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March 2018
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‘NFL’ Articles

NFL announces Speakers Bureau at USC’s Annenberg School featuring 30 current and former players



USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism 2007 photo By Bobak Ha'Eri - Own work, CC BY 3.0, https





USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism to host three-day public speaking and digital storytelling program

Thirty current and former NFL players will take part in the first annual NFL Speakers Bureau in Los Angeles from March 19-21. Chicago Bears LB SAM ACHO, New York Jets LB JOSH MARTIN, and Carolina Panthers WR TORREY SMITH are among the players participating in the three-day program.

NFL Player Engagement collaborated with the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California (USCAnnenberg) to develop this year’s curriculum, which focuses on strategic approaches to effective public speaking and digital storytelling. Throughout the week, panels composed of USC Annenberg faculty, NFL executives and mass media professionals will instruct and demonstrate techniques designed to strengthen the presentation skills of each participant.

“The NFL Speakers Bureau provides players with the opportunity to learn and develop fundamental skills in fields of public motivational speaking and brand marketing,” said ARTHUR MCAFEE, Senior Vice President of NFL Player Engagement. “USC’s Annenberg School of Communication brings together experienced faculty and industry experts to educate players on the business of public speaking, developing their message and delivering their story.”

The inaugural strategic communication education program includes the following sessions: “Communicating Race, Gender and Justice,” “Public Speaking: Inspiring, Influencing and Persuading,” and “The Playbook for Successful Storytelling“, as well as a number of sessions focused on digital storytelling and social media.

“We’re excited to offer NFL athletes the opportunity to immerse themselves in an engaging and practical curriculum developed and led by our outstanding faculty,” said WILLOW BAY, Dean of USC Annenberg. “We know the players will benefit from our expertise in sports media, branding, strategic public relations, public speaking and digital communication.”

The Speakers Bureau is one of several career and professional development programs NFL Player Engagement offers to current and former players and their families. More than 25 players and their significant others took part in the fourth annual NFL Personal Finance Camp, where they gained an in-depth understanding of the financial world and established habits that will help maintain long-term financial stability.

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About NFL Player Engagement

NFL Player Engagement assists players in reaching their highest potential on and off-the-field with guidance, support, and resources provided before, during, and after their NFL experiences. NFL Player Engagement works with three core audiences: Prep, Life, and Next. NFL Life (current players) and NFL Next (former players) reach more than 2,000 NFL players and spouses each year through a variety of programs and services focused on career development, financial and continuing education, as well as personal, psychological, and physical wellness. NFL Prep provides high-school and college student-athletes of all sports with tools to help them succeed in life, focused on awareness, prevention, and education. More information can be found at

About the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism
Located in Los Angeles at the University of Southern California, the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism is an international leader in education and scholarship in the fields of communication, journalism, public diplomacy and public relations. With an enrollment of approximately 2,500 students, USC Annenberg offers doctoral, graduate and undergraduate degree programs, as well as continuing development programs for working professionals, across a broad scope of academic inquiry. The school’s comprehensive curriculum emphasizes the core skills of leadership, innovation, service and entrepreneurship and draws upon the resources of a networked university in a global urban environment.

USC Annenberg offers more than 15 sports-related courses across the communication, journalism and public relations fields, including two sports minors: sports media industries and sports media studies. In addition, USC Annenberg offers an annual, experiential Maymester program that allows top-performing students to explore the vast array of professional opportunities in sports and sports media industries in Los Angeles, as well as at media, communication and technology companies in New York City and the Bay Area. With 11 professional sports teams, Los Angeles is the second-largest media market in the country and a vibrant recreational athletics and fitness culture.




NFL Commissioner Godell issues statement on passing of Saints owner Tom Benson


Tom Benson in 2009 By Cpl Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo, Public Domain, https


Tom Benson’s contributions to New Orleans and the National Football League were legendary. He purchased a team that had never had a winning season; by the third year of his ownership, the Saints were in the playoffs. Tom kept the Saints together through the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina, and his decision to bring the team back to New Orleans gave the entire region hope and confidence that they would recover. The Saints rewarded their fans with tremendous football and a Super Bowl championship.

Tom loved New Orleans, where he was a generous and caring philanthropist.  Within the NFL, he was a true leader among NFL owners. He served as the chairman of the League’s Finance Committee for many years, was a key advisor to my predecessors, and was someone whom I frequently turned to since becoming Commissioner. I know that the entire NFL family joins me in extending our most heartfelt condolences to Gayle Benson and the entire Saints organization.





Saints, Pelicans owner Tom Benson dies at age 90; people of New Orleans loved him dearly

Thomas Milton Benson (July 12, 1927 – March 15, 2018) was an American businessman, philanthropist and sports franchise owner. He was the owner of the New Orleans Saints of the National Football League (NFL) from 1985 to 2018 and New Orleans Pelicans of the National Basketball Association (NBA) from 2012 to 2018.

As a sports team owner, Benson had a Super Bowl victory to his credit, via the Saints winning Super Bowl XLIV.

Early career

Benson was born in New OrleansLouisiana, to Thomas Benson, Sr. and Carmen Benson. He served in the U.S. Navy and then graduated with an accounting degree at Loyola University New Orleans in 1948. After school he worked as a car salesman at Cathey Chevrolet in New Orleans.

In 1956, he moved to San Antonio to try and revive a poorly performing dealership; he was granted a 25 percent interest in the dealership for his efforts. In 1962, he became full owner of Tom Benson Chevrolet. He was the owner of several automobile dealerships in the Greater New Orleans and San Antonio areas. Benson became wealthy by investing profits from his automobile dealerships in local banks. He eventually purchased several small Southern banks and formed Benson Financial, which he sold to Norwest Corporation in 1996.

Tom Benson in 2009 by Cpl Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo, Public Domain via wikipedia commons

New Orleans Saints

Benson purchased the Saints from John Mecom in 1985 after he learned from Governor Edwin W. Edwards that the team was on the verge of being sold to parties interested in moving the team to Jacksonville, Florida. Ownership of the team was officially transferred to him on May 31, 1985.

Shortly after acquiring the Saints, Benson gained a reputation as one of the more popular and colorful owners in the league. He hired general manager Jim Finks and head coach Jim Mora, who led the Saints to their first winning season and playoff appearance.


In November 2014, Fawcett Stadium at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio was renamed “Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium” in recognition of a $11 million donation by Tom Benson.


Benson was hospitalized on February 16, 2018, with the flu. He died on March 15, 2018, at Ochsner Medical Center in Jefferson, Louisiana, at age 90.

Awards and honors









NFL and Nike announces new Captains for Youth Program


(Courtesy NIKE)



NFL Players from all 32 Clubs Celebrate and Recognize

Youth and High School Football

NEW YORK, NY –  The NFL and Nike are excited to announce the launch of the “Youth Football Captains” Program. Thirty-two current NFL players, including DREW BREES, DESHAUN WATSON and JASON WITTEN, will serve as “Youth Football Captains.” Each Captain will attend local youth football activities and host a youth football summer camp.

The Youth Football Captains program demonstrates the commitment to growing the game of football at the youth and high school levels, strengthening relationships in NFL markets and providing opportunities for NFL athletes to connect with their local youth football communities.  Both the NFL and Nike are dedicated to ensuring that our young athletes have continued access to the numerous benefits and experiences the game imparts.

Each Captain will participate in a variety of events throughout the year, including appearances at youth and high school football practices and NFL FLAG Regionals during the season, hosting a Nike summer camp in the offseason and attending local youth football community events year round. Nike will in turn provide support and equipment for each Captain’s summer camp, including an online tutorial – “Camp-in-a-Box” platform – that equips each Captain with essential information and guidelines on how to run a successful camp.

This program provides unique opportunities for NFL athletes to positively impact communities and strengthen their relationships with local youth athletes through football. Captains will engage with the young athletes and share experiences they’ve learned both on and off of the field.

“We are thrilled to join together with Nike to celebrate kids and communities all across the country who love and play the game of football. The NFL and Nike are dedicated to providing experiences for NFL players and youth football athletes to interact and work within the community,” said NATARA HOLLOWAY, NFL’s Vice President of Youth & High School Football.

“Nike believes in the power of sport to drive positive change in people’s lives.  Collaborating with both the NFL and our athletes provides a fantastic opportunity to directly impact young men and women across the country” said MARC REEVES, Nike’s Senior Brand Director, NFL & NCAA.

Below is a list of the NFL players who will serve as Youth Football Captains:

Vic Beasley
Patrick Chung
Charles Clay
Carlos Dunlap
Mike Evans
Chris Harris
David Johnson
Desmond King
Cooper Kupp
Andrew Luck
Jason McCourty
Deshaun Watson
Vinny Curry
Davante Adams
Navorro Bowman
Arik Armstead
Drew Brees
Latavius Murray
Chris Conley
Eric Weddle
Allen Hurns
Mitchell Trubisky
Derrick Henry
Devin Funchess
Sterling Shepard
Alex Smith
Darius Slay
Bobby Wagner
Marcus Maye
Jason Witten 


About Nike, Inc.: NIKE, Inc., based near Beaverton, Oregon, is the world’s leading designer, marketer and distributor of authentic athletic footwear, apparel, equipment and accessories for a wide variety of sports and fitness activities. Wholly-owned NIKE, Inc. subsidiary brands include Converse, which designs, markets and distributes athletic lifestyle footwear, apparel and accessories; and Hurley, which designs, markets and distributes surf and youth lifestyle footwear, apparel and accessories. For more information, NIKE, Inc.’s earnings releases and other financial information are available at Individuals can also visit and follow @Nike.

About NFL Play Football: Play Football is a year-round initiative celebrating youth and high school football. Play Football works to shape the football experience, advocate for safety, promote football values and connect football communities. For more information, featured football stories, best practices and resources aimed to create a positive playing experience, please visit or follow @NFLPlayFootball. Join the conversation on social media using #LetsPlayFootball.


PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY Catherine Boyle, NFL; Marisa Rodriguez, SKDKnickerbocker; COURTESY NIKE, NFL,



NFL Network readies for ‘Path to the Draft’ & ‘Mock Draft’ on Monday and Tuesday

​​‘Path to the Draft’ Airs Monday-Friday at 6:00 PM ET Beginning March 19​

One-Hour Show Breaks Down Top Prospects & Delves Into Needs for All 32 NFL Teams

‘NFL Mock Draft Live’ Airs Tuesday at 8:00 PM ET Beginning March 20

With the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine in the books, the journey to Dallas and the 2018 NFL Draft continues with the return of Path to the Draft and NFL Mock Draft Live on NFL Network.

Starting Monday, March 19 and airing Monday-Friday at 6:00 PM ET on NFL Network, Path to the Draft provides in-depth analysis of all the top prospects, in-studio appearances and live interviews, reports from Pro Days around the country, and more leading up to the 2018 NFL Draft in Dallas (April 26-28).

NFL Network analysts Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks), Bucky Brooks (@BuckyBrooks), Charles Davis (@CFD22), Brian Billick (@CoachBillick), Curtis Conway (@CurtisConway80) and Charley Casserly (@CharleyCasserly), along with former UCLA head coach Jim Mora who coached top quarterback prospect Josh Rosen, join hosts Rhett Lewis (@RhettNFL) and Colleen Wolfe (@ColleenWolfeNFL) to delve into all 32 NFL teams’ needs, break down which players can help each team, and discuss where in the draft teams can select the players to help them next season. Additionally, NFL Network’s draft expert Mike Mayock (@MikeMayock) travels to top Pro Days to provide on-location analysis and interviews.

Path to the Draft re-airs nightly at 8:00 PM10:00 PM and 1:00 AM ET.

Beginning Tuesday, March 20NFL Mock Draft Live returns on NFL Network, airing Tuesday at 8:00 PM ET leading up to the 2018 NFL Draft. Each week, NFL Mock Draft Live releases and debates a new Mock Draft from NFL Network’s team of analysts and experts. Host Cole Wright (@ColeWrightNFL) is joined by Daniel JeremiahBucky BrooksCharley CasserlyLance Zierlein (@LanceZierlein) and Maurice Jones-Drew (@MJD) on the one-hour show.’s College Football 24/7 ( offers comprehensive draft coverage, featuring the latest mock drafts, positional rankings and Daniel Jeremiah’s Top 50 prospect list, as well as news stories surrounding the top prospects.

Available on right now:

Each episode of Path to the Draft and NFL Mock Draft Live – as well as all NFL Network programming – is available on smartphones and various connected devices through the NFL app; on tablet through the NFL, Watch NFL Network and NFL on Windows 10 apps; and on PCs at For more information, go to



NFL Media is comprised of NFL Network, NFL Films,, the NFL app and NFL RedZone.

Seven days a week, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, fans turn to NFL Network to receive information and insight straight from the field, team headquarters, league offices and everywhere the NFL is making news. Launched in 2003, NFL Network gives fans unprecedented year-round inside access to all NFL events, including the Super Bowl, Playoffs, regular season, preseason, Pro Bowl, Pro Football Hall of Fame induction weekend, NFL Draft, NFL Scouting Combine, Senior Bowl, league meetings, minicamps and training camps.

For fans on the go, all NFL Network programming can also be streamed live on smartphones through the NFL app, as well as other digital platforms through Watch NFL Network on tablet (Watch NFL Network and NFL on Windows 10 apps), PC (, Xbox One and Xbox 360 (NFL on Xbox app) and other connected TV devices (NFL app on Apple TV, PlayStation 4, Android TV and Amazon Fire TV). Watch NFL Network access is available for NFL Network subscribers of participating TV providers. For more information, go to







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