No One to Wear #24

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The Seattle Seahawks appreciate everything Marshawn Lynch helped them accomplish over the past six seasons, and they plan to express their gratitude by not letting anyone wear his jersey number in 2016.

Over the weekend, Doug Baldwin sent a tweet after the draft asking Pete Carroll to not allow any new players to wear No. 24. Seahawks GM John Schneider was asked about Baldwin’s request on Monday, and he said the wide receiver does not need to worry.

“One of my last conversations with Marshawn was that nobody was going to wear No. 24 this year in the regular season,” Schneider told 710 ESPN Seattle’s Brock and Salk show. “I appreciate [Baldwin’s] input. I’m glad he wants to help distribute jersey numbers.”

There have been rumblings that some Seahawks players expect Lynch to keep playing, but Schneider says the team plans to get his retirement papers at some point in the near future. Plus, they made a pretty nice gesture toward the running back by letting him keep this.

Lynch seems to have parted ways with the Seahawks on good terms.

Browner Back to the Boom

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The original Legion of Boom is back.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the Seattle Seahawks have signed veteran cornerback Brandon Browner to a one-year contract

Browner had a horrible season with the New Orleans Saints last year after he signed a three-year, $15 million contract with the team. He was released after the season and recently revealed that he was playing through a fairly significant injury.

Browner was a huge reason the New England Patriots won the Super Bowl two years ago, just as he played a major role with the Seahawks’ championship team before that. Unlike in New Orleans, he was not the top cornerback on either of those teams. Perhaps he will return to his old form in Seattle’s system and won’t have to get into Twitter beefs with Shannon Sharpe.

New Orleans Saints Will Smith Dead.

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Former New Orleans Saints player Will Smith was killed in a case of road-rage, by a Humvee-driving man who rear-ended his Mercedes and then shot him in the back and side, according to a police warrant read in court. 

Cardell Hayes, 28, was ordered held on $1 million bond Sunday night after police arrested him on a charge of second-degree murder.

Smith, 34, was beloved by fans for helping the Saints win the 2009 Super Bowl, and for remaining in the community with his wife, Racquel, and their three children as New Orleans recovered from Hurricane Katrina. He had been enjoying a street festival Saturday, posting a photo of himself and his wife on Twitter and Instagram with the caption: “Having a blast at the (hash)fqf2016 (at) French Quarter Fest.”

At about 11:30 Saturday night in the upscale Lower Garden District, Hayes’ Humvee H2 rear-ended Smith’s Mercedes G63, pushing it into a Chevrolet Impala occupied by two of Smith’s acquaintances. Hayes and Smith argued, and Hayes shot both Smith and Smith’s wife, Racquel, police said. She was taken to a hospital with a leg wound.

The accident that police said touched off the deadly confrontation was the second within moments, defense attorney John Fuller explained outside the courthouse. He said Hayes ran into the back of Smith’s Mercedes while following a hit-and-run driver who had rear-ended his Humvee and sped off. Fuller wouldn’t say whether Hayes identified the Mercedes as the vehicle that had rear-ended him.

Hayes is not guilty of murder, and the story is more complex than the police account, Fuller said. He said Hayes called 911 after he was hit, and persuaded a witness who was about to leave to remain and talk to police.

Police spokesman Tyler Gamble told The Associated Press in an email Sunday that he had no immediate information about the witness or the 911 call.

Fuller asked for low bond Sunday night, noting that Hayes had waited for police, owns a towing business and is raising his 5-year-old son.

Magistrate Brigid Collins said she understood, but according to the warrant, “I’ve also got a gentleman who was shot in the back.”

Prosecutors have 60 days to decide whether to bring the second-degree murder charge against Hayes, who had a hearing scheduled Monday to inform the magistrate’s court of his permanent attorney. Fuller, who represented him Sunday, said someone else from his law firm will represent Hayes because he’s been appointed as a temporary judge starting May 2.

Online court records show Hayes pleaded guilty in 2014 to possessing an illegal weapon and drug paraphernalia.

The gun Hayes carried Saturday was legal, Fuller said, noting that police didn’t accuse him of any weapons charge. Gamble said the gun hadn’t been reported stolen, but tracing its actual history takes more time.

Hayes sued the New Orleans Police Department and six officers after police killed his father in 2005. Police settled the lawsuit in 2011. The settlement is confidential, said attorney Ike Spears, who represented Hayes in that lawsuit.

Smith was a standout player. A native of Queens, New York, played for Ohio State’s 2002 national championship team and graduated in 2005 with a degree in criminology.

New Orleans chose him in the first round of the 2004 draft, and he led the Saints with a career-high 13 sacks in 2009. Smith’s 67 career sacks rank fourth in Saints history. The New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame says Smith had been unanimously voted into the hall last month.

McCoy in the Clear



LeSean McCoy is reportedly unlikely to face charges stemming from a brawl that took place at a nightclub earlier this month.

Vic Carucci of The Buffalo News cites a source close to McCoy who does not expect the Buffalo Bills running back to be charged with any crime.

Previous reports had indicated that an arrest warrant was expected to be coming for McCoy and his friends after they got into a fight with some off-duty police officers on Feb. 7. However, the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office was said to be pushing back against the police department. You can read more about the reasons why here.

The fight allegedly started over a bottle of champagne, and two off-duty police officers were hospitalized. One suffered a broken nose and the other broken ribs. McCoy’s attorney has insisted that his client did nothing wrong.

The NFL has been conducting an independent investigation into the incident.

Media Backlash on Cam…??



Cam Newton’s postgame pity party was uncomfortable to watch. The last place the Panthers quarterback wanted to be after suffering the biggest loss of his football-playing life was in front of a horde of media. 

And the last thing he wanted to hear was a Broncos player gloat about it within earshot. Newton forced out one non-answer after another, reluctantly expounded just a bit while still saying nothing of import, then reached his limit when he overheard Denver cornerback Chris Harris describing to his own contingent of media just feet away how the Broncos got to Newton.

This doesn’t excuse Newton’s behavior throughout, but it does bring clarity to his breaking point moment — the moment he stood up and walked away after having heard enough.

There’s no question swallowing a Super Bowl loss is incredibly difficult. Having to bare that pain in front of the world cannot be easy. But Newton knows enough to understand that life doesn’t always break your way, no matter how diligent your preparation, how intense your desire. Sometimes you just lose. And it hurts like hell.

Accepting that like an adult comes, in his case, with being the NFL’s MVP.

Bronco Busted…. Sent Home from Super Bowl

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The Tuesday of Super Bowl week is always a stressful day for NFL coaches worried their players may get into trouble on their off-day.

Broncos safety Ryan Murphy is the latest player to find trouble.

MORE: Most embarrassing Super Bowl moments

The rookie from Oregon State was questioned by San Jose police Tuesday evening as part of a prostitution sting, according to multiple reports.

The sting, which targeted an area north of San Jose known for prostitution, was conducted by Santa Clara County’s multi-agency human trafficking task force. The Broncos are scheduled to play the Panthers on Sunday in Super Bowl 50 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. 

Police reportedly arrested a suspected prostitute and Murphy’s brother was cited for solicitation. 

Murphy, a seventh-round draft pick of the Seahawks, is a Bay Area native and a cousin of Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch. He was released by the Seahawks in September and was signed to the Broncos’ practice squad Nov. 3.

“Although practice squad safety Ryan Murphy was not cited by police, we decided it was best for the team if we continued our preparations for Super Bowl 50 without him,” Broncos coach Gary Kubiak said in a statement Tuesday night. “Ryan is returning to Denver but his status as a practice squad player has not changed at this time.”

The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office told the San Jose Mercury News on Tuesday night that 10 men were cited for solicitation and the task forced has identified more than 20 suspected female prostitutes throughout the county.

Murphy’s brush with the law comes a day after former NFL safety Eugene Robinson, now a Panthers broadcaster, told the Panthers a cautionary tale about his solicitation arrest in Miami the night before Super Bowl XXXIII while he was with the Falcons.

Wilson MVP with 3 TD’s



 With no Super Bowl trip this season for the Seattle Seahawks, their stars came to play – and dominate – at the Pro Bowl.

Russell Wilson threw three first-half touchdown passes to lead Team Irvin to a 49-27 victory over Team Rice on Sunday and earn offensive MVP honors at Aloha Stadium. Seattle teammate Michael Bennett was the defensive MVP after having the game’s only sack and deflecting a pass.

”To see us Seahawks out there is a real special thing,” Wilson said. ”It’s a testament to our hard work and to see two Seahawks out there as MVPs is really cool.”

The Seahawks quarterback, who was the first player picked in the all-star game’s draft, went 8 of 12 for 164 yards. He led scoring drives on three of Team Irvin’s first four possessions.

Wilson threw touchdown passes of 14 and 2 yards to Atlanta Falcons teammates Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman, respectively, in the opening quarter. Early in the second quarter, Wilson connected with Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley for a 10-yard score.

The teams were drafted and captained by Hall of Fame wide receivers Michael Irvin and Jerry Rice. Winston Moss, Green Bay’s assistant head coach and linebackers coach, filled in for the ill Mike McCarthy and coached Team Irvin. Kansas City’s Andy Reid led Team Rice.

A record 47 players declined to participate in this year’s Pro Bowl, either due to injury or for personal reasons, or couldn’t play because their teams are in the Super Bowl. Carolina had 10 players selected, including quarterback Cam Newton, while Denver had four, including defensive stars Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware.

Wilson was the lone quarterback originally selected to participate in the game.

”Any time you have the opportunity to play the great game of football, you take advantage of the opportunity,” Wilson said. ”Playing in the Pro Bowl is a special thing because to be able to see all the amazing players across the league, who are the best players in the world and to be able to play on one field together is a really, really cool thing.”

Bennett was busy on defense, but played one snap at quarterback late in the game and picked up 7 yards on a rush. The 6-foot-4, 274-pound defensive said it was his first experience under center in his career.

”Only in my dreams,” Bennett said with a laugh.

Two other Seahawks players mixed it up midway through the third quarter when Team Irvin’s Richard Sherman – a cornerback – was dropped for a 22-yard loss on a reverse by Team Rice linebacker Bobby Wagner.

”He said that he knew what he was going to do,” Sherman said. ”He knew I was getting the ball and he knew he was making the tackle.”

Minnesota’s Teddy Bridgewater and Tampa Bay’s Jameis Winston each added two TD passes for Team Irvin. Jacksonville’s Allen Robinson, Tennessee’s Delanie Walker, Philadelphia’s Darren Sproles and Houston’s DeAndre Hopkins had scoring receptions.

Kansas City tight end Travis Kelce caught two scoring passes for Team Rice. Miami’s Jarvis Landry also had a TD catch, and Tampa Bay’s Doug Martin ran for a score.

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie of the New York Giants had two of Team Irvin’s six interceptions.

After Kelce’s 4-yard reception from Manning gave Team Rice a 7-0 lead, Jones tip-toed the left sideline just after hauling in Wilson’s pass near the back corner of the end zone for a 14-yard score.

Kelce caught the second of his two TDs on a 10-yard pass from Oakland’s Derek Carr to cut Team Rice’s deficit to 21-14. The Chiefs star, who signed a five-year, $46 million contract extension on Friday, tied Martin with a game-high five catches for 91 yards.

Team Irvin added a score late in the second quarter on a 2-yard touchdown pass from Bridgewater to Sproles to hold a 28-14 lead after two quarters.

The halftime festivities included a parade of local high school football players. Tennessee Titans rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota, a Honolulu native, led his alma mater, Saint Louis School, onto the field during the procession and was greeted by loud cheers from the sellout crowd of 50,000.

It was the 35th time the NFL’s annual all-star game was played at Aloha Stadium dating to 1980, and the third consecutive season that it has used an ”unconferenced” format.

The game was played at in Glendale, Arizona, last year. The site of next year’s Pro Bowl has not yet been determined by the NFL, although it does have an option to return to Hawaii.

Martin helped Team Rice cut the deficit to 28-21 in the third quarter with a 3-yard run early in the third quarter.

But Team Irvin put the game away with three straight TDs: a 50-yard catch by Robinson from Bridgewater, a 53-yard reception by Walker from Winston and a 7-yarder by Hopkins, also thrown by Winston.

Landry caught a 31-yard TD pass from Buffalo’s Tyrod Taylor with 6:05 remaining in the game. Taylor was intercepted three times overall.

Cincinnati tight end Tyler Eifert appeared to injure a foot during the game while diving for a pass for Team Irvin.

It was the final game of Oakland safety Charles Woodson’s 18-year career. He was escorted by his two young sons off the field to rousing cheers from the fans that remained.

”I really got all the emotions out of the way a few weeks back, but this one is just the icing on the cake for me to be able to make the Pro Bowl, be able to bring my family over here and hang out in Hawaii,” Woodson said. ”It’s been great.”



Q: “Do you have a goal to be the best receiver ever?”

CALVIN JOHNSON: “Yeah. No doubt.”

That was three years and seven weeks ago. Now here is Calvin Johnson, 30 years old and coming off an 88-catch, 1,214-yard year … strongly considering retirement. He has reportedly informed his coach Jim Caldwell that 2015 was his last season. 

WATCH:  Calvin Johnson’s top 10 career moments

It’s a shocking story, unless you know Johnson. Then it’s not even surprising. Men play pro football for many reasons: to build a better life for their family, to become famous, to win a ring, to make football history, or to buy a Bentley that they can drive when their Lamborghini is in the shop. Some are adrenaline junkies, others are addicted to winning, and many are drawn to the sport’s legal violence.

Calvin Johnson played football because he was really good at it. He was 6’5” and 237 pounds and ran the 40-yard dash in 4.35 seconds. Nobody could cover him. He wanted to be the best receiver ever, but not because of the adulation it would bring, and not to prove a point to anybody. Just because he knew that he could be.

And after a productive rookie year—756 yards for a mediocre Detriot Lions team—Johnson realized he was coasting. This was not how he was raised. Johnson’s father, Calvin Sr., was a freight-train conductor for Norfolk Southern Railways. Calvin Sr. kept working for years after his son became a multimillionaire, and it wasn’t for the money or to get in some freight-conductor Hall of Fame.

Calvin Johnson Sr. believed in an honest day’s work. His son started putting in a whole bunch of them. He mastered his routes, refined his skills, and made some of the most difficult catches in league history.

Johnson looked at LeBron James and thought: I’m like him. He never cared about the global-icon bit—Johnson is a reluctant interviewee, incapable of self-promotion, and though he did some commercials, his heart was never in the endorsement game. (He said he donated all his endorsement income to his foundation for at-risk youth.) But he remembered watching James as a young player.

“People on TV were watching LeBron, like, ‘Does he know if he drives to the hole every time, he is going to get fouled or he is going to make the bucket?’” Johnson said. “It was kind of like that with me.”

He decided he should have at least 100 receiving yards in every game, because “it’s easy for me to do that. That’s the minimum.” He was not bragging. He was chastising himself for the times he fell short. His former teammate, Roy Williams, dubbed him Megatron, but Johnson never fell for the myth that football made him some kind of superhero. This was his job.

If he retires, it would be easy to pin this on the Lions’ ineptitude. But ESPN reported that Johnson told people last summer that the 2015 season would be his last, and the Lions were coming off an 11–5 season. Johnson is not the type to walk away because he thinks he deserved to win more. He has always made his biggest demands of himself.

Before the 2012 season, Johnson told SI that a 2,000-yard receiving season was “definitely possible.” Jerry Rice’s NFL record was 1,848. Johnson finished that season with 1,964, the season-long equivalent of Babe Ruth’s called shot. He was proud but not overly impressed. He thought he could have had more.

That record-breaking 2012 season was the peak of Megatron and the beginning of his demise. He played through an injured foot, an injured ankle and two injured knees that season, and on the day he acknowledged that he hoped to be the best ever, he held out his hands and surveyed the damage:

“This one won’t straighten out …this one hurts to catch…this one’s messed up. This one’s coming back—this one was real swollen, this is getting better, though…”

NFL players react to Calvin Johnson retirement news on Twitter 

Johnson is tough, but he is also smart, and he knew the game that made him rich was exacting its price. He could keep going. He could try to set more records and win a Super Bowl and solidify his place in the Hall of Fame, but those are just things we tell him he should want.

He has been Megatron for a few years, but he has been Calvin Johnson, Jr. for his whole life. He did Calvin Johnson, Sr. proud. I suspect that’s enough for him, no matter what we think.


Sherman Defends Cam

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Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman continues to slam the never-ending supply of criticism directed toward Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, who will play in Super Bowl 50 on Sunday.

“He hasn’t done anything wrong to anyone,” Sherman said, via ESPN.

“He plays the game like a young kid, like a kid’s supposed to play it. This is a game. This isn’t life. This isn’t government. This isn’t military. This isn’t anything that’s that serious. I think people are taking it out of perspective.”

Sherman has defended Newton in the past. Before Carolina beat Seattle in the NFC Divisional Round, Sherman told USA Today that he had no problems with Newton’s dancing—which has been at the center of most of the criticism.

“You get to the end zone, in an NFL game, you get the right to celebrate,” Sherman said. “You’ve worked hard. You’re a professional athlete. If you don’t get a chance to celebrate in the pros, when do you get a chance to celebrate? When do you get to show what you can do – to enjoy yourself?”

Newton threw 35 touchdowns and ran for another 10 during the regular season. He’s added three more passing scores and two rushing touchdowns over Carolina’s two postseason wins, giving him 50 total scores over 18 games in 2015.

During Saturday night’s NFL awards ceremony, Newton will likely be named the league’s most valuable player. The next day, his team will have a chance to become just the fifth team in NFL history to win 18 games in a single season.

So why all the criticism?

“Because he’s unique,” Sherman said, via CBS Seattle. “He’s unique in his talent and personality, and his approach to the game. You know, everybody wants you to follow a certain guideline, certain restrictions — things you can and can’t do, things you can do on the field and things you can’t. And it’s an old school state of mind, you know, a real old-fashioned way of thinking. And I think he breaks a lot of those rules, and makes a lot of people angry who don’t have his talent or his ability or his swagger.”

Newton’s uniqueness has helped mold him into one of the NFL’s most transcendent players. He’ll now get a chance to smile, dance and score touchdowns on the biggest stage when the Panthers take on the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50 on Sunday. Win or lose, more criticism from the outside is likely on the horizon.