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Kevin Smith Claimed By the Jacksonville Jaguars

June 5, 2014
Kevin Smith is ready to make noise with the Jaguars

Kevin Smith is ready to make noise with the Jaguars

ESPN Blog writer, Michael DiRocco, reports that the Jacksonville Jaguars need healthy receivers and they found one on Thursday afternoon by claiming Kevin Smith off waivers from the Arizona Cardinals.

The undrafted rookie caught 72 passes for 1,059 yards in four seasons at Washington. He was waived by the Cardinals on Wednesday. To make room on the roster the Jaguars cut long snapper Trevor Gillette.

Smith should get plenty of work immediately because Jaguars receivers have been besieged by injuries. Seven sat out Thursday’s organized team activities, including Cecil Shorts (calf) and second-round draft picks Allen Robinson (hamstring) and Marqise Lee(ankle).

Kerry Taylor, former practice squad player Chad Bumphis, undrafted rookies Damian Copeland and Allen Hurns took all the reps on Tuesday and Thursday. Taylor is the only healthy receiver that has caught a pass in a game. He has 22 catches for 229 yards.

That lack of depth has been somewhat of a hindrance during OTAs.

“It just stalls things because we’re not going to run a play and have [them] miss alignments so we just get them aligned and now we run the play,” coach Gus Bradley said. “It just slowed down the tempo a little bit but that’s OK at this point.”

It also is a bit taxing physically on the healthy receivers because they aren’t able to take plays off, although the Jaguars did more work with multiple tight ends on Thursday.

In addition to Shorts, Robinson and Lee, the Jaguars are also without Mike Brown (groin),Tandon Doss (calf), Ace Sanders (thigh) and Lamaar Thomas (knee).

None of the injuries are serious, although Robinson could miss several weeks. Lee is expected to be back late next week and Shorts is hoping to return Monday.

“I’m going to try to. We’ll see what happens,” Shorts said. “… No need to rush anything.”

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NFL Draft Still Pulls From the Traditional Schools

May 13, 2014

The 2014 NFL draft is now in the books and we can begin to analyze the results. Every year players are selected from schools that most fans have never heard of. Gems can be found from any school, round or pick. There have been more hall of fame players that went undrafted then selected with the first overall pick.

Darren Everson of the Wall Street Journal reports on the schools that won and lost the 2014 NFL draft.

It will be years before we’ll know which NFL teams won or lost last weekend’s NFL draft. But from a college standpoint, we can hand out the grades right now.

The immediate takeaway from the draft was Texas’s historic failure to have anyone selected—the first such occurrence since 1937. But another curiosity was the schools that did the best.

The Count assessed each school’s draft performance by awarding them points for each of the 256 draftees (256 points for the No. 1 overall pick, 255 for No. 2 and so on). With a nation-best nine draftees—led by receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who went 12th to the New York Giants—Louisiana State came out on top. Second-best was Notre Dame, which had eight players selected. (Alabama also had eight, but their players were picked lower.) The Fighting Irish have now had 14 picks in the past two years combined.

But this is a rather bittersweet accomplishment. Despite being laden with mature, NFL-caliber talent, LSU and Notre Dame lost seven games between them last season and finished outside the top 10 in the final polls. Neither played in a major bowl game.

Conversely, college football’s biggest overachiever based on the draft was Michigan State, which had just one player selected (cornerback Darqueze Dennard, No. 24) from a team that finished the season ranked No. 3.

Four major-conference schools had no one drafted: Illinois, Kansas, Northwestern and Texas. (The Seattle Seahawks later signed Texas defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat as a free agent.) This is hardly the kind of company that Texas—the most successful program in football’s most talent-rich state—should be keeping.

Now that the Longhorns’ run of having a draftee every year is over, the longest draft streak is now shared by Michigan and Southern California (1939). If you count the supplemental draft, Notre Dame has had a player selected every year since 1938.

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Unionization for College Athletes Gaining Traction

March 27, 2014
Kain Colter, graduated QB from Northwestern, has led the charge for unionization.

Kain Colter, graduated QB from Northwestern, has led the charge for unionization.

We may finally have some traction for college athletes being paid for their performances on the field. The highly publicized issue of the billion dollar industry that is college football, while the actual athletes receive scholarships and a stipend. Michael Tarm of the Associated Press reports from Chicago.

In a stunning ruling that has the potential to revolutionize college athletics, a federal agency said Wednesday that football players at Northwestern University can create the nation’s first college athlete’s union.

The decision by a regional director of the National Labor Relations Board means it agrees football players at the Big Ten school qualify as employees under federal law and therefore can legally unionize.

The Evanston, Ill-based university argued college athletes, as students, don’t fit in the same category as factory workers, truck drivers and other unionized workers. The school plans to appeal to labor authorities in Washington, D.C.

Outgoing Wildcats quarterback Kain Colter took a leading role in establishing the College Athletes Players Association, or CAPA, which would take the lead in organizing the players. The United Steelworkers union has been footing the legal bills.

Colter, whose eligibility has been exhausted and who has entered the NFL draft, said nearly all of the 85 scholarship players on the Wildcats roster backed the union bid, though only he expressed his support publicly.
CAPA attorneys argued that college football is, for all practical purposes, a commercial enterprise that relies on players’ labor to generate billions of dollars in profits. That, they contend, makes the relationship of schools to players one of employers to employees.

In its endeavor to have college football players be recognized as essential workers, CAPA likened scholarships to employment pay — too little pay from its point of view. Northwestern balked at that claim, describing scholarship as grants.

Giving college athletes employee status and allowing them to unionize, critics have argued, could hurt college sports in numerous ways — including by raising the prospects of strikes by disgruntled players or lockouts by athletic departments.

The NCAA has been under increasing scrutiny over its amateurism rules and is fighting a class-action federal lawsuit by former players seeking a cut of the billions of dollars earned from live broadcasts, memorabilia sales and video games. Other lawsuits allege the NCAA failed to protect players from debilitating head injuries.

NCAA President Mark Emmert has pushed for a $2,000-per-player stipend to help athletes defray some of expenses. Critics say that isn’t nearly enough, considering players help bring in millions of dollars to their schools and conferences.

CAPA’s specific goals include guaranteeing coverage of sports-related medical expenses for current and former players, ensuring better procedures to reduce head injuries and potentially letting players pursue commercial sponsorships.

For now, the push is to unionize athletes at private schools, such as Northwestern, because the federal labor agency does not have jurisdiction over public universities.

During the NLRB’s five days of hearings in February, Wildcats coach Pat Fitzgerald took the stand for union opponents, and his testimony sometimes was at odds with Colter’s.

Colter told the hearing that players’ performance on the field was more important to Northwestern than their in-class performance, saying, “You fulfill the football requirement and, if you can, you fit in academics.” Asked why Northwestern gave him a scholarship of $75,000 a year, he responded: “To play football. To perform an athletic service.”

But Fitzgerald said he tells players academics come first, saying, “We want them to be the best they can be … to be a champion in life.”

An attorney representing the university, Alex Barbour, noted Northwestern has one of the highest graduation rates for college football players in the nation, around 97 percent. Barbour insisted, “Northwestern is not a football factory.”

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Brandon Browner Reinstated

March 5, 2014
Brandon Browner has been reinstated by the NFL

Brandon Browner has been reinstated by the NFL

Brandon Browner has officially been reinstated in the NFL by commissioner Rodger Goodell. Browner was suspended indefinitely by the NFL on December 18th. He was already injured at the time, but if he was healthy to return he would’ve missed the final two regular season games and 3 postseason games. The Collective Bargaining Agreement that a fourth violation of the league’s substance abuse policy leads to a one year suspension. Browner’s agent had threatened a lawsuit against the league which has been dropped. It seems now that Brandon is an unrestricted free agent and able to pursue free agency when it opens next week. It will be very interesting if the Seahawks pursue their former cornerback and reunite the Legion of Boom. For more information about an NFL agent, consider contacting an NFL Agent

Seahawks face the challenge of the Anti-Dynasty NFL

February 7, 2014

Can the Seahawks keep their roster together and make a run at another Super Bowl?

Can the Seahawks keep their roster together and make a run at another Super Bowl?

The Seattle Seahawks have won their first Super Bowl in franchise history. The Lombardi has been hoisted, the confetti has fallen and the parade has reigned down 4th Avenue. Now the Seahawks must fight an uphill climb against the anti-dynasty logistics of the NFL. The Salary Cap and the NFL draft order promote parity between teams. Successful teams are pillaged for their free agents and assistant coaches. Luckily it seems the Seahawks run to the Super Bowl made it possible for them to keep all of their coaches. Franchises including the Browns, Vikings, Lions and Redskins all were looking to name a new Head Coach as soon as possible. I personally believe that waiting for Dan Quinn, Darrell Bevel and Tom Cable until the end of the season would’ve been a better move for those franchises than pulling the trigger early on a less qualified coach to ensure front office stability.

Without question the dynamic duo of Pete Carrol and John Schneider have become the elite talent evaluators in the game. Even though the “draft experts” have graded the Seahawks with sub-par marks, including an F for the 2012 class. Carrol and Schneider have also picked up key free agents and undrafted rookies for cheap and maximized their value. Their success to continually reload through the draft  makes it possible for the Sehawks to make another chase for a championship.

The most difficult aspect will be of course tiptoeing around the salary cap. The Seahawks are currently $631,240 over the 2014 salary cap of $126 Million. 15 unrestricted free agents and 4 restricted free agents leave important decisions to be made by the Seahawk’s brain trust. Their are roster moves made every off-season. It is in some players best financial interest to test the open market to cash in on the biggest contract on their lives (usually their 2nd contract). Franchises are willing to bring in successful personnel especially players who become free agents after a Super Bowl win. It will be interesting to see if Seattle’s free agent will seek a “hometown discount” as they have stated. Players included Golden Tate and Michael Bennett have stated that they would much rather resign with Seattle with a chance to win more championships, then cash in and go to a lesser franchise. The past ten years have proved how difficult maintaining success can be as no team has repeated as Super Bowl Champion since the 2004 Patriots. If there is franchise that is capable of repeating you would think it would be the 2nd youngest team in the NFL. For more information about an NFL agent, consider contacting an NFL Agent

2013 College Football Bowl Gift Packages

December 20, 2013
Bowl Sponsors give away numerous promotional gift package to participants every year

Bowl Sponsors give away valuable promotional gift package to participants every year.

The college football bowl season is here. Every year promotional gifts are given away to the participating players from the corporate sponsors. These complimentary prizes are obviously used as a marketing device for every company donating. The gifts seem to escalate every year, the following are the 2013-2014 College bowl gifts via David Broughton of the Sports Business Daily Journal.

This may be the one time college football players will be happy to take a seat.

This year, alongside the high-end electronics, jewelry and mountain bikes in the gift suites that have become a staple at college football postseason festivities, there will be a home-theater recliner that users can plug their electronics into, as well.

SportsBusiness Journal’s eighth annual analysis of the gift packages provided to bowl game participants by the committees that host the games reveals that half of those organizations will stage a gift suite or shopping spree in the coming weeks. Gift suites are set up as private events prior to the game in which game participants, and often bowl VIPs, are given an order form and allowed to select a gift, or gifts, up to a value that is predetermined by each bowl, not to exceed the NCAA limit.

The NCAA allows each bowl to award up to $550 worth of gifts to 125 participants per school. Schools can, and usually do, buy additional packages that they can distribute to participants beyond that 125 limit. In addition, participants can receive awards worth up to $400 from the school and up to $400 from the conference for postseason play, covering both conference title games and any bowl game.

Making its gift suite debut this year will be Southern Motion’s Viva, a powered home theater recliner that has two USB ports that can charge mobile devices. The Pontotoc, Miss.-based furniture manufacturer also will offer the larger McLaren, which does not plug in but features a steel base and a reinforced frame capable of accommodating even the largest offensive lineman.

The chairs will be an option in each of the postseason gift suites operated over the next few weeks by Carrollton, Texas-based Performance Award Center. Jon Cooperstein, who leads PAC’s sports marketing division, is projecting that players and coaches will order a total of about 800 chairs.

Southern Motion’s entrance into the bowl space is new territory for the company, although its products have been available for the past few years to some of PAC’s corporate rewards program clients. Cooperstein contacted Southern Motion’s executives this spring with what seemed like a natural opportunity to test a new demographic. Unlike most of the other companies that offer items to bowl participants, Southern Motion does almost no advertising. It doesn’t have a consumer-focused website, either.

“We do view this alliance as an avenue to do additional business through alternative channels of distribution,” said Beth Loden, Southern Motion’s strategic accounts director. “We are interested in exploring this opportunity as it does not conflict with our normal business model, which is through traditional retail stores.”

Using the suites as a test market for big-ticket items is not new: Oakley and Sony in the past have stocked gift suites with new or not-yet-released items, meaning players and coaches get something their friends and family don’t have and can’t yet buy at a store.

The recliners, along with the Sony PlayStation 4 systems being given out by the Military Bowl, could cost more than the NCAA limit of $550 if bought at a retail store, but bowl committees and gift brokers can negotiate a lower rate on products because they are buying in bulk. Cooperstein said the NCAA oversees what the committees actually pay for the items.

Looking ahead, new bowl games scheduled to begin next year in Miami; the Bahamas; Boca Raton, Fla.; and Montgomery, Ala., would bring the total number of bowls to 39, meaning at least 1,000 additional bowl game participants and, of course, VIPs ordering swag. That timing works out for tenured vendors such as Oakley, which are constantly working to keep their offerings fresh. Oakley products will be in seven gift packages this winter, its lowest total in several years.

“We are at the end phase of the product assortment we offer the bowl games, with a new assortment of products being released in spring 2014,” said Oakley’s Mike Sterner. “So next year, you’ll see a lot more games with Oakley accessories.”

Including gift packages for players, cheerleaders, staff and VIPs, Fossil products will be handed out by 15 bowl committees this year. Sony, Trek and Ogio have the potential of being the top giveaways, as their products are available in nearly every gift suite.

Representatives of the New Era Pinstripe Bowl would not disclose the contents of their gift packages, but New Era officials said bowl participants will receive a selection of the company’s products.

Representatives of the AT&T Cotton Bowl also would not disclose the contents of their gift packages, but a source at a school that played in last year’s Cotton Bowl said the participants received a Fossil watch, Beats by Dre headphones and an iPad Mini.

2013 Bowl Gifts to Participants

Gildan New Mexico Bowl
Sat., Dec. 21, 2 p.m. (ESPN); Albuquerque, N.M.
Gift suite, portable mobile device charger, 8 GB USB; Oakley Breadbox sunglasses; cap, Oakley Fine Knit beanie; Oakley Flak Pack XL backpack; Gildan stadium blanket

Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl
Sat., Dec. 21, 3:30 p.m. (ABC); Las Vegas
Samsung Galaxy Tab 3; beanie, cap; Oakley Flak Pack XL backpack; football, Zappos gift card

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
Sat., Dec. 21, 5:30 p.m. (ESPN); Boise, Idaho
Gift suite; Port Authority winter coat, Tiger Woods Nike Golf beanie, Scott winter ski gloves; iPack backpack; Big Game football

R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
Sat., Dec. 21, 9 p.m. (ESPN); New Orleans
Gift suite; Fossil watch

Beef ‘O’ Brady’s St. Petersburg Bowl
Mon., Dec. 23, 2 p.m. (ESPN); St. Petersburg, Fla.
Samsung Galaxy Tab 3;  Oakley Breadbox sunglasses; Oakley Status backpack (at right); Schutt mini helmet

Sheraton Hawaii Bowl
Tues., Dec. 24, 8 p.m. (ESPN); Honolulu
Gift suite; Oakley sunglasses; Tori Richard aloha shirt, Pro Athletics shorts and performance T-shirt; Ogio backpack; beach towel

Little Caesars Pizza Bowl
Thurs., Dec. 26, 6 p.m. (ESPN); Detroit
Timely Watch Co. watch; leather luggage set; football

San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl
Thurs., Dec. 26, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN); San Diego
$205 Best Buy gift card; Reactor Heavy Water watch; Maui Jim sunglasses; cap

Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman
Fri., Dec. 27, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN); Annapolis, Md.
Sony PlayStation 4; winter hat; Ogio backpack

Texas Bowl
Fri., Dec. 27, 6 p.m. (ESPN); Houston
Samsung Galaxy Tab 3; Fossil watch; belt buckle, T-shirt; Ogio backpack; lapel pin

Fight Hunger Bowl
Fri., Dec. 27, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN); San Francisco
Soundmatters wireless portable speaker system; Fossil watch; Maxx HD Wayfarer sunglasses; messenger bag; Macy’s gift card

New Era Pinstripe Bowl
Sat., Dec. 28, 12 p.m. (ESPN); New York City
Variety of New Era products

Belk Bowl
Sat., Dec. 28, 3:20 p.m. (ESPN); Charlotte
Shopping trip to Belk department store; Fossil watch (at right)

Russell Athletic Bowl
Sat., Dec. 28, 6:45 p.m. (ESPN); Orlando
$450 Best Buy gift card and shopping trip^; Timely Watch Co. watch; Russell Athletic workout shirt

Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl
Sat., Dec. 28, 10:15 p.m. (ESPN); Tempe, Ariz.
Gift suite; Fossil watch; Ogio Cube backpack

Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl
Mon., Dec. 30, 11:45 a.m. (ESPN); Fort Worth, Texas
Gift suite, RadioShack gift card; ESPN cap; Ogio overnighter bag; Big Game football

Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl
Mon., Dec. 30, 3:15 p.m. (ESPN); Nashville
Gift suite; Fossil watch (at right)

Valero Alamo Bowl
Mon., Dec. 30, 6:45 p.m. (ESPN); San Antonio
iPad Mini with retina display, Apple gift card; Fossil watch; panoramic photo, Schutt mini helmet

National University Holiday Bowl
Mon., Dec. 30, 10:15 p.m. (ESPN); San Diego
$305 Best Buy gift card; Reactor Meltdown watch; Maui Jim sunglasses; cap

AdvoCare V100 Bowl
Tues., Dec. 31, 12:30 p.m. (ESPN); Shreveport, La.
Gift suite; Timely Watch Co. watch; New Era skull cap; football

Hyundai Sun Bowl
Tues., Dec. 31, 2 p.m. (CBS); El Paso, Texas
Gift suite; Timely Watch Co. watch; Top of the World cap, Majestic fleece pullover; Ogio backpack; coin, Helen of Troy hair dryer

AutoZone Liberty Bowl
Tues., Dec. 31, 4 p.m. (ESPN); Memphis
Sol Republic Tracks HD headphones; Bulova watch; Nike sunglasses; Nike athletic shoes and sport sandals; Nike Kevin Durant backpack; football

Chick-fil-A Bowl
Tues., Dec. 31, 8 p.m. (ESPN); Atlanta
Fossil watch; Russell Athletic cap; Russell Athletic bag; football, $300 Visa gift card, Chick-fil-A gift card Gator Bowl
Wed., Jan. 1, 12 p.m. (ESPN2); Jacksonville
Fossil watch; Dome hat; Mercury Luggage Seward Trunk luggage set; football, Jostens ring

Heart of Dallas Bowl
Wed., Jan. 1, 12 p.m. (ESPNU); Dallas
Gift suite; Fitbit Flex watch; ESPN cap; football

Capital One Bowl
Wed., Jan. 1, 1 p.m. (ABC); Orlando
$450 Best Buy gift card and shopping trip^; Timely Watch Co. watch; Russell Athletic workout shirt

Outback Bowl
Wed., Jan. 1, 1 p.m. (ESPN); Tampa
$150 Best Buy gift card; Fossil watch; cap; Jostens ring, Outback Steakhouse gift card

Rose Bowl Game presented by Vizio
Wed., Jan. 1, 5 p.m. (ESPN); Pasadena, Calif.
Gift suite; Fossil watch; New Era 59Fifty cap; Ogio backpack

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl
Wed., Jan. 1, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN); Glendale, Ariz.
Gift suite; Fossil watch; Ogio Cube backpack

Allstate Sugar Bowl
Thurs., Jan. 2, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN); New Orleans
Gift suite; Fossil watch; New Era 39Thirty cap; Ogio backpack

AT&T Cotton Bowl
Fri., Jan. 3, 7:30 p.m. (Fox); Arlington, Texas
Information not available; bowl committee would not disclose

Discover Orange Bowl
Fri., Jan. 3, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN); Miami Gardens, Fla.
Gift suite; Tourneau watch

BBVA Compass Bowl
Sat., Jan. 4, 1 p.m. (ESPN); Birmingham, Ala.
Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 (at right); Fossil watch; Oakley sunglasses; ESPN cap; Big Game football Bowl
Sun., Jan. 5, 9 p.m. (ESPN); Mobile, Ala.
Sol Republic deck; Timely Watch Co. watch; Mercury Luggage Seward Trunk luggage bag; Wilson football

Vizio BCS National Championship Game
Mon., Jan. 6, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN); Pasadena, Calif.
Gift suite; Fossil watch; New Era 59Fifty Hat; Oakley Flak Pack XL backpack (at right)

^ To be spent during the team’s official store visit. Balance not used that day will be forfeited.
Notes: All times listed are ET. Product details are provided as they were available. Most watches, rings, clothing, luggage and footballs are custom-made with the bowl logo. Gift suites are set up as private events in which game participants, and often bowl VIPs, are given an order form and allowed to select a gift, or gifts, up to a value that is predetermined by each specific bowl, not to exceed the NCAA limit of $550 per person.

Compiled by David Broughton and Brandon McClung

Sources: Bowl committees and vendors

For more information about an NFL agent, consider contacting an NFL Agent

Washington To Interview Nussmeier and Peterson

December 5, 2013
Scott Woodward, University of Washington Athletic Director, will ultimately decide the next head coach

Scott Woodward, University of Washington Athletic Director, will ultimately decide the next head coach

Sources close to University of Washington have broken an update on the huskies coaching search for a new head football coach. Doug Nussmeier, current Alabama Offensive Coordinator, will be interviewed today. Chris Peterson, current Boise State Head coach, will be interviewed tomorrow. Athletic director Scott Woodward has ties to many coaches around the country including Les Miles and Bo Pelini. Woodward’s tenure at Louisiana State University has contributed to many of those connections. As far as the connections of the potential coaches, Nussmeier, was the offensive coordinator at Washington from 2009-2011. Peterson, has coached with current UW defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox. 3 coaches on the huskies current coaching staff have already left with Sarkisian USC will have to decide whether to buy out Wilcox’s contract ($1 Million) and Tosh Luopi’s ($400,000). It will be very interesting to see how it all shakes out over at Montlake. For more information about an NFL agent, consider contacting an NFL Agent


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