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Bud Dupree donates over $5,000 to Children's Hospital

Dupree, the Steelers No.1 pick back in 2015, was hampered by injuries during the first half of the 2016 season. He returned and played a major role in Pittsburgh's seven game winning streak, recording 2.5 sacks in the team's Week 14 victory in Buffalo.
“The week before the Buffalo game, right before I started again," Dupree said during a recent interview with's Missi Matthews. "I had a great week of practice. Even though my groin was still tight, I tried to play it off so I could get back on the field.
“It was hard at first, because everything was sped up, I was behind on the scheme and the plays. But I knew the playbook from the previous year which helped me out a lot.”
Dupree worked maniacally to get back onto the field after being initially being placed on IR in September.
“It was very hard. The expectations were high for me," Dupree said. "I put in a lot of work last offseason, and it just came to a stop. I kept grinding, my family kept me encouraged, and God put me back into the right position at the right time.
“I would have been so mad. I just hate missing time because I love being on the field, the bond and the brotherhood with my teammates.
“One day, I had to do a job test, like a power walk. When I was doing it, they said don’t go over a certain speed, but I sped up, and I felt my groin loosen up. So I start doing extra rehabs, doing extra mile walks, doing little things to speed up the process on my way back.”
Dupree said he is using the 2017 AFC Championship loss to New England as motivation for 2017, as Dupree is motivated to see his high expectations for himself and his defense come to fruition.
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Hugh Freeze is gone, Ole Miss is damaged, and the Rebels have themselves to blame

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Let's start with this being the single most embarrassing moment in the history of Ole Miss athletics.
Hotty Toddy, gosh almighty, Hugh Freeze just dragged a venerable Southern institution down into some Kardashian-level slime.
Somewhere, the first gentleman of Ole Miss must be quietly weeping. That would be Archie Manning -- if only because his alma mater became a national punchline Thursday.
Manning is admired way beyond being a one-time great quarterback. He is a consummate Southern gentleman, a symbol of the Deep South from another era. His pride is their pride -- in Ole Miss, its people, the SEC, the region.
He also knows now that his coach called an escort service. At least once.
And that seems to be only the tip of the kudzu plant. By the time the Ole Miss administration got done wiping its hands of Freeze at a hastily called press conference Thursday, what was left of his character lie splattered all over Twitter.
"A pattern of personal misconduct," they called it. More than just an Ole Miss-dial that CBS Sports, among others, had reported minutes earlier. More than a one-minute call to a Tampa-based escort service that Freeze contended was a mistake.
Then Ole Miss admitted to doing something they should have done months ago, perhaps at the beginning of the ongoing NCAA investigation.
They checked Freeze's phone records. What they found was "a pattern of conduct not consistent with our expectations as the leader of our football program."
That's code for something way worse than a butt dial. Specifics were at a premium, probably because everyone from Oxford, Mississippi, to Indianapolis is lawyered up. Athletic director Ross Bjork wouldn't say if that pattern of behavior was calls -- plural -- to escort services.
Ole Miss leaders did stress that, when Freeze resigned, the school didn't owe him a dime. In fact, if he hadn't resigned, the "moral terpitude" contract clause would have been activated.
Translation: If Freeze didn't step down, he would have been fired for cause.
Yeah, I feel for Archie.
I also feel for John Grisham, who was probably just scooped by Ole Miss for his latest book pitch. Scandal! Ole Miss! Football! Lawyers! One of the great storytellers of our time got beaten out by reality.
In a matter of moments, that supposed butt dial turned into a Bible Belt bombshell.
It's a scandal on two levels. Ole Miss now suddenly finds itself vehemently defending their suddenly disgraced former coach, who is accused of eight NCAA major violations.
The same coach they just ran out of town.
If Ole Miss doesn't have faith in the investigation's central figure, why should the NCAA? Is there such a thing as institutional (out-of) control?
"A lot people call [Freeze] a fraud," one reporter asked Bjork. "What do you think about that?"
"None of us are perfect," the AD replied.
On that note, scores of coaches across the country smiled. They were sick of Freeze's self-righteous Bible-thumping. They were also sick of his recruiting methods.
Freeze, the celebu-coach, had made his bones early transforming Michael Oher into an NFL offensive lineman. He also was able to inject himself into the movie about Oher's life.
Should we have been so blindsided on Thursday?
"You will soon learn this matter is totally unrelated to the NCAA case," Bjork said.
Oh yeah? I believe NCAA enforcement director Jon Duncan will have the last word on that one. If Houston Nutt's lawyer can get those phone records, why wouldn't the NCAA be interested? And what else might they reveal?
If you don't believe a third notice of allegations is possible for Ole Miss, please consider the NCAA's second notice of allegations to Ole Miss.
Maybe the best thing that happened to Rebels football is that the NCAA is running out of folks to penalize. The school banned itself from a bowl, took away some scholarships.
It basically fired its coach.
Ole Miss will recover. Freeze will Jason Verrett Womens Jersey work again. They always do. Jim Tressel is the president of a university. Dave Bliss got a couple of jobs after he disparaged a murdered former player.
I'm not ready to say Art Briles will never coach again.
But for now, I feel most for Archie. At one proud Southern institution he is one proud Southern institution. This was the worst day in his alma mater's athletic history.
And the slime may be just beginning to ooze
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The MMQB All-Time NFL Draft: Final Takeaways

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A reader asked which single-season team had the most players in The MMQB All-Time NFL Draft. The winner: the 1971 Cowboys team that won Super Bowl VI, with 11. The players (in draft order):
1971 Cowboys drafted
Roger Staubach, QB
Bob Lilly, DT
Forrest Gregg, T
Lance Alworth, WR
Mike Ditka, TE
Herb Adderley, CB
Mel Renfro, S
Rayfield Wright, T
Bob Hayes, WR
Cliff Harris, S
Chuck Howley, LB
It should be noted that Forrest Gregg, who signed with the Cowboys after 14 years in Green Bay, played in only six games that ’71 season and did not play in the Super Bowl. He retired after that year, leaving the ’72 Cowboys with 10 of our All-Time Draft players—though Herb Adderley, Lance Alworth and Mike Ditka all played diminished roles in ’72 and retired after the season.
While the Packers teams of 1961 and 1963 also had 10 players in our draft, the more impressive 10-player team was also a bit of a surprise: The 1968-71 Chiefs had 10 players in our draft who played together for four full seasons. It was enlightening to see the respect our 12 GMs had for the powerhouse Kansas City squads of the late ’60s/early ’70s, and for the AFL in general. The Canton seniors committee might want to have another look at Otis Taylor, Ed Budde and Johnny Robinson.
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Saints LB Dannell Ellerbe expected to be waived when healthy

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News broke yesterday that the New Orleans Saints would place LB Dannell Ellerbe on Injured Reserve, and that when he’s be healthy the linebacker will be cut.
New Orleans Saints analysts such as Mike Triplett, Josh Katzenstein, and Nick Underhill all confirmed this news. Ellerbe, unfortunately, is dealing with yet another injury, this time to his foot. He didn’t pass his physical before training camp, which would ultimately be the reasoning behind the move.
The news comes as a surprise for some about Ellerbe’s eventual release. The linebacker has played an important role in the Saints defense when healthy. Ellerbe contributed as the New Orleans Saints starting Will Linebacker.
During his tenure with in New Orleans, Ellerbe has only managed to start 15 of the available 32 games. In the 2015 season, Dannell Ellerbe played only six games for the Saints. In those six games, Ellerbe contributed 39 total tackles, 1 forced fumble, and 1 pass defended against. However, in the year 2016, Ellerbe played in 9 games throughout the season. In those 9 games, Dannell Ellerbe totaled 44 total tackles, 4.0 sacks, and 2 passes defended against.
Now the question remains, “What will the New Orleans Saints do now that Dannell Ellerbe will be gone?” Dannell Ellerbe filled the position of the starting Will Linebacker, and with that vacancy now open there are a couple of candidates that are worthy of overtaking it.
The former free agent standout looks to be the frontrunner in this escapade for a new Saints starting Will linebacker. Robertson, a talented linebacker, possesses the versatility to play multiple positions. Including WLB. With the depth the Saints currently have overall at the linebacker position, I could envision this move for Robertson. He has been successful in this defense already and could transition well to a different linebacker position. In 2016 with the New Orleans Saints, Craig Robertson totaled 115 total tackles leading the team, 1 sack, and 1 interception.
The New Orleans Saints 2017 3rd round selection could give LB Craig Robertson the biggest competition as far as this battle goes. Anzalone, a former Florida alum, had an impressive showing during his college years and looks to continue this as he plays for the Saints.
Alex Anzalone has a wide variety of talents that could spell success for himself as a starter for the New Orleans Saints in 2017. Anzalone is an impressive candidate. He would surely make a great starter. Now, if he’ll be able to beat out Craig Robertson, that’ll be another story.
Other candidates that are possibilities for the starting position include former CFL star and potential breakout athlete LB Adam Bighill. Regardless who overtakes the position, it’ll certainly be an interesting showdown!
Now that the news has come out Eli Harold  Kids Jersey Saints fans, what do you think? Who would you like to be the New Orleans Saints starting linebackers? Make sure to stay updated with Who Dat Dish for the latest and the greatest New Orleans Saints news, and coverage.
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Countdown To Steelers Camp: 50 In 25 Series – Cobi Hamilton 2017 Preview

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The calendar has now flipped over to July and that means the Pittsburgh Steelers annual training camp will be getting underway in Latrobe later this month. As usual, we have several series planned to get you ready for this year’s training camp and mine will center around preview profiles of 50 players over the course of the next 25 days. Most of these profiles will be on players who were under contract with the team in 2016.
Up twenty-seventh in this series is a 2017 preview profile of wide receiver Cobi Hamilton.
Intro: At this same time last year, Hamilton wast even on the Steelers roster. He made one hell of climb from there as he wound up on the Steelers 53-man unit come Week 6 of the regular season after first spending time on the team’s practice squad. He then proceeded to dress for all games moving forward and ended the regular season with 17 receptions for 234 yards and two touchdowns. He added another four receptions for 51 yards and a touchdown during the playoffs.
Current Strengths: Hamilton’s best trait is that he is a physical wide receiver and we saw him make several contested catches during the 2016 regular season with a few coming on third downs. He’s a willing blocker to boot. While not overly fast, he showed a knack to separate last second on a few deep receptions in 2016 and especially in the end zone. Those few catches required some good body control.
Current Weaknesses: Hamilton is not a twitchy wide receiver off the line and he lacks straight-line speed. He struggles to get on top of cornerbacks more times than not. His total route running and overall ability to sink his hips to get in and out of breaks effectively and consistently is also lacking.
2017 Outlook: If Hamilton can somehow beat the odds again and wind up making the 53-man roster in 2017, he’ll be a depth chart wide receiver and special teams contributor. That’s not guaranteed to happen, however, with Bob Lilly Womens Jersey the return of fellow wide receiver Martavis Bryant and the Steelers drafting of wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster. Assuming he’s eligible, Hamilton might could open the 2017 season on the Steelers practice squad again if not signed by another team.
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Water skiing never gets old for 64-year-old Wallace

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DUNCANVILLE – For the fourth time in the last five years the American Water Ski Association Southern Regionals is being held at Lymanland Lake, meaning the return of Ham Wallace.
Wallace, 64, is an independent automobile broker in Nashville, but made the 247-mile trip to his old stomping grounds in Tuscaloosa.
He attended the University of Alabama from 1971-75. While there, he was one of the founders of the water skiing team.
“We went to a collegiate tournament and said, ‘This is the real deal,’” Wallace said.
Wallace has been competing competitively for 52 years. Since leaving Alabama, he has become a jumping world champion and finished second overall in 2010 in the 35-over age division that was held in Italy. Overall, Wallace is a four-time national champion.
His water skiing journey, however, starts 59 years ago in Guntersville, Alabama.
“Our family had a cabin up there, and when I was 5, I saw adults skiing and said, ‘It’s time to learn,’” Wallace said. “I didn’t do much with it for about two years, but then it took off.”
When Wallace’s mother was a teenager, her parents built a ski jump on Lake Guntersville, leading her to join the American Water Skiing Association.
“I would see the magazine come to our house every month and I would study it,” Wallace said. “When I was 10, I bugged my father to death to build a slalom course. Three years later I got pretty good, so he took me to ski with older skiers, who taught me how to jump.”
Wallace said a good jump happens when Artie Burns Womens Jersey your body position is right and you have a good angle. In Wallace’s division, the boat travels at 32 mph, leading the skier to travel at about 50 mph.
“There is nothing like it,” Wallace said. “It’s a great feeling and it’s been a great sport.”
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Frank Gore closing in on the Top 5 for all-time rushing yards

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Frank Gore is a rare running back who’s still able to play at a high level into his 30s, rushing for 1,025 yards last season at the age of 33. If he can do that again at age 34, he’ll join some truly elite company.
Gore is already the active rushing leader, with 13,065 career yards, and the only players ahead of him in NFL history are Hall of Famers. If Gore equals his 2016 production this year, he’ll move ahead of three of those Hall of Famers — Eric Dickerson, Jerome Bettis and LaDainian Tomlinson — and into the Top 5 in NFL history. He’d also then be just behind No. 4 Curtis Martin, who retired with 14,101 yards.
Another 1,000-yard season would be the 10th of Gore’s career, tying him with Martin, Walter Payton and Barry Sanders for the second most 1,000-yard seasons in NFL history. Only Emmitt Smith, with 11 1,000-yard seasons, has more.
It’s probably a long shot to think Gore will last long enough to pass Sanders (15,269 career yards), Payton (16,726) and Smith (18,355) on the all-time rushing list. But it’s easy to see Gore moving into fourth place all-time, and making a strong case for himself as a Hall of Famer.
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Dan Fouts chooses punter over Tom Brady

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Tom Brady may have the most Super Bowl victories of any quarterback in NFL history, but that doesn't mean he is automatically the greatest player of all time. Some people still favor Joe Montana or Aaron Rodgers, or could even lean on another position like Jim Brown at running back or Jerry Rice at wide receiver.
Well, in the MMQB's all-time mock draft, Dan Fouts did that to the most extreme extent. According to Alex Reimer of WEEI, Fouts chose punter Ray Guy over Brady with his first round choice:
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The choice is inexplicable on so many levels, but here's the weirdest part: Guy punted 1,049 times in his career. Brady has attempted 1,056 passes... in the last two seasons. And in one of those seasons, he was suspended for four games. There's no justification for ever taking any punter over a quarterback, but taking one over Tom Brady? That's just laughable.
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Which Pittsburgh Steelers made MMQB's all-time NFL draft

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Eighteen former Pittsburgh Steelers came off the board in Monday Morning Quarterback’s all-time NFL draft, published on Wednesday.
Some of the selected Steelers were incredibly predictable, others were altogether obscure and, yes, there was a round for coaches in which Chuck Noll was picked.
The 25-round draft board is understandably not sorted by NFL team, so we did that work for you below.
It was carried out by 12 NFL experts, including MMQB editor-in-chief Peter King, under the assumption that great players of any era would’ve also been that great in another
Their rules, explained
Some notes on the Steelers, then all the Steelers drafted:
Scrolling through this the names of Marion Motley and Walt Kiesling, across from the word "Pittsburgh" prompted double takes.
Motley was a fourth-round pick and the fourth former Steeler taken in this draft. The running back only played in Pittsburgh for one year. He was with the Cleveland Browns from 1946-53 before suiting up for the Steelers in 1955, which was the last season of his career.
Riesling, a guard, began his career with the Duluth Eskimoes in 1927 and finished it as a Pittsburgh Pirate – NFL teams did that back then – from 1937-38.
Apart from a few career Steelers who had a spare year in other cities, those were the only players who had long careers elsewhere — other than Gary Anderson.
The kicker is hardly forgotten. It's just a weird bend of history that one of the game's great kickers spent 13 seasons with one of the sport's more successful franchises without playing in a Super Bowl or even an AFC Championship game.
Who liked Steelers the most
King, former Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Colts and New York Giants general manager Ernie Accorsi and former NFL head of player personnel Joel Bussert each picked three Steelers.
Bussert snagged Dermontti Dawson, Jack  Customized Youth Jersey Butler and Alan Faneca while King picked up Jack Lambert, Franco Harris and – after trading away Bill Belichick – Noll. Accorsi drafted Motley, John Stallworth and Anderson.
Another historic reunion
Hall of Fame NFL executive Ron Wolf got Joe Greene and Mel Blount. All the other Steelers were scattered away from each other on the other nine teams.
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Vince Williams the lone new starter on Steelers' experienced defense

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The Pittsburgh Steelers, who open training camp on Friday in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, will have a familiar lineup as the season opens. Here's a starting lineup projection:
Quarterback (Ben Roethlisberger): Roethlisberger enters his 14th season as a starter and is coming off his third consecutive Pro Bowl. He has arguably his best supporting cast in place in 2017.
Tailback (Le'Veon Bell): Bell carried the Steelers at times in 2016 with an average of 157 total yards per game, third all time for running backs. Bell is 25 and should be entering his prime, though the Steelers could try to protect him with a reasonable workload.
Wide receiver (Antonio Brown): Brown is eyeing a fifth straight 100-catch season, which has never been done. Brown is eager to produce after signing a four-year, $68 million extension.
Wide receiver (Martavis Bryant): Under conditional reinstatement, Bryant must pass frequent drug tests and successfully complete his treatment to play in Week 1. The 25-year-old is on track to do so, and the big playmaker added about 10 pounds of muscle this offseason. Bryant is technically a new starter but doesn't seem like one.
Wide receiver (Eli Rogers): Rogers has the chance to do damage in the slot while Brown and Bryant man the outside. Rogers had an uneven debut in 2016 but still came away with 48 catches for 594 yards.
Tight end (Jesse James): The unquestioned starter for the first time, James is looking to build on his 10 catches for 131 yards in the Steelers' final two playoff games last season. James isn't a speedster, but he can be an effective red zone target.
Left tackle (Alejandro Villanueva): Villanueva is often openly critical of his own play, but his performance during the second half of 2016 solidified his spot as a productive NFL left tackle.
Left guard (Ramon Foster): Pro Football Focus ranked Foster as the No. 2 left guard after he didn't give up a sack in 2016. Foster dealt with offseason injuries but should be ready for camp.
Center (Maurkice Pouncey): Pouncey is considered Terrell Davis Youth Jersey the team's emotional leader and is glad to be healthy after missing most of 2013 and 2015 with serious injuries.
Right guard (David DeCastro): As one of the NFL's highest-paid offensive guards, DeCastro was an All-Pro in 2015. He is an effective lead blocker in many of the Steelers' running sets.
Right tackle (Marcus Gilbert): Gilbert has become one of the league's best right tackles and looks forward to the Week 1 matchup with the Cleveland Browns' top pick, Myles Garrett.
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Horning: In an opinionated sports world, here are a few

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It’s good to have an opinion, a point of view, a side you’ve arrived at thoughtfully. Instead, “takes,” or even worse, “hot takes,” have invaded the sports landscape .
Once you had ESPN’s “The Sports Reporters,” a roundtable of big city, big paper columnistswho’d seen it all offering wisdom and an experienced and very frequently accurate reading between the lines (and pictures).
Now, you have the horrid “First Take,” Fox’s awful copycat “Undisputed,” the ridiculous “SportsNation” and the overly unserious “Around the Horn.”
It turns out there are ratings in passion and too little intelligence among viewers to realize how contrived and false the purveyors of it are. Consider it the worst kind of televangelism coming to sports.
Once you had Jim and Tammy and Paul and Jan, now you have the bloviation of Stephen A. Smith and sidekick Max Kellerman, old Bronco tight end Shannon Sharpe and the absolute king of false and farcical sports seriousness, Skip Bayless.
By association, they give actual thoughtful discourse and meaningful positions a bad name. Nonetheless, here are a few.
• The Masters is the third most important golf tournament in the world. Yeah, that’s right, third. Behind the Open Championship and the U.S. Open.
You could even make a case The Players Championship is actually quite similar to the Masters — fantastic field, played at the same course every year, huge reward for the winner — just without its tortured history with race and privilege.
Because of the micro-management of Augusta National and the willing collusion of CBS, the masses have come to believe the course Bobby Jones built to be the truest measure of a golfer the same way people believe diamonds to be exceedingly rare.
They’re not, nor is the Masters the most meaningful 72 holes of golf.
• Once ESPN made sports bigger, now it makes them smaller, and it has nothing to do with all its opinion shows.
Remember Australian Rules football, Davis Cup Tennis, Canadian Football and Hartford Whaler hockey games?
Once, they were all ESPN staples because the network couldn’t afford the rights fees the networks were paying. And guess what, viewers loved it. Loved it so much — as well as an end of the night SportsCenter that allowed everybody to stay up to date with everything — that eventually ESPN could afford the rights fees and now has basically replaced network sports. And in the wake of the outlier becoming the behemoth, all charm has been lost.
Now we get more NFL than we know what to do with, more NBA than we can digest, more college football than we thought imaginable and less of everything else.
The Olympics, for instance, once meant everything. Now they feel quaint.
The grandeur of so many great things — horse racing, boxing, track and field, tennis, open-wheel racing, even baseball — has been lost.
• Dallas’ best quarterback was Roger Staubach, not Troy Aikman and not Tony Romo. Sometimes, it’s not entirely about stats and championships, but what everybody saw with their own eyes.
Aikman played for a machine, Staubach was death-defying by comparison. Place them on each other’s teams and who gets better and who doesn’t?
The 70s Cowboys get worse and the 90s Cowboys do not.
• It’s all about the money. Not a little Dontrelle Inman Youth Jersey about the money, but all about it.
The college facilities arms race, conference realignment, lowest-common-denominator sports programming, player movement in major team sports, the names of the stadiums in which we watch the games, the uniforms athletes wear.
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After stint with Mannings, is Northwestern's Clayton Thorson thinking NFL?

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Clayton Thorson likes to joke that his father, Chad, resembles Peyton Manning.
And there they were, Chad and Peyton, at a dinner during the Manning Passing Academy in June.
So did Thorson snap a picture of the two?
"Nah, it was the wrong setting," he said Tuesday. "We'll get it sometime. Next year I'm going back, so…"
And with that, Thorson offered his first clue regarding 2018. But it's non-binding.
If Thorson has a terrific season in his third year as Northwestern's starter, he could opt to declare for the NFL draft. As you might have heard, the league craves talented quarterbacks. A year ago, Mitch Trubisky hadn't started a game at North Carolina.
"Do I believe he will be an NFL quarterback? Absolutely," NU coach Pat Fitzgerald said. "If it's after this year, that means he's had a really good year and that's win-win for everybody."
At 6-foot-4 and 226 pounds, Thorson has the frame and arm strength to sling it in the pros. ESPN's Mel Kiper ranked him fifth among non-senior prospects behind USC's Sam Darnold, Wyoming's Josh Allen, UCLA's Josh Rosen and Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson of Louisville.
Kiper separated out seniors, listing Oklahoma State's Mason Rudolph, Washington State's Luke Falk, Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield, Idaho's Matt Linehan and Western Kentucky's Mike White.
Thorson got asked about the NFL enough during Big Ten media days that he developed a fairly stock reply: "It's something you strive for. At the same time, I realize I'm not there now. It's great that people say you've got some talent, but I don't put much into those talks. It doesn't matter if you don't perform.
"I'm so focused on our team and winning. Whether it's this year, next year, the Lord has a good plan in store. Right now I'm here, and it's the only thing I'm thinking about."
Thorson made a leap as a redshirt sophomore last season, improving his completion percentage from 50.8 to 58.6 and his touchdown/interception split from 7/9 to 22/9.
As a redshirt in 2014, Thorson learned from Trevor Siemian, who struggled through injuries as a senior (58.2 completion percentage, 7 TDs, 11 INTs) but won the job with the defending Super Bowl champion Broncos two years later.
So Siemian is a role model for Thorson, but the original is Manning. Thorson wears his No. 18.
You can imagine Thorson's reaction when Archie Manning, Peyton's father, called to invite him to the Passing Academy in Thibodaux, La.
"It was a missed call," Thorson said. "I looked down at the transcription: 'Hey, Clayton, it's Archie Manning.' Oh, no!"
Thorson, one of 40 players at the academy, got to chat with Peyton and brother Eli many times. His takeaway?
"How they handled their teammates when something went wrong," Thorson said. "There are times you yell, but you can't embarrass your teammates in front of everyone."
The NU offense loses Biletnikoff Award finalist Austin Carr but returns the vast majority of linemen and playmakers, including tailback Justin Jackson and superback Garrett Dickerson.
"Last year you saw an amazing maturation in Zack Martin Youth Jersey Clayton's game," Fitzgerald said. "He went down to the Manning Camp and thrived. I look forward to a special season from him."
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Countdown To Steelers Camp: 50 In 25 Series – B.J. Finney 2017 Preview

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The calendar has now flipped over to July and that means the Pittsburgh Steelers annual training camp will be getting underway in Latrobe later this month. As usual, we have several series planned to get you ready for this year’s training camp and mine will center around preview profiles of 50 players over the course of the next 25 days. Most of these profiles will be on players who were under contract with the team in 2016.
Up twenty-ninth in this series is a 2017 preview profile of center/guard B.J. Finney.
Intro: Finney, the Steelers interior backup swingman, nearly played 300 regular season snaps last season due to injuries and that included him making three starts at left guard. The former undrafted free agent out of Kansas State showed during the regular season that he could be a reliable backup and especially during those starts.
Current Strengths: Finney’s play at left guard last season was impressive and he showed that he could move and function effectively out in space and especially when asked to pull to the right side. He uses his hands well at guard and much, much better than he does at center. Balance is another strength of his.
Current Weaknesses: As a pass protector, Finney needs some improvement and especially at the center position. His angles against A-gap pressure and twist recognition also needs improvement. While not asked to play center much in 2016, he struggled at that position when asked to play there. His snap timing and head bobs were off more than a few times. Needs to become a better anchorer and drive better off the snap against larger defensive tackles. Shorter arms hinders him at times.
2017 Outlook: Finney should once again be the Steelers primary interior swingman in 2017 and thus his playing time will depend entirely on the Delvin Breaux Womens Jersey health ahead of him. He’s a lot better NFL guard right now than he is a center, the position he mainly played in college.
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MMQB Top 400 list includes double digit 49ers

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NFL training camps are getting underway this week, which means we are getting the last of offseason rankings. The latest comes courtesy of MMQB writer Andy Benoit, who ranked the top 400 players across the league.
Benoit’s criteria was, “Does player A do his job better or worse than player B does his job?” He looked at “raw talent, cultivated skill set, and role within his team’s system,” and it was entirely film-based. If two players were too close to call, the tie was broken by which player had the more significant job.
The San Francisco 49ers actually had a sizable crew of players make the list. They had 11 players, which put them ahead of teams like the Cleveland Browns (nine) and the New York Jets (five). I mention those two teams because they are the two teams viewed by many as the 49ers primary competition for the No. 1 overall pick. I don’t think the 49ers will end up with the pick, but there is a lot of media coverage suggesting they will be in the mix.
The 49ers on the list included the following (with his comments in quotation marks). The rankings are based on 2016 performance, which is why Bucker, Ward, Armstead, and Dial all have different positions than we will see them in this season.
201 - Joe Staley, LT - “His age (33 at the end of August) is starting to show a bit in pass protection, but Staley is still a savvy veteran who occasionally flashes as a run-blocker.”
220 - DeForest Buckner, 3-4 DE - “Buckner played with better leverage as his rookie season went on. He will likely play five-technique in defensive coordinator Robert Saleh's 4-3, where he'll have to fight more double-team blocks.”
254 - Carlos Hyde, RB - “He's not a pure outside runner, which can be an issue against faster defenses like the Seahawks or Rams. What Hyde does have is good patience and deceptive elusiveness.”
256 - Jimmie Ward, CB - “He has the makeup to Shane Ray Kids Jersey be a really sturdy slot corner, but the Niners are moving him to free safety. As an outside corner, Ward had too many subtle mistakes last seasons.”
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Asked and Answered: July 25

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Many, many readers submitted questions concerning various aspects of the Le’Veon Bell situation, with the most common being how the franchise tag tender is determined and how many times a team can use the franchise tag on the same player. These first two questions were selected to represent all of those:
Can you explain how the NFL determined that Le’Veon Bell will get paid $12.1 million under the franchise tag, when the highest paid running back is only getting around $8 million this year?
ANSWER: Under prior labor deals, the non-exclusive franchise tag was determined by the average of the five highest-paid players at each position from the prior year. Under the current Collective Bargaining Agreement, the franchise tender number is based on the five-year average cap percentage at each position. My suggestion is to do what I do, which is to wait for the league to announce the numbers and then just remember them. Trying to do the math yourself is too confusing.
Can the Steelers use the franchise tag on a player for three or more consecutive seasons, and if so, what would Le'Veon Bell's salary be if the tag were used on him in this manner?
ANSWER: Players can be tagged in successive years, but it's expensive. For a player to be tagged in back-to-back years, the team must pay 120 percent of the player's previous salary the second time the tag is used. If it's three-straight years, the team must pay the player 144 percent of his previous salary. So for simple arithmetic purposes, let’s round off Le’Veon Bell’s 2017 salary at $12 million. Tagging him in 2018 would mean the number would be $14.4 million. Tagging him in 2019 would mean $20.74 million.
My fiancé and I will be spending some time in Pittsburgh after our wedding, since it is my hometown. While we're home, we'll be able to go to a Steelers training camp practice. It starts at 2:55 p.m., but would you recommend we arrive earlier if it means we have a greater chance of meeting/getting an autograph from players? If so, how much earlier do you think?
ANSWER: I hesitate to give advice on something like this, because I would hate for you to listen to me and then be disappointed if things didn’t work out as you had hoped. Generally, more players sign autographs after practice than before, but there is no way of predicting which players are going to sign on which day, and then whether that will be before or after practice. Personally, I never have understood the autograph phenomenon, and a day at training camp, for me anyway, would be about the chance to watch NFL athletes up close as they ply their trade and compete to earn a roster spot. But that’s just me, and it’s not meant as a criticism of you or anyone else whose day at camp would be made complete by leaving campus with some signatures. What I can tell you is that Coach Mike Tomlin signs autographs every day after practice, and he signs for anyone and everyone who is interested. That is something you can count on.
For my 70th birthday, my wife presented me with a replica No. 70 Steelers jersey with my name on the back. In checking the current roster, I do not see a No. 70, nor do I recall a player who wore that number. Is that number not assigned, or has it been retired?
ANSWER: No. 70 was worn by Ernie Stautner, who played 14 seasons for the Steelers – and only missed one game – from 1950-63. A defensive tackle who was the team’s No. 2 pick in the 1950 NFL Draft, Stautner played his college football at Boston College. In the NFL, he was a voted to nine Pro Bowls and was named a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s All-1950s team. He was voted either first-team or Dwayne Allen Authentic Jersey second-team All-Pro 25 times by the various entities that picked those things back in that era. His jersey was retired by the Steelers in 1964, and he was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1969. Stautner died in February 2006 at the age of 80.
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49ers have potential, but lack experience in Pro Football Focus secondary rankings

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The San Francisco 49ers are making big changes to their secondary this year, and expectations are relatively low outside the Bay Area. There is a lot of talent in the mix for the five roles (two corners, two safeties, one nickel), but a lot of inexperience and new roles.
The team is moving Eric Reid from free safety to strong safety and Jimmie Ward from cornerback to free safety. Rashard Robinson is expected to take over one cornerback role, while Keith Reaser, Dontae Johnson, and rookie Ahkello Witherspoon are competing for the other role. K’Waun Williams was brought in to compete with Will Redmond for the nickel back role.
Pro Football Focus is going through each position group and ranking out all 32 teams. On Tuesday, they got to secondaries. They ranked the 49ers No. 25. Teams behind them included the Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns, New York Jets, Indianapolis Colts, Chicago Bears, New Orleans Saints, and Philadelphia Eagles.
PFF had this to say about the 49ers new-look secondary:
Depth is a big question mark all around the secondary. Jaquiski Tartt is the most proven backup, and he is almost exclusively behind Eric Reid. Lorenzo Jerome has stood out as a ball-hawk safety, and stands a decent shot of claiming a role, particularly if he shines on special teams. At safety, the biggest question is how Ward performs switching back to a role he hasn’t played since college.
The 49ers got really young, really quick at cornerback this offseason, releasing Tramaine Brock and making the move with Ward. Ahkello Witherspoon has the length they want in press-favored cornerbacks, but he is still a rookie. Keith Reaser and Dontae Johnson are his competition for a starting job, but I could see an extensive rotation  Michael Harris Authentic Jersey through training camp and the preseason. With a new coaching staff in place, I am intrigued to see how quickly some of these younger players claim starting roles, or at least significant roles.
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JUST CHILL: 10 thoughts from Wednesday’s Cowboys practice

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Here my 10 thoughts from Wednesday’s Cowboys practice, the first day in pads:
1. All eyes were on linebacker Jaylon Smith. The good news was that he was in pads and on the field for the first time in 572 days dating back to his last game at Notre Dame when he suffered a devastating knee injury. He participated in eight plays on team drills and was around he ball on a couple of them. He was blocked very successfully at least four times. Again, getting on the field was the biggest step.
2. Quarterback Dak Prescott practiced without resting Dez Bryant and Jason Witten. He looked at ease and comfortable, making plays down the field to Terrance Williams and Brice Butler. Williams had a drop that he punted on to the next field.
3.Holes weren’t always plentiful for running back Ezekiel Elliott and he expressed his frustration at times. He was a big part of the passing game and Prescott will find ways to get him the ball.
There is a chance Prescott could be bigger part of the running game in 2017. With so much focus on Elliott, Prescott keeping on the zone read might be a regular feature in the offense. He ran it to perfection in practice and reeled off the biggest run of the day.
4. There is a chance Prescott could be bigger part of the running game in 2017. With so much focus on Elliott, Prescott keeping on the zone read might be a regular feature in the offense. He ran it to perfection in practice and reeled off the biggest run of the day.
5. First-round pick Taco Charlton got rudely welcomed to the NFL when he was pancaked by right tackle La’el Collins in pass rush drills. He then got into a tiff with fellow rookie guard/tackle Dan Skipper, who got the best of Charlton in team drills. The two hard words and nearly got into a scuffle.
6. Rookie cornerback Chidobe Awuzie flashed some of his playmaking skills in one-one-one passing drills when he smothered receiver Brice Butler, forcing a tipped ball and an interception.
7. With Orlando Scandrick sidelined with a veterans day off, the best looking cornerbacak on the field was second-year man Anthony Brown. He stayed with the shifty Cole Beasley a couple of times in the slot. He had a better day than veteran Nolan Carroll.
8. Tackle Tyron Smith, guard Zack Martin and center Travis Frederick don’t seemingly break a sweat during pass rush drills. Smith rarely gets challenged while smothering defensive end Benson Mayowa. Frederick had the play of the day when he held off defensive tackle Cedric Thornton with one hand on one play and then layed on top off after knocking him to the ground on the next.
9. The Cowboys offense had too many fumbles during drills with receiver Terrance Williams, fullback Keith Smith and tight end Blake Jarwin putting the  John Randle Womens Jersey ball on the ground. There were also a couple of bad snaps to the quarterback.
10. There has been a lot of talking surrounding Jaylon Smith and with good reason. But don’t forget about his brother Rod Smith, who has a good shot to make the roster as the fourth running back if not No. 3. Smith runs well. He can catch the ball out of the backfield and is a good special teams performer.
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Former Aberdeen High School, Moose Lodge, listed for sale

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The City of Aberdeen has listed for sale the former Aberdeen High School on Route 40, as well as the former Aberdeen Moose Lodge on Rogers Street.
The former high school has already attracted interest from regional operators of apartment complexes, senior citizen care facilities, even facilities for the care patients with dementia or Alzheimer's Disease.
The property, at 34 N. Philadelphia Blvd., was listed with MacKenzie Commercial Real Estate, of Lutherville, in early July.
"We've had some good inquiry calls," Tom Fidler, executive vice president and principal of MacKenzie, said Monday.
The city acquired the building, which was constructed in 1908, from Harford County in February for $1. The building was expanded in 1924 so elementary students could attend, too, and it ceased to be used as a school by the 1950s when the current Aberdeen High campus was developed off Paradise Road.
Following its use as a school, the Route 40 building was used for assorted community services, including Health Department functions, until it was closed in 2014 after a plumbing leak.
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How Marcus Mariota, other key Titans spent offseason

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The NFL season is almost here. The offseason is winding down and players are set to report to training camp this weekend.
The Titans enter the season with lofty expectations. Coming off a 9-7 season in which the team tripled its wins from the previous year, the Titans have been a popular choice to win the AFC South division for the first time since 2008.
So how did players spend their offseason leading up to one of the most anticipated seasons in franchise history?
Quarterback Marcus Mariota
The star quarterback and face of the franchise likes to keep a low profile on social media — he doesn't have a Twitter or Instagram account — but it's not like he was completely invisible this offseason.
He returned to his hometown of Honolulu, greeting fans at a local Walmart.
Star Struck w/ #HeismanTrophy winner QB#MarcusMariota in Honolulu at local Walmarts,felt like one big Hawaii family reunion!
— BDM (@BluedoorMkg) July 10, 2017
He was the main guest at the 2017 Tennessean Sports Awards, a night honoring the top prep athletes from the Middle Tennessee area.
Hi Marcus 👋🏻
— TN Game Time (@TNGameTime) June 6, 2017
And while he said he's never had a sip of alcohol in his life, he did make his way over to Bridgestone Arena with his beer-chugging offensive line for a few Predators games.
Tennessee Titans offensive linemen crushing tallboys to fire up the crowd in Nashville
Go Preds.
— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) May 17, 2017
Offensive lineman Taylor Lewan
Speaking of Mariota's offensive line, the Pro Bowl lineman had a memorable offseason, to say the least.
He was named one of the top 100 players in the league on the annual NFL Top 100 list, checking in at No. 72.
so awesome to be named #NFLTop100 number 72 is great but still not good enough!
— Taylor Lewan (@TaylorLewan77) May 9, 2017
He got some new ink this summer and posted videos from Chris Jones Womens Jersey his tattoo sessions on his Instagram story. While those videos expired, Lewan's tattoo artist posted the final product on his own Instagram account.
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In the year of the wide receiver, the Pittsburgh Steelers have redefined success

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The NFL has an over abundance of talent at wide receiver, and every in the league wants to take advantage except for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Not only have the Pittsburgh Steelers been incredibly boring during this year’s free agency (something they do every year), but they’re redefining what it means to have a talented group of players.
While the rest of the league consistently looks to the free agent market to scrape up the remaining headlines before training camp, Pittsburgh sits back and forgets that there are still players available. Heck, when names like Vincent Jackson, Stevie Johnson, Eddie Royal and Doral Green-Beckham still available this close to training camp, a full moon must be out.
The Steelers are in a boat no other team is in, though. While the Dallas Cowboys look to replace Lucky Whitehead, and multiple other teams still search for the missing piece in their passing game, Pittsburgh tries to figure out which player who should make the 53-man roster, won’t.
Pittsburgh is in this unique stage where their receiving core has developed into the best in the league. Not only do their starting two, Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant, blow almost any other starting core out of the water, but they have two slot guys competing for the job who would easily start on virtually any team in the NFL.
Guys like Sammie Coates, Justin Hunter, Darrius Heyward-Bey, and Demarcus Ayers are all competing to stay off a practice squad when on 31 of the 32 teams in the league, they would almost be guaranteed a spot in the top four or five receivers.
Yes, there are teams like the New York Giants, New England Patriots, and Cincinnati Bengals that all have incredible receiving cores. But their practice squad wouldn’t be competing for the third or fourth depth chart spot on teams like the Cleveland Browns. Pittsburgh’s would.
That’s what redefined success means. While the rest of the league has their core three or four receivers, Pittsburgh has their core seven or eight.
To top it all off, they have the league’s best wideout in Antonio Brown leading the way. Right from the very top, Pittsburgh reigns supreme. Then, you go through the stages and find yourself at the practice squad, where more than likely, Sammie Coates will headline the team. For someone who would be competing for the backup outside receiver on almost any team, Coates isn’t even valued in Pittsburgh.
Just another example of how the Steelers have somehow turned their receivers into a group far above the rest of the pack.
What makes this so special, is that Pittsburgh has done it through development. Instead of going out and signing big name receivers like other teams, the Steelers have drafted all of their first four receivers and turned them into superstars.
Outside of Hunter and Heyward-Bey, this team doesn’t have wideouts competing for the roster that hasn’t started their career in the Steel City. If Coates wasn’t going to miss the beginning of training camp, they’d likely only have one active receiver come Week 1 who wasn’t a draft pick.
How they’ve done it? No one knows. But somehow, the Steelers have claimed their spot at the top of the wide receiver world.
They definitely haven’t done it like most of the league has, but it doesn’t matter. What the Pittsburgh Steelers have done in a year where Heath Miller Authentic Jersey wide receivers are plentiful is unheard of.
The NFL is thriving with wideouts, but in the year of the wideout, the Pittsburgh Steelers have emerged superior.
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