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March 2017
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‘NFL’ Articles

Ohio State pro prospects work out for 123 NFL Reps including 9 head coaches at Pro Day

Curtis Samuel at OSU Pro Day

Bengals coach Marvin Lewis with OSU defensive line coach Larry Johnson at OSU Pro Day


Gareon Conley works out at OSU Pro Day

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and Ravens head coach john Harbaugh at OSU Pro Day

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March 23, 2017



13 Buckeyes, including a handful of high-round projections, take part in drills, discussions


COLUMBUS, Ohio Ohio State’s Pro Day has become a must-see event each March. The football program has developed 26 NFL Draft picks the past four years, including 12 last year, and seven first-round selections since 2013, thus making the Woody Hayes Athletic Center the place to be in March for NFL GMs, coaches and scouts, for family members of those seeking the opportunity to play on Sunday, and the media.


Thursday afternoon was no different. Under the direction of assistant athletic director for football sports performance Mickey Marotti, 13 players off the 2016 team took part in some combination of interviews, testing and competitive drills for more than 120 representatives encompassing all 32 NFL teams.


Among the NFL personnel on hand: head coaches Bill Belichick (Patriots), Todd Bowles (Jets), Jim Caldwell (Lions), John Harbaugh (Ravens), Hue Jackson (Browns), Marvin Lewis (Bengals), Mike Mularkey (Titans), Sean Payton (Saints) and Mike Tomlin (Steelers) and at least seven general managers.


Also on site: 79 credentialed members of the media, including two crews from the NFL Network (one is producing the online documentary featuring unanimous All-American and Rimington Trophy winner Pat Elflein) and one from Uninterrupted, which is taping a draft diaries documentary on cornerback Marshon Lattimore.


Similar to last year when 22 Buckeyes took part in Pro Day, this year’s competitors included a broad selection of positions represented, including three receivers (Curtis Samuel, Corey Smith and Dontre Wilson), two cornerbacks (Gareon Conley and Marshon Lattimore) and two linebackers (Raekwon McMillan and Craig Fada).


Unanimous All-American safety Malik Hooker met with team reps but did not take part in drills.


2017 Pro Day Buckeye Bios …


WR Noah Brown (6-2, 218) – Spent three seasons at Ohio State and had two seasons of eligibility remaining … after playing in all 15 games as a true freshman in 2014, he red-shirted 2015 after breaking a bone in his leg during fall camp … started all 13 games for the Buckeyes in 2016 and ranked second on the team with 32 receptions and 402 receiving yards … named honorable mention all-Big Ten Conference … shared team lead with seven receiving touchdowns, including school-record tying four in the win at Oklahoma … 33 career receptions for 411 yards (12.5 avg.) and seven touchdowns.


SAF Jarrod Barnes (6-0, 200) – Walked-on to the Ohio State team in June of 2015 after graduating in three years from the University of Louisville with a degree in health and human performance … he played in five games during the past two seasons for the Buckeyes but he impacted the program and established himself as a team leader through his deeds off the field … Barnes graduated in August 2016 with his master’s degree in kinesiology and he immediately started work on his Ph.D. in sports management … he is believed to be the first active Ohio State football player ever to be working on a Ph.D. while still competing … Barnes is a two-time OSU Scholar-Athlete and an Academic All-Big Ten Conference honoree … he is currently working with Dr. David Graham, Assistant Provost/Associate Athletics Director for Student-Athlete Success, on developing a course for student-athletes who leave school early … Barnes was a member of the Louisville Cardinals’ team from 2012 through 2014, playing in 21 games in the 2013 (11 games) and 2014 (10 games) seasons.


CB Gareon Conley (6-0, 195) – Conley was named second-team all-Big Ten by league’s coaches in 2016 … played in 42 games for the Buckeyes and started 27 games at cornerback … team captain who ranked second on squad in 2016 with four interceptions and had six for his career … also had eight pass break-ups in 2016 and 15 for his career … named honorable mention all-Big Ten as a sophomore in 2015 … totaled 91 career tackles and had one season of eligibility remaining.


K Tyler Durbin (6-3, 210) – Was one of the top kickers in college football in 2016 and as such was a semifinalist for the Lou Groza award … he was named third team All-Big Ten by the coaches and the media … led the Big Ten in scoring and kick scoring … career-high three FGs in the road win at Wisconsin, including a game-tying 31-yarder with under 4 mins left to help send the game to overtime … hit two more FGs from 33 and 30 yards at Penn State, two in the win over No. 10 Nebraska and two more in the road win at Maryland … connected on all 11 extra point attempts in the win over Bowling Green, a school record … named special teams player of the game by the team … 2016 Academic All-District 5 and Academic All-Big Ten Conference … this was only his second season of competitive football … played soccer for two seasons at James Madison University after a stellar high school and club soccer career.

C Pat Elflein (6-3, 300) – Elflein was a unanimous first-team All-American in 2016 and won the Rimington Trophy as the nation’s outstanding center … made the move to center as a fifth-year senior … played in 55 games and was a three-year starter and finished with 42 starts, including 41 consecutive starts to close his career … named all-Big Ten Conference three consecutive years – twice at guard and once at center – and was Big Ten’s Rimington-Pace offensive lineman of the year in 2016 … led offensive line to a finalist position for the Joe Moore offensive line of the year award … graduated in May 2016 with his degree in communications.


LB Craig Fada (6-1, 225) – Spent five seasons with the Ohio State program and played in 51 games, including all 15 games during the 2014 national championship season and all 13 games in 2016 … averaged 15 special teams plays per game in 2015 and 17 in 2016 … one of the team leaders with 10 special teams tackles in 2016 and 21 for his career … excellent work on the practice and playing fields coupled with dependable and responsible actions off earned him a scholarship for the 2016 summer and fall terms … he and Joe Burger each earned four Varsity O letters in football after initially walking on to the team, something that certainly hasn’t been done at Ohio State in football very often, if at all.


SAF Malik Hooker (6-2, 205) – Hooker, like Elflein, was a unanimous first-team All-American in 2016 after having a terrific season in his one-year as a starter … a third-year performer with sophomore eligibility this season, Hooker was a standout from game No. 1 when he recorded two interceptions in his first start … he ranked third nationally in interceptions with seven, interceptions yards with 181, and he was first among all players with three interception return touchdowns, including a critical 16-yarder in the win over Michigan … he ranked third on the team with 74 tackles … red-shirted the 2014 season as a true freshman and played in 12 games in 2015.


P Cameron Johnston (5-11, 198) – One of the finest punters in Ohio State history, Johnston was the Big Ten Conference’s Eddleman-Fields punter of the year in 2016 when he ranked fifth nationally and first in the Big Ten with a 46.7-yard average … a finalist for the Ray Guy Award and a second-team All-American by five different selecting organizations … he led the Big Ten in punting three out of his four seasons with Ohio State and set school records for punts inside the 20 for a career (109) and season (31 in 2015), plus his 57.0-yard average against Illinois in 2014 is also a school record … his career average of 44.9 yards per punt is second in Ohio State history.


CB Marshon Lattimore (6-0, 192) – Lattimore spent three seasons with the Buckeyes but had a wonderful 2016 campaign by starting all 13 games and being named first-team all-Big Ten Conference by the league’s coaches … this talented performer, who had two seasons of eligibility remaining, was second on the team with four interceptions and he also contributed 41 tackles and nine pass break-ups for 13 total passes defended on the year … had career-high nine tackles and seven solo stops in the overtime win at Wisconsin … red-shirted the 2014 season and played in seven games in 2015 for 20 total games played.


LB Raekwon McMillan (6-2, 243) – Ohio State’s leading tackler the past two seasons with 102 in 2016 and 119 in 2015 … named first-team all-Big Ten, a second-team All-American (Associated Press, Walter Camp and three other organizations) and a semifinalist for both Butkus Award and the Lott IMPACT Trophy … recorded 16 and 15 tackles in final two games of the season vs. Michigan and Clemson … All-Big Ten and second-team All-American in 2015 … started 26 games for the Buckeyes and played in 40 … a team captain in 2016 … had 270 career tackles, 17 tackles-for-loss and nine pass break-ups … leaves with one season of eligibility remaining.


H-Back Curtis Samuel (5-11, 197) – Samuel was one of the explosive offensive playmakers in college football in 2016 and was the only player with at least 700 rushing and 700 receiving yards … named a first-team All-American (Associated Press & The Sporting News), Samuel had 771 rushing yards with eight touchdowns and a 7.9 per carry average, and he had 865 receiving yards off 74 receptions with seven more touchdowns … his season reception total is second in Ohio State history … Samuel is the only player in Ohio State history with at least 1,000 career rushing and receiving yards … he closed his three-year career (40 games & 13 starts) with 1,286 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns plus 107 receptions for 1,249 yards and nine scores.


WR Corey Smith (6-1, 190) – Graduated in spring 2016 with his degree in African American and African studies … transferred to Ohio State after one season at East Mississippi Junior College … spent four years with the Buckeyes, including a red-shirt season, and played in 28 games … caught 31 passes as a Buckeye for 351 yards and a 11.3 yards-per-reception average … best season statistically came in 2014 when he played in all 14 games and had 20 catches for 255 yards … his career totals, including junior college stats, included 110 receptions for 1,522 yards and 11 touchdowns.

WR Dontre Wilson (5-10, 195) – Played in 45 games during his career and made eight starts, including two starts as a senior (vs. Wisconsin and Maryland) … was on the Paul Hornung Award watch list in 2016 … had career-highs with 27 receptions for 352 yards and five touchdowns as a senior, including three catches for 37 yards and two TDs (and five rushes for 36 yards) in the win over Bowling Green … hauled in one pass – albeit a huge one – a 43-yarder in the fourth quarter in the overtime win at Wisconsin … had a career-high six receptions for 71 yards in the 2014 win over Cincinnati … finished his career with 77 receptions for 925 yards (12.0 avg.) and 10 touchdowns … ranks 23rd all-time at Ohio State with 2,876 all-purpose yards, a total that includes 1,280 kickoff return yards, good for fifth all-time at Ohio State … averaged 24.2 yards per return on 53 career kickoffs.









NFL Competition Committee meets on a variety of issues and topics





Troy Vincent: I’ll just give you a quick overview of where our journey started post-Super Bowl. The committee got together in New York. Secondly, we met again for multiple days at the Combine and then we just concluded in Phoenix – we’ve been here a week – we just concluded yesterday. There’s been some consensus, just a couple of things I wanted to point out after all of the film study, listening to the different subcommittees, medical folks, our session with the Players Association, all were very productive. Number one priority was a focus on player safety. Number two was the quality of our game and the film showed that the quality of our game is extraordinary.  It’s in a good place but we won’t stop aiming towards perfection. Officiating, Dean will share some thoughts there but we continue looking at the accuracy in the officiating, the administration of our games. There’s been a lot of discussion about pace and full-time officials. Pace of game, Dean will share a little bit on that. The committee continues to emphasize the importance of sportsmanship and the emphasis of taking improper techniques out of the game. We’ll talk a little bit about the points of emphasis as we go into the 2017 season, such as horse collar, blindside blocks and launching, some of these techniques that we’ve seen and the players adjust and we must give our players and coaches much credit. The video shows that they’re constantly adjusting. Our game’s better, many of the techniques that don’t belong in our game are out. We still have a little bit of work to do in that area, but the quality of our game is good. I’ll now turn it over to Rich and I’ll have him talk a little bit about some of the playing rules proposals and then to Dean on some of the pace of game things that you’ve seen publicly and then we’ll take questions.

Rich McKay: So as Troy said, Competition Committee-wise, we’ve always started at the first place which is the club survey. We want to hear from the clubs and what’s important to them and what they think that’s in the game that needs addressing and we did that this year. As Troy said, we met with the general manager’s advisory group, we met with the Madden coach’s subcommittee, we met with the NCAA, we met with the NFLPA. We spent a lot of time in trying to look at the game and I think we start from the point that the game is in a really good place. This year, I know you’ve seen the stat and you’ve probably written the stat, but our margin of victory at 10.23 points per game is the smallest since 1935 and only twice has it been smaller than it was this year and that’s 1935 and 1932. So from a competitive standpoint, that is a very good stat. We had six of the NFL’s eight divisions have new champions this year. For the 27th consecutive year since the 12-team playoff format was introduced, we had at least four teams qualify that weren’t in the postseason the previous year. So competitively on the field, we feel very good about it. At 45.55 points per game, we’re right where we’ve been and that’s a good place for us to be. We have 700 yards per game, that’s a lot of yards and that’s certainly a top-five in yardage. Penalties per game we’re down to a 15.93, in that range. So, we feel very good about where the game is. We have from a rules perspective, and I’ll let Dean give you the specifics, but we have seven playing rules changes that were proposed by clubs, we have eight Competition Committee playing rules proposals. We have a couple of bylaw proposals which are really player personnel-driven and we have points of emphasis, a lot of them which we’ll cover with our clubs when they get to Phoenix next week – we’re already here. So I’ll let Dean, if you want to cover any of those specifically and go through those before we get to Q&A, I’ll let him go from here.

Dean Blandino: Thanks, Rich. I think the one player safety change that will probably garner a lot of discussion is the jumper, the leaper, on field goal and extra points. This is a proposal that would eliminate that technique and prevent a player from crossing the line of scrimmage to block a field goal or an extra point. So that is being proposed.

Our two changes from last year -the touchback at the 25, which was a one-year only for the 2016 season, the committee was pleased with the results. Touchbacks were up, the lowest rate of return in NFL history at 39.3% of our kickoffs returned. So the committee is proposing that for another year, to get another year’s worth of data, then evaluate that after the 2017 season. The unsportsmanlike conduct automatic ejection rule, which was another one-year proposal for 2016, that is being proposed permanently. We led to three ejections in that area, and that was two unsportsmanlike conduct fouls in the same game would lead to an automatic ejection. So that will be proposed permanently.

We’re expanding the defenseless player protection to include a receiver running a route. We looked at a lot of video of receivers who were really in a defenseless posture, whether they were tracking the quarterback, looking back for the ball, and were contacted in the head or neck area, forcibly, by a defender. That, now, would become a foul, even within the legal five- yard chuck zone. A defender could still make contact, but can’t go to the head/neck area. Again, continuing to protect players from that forcible contact to the head/neck area.

And I think the last two that will garner most of the attention will be the replay changes. One giving New York, the designated members of the officiating department – myself, my supervisory staff – final say over the replay decision, with input from the referee. And I think that’s important to remember, we’re not taking the referee out of the equation. The referee will still be involved, the referee will still give input, but will no longer have the final say. And the way the referee actually views the play will change, where we’ll be going away from the sideline under the hood monitor to a handheld tablet device, where the referee can view the play on the sideline-not the field of play, but on the sideline, but not have to go all the way over to the wall and go under the hood and go through that process.

So that kind of leads me into the pace of game, and those two changes, which are subject to a vote, is part of an initiative to really reduce downtime. When we have in-game downtime – we’re not looking to impact the play on the field, but reduce in-game downtime. And so those two would be rules changes that would be eliminating the sideline monitor and having New York make the final decision, then there will be several mechanics changes that we will implement. Those include standardizing the clock start after a runner goes out of bounds outside two and outside five. In those instances, the clock will stop for a period of time then the referee will wind it when the ball is made ready for play. We’ll standardize that, which we feel will improve the pace of the game. We’ll allow the referee to do his replay announcements during the television break, and not wait for TV to make those announcements. We feel like that will improve the in-game, in-stadium experience for the fans and reduce some of that overall replay delay. We’ll institute a play clock, a 40 second clock, after an extra point, when we’re going to a kickoff and there is no television break. We found that that is a period of time when we can be more efficient and get the teams out for the kickoff, and so we’ll have a 40 second window where the teams will have to get out and be lined up, then the referee will make the ball ready for play. We’re also just looking to find more efficiencies in some of the more discretionary areas of game administration, which includes getting in and out of TV breaks, penalty enforcements, replay administration and just being as efficient as possible in those areas. And I think the last thing is standardizing the halftime length. Halftime currently is 12 minutes, but there is built in delay time that involves teams getting to the locker room and the infrastructure of our stadiums and how they’re configured. So we’re going to eliminate all of those discretionary periods of time and just have a clock, 13 minutes and 30 seconds, and at the end of that period, the ball will be made ready for play for the second half kickoff. So that’s kind of just a summary of some of the pace of game initiatives.

On whether the leaping rule curtails athletic ability and how far the league will go in this regard:

McKay: I would say it’s going to go as far as it needs to from a player safety standpoint. We’re not going to put players in a position in which we think there is an unreasonable risk of injury. In our case this was a rule that was proposed by Philadelphia.  When we met with the NFLPA it was a rule that certainly caught their attention and they favored it right from the outset given what they felt like was a danger to the player, to the leaper and the risk of injury. The NCAA quickly passed this rule. I don’t know if it’s been confirmed yet but it’s in the passing stage and they’re doing the same thing. When we see a technique in our game, athletic or non-athletic, that is a danger to the player, we try to as a league respond by a rule limiting that danger.

On the Brice Butler 12-man penalty going forward:

Blandino: We did discuss it and obviously, that’s a penalty that you don’t see very frequently. We looked at some of the language in the book and we’re going to give our officials just more latitude to warn a team if they feel like this is a potential issue and then penalize after a warning. There’s language in the book that allows for a change in a coaching decision where a player or a group of players may come onto the field and then there’s a change in the decision and then they go off the field without participating in a play. We want to maintain a team’s ability to do that, so we did discuss it and look at the language and we feel comfortable with the referee giving a warning if he feels a team is trying to manipulate the situation allowing the defense to matchup in that situation and only penalizing if there is a subsequent act after a warning.

On suspensions or ejections on illegal hits and the length of overtime:

McKay: On the suspensions, for certain types of hits we will cover it with the NFLPA, we’ll cover it with the membership this next week. We just want to show some plays that we think have no place in our game and therefore should result in suspension and/or ejection if it’s seen on the field and can be called. As opposed to I think sometimes people get caught up in the idea that a player should be warned and then there should be progressive enforcement. In this case these are plays we just don’t want in our game and our feeling is if suspension is an option and you show those plays to players, we’ve seen them really conform to rule changes and we think this will help us even more conform to not having these types of plays in our game. So, that’s the purpose of that.

With respect to overtime and limiting overtime the proposal to limit overtime to 10 minutes in the preseason and regular season is simply a player safety issue. We have a couple games this year that went the full length. I think three, one got a field goal right before the game expired and two were tied. I think we looked at the number of snaps and felt like it was excessive. It was excessive in the point it concerns us that we don’t know when the team is going to play next week after this in the regular season and in the preseason. It could be four days later. Accordingly, we just felt we should put an end to it. We don’t think it’ll lead to more ties. Could it? It could. Are we concerned about that? No, we’re more concerned about player safety.

On what kinds of hits would be included in suspensions and whether replay is needed for it:

McKay: The same standard that is applied for ejections that’s been in our book for a long time remains in our book. The officials have always had that ability. We’re not trying to change that rule or change that emphasis. Therefore, we don’t think we have to involve replay in that decision. We’re as focused on the idea that if these plays occur that we empower the league office and with good notice to the NFLPA and the players that these are the types of hits that can lead to and should lead to suspension.

On changes to concussion protocol and if there are any proposals regarding expanded replay review:

Blandino: Well yes, John, on the first part, on our ATC spotter, there won’t be any change to the concussion protocol, we are adding the ability for both teams to review video simultaneously, so there will be a second system and both teams, because we have had situations where you have to wait. Maybe one team is looking at a hamstring injury and another team is looking at a different injury and there is a delay time. So we’re going to eliminate that potential, so both teams can view video of injury or potential injury simultaneously.

On replay, there are two proposals right now. One Philadelphia did withdraw. But there are two proposals, one from Buffalo and Seattle, and another from Washington that involves replay. And they revolve around increasing the number of challenges that a team can have. And then the other significant change in the Buffalo-Seattle proposal would be allowing a coach to challenge any officiating decision, which would include a foul that is called or a foul that is not called. And so, that is a significant change to our current replay rule, and it is something that will be on the floor, and be debated and voted on next week.

On if it was a joint proposal by Buffalo and Seattle?

Blandino: Correct, yes.

On if moving the extra point back is a permanent rule:

McKay: It is a permanent rule, and it became a permanent rule last year. I think I was looking into stats earlier, I think, three years ago, before the rule, I think we had eight extra points that were missed.  I think we then went into the seventies as far as missed extra points last year, and then this past season I think it went into the eighties. So clearly the play has become more competitive. There is a risk element with it as far as success goes.

On if the Patriots submitted any proposals and the player safety issue specific to jumping over the line on the extra point and field goal that would lead that to its elimination:

McKay: There’s nothing that was proposed from the Patriots at this point, so proposals from the clubs, the deadline has passed, so we have not received a proposal from the Patriots.

And I think the issue, we’ve looked at a lot of tape on the jumper, is that how it’s being defensed at this point is whether it’s the snapper or the guard raising up and attempting to make contact with the jumper. And we’ve seen several examples where the players have been flipped over, land on their head, their neck, and a potential for a serious injury is certainly increases when you have a player in a vulnerable position, who’s now going to be knocked off balance and really can’t control the way they land. So I think that’s probably the biggest thing and we have seen that on tape as to why the proposal will be voted on.

Vincent: And frankly we’ve also heard our coaches tell us, you know they’re now coaching to defend that leaper, which really could create a real safety issue with that defender coming down and now jumping over. So the inevitable is going to happen, and just hearing from the players association, Philly now proposing it is really in the best interest of the game.

On how often the hits that could garner a suspension actually occur:

McKay: Not very often, I mean let’s give the players credit right. I mean we have 40,000 plays in a year. We’ll show a tape next week that will have, you know, four or five plays that we would say would warrant suspension. So this is not a widespread situation. This is a situation where there are certain plays in our game that we want to get out of the game, and we just want to make sure that the players are put on notice that if these types of actions occur, then they could be subject to suspension.

Vincent: And if I could add to that, Kevin, when you see the plays, they’re catastrophic. When they happen, they’re very few, but the end result, we had one player last year that did not return for the season, two, I’m sorry, that didn’t return for the season. So they’re high impact plays, they belong out of the game. And when we see it, we have to enforce it and it’s going to be a real point of emphasis this season coming.

On which teams submitted proposals and on how much thought if any has been given to the college overtime format:

McKay: Ok, so first of all from teams, there’s seven proposals, I won’t sit there and give you details, cause you’ll get them this afternoon, but Philadelphia had one about protection of the long snapper, Philadelphia had one about the leaping, Philadelphia had one about expansion of crowding the helmet, Philadelphia had one about instant replay, Washington had one about replay challenges, Washington has one that is about the touchback, and changing the yard line, and then you have the expansion of replay by Buffalo and Seattle. You’ll get the details when Michael sends them out, but that’s kind of where they are.

On overtime, no, we’ve talked in the past about college rules for overtime, but I think our position has always been we like to play it like a traditional game, with traditional field position and everything else at play. And so we’ve never really, seriously had any momentum behind going to a college system, at least I’ve never really heard it discussed where there’s any momentum for that proposal.

On if they revisited both teams getting a possession even if one team scores on the first possession of overtime:

Blandino: We have discussed that we obviously went to a modified rule with the field goal on the initial possession not ending the game. I think the committee and many of us at the league want to preserve the idea of sudden death and that the game can still end on any one play. I think that’s important as we look at this rule and we still have that sudden death aspect of it and if you did change it to both teams getting a possession even in a touchdown situation still having an opportunity you lose that sudden death aspect, which the committee and many at the league feel is very important.

On if there is a certain goal for a timeframe of games with the pace of play rules:

Blandino: The goal is not necessarily to reduce game length, it’s to reduce the amount of in-game down time and to just be more efficient in some of those areas. We feel like if we can reduce some of that in game down time than the overall game time will take care of itself. Our games averaged just over three hours and seven minutes, that was down from the number in 2015. We expect that there will be a reduction in game time based on some of these changes but the focus is in game down time, being more efficient, and the entire game experience whether it’s in the stadium or watching at home on TV. Just having a better experience as we talk about pace of game.

On the goal for reducing celebration penalties:

Vincent: Well I have been in the public eye for hours after my 140-characters talking about just developing some game footage of celebration and celebration penalties. Frankly, we want the officials to keep the flags on their waist, and we want the players to celebrate, to be spontaneous. There are some things as we administrate the game, we have some fine lines. We think clear examples are best not only for our officials but for our players and our coaches. We’ve talked extensively about what’s prolonged and what’s excessive, going on the ground, what’s acceptable and what’s not. There are some acts we all know that don’t belong in our game. We want our players, we encourage our players, and as a former player I understand the spontaneous nature of a big play and wanting to be excited and have fun with your teammates. We just want to make sure that there are things that don’t belong in our game, keep them out. Frankly we want our officials officiating the game, not throwing flags because of guys celebrating. You’re not going to see any rule changes.  We just want to clarify and bring clarity for all.

On future plans for Thursday Night Football and will it​ continue:

Vincent: I haven’t heard of it being phased out. It has been a part of our game for quite some time. You hear a difference in opinion sometimes, you hear a player talking about recovery time, but we’ve had success on Thursday Night Football. There has been talk of potentially adding a bye after the Thursday night game, but there hasn’t been any talk of eliminating it.

McKay: We do look at every year the injury statistics to see if players on four days’ rest, are they getting injured at a higher rate than they would on seven days’ rest, and the answer from the statistics for the last five years has been no. The injury rate for those Thursday night games has been less. That doesn’t get to the quality debate.  That will always be there when a game stands out on its own like a Thursday night game does, but as far as injury and safety, the numbers have not supported that there is a difference or is at a higher injury rate.

On the procedure if there is more than one replay review going on at the same time:

Blandino: That’s something that we’ve dealt with since we went to this model where New York was involved.  We have multiple people, myself, Al Riveron and one of our officiating supervisors, so there are three people that can get involved in the decision-making process. We have a game monitor that is assigned to an individual game that will call things to our attention. We’ve been managing that process for the last three years and we feel comfortable that we can continue to do that in the early window with multiple games going on and having multiple reviews happening at the same time. Again, with the referees still being involved in the process it tends to work itself out during that window.

McKay: One thing Howard, we like as a committee about the centralized proposal is, in our game, we have coaches and fans that want one thing in officiating and that’s consistency. We have found that since we’ve gone to the centralized model we feel like we are getting better consistency from call to call and what the expectations are on what will be reversed and what will not be reversed, and we think this system furthers that, with the idea that you always want the referee involved because the referee is on the field, is a rules expert, and should have some discussion in the procedure. We think this model works best and gives us a chance to speed the process up, while giving us consistency in the outcome.




NFL gets ready for Third Annual Personal Finance Camp, March 27-30




Four-day financial education program kicks off next week in Florida

Thirty-three current and former NFL players will take part in the third annual NFL Personal Finance Camp in Fort Lauderdale, FL next week (March 27-30). New York Giants WR BRANDON MARSHALL, Kansas City Chiefs SERIC BERRY and Detroit Lions CB D.J. HAYDEN are among the players taking part in the four-day financial education program (see below for the complete list of participating players).

The program, developed jointly by NFL Player Engagement, the University of Miami School of Business Administration and TD Ameritrade1, offers participants an opportunity to gain an in-depth understanding of the people, investments and forces in the financial world and equips them with the knowledge and tools to help build generational wealth and maintain long-term financial security.

United States One Dollar Bill Public Domain, https

“Our Personal Finance Camp provides our players and their families with educational tools that can help them achieve long-term financial security,” said Arthur McAfee, Senior Vice President of NFL Player Engagement. “We are proud to host this program for the third straight year with The University of Miami and TD Ameritrade.”

Over the course of four days, participants will receive instruction from University of Miami School of Business Administration faculty and TD Ameritrade financial professionals, as well as former NFL All-Pro DE Patrick Kerney, now the director of business development at National Fire & Casualty Investments. Program sessions will include “The Building Blocks of a Portfolio,” “Personal Finances and Investing Basics,” “Creating a Diversified Portfolio,” and “Examining Wills, Trusts, Estate Planning.” Throughout the week, participants also will have the opportunity to receive one-on-one financial planning assistance.

“We’re delighted to partner with NFL Player Engagement in a program that brings athletes face-to-face with some of the world’s best finance professors for advice and new perspectives on attaining long-term financial security,” saidAnuj Mehrotra, dean of the University of Miami School of Business Administration. “This program complements our MBA and other executive programs designed to meet the unique educational needs of professionals from a variety of backgrounds.”


“Financial planning can be a highly emotional and personal experience because it covers the intersection of wealth and earnings with our future well-being. This can make it a difficult topic to understand, let alone discuss with advisors and family members,” said Dedra DeLilli, head of sponsorships at TD Ameritrade. “That’s why we’re proud to help present Personal Finance Camp for a third straight year. It’s an opportunity for these professionals and their families to have meaningful conversations and commit to learning in an environment where there is no such thing as a bad question.”

This is one of several career and professional development programs NFL Player Engagement offers to current and former players and their families. More than 32 players and their significant others took part in the second annual Business Academy last month at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business.

The following players are participating in this year’s program:

Kenneth Acker
Tyrell Adams
Jahleel Addae
David Baas
Eric Berry
Michael Burton
Brandon Flowers
Pierre Garcon
Alexander Green
Vernon Harris
DJ Hayden
Akiem Hicks
Gabe Holmes
Cory James
Jarvis Jenkins
Wesley Johnson
Karl Joseph
David King
Nevin Lawson
Christopher Lewis-Harris
Brandon Marshall
Josh Martin
Cody Parkey
Jalen Richard
Trevor Riley
Jalen Richard
Ramzee Robinson
Mitchell Schwartz
Erik Walden
DeAndre Washington
Travelle Wharton
James Winchester
Sam Young

# # #

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 University of Miami School of Business Administration

The University of Miami School of Business is a leader in preparing individuals and organizations to excel in the complex, dynamic, and interconnected world of global business. One of 12 schools and colleges at the University of Miami, the School offers undergraduate, master’s, doctoral, and executive education programs. With its location in a major center for international business, the School is acclaimed for its global perspective, student and faculty diversity, and engagement with the business community. More information about the University of Miami School of Business can be found at

About TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation
Millions of investors and independent registered investment advisors (RIAs) have turned to TD Ameritrade’s (Nasdaq: AMTD)technology, people and education to help make investing and trading easier to understand and do. Online or over the phone. In a branch or with an independent RIA. First-timer or sophisticated trader. Our clients want to take control, and we help them decide how – bringing Wall Street to Main Street for more than 40 years. TD Ameritrade has time and again been recognized as a leader in investment services. Please visit TD Ameritrade’s newsroom or for more information, or read our stories at Fresh Accounts.





National Football Foundation promoting “Mean” Joe Greene’s new book, ‘Built by Football’

New autobiography takes an eye-opening and powerful look at one of the greatest legends in gridiron history.

IRVING, Texas (March 17, 2017) - The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame announced today the first book, “Mean” Joe Greene: Built By Football, in its Football Matters’ “Built By Football” series. The book, which will be available April 3, can be preordered by clicking here.
“We are extremely excited about this new series, which will take an inside look at the marquee members of the College Football Hall of Fame,” said Steve Hatchell, NFF president & CEO. “The road to becoming a Hall of Famer produces so many amazing stories of those who overcame adversity and persevered. We knew that we needed to do more to capture these stories. We are extremely grateful to Hall of Famer Joe Greene and author Jon Finkel for their efforts on launching this series.”
“Mean” Joe Greene’s memoir is a master class in determination, domination and perseverance. For the first time ever, the College and Pro football hall of famer gives readers an unflinching look at his rise from high school bully-victim and bench warmer to University of North Texas legend and Pittsburgh Steelers icon. Many years before he would anchor the most-feared, most-successful defense the NFL had ever seen, Joe Greene was just a big, timid kid from Temple, Texas, struggling to find his confidence as a teenager being raised by a single mother.
“When I got to North Texas I was rough around the edges as a man and as a player,” said Joe Greene. “College helped polish me up a bit and then when I got to Pittsburgh my teammates helped me to continue to smooth things out. I’m a better person because of the men who coached me and the men I played with. I learned from them. I’d like to take this opportunity to pass along that knowledge.”
In his compelling, eye-opening autobiography, Greene takes readers on an unprecedented tour of his life, exploring the people who influenced him and the events that shaped him: from humiliating high school embarrassments to the grit and guts that led to four Super Bowl titles as a player.
Better known by his nickname “Mean Joe” Greene, Charles Edward Joseph Greene acquired his moniker as a reference to his school’s nickname, the University of North Texas Mean Green (then known as North Texas State). During his three seasons in Denton, the 6-4, 270-pound defensive tackle led the Mean Green to a 23-5-1 record. In his 29 games, the team held the opposition to 2,507 yards gained on 1,276 rushes. A per carry average of less than two yards per attempt. His collegiate coach, Rod Rust, said of the 1968 consensus All-America, “There are two factors behind Joe’s success. First, he has the ability to make the big defensive play and turn the tempo of a game around. Second, he has the speed to be an excellent pursuit player.”
A top prospect in the 1969 NFL Draft, Greene was selected fourth overall by the Steelers, and he would go on to become part of the “Steel Curtain” defense that won four Super Bowls in six years. He made 10 Pro Bowl appearances, and he twice earned NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors. He played 13 seasons in the NFL from 1969-81, appearing in 181 games. In 1979, he was named NFL Man of the Year.
After his playing career, Greene spent 16 years as an assistant coach before becoming a special assistant for player personnel with the franchise. During his time in player personnel, the franchise would claim two more Super Bowls, giving Greene a total of six rings. Both North Texas and the Steelers have retired his No. 75. He earned induction into the University of North Texas Hall of Fame in 1981, the College Football Hall of Fame in 1984 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1987.
Jon Finkel, the co-author with Greene on the book, has written numerous books, which have been endorsed by everyone from Oscar-winner Spike Lee and NFL Hall of Famer Kurt Warner, to Dallas Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones and founder Brett McKay. He has published with legends who have won a combined 14 Super Bowl titles, 25 NBA Championships, 4 NBA Slam Dunk contests and a Heisman Trophy. Visit for the latest news, book and social media information. He can be reached at:


NFL announces 2016 Performance-Based Pay distributions for players


NFL Players will receive $127.84 million in “Performance-Based Pay” for their performance during the 2016 season, the NFL announced today. The Performance-Based Pay program is a collectively-bargained benefit that compensates players based upon their playing time and salary levels.

In addition to the Performance-Based Pay pool​​​, the NFL Players Association has elected to dedicate $32 million in benefits (i.e., $1 million per club) to fund a Veteran Performance-Based Compensation Pool (the “Veteran Pool”) for players with more than one Accrued Season. In total, $159.84 million will be disbursed to players under the combined pools.

Atlanta Falcons cornerback BRIAN POOLE earned the highest amount in the Performance-Based Pay program. Oakland Raiders guard GABE JACKSON earned the most in the Veteran Pool. Under the combined pools, Atlanta safety RICARDO ALLEN earned the highest amount of all NFL players. See the tables below for the top 25 bonuses in each category.

Players have been paid over $1.2 billion cumulatively since the inception of the Performance-Based Pay program, which was implemented as part of the NFL’s 2002 Collective Bargaining Agreement with the NFL Players Association, and continues as part of the parties’ current agreement.

The Veteran Pool is a component of the Rookie Redistribution Fund, which is a player benefit that was created under the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement. The NFL Players Association elected to fund the Veteran Pool for the first time this past year.


Under the Performance-Based Pay program, a fund is created and used as a supplemental form of player compensation based on a comparison of playing time to salary. Players become eligible to receive a bonus distribution in any regular season in which they play at least one official down.

Performance-Based Pay is computed by using a player index (“Index”). To produce the Index, a player’s regular-season playtime (total plays on offense, defense and special teams) is divided by his adjusted regular-season compensation (full season salary, prorated portion of signing bonus, earned incentives). Each player’s Index is then compared to those of the other players on his team to determine the amount of his Performance-Based Pay.

The Veteran Pool is computed in a similar manner, with two significant modifications: 1) Players with zero Accrued Seasons are not eligible to receive distributions, however, such players remain eligible to receive distributions under the Performance-Based Pay program; and 2) to calculate the eligible player’s Index, if the player’s full season base salary is less than $1 million, an additional amount will be imputed so that the player’s base salary equals $1 million. This imputation of salary is solely for the purpose of calculating distributions from the pool, and does not affect the actual salary paid to the player.


​Each player on the same team com­petes for his own share of his club’s Performance-Based Pay pool. The hypothetical example in the table below illustrates how the Player Index works, using a simplified four-player team and a club bonus pool of $1,000,000. Each player receives his share of the pool depending on how his index compares to those of his teammates​









% of Club Bonus Pool

(C/Team Total C)


Hypothetical Bonus

(D * $1,000,000)

Player A 50% $     500,000 10.0 50% of the Club’s pool (10 out of 20) 50% * $1,000,000 = $500,000
Player B 50% $  1,000,000 5.0 25% of the Club’s pool (5 out of 20) 25% * $1,000,000 = $250,000
Player C 20% $     500,000 4.0 20% of the Club’s pool (4 out of 20) 20% * $1,000,000 = $200,000
Player D 10% $  1,000,000 1.0 5% of the Club’s pool (1 out of 20) 5% * $1,000,000 =     $50,000
Team Total: 20.0 Points















1 Brian Poole Atlanta CB Florida 2016 UDFA $ 371,783.11
2 Dak Prescott Dallas QB Mississippi State 2016 4 $ 353,544.57
3 Anthony Brown Dallas CB Purdue 2016 6 $ 346,198.12
4 Ricardo Allen Atlanta SS Purdue 2014 5 $ 342,712.65
5 David Andrews New England C Georgia 2015 UDFA $ 341,353.27
6 Jalen Mills Philadelphia CB Louisiana State 2016 7 $ 324,112.11
7 Trenton Brown San Francisco T Florida 2015 7 $ 323,714.54
8 Zach Orr Baltimore LB North Texas 2014 UDFA $ 317,986.94
9 Alejandro Villanueva Pittsburgh T Army 2014 UDFA $ 317,676.41
10 Andrew Adams New York Giants S Connecticut 2016 UDFA $ 316,310.42
11 Greg Mancz Houston C Toledo 2015 UDFA $ 314,808.54
12 Russell Bodine Cincinnati C North Carolina 2014 4 $ 314,040.72
13 Quinton Spain Tennessee G West Virginia 2015 UDFA $ 307,518.91
14 LaDarius Gunter Green Bay CB Miami 2015 UDFA $ 306,388.79
15 Matt Paradis Denver C Boise State 2014 6 $ 306,002.71
16 Joe Thuney New England G North Carolina State 2016 3 $ 305,206.63
17 Mark Glowinski Seattle G West Virginia 2015 4 $ 303,282.60
18 Jordan Hicks Philadelphia LB Texas 2015 3 $ 300,142.56
19 Telvin Smith Jacksonville LB Florida State 2014 5 $ 293,471.03
20 Andrew Norwell Carolina G Ohio State 2014 UDFA $ 291,975.48
21 Kwon Alexander Tampa Bay LB Louisiana State 2015 4 $ 291,500.78
22 Tajae Sharpe Tennessee WR Massachusetts 2016 5 $ 289,676.53
23 Malcolm Butler New England CB West Alabama 2014 UDFA $ 287,598.82
24 Bobby Hart New York Giants G Florida State 2015 7 $ 285,288.92
25 Kevin Byard Tennessee S Middle Tennessee 2016 3 $ 284,778.17


UDFA – Undrafted free agent






1 Gabe Jackson Oakland G Mississippi State 2014 3 $ 91,475.02
2 Zach Orr Baltimore LB North Texas 2014 UDFA $ 88,953.05
3 Ricardo Allen Atlanta S Purdue 2014 5 $ 87,007.27
4 Telvin Smith Jacksonville LB Florida State 2014 5 $ 85,686.64
5 Russell Bodine Cincinnati C North Carolina 2014 4 $ 85,122.27
6 David Andrews New England C Georgia 2015 UDFA $ 84,990.99
7 Christian Kirksey Cleveland LB Iowa 2014 3 $ 84,154.17
8 Alejandro Villanueva Pittsburgh T Army 2014 UDFA $ 83,976.05
9 Matt Paradis Denver C Boise State 2014 6 $ 83,805.46
10 Nevin Lawson Detroit CB Utah State 2014 4 $ 82,733.59
11 Jordan Hicks Philadelphia LB Texas 2015 3 $ 81,813.54
12 Ross Cockrell Pittsburgh CB Duke 2014 4 $ 81,720.88
13 Malcolm Butler New England CB West Alabama 2014 UDFA $ 81,283.90
14 Mark Glowinski Seattle G West Virginia 2015 4 $ 80,458.15
15 Avery Williamson Tennessee LB Kentucky 2014 5 $ 79,530.11
16 Greg Mancz Houston C Toledo 2015 UDFA $ 78,126.46
17 Max Garcia Denver G Florida 2015 4 $ 77,242.30
18 LaDarius Gunter Green Bay CB Miami 2015 UDFA $ 77,072.97
19 A.J. Cann Jacksonville G South Carolina 2015 3 $ 76,986.67
20 Kwon Alexander Tampa Bay LB Louisiana State 2015 4 $ 76,811.45
21 Andrew Norwell Carolina G Ohio State 2014 UDFA $ 76,325.88
22 Bobby Hart New York Giants G Florida State 2015 7 $ 75,784.04
23 Charles Leno Chicago T Boise State 2014 7 $ 75,571.75
24 Shaquille Mason New England G Georgia Tech 2015 4 $ 74,876.72
25 Quinton Spain Tennessee G West Virginia 2015 UDFA $ 74,429.55


UDFA – Undrafted free agent






1 Ricardo Allen Atlanta S Purdue 2014 5 $ 342,712.65 $ 87,007.27 $ 429,719.92
2 David Andrews New England C Georgia 2015 UDFA $ 341,353.27 $ 84,990.99 $ 426,344.26
3 Zach Orr Baltimore LB North Texas 2014 UDFA $ 317,986.94 $ 88,953.05 $ 406,939.99
4 Alejandro Villanueva Pittsburgh T Army 2014 UDFA $ 317,676.41 $ 83,976.05 $ 401,652.46
5 Russell Bodine Cincinnati C North Carolina 2014 4 $ 314,040.72 $ 85,122.27 $ 399,162.99
6 Trenton Brown San Francisco T Florida 2015 7 $ 323,714.54 $ 73,123.24 $ 396,837.78
7 Greg Mancz Houston C Toledo 2015 UDFA $ 314,808.54 $ 78,126.46 $ 392,935.00
8 Matt Paradis Denver C Boise State 2014 6 $ 306,002.71 $ 83,805.46 $ 389,808.17
9 Mark Glowinski Seattle G West Virginia 2015 4 $ 303,282.60 $ 80,458.15 $ 383,740.75
10 LaDarius Gunter Green Bay CB Miami 2015 UDFA $ 306,388.79 $ 77,072.97 $ 383,461.76
11 Quinton Spain Tennessee G West Virginia 2015 UDFA $ 300,142.56 $ 81,813.54 $ 381,956.10
12 Jordan Hicks Philadelphia LB Texas 2015 3 $ 307,518.91 $ 74,429.55 $ 381,948.46
13 Telvin Smith Jacksonville LB Florida State 2014 5 $ 293,471.03 $ 85,686.64 $ 379,157.67
14 Brian Poole Atlanta CB Florida 2016 UDFA $ 371,783.11 $               - $ 371,783.11
15 Malcolm Butler New England CB West Alabama 2014 UDFA $ 287,598.82 $ 81,283.90 $ 368,882.72
16 Kwon Alexander Tampa Bay LB Louisiana State 2015 4 $ 291,500.78 $ 76,811.45 $ 368,312.23
17 Andrew Norwell Carolina G Ohio State 2014 UDFA $ 291,975.48 $ 76,325.88 $ 368,301.36
18 Gabe Jackson Oakland G Mississippi State 2014 3 $ 273,174.55 $ 91,475.02 $ 364,649.57
19 Bobby Hart NY Giants G Florida State 2015 7 $ 285,288.92 $ 75,784.04 $ 361,072.96
20 Avery Williamson Tennessee LB Kentucky 2014 5 $ 279,923.35 $ 79,530.11 $ 359,453.46
21 Dak Prescott Dallas QB Mississippi State 2016 4 $ 353,544.57 $               - $ 353,544.57
22 Ross Cockrell Pittsburgh CB Duke 2014 4 $ 270,899.82 $ 81,720.88 $ 352,620.70
23 Shaquille Mason New England G Georgia Tech 2015 4 $ 277,474.07 $ 74,876.72 $ 352,350.79
24 Anthony Brown Dallas CB Purdue 2016 6 $ 346,198.12 $               - $ 346,198.12
25 Nevin Lawson Detroit CB Utah State 2014 4 $ 261,672.97 $ 82,733.59 $ 344,406.56


UDFA – Undrafted free agent




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