Kevin Smith has gone from undrafted free agent from Washington, to cut, to working at FedEx back home at Compton to playing for the Seattle Seahawks. We are very excited to our client on the field Sunday! John Boyle with the article from Seahawks.com
When the Seahawks promoted receiver Kevin Smith off of the practice squad and waived Chris Matthews Tuesday, it was a move coaches felt made the team better, but it also represents something bigger for Seahawks coach Pete Carroll than just upgrading a particular position group.
The way Carroll sees it, you can’t build a program around a philosophy of “always compete” if you’re not going to live it, and sometimes that means a practice squad receiver beating out somebody on the active roster for a job midway through the season.
“If the central theme is competition, then you’ve got to do what you say,” Carroll said. “We’ve always tried to stand for that and give guys opportunities to show what they can do and sense when that hunger is right to take advantage of the opportunity and let them excel. That’s always been some of it. But really if you say that, then you need to act on it, and that’s just another indication I think of it. That’s exactly what’s going on with that right now. That’s why he’s up.”
For Smith, a former University of Washington standout, a chance to play on Sunday is just the latest step in his journey from going undrafted in 2014, to being completely out of football and working for FedEx last season, to Seattle’s practice squad this year and an eventual spot on the 53-man roster.
“It’s awesome, it’s a blessing, a dream come true,” Smith said. “… It means a lot. You’re out there for the practice days competing with the No. 1 defense, getting them prepared and seeing the offense get prepared. Really, it’s just a dream come true that come Sunday, you get to play in that first game.”
After going undrafted out of Washington last year, Smith spent time in the offseason with Arizona, Jacksonville and Seattle, but after the Seahawks released him at the end of training camp, he kept waiting for his next chance, but it never came. Instead, he spent last fall and winter working for FedEx at home in Los Angeles, “unloading and loading trucks, sorting shipments.” But while holding down that job, Smith stayed in shape, kept in touch with fellow undrafted Husky turned Seahawk Jermaine Kearse, and even cold-called scouts from six or seven NFL teams that he had met during his Pro Day at Washington, “just trying to get my foot in one of those doors… Nothing really happened there, but at least I made an effort.”
The Seahawks eventually brought Smith back in February, and a slimmed down, quicker and very driven Smith made an impression in camp and in preseason games. Even after missing out on a roster spot, Smith continued to impress his coaches in practice every week as a member of the practice squad.
“Kevin has paid his dues,” receivers coach Dave Canales said. “He played offense and defense on the practice squad. Probably the hardest thing for a guy to do is to be in a position where you’re challenged to get better every week without having a gameday as a payoff. He stayed focused the whole time, he stayed in it.”
Perhaps most impressive, Canales noted, has been Smith’s mental preparation despite not playing in games. Each week, assistant wide receivers coach Nate Carroll puts together a test for his receivers based on the information covered in meeting that week, and according to Canales, “Kevin regularly scores just as well as Doug (Baldwin), just as good as Jermaine.”
That work ethic has helped Smith master all of Seattle’s receiver positions, a big reason, along with his special teams play, why he got the call this week.
“He has worked really hard. He has really improved,” offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said. “The thing that he does best for us is that he’s so versatile. We can play him at a lot of positions. We could put him at any of our three positions out there and he could get it done. He catches the ball well. We call him ‘One-a-day’ out there at practice—he’s like one of our vitamins, because about every day he ends up with a big play or a touchdown out there, so we really like having him out there.”
Hard work and good play on the practice field eventually paid off for Smith, and for Carroll and the Seahawks, rewarding that effort was an important part of what the team represents.
“We wanted to give Kevin a chance to play… “We thought it was time to give him a chance.”
For more information contact a Seattle NFL Agent.
A local company here in Kirkland, WA has created a new app that users can earn money just by creating and sharing content. Ripl is a platform that streams all social media content into one feed and allows customized posts. We are currently planning on pairing athletes and celebrities with the Ripl platform to promote local and national brands. These marking endevarors are the future and we are excited to be at the forefront of it with an amazing team. The following is an article from John Cook on Geekwire.
Paul Ingalls and Andrew Wright tried to crack into the sports content business with Fanzo, but the Seattle entrepreneurs quickly realized that their application just was not differentiated enough from other sports-related services.
So, the entrepreneurs — who previously worked together at Redmond-based Smilebox and Seattle-based RealNetworks— did what most entrepreneurs do. They adjusted.
Today, Ingalls and Wright are unveiling a new service called Ripl, which is designed to help social media influencers build their followings and monetize their social streams with targeted promotions.
The name Ripl may ring a bell to long-time watchers of the Seattle tech scene. After all, former Classmates.com executive Bill Messing started a social networking service for college students by that name back in 2006.
But after Fanzo failed, Wright and Ingalls started kicking around a new way to share trending content on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and they approached Messing about buying the domain name Ripl for the new service.
Wright sees big things ahead for the new Ripl, so much so that the angel investor is devoting most of his time to the new project as executive chairman.
What makes Ripl unique from other services like Buffer, Tweetdeck, NeoReach, TapInfluence and Izea?
“We are the only ones that help influencers build and monetize their following and enable brands to effectively engage influencers with followings in the 1,000 to 50,000 range that happen to reach the largest audience,” said Wright, who sold Smilebox to IncrediMail for up to $40 million in 2011.
The Ripl app, which is launching today in Apple’s app store, helps social media influencers find original content that may resonate with their specific audiences, and it helps them craft custom posts from photos, text and links with animations in order to help boost the content in social circles. (This is a nod to the work that Ingalls and Wright did at Smilebox, a company that allowed users to create customized greeting cards using personal photos and video).
Even more interestingly, Ripl also allows social media users to make money by sharing promotions with their followers.
“They can choose and personalize the ones they like and share them across social media,” Wright tells GeekWire. “We do this by treating promos like other posts and enabling influencers to customize the copy, imagery and overall look for their audience.”
At the same time, Ripl tracks the engagement of these posts — including the number of likes, comments and clicks — and then pays the social media user based on the amount of engagement the posts get multiplied on a fee-per-engagement basis. The content creator keeps the majority of advertising revenue generated through the promotions.
For the most part, brand advertisers have focused their efforts on celebrities with large social followings of one million or more. Ripl is hoping to open the door on those with followings in the 1,000 to 50,000 range.
In a release, Ingalls said that Ripl is designed to help advertisers “find the right experts to advocate their products to the right people.”
Ripl has raised $2.1 million, which includes the capital that previously flowed into Fanzo. The company employs nine people, including Wright.
“I have invested with 12 companies in my angel role and I just thought this was an extraordinary opportunity to create a breakthrough product again with Paul and his team,” said Wright.
For more information contact a Seattle NFL Agent.
Ifo Ekpre-Olomu had as high as a first round projection in some experts mock draft when he tore his ACL in December. Luckily he had filed Loss of Draft Value Insurance, which until now was just a precaution. Looks like he will become the player to set the precedent on collecting his insurance money. Currently a Cleveland Brown, smart planning by his representation on taking out this policy. Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports has the story.
Former Oregon cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu is expected to be the first player to collect on a loss of draft value insurance, according to the man who underwrote the policy.
Keith Lerner told CBS Sports Thursday night that Ekpre-Olomu is in the process of collecting a $3 million claim after suffering a season-ending knee injury in December. The All-American corner, projected to be a first-round draft choice last May, slipped to the seventh round after blowing out his ACL before the College Football Playoff National Championship.
“That claim is close to getting paid,” said Lerner, the Gainesville, Florida-based head of Total Planning Sports Services.
Lerner added the claim should be paid in the next 30-60 days. Ekpre-Olomu was the 241st player taken in the draft by Cleveland. Loss of draft value claims are paid if a player slips one round lower than projected previously by a panel of draft experts.
“His hope is that he is going to come back and play,” Lerner said. “Hopefully he’ll come back and have a great career.”
Lerner’s Total Planning Sports underwrote the policy for Lloyd’s of London. Oregon paid the injury and/or loss of value insurance premiums for several players last year, including Ekpre-Olomu and Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Marcus Mariota.
The ethics of schools’ paying of those premiums has become a talking point in NCAA circles. The money comes from the NCAA Student Assistance Fund. The fund typically totals $300,000 or more and is earmarked for all athletes in a school’s athletic department budget.
Premiums for a first round-rated player could account for 20 percent or more of that total. Typically, premiums cost $8,000 per $1 million of insurance, Lerner said.
Loss of draft value policies have been around for 25 years, according to Lerner, but only in the last 2-3 years have they increased in volume.
Lerner said only one player he has ever insured collected on a disability (career-ending) claim. That was former Florida defensive tackle Ed Chester in 1998.
For more information contact a Seattle NFL Agent.
With the news that Kam Chancellor has officially ended his holdout, one has to wonder what did he accomplish? Maybe a statement that he is unhappy with his contract. Not sure how that resonates given that he signed his contract two years ago and was extremely happy at the time. Also, he has apparently raised concerns over his knee injuries. Unfortunately that is the nature of NFL contracts where the most important issue is how much money is actually guaranteed. I would go on to focus that frustration towards his agent how had Kam sign a contract that currently has him only as the 27th highest paid strong safety according to percentage of contract that is actually guaranteed. Really questionable decision to holdout also knowing that the Seahawks are 29th in cap space and didn’t have assets to allocate to him. The report that Kam just wanted $4 Millon moved from 2017 to 2016 was a feeble attempt by his agent. That would mean Kam would play the last year of his contract, 2017, for just $2 Million. Really doubt that Kam would do that knowing that the Seahawks renegotiate deals when players are in the last year of a contract. Carroll and Schneider held strong and did not cave. The Seahawks lost their first two games of the season and one has to wonder if he would’ve been the difference to a 2-0 or 1-1 start. Kam lost two game checks and incurred massive fines which may or may not be waived or partially waived by the Seahawks. I would recommend Kam find new representation as instead of accomplishing anything he actually cost himself money and hurt his team. Glad he is back and now has the opportunity to show the Seahawks he is worth every penny and more. For more information contact a Seattle NFL Agent.
I’ve written about CTE results in former NFL players before. Here is a good follow up article with even more alarming numbers on how CTE is affecting the NFL. Jason Breslow of PBS with the Story.
A total of 87 out of 91 former NFL players have tested positive for the brain disease at the center of the debate over concussions in football, according to new figures from the nation’s largest brain bank focused on the study of traumatic head injury.
Researchers with the Department of Veterans Affairs and Boston University have now identified the degenerative disease known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, in 96 percent of NFL players that they’ve examined and in 79 percent of all football players. The disease is widely believed to stem from repetitive trauma to the head, and can lead to conditions such as memory loss, depression and dementia.
In total, the lab has found CTE in the brain tissue in 131 out of 165 individuals who, before their deaths, played football either professionally, semi-professionally, in college or in high school.
Forty percent of those who tested positive were the offensive and defensive linemen who come into contact with one another on every play of a game, according to numbers shared by the brain bank with FRONTLINE. That finding supports past research suggesting that it’s the repeat, more minor head trauma that occurs regularly in football that may pose the greatest risk to players, as opposed to just the sometimes violent collisions that cause concussions.
But the figures come with several important caveats, as testing for the disease can be an imperfect process. Brain scans have been used to identify signs of CTE in living players, but the disease can only be definitively identified posthumously. As such, many of the players who have donated their brains for testing suspected that they had the disease while still alive, leaving researchers with a skewed population to work with.
Even with those caveats, the latest numbers are “remarkably consistent” with pastresearch from the center suggesting a link between football and long-term brain disease, said Dr. Ann McKee, the facility’s director and chief of neuropathology at the VA Boston Healthcare System.
“People think that we’re blowing this out of proportion, that this is a very rare disease and that we’re sensationalizing it,” said McKee, who runs the lab as part of a collaboration between the VA and BU. “My response is that where I sit, this is a very real disease. We have had no problem identifying it in hundreds of players.”
In a statement, a spokesman for the NFL said, “We are dedicated to making football safer and continue to take steps to protect players, including rule changes, advanced sideline technology, and expanded medical resources. We continue to make significant investments in independent research through our gifts to Boston University, the [National Institutes of Health] and other efforts to accelerate the science and understanding of these issues.”
The latest update from the brain bank, which in 2010 received a $1 million research grant from the NFL, comes at a time when the league is able to boast measurable progress in reducing head injuries. In its 2015 Health & Safety Report, the NFL said that concussions in regular season games fell 35 percent over the past two seasons, from 173 in 2012 to 112 last season. A separate analysis by FRONTLINE that factors in concussions reported by teams during the preseason and the playoffs shows a smaller decrease of 28 percent.
Off the field, the league has revised safety rules to minimize head-to-head hits, and invested millions into research. In April, it also won final approval for a potential $1 billion settlement with roughly 5,000 former players who have sued it over past head injuries.
Still, at the start of a new season of play, the NFL once again finds itself grappling to turn the page on the central argument in the class-action lawsuit: that for years it sought to conceal a link between football and long-term brain disease.
The latest challenge to that effort came two weeks ago with the trailer for a forthcoming Hollywood film about the neuropathologist who first discovered CTE. When the trailer was released, it quickly went viral, leaving the NFL bracing for a new round of scrutiny over past efforts to deny any such connection.
The film, Concussion, starring Will Smith, traces the story of Bennet Omalu, who in 2005 shocked the football establishment with an article in the journal Neurosurgery detailing his discovery of CTE in the brain of former Pittsburgh Steelers center Mike Webster. At the VA lab and elsewhere, CTE has since been found in players such as Hall of FamerJunior Seau, former NFL Man of the Year Dave Duerson, and Indianapolis Colts tight end John Mackey, a past head of the player’s union.
While the story is not a new one, for the NFL, it represents a high-profile and potentially embarrassing cinematic interpretation of a period in which the league sought to refute research suggesting football may contribute to brain disease.
From 2003 to 2009, for example, the NFL’s now disbanded Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Committee concluded in a series of scientific papers that “no NFL player” had experienced chronic brain damage from repeat concussions, and that “Professional football players do not sustain frequent repetitive blows to the brain on a regular basis.”
In the case of Omalu, league doctors publicly assailed his research, and in a rare move, demanded a retraction of his study. When Omalu spoke to FRONTLINE about the incident for the 2013 documentary, League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis, he said, “You can’t go against the NFL. They’ll squash you.”
In a conversation with FRONTLINE, McKee said that her biggest challenge remains “convincing people this is an actual disease.” Whatever pockets of resistance still exist, she said, have primarily come from those with a “vested interest” in football.
“People want to make this just Alzheimer’s disease or aging and not really a disease,” according to McKee. “I think there’s fewer of those people, but that’s still one of our major hurdles.”
For more information contact, contact a Seattle NFL Agent.
NFL cuts are beginning to trickle in as team cut down their roster to 53 from 75. In addition to the 53 man roster teams are allowed 10 players on the practice squad. Currently front offices across the league are making the tough decision are who to keep, cut and risk cutting with intention of signing to the practice squad. We’ll see how it all shakes out within 24 hours. Thanks to Danny Kelly of FieldGulls.com with the clean piece on the practice squad rules.
Time to brush up on the NFL’s practice squad rules. First off, the deadlines:
Saturday, September 5, 1 p.m.: Roster cutdowns to 53 players
Sunday, September 6th: 9 a.m.: Last call for waiver claims on roster cuts
Sunday, September 6th, 9 a.m: Teams can start signing 10 players to Practice Squads
First off, players have to pass through waivers first to be placed on the practice squad. This means all other teams have a crack at claiming them. If claimed, those players have to be placed on the active roster. Once practice squads are set, teams can poach from other teams’ practice squads but they must place that player on their active roster for a minimum of three weeks. Players can refuse to sign with other teams if the fit doesn’t seem right or if they’d prefer to stick on the practice squad of their current team (in other words, if they see their current team as a better situation).
Here are the eligibility rules.
Rules on practice squad eligibility:
In order to be eligible for the practice squad, players must meet one of the following requirements:
- A player is eligible for the practice squad if he does not have an accrued season of NFL experience. Players gain an accrued season by being on the active roster for at least six games. If a player has one accrued season, they can still be practice squad eligible if they were on the 45-man active gameday roster for fewer than nine regular season games.
- NEW RULE: Each club will be permitted to sign a maximum of two Practice Squad players who have earned no more than two accrued seasons of free agency credit. Absent this exception, a player who has earned one or more accrued seasons would not be eligible for a Practice Squad unless the player spent fewer than nine games on a club’s 46-player active list in each of his accrued seasons.
- If served two seasons on a practice squad, are eligible for a third season only if the team has at least 53 players on its active/inactive list for the duration of that player’s employment.
- A player has served one season on the practice squad if he is on the practice squad for at least 6 games. The rule previously required 3 games on the practice squad roster.
FB Rod Smith 6’3, 231
WR Kevin Smith 5’11, 215
WR Kasen Williams, 6’1, 210
WR Chris Matthews 6’5, 230
TE Rashaun Allen 6’5, 250
OG Mark Glowinski 6’4, 307
OG Kristjan Sokoli 6’5, 300
OC Patrick Lewis 6’1, 305
T/G Terry Poole 6’5, 315
OL Will Pericak 6’4, 296
NT/3T T.Y. McGill 6’0, 300
5T/3TJulius Warmsley 6’2, 290
LEO Obum Gwacham 6’5, 245
5T/DE David King 6’4, 270
LB Alex Singleton 6’2, 242
NB Marcus Burley 5’10, 189
FS/NB Steven Terrell 5’10, 197
SS Ryan Murphy, 6’3, 214
CB Douglas McNeil 6’3, 212
CB Mohammed Seisay 6’1, 202
SS Ronald Martin 6’2, 220
SS/FS Dion Bailey 6’0, 215
CB/SS DeShawn Shead 6’1, 225
CB Tye Smith, 6’0, 190
Tomorrow marks the start of the FBS college football season. This weekend will also commence the beginning of another season of 11am PST local kickoffs on the Pac-12 Network. When Portland State visits Washington State on Saturday at 11 in the morning, expect to see a late arriving crowd. Next weekend Washington and Colorado will kickoff at 11am and Oregon will do the same in week 3. The Pac-12 Network began this “tradition” last season in an effort to gain more East Coast viewers as opposed to kicking off at 10pm EST, sometimes as late as 8pm PST. I’ve written in the past about television dollars jeopardizing the tradition of college football and this is a prime example. I attended the 2015 NFC Championship game which kicked off at a local time of noon because of Television slotting. The Seahawks were at an obvious disadvantage with their earliest home kickoff in their history and the first half clearly showed those effects. The continuance of these early kickoffs on the west coast show that Pac-12 Commissioner, Larry Scott, is more concerned about number of viewers and TV dollars generated than the season ticket holders, alumni and fans that may be affected and cause lower attendance numbers in stadium. As long as the viewership money is high, then the in-game experience will always come second. Cheers and here is to another season of breakfast and Pac-12 Football. For more information contact, contact a Seattle NFL Agent.