examine exactly which substances are banned by the NFL.

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NFL linebacker Mychal Kendricks charged with insider trading

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Federal prosecutors in Philadelphia say Cleveland Browns linebacker Mychal Kendricks used insider trading tips from an acquaintance to make about $1.2 million in illegal profits on four major trading deals.

U.S. Attorney William McSwain says co-defendant Damilare Sonoiki was paid $10,000 in kickbacks as well as perks like tickets to

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Federal prosecutors in Philadelphia say Cleveland Browns linebacker Mychal Kendricks used insider trading tips from an acquaintance to make about $1.2 million in illegal profits on four major trading deals.

U.S. Attorney William McSwain says co-defendant Damilare Sonoiki was paid $10,000 in kickbacks as well as perks like tickets to Philadelphia Eagles games. Kendricks played for the Eagles before signing with the Browns in June.

Prosecutors say Sonoiki was a trader at an unnamed firm. An IMBD profile lists him as a writer on the popular TV series “Black-ish” as well as other movies and TV shows.

Kendricks says in a statement released by his lawyer Wednesday that he’s sorry and “deeply” regrets his actions.

He says he “didn’t fully understand all of the details of the illegal trades.”

A message seeking comment from the federal defender representing Sonoiki wasn’t immediately returned.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy says the league is reviewing the situation.

___

More AP NFL: http://apnews.com/tag/NFL and http://twitter.com/AP_NFL

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The NFL’s Full PED Policy

With the majority of the suspensions at the start of the 2018 season coming from PED's, we thought it would be worth taking a moment to look a little deeper in the NFL's substance abuse policy on banned substances. If you're not in the mood for legal writing skip past this official statement of policy

With the majority of the suspensions at the start of the 2018 season coming from PED’s, we thought it would be worth taking a moment to look a little deeper in the NFL’s substance abuse policy on banned substances. If you’re not in the mood for legal writing skip past this official statement of policy for our explanation.

  1. GENERAL STATEMENT OF POLICY

The National Football League Management Council and NFL Players Association

(“NFLPA”) (collectively, the “Parties”) have jointly developed this Policy on

Performance-Enhancing Substances (the “Policy”) to prohibit and prevent the use of

anabolic/androgenic steroids (including exogenous testosterone), stimulants, human or

animal growth hormones, whether natural or synthetic and related or similar substances.

For convenience, these substances, as well as masking agents or diuretics used to hide their

presence, will be referred to as “Prohibited Substances.”1 These substances have no

legitimate place in professional football. This Policy specifically means that:

 

— Players may not, in the absence of a valid therapeutic use exemption, have Prohibited

Substances in their systems or supply or facilitate the distribution

of Prohibited Substances to other Players.

— Coaches, Athletic Trainers, Club Personnel, or Certified Contract Advisors may

not condone, encourage, supply, or otherwise facilitate in any way the use of Prohibited

Substances.

— Team Physicians may not prescribe, supply, or otherwise facilitate a Player’s use of

Prohibited Substances.

— All Persons, including Players, are subject to discipline for violation of this Policy.

The Parties are concerned with the use of Prohibited Substances based on three primary

factors:

 

First, these substances threaten the fairness and integrity of the athletic competition on

the playing field. Players may use these substances for the purpose of becoming bigger,

stronger, and faster than they otherwise would be. As a result, their use threatens to

distort the results of games and League standings. Moreover, Players who do not wish

to use these substances may feel forced to do so in order to compete effectively with

those who do. This is obviously unfair to those Players and provides sufficient reason to

prohibit their use.

Second, the Parties are concerned with the adverse health effects of using Prohibited

Substances. Although research is continuing, steroid use has been linked to a number of

physiological, psychological, orthopedic, reproductive, and other serious health

problems, including heart disease, liver cancer, musculoskeletal growth defects, strokes,

and infertility.

Third, the use of Prohibited Substances by Players sends the wrong message to young

people who may be tempted to use them. NFL Players should not by their own conduct

suggest that such use is either acceptable or safe, whether in the context of sports or

otherwise.

 

The NFL Player Contract specifically prohibits the use of drugs in an effort to alter or

enhance performance. The NFL Player Contract and the League’s Constitution and Bylaws

require each Player to avoid conduct detrimental to the NFL and professional football or

to public confidence in the game or its Players. The use of Prohibited Substances violates

both these provisions. In addition, the Commissioner is authorized to protect the integrity

of and public confidence in the game. This authorization includes the authority to forbid

use of the substances prohibited by this Policy.

 

The Parties recognize that maintaining competitive balance among NFL clubs requires that

all NFL Players be subject to the same rules and procedures regarding drug testing. The

rules and procedures set forth herein are designed to protect the confidentiality of

information associated with this Policy and to ensure the accuracy of test results, and the

Parties intend that the Policy meets or exceeds all applicable laws and regulations related

thereto. The Parties also recognize the importance of transparency in the Policy’s

procedures, including the scientific methodologies that underlie the Policy, the appeals

process and the basis for discipline imposed, and reaffirm their commitment to deterrence,

discipline and a fair system of adjudication.

The NFL has deemed the use of “any” performance enhancing drug on their banned substance list punishable.

Tomorrow we’ll take a look at the NFL’s procedure for administering this policy.

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NFL Players With Most Arrests Since 2000

As with all of our arrest posts, we have to mention that NFL players are arrested at a significantly lower rate than the national average. But because they are constantly in the news, it can feel like the NFL has issues with crime but the data does not support that assumption. That being said,

As with all of our arrest posts, we have to mention that NFL players are arrested at a significantly lower rate than the national average. But because they are constantly in the news, it can feel like the NFL has issues with crime but the data does not support that assumption. That being said, some players have become notorious for more frequent run-ins with the law, here are four of those players:

No. Arrests  

Player

10

Adam Jones

7

Kenny Britt

6

Aldon Smith

6

Chris Henry

 

Adam”Pacman” Jones has had ten arrests over the course of nine years. He is probably best known for an altercation in a Las Vegas Strip Club called Minx. While “making it rain” with rapper Nelly, Jones got in an argument with the manager. After Jones was evicted from the premises a gunman, who Jones claimed he didn’t know, came into the club and wounded three people, including the manager. The jury believed the connection to Jones was clear and the court ordered him to pay $10.5 million to the manager who was paralyzed from the waist down. He has three other police encounters due to assault and one other related to guns. He also has four other arrests/charges due to alcohol and/or drugs.

 

Within a two year period Kenny Britt had encounters with the police seven times, mostly behind the wheel. He had one DUI but was found not guilty, he drove with a revoked driver’s license, he falsified information on his driver’s license application, and pled guilty to charges of eluding the police and reckless driving.

 

Chris Henry had six arrests between the years of 2005 and 2008. His arrests were mostly due to drugs, alcohol, and assault. He was in the NFL from 2005-2009 but died at the end of the 2009 season when he fell from a moving truck driven by his fiancee during a domestic dispute. After he died, the autopsy revealed that Henry had chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a brain injury that is caused by numerous head injuries. Studies have shown that CTE can cause impulsive actions, aggression and poor judgment.

 

Aldon Smith also had six arrests, but Smith’s arrests were almost entirely due to the consumption of alcohol and drugs. Half of the arrests were from DUIs and the other three were from incidents involving alcohol and/or drugs.

 

Again it is important to note that the NFL has an arrest rate significantly lower than the general population for men between the ages of 20 and 39. While these players were all arrested more than the average, the vast majority never has a run in with the law. Here are how arrest stats have been affected by year and month.

 

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How to Choose Your Fantasy Football Site

The days of analog fantasy football are, for the most part, gone.

Sparing a rare case of longstanding tradition, season-long fantasy football players have plenty of options that make being an educated and invested season-long player much easier.

Season-long fantasy football attracts perhaps the widest range of

The days of analog fantasy football are, for the most part, gone.

Sparing a rare case of longstanding tradition, season-long fantasy football players have plenty of options that make being an educated and invested season-long player much easier.

Season-long fantasy football attracts perhaps the widest range of participants. From longtime friends, to your office, to those who play in random leagues, fantasy football is by far the most popular fantasy sport in America.

FF requires minimal effort for those whose involvement is simply to set their lineups each week but the hardcore fans can spend hours pouring over the waiver wire or making roster decisions.

It’s a low-to-no risk, marginal reward vehicle that gives you enough of a rooting stake to where you may find yourself tuned into a Thursday night midseason game between two teams you couldn’t care less about.

Interested in season-long fantasy, but don’t know where to start?

I signed up for a wide range of season-long Fantasy Football sites and ranked the top five on user experience:

YAHOO! SPORTS

I chose a standard, head-to-head 10-team league. I joined a free league and was launched into a live draft within five minutes. There are also money leagues with as low as $20 entries. The draft board included a potpourri of Yahoo!’s different ranking systems, such as expert pre-season ranks, rankings based on league settings, average draft position and fan points.

You can also find player stats from last season and any potential injuries or other recent headlines that could affect whether they’re on the field, and playing at 100 percent. This is helpful for those who want to take the expert rankings and compare it to where users at large actually draft a player.

It’s nice to have different metrics splayed out in front of you during a live draft. You can take one with a grain of salt, disregard another, or just trust one the entire time. Or you could roll the dice and auto-draft, but where’s the fun in that?

Simply click on a ranking system, and the chart reorganizes accordingly on the draft board, and utilize them to make an educated pick. There’s also a smack talk corner, which feels like it should be a requirement in a league with friends or coworkers.

 

ESPN

What sets ESPN apart is its content. My FF experience has almost exclusively existed on ESPN.com leagues. It’s where I first started with a group longtime friends and ESPN has done nothing to steer me away. The library of fantasy content produced is some of the best in the business. What separates ESPN is the game day experience through ESPN FantasyCast. It provides a wealth of resources, live scoring and an easy-to-use mobile app to keep up to date on the go throughout your Sundays. Follow along with its daily podcast “Fantasy Football Focus” with Matthew Berry, Field Yates and Stephanie Bell to stay tuned in throughout the week.

 

NFL.COM

Video highlights is what sets the league’s fantasy site apart. With a wealth of content, highlights and information, the league’s exclusive site has resources that can only be found with their access. NFL.com owns every game.

If you have the NFL Game Pass, which allows you to watch live out-of-market games, your football experience will be centralized on the NFL.com homepage. Plus, its projections and predictions make your game watching experience much easier.

 

CBS

The TV network that has long been interlocked in a rights deal with the NFL also has a highly detailed fantasy football site. With a section on your personalized fantasy home page dedicated to draft prep, you can access player rankings, cheat sheets, ratings by position and a stockpile of resources like its CBS Sports HQ, which includes fantasy analysis and NFL reporting from the network’s FF writers/personalities. The most helpful tool for me was the “Roster Trends” list. It ranks the most added and most dropped players by percentage of change.

 

FOX SPORTS

Another network with a wide range of FF content, Fox Sports provides users plenty of resources to enhance the season-long FF experience. If that’s important to you, Fox Sports is a site worth trying. But the fantasy interface doesn’t necessarily offer anything the others don’t.

Andy Buhler is a graduate of Gonzaga University and writes for The Columbian. He’s a lifelong fantasy football player.

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Tackle this: NFL players benefit from regular yoga practice

NEW YORK (AP) — Without stretching, New York Giants offensive lineman Chad Wheeler folds his 6-foot-7, 317-pound frame over far enough to place his palms flat on the ground. His knees are straight but not fully locked, because that's poor form, and he can comfortably hold himself there — he's that flexible.

That's

NEW YORK (AP) — Without stretching, New York Giants offensive lineman Chad Wheeler folds his 6-foot-7, 317-pound frame over far enough to place his palms flat on the ground. His knees are straight but not fully locked, because that’s poor form, and he can comfortably hold himself there — he’s that flexible.

That’s nothing for Wheeler. Like many NFL players, he does yoga.

“It’s funny doing it as a team because a lot of guys haven’t done it,” Wheeler said. “It makes me feel proud in a way. Like guys that are way more athletic than me, I can bend better than them in certain positions.”

Football players don’t fit the mold of a yogi , someone who regularly practices yoga. They’re large athletes with sculpted muscles from countless hours of lifting and conditioning. Most do not look capable of the contortions required of the ancient discipline, such as standing on one foot with the other propped up on their knee in a tree pose for an extended period without falling over.

Yet in recent years, the presence of yoga has grown in the NFL. The fast-paced, hard-hitting sport has accepted the more calming practice that emphasizes conscious breathing and body flow. Much like yin and yang, the two complement each other both mentally and physically.

“Obviously (yoga) helps with flexibility, what we call join integrity, discipline, focus and balance,” said Los Angeles Chargers Director of Football/Medical Services James Collins, an NFL athletic trainer for 31 years. “It has a lot of different entities to it. And one thing about professional football players is that if you explain something to them and give them the science and reasoning behind it, you can get them to buy into it.”

Many teams haven’t adopted yoga, but their players practice it individually, including Denver Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall, Buffalo Bills placekicker Steven Hauschka and New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold.

The Giants, Jacksonville Jaguars, New Orleans Saints and Chicago Bears offer it to their players on recovery days. Others make it a team activity: the Chargers, Cleveland Browns and Dallas Cowboys.

“I was going into it expecting to tell them all the reasons why they should be practicing yoga and why it’s so beneficial,” said Kaleen Lugo, the Chargers’ yoga instructor. “They’re just like, ‘You’re preaching to the choir, girl. We know.'”

PHYSICAL BENEFITS

Getting ready in his pass-rush stance, New York Jets defensive lineman Leonard Williams has his legs spread, knees bent and feet staggered. He leans forward with a hand on the ground.

That’s how he stays until the ball is snapped, holding his 6-5, 302-pound body in the three-point stance.

“For my position, you can get knocked off,” Williams said. “When we’re playing double teams, we got to stunt and do stuff, so it’s like sometimes we have to be on one foot, plant and go somewhere. I feel like yoga helps with that, when we’re doing one-legged poses and stuff like that. It helps with my balance .”

Yoga helps with so much more than balance, and flexibility.

Collins, who’s also the Professional Football Athletic Trainers’ Society president, said yoga is great for multidirectional joints such as the elbows, wrists, ankles, hips and shoulders. Regular stretching is linear and doesn’t help strengthen those areas.

Yoga also keeps muscles pliable and allows them to recover faster.

“At minimum, doing it helps maintain what you have,” Collins said. “Especially as an athlete and a football player, as he’s going through a season and his bodies getting beat up, everything starts to shut down — ‘Boy, I feel stiff. I’m sore. I can’t do this.’ But if you’re doing things throughout the season, like yoga, to help maintain what you’ve established with your body, that helps you get through the season, helps reduce your chance of injury and things of that nature.”

Each player — position, really — is different, too.

Gwen Lawrence, founder of Power Yoga for Sport, has been teaching athlete-focused yoga for 25 years and taught the Giants for more than a decade under former head coach Tom Coughlin. While she would work on arm and spine strength — spinal rotation — for a quarterback, she would focus more on the neck, hips and wrists for a lineman.

It comes down to releasing tension and building strength in overworked parts of the body.

“I didn’t realize once I got the hold of it how much stronger I felt,” Giants linebacker Jordan Williams said. “I wasn’t doing anything but using my body weight, and I felt so much stronger.”

MENTAL BENEFITS

Bending to the side, Detroit Lions running back Ameer Abdullah reaches for a block on the floor . He then lifts his other legs straight out so he is parallel to the ground and extends his free arm upward.

Each limb is stretched out straight, as he breathes through the difficulty of holding yoga’s half-moon pose.

That’s where the mind-over-matter mentality comes in.

“They need to be trained when they’re in a tough situation, they can’t just bail,” Lawrence said. “A lot of times they’ll be like, ‘Ah, this is too hard. This hurts,’ and they’ll jump out of that. You can’t do that in a game, and you can’t do that in yoga.”

Mental toughness is one of the six facets Lawrence teaches in her yoga class, along with strength, flexibility, balance, focus and breath. But she also has a six-week mindfulness course Coughlin had the medical staff and players go through. The well-being of the mind is just as important as the well-being of body.

“We spend a lot of time paying attention to the psychology of the athlete,” said National Athletic Trainers’ Association president Tory Lindley, who’s also the Senior Associate Athletic Director for Health, Safety and Performance and Director of Athletic Training Services at Northwestern University. “That mind-body connection is critical.”

On the field and off it.

In 2003, Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Keith Mitchell sustained a career-ending injury. It came after seven years in the NFL, mostly spent with the Saints. He was lost, saying he showed signed of depression and had suicidal thoughts, until he found yoga.

Mitchell credits meditation and conscious breathing for getting him through the tough time. Now, he’s a yoga instructor and hopes the practice grows in the NFL because he wishes he had done it as a player.

“The game, I always say, is 80 percent mental,” Mitchell said. “So anything we can do to reboot the mind — I call it a meditation and I teach it as a mind practice — that’s just going to make you even more impactful, more effective on your endeavors.”

Many players do it for the mental aspect alone, saying yoga gets their mind right and prevents overthinking. It forces them to be in the moment, otherwise there’s no way they’d be able to accomplish some of the poses, which make them feel better physically.

One thing leads to another, much like the flow of a good sun salutation — moving from one pose to another.

“When you feel good, you play good,” Lugo said. “When you play good, it’s all good. They know that comes from so much more than just keeping your body in peak shape and condition.”

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Column: Is there a path forward in NFL protests?

The players kneel. The president tweets.

And the great divide over protests during the national anthem at NFL games grows even wider.

So far the players — at least a handful of them — aren't backing down. A few took a knee in the first weekend of exhibition games, at least two raised

The players kneel. The president tweets.

And the great divide over protests during the national anthem at NFL games grows even wider.

So far the players — at least a handful of them — aren’t backing down. A few took a knee in the first weekend of exhibition games, at least two raised a fist during the anthem, and several stayed in the locker room as their way of making a statement.

The NFL reacted by doing nothing, at least publicly. The league’s hastily adopted new policy on protests during the anthem is on hold while it holds talks with the players’ union on an issue that figures to grow more contentious with every game.

That didn’t stop President Donald Trump from weighing in on Twitter, calling for any player who doesn’t stand during the national anthem to be suspended without pay.

For Trump, it’s an issue that resonates with his base. For the protesting players, it’s an issue of social injustice that needs to be raised.

The divide is not only splitting the country, but splintering the NFL.

“I think there are a lot of people that are supportive of the players and then there are a couple of people that have been very vocal against it,” said Duane Brown, one of three Seahawks who protested. “Those people have power. We’ll see what happens.”

What has happened so far is that the protests that began with Colin Kaepernick taking a knee before a 49ers game two seasons ago show no signs of disappearing entirely. If anything, the first preseason games show that while most teams fell in line with the desires of their management, there are some players who aren’t going to back down.

And that could cause major problems not only for protesting players but a league trying to keep its dominant place in American sports.

“The NFL is caught, they can’t really win either way,” said Eric Schiffer, the CEO of Reputation Management Consultants, a Los Angeles-based brand and crisis management firm. “They’ve now come to the conclusion they were alienating conservatives and attempted to mitigate it. But they have only so much they are able to do without alienating the core of their product, which is the players.”

The fact the protests have been turned into something they were never intended to be is a big reason why a resolution will be so difficult. Kaepernick began kneeling during the anthem to protest social injustice against minorities, but Trump and others have portrayed it instead as a protest against the anthem itself and the country it stands for.

Still, an NFL spokesman said the league and the players’ union are involved in “constructive” talks to resolve the issue. But they’re in a battle with time, with the start of the regular season just a few weeks away.

They might want to start with one of the few good suggestions offered publicly so far. It came from Kenny Stills, the Miami wide receiver who took a knee during the national anthem in the Dolphins first preseason game.

Give Kaepernick and former teammate Eric Reid jobs, Stills said, and let players know you’re serious.

“You can’t say as a league you support the players and their protests and then blackball the players who initially started the protests,” Stills said. “To come to the drawing board and talk about solutions, we need to start there as a league, and then we can start drawing up other solutions to some of these other problems.”

Employing Kaepernick and Reid shouldn’t be that much of a problem. Both are NFL players at the highest level, and both seem to have been blackballed from the league — at least unofficially — because of their protests.

Offer them up to every team in the league. Waive any salary cap to do it, and there should be some takers.

If no team bites, assign them through a lottery.

After that, it gets easier. Offer players something in exchange for not protesting during the anthem — perhaps a 30-second commercial spot to highlight social injustice at halftime of every nationally televised game.

The guess is players would respond favorably, partly because they have little alternative. By now they surely understand that their original cause has been hijacked and that they — along with the NFL — are in no-win situations.

Their points can still be made, and perhaps find a more receptive audience.

And, just maybe, the tweets will stop.

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Tim Dahlberg is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at tdahlberg@ap.org or http://twitter.com/timdahlberg

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Seahawks-Raiders at Wembley as Tottenham stadium isn’t ready

LONDON (AP) — The new stadium being built for English Premier League club Tottenham isn't ready to host the NFL this year.

The first NFL game at Tottenham was due to feature the Seattle Seahawks and Oakland Raiders on Oct. 14. That will now be played across north London at Wembley Stadium on

LONDON (AP) — The new stadium being built for English Premier League club Tottenham isn’t ready to host the NFL this year.

The first NFL game at Tottenham was due to feature the Seattle Seahawks and Oakland Raiders on Oct. 14. That will now be played across north London at Wembley Stadium on the same day.

English soccer’s national stadium will also stage the Oct. 21 game between the Tennessee Titans and the Los Angeles Chargers, and the meeting between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Jacksonville Jaguars a week later.

Tottenham’s 62,000-capacity venue is being built on the site of the now-demolished White Hart Lane stadium. Tottenham has been forced to continue playing home games at Wembley after its new home wasn’t ready for this month’s season start.

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What is the Worst Trade Your Team Ever Made?

The history of the NFL is littered with poor deals that sent future stars packing for modest returns. Every team has it's own horror story of sending a player away only for them to become a star on another franchise. We took to Twitter to ask our followers what was the most bone-headed decision their

The history of the NFL is littered with poor deals that sent future stars packing for modest returns. Every team has it’s own horror story of sending a player away only for them to become a star on another franchise. We took to Twitter to ask our followers what was the most bone-headed decision their GM or coach made that they can remember. Here are some of the best responses:

Moss was undoubtedly a star for Minnesota but character concerns saw him traded to Oakland in 2005. In return the Vikings received Harris a linebacker who played two seasons in Minnesota with only 60 total tackles. The 7th pick of the draft was used on Troy Williamson, a WR who was expected to fill the void left by Moss. Here’s how that went:

Oof. 

Alphonso Smith was a heralded corner from Wake Forest who was falling on draft day. The Broncos stopped the fall by trading next year’s first to Seattle to pick Smith at 37. The CB played exactly one season for Denver recording just nine tackles and no interceptions despite starting 14 games. Seattle selected Earl Thomas with the Denver pick who went on to become a core member of the Legion of Boom and one of the best safeties in the league. 

Going the other way, this is the worst trade a team didn’t make. It’s ludicrous to think of a coach/GM giving up all of the teams picks for one player but that is exactly what Ditka did. The Bengals declined, opting for Oregon QB Akili Smith instead. Ditka found another suitor in Washington at pick #5 and, after the Saints struggled that year, he lost his job. If someone were to offer that trade now, every single team would take it without hesitation, no matter the pick or who is on the board.

Check out the rest of the responses and chime in with your favorite team. There are enough options to do another follow up post so put a comment down and we might feature your tweet next time. 

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NFL players emphasize reasons for anthem demonstrations

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — While the NFL continues discussions with the players' union regarding a national anthem policy, players who demonstrate are emphasizing they are protesting social injustice, racial inequality and systematic oppression.

They are not against the country, military, flag or "The Star-Spangled Banner" itself.

President Donald Trump wants players to "find another

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — While the NFL continues discussions with the players’ union regarding a national anthem policy, players who demonstrate are emphasizing they are protesting social injustice, racial inequality and systematic oppression.

They are not against the country, military, flag or “The Star-Spangled Banner” itself.

President Donald Trump wants players to “find another way to protest” and contended “most of them are unable to define” what they’re demonstrating against.

Players, however, have made clear their position numerous times.

“I think part of the problem is that when you continue the rhetoric that this is controversial or this is somehow a negative thing, people treat it as such,” Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins said after resuming his demonstration before Thursday night’s game. “But we’ve seen in other leagues when they’ve decided to amplify the voices of their players to also emphasize the importance of the issues that we’re raising, and change the narrative away from the anthem, that not only is it more acceptable, the fan base gets educated on what we’re talking about, and we can actually make some movement.”

Jenkins stopped his demonstration last season after the NFL committed $90 million over the next seven years to social justice causes in a three-segment plan that involves league players.

Jenkins and a few teammates wore a T-shirt before the game that read on the front: “More than 60 percent of prison populations are people of color.” On the back, it said: “Nearly 5,000 kids are in adult prisons and jails. #SchoolsNotPrisons.”

The league and the NFLPA have yet to announce a policy for this season regarding demonstrations during the anthem after the league initially ordered everyone to stand on the sideline when the anthem is played, or remain in the locker room.

League spokesman Brian McCarthy declined comment Friday and reiterated his statement Thursday night, saying “constructive” discussions are ongoing with the union.

“I understand that it’s a business and you want to protect your bottom line and all of that, but at the end of the day, I think the smartest thing right now is to not have a rule and provide a better option,” Jenkins said.

Teammate Chris Long showed his support for Jenkins, as he did last season, by putting his arm around him.

“Malcolm is taking action and he can always sleep good at night knowing that he’s not being a fraud,” Long said. “He’s (demonstrating) and he’s working in the community, like a lot of these guys are doing.”

In Miami, Dolphins receivers Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson kneeled behind teammates lined up standing along the sideline. Defensive end Robert Quinn stood and raised his right fist.

“If you continue to misinterpret what we’re doing, reach out to me, take a look at my website, take a look at my Twitter, all my social media platforms,” Stills said. “I think you’ll get a better idea of why we’re doing what we’re doing and maybe you can come to the other side and start supporting us.”

Stills said “it would take a lot” for him to stop protesting.

“A good first step for us as a league would be acknowledging what they’re doing to Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid,” Stills said. “You can’t say as a league you support the players and their protests and then blackball the players who initially started the protests. To come to the drawing board and talk about solutions, we need to start there as a league, and then we can start drawing up other solutions to some of these other problems.”

Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, began the movement in 2016 and was joined by teammate Eric Reid. Both are unemployed — Kaepernick didn’t play last season, either — and have pending collusion grievances against the NFL.

Kaepernick tweeted support for Stills and Wilson.

Wilson said he feels more free to express himself with the Dolphins than he did with the Kansas City Chiefs, but didn’t elaborate.

“You get a lot of backlash for doing this,” Wilson said. “Nobody wants to bring the negative attention to themselves, but when you have a platform like this and you’re able to speak on certain situations, you want to do that. We’re not harming anybody.”

Writing on Twitter from his New Jersey golf resort, Trump said Friday players “make a fortune doing what they love,” and those who refuse to stand “proudly” for the anthem should be suspended without pay.

Quinn had a powerful message for critics.

“It’s not a protest. It’s an awareness,” he said. “I think ‘protest’ segregates this country. The awareness we’re trying to raise — this country preaches freedom and unity. That’s all I’m trying to do. If you believe in something, no matter the consequences you stand by it. I want heaven here on Earth. I believe we preach too much negativity throughout this whole world. I think the message that needs to be spread is peace, love and happiness.

“Hearing the slander that we’re protesting the flag, that’s not it. It’s not a protest. It’s no disrespect to any servicemen or women out there. They salute with their hand over their heart, I hold my fist up. How can you look at that any different? That salute is just as meaningful to them as my fist in the air.”

Three Seahawks players, Branden Jackson, Quinton Jefferson and Duane Brown, left the field following team introductions and before the start of the anthem Thursday night.

“I think there are a lot of people that are supportive of the players and then there are a couple of people that have been very vocal against it. Those people have power,” Brown said. “We’ll see what happens.”

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AP Sports Writers Steven Wine and Tim Booth contributed to this report.

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Trump says protesting NFL players should ‘be cool!’

BRIDGEWATER, New Jersey (AP) — President Donald Trump is once again lashing out at football players who refuse to stand for the national anthem.

Trump claimed on Twitter Friday that "most of them are unable to define" what they're demonstrating against.

Instead, Trump tweets players should "Be happy, be cool!"

Numerous player demonstrations

BRIDGEWATER, New Jersey (AP) — President Donald Trump is once again lashing out at football players who refuse to stand for the national anthem.

Trump claimed on Twitter Friday that “most of them are unable to define” what they’re demonstrating against.

Instead, Trump tweets players should “Be happy, be cool!”

Numerous player demonstrations took place during the national anthem at several early NFL preseason games Thursday night. Players have been protesting police killings of black men, social injustice and racism.

Trump writes from his New Jersey golf resort that players “make a fortune doing what they love” and that those who refuse to stand “proudly” for the anthem should be suspended without pay.

Trump has told associates that he believes the anthem issue is a winning one that riles up his base.

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William & Mary’s football coach to retire after 39th season

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (AP) — William & Mary says football coach Jimmye Laycock will retire after his 39th season.

The school says Laycock told the team of his plans Sunday night, on the eve of practice.

The 70-year-old Laycock has guided the Tribe to 245 victories, five conference titles and 10 appearances in the

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (AP) — William & Mary says football coach Jimmye Laycock will retire after his 39th season.

The school says Laycock told the team of his plans Sunday night, on the eve of practice.

The 70-year-old Laycock has guided the Tribe to 245 victories, five conference titles and 10 appearances in the NCAA playoffs. William & Mary twice reached the semifinals, in 2004 and 2009, and his overall record is a 245-189-2.

William & Mary Athletic Director Samantha K. Huge says Laycock has had “such a monumental impact on a university.” The school named its football operations center for him in 2008.

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Alabama’s Hurts: “The narrative has already been created”

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Jalen Hurts finally got to give his own take on Alabama's much talked about quarterback situation.

Since getting benched for the second half of the national title game, the two-year starter with the sparkling record has had to remain silent publicly about the situation. Hurts was blunt in his

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Jalen Hurts finally got to give his own take on Alabama’s much talked about quarterback situation.

Since getting benched for the second half of the national title game, the two-year starter with the sparkling record has had to remain silent publicly about the situation. Hurts was blunt in his first chance to speak with reporters since the aftermath of that game in Atlanta at Saturday’s media day.

“This whole spring ever since the game, (coaches) kind of wanted to let it play out and I guess didn’t think it was a thing to let it die down like there wasn’t something there,” Hurts said. “But that’s always been the elephant in the room. For me, no one came up to me the whole spring, coaches included, no one asked me how I felt.

“No one asked me what was on my mind. No one asked me how I felt about the things that were going on. Nobody asked me what my future held. That’s that. So now it’s like when we try to handle the situation now, for me, it’s kind of late, it’s too late, the narrative has already been created.”

The narrative is that he and Tua Tagovailoa are engaged in college football’s most talked about quarterback battle. Then-freshman Tagovailoa came off the bench in the second half to lift Alabama to a come-from-behind win over Georgia, heaving the game-winning touchdown pass in overtime .

And the Jalen-vs.-Tua buzz hasn’t died down. They spoke to separate groups of reporters at the same time not far from each other.

Hurts’ father, Averion, said in the spring that if Hurts didn’t win the job, he’d become the “biggest free agent in college football history.”

Asked at Southeastern Conference media days if Hurts would be with the team for the opener against Louisville, Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said he had “no idea”.

Then he told ESPN that Hurts later came to him and said he was staying.

Hurts said that’s not exactly how it went down.

“I actually went to talk to him about his comments (from SEC Media Days) on if he didn’t know I’d be here for the first game,” Hurts said. “We had a conversation about that. I was kind of shocked that he said that. Me coming at him and seeing what was going on and all that then, I told him, and I told him in June, that I’d be here.

“It was never a decision that had to be made in regard to me leaving.”

Hurts, who is 26-2 as a starter with two playoff trips, said it wouldn’t make much sense to leave when he’s scheduled to graduate in December.

He didn’t pull too many punches when he did get a chance to talk.

“There’s been a lot of rumors, a lot of speculation about things that have gone on this summer,” Hurts said. “The funny part for me is the people making decisions for me. It’s actually kind of good to see you all (reporters), I kind of feel like they’ve been hiding me from you all. There’s been a lot going on, a lot of things being said. Everybody has something to say, everybody has an opinion. The funniest thing about it is I’ve never said a thing.

“I kept my mouth closed, didn’t say anything to anyone. Regardless, people are believing the things that are being said, it’s hard to believe something when the No. 1 source didn’t say anything.”

That changed on Saturday, while Tagovailoa also talked to team beat writers for the first time in months after missing much of spring with a thumb injury on his left, throwing hand.

He told a group of kids on a trip back to Hawaii that he would have considered transferring if he hadn’t played in the title game. Now he says that was “taken out of context.”

Tagovailoa said he and Hurts don’t discuss the competition.

“We want to be positive because the team looks at that,” he said. “The team looks at what we say (in) the media as well. I just don’t want anything to ruin our relationship, and I don’t think anything between me and Jalen is bad.”

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Ohio State’s Meyer defends self, ex-assistant denies abuse

Urban Meyer is insisting that he properly handled 2015 allegations of domestic violence against one of his assistant coaches at the time, though he acknowledged he was not forthright with reporters when questioned last week about the claims.

The assistant Meyer fired, Zach Smith, also spoke up on Friday, denying that he abused

Urban Meyer is insisting that he properly handled 2015 allegations of domestic violence against one of his assistant coaches at the time, though he acknowledged he was not forthright with reporters when questioned last week about the claims.

The assistant Meyer fired, Zach Smith, also spoke up on Friday, denying that he abused his ex-wife, backing his former boss and placing Ohio State’s athletic director into the middle of the picture.

Two days after Ohio State sidelined Meyer and opened an investigation into what its superstar coach knew and did about accusations of abuse made against Smith by his ex-wife, two central figures in this college football drama answered some questions — and left much to be explained.

Meyer posted a statement addressed to Buckeyes fans on Twitter not long after his team, expected to be one of the best in the nation, opened practice for the upcoming season without him. Meyer was put on paid administrative leave Wednesday.

While Meyer’s statement was still being digested, Smith went on Columbus radio station 105.7 The Zone. In the interview , Smith said Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith questioned him during the 2015 football season about the allegations made by Courtney Smith that fall. Police reports were made about two separate incidents, but Zach Smith has never been criminally charged.

Zach Smith was fired last week by Meyer, a few days after his wife obtained a protective order against him.

Smith also did an interview with ESPN. He said he never assaulted his wife and any physical injuries she might have suffered were the result of him defending himself.

He said Gene Smith was alerted by police about the 2015 allegations. Zach Smith said that after speaking to Gene Smith about them, he spoke to Meyer. He said Meyer told him then that he would fire Smith if the head coach found out Smith hit his wife.

“I don’t know what else Urban Meyer could have done,” Zach Smith told ESPN.

The crisis at one of the most storied programs in college football history comes as the school is reeling from a sexual abuse scandal involving a now-dead sports doctor, Richard Strauss.

The Buckeyes open the season at home Sept. 1 against Oregon State. Co-offensive coordinator Ryan Day is acting head coach and there is no timetable for the Meyer inquiry to conclude.

“Over the past several days I have been portrayed as being indifferent to domestic violence and as someone who did not take appropriate action when warranted,” Meyer said.

“Here is the truth: While at the University of Florida and now at the Ohio State University I have always followed proper reporting protocols and procedures when I have learned of an incident involving a student-athlete, coach or member of our staff by elevating the issues to the proper channels. And I did so regarding the Zach Smith incident in 2015. I take that responsibility very seriously and any suggestion to the contrary is simply false.”

At Big Ten media days last week, Meyer said he knew of an incident involving the Smiths in 2009 and that he and his wife, Shelley Meyer, addressed it with the Smiths. He was also asked about a 2015 incident alleged by Courtney Smith, who said she told Meyer’s wife about those incidents.

“I can’t say it didn’t happen because I wasn’t there,” Meyer said at the time. “I was never told about anything and nothing ever came to light. I’ve never had a conversation about it. I know nothing about it. First I heard about that was last night. No, and I asked some people back at the office to call and say what happened and they came back and said they know nothing about it.”

Meyer said his intention at media day was not to say anything inaccurate.

“However, I was not adequately prepared to discuss these sensitive personnel issues with the media, and I apologize for the way I handled those questions,” he said.

Meyer said he will fully cooperate with investigators. Ohio State did not respond Friday to a request seeking comment on the comments by Meyer or Smith, who told the radio station his marriage was volatile and that he made mistakes. The Smiths divorced in 2016.

“I don’t believe I have ever threatened her or anyone,” Zach Smith, who had been an assistant at Ohio State since Meyer was hired in 2012, said in the radio interview.

Smith, the grandson of late Buckeyes coach Earle Bruce, a mentor to Meyer, played for Meyer when he was coach at Bowling Green in 2001-02. Smith also was a graduate assistant for Meyer at Florida for five seasons.

In 2009, Zach Smith was accused by his wife of assault, but charges were not filed. Meyer has said he and his wife, Shelley, counseled the couple at the time. Courtney Smith has also said she told Shelley Meyer about the 2015 incidents and shared pictures of injuries through text messages that she shared with college football reporter Brett McMurphy .

In one text to Courtney Smith, Shelley Meyer said of Zach Smith: “He scares me.”

Meyer has been at Ohio State for six seasons, going 73-8 with a national championship in 2014 and two Big Ten conference titles. He earlier won two national titles at Florida.

Ohio State’s policy on sexual misconduct says anyone who supervises faculty, staff, students or volunteers has a duty to report “when they receive a disclosure of sexual misconduct or become aware of information that would lead a reasonable person to believe that sexual misconduct may have occurred involving anyone covered under this policy.”

A clause in Meyer’s new contract, which raised his salary to $7.6 million this year and runs through 2022, also requires him to “report to Ohio State’s Title IX athletics any known violations” of the sexual misconduct policy involving students, faculty or staff at the risk of being fired with cause.

Firing Meyer without cause would cost Ohio State a nearly $40 million buyout.

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NFL Players Association PAC backs ex-players in House races

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The NFL Players Association's political action committee has begun dolling out donations for the midterm elections — including offering $5,000 each to two ex-players running for Congress from both parties.

The group known as NFLPA One Team PAC gave $5,000 to former Cowboys linebacker Colin Allred, a Democrat facing Republican U.S.

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The NFL Players Association’s political action committee has begun dolling out donations for the midterm elections — including offering $5,000 each to two ex-players running for Congress from both parties.

The group known as NFLPA One Team PAC gave $5,000 to former Cowboys linebacker Colin Allred, a Democrat facing Republican U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions in Dallas.

It did the same for Anthony Gonzalez, an ex-Indianapolis Colts receiver and Republican running for a seat being vacated by Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Renacci.

The group gave $27,700 total in six House and Senate races. Four Republicans got $17,700 and two Democrats received $10,000.

Republican Rep. Will Hurd of Texas also got $5,000, as did House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell received $2,700.

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Stoops: Defensive lineman Paschal has melanoma on foot

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky coach Mark Stoops says defensive lineman Josh Paschal has a malignant melanoma on his right foot and offensive line coach John Schlarman is dealing with an unspecified health issue.

Stoops says the sophomore recently had lesions removed from the bottom of the foot. Paschal was awaiting results from

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky coach Mark Stoops says defensive lineman Josh Paschal has a malignant melanoma on his right foot and offensive line coach John Schlarman is dealing with an unspecified health issue.

Stoops says the sophomore recently had lesions removed from the bottom of the foot. Paschal was awaiting results from another procedure Wednesday. Pascal had 17 tackles, 3.5 sacks and 4.5 tackles for loss as a freshman and was expected to play a bigger role this season.

Stoops says Schlarman, in his sixth season with the Wildcats, is still coaching while undergoing testing to determine his illness.

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Ohio St’s Day the latest interim coach tapped amid trouble

Ohio State coach Urban Meyer is on administrative leave as the school investigates claims his wife knew about allegations of domestic violence against former Buckeyes assistant Zach Smith, who was fired last week. Co-offensive coordinator Ryan Day will run the team during the investigation. Here are some of the coaches who took interim

Ohio State coach Urban Meyer is on administrative leave as the school investigates claims his wife knew about allegations of domestic violence against former Buckeyes assistant Zach Smith, who was fired last week. Co-offensive coordinator Ryan Day will run the team during the investigation. Here are some of the coaches who took interim roles at prominent programs after scandals and how they fared:

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JIM GROBE, BAYLOR, 2016

Grobe, a former Wake Forest head coach, came out of retirement to after Art Briles was fired following a sexual abuse scandal at the school. Grobe led the team to a 6-6 regular-season finish and a spot in the Cactus Bowl. The Bears defeated favored Boise State 31-12 to give the Bears a winning season. Grobe steadfastly said he had no interest in returning for another year and he headed back into retirement.

CLAY HELTON, USC, 2015

Helton took the interim role in 2015 following Steve Sarkisian’s in-season dismissal. Helton’s 5-2 run as a fill-in got him hired as the full-time head coach. He has gone 21-6 the past two seasons, and the Trojans won the Pac-12 title last season. Helton was rewarded in February with a contract extension through 2023.

JOHN L. SMITH, ARKANSAS, 2012

Smith stepped in after Bobby Petrino was fired following a motorcycle accident that led to revelations of an affair with a female employee. The former Michigan State coach couldn’t right the Razorbacks, who stumbled to a 4-8 record after starting the season with top 10 aspirations.

LUKE FICKELL, OHIO STATE, 2011

Fickell took over as interim coach while Jim Tressel served a five-game suspension as the NCAA investigated a tattoo parlor scandal. Tressel resigned after those five games, and Fickell led the team to a 6-6 regular-season record. Fickell kept his job as an assistant when Meyer took over, and he was the defensive coordinator when the Buckeyes won the national title in 2014. Fickell is now the head coach at Cincinnati, which went 4-8 last season.

TOM BRADLEY, PENN STATE, 2011

Bradley took over after Joe Paterno was fired nine games into the season amid the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse scandal. Bradley went 1-3 to close the season, with the win coming against Ohio State. The Nittany Lions lost to Houston in the Ticket City Bowl, and Bradley left after he was not hired by new coach Bill O’Brien. He is now the defensive backs coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

MIKE SHULA, ALABAMA, 2003

Shula took over for Mike Price, who was fired after a well-publicized night at a Florida strip club before he even coached a game for the Crimson Tide. Alabama went 4-9 that season under Shula, 6-6 in 2004 and 10-2 in 2005. Shula was fired after a 6-6 campaign in 2006. He has been an assistant in the NFL with Jacksonville and Carolina, and currently is the New York Giants’ offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.

GALEN HALL, FLORIDA, 1984

Florida hired Hall as offensive coordinator in 1984, but three games into the season, head coach Charley Pell was fired after an NCAA investigation alleged more than 100 violations. Hall went 8-0 overall and 5-0 in the Southeastern Conference and led the Gators to their first conference title. Florida removed the interim tag, and Hall went 9-1-1 in 1985. The penalties depleted the program, and Florida never won more than six games under Hall again. He resigned midway through the 1989 season after he acknowledged violating NCAA rules.

___

AP Sports Writer Kurt Voigt contributed to this report.

Read More 508 Words

The Latest: Ohio State trustees’ group will head Meyer probe

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Latest on Ohio State's investigation of coach Urban Meyer's handling of abuse claims against an assistant coach (all times local):

8:20 p.m.

Ohio State trustees have appointed a special committee to investigate coach Urban Meyer's handling of a fired assistant coach's domestic abuse allegations.

The university released a

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Latest on Ohio State’s investigation of coach Urban Meyer’s handling of abuse claims against an assistant coach (all times local):

8:20 p.m.

Ohio State trustees have appointed a special committee to investigate coach Urban Meyer’s handling of a fired assistant coach’s domestic abuse allegations.

The university released a statement Thursday night announcing the formation of the six-member “independent board working group.”

Meyer was put on paid administrative leave on Thursday following a report that Meyer’s wife Shelley knew about 2015 abuse allegations against former assistant Zach Smith made by his then-wife Courtney. Meyer told reporters he didn’t know about the 2015 allegations until just before Smith was fired last month.

The university is trying to determine what Meyer knew and when he knew it, and if he failed to report the allegations against Smith to officials.

This group includes current trustees Alex Fischer, Janet Porter and Alex Shumate. Also on the panel are former Ohio House Speaker Jo Ann Davidson, former acting U.S. Deputy Attorney General Craig Morford and former federal prosecutor Carter Stewart.

____

6:05 p.m.

Former Ohio State linebacker Chris Spielman says the school’s only choice was to put coach Urban Meyer on paid leave during an investigation over the handling of a longtime assistant who has been accused of domestic violence.

Spielman says Meyer needs and deserves to be heard from at the appropriate time, adding that Urban and Shelley Meyer are great people who do a lot for the community.

The former NFL linebacker and TV analyst says Meyer knows Ohio State’s program is bigger than any one individual.

Meyer is on leave while Ohio State investigates what he knew about 2015 abuse allegations against fired assistant Zach Smith. Meyer told reporters last week he didn’t know anything about the 2015 allegations, but Smith’s ex-wife Courtney this week produced text messages she shared with Shelley Meyer about that incident.

___

5:40 p.m.

Some students say they fear football success comes before women’s safety at Ohio State.

Students were reacting to a university investigation of head football coach Urban Meyer regarding his handling of a domestic abuse complaint against a now-fired assistant.

Nate Stewart, a doctoral student in education policy from Detroit, said Meyer should be fired if he knew about abuse allegations leveled against assistant coach Zach Smith in 2015.

Stewart said: “We have to end this toxic environment of putting football ahead of everything else.”

Monica Sun, a fourth-year biology major from Chicago, said she was upset by the news since Meyer is the face of Ohio State football. She said: “It doesn’t reflect well on him if he chooses to hide something to better a football game or to better a football career, rather than an individual person’s safety and mental well-being.”

Ohio State will try to determine what Meyer knew about 2015 abuse allegations against former assistant Zach Smith and when he knew it.

___

5:20 p.m.

Ohio State coach Urban Meyer won’t be appearing in ads for Bob Evans restaurants.

The Ohio-based restaurant chain announced this week that Meyer would appear in ads as the “head breakfast coach.” But that partnership was nullified Thursday amid a university investigation into Meyer’s handling of domestic abuse allegations against a former assistant coach.

The company tweeted that it was “suspending the current partnership with Urban Meyer and removing all related content pending the results of the official Ohio State University investigation.”

Ohio State is investigating claims that Meyer’s wife knew about 2015 allegations of abuse against former Buckeyes assistant Zach Smith, who was fired last week. Meyer told reporters he didn’t know about the 2015 allegations until just before Smith was fired.

___

5 p.m.

A hearing on a protective order against fired Ohio State assistant football coach Zach Smith won’t happen Friday.

The clerk’s office in Delaware County says the next hearing on the case is now scheduled for Sept. 14. The office didn’t know why the Friday hearing was canceled and attorneys for Zach Smith and ex-wife Courtney didn’t respond to messages left Thursday.

Courtney Smith was granted a temporary restraining order on July 20 after accusing her ex-husband of stalking and intimidation. Zach Smith hasn’t been charged with assaulting her or convicted of a crime.

Smith was a longtime assistant to coach Urban Meyer, who is now being investigated by the university for his handling of 2015 allegations of domestic abuse by Smith. Meyer is on paid administrative leave.

___

2:20 p.m.

Jay Paterno, the son of late Penn State coach Joe Paterno, came out in defense of Urban Meyer, writing in a blog post that “We should wait for facts” before calling for the Buckeyes’ coach to be fired.

Joe Paterno’s career four-decade career as Penn State coach ended when he was swept up into the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse scandal. Paterno was fired amid questions about how much he knew about Sandusky’s past crimes and whether he acted appropriately with allegations he was told of by an assistant coach.

Paterno writes: “As Penn Staters, we’ve seen the forces of innuendo, implication and allegation damage the lives and careers of good innocent people.” He says Americans should demand more.

Paterno was an assistant coach to his father and is currently an elected Penn State trustee.

___

1:55 p.m.

Ohio State plans to keep reporters away from its football team while it investigates coach Urban Meyer’s handling of a longtime assistant accused of domestic violence.

The university canceled a media availability set for the opening of preseason practice on Friday.

Ohio State had planned to allow the media to watch and record the first part of practice on Friday and then interview selected players and coaches afterward. But that changed Thursday, with a spokesman saying in an email that “due to the ongoing investigation, football coaches and student-athletes will not be available for interviews until further notice and all practices will be closed.”

Ohio State is investigating claims that Meyer’s wife knew about 2015 allegations of abuse against former Buckeyes assistant Zach Smith, who was fired last week. Meyer told reporters last week that he didn’t know about the 2015 allegations until just before Smith was fired.

___

1 p.m.

A contract extension given to Ohio State coach Urban Meyer in March could provide grounds for the university to fire him over the handling of a longtime assistant accused of domestic violence.

The extension signed March 27 added a requirement to Meyer’s contract that he immediately report any “known violations” of Ohio State’s sexual misconduct policy. The contract lists “intimate violence and stalking” as violations.

Meyer is on administrative leave while Ohio State investigates claims that Meyer’s wife knew about 2015 allegations of abuse against former Buckeyes assistant Zach Smith, who was fired last week.

Meyer previously told reporters last week that he was never told anything about the incident that resulted in injuries to Smith’s ex-wife, Courtney.

The extension also increased Meyer’s salary to $7.6 million for 2018, an $800,000 raise over what he was scheduled to earn.

Smith was set to make $340,000 in 2018 before his firing, a $40,000 increase from his salary for the 2017 season.

___

Noon

Ohio State expects to open fall camp as scheduled on Friday — but without coach Urban Meyer.

Meyer was put on administrative leave on Wednesday over the handling of a longtime assistant who has been accused of domestic violence. Co-offensive coordinator Ryan Day will run the team while Ohio State investigates claims that Meyer’s wife knew about 2015 allegations of abuse against former Buckeyes assistant Zach Smith, who was fired last week.

Meyer told reporters last week that he didn’t know anything about the incident that resulted in injuries to Smith’s ex-wife, Courtney.

Meyer’s wife, Shelley Meyer, is an instructor at Ohio State and a registered nurse.

Both Meyers could be in violation of Ohio State’s Title IX sexual misconduct policy on reporting allegations of domestic violence made of university employees.

Coincidentally, Zach Smith is scheduled for a hearing Friday on a domestic protection order his ex-wife sought on July 20. His attorney didn’t respond to messages Thursday.

___

9 a.m.

Urban Meyer’s Ohio State program has been one of the best in college football and for the most part has avoided major off-field issues and player behavior problems that tarnished his championship teams at Florida.

Now Meyer appears to be in jeopardy of losing his job as Buckeyes coach over the handling of a longtime assistant who has been accused of domestic violence.

Ohio State placed Meyer on paid administrative leave Wednesday while it investigates claims that his wife knew about allegations of abuse against former Buckeyes assistant Zach Smith, who was fired last week.

Smith’s ex-wife, Courtney Smith, told Stadium that she told Shelley Meyer in 2015 that Zach Smith had assaulted her. Courtney Smith provided text messages to former ESPN reporter Brett McMurphy between her and Shelley Meyer about Zach Smith’s behavior, and threatening text messages she said were sent to her by Zach Smith.

Courtney Smith said she did not know if Shelley Meyer told Urban Meyer about the allegations against Zach Smith, who has never been convicted of a crime or charged with assaulting his ex-wife.

Zach Smith’s attorney, Brad Koffel, said in a statement to ESPN: “Once he gets his chance to tell his side of events, don’t be surprised when it is corroborated by every police who ever responded to Ms. Smith’s calls.”

___

More AP college football: https://collegefootball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

Read More 1495 Words

The Latest: Spielman says Ohio St had to put Meyer on leave

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Latest on Ohio State's investigation of coach Urban Meyer's handling of abuse claims against an assistant coach (all times local):

6:05 p.m.

Former Ohio State linebacker Chris Spielman says the school's only choice was to put coach Urban Meyer on paid leave during an investigation over the handling

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Latest on Ohio State’s investigation of coach Urban Meyer’s handling of abuse claims against an assistant coach (all times local):

6:05 p.m.

Former Ohio State linebacker Chris Spielman says the school’s only choice was to put coach Urban Meyer on paid leave during an investigation over the handling of a longtime assistant who has been accused of domestic violence.

Spielman says Meyer needs and deserves to be heard from at the appropriate time, adding that Urban and Shelley Meyer are great people who do a lot for the community.

The former NFL linebacker and TV analyst says Meyer knows Ohio State’s program is bigger than any one individual.

Meyer is on leave while Ohio State investigates what he knew about 2015 abuse allegations against fired assistant Zach Smith. Meyer told reporters last week he didn’t know anything about the 2015 allegations, but Smith’s ex-wife Courtney this week produced text messages she shared with Shelley Meyer about that incident.

___

5:40 p.m.

Some students say they fear football success comes before women’s safety at Ohio State.

Students were reacting to a university investigation of head football coach Urban Meyer regarding his handling of a domestic abuse complaint against a now-fired assistant.

Nate Stewart, a doctoral student in education policy from Detroit, said Meyer should be fired if he knew about abuse allegations leveled against assistant coach Zach Smith in 2015.

Stewart said: “We have to end this toxic environment of putting football ahead of everything else.”

Monica Sun, a fourth-year biology major from Chicago, said she was upset by the news since Meyer is the face of Ohio State football. She said: “It doesn’t reflect well on him if he chooses to hide something to better a football game or to better a football career, rather than an individual person’s safety and mental well-being.”

Ohio State will try to determine what Meyer knew about 2015 abuse allegations against former assistant Zach Smith and when he knew it.

___

5:20 p.m.

Ohio State coach Urban Meyer won’t be appearing in ads for Bob Evans restaurants.

The Ohio-based restaurant chain announced this week that Meyer would appear in ads as the “head breakfast coach.” But that partnership was nullified Thursday amid a university investigation into Meyer’s handling of domestic abuse allegations against a former assistant coach.

The company tweeted that it was “suspending the current partnership with Urban Meyer and removing all related content pending the results of the official Ohio State University investigation.”

Ohio State is investigating claims that Meyer’s wife knew about 2015 allegations of abuse against former Buckeyes assistant Zach Smith, who was fired last week. Meyer told reporters he didn’t know about the 2015 allegations until just before Smith was fired.

___

5 p.m.

A hearing on a protective order against fired Ohio State assistant football coach Zach Smith won’t happen Friday.

The clerk’s office in Delaware County says the next hearing on the case is now scheduled for Sept. 14. The office didn’t know why the Friday hearing was canceled and attorneys for Zach Smith and ex-wife Courtney didn’t respond to messages left Thursday.

Courtney Smith was granted a temporary restraining order on July 20 after accusing her ex-husband of stalking and intimidation. Zach Smith hasn’t been charged with assaulting her or convicted of a crime.

Smith was a longtime assistant to coach Urban Meyer, who is now being investigated by the university for his handling of 2015 allegations of domestic abuse by Smith. Meyer is on paid administrative leave.

___

2:20 p.m.

Jay Paterno, the son of late Penn State coach Joe Paterno, came out in defense of Urban Meyer, writing in a blog post that “We should wait for facts” before calling for the Buckeyes’ coach to be fired.

Joe Paterno’s career four-decade career as Penn State coach ended when he was swept up into the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse scandal. Paterno was fired amid questions about how much he knew about Sandusky’s past crimes and whether he acted appropriately with allegations he was told of by an assistant coach.

Paterno writes: “As Penn Staters, we’ve seen the forces of innuendo, implication and allegation damage the lives and careers of good innocent people.” He says Americans should demand more.

Paterno was an assistant coach to his father and is currently an elected Penn State trustee.

___

1:55 p.m.

Ohio State plans to keep reporters away from its football team while it investigates coach Urban Meyer’s handling of a longtime assistant accused of domestic violence.

The university canceled a media availability set for the opening of preseason practice on Friday.

Ohio State had planned to allow the media to watch and record the first part of practice on Friday and then interview selected players and coaches afterward. But that changed Thursday, with a spokesman saying in an email that “due to the ongoing investigation, football coaches and student-athletes will not be available for interviews until further notice and all practices will be closed.”

Ohio State is investigating claims that Meyer’s wife knew about 2015 allegations of abuse against former Buckeyes assistant Zach Smith, who was fired last week. Meyer told reporters last week that he didn’t know about the 2015 allegations until just before Smith was fired.

___

1 p.m.

A contract extension given to Ohio State coach Urban Meyer in March could provide grounds for the university to fire him over the handling of a longtime assistant accused of domestic violence.

The extension signed March 27 added a requirement to Meyer’s contract that he immediately report any “known violations” of Ohio State’s sexual misconduct policy. The contract lists “intimate violence and stalking” as violations.

Meyer is on administrative leave while Ohio State investigates claims that Meyer’s wife knew about 2015 allegations of abuse against former Buckeyes assistant Zach Smith, who was fired last week.

Meyer previously told reporters last week that he was never told anything about the incident that resulted in injuries to Smith’s ex-wife, Courtney.

The extension also increased Meyer’s salary to $7.6 million for 2018, an $800,000 raise over what he was scheduled to earn.

Smith was set to make $340,000 in 2018 before his firing, a $40,000 increase from his salary for the 2017 season.

___

Noon

Ohio State expects to open fall camp as scheduled on Friday — but without coach Urban Meyer.

Meyer was put on administrative leave on Wednesday over the handling of a longtime assistant who has been accused of domestic violence. Co-offensive coordinator Ryan Day will run the team while Ohio State investigates claims that Meyer’s wife knew about 2015 allegations of abuse against former Buckeyes assistant Zach Smith, who was fired last week.

Meyer told reporters last week that he didn’t know anything about the incident that resulted in injuries to Smith’s ex-wife, Courtney.

Meyer’s wife, Shelley Meyer, is an instructor at Ohio State and a registered nurse.

Both Meyers could be in violation of Ohio State’s Title IX sexual misconduct policy on reporting allegations of domestic violence made of university employees.

Coincidentally, Zach Smith is scheduled for a hearing Friday on a domestic protection order his ex-wife sought on July 20. His attorney didn’t respond to messages Thursday.

___

9 a.m.

Urban Meyer’s Ohio State program has been one of the best in college football and for the most part has avoided major off-field issues and player behavior problems that tarnished his championship teams at Florida.

Now Meyer appears to be in jeopardy of losing his job as Buckeyes coach over the handling of a longtime assistant who has been accused of domestic violence.

Ohio State placed Meyer on paid administrative leave Wednesday while it investigates claims that his wife knew about allegations of abuse against former Buckeyes assistant Zach Smith, who was fired last week.

Smith’s ex-wife, Courtney Smith, told Stadium that she told Shelley Meyer in 2015 that Zach Smith had assaulted her. Courtney Smith provided text messages to former ESPN reporter Brett McMurphy between her and Shelley Meyer about Zach Smith’s behavior, and threatening text messages she said were sent to her by Zach Smith.

Courtney Smith said she did not know if Shelley Meyer told Urban Meyer about the allegations against Zach Smith, who has never been convicted of a crime or charged with assaulting his ex-wife.

Zach Smith’s attorney, Brad Koffel, said in a statement to ESPN: “Once he gets his chance to tell his side of events, don’t be surprised when it is corroborated by every police who ever responded to Ms. Smith’s calls.”

___

More AP college football: https://collegefootball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

Read More 1342 Words

Roaring jets trigger queasy memories for Chris Petersen

SEATTLE (AP) — Chris Petersen got a brief respite from the talk of the high expectations facing Washington on the eve of fall camp.

Rather than talking around questions about the Huskies being a likely top 10 team when the AP Top 25 is released later this month or about the opener against

SEATTLE (AP) — Chris Petersen got a brief respite from the talk of the high expectations facing Washington on the eve of fall camp.

Rather than talking around questions about the Huskies being a likely top 10 team when the AP Top 25 is released later this month or about the opener against powerhouse Auburn, Petersen was able to deflect momentarily as jets roaring overhead allowed him to share a memory.

Eventually there was some talk about the Huskies and what lies ahead before the Sept. 1 season-opener in Atlanta against Auburn.

But sandwiched in between football questions was a highly entertaining story from the Huskies’ leader as the Blue Angels practiced over Lake Washington ahead of their weekend performances in Seattle.

___

More AP college football: http://collegefootball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

Read More 72 Words

The Latest: Bob Evans scraps Meyer ads amid investigation

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Latest on Ohio State's investigation of coach Urban Meyer's handling of abuse claims against an assistant coach (all times local):

5:20 p.m.

Ohio State coach Urban Meyer won't be appearing in ads for Bob Evans restaurants.

The Ohio-based restaurant chain announced this week that Meyer would appear in

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Latest on Ohio State’s investigation of coach Urban Meyer’s handling of abuse claims against an assistant coach (all times local):

5:20 p.m.

Ohio State coach Urban Meyer won’t be appearing in ads for Bob Evans restaurants.

The Ohio-based restaurant chain announced this week that Meyer would appear in ads as the “head breakfast coach.” But that partnership was nullified Thursday amid a university investigation into Meyer’s handling of domestic abuse allegations against a former assistant coach.

The company tweeted that it was “suspending the current partnership with Urban Meyer and removing all related content pending the results of the official Ohio State University investigation.”

Ohio State is investigating claims that Meyer’s wife knew about 2015 allegations of abuse against former Buckeyes assistant Zach Smith, who was fired last week. Meyer told reporters he didn’t know about the 2015 allegations until just before Smith was fired.

___

5 p.m.

A hearing on a protective order against fired Ohio State assistant football coach Zach Smith won’t happen Friday.

The clerk’s office in Delaware County says the next hearing on the case is now scheduled for Sept. 14. The office didn’t know why the Friday hearing was canceled and attorneys for Zach Smith and ex-wife Courtney didn’t respond to messages left Thursday.

Courtney Smith was granted a temporary restraining order on July 20 after accusing her ex-husband of stalking and intimidation. Zach Smith hasn’t been charged with assaulting her or convicted of a crime.

Smith was a longtime assistant to coach Urban Meyer, who is now being investigated by the university for his handling of 2015 allegations of domestic abuse by Smith. Meyer is on paid administrative leave.

___

2:20 p.m.

Jay Paterno, the son of late Penn State coach Joe Paterno, came out in defense of Urban Meyer, writing in a blog post that “We should wait for facts” before calling for the Buckeyes’ coach to be fired.

Joe Paterno’s career four-decade career as Penn State coach ended when he was swept up into the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse scandal. Paterno was fired amid questions about how much he knew about Sandusky’s past crimes and whether he acted appropriately with allegations he was told of by an assistant coach.

Paterno writes: “As Penn Staters, we’ve seen the forces of innuendo, implication and allegation damage the lives and careers of good innocent people.” He says Americans should demand more.

Paterno was an assistant coach to his father and is currently an elected Penn State trustee.

___

1:55 p.m.

Ohio State plans to keep reporters away from its football team while it investigates coach Urban Meyer’s handling of a longtime assistant accused of domestic violence.

The university canceled a media availability set for the opening of preseason practice on Friday.

Ohio State had planned to allow the media to watch and record the first part of practice on Friday and then interview selected players and coaches afterward. But that changed Thursday, with a spokesman saying in an email that “due to the ongoing investigation, football coaches and student-athletes will not be available for interviews until further notice and all practices will be closed.”

Ohio State is investigating claims that Meyer’s wife knew about 2015 allegations of abuse against former Buckeyes assistant Zach Smith, who was fired last week. Meyer told reporters last week that he didn’t know about the 2015 allegations until just before Smith was fired.

___

1 p.m.

A contract extension given to Ohio State coach Urban Meyer in March could provide grounds for the university to fire him over the handling of a longtime assistant accused of domestic violence.

The extension signed March 27 added a requirement to Meyer’s contract that he immediately report any “known violations” of Ohio State’s sexual misconduct policy. The contract lists “intimate violence and stalking” as violations.

Meyer is on administrative leave while Ohio State investigates claims that Meyer’s wife knew about 2015 allegations of abuse against former Buckeyes assistant Zach Smith, who was fired last week.

Meyer previously told reporters last week that he was never told anything about the incident that resulted in injuries to Smith’s ex-wife, Courtney.

The extension also increased Meyer’s salary to $7.6 million for 2018, an $800,000 raise over what he was scheduled to earn.

Smith was set to make $340,000 in 2018 before his firing, a $40,000 increase from his salary for the 2017 season.

___

noon

Ohio State expects to open fall camp as scheduled on Friday — but without coach Urban Meyer.

Meyer was put on administrative leave on Wednesday over the handling of a longtime assistant who has been accused of domestic violence. Co-offensive coordinator Ryan Day will run the team while Ohio State investigates claims that Meyer’s wife knew about 2015 allegations of abuse against former Buckeyes assistant Zach Smith, who was fired last week.

Meyer told reporters last week that he didn’t know anything about the incident that resulted in injuries to Smith’s ex-wife, Courtney.

Meyer’s wife, Shelley Meyer, is an instructor at Ohio State and a registered nurse.

Both Meyers could be in violation of Ohio State’s Title IX sexual misconduct policy on reporting allegations of domestic violence made of university employees.

Coincidentally, Zach Smith is scheduled for a hearing Friday on a domestic protection order his ex-wife sought on July 20. His attorney didn’t respond to messages Thursday.

___

9 a.m.

Urban Meyer’s Ohio State program has been one of the best in college football and for the most part has avoided major off-field issues and player behavior problems that tarnished his championship teams at Florida.

Now Meyer appears to be in jeopardy of losing his job as Buckeyes coach over the handling of a longtime assistant who has been accused of domestic violence.

Ohio State placed Meyer on paid administrative leave Wednesday while it investigates claims that his wife knew about allegations of abuse against former Buckeyes assistant Zach Smith, who was fired last week.

Smith’s ex-wife, Courtney Smith, told Stadium that she told Shelley Meyer in 2015 that Zach Smith had assaulted her. Courtney Smith provided text messages to former ESPN reporter Brett McMurphy between her and Shelley Meyer about Zach Smith’s behavior, and threatening text messages she said were sent to her by Zach Smith.

Courtney Smith said she did not know if Shelley Meyer told Urban Meyer about the allegations against Zach Smith, who has never been convicted of a crime or charged with assaulting his ex-wife.

Zach Smith’s attorney, Brad Koffel, said in a statement to ESPN: “Once he gets his chance to tell his side of events, don’t be surprised when it is corroborated by every police who ever responded to Ms. Smith’s calls.”

___

More AP college football: https://collegefootball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

Read More 1041 Words

Ohio State closes ranks as Meyer probe adds new scandal

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio State closed ranks around the rollout of its football season as the university investigates whether coach Urban Meyer failed to report domestic abuse allegations, a scandal hitting a school already accused of not facing up to sexual misconduct allegations against a sports doctor.

The Buckeyes plan to open

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio State closed ranks around the rollout of its football season as the university investigates whether coach Urban Meyer failed to report domestic abuse allegations, a scandal hitting a school already accused of not facing up to sexual misconduct allegations against a sports doctor.

The Buckeyes plan to open their first football practice Friday without Meyer, who was put on administrative leave during the probe and also suspended from an endorsement deal by restaurant chain Bob Evans. It’s not clear how restrictive the paid leave will be for the coach who is expected to earn $7.6 million for the 2018 season after getting a raise earlier this year.

Ohio State officials declined comment Thursday beyond barring reporters from practices and saying they would decide by Monday when to allow coaches and players to speak to media. Co-offensive coordinator Ryan Day was named acting head coach while Meyer is out.

“Due to the ongoing investigation, football coaches and student-athletes will not be available for interviews until further notice and all practices will be closed,” Ohio State spokesman Jerry Emig said in an email.

Meyer’s future with one of the most storied programs in college football depends on how he managed allegations that Buckeyes assistant and recruiting coordinator Zach Smith abused his ex-wife, Courtney Smith — answering the questions of what Meyer knew and when.

Courtney Smith alleged Wednesday that she told Meyer’s wife, Shelley, about the abuse in text messages and phone conversations in 2015 and that Shelley Meyer indicated she would tell the head coach. Courtney Smith’s allegations — including the text messages — were reported by former ESPN reporter Brett McMurphy on his Facebook page and in a video interview with Smith.

“In 2015 I came forward with it,” Courtney Smith said in the interview. “I told Shelley, I sent her some pictures (of her injuries), I spoke to her on the phone.”

Meyer told reporters last week that he didn’t know anything about the 2015 incident. It is not clear what contact Meyer had, if any, with university officials about the situation until Smith was fired last month. Smith has never been criminally charged.

Separately, a court hearing for Zach Smith was postponed Thursday on a domestic protection order sought by his ex-wife. She asked for the order after a July 20 disagreement and the court action resulted in Zach Smith being fired from Ohio State, where he was set to make $340,000 for the 2018 season. The Smiths are due in court in September and their lawyers did not respond to messages seeking comment Thursday.

Ohio State is investigating Meyer while also facing three federal lawsuits about its response to allegations of groping, leering and other misconduct by a deceased athletic department doctor who treated wrestlers and other students for two decades. The lawsuits alleging sexual abuse by Dr. Richard Strauss say Ohio State facilitated the abuse by ignoring complaints.

Since Ohio State announced an independent investigation in April, more than 100 former students have come forward with accounts of sexual misconduct by Strauss. The allegations range from 1979 to 1997 and involve male athletes from 14 sports, as well as his work at the student health center and his off-campus medical office.

The questions confronting Meyer involve whether he vouched too strongly for a coach he’s considered family. The 34-year-old Zach Smith is the grandson of Meyer’s mentor and former Ohio State coach Earle Bruce. He played for Meyer as a walk-on at Bowling Green, worked for him at Florida and was hired as the wide receivers coach when Meyer came to Ohio State in 2012.

Meyer acknowledged last week that he had been aware of a 2009 domestic-abuse incident in Gainesville. He said he and Shelley counseled the couple and allowed Zach Smith to remain on his staff.

Meyer ended up as the Ohio State coach because of a previous football scandal. Coach Jim Tressel was fired in 2011 for lying to the NCAA and university of about rules violations committed by some of his players.

The Ohio State probe bears similarities to scandals past for other big-time college programs, centering on whether a team’s leader properly reported potential wrongdoing. The similarity prompted the son of late Penn State coach Joe Paterno to weigh in with his opinion about public response criticizing Meyer, comparing Meyer’s situation with the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.

Jay Paterno, who was an assistant coach to his father and is currently an elected Penn State trustee, said in a blog post that “we should wait for facts” before calling for the Buckeyes coach to be fired.

Joe Paterno’s career four-decade career as Penn State coach ended when he was fired amid questions about how much he knew about Sandusky’s past crimes and whether he acted appropriately with allegations he was told of by an assistant coach.

“As Penn Staters, we’ve seen the forces of innuendo, implication and allegation damage the lives and careers of good innocent people,” Jay Paterno wrote, saying Americans should demand more.

___

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___

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Florida coach Dan Mullen tries to explain no-weapons policy

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — A week after one of his players was found with a loaded AR-15 in his car, first-year Florida coach Dan Mullen said he has a no-weapons policy that nonetheless does allow players to own guns.

The Gators should hope Mullen's offense is easier to grasp.

"We live in a

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — A week after one of his players was found with a loaded AR-15 in his car, first-year Florida coach Dan Mullen said he has a no-weapons policy that nonetheless does allow players to own guns.

The Gators should hope Mullen’s offense is easier to grasp.

“We live in a country where that’s one of your rights,” Mullen said Thursday during an unusual media day for the Gators, who are grappling with a number of off-field problems. “A lot of people I know have guns in their house to protect their homes and their family. What we do … is really to educate them on weapons, on having guns. Why would you have it? What’s the purpose of having it?

“To me, one of the biggest concerns with a lot of young people today is, if you’re going to have a gun, make sure you’re properly trained in knowing how to use it. … If you think you need to have a gun for home security, are you trained in using it? Is it a legal gun? Do you have a license? Are you qualified? What we’re not looking for, to me, is gun accidents or issues where a gun could maybe cause a bigger problem than if there wasn’t a weapon involved.”

Florida receiver Kadarius Toney was found with a loaded AR-15 rifle in the back seat of his car during a traffic stop last week. Gainesville police did not cite Toney because the weapon was not concealed and was not “on or about” him, which would have violated the state’s open-carry law.

Toney told officers he needed the weapon for protection from locals because “they be coming after us.” Police said the weapon is his.

Several players said Thursday they believed the team policy offered no wiggle room regarding weapons.

“No weapons allowed,” receiver Josh Hammond said. “That’s been our policy since coach Mullen got here.”

Mullen said otherwise.

“It’s a no-weapons policy in certain situations of how to be educated to not have (issues),” said Mullen, hired last November and tasked with rebuilding an offense that has been stagnant for nearly a decade. “No weapons, that’s easy to remember. If I write out all the different (scenarios) — no weapons in these situations or have a weapon for a hunting situation, if I’m doing this, I store it at this location, I keep it here, I have gun safety rules and knowledge — that’s not a quick catch to them to register in their mind. Does that make sense?”

Toney’s traffic stop came after tension — and at least one fight — between several football players and some Gainesville residents, including Devante Zachery.

Zachery told police that one player had an assault rifle during a confrontation in late May. It turned out the orange tip of Toney’s Airsoft gun had been painted black to resemble a real rifle, according to the police report.

Six players, including top receiver Tyrie Cleveland and freshman quarterback Emory Jones, are facing university disciplinary action following the on-campus altercation.

Cleveland, Jones, Toney, defensive tackle Kyree Campbell, receiver Rick Wells and tight end Kemore Gamble were not charged following a university police investigation. Officers referred the matter to the school’s Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution department.

“I feel like everybody is really trying to come together and make smarter decisions off the field,” Cleveland said. “I feel like we got the message and we’re working really hard toward it.”

Toney and Campbell were referred to the board for having Airsoft guns, which have a plastic body and shoot plastic projectiles. Cleveland, Jones, Wells and Gamble were referred for lying to police officers.

“Most discipline issues occur because someone made a poor decision,” Mullen said. “It doesn’t matter what form it is, whether you’re talking about if someone stole something, if you’re talking about a decision with a female, if you’re talking about a decision involving drugs or alcohol, you’re talking about a decision with a weapon, someone made a poor decision along the way. It’s a constant education process on making good decisions.”

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Opinion: Control Freak Meyer Suddenly “Knows Nothing”

College coaches are notorious control freaks.

From making sure that every minute of practice is accounted for to fretting over what players are putting in their bodies at the dining hall, no detail is too small for a coach's prying eyes.

They have to know everything.

Which is why it's ludicrous to believe that Urban

College coaches are notorious control freaks.

From making sure that every minute of practice is accounted for to fretting over what players are putting in their bodies at the dining hall, no detail is too small for a coach’s prying eyes.

They have to know everything.

Which is why it’s ludicrous to believe that Urban Meyer turned into Sgt. Schultz — the “Hogan’s Heroes” character famous for saying “I know nothing. Nothing!” — when asked about multiple domestic abuse allegations involving one of his assistant coaches.

Which is why Meyer will probably soon be Ohio State’s ex-football coach.

Meyer was placed on paid administrative leave Wednesday while Ohio State conducts an investigation into what he knew and when he knew it, but we all know where this is likely headed.

Like so many who came before him — Joe Paterno, Rick Pitino, et al — Meyer was more consumed with winning at all costs, protecting his program’s reputation and covering for his buddies than doing the right thing, the obvious thing, what should’ve been the easy thing.

For Meyer, the handling of former Buckeyes assistant Zach Smith is simply the latest episode in a disturbing pattern of playing dumb, even while keeping track of such minute details as a player’s heart rate at practice .

In his previous job at Florida, Meyer captured two national championships but never seemed all that concerned about the staggering number of players — more than two dozen in all, enough to fill out a complete offense and defense — getting into trouble off the field.

Then there was Aaron Hernandez.

No one knew what kind of monster he would turn out to be during three seasons with the Gators, but plenty of NFL teams sure had their concerns after he entered the 2010 draft. Hernandez plummeted all the way to the fourth round before he was picked by the New England Patriots, amid reports of multiple failed drugs tests while at Florida.

Hernandez wound up in prison for murder and killed himself behind bars. We’ll never know if this tragic story would’ve taken a different turn, if only Meyer had dealt more forcefully with such a clearly disturbed player during his time in Gainesville.

Let’s not forget Meyer’s mysterious departure from the Gators. He resigned after the 2009 season, citing health concerns, but changed his mind a day later. He coached at Florida one more season and quit again, this time saying he wanted to devote more time to his wife and children. Apparently, one year on the sideline was all the family time he needed. No wonder his critics called to him as “Urban Liar.”

In 2012, Meyer returned to coaching at Ohio State, taking over a storied program in his home state after another national championship-winning coach, Jim Tressel, was fired for lying to the school and the NCAA about violations committed by his players.

Meyer won a national title of his own with the Buckeyes.

And, now, it looks like he’s headed for a similar ending as Tressel.

This possible cover-up involves Smith, whose ties to Meyer run deep.

Smith is the grandson of late Ohio State coach Earle Bruce, a mentor to Meyer and one of the most influential people in his life. Smith played for Meyer at Bowling Green. When Smith decided to get into coaching, it was only appropriate that Meyer was there with a job.

But Smith’s personal life has long been troubled, and Meyer certainly knew at least part of the story. Last week at Big Ten media days, the coach said he was aware of a 2009 case in which Smith was accused of aggravated battery on his then-pregnant wife while coaching at Florida.

The charge was dropped because of insufficient evidence. Meyer said he and his wife, Shelley, addressed the incident with the Smiths, but that’s about as far as it went.

When Meyer was hired by the Buckeyes, Smith again joined the staff as a receivers coach and ace recruiter.

The strife at home didn’t let up. Police reports obtained by cleveland.com detail nine domestic incidents involving Smith and his now ex-wife Courtney between 2012 and last month. Most troubling, that includes an alleged incident of domestic abuse on Oct. 25, 2015, shortly before the couple divorced.

Courtney Smith told Stadium that she told Shelley Meyer in 2015 that Zach Smith had assaulted her . Courtney Smith provided text messages to former ESPN reporter Brett McMurphy between her and Shelley Meyer about Zach Smith’s behavior, and threatening text messages she said were sent to her by Zach Smith.

“Shelley said she was going to have to tell Urban,” Courtney Smith told Stadium. “I said: ‘That’s fine, you should tell Urban.'”

Courtney Smith concedes that she does not know if Shelley Meyer ever told her husband about the allegations. If we’re to believe what Urban Meyer said last week, his wife kept quiet about the whole affair, not even bothering to mention at the dinner table, “Hey, you’ve got an assistant coach who might have a problem.”

Urban Meyer could even be throwing his wife under the bus, since as a university employee herself she would be required under Ohio State’s Title IX sexual misconduct policy to report any allegation of domestic violence against someone who works at the school.

“I can’t say it didn’t happen because I wasn’t there,” Urban Meyer said during Big Ten media days. “I was never told about anything and nothing ever came to light. I’ve never had a conversation about it. I know nothing about it.”

Zach Smith was finally dismissed by Meyer on July 23 after an Ohio court granted a domestic violence protective order to Courtney Smith against her former husband. Zach Smith has never been convicted of a crime or charged with assaulting his ex-wife, and his attorney said he will be exonerated when all the facts come out.

Even so, Meyer’s claims of ignorance seem downright implausible.

If that proves to be the case, he should be out of a job.

Of course, this being college athletics, Meyer wouldn’t be out of work for long.

There will always be another school that cares more about his success as a coach than his failings as a human being.

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Paul Newberry is a sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at pnewberry@ap.org or at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963 . His work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/paul%20newberry

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Vols’ assistants get rare opportunity to speak to media

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee co-defensive coordinator Chris Rumph used the eve of training camp to deliver an impassioned sermon on the responsibility all coaches have to shape young men.

He probably won't get a chance to deliver that message to reporters again anytime soon.

New Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt wants to serve

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee co-defensive coordinator Chris Rumph used the eve of training camp to deliver an impassioned sermon on the responsibility all coaches have to shape young men.

He probably won’t get a chance to deliver that message to reporters again anytime soon.

New Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt wants to serve as his staff’s sole public voice while keeping his assistants away from the media. That copies a strategy adopted by Alabama’s Nick Saban and Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher, two of his former bosses. Pruitt was defensive coordinator at Alabama the last two years after filling the same role at Georgia and on Fisher’s Florida State staff.

Offensive coordinator Tyson Helton, defensive coordinator Kevin Sherrer and Rumph spoke Thursday but aren’t expected to have any more media sessions the rest of the season.

“When you’re talking, you want one message,” Pruitt said. “I think if you have one message, at least you know what that message will exactly be.”

Pruitt said he appreciated that policy as an assistant coach because he could focus on football. His assistants say they don’t mind spending most of the season off limits to reporters and weren’t surprised by Pruitt’s decision.

“With the system he’s been around — that we’ve both been around — the head coach handles most of the media and the (assistant) coaches go coach,” Sherrer said.

But it did give Rumph an opportunity to show what they’ll be missing the rest of the season as he discussed the mission of coaches in helping players improve on and off the field.

“It’s more than football,” Rumph said. “It’s life. I tell them all the time, if the only thing that you learn from me is how to tackle, how to sack and all that stuff, then I’ve failed. I don’t want to just be a guy who’s going to teach you how to do that. I might as well leave.

“I want to teach them how to be a man, how to be a father, how to be a husband, how to treat your wife, how to treat your kids, how to treat people. That’s what it’s all about, man. That’s what it’s all about. If we can do that, man, this world would be great.”

Tennessee opens preseason practice Friday attempting to bounce back from a 4-8 campaign that resulted in the firing of former coach Butch Jones . Tennessee set a school record for losses and failed to win a single Southeastern Conference game for the first time since the league’s formation in 1933.

Tennessee must decide on a starting quarterback as incumbent Jarrett Guarantano attempts to hold off a challenge from Stanford graduate transfer Keller Chryst . That’s the most notable position battle on a roster that has competition just about everywhere.

“We tell guys all the time (that) you guys control who plays, we don’t,” Pruitt said. “How you perform on the practice field, how you prepare, how you work in the offseason, that’s going to dictate who plays. I think everybody here feels like they have an opportunity.”

Pruitt has assembled a staff featuring many former colleagues.

Sherrer and Pruitt worked together at Hoover (Alabama) High School from 2005-06 and teamed up again at Alabama and Georgia. Rumph was at Florida the last three seasons but worked alongside Pruitt at Alabama from 2011-12.

Helton spent the last two years as Southern California’s quarterbacks coach but got to know his new boss while recruiting Hoover when Pruitt was there. Pruitt was still at Hoover when Helton worked nearby as a UAB assistant.

“Everybody talks about coach Pruitt being a great defensive coach (but) he’s a great all-around coach,” Helton said. “Just over the eight months we’ve had a chance to sit down and talk about what’s important about offensive football, what we need to do and how we need to attack people, he brings a lot to the table in that area.”

NOTES: Pruitt said offensive tackle Trey Smith likely would be cleared for contact around Aug. 19 or Aug. 20. Smith missed spring practice due to blood clots in his lungs. … Freshman Alontae Taylor will start training camp at cornerback. He worked out at both cornerback and receiver in spring practice. … Pruitt said receiver Jauan Jennings will be “a little bit limited” at the start of training camp. Jennings played just one game last season before a wrist injury sidelined him for the rest of the year.

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Former Baylor coach Art Briles to coach in Italy

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Former Baylor football coach Art Briles is going to Italy to try to revive his career.

Briles was fired by Baylor in 2016 amid a sexual assault scandal at the Baptist school and hasn't coached since. He told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram he has been hired to coach

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Former Baylor football coach Art Briles is going to Italy to try to revive his career.

Briles was fired by Baylor in 2016 amid a sexual assault scandal at the Baptist school and hasn’t coached since. He told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram he has been hired to coach an American football team, Guelfi Firenze, in Florence, Italy. Briles said he will join the team in October.

Baylor fired Briles after a school investigation found his football program operated as if it was “above the rules” and that staff interfered with assault investigations and witnesses.

Briles has denied wrongdoing or attempts to cover up assaults. In a lawsuit deposition in June, former athletic director Ian McCaw said he believed the university used the football program as a scapegoat for widespread problems at the university. School officials have denied McCaw’s claims.

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Information from: Fort Worth Star-Telegram, http://www.star-telegram.com

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The Latest: Meyer contract could provide firing grounds

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Latest on Ohio State's investigation of coach Urban Meyer's handling of abuse claims against an assistant coach (all times local):

1 p.m.

A contract extension given to Ohio State coach Urban Meyer in March could provide grounds for the university to fire him over the handling of a

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Latest on Ohio State’s investigation of coach Urban Meyer’s handling of abuse claims against an assistant coach (all times local):

1 p.m.

A contract extension given to Ohio State coach Urban Meyer in March could provide grounds for the university to fire him over the handling of a longtime assistant accused of domestic violence.

The extension signed March 27 added a requirement to Meyer’s contract that he immediately report any “known violations” of Ohio State’s sexual misconduct policy. The contract lists “intimate violence and stalking” as violations.

Meyer is on administrative leave while Ohio State investigates claims that Meyer’s wife knew about 2015 allegations of abuse against former Buckeyes assistant Zach Smith, who was fired last week.

Meyer previously told reporters last week that he was never told anything about the incident that resulted in injuries to Smith’s ex-wife, Courtney.

The extension also increased Meyer’s salary to $7.6 million for 2018, an $800,000 raise over what he was scheduled to earn.

Smith was set to make $340,000 in 2018 before his firing, a $40,000 increase from his salary for the 2017 season.

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12 p.m.

Ohio State expects to open fall camp as scheduled on Friday — but without coach Urban Meyer.

Meyer was put on administrative leave on Wednesday over the handling of a longtime assistant who has been accused of domestic violence. Co-offensive coordinator Ryan Day will run the team while Ohio State investigates claims that Meyer’s wife knew about 2015 allegations of abuse against former Buckeyes assistant Zach Smith, who was fired last week.

Meyer told reporters last week that he didn’t know anything about the incident that resulted in injuries to Smith’s ex-wife, Courtney.

Meyer’s wife, Shelley Meyer, is an instructor at Ohio State and a registered nurse.

Both Meyers could be in violation of Ohio State’s Title IX sexual misconduct policy on reporting allegations of domestic violence made of university employees.

Coincidentally, Zach Smith is scheduled for a hearing Friday on a domestic protection order his ex-wife sought on July 20. His attorney didn’t respond to messages Thursday.

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9 a.m.

Urban Meyer’s Ohio State program has been one of the best in college football and for the most part has avoided major off-field issues and player behavior problems that tarnished his championship teams at Florida.

Now Meyer appears to be in jeopardy of losing his job as Buckeyes coach over the handling of a longtime assistant who has been accused of domestic violence.

Ohio State placed Meyer on paid administrative leave Wednesday while it investigates claims that his wife knew about allegations of abuse against former Buckeyes assistant Zach Smith, who was fired last week.

Smith’s ex-wife, Courtney Smith, told Stadium that she told Shelley Meyer in 2015 that Zach Smith had assaulted her. Courtney Smith provided text messages to former ESPN reporter Brett McMurphy between her and Shelley Meyer about Zach Smith’s behavior, and threatening text messages she said were sent to her by Zach Smith.

Courtney Smith said she did not know if Shelley Meyer told Urban Meyer about the allegations against Zach Smith, who has never been convicted of a crime or charged with assaulting his ex-wife.

Zach Smith’s attorney, Brad Koffel, said in a statement to ESPN: “Once he gets his chance to tell his side of events, don’t be surprised when it is corroborated by every police who ever responded to Ms. Smith’s calls.”

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The Latest: Ohio State to open camp with Meyer on leave

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Latest on Ohio State's investigation of coach Urban Meyer's handling of abuse claims against an assistant coach (all times local):

12 p.m.

Ohio State expects to open fall camp as scheduled on Friday — but without coach Urban Meyer.

Meyer was put on administrative leave on Wednesday over

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Latest on Ohio State’s investigation of coach Urban Meyer’s handling of abuse claims against an assistant coach (all times local):

12 p.m.

Ohio State expects to open fall camp as scheduled on Friday — but without coach Urban Meyer.

Meyer was put on administrative leave on Wednesday over the handling of a longtime assistant who has been accused of domestic violence. Co-offensive coordinator Ryan Day will run the team while Ohio State investigates claims that Meyer’s wife knew about 2015 allegations of abuse against former Buckeyes assistant Zach Smith, who was fired last week.

Meyer told reporters last week that he didn’t know anything about the incident that resulted in injuries to Smith’s ex-wife, Courtney.

Meyer’s wife, Shelley Meyer, is an instructor at Ohio State and a registered nurse.

Both Meyers could be in violation of Ohio State’s Title IX sexual misconduct policy on reporting allegations of domestic violence made of university employees.

Coincidentally, Zach Smith is scheduled for a hearing Friday on a domestic protection order his ex-wife sought on July 20. His attorney didn’t respond to messages Thursday.

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9 a.m.

Urban Meyer’s Ohio State program has been one of the best in college football and for the most part has avoided major off-field issues and player behavior problems that tarnished his championship teams at Florida.

Now Meyer appears to be in jeopardy of losing his job as Buckeyes coach over the handling of a longtime assistant who has been accused of domestic violence.

Ohio State placed Meyer on paid administrative leave Wednesday while it investigates claims that his wife knew about allegations of abuse against former Buckeyes assistant Zach Smith, who was fired last week.

Smith’s ex-wife, Courtney Smith, told Stadium that she told Shelley Meyer in 2015 that Zach Smith had assaulted her. Courtney Smith provided text messages to former ESPN reporter Brett McMurphy between her and Shelley Meyer about Zach Smith’s behavior, and threatening text messages she said were sent to her by Zach Smith.

Courtney Smith said she did not know if Shelley Meyer told Urban Meyer about the allegations against Zach Smith, who has never been convicted of a crime or charged with assaulting his ex-wife.

Zach Smith’s attorney, Brad Koffel, said in a statement to ESPN: “Once he gets his chance to tell his side of events, don’t be surprised when it is corroborated by every police who ever responded to Ms. Smith’s calls.”

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NCAA deems Florida transfer WRs Grimes, Jefferson eligible

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Transfer wide receivers Trevon Grimes and Van Jefferson, two of Florida's most dynamic players during spring practice, are now eligible to play.

The NCAA on Thursday granted both players waivers to play in 2018. The move comes one day before the Gators open fall camp.

Grimes spent last season

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Transfer wide receivers Trevon Grimes and Van Jefferson, two of Florida’s most dynamic players during spring practice, are now eligible to play.

The NCAA on Thursday granted both players waivers to play in 2018. The move comes one day before the Gators open fall camp.

Grimes spent last season at Ohio State, catching three passes for 20 yards. Jefferson spent the past three seasons at Mississippi, hauling in 91 catches for 999 yards and four touchdowns the last two years.

Both transferred to Florida in January.

Jefferson still needs another waiver, one from the Southeastern Conference, because he transferred from one league school to another. That waiver is expected to be a formality.

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Meyer on hot seat over handling of assistant abuse claims

Urban Meyer's Ohio State program has been one of the best in college football and for the most part has avoided major off-field issues and player behavior problems that tarnished his championship teams at Florida.

Now Meyer appears to be in jeopardy of losing his job as Buckeyes coach over the handling of a longtime

Urban Meyer’s Ohio State program has been one of the best in college football and for the most part has avoided major off-field issues and player behavior problems that tarnished his championship teams at Florida.

Now Meyer appears to be in jeopardy of losing his job as Buckeyes coach over the handling of a longtime assistant who has been accused of domestic violence. He’s not even the favorite to be coaching the team in a month. Defensive Coordinator Greg Schiano has the lowest odds

Ohio State placed Meyer on paid administrative leave Wednesday while it investigates claims that his wife knew about allegations of abuse against former Buckeyes assistant Zach Smith, who was fired last week.

Smith’s ex-wife, Courtney Smith, told Stadium that she told Shelley Meyer in 2015 that Zach Smith had assaulted her . Courtney Smith provided text messages to former ESPN reporter Brett McMurphy between her and Shelley Meyer about Zach Smith’s behavior, and threatening text messages she said were sent to her by Zach Smith.

“Shelley said she was going to have to tell Urban,” Courtney Smith told Stadium. “I said: ‘That’s fine, you should tell Urban.'”

Courtney Smith said she did not know if Shelley Meyer told Urban Meyer about the allegations against Zach Smith, who has never been convicted of a crime or charged with assaulting his ex-wife.

Zach Smith’s attorney, Brad Koffel, said in a statement to ESPN on Wednesday: “Once he gets his chance to tell his side of events, don’t be surprised when it is corroborated by every police who ever responded to Ms. Smith’s calls.”

Ohio State will now look into what Urban Meyer knew and when, which could determine whether he remains coach of the Buckeyes.

Meyer is heading into his seventh season at Ohio State, where he is 73-8 with a national title in 2014 and two Big Ten Conference championships. Shelley Meyer is a registered nurse and is employed as an instructor at Ohio State. Both Meyer and his wife could be in violation of Ohio State’s Title IX sexual misconduct policy on reporting allegations of domestic violence against university employees.

Violation of the university’s policy could result in Meyer being fired with cause by the university, according to provisions placed in his contract when it was extended by two years in April. The deal runs through 2022 and increases Meyer’s salary to $7.6 million in 2018, with annual 6 percent raises for the bulk of his compensation.

Offensive coordinator Ryan Day will serve as acting head coach for the Buckeyes, expected to be one of the top teams in the nation again this season. Ohio State’s first preseason practice is scheduled for Friday. The season starts Sept. 1 with a game against Oregon State in Columbus.

Meyer said in a statement that he and athletic director Gene Smith agreed that him going on leave was best for the investigation.

“This allows the team to conduct training camp with minimal distraction. I eagerly look forward to the resolution of this matter,” Meyer said.

Meyer is on the short list of most accomplished coaches in college football history, with three national championships and an .851 winning percentage in 16 seasons at Bowling Green, Utah, Florida and now Ohio State, the team he grew up rooting for in Northeast Ohio.

Meyer won national championships with Florida in 2006 and ’08, but his teams also had more than two dozen players get into trouble with the law. He resigned twice at Florida, citing health reasons, first in the 2009 season after the Gators lost the Southeastern Conference championship game while trying to repeat as national champs. He changed his mind soon after and coached another season. The Gators went 8-5 in 2010, and afterward, Meyer stepped down for good.

Meyer was out of coaching for a season but was hired by Ohio State in November 2011. The Buckeyes had fired Jim Tressel, another national championship-winning coach, before that season for lying to the NCAA and university of about rules violation committed by some of his players.

Since returning to coaching, Meyer’s program has been one of the most dominant in college football, and his players have mostly stayed out of major trouble.

Meyer did face some criticism in 2013 for allowing running back Carlos Hyde to return to the team after he was charged with striking a woman in a bar. The case was dropped by police when the woman chose not to pursue charges, but Hyde was suspended three games by Ohio State.

Zach Smith is the grandson of late Ohio State coach Earle Bruce, whom Meyer has long praised as a mentor and one of the most influential people in his life. Smith played for Meyer at Bowling Green and began his coaching career under Meyer in Florida.

In 2009, Zach Smith was accused of aggravated battery on his then-pregnant wife while he was working for Meyer in Gainesville, Florida. The charge was dropped because of insufficient evidence.

Meyer hired Smith to join him at Ohio State in 2012 and fired Smith last week after an Ohio court granted a domestic violence protective order to Courtney Smith against her former husband. The firing came on the same day the 2009 allegation against Zach Smith was reported, along with police reports detailing two other accusations Courtney Smith made against Zach Smith in the fall of 2015. Charges were never filed in those cases. The Smiths separated in June 2015 and divorced in 2016.

Zach Smith was charged in May with misdemeanor criminal trespass. He pleaded not guilty, and a hearing is scheduled for Friday.

At Big Ten media days last week, Meyer said he knew of the incident in 2009 and that he and Shelley Meyer addressed it with the Smiths. He was also asked about the 2015 incident alleged by Courtney Smith.

“I can’t say it didn’t happen because I wasn’t there,” Meyer said. “I was never told about anything and nothing ever came to light. I’ve never had a conversation about it. I know nothing about it. First I heard about that was last night. No, and I asked some people back at the office to call and say what happened and they came back and said they know nothing about it.”

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Some items found after theft from Nebraska coach’s home

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Scott Frost's championship rings and other items reported stolen from his home have been found.

Police said the new Nebraska coach located them in his garage Monday, although some other memorabilia he reported stolen is still missing.

Frost had reported Sunday night that burglars entered an unlocked garage door

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Scott Frost’s championship rings and other items reported stolen from his home have been found.

Police said the new Nebraska coach located them in his garage Monday, although some other memorabilia he reported stolen is still missing.

Frost had reported Sunday night that burglars entered an unlocked garage door over the weekend and stole memorabilia originally estimated at more than $100,000.

Frost and his family don’t live in the home yet because it is under renovation. The theft occurred between Friday at 5:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. Sunday, according to a police report.

Originally reported missing were two Nebraska championship rings, 10 Oregon championship rings, two Central Florida championship rings, five pairs of Air Jordan shoes, football helmets and a gaming console. Also, a gun safe electronic keypad was ripped off.

Lincoln Police Capt. Todd Kocian said Monday night that Frost found all of his championship rings, the gaming console and one Central Florida football helmet.

Still missing were the shoes, five other football helmets and photographs.

Kocian said he had no details about how Frost came to find the items reported stolen.

“The incident that occurred at our home is obviously very disappointing and discouraging,” Frost said in a statement earlier Monday. “All of our belongings were gone through and it will take some time to determine exactly what is missing and the value of those items.

“I would like to clarify that some items initially reported as missing have been found, including some of the rings listed on the police report. Also, the value of what we believe to actually be missing is lower than what has been publicly reported.”

Nebraska spokesman Keith Mann said he had no information beyond what Frost said in the statement.

No arrests have been made and there were no suspects, Kocian said.

Before Monday night’s development, police had listed the value of the items at $172,600.

The burglary was reported less than a week before Nebraska begins preseason practice.

Frost, who signed a seven-year contract that pays him $5 million this year, was The Associated Press national coach of the year after leading Central Florida to a 13-0 record last season.

Frost grew up 90 minutes west of Lincoln, in Wood River, and won a share of the 1997 national championship as the Cornhuskers’ quarterback. Nebraska hired him in December to take over a program that went 4-8 last season and hasn’t won a conference championship since 1999.

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The Latest: Nebraska coach finds some items reported stolen

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — The Latest on the theft of memorabilia from the home of Nebraska coach Scott Frost (all times local):

6:45 p.m.

Scott Frost's championship rings and other items reported stolen from his home have been found.

Police say the new Nebraska coach located them in his garage Monday.

Frost had

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — The Latest on the theft of memorabilia from the home of Nebraska coach Scott Frost (all times local):

6:45 p.m.

Scott Frost’s championship rings and other items reported stolen from his home have been found.

Police say the new Nebraska coach located them in his garage Monday.

Frost had reported Sunday night that burglars entered an unlocked garage door over the weekend and stole memorabilia originally estimated at more than $100,000.

Frost and his family don’t live in the home yet because it is under renovation. The theft occurred between Friday at 5:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. Sunday, according to a police report.

Originally reported missing were two Nebraska championship rings, 10 Oregon championship rings, two Central Florida championship rings, five pairs of Air Jordan shoes, football helmets and a gaming console. Also, a gun safe electronic keypad was ripped off.

Lincoln Police Capt. Todd Kocian said Monday night that Frost found all of his championship rings, the gaming console and one Central Florida football helmet.

Still missing were the shoes, five other football helmets and photographs.

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4:00 p.m.

Burglars entered the unlocked garage at the home of new Nebraska football coach Scott Frost over the weekend and stole memorabilia originally estimated at more than $100,000.

The theft at Frost’s southwest Lincoln home occurred between Friday at 5:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. Sunday, Lincoln Police Capt. Danny Reitan said. Frost and his family don’t live in the home yet because it is under renovation. Reitan said he didn’t know whether Frost was in Lincoln over the weekend.

Originally reported missing were two Nebraska championship rings, 10 Oregon championship rings, two Central Florida championship rings, five pairs of Air Jordan shoes, football helmets and a gaming console. Also, a gun safe electronic keypad was ripped off.

Frost said in a statement that what occurred is “disappointing and discouraging.”

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Championship rings taken in burglary of Scott Frost’s house

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — New Nebraska football coach Scott Frost has had an estimated $165,000 in memorabilia taken from his home in Lincoln.

Lincoln police told the Lincoln Journal Star on Monday that burglars entered the home through the unlocked garage between Friday at 5:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. Sunday.

Capt. Jeri Roeder

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — New Nebraska football coach Scott Frost has had an estimated $165,000 in memorabilia taken from his home in Lincoln.

Lincoln police told the Lincoln Journal Star on Monday that burglars entered the home through the unlocked garage between Friday at 5:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. Sunday.

Capt. Jeri Roeder said two Nebraska championship rings, 10 Oregon championship rings, two Central Florida championship rings, five pairs of Air Jordan shoes and a gaming console are missing.

Roeder said Frost and his family don’t live in the home yet because it is under renovation.

No arrests have been made.

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Iowa OL Wirfs arrested, charged with intoxicated driving

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Iowa offensive lineman Tristan Wirfs was arrested over the weekend and charged with driving while intoxicated.

Iowa City police records show that Wirfs, a tackle entering his sophomore season, was taken into custody just before 2 a.m. Sunday. He was driving a scooter and police say he failed

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Iowa offensive lineman Tristan Wirfs was arrested over the weekend and charged with driving while intoxicated.

Iowa City police records show that Wirfs, a tackle entering his sophomore season, was taken into custody just before 2 a.m. Sunday. He was driving a scooter and police say he failed a field sobriety test with a 0.129 blood-alcohol level. In Iowa, the legal limit is 0.08 but for those under 21 the limit is 0.02. Wirfs is 19.

The Hawkeyes have yet to announce any punishment for Wirfs, a native of Mount Vernon, Iowa. Athletic director Gray Barta said he is disappointed in Wirfs’ decision making and that Wirfs will be subject to the school’s student-athlete code of conduct.

Last week, defensive lineman Brady Reiff was arrested after Iowa City police say mistook a police car for an Uber. Police say he registered a blood-alcohol content of 0.204.

The Hawkeyes, who finished 8-5 a year ago, open the season on Sept. 1 against Northern Illinois.

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Air Force DB is first openly gay service academy player

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — An Air Force defensive back is the first openly gay football player to play for a military academy.

The Gazette reports that sophomore Bradley Kim announced his sexual orientation on Friday to teammates, on social media and in an article in OutSports.

Kim said on social media that

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — An Air Force defensive back is the first openly gay football player to play for a military academy.

The Gazette reports that sophomore Bradley Kim announced his sexual orientation on Friday to teammates, on social media and in an article in OutSports.

Kim said on social media that he is now comfortable and confident enough in himself to say that he is gay. He says he hopes that he can be an example to people who fear they won’t be accepted.

Stephen Peters II, founder of the advocacy group The American Military Partner Association, says, “To our knowledge, it’s safe to say Kim is the first Division 1 military academy football player to come out.”

Several of Kim’s teammates sent him messages of support through social media.

Air Force Academy officials say the academy strives to foster a culture where everyone gives and receives dignity and respect.

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Information from: The Gazette, http://www.gazette.com

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Jurors acquit ex-Tennessee football players in rape trial

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Jurors have acquitted two former University of Tennessee football players, nearly 3 ½ years after they were indicted on aggravated rape charges.

A jury of seven women and five men deliberated for almost 1 ½ hours Friday afternoon before finding A.J. Johnson and Michael Williams not guilty on all

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Jurors have acquitted two former University of Tennessee football players, nearly 3 ½ years after they were indicted on aggravated rape charges.

A jury of seven women and five men deliberated for almost 1 ½ hours Friday afternoon before finding A.J. Johnson and Michael Williams not guilty on all counts.

“We prayed, trusted in God,” Johnson said afterward. “I just knew God was going to take care of it.”

Johnson, 26, embraced friends and relatives as soon as the jury departed. The 25-year-old Williams gave a big hug to his lawyer, David Eldridge. The woman who said both men raped her left the courtroom as the not-guilty verdicts for Johnson were announced and before the jury foreman had even read their decision on Williams.

“I am so grateful to the jury for their work and their service to our community, and I’m grateful for their seeing the truth, (that) Michael Williams is not guilty and has never been guilty of this crime,” Eldridge said. “He’s looking forward to moving on with his life.”

Johnson and Williams were indicted on February 2015 after a woman said both men raped her during a party at Johnson’s apartment in the early morning hours of Nov. 16, 2014. Johnson and Williams were suspended from the team less than 48 hours after the party and never played for Tennessee again.

Prosecutors made the Tennessee football program’s influence over the Knoxville community and Johnson’s status as a local celebrity back in 2014 major elements of their case. During her closing argument Friday afternoon, Knox County Assistant District Attorney General Leslie Nassios described the defendants as “entitled men, used to getting their way, coddled, idolized men who weren’t used to hearing the word, ‘No.'”

Eldridge countered that Williams and Johnson were being prosecuted despite a lack of evidence because they’re former Tennessee football players. Stephen Ross Johnson said Nassios made an “emotional” argument “because they don’t have evidence.”

Defense lawyers argued that the woman had consensual sex with both men at the same time and then lied, claiming she had been raped. Stephen Ross Johnson said the woman was “locked into a lie” that had spun out of control.

“She regrets it,” Eldridge said. “Ladies and gentlemen, regret isn’t rape.”

Nassios questioned why the woman would lie about something like this. Nassios noted the woman had “lost everything that mattered to her” through this situation.

“How would you think (she) was ever locked in a lie?” Nassios said. “How many steps has she had in her life since this has happened — 3 ½ years — to stop if she wanted to? Where is the motivation to perpetuate a lie? Who has ever said that anybody has ever forced her into lying, forced her to come here, forced her to go through all this? It’s not there. That’s not a reasonable defense. It’s irrational, in fact.”

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The Latest: Ex-Tennessee players acquitted on rape charges

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Latest on the trial of two former University of Tennessee football players facing aggravated rape charges (all times local):

5:05 p.m.

Jurors have acquitted two former University of Tennessee football players who were indicted on aggravated rape charges nearly 3 ½ years ago.

The jury of seven women

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Latest on the trial of two former University of Tennessee football players facing aggravated rape charges (all times local):

5:05 p.m.

Jurors have acquitted two former University of Tennessee football players who were indicted on aggravated rape charges nearly 3 ½ years ago.

The jury of seven women and five men deliberated Friday for almost 1 ½ hours before finding A.J. Johnson and Michael Williams not guilty.

A woman had testified that both men raped her at Johnson’s apartment in the early morning hours of Nov. 16, 2014, after a Tennessee football victory over Kentucky. Johnson was a star linebacker and Williams was a defensive back for Tennessee at the time.

Both men were suspended from the team less than 48 hours later and never played for Tennessee again. They were indicted in February 2015.

Lawyers for both defendants had rested their case Friday without calling any witnesses. Prosecutors rested their case Thursday.

Johnson embraced his friends and relatives immediately after the verdict was announced. Williams hugged his lawyer.

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3:20 p.m.

Jurors have begun deliberating in the trial of two former University of Tennessee football players facing aggravated rape charges.

Prosecutors and defense lawyers gave their closing arguments Friday afternoon in the trial of A.J. Johnson and Michael Williams.

A woman says both defendants raped her at Johnson’s apartment in the early morning hours of Nov. 16, 2014, after a Tennessee football victory over Kentucky. Johnson was a star linebacker and Williams was a defensive back for Tennessee at the time.

Both men were indicted on February 2015.

The prosecution rested its case Thursday afternoon. Lawyers for both defendants rested their case Friday without calling any witnesses.

Defense lawyers have said the woman had consensual sex with both men at the same time before lying that she was raped.

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Jury in rape trial acquits both former University of Tennessee college football players on all counts

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Jury in rape trial acquits both former University of Tennessee college football players on all counts.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Jury in rape trial acquits both former University of Tennessee college football players on all counts.

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Alabama gives Saban 8-year deal worth more than $74 million

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama coach Nick Saban has received a new eight-year deal worth at least $74 million.

The agreement runs through the 2025 season and was announced on Friday. Saban gets a one-year extension with a sizable raise for the 66-year-old coach, who has led the Crimson Tide to five national

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama coach Nick Saban has received a new eight-year deal worth at least $74 million.

The agreement runs through the 2025 season and was announced on Friday. Saban gets a one-year extension with a sizable raise for the 66-year-old coach, who has led the Crimson Tide to five national championships over the past nine seasons.

Saban’s salary will increase to $7.5 million this season and go up by another $400,000 in each subsequent year. He also gets an $800,000 signing incentive this year and would receive the same amount for completing each of the next three seasons — 2019, 2020 and 2021.

He had received an eight-year deal worth at least $65 million in May 2017.

Then Saban claimed his fifth title with the Crimson Tide in January with a come-from-behind, overtime win over Georgia thanks to a quarterback switch that paid off.

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Deliberations begin in rape trial of ex-Tennessee players

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Jurors have begun deliberating in the trial of two former University of Tennessee football players facing aggravated rape charges.

Prosecutors and defense lawyers gave their closing arguments Friday afternoon in the trial of A.J. Johnson and Michael Williams.

A woman says both defendants raped her at Johnson's apartment in

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Jurors have begun deliberating in the trial of two former University of Tennessee football players facing aggravated rape charges.

Prosecutors and defense lawyers gave their closing arguments Friday afternoon in the trial of A.J. Johnson and Michael Williams.

A woman says both defendants raped her at Johnson’s apartment in the early morning hours of Nov. 16, 2014, after a Tennessee football victory over Kentucky. Johnson was a star linebacker and Williams was a defensive back for Tennessee at the time.

Both men were indicted on February 2015.

The prosecution rested its case Thursday afternoon. Lawyers for both defendants rested their case Friday without calling any witnesses.

Defense lawyers have said the woman had consensual sex with both men at the same time before lying that she was raped.

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