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NFL Rookies to Watch in 2018 0

Posted on August 09, 2018 by Dean Hybl

2018-Browns-draftThere were 256 players chosen in the 2018 NFL Draft, but only a handful will have a major impact on the upcoming NFL season. The challenge, of course, it to anticipate which rookies will have an impact on the sportsbooks come the regular season.

Here is a look at a number of high-profile draft picks that should have a chance to make an immediate impact in 2018:

Baker Mayfield & Denzel Ward – Cleveland Browns: While most of the attention regarding the 2018 draft for the Cleveland Browns was centered around choosing Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield with the first pick, it is likely that fourth overall pick Denzel Ward will have a larger impact during their rookie season.

From just down the road at Ohio State, Ward had his best of three collegiate seasons in 2017. If he can develop into an elite shut-down cornerback, it would certainly benefit a Cleveland defense that allowed 410 points, including 28 touchdown passes, in 2017.

Mayfield looks likely to start the season on the bench as the backup to veteran Tyrod Taylor, but with a great receiving corps, if he gets a chance to play, Mayfield seems to have a pretty good set of weapons at his disposal.

Saquon Barkley – New York Giants: There was a time when drafting a running back with a top five picks was a regular occurrence. However, over the last couple decades the conventional wisdom by many has been that star running backs can be found much later in the draft and therefore using a high pick on a running back is not a value pick.

However, in the last two years, Ezekiel Elliott (fourth pick in 2016) and Leonard Fournette (fourth pick in 2017) were immediate impact stars and helped propel their teams to playoff seasons. The Giants are hoping the same will happen for them in 2018 as they used the second overall pick on Saquon Barkley.

Considered by many to be the best player in the draft, Barkley could prove to be a once-in-a-generation superstar, or he could be over-shadowed this year by someone picked on the second or third day. Read the rest of this entry →

Five Dietary Changes that Can Help Athletes Recover Faster from Broken Bones 0

Posted on August 09, 2018 by Joe Fleming

Posey-injuryFrom Titans’ running back Leon Washington to Giants’ catcher Buster Posey, athletes throughout the years have had a history of breaking bones. Fractures are one of the most common injuries an athlete can deal with, and, considering the amount of time they take to fully heal, they’re not exactly fun to face.

Getting diagnosed with a fracture is never pleasant. But, did you know that there are dietary changes you can make that will speed up the recovery process and get you back in the game faster?

Whether you’re a professional or an amateur athlete, these nutrition tips will help you heal and become more resilient to future injuries.

1. Consume Sufficient Calcium

You probably grew up being told to drink your milk to keep your bones healthy and strong. Well, your mom was right. Although, you don’t necessarily need to drink milk or eat other dairy products to get sufficient amounts of calcium.

If you don’t tolerate dairy, you can get plenty of calcium from the following food sources:

  • Broccoli

  • Collard or turnip greens

  • Kale

  • Bok choy

  • Canned fish (tuna, salmon, and sardines — just make sure they haven’t been deboned)

  • Almond milk

You can also use a calcium supplement if you feel that you need additional help meeting the minimum daily requirement (anywhere from 1,000 to 1,200 milligrams per day). Read the rest of this entry →

Terrell Who? Today is Jerry Kramer’s Day 0

Posted on August 04, 2018 by Dean Hybl
Jerry Kramer was a key part of the famous Packer power sweep.

Jerry Kramer was a key part of the famous Packer power sweep.

When we started Sports Then and Now nine years ago, one of the first things we did was create a list of former NFL players who we felt were deserving of being included in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but up until that time had been snubbed for induction.

Number one on that list was former Green Bay Packers offensive lineman Jerry Kramer. Today, Kramer’s name can finally be removed from that list.

While one member of the Hall of Fame class of 2018 is trying to steal the attention by focusing on what he believes was a personal snub not to be a first-year inductee, in reality, his perceived snub and hardship is nothing compared to what Jerry Kramer has endured over the last half century.

When the NFL announced the 50th Anniversary All-NFL Team in 1969, Jerry Kramer was one of the two offensive guards named to the team. Yet, it took until just one year before the 100th Anniversary All-NFL Team will be announced before Kramer was selected for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The Green Bay Packers of the 1960s were one of the great dynasty teams in NFL history. Kramer will join 12 other members of the 1960s Packers (plus Coach Vince Lombardi) in the Hall of Fame.

Kramer retired after the 1968 season and was first listed as a Hall of Fame finalist in 1974. Initially, it seemed likely that Kramer would be inducted pretty quickly. He was a finalist seven times in an eight year stretch between 1974 and 1981 while seven of his teammates were inducted.

At that time, Kramer wasn’t the only 1960s Packer having to wait his turn for induction. In 1981, two of his former teammates, Willie Davis and Jim Ringo, were inducted in their sixth and seventh years as a finalist, respectively. Later in the decade, Paul Hornung was selected in his 12th year as a finalist in 1986 and Willie Wood in 1989 in his 10th time as a finalist.

Kramer was again a finalist in 1984 and 1987, but still had not yet received the call. Read the rest of this entry →

Old School Football Players: Where Are They Now? 0

Posted on July 24, 2018 by John Harris
Ronnie Lott

Ronnie Lott

Some football stars never leave the sport. After concluding his Hall of Fame playing career as a tight end, Mike Ditka became a Super Bowl-winning coach and then transitioned into the media world as analyst after he put down the clipboard.

Others follow a different path and disappear from the public eye. When they do, it’s easy to lose track of their whereabouts. But many of those who have seemingly fell off the face of the earth are now living truly fascinating lives.

From Silicon Valley and the big screen to entrepreneurship and the courtroom, the following four football players are worth catching up with even decades after they took off their cleats.

Ronnie Lott

Ronnie Lott was a hard-hitting safety known for striking fear into receivers who dared cross the middle of the field and quarterbacks that he blindsided sprinting across the line on a blitz. The Hall of Famer, four-time Super Bowl champion, and 10-time Pro Bowler for the San Francisco 49ers then made a very successful transition to the business world, leveraging investments in a few car dealerships into larger ventures and roles in the Bay Area and Silicon Valley with firms including HRJ Capital, GSV Capital Corp., and Fortress Investment Group. “He’s been a winner on and off the field and accordingly has earned enormous respect in Silicon Valley,” said GSV in a statement after the venture capital firm added Lott to its board of directors in 2015.

Carl Weathers

Though many people only know him as Apollo Creed and other prominent Hollywood roles on the silver screen, actor Carl Weathers first reached stardom as a football player. As a defensive end, he played college ball in Southern California for the San Diego State University Aztecs before going on to play in eight NFL games from 1970 to 1971. He didn’t quite have what it took, however, and made the tough choice to abandon his dream and switch to acting — a decision that now looks genius in hindsight. After earning a degree in drama in 1974, he gained global fame through his iconic performances in the “Rocky” franchise and would go on to earn acclaim for his work in “Predator,” “Action Jackson,” “Happy Gilmore,” and “Arrested Development,” among other films and television shows. Read the rest of this entry →

Best 10 and Worst 3 NFL Stadiums 0

Posted on May 17, 2018 by Scott Huntington

Going to an NFL game is an adventure. It’s exciting to see a professional sports team play live in front of you. The only downside is you pay lots of money for the tickets and parking — and then you get gouged on food prices. But it’s all worth it because you enjoy the atmosphere, the energy and the stadium where the game is played.

What about the stadiums themselves, though? Some stadiums are brand new, and others have been open for decades. You may love or hate a certain stadium for reasons that are hard to describe. Some just have that certain atmosphere you can’t find anywhere else. Others are architectural masterpieces and full of high-tech inventions.

Some stadiums are clearly better than others, however. Here’s a look at 10 of the best and three of the worst you’ll find.

The Best

These are 10 of the best stadiums you’ll find:

Read the rest of this entry →

Sports Injury Treatment Then And Now 0

Posted on February 26, 2018 by Joe Fleming

White-Wilson-NFLThe ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus probably first said that “the only constant in the universe is change.” This phrase definitely applies to sports injuries, at least to some extent.

Some people still remember the 1992 NBA All-Star game which featured the return of Magic Johnson. A few months earlier, he had retired after announcing he was HIV positive. Several other players, including Karl Malone, openly expressed misgivings about Johnson’s return and their own risk of contracting AIDS. We now know these fears were foolish, but they were very real at the time.

Fortunately, deadly sexually-transmitted diseases like AIDS are not a problem on most sports teams. But sports injuries are a constant concern. In some cases, the treatment approach has changed significantly in recent years; in other cases, not so much.

Football and Concussions

Head injuries have been an issue in football ever since William Harvey laced up the cleats for Penn in 1894. “In a scrimmage behind the goal I was knocked insensible, but recovered in about fifteen minutes,” he later wrote. For the next hundred years, every player who received a head injury in football got basically the same treatment: a few plays off, some smelling salts, and a cursory “how many fingers am I holding up” medical exam.

Things began to change in 1994 when then-NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue ordered league doctors and other scientists to examine the problem more closely. Today, no one is really sure how the NFL and other football leagues should handle head injuries. Players want to play, coaches want to win, and fans want to see lots of action, but a player’s long-term health is at stake. There’s a balance there somewhere.

New innovations should help improve treatment protocols. For example, the Food and Drug Administration recently approved a concussion diagnosis blood test. Very soon, this test could eliminate the guesswork involved in this area. Read the rest of this entry →

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  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Bill Freehan: Michigan Man
      May 12, 2018 | 6:21 pm

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was an 11-time American League All-Star at one of the most demanding positions in baseball, yet outside of Detroit his exploits have been largely forgotten.

      For more than a decade, Bill Freehan was the rock behind home plate for the Detroit Tigers. In addition to earning All-Star honors 10 straight years and 11 times overall, Freehan was a five-time Gold Glove winner and in 1968 finished second in the American League in the MVP voting.

      A true “Michigan Man”, Freehan played his entire sports career representing teams from Michigan.

      Read more »

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