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Troy Aikman Dallas Cowboys Jersey

Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman retired in 2001 after winning three Super Bowls during his 12-year NFL tenure. File Photo by Sergio Flores/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 26 (UPI) — Dallas Cowboys legend Troy Aikman recently stood up for Andrew Luck on social media after the former Indianapolis Colts quarterback announced his decision to retire.

The three-time Super Bowl champion and Pro Football Hall of Famer did so by responding to a tweet from FS1 sports personality Doug Gottlieb. Luck announced his decision to retire Saturday. The 29-year-old quarterback cited the numerous injuries he has sustained during his NFL tenure as a major reason behind walking away from the game.

“This is not an easy decision. Honestly, it’s the hardest decision of my life. But it is the right decision for me,” Luck told reporters Saturday during his retirement news conference.

“For the last four years or so, I’ve been in this cycle of injury, pain, rehab, injury, pain, rehab, and it’s been unceasing, unrelenting, both in-season and offseason, and I felt stuck in it. The only way I see out is to no longer play football.”

RELATED Colts QB Andrew Luck retires at 29, cites frequent injuries
Luck missed the entire 2017 season due to a shoulder issue. He returned to win Comeback Player of the Year in 2018, before dealing with more injuries this off-season and in training camp.

“Retiring cause rehabbing is ‘too hard’ is the most millennial thing ever,” Gottlieb tweeted Saturday.

Gottlieb’s tweet drew a lot of negative reaction and had more than 26,000 comments and 1,700 retweets. Aikman — now a commentator for Fox — was just one of the former athletes to respond to the take.

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“That’s total [expletive] Doug,” Aikman wrote. “What qualifies you to decide how someone should live their life? So you’re now the authority on what motivates Andrew Luck? And if his decisions don’t fit into what you think is best for him then you rip him? Guess that keeps you employed on FS1. Nice.”

Aikman, 52, played his entire 12-year career with the Cowboys. The six-time Pro Bowl selection sustained multiple concussions during his pro football tenure before retiring in 2001. He also sustained a concussion during the final snap of his career. Aikman spoke about his personal decision to retire during NFL Films’ Troy Aikman: A Football Life.

“All these people think I got out of the game because of head injuries,” Aikman said. “Concussions had nothing to do with it, absolutely nothing to do with my retirement. Ultimately, the reason I retired after 12 years was because I felt that I had worked hard to develop some level of credibility and respect within this game. And I felt like that was being jeopardized by decisions that were being made beyond my control within the organization. And I didn’t want to be a part of it anymore.”

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Six-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady also voiced his support for Luck during a radio interview Monday on WEEI’s Greg Hill Show.

“It is his life,” Brady said. “Everyone has the right to choose what they want to do. He had a great career and he was a great player. Everybody wishes they could be healthy all the time.

“It is a contact sport and he’s certainly had his fair share of injuries, so guys retire at different times. Some at the end of the season, and I have seen a lot of guys retire before the season gets going and this is just one of those examples.”

Luck retired with a 4-4 record in the postseason and a 53-33 record in the regular season. The Stanford graduate was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.

Custom New York Jets Jerseys

Candidates for New York Jets general manager job are very wary of taking the job without a long-term deal from the team.
Fans of the long-suffering New York Jets know they’re dealing with a team that can, at times, resemble a circus. While the circus narrative can be a little overblown at times, the team repeatedly makes it oh so easy to paint them with that brush.

While nobody can argue with the firing of Mike Maccagnan, the timing is interesting, as they allowed him to run a critical offseason before making the decision. Now the team might have trouble replacing their former general manager, according to Josina Anderson of ESPN.

Anderson was told by a source that “No one really wants [the] job without [a] long-term deal” and that people are wondering “how much control is [the] new person actually going to have.” That’s certainly not something that fans will want to hear as the team tries to build around Sam Darnold.

The Jets have struggled with their reputation ever since Woody Johnson bought the team, but things had been seemingly looking up after Christopher Johnson took over. However, his forced marriage of Maccagnan and Adam Gase blew up before a game was played. The decision to fire Maccagnan after the meat of the offseason ended has some questioning whether the same old Jets are back.

The Jets will eventually find a general manager. There are only 32 NFL GM jobs and they are all coveted by executives looking to make a name for themselves, or by former executives looking to get back into the game. However, whether the team can get their first choice or not remains to be seen. It doesn’t look hopeful in Jets land at the moment though.

Custom Los Angeles Rams Jerseys

If the Los Angeles Rams are looking to make moves before training camp, here are three players worth considering from the Buffalo Bills in a trade.
When it comes to the Los Angeles Rams, the team has proven over the last two years that nothing should be ruled out in regards to pulling off moves if it will put them in better position to make a run at the Super Bowl.

Take a look at all of the crazy moves made last offseason when the Rams were in win-now mode ranging from acquiring Brandin Cooks to Marcus Peters, and it’s clear this team will do whatever it takes to make sure they remain a top contender in the NFC.

With this in mind, could Los Angeles be up for making another key move or two before the start of training camp later this summer to make their odds for another Super Bowl run even better?

The Rams may not have hinted at making any sort of moves since the team already helped fill numerous needs at multiple positions through free agency and the draft, but also it’s safe to assume the team is exploring all potential options.

Even though the Buffalo Bills took a bit of a step back last season after emerging as a surprise playoff contender during the 2017 season, Sean McDermott‘s squad currently has a few good players a team like Los Angeles should consider in a heartbeat.

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These trade scenarios may seem like long shots to take place, but to have a little fun this offseason, let’s take a look at three trade targets the Rams should consider from the Bills for the 2019 season before training camp arrives.

Custom Indianapolis Colts Jerseys

It isn’t often a rookie earns a First-Team All-Pro selection, but Indianapolis Colts guard Quenton Nelson proved he was worthy of his high draft spot following an elite campaign.

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Even for Nelson, who was consistently a force along the Colts offensive line, there are areas in which he wants to improve. Under a new staff in the form of Chris Strausser, Howard Mudd and Klayton Adams, Nelson is a big believer in the work getting done this spring.

“I like them a lot. They really harp on the fundamentals and do a great job teaching,” Nelson told reporters Tuesday. “They are very detail oriented and what they’re teaching – I feel like I have already seen results in myself and my teammates too. So it has been awesome being coached by them and they’re doing a great job.”

The Colts fired offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo during the early part of the offseason. Wanting more of a teacher and less of a motivator, Indy sought to bring in the trio of Strausser, Mudd and Adams.

Nelson had just about as strong of a rookie season as can be had for a guard that was selected with the No. 6 pick in the draft. He was the only Colt to play every single snap on the offensive side of the ball and excelled with consistency.

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However, there are areas the Notre Dame product wants to improve upon. That specifically comes in the form of his technique.

“I think everyone can get better at their technique just every day with the consistency of it – like all the fine details of offensive line play,” Nelson said. “For me, it would be getting my hands inside, keeping my elbows in the run game and the pass game and really trusting and believing in my technique.”

The Colts offensive line is seeing the return of all five starters from the 2018 season. Nelson will continue to be a cornerstone for the entire offensive unit, which will look to impose its will even more in 2019.

Custom Seattle Seahawks Jerseys

(Programming note: the Round-Up will be off through Memorial Day weekend, returning on Tuesday, May 28)

Good morning, 12s.

Here’s a look at what’s ‘out there’ for today – Friday, May 24 – about your Seattle Seahawks.

Offseason Adventures With D.J. Fluker
Seahawks offensive lineman D.J. Fluker was a guest on 710 ESPN Seattle’s ‘Danny, Dave and Moore’ earlier this week to offer his thoughts on Seattle’s transition to phase three of its offseason program, with organized team activities kicking off this past Monday.

“I think it’s been a lot easier transitioning to the offense,” said Fluker, who’s entering his second season with the Seahawks. “I think the offense is the same, everything’s been going a little bit quicker, but our tempo is a whole lot better. We’re connecting more as an offense. I think that’s the big thing from last year to this year, all the guys are behind you.”

Fluker’s physical play up front helped the Seahawks lead the league in rushing last season and his signature pancake blocks quickly made him a fan favorite in Seattle. But Fluker’s unique personality has also attracted fans to his corner, and back in early April, before the start of the Seahawks’ offseason workout program, Fluker shared a thought-provoking photo on social media of his 6-foot-5, 342-pound frame somehow sitting inside of a small smart car.

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View image on Twitter

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New whip, @DJTheWarrior76?

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“I kind of got talked into it,” Fluker said of the squishy situation. “I was actually coming from a workout, so I was leaving Destination Dallas in Texas, so he was like, ‘Man, I’m wondering can you fit into my smart car?’ I’m kind of like yeah, sure, why not.

“So I’m sitting here looking at this car. I’m looking like… this car’s about as big as my whole body. So I’m like how am I gonna to get into something that’s like a cocoon? Like a butterfly, he’s gonna get ready to split it open, you know? Finally I get in there — I had to go one foot at a time, I had to suck my stomach in a little bit, I’m like ‘God!’, my arm’s sitting on the passenger’s side.”

“I finally got in there and I tried to crank it up,” he continued. “But see what happened was, my knees were literally on the dashboard, so I can’t even touch the pedal. Then you talk about getting out of it? I closed the door and then I got stuck, so I took about 10 minutes to get out of it. I literally had to stick my head out of the sunroof to get under it and then lay out on the ground to get out of it. So yeah, big guys do not fit in tiny spaces. Does not work for me.”

In another entertaining online bit this offseason, Fluker joined receiver Tyler Lockett to spoof quarterback Russell Wilson’s announcement that he had signed a contract extension with the Seahawks, with Lockett posing as Wilson and Fluker imitating Wilson’s wife, Ciara, from the video.

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When ur teammates start re-enacting.. @TDLockett12 & @DJTheWarrior76 start making fun of me & @Ciara #Hilarious

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“I think that was more of a team effort there,” Fluker said. “One of our coach’s gave us a pep talk, ‘Guys, we’ve got to get him back for this.’ But we had fun with it, we had fun with it.”

For fans hoping to hang out with Fluker this Memorial Day weekend, he’s hosting a free football camp for youth age 7-14 in Oak Harbor.

Social Post Of The Day
Today’s ‘Social Post of the Day’ comes from Seahawks safety Bradley McDougald, who wishes fans a happy holiday weekend.
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@BabyLead
Have a Great weekend people #BM30

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@Seahawks
Fridaaaayyyyy! #GoHawks | @BabyLead

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Seahawks.com’s John Boyle shares a Q&A with 12s heading into the extended weekend.

710Sports.com has a Seahawks roundtable discussion breaking down the first week of OTAs.

Custom Atlanta Falcons Jerseys

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – With Phase III of Atlanta’s offseason workout program underway, this marks the first time the players and Atlanta’s coaching staff will take the fields together for 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 work.

New wrinkles have been added on both sides of the ball with new coordinators in place as Dirk Koetter has now taken the reigns of the offense and coach Dan Quinn taking over the defense.

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The next few weeks of OTAs give players a chance to fine tune their skills and show the progress they’ve made this offseason. Although the offseason program is critical to the entire team as they gear up for the start of the 2019 season, here are five players who could really benefit from a strong offseason, in no particular order:

Vic Beasley
There’s no denying this is a prove-it year for Beasley, Atlanta’s former first-round draft pick heading into his fifth season with the team. The Falcons drafted Beasley to get to the quarterback and he’s been inconsistent at times in doing just that. He led the NFL in sacks with 15.5 in 2016 – when the Falcons earned a trip to Super Bowl LI – but since then, he’s totaled just 10 sacks in two seasons. He’s proven he can be an impact player and the Falcons will certainly need the best version of Beasley in 2019. Quinn believes he can get the best out of the defensive end and said that he plans to take a “hands-on” approach.
Devonta Freeman
The Falcons’ offense is at its best when Freeman is performing at a high level and there’s no doubt about it. Need proof? Go back to the 2016 season when Freeman rushed for 1,079 yards and 11 touchdowns. He also caught 54 passes for 462 yards and two touchdowns. Injuries have plagued the running back the last two seasons. Freeman will enter the season completely healthy and the Falcons are expecting a big year from the running back. The Falcons finished with the No. 27 rushing attack in 2018 and getting that part of their game back on track is an emphasis in 2019 and it starts with Freeman.

Takk McKinley
Atlanta’s defense feeds off McKinley’s energy and play. The defensive end is coming off an up-and-down 2018 season and, similar to Beasley, Quinn believes McKinley will be better in 2019. In two seasons, McKinley has 13 sacks. Atlanta finished the year with 37 sacks on the year which was 22nd in the league. Quinn will be working closer with the defensive ends this year and with two years under his belt, McKinley could be primed for his best season yet.

Isaiah Oliver
Oliver is expected to assume a starting role at cornerback this season. After a rookie year which included some of the “on-the-job” training Quinn often talks about, the belief is that Oliver is ready. He’ll start opposite of Desmond Trufant on the outside. The former second-round pick out of Colorado played in 14 games in his rookie season and started two of them. He recorded 23 tackles and made one interception. The hope for Oliver is with a year of experience under his belt, he’ll make the necessary jump from Year 1 to Year 2.

Damontae Kazee
Kazee caught the NFL by storm in 2018 when he became the Falcons’ starting free safety after Ricardo Allen went down early in the season. He finished the season tied for an NFL-best seven interceptions. Kazee proved why he needs to be on the field for the Falcons. But will he show last year wasn’t just a fluke? The Falcons will be featuring Kazee in a different role this year at the nickel cornerback spot. And if we learned one thing last year, regardless of where Kazee lines up, he has a knack for finding the football.

Custom Buffalo Bills Jerseys

An injury early in the offseason means the Buffalo Bills should have a wide open competition to find the best tight ends for the regular season.
The Buffalo Bills signed Tyler Kroft to be the starting tight end this season.

He had his 2018 season cut short with a broken foot and was looking to get off to a great start in his new home.

Then he went and broke the same foot.

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View image on Twitter

Buffalo Bills

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Coach McDermott: “TE Tyler Kroft suffered a broken foot during day one of OTAs. WR Cole Beasley and C Mitch Morse will not participate.”

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Bradley Gelber

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Despite Ian Rapoport saying #Bills TE Tyler Kroft would likely be out until the start of the regular season, Josh Allen said he is hoping the TE is back in time for Training Camp.

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Kroft shouldn’t miss significant time during the regular season, but this is a terrible sign for someone who may be dealing with a chronic issue.

It is entirely possible Kroft recovers and has a great season for the Bills. In the meantime, the starting spot is wide open.

Counting Kroft, there are currently seven tight ends on the roster. Four are rookies and Jason Croom is the only one who is returning from the 2018 squad. There is also Lee Smith, who should make the team but won’t be a top target for Josh Allen.

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The injury to Kroft seems to set up Dawson Knox to get significant playing time, assuming he lives up to his third-round draft status. There is also Tommy Sweeney, who was taken in the seventh round.

I see this as a wide open competition. Take Smith out and that leaves Knox, Sweeney, Croom, Mik’Quan Dean, and Moral Stephens fighting to take Kroft’s spot.

Dean and Stephens may appear to be longshots, but it is entirely possible they shine in training camp and earn playing time. Knox is probably the only safe one based on his draft slot.

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NEXT: Things we know this week near the end of May
Brandon Beane is doing the right thing in creating competition at different positions groups. It is just unfortunate that the competition came about at tight end due to an injury.

 

Custom New England Patriots Jerseys

The New England Patriots’ receiving corps continued to add depth with the signing of Dontrelle Inman.

Inman is a 6-foot-3, 205 pound receiver that spent five seasons in the NFL — most recently with the Indianapolis Colts. The theme for New England receivers this offseason has been height, and Inman certainly fits that mold. A couple of receivers that will likely suit up for the Patriots this season include N’Keal Harry, Demaryius Thomas and Josh Gordon — if he can handle issues off the field.
These receivers are all above 6 foot 2 and will create a world of competition for Inman heading into training camp. He spoke about the position battle and overall reason that he came to New England after OTAs on Thursday.

“I just worry about me, myself,” Inman said. “Just go out there and give the best that I can do and let everything else work out.”

As for his reason to join Tom Brady and the Patriots, it was pretty simple.

“I like winning,” Inman said. “It’s one of those things like being part of a winning organization, you want to try to help the team win. That’s why I made my decision.”

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As simple as that. Inman had offers from four other teams and the likelihood of him making more money with them was a lot higher. He wanted to win and chose the team that won two out of that last three Super Bowls. He’s ready to learn the playbook and acclimate himself into the offense.

“It doesn’t come easy to no one,” he said. “It’s just a matter of memorization. If you can memorize it, then it’s good. If you can’t memorize it, then just like any place in this league, you won’t be successful.”

He had a tough season last year after recording 28 catches, 304 yards and three touchdowns in nine games. The Patriots will be fortunate if they can get him back to 2016 form — where he amassed 58 receptions, 810 yards and four touchdowns.

Custom Miami Dolphins Jerseys

Baltimore, MD (May 23, 2019) – Pop Warner Little Scholars, the nation’s oldest youth football, cheer and dance organization and the only one with established academic standards, will honor thousands of its young student-athletes at the 59th Annual All-American Scholars Banquet on Saturday, May 25th at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront.

To achieve All-American Scholar status, Pop Warner student-athletes must earn a 96% GPA or higher. In addition to celebrating the All-American Scholars, awards will also be presented to exceptional athletes and other outstanding people who have demonstrated an unparalleled commitment to athletics, education, community and our nation’s youth. The 2019 award winners include:

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Miami Dolphins: NFL Team of the Year
Brandon Carr, Baltimore Ravens CB: Inspiration to Youth Award
Toni Harris, first female skill-position player to receive full football scholarship: Female Achievement Award
Ryan Kerrigan, Washington Redskins OLB: Humanitarian Award
Joe Ehrmann, All-American football player, coach and author: Gold Football Award
“Since our inception in 1929, Pop Warner has been dedicated to creating well-rounded athletes. We strive to instill lifelong values of teamwork, dedication and superior work ethic that are represented on the field and in the classroom,” said Jon Butler, Pop Warner Little Scholars’ executive director. “A highlight for us each year is seeing thousands of student-athletes achieve Pop Warner All-American Scholar status, and we’re equally honored to award college scholarships that will help extend their academic and athletic education.”

The Miami Dolphins will be presented with the 2019 NFL Team of the Year Award, given annually to a franchise that has demonstrated commitment and support of their community and youth. RaShauna Hamilton, Director of Youth Programs and Camps, will be accepting the award on the Dolphins’ behalf.

“When thinking about teams that have shown an unwavering commitment to youth football programs, the Dolphins came to mind immediately,” said Butler. “Not only does their Junior Dolphins Program use NFL resources to teach young athletes the fundamentals of football, but it also puts an emphasis on character development. This is in complete alignment with our mission here at Pop Warner, and we’re thrilled to have them as our 2019 NFL Team of the Year.”

About Pop Warner Little Scholars, Inc.
Founded in 1929 and headquartered in Langhorne, PA, Pop Warner Little Scholars is the nation’s oldest youth football, cheerleading and dance organization and the only youth sports organization that emphasizes academics as a prerequisite for participation. Pop Warner participants enjoy the opportunity to learn and compete in their sports in an atmosphere that emphasizes fun, safety, academics and character. For more information on Pop Warner and its programs visit popwarner.com or follow Pop Warner on Twitter @Pop_Warner, Facebook @PopWarnerLittleScholars, Instagram @popwarnerlittlescholars and Snapchat @popwarner1929.

Custom Dallas Cowboys Jerseys

Editor’s note: This story has been updated following video surfacing of Ezekiel Elliott being handcuffed, but not reportedly arrested, at a music festival in Vegas over the weekend.

FRISCO — With each NFL season, Ezekiel Elliott has taken on a larger leadership role for the Dallas Cowboys.

The two-time rushing champ, who turns 24 in July, entered the league in 2016 as someone who mostly led by example.

He enters Year 4 as more of a vocal leader and the face of a team looking to get back to the NFC championship game for the first time in 24 years.

“I’m just excited about the group of guys we have,” Elliott said Sunday during his annual youth football ProCamp inside the Ford Center. “I’m excited about the talent we have on this team. I’m excited about the leadership group we have. I think we have a lot of the right pieces. I think we have a lot of promise for this season.”

Ezekiel Elliott playing QB at his annual youth football camp pic.twitter.com/affRD3refW

— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) May 19, 2019
During a sit-down interview with CBS 11 (KTVT-DFW) on Sunday, the two-time Pro Bowler was asked about maturing off the field.

“Just kind of growing up,” Elliott said. “I came into this league real young and had a lot to learn. I got those boo-boos, I messed up a couple of times and I learned from my mistakes. It made me a better person.”

Editor’s note: This story with the interview listed above was published before video surfaced of Elliott being handcuffed at a music festival in Vegas over the weekend. Read more about that incident here.

In that same CBS 11 interview, Elliott made it clear that he believes he’s “the best running back in the league,” adding that his statistics “speak for themselves.”

He also explained why he thinks the Cowboys are capable of being the league’s best team this season.

“I think we have a lot of the right pieces,” Elliott said. “I think we’re loaded at every position. We have a lot of depth and we have a great group of leaders and some great team chemistry going on. We just have to lay that foundation now and carry it through camp and make it happen during the season.”

Ezekiel Elliott’s message to the kids at his youth camp: “Just to work hard. Just to compete. It doesn’t just mean on the field, but off the field. In the classroom. If you’re at home, making your bed or you’re cleaning your room, just to pursue excellence in everything you do.” pic.twitter.com/IaLR0Su1Bg

— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) May 19, 2019
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