Falcons fan buries jersey in ground after Super Bowl loss to Patriots

Falcons fans suffered one of the worst losses imaginable in Super Bowl 51 as the Patriots scored 31 unanswered points to erase a 25-point deficit.

The Atlanta community would like to just listen to Culture and forget this event ever happened. In fact, one fan took it so serious that they decided to literally bury their feelings, and put a Falcons jersey in the ground in hopes to get rid of the bad luck attached to it.

This seems like an extreme measure for such a costly artifact, but whatever it takes, I guess.

Taking everything into consideration, how can a GM and coach cast their lot with such an aging, injury-prone, likely-to-be expensive player at the sport’s most important position?

Even with a bargain deal, it’s just asking for trouble and ultimate disappointment.

The Texans probably present the next best option for Romo, and they offer a decent O-line, a good rushing attack led by 1,000-yard back Lamar Miller and an excellent target in Pro Bowl receiver DeAndre Hopkins. A Romo signing would allow coach Bill O’Brien to put last year’s free agency mistake Brock Osweiler into the role of expensive backup.

The Jets also are an intriguing option for Romo considering they were a 10-win team two years ago, before they drowned with Ryan Fitzpatrick last season. Perhaps Romo would get excited about playing in the nation’s largest market. He would be supported by a good running game and a strong defense, but the receiving corps has question marks. Plus the offensive line is middle-of-the-road and would need to be upgraded.

I don’t see Romo winding up in Chicago or Buffalo, even though Romo played college football at Eastern Illinois.


Bennett questioned why somebody wouldn’t want Kaepernick on their roster.

Von Miller and Vic Beasley are having an NFL ‘pass-rushing summit.’ This is what it should look like

Vic Beasley made his mark on the NFL in his second pro season, recording a league-leading 15.5 sacks and earning first-team All-Pro honors in the process. His emergence wasn’t lost on superstar linebacker and Super Bowl 50 MVP Von Miller.

Back in January, Miller proposed the two quarterback-crushing defenders team up for a “pass-rushing summit” this offseason. On Tuesday, Beasley told ESPN he plans on making good on his colleague’s offer.

Everything else aside, Bennett questioned why somebody wouldn’t want Kaepernick on their roster.

“I think a person that’s dedicating their life to creating change, why wouldn’t you want that type of leadership in your locker room?” Bennett said. “Why wouldn’t you want a young person that’s dealt with people wanting to kill him because of his choices in life? So I don’t know why people feel like that is a problem.”

Bennett’s comments are not surprising. He has an interest in social justice issues just as Kaepernick does. Bennett also spoke out for Kaepernick last season, saying that the 49ers would have a better shot with him at quarterback instead of Blaine Gabbert.

Kaepernick has been blackballed by the NFL for a number of silly reasons, but the fit in Seattle makes sense for everybody involved.

Bennett’s comments will only ramp up the expectation of Kaepernick landing in the Pacific Northwest.

NFL Draft 2017: After trading down, Browns nab Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers at No. 25

The Browns didn’t get a quarterback in the first round, but they did get the player who might be the best athlete in the class.

After trading down from the No. 12 spot, the Browns selected Michigan safety Jabrill Peppers with the 25th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.

Peppers tested positive for a dilute sample at the NFL Combine in March and could be subject to NFL discipline before he can make his regular-season debut if the league deems the positive result a violation of the NFL’s policy against drugs.

Buoniconti detailed how he estimated he took 520,000 hits to the head and that MRI tests over the past two years have revealed brain shrinkage and other brain abnormalities.

“I feel lost,” he said. “I feel like a child.”

It’s a far cry from the former life of the Dolphins co-captain, a sturdy linebacker who led Miami to three Super Bowls in a row. He was an eight-time Pro Bowler, a two-time Super Bowl champion and capped off his successful NFL career with a stint in broadcasting and business.

But his world changed when his son, Marc, dislocated his neck playing college football at The Citadel in 1985. He was paralyzed from the neck down, and Buoniconti felt that God was punishing him.

However, he became a pillar for the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, helping raise millions of dollars for the cause. At that time he was feeling great. But over the past two years he has felt the effects of constantly being hit in the head.

“I didn’t have any idea the price would be this debilitating,” Buoniconti said. “Had I known, would I have played? I had no alternative; there was no other way for me to get a college education.

“Football kept rewarding me — I can’t deny that. But I’m paying the price. Everybody pays the piper.”

LeBron James hit back-to-back 3s that were basically identical shots

We all know LeBron James’ jump shot has been the one imperfection in his game, a small foible in his game that makes sure he’s not a total cheat code. But, like, James is also a really good shooter. Maybe he won’t beat an average player in a shooting competition around the arc, but he can laugh and then bury a three in your face if he’s feeling extra mean-spirited.

And then he can do it again with an identical shot on the next possession.

I swear these are different shots that happened on back-to-back plays. It’s like those “spot the differences” brain puzzles that we all looked at as kids. The referee is walking to his spot in one, rather than already being there; James already has the ball at a standstill, rather than stepping into it; P.J. Tucker beings his box out a little deeper on Tristan Thompson. Obviously, it’s the exact same offensive set guarded by the same defense, but even past that, nearly everything in these two gifs are the same.

And James is laughing his way to the bench with six more points, knowing he’s almost guaranteed to be the new all-time NBA postseason scoring leader by the time the Cavaliers’ run ends.

Patton blossomed into one of the best two-way centers in the country as a redshirt freshman at Creighton this season. He shot 67.6 percent from the field, but his best value comes on defense. He’d be another long, quick athlete for the Bucks’ fleet.

nike_chargers_495 — Harry Giles, PF/C, Duke
Giles was projected as the possible No. 1 overall pick coming into this season before more knee trouble slowed him down in his only season at Duke. He’s essentially a medical decision at this point. If he can get back to the form he showed as a recruit and stay healthy, Indiana could have a major steal here.

Some questioned Brown’s decision to go pro with only one full season of collegiate experience under his belt.

When you’re talking about the draft’s best player, it can be easy to poke holes. Garrett at times struggles to get off blocks, and he’ll probably never be an ace run stopper at the edge. Sometimes he’ll overrun the play. His best production came against bad competition.

But when you look at the whole, he’s a marvelous talent. A three-year player at Texas A&M, Garrett finished with 145 tackles, 48.5 tackles for loss, 32.5 sacks, and seven forced fumbles. At 6’4, 272 pounds and with 35-inch arms, Garrett has prototypical size. His athleticism has never been more obvious than it was when he ran a 4.64 40-yard dash at the combine.

He’s not Von Miller quick, but no one ever will be, and Garrett is close. He possesses that first-step burst you want. How Garrett moves after that first step is what puts him over the top. He builds on speed with more speed. When he wants to mix up his pass rush, instead of bending the edge he employs a nasty spin move. If the Browns are creative, they’ll use him with his hand in the dirt and standing up. Garrett excels at the little things: He gets his hands up to bat down passes and finishes tackles. He rarely came off the field at A&M. He was slowed by a leg injury in 2016 but attempted to play through it.

Garrett is the best player — not just the best edge player — to be in the draft since Jadeveon Clowney in 2014.

Some questioned Brown’s decision to go pro with only one full season of collegiate experience under his belt. But the wideout found confidence in the decision having gone through his injury and rehab, both mentally and physically.

“That was one of the biggest parts of my decision. When I was hurt, I realized how quickly football could be taken away. This is the dream of my childhood,” Brown said.nike_cardinals_1225

Those 2 players who skipped bowl games? Both went as top-10 picks.

When an injured Leonard Fournette skipped LSU’s bowl win over Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson’s Louisville and an injured Christian McCaffrey skipped Stanford’s bowl win over potential No. 1 QB Mitch Trubisky’s North Carolina, the world ended.

Remember all the yelling at the time, about these two college students skipping group projects in order to prepare for their professional careers?

And while that isn’t exactly what he said, it’s really not much of a twisting of his words. Kizer really believes that the level of preparation and dedication that he brings to football could make him a special player in the NFL when mixed with his talent.

“Name a college quarterback who goes into the game-plan meetings on Monday and throws his notes at the coaches,” Kizer said. “No one else game plans the way I do. No one else prepares the way I do. No one else knows football the way I do. No one else is as big as I am. No one else is as powerful a runner as I am. Pat Mahomes might throw the ball 80 yards and I can only throw the ball 72, but I guarantee he can’t throw an out route the way I can.”

Quarterback is a position that requires a certain moxie, so that level of confidence isn’t a bad thing for Kizer. However, it appears unlikely that he’ll be the first quarterback off the board.

SB Nation’s Dan Kadar ranks Kizer as the third-best quarterback in the class, but didn’t slot Kizer in the first round of his most recent mock draft. But judging by Kizer’s interview with USA Today, it’s going to take more than a slide out of the first round to shake his confidence.

The Raptors are going to the NBA Finals and 20 other bold playoff predictions

The 2017 NBA Playoffs begin Saturday. They will end sometime in the distant future. While it is impossible to foretell what magic the playoffs will bring, let’s try anyway. (It worked out pretty well when I picked a Cavaliers title win a year ago!)

Ohio State coach Urban Meyer introduced Belichick and talked about a conversation the two had backstage.

“(Belichick) said, ‘At this point in my career I want to coach guys I like. I want to coach guys I want to be around. I won’t coach anybody else,'” Meyer said.

The high school and college coaches in attendance recorded every minute of Belichick’s 45-minute speech on their cell phones and video cameras; looking for the secret to Belichick’s success. That success is easy to see on the field: Belichick followed up an incredible 34-28 comeback victory over the Falcons in Super Bowl 51 by giving Tom Brady another weapon in acquiring receiver Brandin Cooks from the Saints. Yet Belichick lit up when talking about the off-the-field-process.

This is where Belichick appears comfortable. Dare we say Belichick, who turns 65 next week, is having fun? If you want to see that side, then find him at one of these coaching clinics. He built his speech around his No. 1 philosophy with players and coaches.

At that point, Chad was just getting his bearings as the starting quarterback, after leaving Clemson and spending a year in the Last Chance U junior college. Kelly’s issues before Ole Miss weren’t about talent, but about behavior.

Asante Samuel’s son is a top recruit, and he just picked FSU

Asante Samuel patrolled NFL defensive backfields from 2003 to 2013, winning Super Bowls in his first two seasons with the Patriots. He intercepted 51 passes in 157 games, made four Pro Bowls, and was a first-team All-Pro at cornerback in 2007.

Maybe this’ll make you feel old: Asante Samuel Jr. is now an elite cornerback recruit, and he verbally committed to Florida State on Thursday.

Samuel Jr. is a much more heralded recruit than his 36-year-old father was before playing three seasons at UCF. Samuel Jr. had offers from dozens of college teams, including almost all of the nation’s best. He picked FSU over Miami, Alabama, and scores of others.

Samuel plays his high school football in Florida, at Fort Lauderdale powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas. He can’t officially sign with the Seminoles until the winter, but barring a decommitment, he’ll bring his considerable talent to the Noles’ secondary.

At 5 ft 9.5” 166 pounds (measured at the Nike camp in Miami), Samuel Jr. isn’t the biggest CB in the world, but he is very talented. Florida State is extremely picky about cornerback height, and is rarely willing to take a corner who lacks elite length. But occasional exceptions have been made for special recruits like Greg Reid, Lamarcus Joyner, and Levonta Taylor.

As the son of former All-Pro cornerback and a St. Thomas Aquinas product, his technique is near flawless, effortlessly changing direction to mirror receivers. He’s very good in off-coverage; recognizing what routes are in front of him and driving on the ball to make a play. Lightning quick with exceptional feet and hips, Samuel Jr. would be a welcome addition to any secondary.

Samuel is the class of 2018’s No. 14 cornerback and No. 114 player overall, according to the 247Sports Composite. He’s been on the national recruiting radar for a couple of years now, and his profile has only grown throughout his junior year.

Rams exercise fifth-year option on DT Aaron Donald

The Rams became the first team to officially exercise their option Wednesday when they signed defensive tackle Aaron Donald for the fifth year of his rookie contract, according to ESPN.

Donald will make $6.89 million in 2018. New England sent Minnesota the 29th pick in the 2013 NFL draft, where the Vikings took All-Pro kick returner Cordarrelle Patterson. In exchange, they received four selections: Jamie Collins, Logan Ryan, Josh Boyce, and a seventh-rounder who would later be packaged with Jeff Demps in exchange for LeGarrette Blount. Everyone but Boyce would go on to be a key contributor to a Super Bowl winning team — in Ryan and Blount’s cases, twice.

It was an easy decision for the Rams considering Donald has become one of the most dangerous interior defensive linemen in the game.

Selected with the No. 13 overall pick in 2014, Donald has 28 sacks through three years and has never missed a game. Donald will make $1.8 million next season before the pay raise in 2018.

Donald, who has played in a 4-3 formation in each of his three seasons, will have to adjust to new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips’ 3-4 system this season.

Leonard Floyd looks like an exciting young player for Chicago, but the Bears need to keep adding more defensive pieces to build around. Defensive back may be the bigger need, but there are plenty of positions Chicago has to address, and Thomas is the best player on the board.

The 2017 Final Four has star power even without ‘one-and-dones’

Last the fall, the 2017-17 college basketball season was predicted and dubbed by many to be “the year of the freshman.” The title was understandable given the strength of the 2017 recruiting class, and in a lot of ways it held up over the succeeding five months.

The 2017 NBA draft has fans of the professional game across the country buzzing already about it being potentially the most loaded draft in a decade. The reason is the youngsters.

Players like Howard and Trubisky going in the top six is good news for the Chargers. That means Hooker or Adams should fall to the seventh pick. I like either for the Chargers, but with Hooker gone, Adams is the pick. He can come down and work near the line of scrimmage and has enough range to drop.

It must be confusing for casual NBA fans to look at NBA mock drafts and see De’Aaron Fox as the third or fourth point guard off the board. Two of the guys often ahead of him — Markelle Fultz and Dennis Smith Jr. — didn’t even make the tournament, and nearly everyone watched Fox cut apart Lonzo Ball and UCLA for 39 points in the Sweet 16.

Fox saved his best basketball for last, and his averages in the NCAA and SEC tournaments paint an impressive picture.