Pro Player Insiders NFL Players Exclusive Lifestyle, News and Under the Helmet Access Fri, 30 Jan 2015 20:03:53 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Blueprint: Seattle Seahawks Five Year Journey To Sustained Success Fri, 30 Jan 2015 20:03:53 +0000 On their way to now two consecutive World Championship appearances, the Seattle Seahawks have become the blueprint for organizational rebuilds in the National Football League.

The Seahawks are set up to be a perennial nuisance to the National Football Conference (NFC) for the foreseeable future. If you’re an NFC organization hoping to build a championship roster, you better do it with the Seattle Seahawks in mind. They’ve become the team to beat. They are the team everyone hates. Yet, they’re a team whose structure will be imitated by many across the league for years to come.

In 2010, the foundation was established. Out went Head Coach Jim L. Mora, who succeeded Mike Holmgren and was fired after one season. In came former USC coach Pete Carroll, who was widely considered a better fit in college after failing to find success as an NFL Head Coach earlier in his career. Carroll opted to retain Defensive Coordinator Gus Bradley, which proved to be a wise decision. The Seahawks went on to name the Packers former football ops guy, John Schneider, as General Manager. Schneider later hired his good friend and former colleague, Scot McCloughan, as Senior Personnel Executive. McCloughan served as the 49ers General Manager but was fired prior to the draft that year. Schneider pulled him into the fold as a guy he respected and considered a top talent evaluator.

Together, Carrol, Schneider and McCloughan implemented a philosophy that would set the Seattle Seahawks up for sustained success. Their goal was to get bigger, younger and more competitive. They did a great job of that year one.

Weeks prior to McCloughan’s arrival, the Seahawks completed a draft that netted them: OT Russell Okung, WR Golden Tate, Safety Earl Thomas, CB Walter Thurmond, Safety Kam Chancellor and TE Anthony McCoy. They had already acquired DE Chris Clemons earlier that summer in a trade that sent Darryl Tapp to the Eagles. When Scot McCloughan arrived in June 2010, the team went on to sign a player he drafted with the 49ers – FB Michael Robinson. Then in October of that year, the team took a risk on a player with a troubled past – Marshawn Lynch. Seattle sent a 2011 fourth round pick and a 2012 conditional fifth round pick to the Buffalo Bills for Lynch.

The Seahawks only won seven games in 2010, but was able to win their division and earned a playoff berth. That, of course, was when “Beast Mode” made his presence known with that 67-yard thunderous run that shook the entire planet and helped Seattle win. They went on to lose in the divisional round, but  the foundation was evident with the amount of talent they acquired that year. Not to mention, through trades that off-season, Seattle added draft picks that would be used to obtain CBs Richard Sherman, Byron Maxwell and LB K.J. Wright in 2011. It’s safe to say, Seattle’s new regime hit the ground running.

Along with the aforementioned draftees in 2011, the Seahawks picked up a Canadian Football League (CFL) star, Brandon Browner. Unknowingly, the team had just put together the league’s best secondary in the matter of two off-seasons. Unfortunately, Pete Carroll’s Seahawks only won seven game in 2011. This time, they did so without winning a division title.

Seattle did not truly begin to taste the fruit of their labor until 2012 when they drafted a couple key pieces to their linebacking core in Bruce Irvin and Bobby Wagner. But the biggest acquisition of them all was drafting the undersized Quarterback out of Wisconsin — Russell Wilson — who battled his way to becoming Seattle’s starting QB.

With stability at Quarterback and a completely overhauled defense that went into super saiyan mode — Seattle rebuilt their team in only three years. They did it simply by finding and developing talent in the draft, making prudent free agent signings and taking a few risks along the way.

The Seattle Seahawks proved that quick turnarounds can happen in the NFL. Now, two years later, they’re on their way to possibly hoisting their second Lombardi Trophy in as many seasons. It would be an amazing feat considering that they are a very young team.

Teams across the league that have struggled to find that winning formula should follow the Seahawk-way. Draft, develop, compete and don’t be afraid to take risks. Then, when you take risks that don’t work out, admit the failure. Much like Seattle did one year after trading a major haul to get disgruntled receiver Percy Harvin. When Seattle began to realize that Harvin wasn’t fully buying in to the Seahawk-way earlier this season, the team traded him to the Jets. It’s those type of decisions that just separates their organization from others across the league.

The Seattle Seahawks are the blueprint and I think you’ve already seen teams use them as such. Look no further than their opponent in this year’s Super Bowl. The New England Patriots placed an emphasis on retooling their secondary with Brandon Browner, the former Seahawk, and Darrelle Revis. Now they’re well equipped to match Seattle.

As the saying goes, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Teams can dislike the Seahawks, but they do respect them. In fact, Seattle may be the most respected organization in the league right now. And they became that in only five years.


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Class of 2015 Pro Football Hall of Fame Finalists at a Glance Fri, 30 Jan 2015 19:09:47 +0000 This Saturday the National Football League will announce which of this year’s HOF finalists will be let into the game’s most prestigious club based in Canton, Ohio. No more than eight of these storied finalists will get elected into this year’s class and each player must receive at least 80 percent of the votes in order to join their fellow legends in eternal football glory.  Here’s a look at the 18 finalists career achievements:



Kurt Warner
Kurt Warner is most famous for being at the helm of the St. Louis Rams “greatest show on turf” from 1998-2003.  He won his only Super Bowl title during the 1999 season after his Rams defeated the Tennessee Titans 23-16. Warner went undrafted out of Northern Iowa and was actually cut by the Green Bay Packers during the 1994 season. Warner spent time in the AFL with the Iowa Barnstormers from 1995-1997 before his NFL career took off with the 1999 miracle season. Kurt Warner is recognized as one of the best undrafted players of all time and was named league MVP twice with the Rams.  He went to 3 three Super Bowls, including one with the Arizona Cardinals during his incredible 2008 run which ended with receiving the Walter Payton Man of The Year award. Warner ended his career with 32,344 yards, 208 touchdowns and an incredible 93.7 career passer rating.  He also had the 2nd best completion percentage of all time after the 2009 season.


Running Backs

Terrell Davis

Terrell Davis was selected in the sixth round of the NFL draft by the Denver Broncos. No one thought the back would have a very big impact, but Davis managed to secure a starting spot in his rookie year. From there Davis dominated between the tackles rushing for over 1,000 yards in his first year while winning offensive player of the year in 1996 during his second season. Davis helped the Broncos win back to back Super Bowls in 1997 and 1998 while setting an NFL playoff record with seven straight 100 yard performances during that span. Davis’s career was cut short because of injury, but the Bronco ended his career with over 7600 yards and 60 touchdowns in just 78 games earning him a spot on the 1990’s all decade team.

Jerome Bettis

“The Bus” out of Notre Dame was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams 10th overall in the 1993 NFL draft. Like Davis, Bettis made an immediate impact as a rookie rushing for 1,429 yards on his way to his single game career high of 212 yards against the Saints. That year Bettis won rookie of the year and led the Rams in rushing during his career with them. Bettis is most famous for his time in Pittsburgh where he was all pro during his first season. Bettis won his only Super Bowl in 2005 in his hometown of Detroit. At the time of his retirement after that season, Bettis ranked fifth all-time in rushing with 13,662 yards on3,479 career carries with 91 rushing touchdowns.


Wide Receivers

Marvin Harrison

Marvin Harrison was drafted 19th by the Colts during the 1996 NFL draft out of Syracuse University. He and Peyton Manning turned out to be one of the best quarterback/receiver combos in NFL history. Harrison was elected to 8 pro bowls and still holds the record for most receptions in a single season at 143 catches. Harrison is also second on the all-time list for overall receptions at 1,102, just behind hall of fame wide receiver Jerry Rice. He won Super Bowl XLI in 2006 and holds the Colts record for most post season games with 16. Harrison ended his career in 2008 with 14,580 yards and 128 receiving touchdowns. His 14,580 yards receiving yards rank 7th all time.

Tim Brown

Another Notre Dame HOF finalist, Tim Brown was drafted 6th overall in the 1988 NFL draft by the Los Angeles Raiders. Brown was named first-team All-Pro after leading the NFL in kickoff return yards his first season and setting an NFL rookie record for combined net yards after hauling in 43 receptions. After being used sparingly through the late 80’s and the early 90’s, Tim Brown became a household name recording 9 straight 1,000 yard seasons starting in 1993. Brown was named to 9 pro bowls and played in a Super Bowl for the Oakland Raiders in 2002. Brown retired ranked fifth all time in net yards with 19,682 and is currently 6th on the all-time receivers list with 14,934 yards (only 354 yards ahead of Harrison) and 100 touchdowns. Harrison and Brown each have more yards than every receiver in the hall of fame except for Jerry Rice.


Offensive Lineman

Orlando Pace

Out of Ohio State as the first overall pick in the 1997 draft, Orlando Pace has always been one of the leagues most talented offensive tackles. Orlando Pace played a huge part in fellow finalist Kurt Warner’s career and blocked for hall of fame rusher Marshall Faulk. Pace played almost his entire career with the Rams winning two Super Bowls and going to the pro bowl seven times. At 6’7” Pace is the biggest offensive lineman finalist in this year’s class.

Will Shields

Shields was drafted in the 3rd round of the NFL draft by the Kansas City Chiefs out of Nebraska. Will Shields played 14 seasons and never missed a game for the Chiefs and started 223 consecutive games which is a Chiefs franchise record. The talented guard made an incredible 12 pro bowls in his career and was named to the NFL all decade team of the 2000’s. Shields also won the Walter Payton Man of the Year in 2003 and his 223 consecutive starts ranks 5th on the all-time players list for regular season starts in the NFL.

Mick Tingelhoff

Tingelhoff was the center for the Minnesota Vikings from 1962-1978. From 1968-1978 Tingelhoffs Vikings went to the playoffs 9 out of those 10 seasons. Tingelhoff played in four Super Bowls and was elected to six pro bowls. Tingelhoff helped HOF quarterback Fran Tarkenton dominate the 1970’s and his 240 consecutive starts ranks second all-time only behind Brett Favre.


Defensive Lineman

Charles Haley

Haley is the only defensive lineman in this year’s list of finalists. He was the fourth round draft pick by the San Francisco 49ers in 1986 and played for both the Niners and Dallas Cowboys. Haley is the only player in NFL history to win five Super bowls. He won two with the 49ers and won three Super Bowls in four seasons with the Dallas Cowboys. Haley’s best year was with the 49ers in 1990 where he totaled 16 sacks. He only played for one team with a losing record in his 12 year career and was elected to five pro bowls. His speed rush off the edge would set the tone for the new breed of pass rushers that we have in today’s modern game.



Tiaina “Junior” Seau

Seau was selected 5th overall in the 1990 NFL draft by the San Diego Chargers. Seau started every game of his 20 year career while playing for the Chargers, Dolphins and Patriots. Seau was the NFL’s defensive player of the year in 1992 and 1998 and elected to 12 pro bowls. Seau totaled 18 interceptions and 56.5 sacks over his career and played on the losing side of two Super Bowls with the Patriots.  Seau also won the Walter Payton Man of the Year award in 1994 and the Don Shula Leadership award in 2003 and 2004. The late Seau’s contributions on and off the field live on as he was one of the great football ambassadors the game has ever known.

Kevin Greene

Greene is yet another “Ram” to be a finalist for this year’s 2015 Pro Football Hall of Fame induction. A fifth round draft pick by the LA Rams in 1985, Greene played for the Rams, Steelers, Panthers and 49ers. Greene was one of the best pass rushers of his era, had 160 sacks during his career, and is the Panthers all-time leader in sacks.  Greene is also 3rd on the all time sacks list. He also won league sack titles in 1994 and 1996 and was elected to five pro bowls. Greene was elected to the NFL all decade team for the 1990’s.


Defensive Back

John Lynch

John Lynch was selected in the 3rd round of the 1993 NFL draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Lynch played his college ball at Stanford and is one of the smartest, hard hitting safeties to ever play the game. Lynch struggled to find steady playing time until he broke out in 1998. From 1998 to 2008 he was voted to the Pro Bowl 9 times, which ranks second all-time at the safety position for pro bowl appearances. He was a huge part of the Bucs Super Bowl winning defense in 2002 and is first in Tampa Bay history in playoff games played at nine. Lynch left Tampa as a free agent in 2004 where he continued his dominant play for the Denver Broncos. Lynch finished his career with 26 interceptions and more than 1,000 tackles.


Place Kicker

Morten Anderson

Anderson is trying to be just the second kicker in the HOF. Anderson played 25 seasons after being drafted by the Saints during the fourth round of the 1982 NFL draft. He played half of his career in New Orleans, spent six years with the Falcons, played a year with the New York Giants, kicked it for two seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs, and played a season in 2004 with the Minnesota Vikings. This journeyman scored consistently wherever he went but finished his career in Atlanta in 2007. At the time of his retirement in 2007, he had set the NFL record for most points at 2544, (845 points higher than hall of fame kicker Jan Stenerud) as well as games played at 382.  Both of those records stand today and Andersen was a seven time pro bowler who made the 1980’s and 1990’s all-decade teams.



Tony Dungy

Dungy started coaching at the professional level as a defensive assistant in 1981 for the Pittsburgh Steelers. From then he moved up in the ranks and became a head coach in 1996 for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers where he coached fellow hall of fame finalist John Lynch. After Tampa Bay, Dungy became coach of the Indianapolis Colts and coached Colt legends such as Marvin Harrison and Peyton Manning. Dungy finished .500 or better in 12 of his 13 seasons as head coach and was voted coach of the year with the 1997 Bucs and the 2005 Colts who went on to win the Super Bowl. His win percentage during the regular season with the Colts was .76, which is the highest win percentage of any coach in the HOF with one team through at least 100 games with the exception of Bud Grant. Tony Dungy also has several former assistants that went on to have exceptional coaching careers and win Super Bowls of their own.  The list includes Mike Tomlin, Herm Edwards, and Lovie Smith. Tony Dungy is currently an analyst on NBC’s “Football Night in America.”

Jimmy Johnson

Jimmy Johnson was a dominant coach at the college level for bigtime schools such as the University of Miami and Arkansas. In the NFL he was the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys from 1989-1993 and the head coach of the Miami Dolphins from 1996-1999.  He would go on to coach future hall of famers Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Dan Marino. Johnson was named coach of the year in 1990 and won two Super Bowls with the Dallas Cowboys in back to back seasons in 1992 and 1993. Johnson only lost one post season game as head coach of the Cowboys posting a 7-1 record. Johnson is now a football analyst for Fox sports.

Don Coryell

Coryell took the NFL by storm when he led the St. Louis Cardinals to a 10-4 record in just his second season. Coryrell is credited with the revival of the Cardinals and led “Big Red” to back to back divisional championships from 1974-1975. Coryell also revamped a lowly Chargers offense when he took over in 1978. Coryell coached in San Diego for nine seasons winning AFC coach of the year once. Coryell also won the NFL coach of the year in 1974. Coryell was one of the best offensive minds of the 1970’s.



Bill Polian

Polian started as a pro scout for the Kansa City Chiefs from 1978 to 1982. From there, Polian was the GM of the Buffalo Bills from 1986 to 1993. In his time in Buffalo Polian’s Bills made it to three straight Super Bowls but failed to win. After being fired by the Bills, he was the GM for the then brand new Carolina Panthers from 1994 to 1997. Polian’s Panthers made it to the NFC Championship in just their second season as a franchise. After the Panthers, Polian went on to become the president of the Indianapolis Colts where he made the biggest decision of his career. The Colts drafted Peyton Manning in the 1998 draft and from then Polian’s Colts put together 11 winning seasons in his 14 seasons with the Colts. Polian is now a football analyst for ESPN.

Ron Wolf

Wolf spent 38 seasons in the NFL with four different NFL teams and was a part of five super bowl teams. He spent time with the Raiders, Bucs, Packers, Chargers and Jets. Ron Wolf is most famous for bringing success to Green Bay. He was in charge of hiring legendary head coach Mike Holmgren and brought in a quarterback from the Atlanta Falcons by the name of Brett Favre. While Wolf was in Green Bay as GM, the Packers had a record of 92-52 with two Super Bowl appearances. Wolf was named as a consultant for the New York Jets after the 2014 season to help Green and White find a new head coach and GM after John Idzik and Rex Ryan were let go.



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Super Bowl Coaches Press Conference Fri, 30 Jan 2015 18:59:43 +0000 Bill Belichick and Pete Carroll wrapped up their final media appearances at the Super Bowl Coaches Press Conference today. The coaches were in a joking mood as they fielded questions ranging from the game plan to the similarities that they have as coaches. Both Carroll and Belichick have been the men that spearheaded the rebirth of their respective franchises.


Both of the coaches are ready for the game to start and are wrapping up their final details for the game. Belichick spoke about information and how some is more relevant. “We’ve talked about so many things over last couple weeks. There’s a lot of info but not everything is equally important.” Belichick said. Carroll spoke about finishing. “I’ve spent a lot of time and focus on finishing. Any great performer takes great pride in how they finish.” Carroll said.

One of the more interesting parts of the press conference was when the coaches took time to say what they admire the most about each other. Both of these coaches are very respectful of their opponent. Belichick talked about how the Seattle Seahawks play relentless football and compete during every second of the game. He feels that no other team in the NFL does that as well as the Seahawks. He said that the Seahawks are the model for teams because of how they compete from the opening kickoff to the last play.

Carroll was quick to point out how the New England Patriots have been a model of consistency over Belichick’s tenure. He pointed out how they have had so many first round byes and how they have been able to sustain success despite so many personnel changes and changes to the coaching staff. The way that the Patriots have done so well over such a long period of time is something that Carroll said he strives to copy.

Each coach took time to also talk about how passionate their fan base is. Both of them said that it starts from how connected and involved their owners are with the community. “Paul Allen has such a connection with the community. He brings a sense of community. He’s help us connect with our following.” Carroll continued; “Our 12s are so passionate. Paul Allen’s respect for the people and the area are really what has inspired them to be so connected.”

Belichick mentioned the passion that Bob Kraft brings on a regular basis. He said that Kraft has been an example of how they can reach out to the community. “He’s shown us the way given us paths to work with underprivileged groups in our area. It gives us strength to be the giver.”

The Super Bowl is now two days away. There will not be any more press conferences for the coaches to worry about. It’s all football from here on out. Pete Carroll and Bill Belichick are two great football minds that wouldn’t have it any other way.


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Katy Perry Generates Excitement for Highly Anticipated Halftime Performance Fri, 30 Jan 2015 14:26:36 +0000 Katy Perry has been selected to perform during halftime at Super Bowl XLIX and is clearly looking forward to putting on a great show; but who said that show had to wait until Sunday ? Perry – wearing a dress with footballs printed all over it delivered multiple comedic anecdotes during her press conference Thursday Katy Perryafternoon. She was playful, joyous and lighthearted. She also provided the best line of the day when she went full-on Beast Mode on reporters saying,

 “I’m just here so I don’t get fined.”

But Perry did something that Lynch would never do – speak with the media in excess of 15 minutes.

Perry also referenced “deflate-gate” when she quipped that nothing would be flat about her halftime performance.

She also promised sharks, lions and “appropriate sexiness” during her halftime show. Perry subsequently announced that Lenny Kravitz would be performing with her as a “surprise guest”. Well I suppose the cat is out of the bag now.

When asked if the show will be performed live, Perry said,

“I’ve been designing this show for months, it’s a larger than life show. I’ve collaborated on everything. There is not a diamond on a shoe that has not gone past my eyes. I’m so prepared for this show that I even had time for Netflix the other night.”

When asked what she would like to accomplish with her halftime performance, Perry said,

“I just hope at the end of the day over 100 million people are smiling in unison.”

Perry effortlessly made a room full of reporters laugh during Thursday’s press conference. If her halftime performance remotely resembles the jovial nature of her press conference, she will likely achieve her goal.

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DeMaurice Smith Discussed His Vision for a Better NFL During NFLPA Annual Super Bowl Meeting Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 Executive Director of the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) DeMaurice Smith took to the stage to tackle a myriad of issues during Thursday’s meeting. Smith also offered solutions to a variety of concerns that many feel have become commonplace in the NFL. DeMaurice Smith Smith began his speech by averring that the NFLPA’s primordial responsibility is to care for incumbent and future NFL players. He also took a moment to pay homage to the players that have served as members of the NFLPA prior to being appointed to the position of Executive Director of the NFLPA. Smith said,

“We stand on the shoulders of men who have come before us to build this union into a union that serves its members.”

Servant leadership was a point of emphasis during Smith’s time at the podium. A prime example of Smith’s servant leadership was his contributions to a painstakingly collated 300-page document that is known as the NFL’s most recently collectively bargained salary cap. Smith and the NFLPA have gone to great lengths to prevent the erosion of player revenue shares. Information pertaining to the salary cap generally comes from ownership and is often times parroted by the media. On occasion, the cap number ownership reports is contradictory to their economic reality. As a result of what can be perceived as duplicitous forecasting by the owners, the NFLPA will soon begin the process of creating their own salary cap projections in an effort to enhance player revenue shares. DeMaurice Smith elaborated on the challenges created by inaccurate cap numbers,

 “We believe that not only misrepresents the economic reality of how the salary cap works, but our concern is that those inaccurate projections may have a negative consequence on some players trying to negotiate new contracts.”

The NFLPA will begin the process of constructing cap projections between now and the NFL Scouting Combine. The previous collectively bargained cap spend was relatively ineffective much to the dismay of Smith and the NFLPA. Due to bonuses unlikely to be earned that counted against the cap, it appeared as though money was being spent on the players when in fact it wasn’t. The NFLPA was able to collectively bargain a cash spend to ensure the salary cap was being spent on the players. The mandatory cash spend policy requires teams to dedicate an average of 89 percent of the salary cap to the players over a four-year span.

Additionally, the new policy entails a league-wide spend of 95 percent. Smith considered the 2013 season a success as the NFL cash spends ascended to nearly 97 percent. However, teams like the Cleveland Browns, Jacksonville Jaguars, Houston Texans, Oakland Raiders and the New England Patriots among others are below the 89 percent mandatory cash spend. Teams below the requisite 89 percent will have to speed in excess of 100 percent of the salary cap to remain in compliance with the collectively bargained cash spend. Smith went on to explain why the policy is important to the players.

 “We want the cash spent. These men put everything on the line each and everyday. They sacrifice everything. They perform at their highest, and we want the salary cap to be employed at it’s highest when it comes to our players.”

Smith also addressed player health and safety at the NFLPA Super Bowl press conference. Smith recounted a time when NFL players refrained from asking for their medical records for fear of retaliation and being released by their respective employers. Smith was pleased to share with the media that every NFL players will now receive Electronic Medical Records (EMRs). EMRs give NFL players access to their medical records at any given time. Smith also highlighted modifications made to return to play protocols stating.

 “We insisted on having neutral concussion experts to evaluate players before they return to the field. We have had increased adherence to that.”

Under the leadership of Smith every medical professional in the NFL must be credentialed. Smith said,

“We found out that there were some team doctors that were not trained in sports medicine. “

Another hot topic was players’ rights. Smith believes the NFL unethically disciplined both Adrian Peterson and Ray Rice, as their punishment was not consistent with the collective bargaining agreement. Smith said,

 “We will continue to engage the league whether through litigation or collective bargaining about the personal conduct policy, and that will be ongoing.”

Smith also expounded upon the drug policy in which he termed a “joint drug policy”. Smith said,

“It’s just as much the players’ drug policy, just as much as it is the National Football Leagues policy. …The men you see before you wanted a clean game, but we also wanted a policy that was fair.”

Smith and the NFLPA had to wait three years before a new drug policy was agreed upon with the national football league. Smith added,

“We signed the collective bargaining agreement in 2011; we finished the drug policy in 2014. …We wanted a HGH testing system that was fair. We wanted to give our players the ability and the right to challenge any test in front of a neutral arbitrator.”

Lastly, Smith broached the topic of player welfare. Smith and the NFLPA made the decision to increase the pension benefits of over seventeen hundred players that played between 1993-1996. Due to their inability to test free agency, players who played during those years were unable to maximize their earnings. As a result of their salaries being depressed, there was a cascading effect on their pensions as well. Smith lauded the members of the NFLPA for their ability and willingness to help former players. Smith said,

 “This is a group of players that reached back to take care of players they have never met and never known to increase their pension benefit, and once again, that is what this union does.”

While Smith praised members of the NFLPA throughout his speech, his team is merely a reflection of his altruism and leadership. A true leader takes little more than his share of the blame, and often times a little less than his share of the credit. Smith’s servant leadership will continue to make the NFL a better place for present and future NFL players.

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49ers’ Anquan Boldin NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year Nominee Fri, 30 Jan 2015 13:37:14 +0000 Anquan Boldin is not only one of the most valuable players on the field, but also one of the most impactful community leaders on the 49ers. He is a finalist for the NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. The winner will be announced in Arizona, the site of Super Bowl XLIX, during the fourth annual NFL Honors, a two-hour primetime awards special to air nationally on Saturday, January 31, from 9-11 p.m. ET/PT on NBC. The winner will receive a $25,000 donation in his name to a charity of his choice from both the NFL Foundation and Nationwide ($50,000 total). The two additional finalists will receive $5,000 donations in their names. Anquan Boldin San Francisco 49ers Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Photo Credit- Boldin has proven to be the 49ers most reliable receiver over the last two seasons. After leading the team in receptions and receiving yards in 2013, Boldin contributed greatly again this season, totaling team-highs in receptions (83), receiving yards (1,062) and receiving touchdowns (five). While Boldin has amassed an impressive on-field record, he has never lost sight of the importance of giving back to the community. The Anquan Boldin Foundation was formed in 2004 by Boldin with a mission to expand the educational and life opportunities of underprivileged youth. In December 2014, he and his wife, Dionne, announced a $1 million pledge to increase the impact of their Foundation. The Foundation offers programs throughout the year, including a summer enrichment program, Thanksgiving food drives offering 300 meals annually and holiday shopping sprees. In the fall of 2014, the Foundation awarded $10,000 academic scholarship to four students entering college and, since its inception, has awarded eleven four-year scholarships through the “Q81” Foundation Scholarship Fund. With an international philanthropic reach, Boldin has also been involved with Oxfam America since 2010, travelling to Ethiopia and Senegal. Following his second trip to Africa, Boldin addressed political concerns in Senegal involving creating more transparency in the gold mining industry, testifying as an Oxfam Ambassador before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health and Human Rights on the issue. Boldin became the fourth player in franchise history to register multiple seasons with 1,000-or-more receiving yards and is the first to do so in each of his first two seasons with the team. With another successful season under his belt, Boldin is now one of two players in NFL history to record at least 600 receiving yards in each of his first 12 seasons, joining Hall-of-Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice. It comes as no surprise to his peers and the 49ers organization that in 2014, recognition of his strong character, Boldin was presented with the prestigious Byron “Whizzer” White Award, the highest honor given to a player by the NFLPA.

How has your nominee put the needs of members in the community ahead of their own?

Boldin has also been involved with Oxfam America since 2010, accompanying two overseas trips to Ethiopia and Senegal and later lobbed Senegalese rights. He began by seeking to minimize the devastation cause by the drought and hunger crisis in Ethiopia, providing $10,000 to assist the farming needs of the villagers while dedicating countless hours. During a second trip to Africa, Boldin addressed political concerns in Senegal, later testifying as an Oxfam Ambassador before Congress.

What is your nominee’s next initiative?

Annual Q-Festival Q-Fest is Boldin’s signature event hosted in his hometown in Palm Beach County. For the event, he secures 30 NFL athletes, raising over $100,000 annually. The Foundation will host their 11th annual Q-Festival Weekend in April 2015, featuring a celebrity golf tournament, a celebrity basketball game, a week-long community basketball tournament for all ages, a 3-K Fitness Walk and Wellness Seminar, and the “Fun Day in the Park.” All activities are free.

When did your nominee start supporting this cause?

Boldin has been an advocate for those in need since being drafted in 2003. His commitment has been consistent, sustained, significant and authentic, resulting in real change. Along with his impact off the field, Boldin has been a leader on the team since his arrival to the 49ers. His influence was felt on the field and in the locker room. For his leadership, effort and passion for the game, Boldin was named the 2013 Bill Walsh Award Winner, given to the 49ers team MVP. Pro Player Insiders Links about Boldin Anquan Boldin Wins NFLPA Byron “Whizzer” White Award full story click here (March 2014)

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everyone has gone through something that has changed them in a way that they could never go back to the person they once were. @sinoricemoss Fri, 30 Jan 2015 13:30:45 +0000

everyone has gone through something that has changed them in a way that they could never go back to the person they once were.

— Sinorice Moss (@sinoricemoss) January 6, 2015

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Best Plays in Super Bowl History Fri, 30 Jan 2015 13:00:05 +0000 With each passing moment we are nearing the final NFL game of the season in which a champion will be crowned. Two of the NFL’s most talented teams in the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots will face off in Super Bowl XLIX to determine which team will reign supreme in 2014-2015 season. There are critical moments in every Super Bowl that paved the way for the eventual champion.

Below is a list of plays worthy of being considered the best in Super Bowl history:


A Decoy Becomes a Viable Option in Super Bowl VIII

Paul Warfield injured his hamstring in the Miami Dolphins’ first practice of the week leading up to the Super Bowl. Warfield desperately wanted to contribute to his team against the Minnesota Vikings, and subsequently limped through the majority of the game as a decoy. The Dolphins decided early in the third quarter to give Warfield an opportunity to make a play.

Warfield was able to sprint past a Viking defender to catch a 27-yard pass from Bob Griese. Though Warfield was unable to accelerate due to the hamstring injury, Warfield dove for the football to secure the catch. Warfield’s 27-yard catch set up the Dolphins’ final touchdown. Miami would go on to defeat the Vikings by the score of 24-7.


David Tyree Used His Head to Move the Chains Against the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII

The New York Giants were facing a third-and-five from their own 44-yard line with 1:15 remaining in Super Bowl XLII. While David Tyree gets a ton of credit (and rightfully so) for making a spectacular contested catch, the play was actually made possible by Eli Manning’s pocket presence, strength and agility. Despite nearly being sacked by Richard Seymour, Manning was able to launch a 32-yard pass to Tyree who alertly worked his way back to his quarterback who was flushed from the pocket.

The pass was hotly contested by Patriots’ safety Rodney Harrison. Tyree initially caught the ball with both hands but he successfully secured the football by pinning it to his helmet with his right hand. Tyree’s catch set up Plaxico Burress’ eventual go-ahead touchdown. The Patriots carried a perfect record of 19-0 into Super Bowl XLII, but were upset by the Giants by the score of 17-14.


Tracy Porter Displayed tremendous Confidence in Super Bowl XLIV

Too often NFL defenses have allowed Peyton Manning, (the grandmaster of deception) to dictate the tempo and the flow of the game but the New Orleans Saints decided to buck that trend in Super Bowl XLIV. With the Indianapolis Colts driving down the field with 3:24 remaining in the game, the Saints took a gamble that worked in their favor.  The Saints created a six-on-five matchup along the offensive line, which forced Manning to get the ball out of his hand quickly.

Once Manning hit his back foot on the third step of his drop, he threw the football in Reggie Wayne’s direction. Unfortunately Wayne did not locate the football once he came out of his break. Tracy Porter who had inside leverage on the play read Manning’s eyes, intercepted the football, and raced 74 yards for the score. While Manning is known for keeping defensive backs guessing, Porter was confident enough to trust his eyes and break on the football.  The interception secured a victory for his team. The Saints defeated the Colts by the score of 31-17.


Super Bowl XXIV Taught Us All That Football Truly Is a Game of Inches

With six seconds to go in Super Bowl XXIV, the St. Louis Rams were nursing a 23-16 lead against the Tennessee Titans. The Titans drove 78 yards to the Rams 10-yard line and seemed poise to tie the game up at 23 points apiece. Rams’ linebacker Mike Jones’ responsibility was to cover Frank Wycheck but once Titan’s wide receiver Kevin Dyson slanted across the field, he sprinted toward him at full speed. Mike Jones made a tremendous tackle in space on Kevin Dyson to stop him at the one-yard line. Jones’ game saving tackle was the final, and best play of the game.


Marcus Allen Cements His Status as King of the Cutback in Super Bowl XVIII

The Los Angeles Raiders were defeating the Washington Redskins by the score of 28-9 when Raiders running back Marcus Allen got his hands on the football, reversed his field, found an opening and raced 74 yards for a touchdown. Allen at times made the game look easy; and the 191 yards he rushed for in Super Bowl XVIII is proof of just how talented he was. Allen was named the game’s MVP as the Raiders trounced the Redskins by the score of 38-9.

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Create good karma,Do right by people and work your ass off! #dockettcommandments @ddockett Thu, 29 Jan 2015 13:30:29 +0000

Create good karma,Do right by people and work your ass off! #dockettcommandments

— DARNELL DOCKETT (@ddockett) January 6, 2015

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A Special Story From @InsightfulPlayr on Patriots’ Team Captain Matthew Slater Thu, 29 Jan 2015 13:01:23 +0000 Matthew Slater, New England Patriots team captain, and Insightful Player® member will be playing in Super Bowl XLIX. Here’s a special message from Insightful Player founder Chrissy Carew.

An Insightful Player® is a person of integrity, such as a current or former NFL player, who shares their personal message of hope for the sole purpose of lifting the spirits of all, especially children. Currently Insightful Player has a roster of 49 active and former NFL players with more joining each month.

A seven-year NFL veteran, Slater was selected to the Insightful Player team for his profound sense of spirituality, his love of family, his leadership skills, and his eagerness to reach out to the community.

Matthew Slater has been guided by his faith throughout his life, and has always been motivated more by love and devotion to God, and his family than by a wish for athletic glory, or the adulation that comes with it. He is a very kind, and humble man who has tremendous passion, for contributing to others. He brings out the best in everyone, and he leaves a permanent impression on your heart. Matthew is a caring leader, wonderful role model and a valued member of the Insightful Player team.

I salute Matthew, Kyle, Devin and Doug for making it to Super Bowl XLIX.

Additional Insightful Players playing in the Super Bowl, include: Patriots’ Kyle Arrington and Devin McCourty, and Seahawks’ Doug Baldwin.


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Now here Chrissy’s story on Matthew Slater.

The word “humble” comes up a lot when teammates, coaches, or friends talk about Matthew Slater, wide receiver, safety, gunner, and special teams captain for the New England Patriots who has played in three Pro Bowls since first being drafted in 2008. Matthew truly believes he is an agent of God, doing the Lord’s work even as he passes and intercepts on the football field.

Raised by his mother, Annie, and his father, Jackie, who was himself an NFL Hall-of-Famer, Matthew had an intimate view of his future world in the NFL from an early age.

“It was a unique experience to grow up with a dad who was in the Hall of Fame,” Matthew recalled. “I was able to experience a lot of things most youngsters don’t have the opportunity to experience. But most importantly, he shared his faith, which was always what led him. And that was the perspective with which I viewed my world. My faith is the most important thing in my life. Beyond football, beyond family, because I believe I can’t be a good member of my team or of my family without first honoring my faith. “

But after being red-shirted in his freshman year at UCLA and then plagued by a series of injuries in his subsequent college years, Matthew found himself questioning God’s presence. “I was left with a lot of doubt,” he admitted. “Was God really present in my life? Was He really who I had been raised to believe He was? When things didn’t go my way, I became upset and angry.”

But with a combination of faith in God; strong coaching on the field; the mentorship of his parents, his pastor, and other trusted adults; and his own inner strength, both physical and mental, he was able to overcome these obstacles. And nothing could have spoken louder to him about the power of God than what happened in the 2008 draft. “Hearing my name spoken was equivalent to seeing the Red Sea parted and seeing Lazarus rise from the dead. There’s no other explanation for how a player who never started a college game, who literally never had one productive college season, could be drafted in the fifth round by the New England Patriots. It was certainly a surprise and very humbling, and the biggest sign we’d ever been given of God’s presence.”

And when he infamously caused his team to lose an important game against the Steelers during his first season, he reached back to the spiritual lessons of his college years to get through it. “I took it really hard. It was a big shock to my confidence. I felt like I’d let everyone down: my teammates, the coaches, the fans.”

Instead of doubting his faith as he did when he was younger, he turned immediately to God. “That’s where you have to remind yourself what’s really important beyond the game of football. That’s not to say I don’t value and love the sport and want to work hard at it, but it’s more important to remember that you are grounded first and foremost in Christ.”

Matthew’s natural leadership abilities have arguably done as much as his athletic skills to make him a stand-out among his team members. Not only is he a Patriots captain; he was one of the very few players ever requested by Coach Bill Belichick to accompany the team to away games even when he was on the disabled list.

When not on the field or in training, Matthew enacts his rock-solid Christian values through community service and outreach. He won the Ron Burton Community Service Award in 2013, but he hastens to say that he doesn’t do it for the accolades. Along with considering it a spiritual imperative, he truly enjoys community outreach. He works in youth fitness outreach programs and in encouraging teens and young adults to finish school and stay out of trouble. He is also the team representative for United Way.

At the moment, things couldn’t be going better for Matthew as a player – but that doesn’t stop him from looking ahead to the future. When his football days are over, he dreams of furthering his mission to bring spirituality to others by joining the ministry profession, perhaps as a youth outreach worker.  “The message I want most to communicate to everyone I encounter is that I don’t need to be praised or given recognition for football. I humbly accept it, at the end of the day, I recognize that I am a flawed man who has been very blessed. God makes himself available to everyone through a relationship in His son Jesus. He has a unique plan for everyone. It may not be football, but he loves you and has a plan.”

With his profound sense of spirituality, his love of family, his leadership skills, and his eagerness to reach out to the community, Matthew Slater exemplifies the qualities of an Insightful Player® team member.

Instant replay of Matthew Slater’s Guiding Principles:

  1. Respect and attend to your parents, spiritual leaders, coaches, and other adults.  Look to them for strength and advice.
  2. Be a source of comfort and nurturing to your family.
  3. Help your community. Use your own strengths to support those who might need more strength of their own.
  4. Refrain from judging others. Acknowledge that each of us has his or her own private struggle.
  5. Don’t blame God or anyone else when things don’t go your way. Instead, focus on what you can improve.
  6. Carry yourself as a role model for teammates and the young people who look up to you.
  7. Maintain a sense of balance and keep sight of your priorities. Remember that sports and other pursuits will never be as important to your life as family or God.
  8. Above all else, look to God as your source of sustenance and guidance.

The Insightful Player® series is brought to you by Coach Chrissy Carew, Hall of Fame Master Certified Personal and Business Coach and Author of her book, INSIGHTFUL PLAYER: Football Pros Lead A Bold Movement of Hope. Chrissy has been deeply inspired by her father, the late Coach Walter Carew, Sr. Her father is in several Halls of Fame as a high school football coach and baseball coach (as well as high school and college athlete). He used sports to help kids build strong character and teach them valuable life skills. The Insightful Player® initiative was created to help make our world a much better place by inspiring youth. To contact Chrissy Carew visit



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Richard Sherman Professes Perpetual Praise for Prodigious Patriots Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 Many believe Richard Sherman to be a supremely intelligent, loquacious, vainglorious cornerback who is incapable of expressing respect for his contemporaries. However, Sherman’s ability to lucidly articulate his thoughts like few other are capable of has gone a long way toward annulling the aforementioned theory.

Richard Sherman

Descriptors such as haughty and cavalier have been used when discussing Sherman. He utilized his platform during Wendesday’s media session to graciously explain to reporters that extreme confidence is merely a prerequisite to compete at the cornerback position.

“… You have to always expect to make the big play and expect yourself to be in great coverage,” Sherman said. “… If you really went inside the heads of 99 percent of the corners in the league, they believe they’re the best in the game. It’s not arrogance – it’s just necessity.”

Throughout Super Bowl week, Sherman has consistently voiced his respect and admiration for his opponent, which hasn’t always been his strong suit. The always-introspective cornerback has grown from his past fracases with his foes through the media, and has done nearly everything possible to avoid conflict.

When asked about his feelings on Patriots’ cornerback Darrelle Revis saying he couldn’t learn anything by watching tape of Sherman, Sherman essentially took the high road.

“I don’t really have a reaction to that, that’s fine,” Sherman said. “… There’s things you can learn from everybody. I learn things from our practice squad players to Earl Thomas – I think everybody has a unique style about their game that you can put into your game. …”

Sherman was baited again when asked about LeGarrette Blount telling the media that the Seahawks were not immortal and couldn’t tackle him. Sherman replied,

 “Yeah, I’m not immortal. One day I will pass away. He is perfectly right about that. He said we can’t tackle him? That’s an opinion. Everybody is entitled to their own opinion. That’s perfectly fine.”

After Sherman’s subtle razzing of Blount regarding the misuse of the word “immortal” the Seahawks’ superstar had apparently met his quota on witty responses for the day. A good portion of his remaining time with the media was spent praising the Patriots. When asked about what stands out when he watch the Patriots on film, Sherman said,

“Their variety. … They change their gameplan every week and they fit it to their opponent, but they do have a tremendous amount of variety week-in and week-out. You rarely see them challenge teams with the same combination of routes. You rarely see them challenge teams with the same run game.

“For example, usually you see San Francisco runs the power. In week two, San Francisco’s going to run power. In Week eight, San Francisco’s going to run power. The Patriots can run power in week one, the bend play, in week two, zone read in week three, counters in week four, and that kind of variety keeps a defense on edge because it’s a lot to prepare for.”

Sherman also took to time to speak glowingly of Rob Gronkowski and Tom Brady among others.

Some fans and members of the media may feel as though Sherman’s continual growth is simply a façade. His comments throughout Super Bowl week might even be dismissed as nothing more than platitudes commonly associated with the Patriots and their opponents. But there is nothing fraudulent with regards to how he feels about the Patriots. Sherman’s respect for the Patriots runs deep, and it’s unlikely he’ll provide a quip that gives his opposition bulletin board material


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Boom…It’s The B2 Effect Thu, 29 Jan 2015 09:47:53 +0000 The B2 Effect held it’s first ever media training open to NFL Players and their Wives in Scottsdale, Arizona, during the week of Super Bowl XLIX. Boom Media and Image Consulting, a boutique Public Relations and Marketing Firm opened their first interactive media and public relations training session to NFL athletes and their wives, but have opportunities on the horizon for athletes of other organizations as well as, professionals, executives and students.

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Each and every one of us is our own brand. We create an image on our own personal brand by our speech, appearance, photos and our constant updates through different social media outlets. Learning how to perfect our image is something we can all take lessons on. The B2 Effect didn’t cut any corners, when they held their first training session at Mandarich Studios, owned by Tony Mandarich, former offensive lineman for the Greenbay Packers and Indianapolis Colts. Tamara Washington, the Executive Consultant for Boom Media and Image consulting talks about how Tony couldn’t have been a more perfect fit for the group. Tony is an incredible photographer, who pays particular attention to making sure his subjects are always presented in their best manner, but it doesn’t stop there, Tamara says, “Tony always makes sure you are on point with what comes out of your mouth” because that is what builds the base of your brand. You as an athlete are 100% your own brand and that image can easily be tarnished, so being able to learn a few tips here and there, can make your career, your product, that much stronger.


Tamara Washington later went on to explain why holding her first event for NFL athletes at the Super Bowl seemed so fitting, she said a lot of times athletes have an, “I don’t care attitude when they are dealing with the media.” We are living this right now as our media outlets, TV, radio and internet are flooded with stories of Marshawn Lynch, not responding to media. You, as an athlete define yourself by how the media portrays you, so you have to choose your look, words and web presence wisely. Wives are a vital aspect in the portrayal of the athlete as well, Tamara speaks on how, “wives become ‘The Brand’ because they are married to the athlete, and they are now one entity. A lot of the players have non-profits, so the wife is expected to step in and make things happen and make sure they are representing the brand and the non-profit/organization as a whole. They become the face, so it’s important.”

moe makeup

“The B2 Effect takes image and media training and basically marries them together,” says Tamara. It prepares participants to respond to the media in any situation and gives them the confidence to feel and look great. The B2 Effect is a four hour interactive session broken into six essential components: Makeup, Hair/grooming, Attire, Head Shots (Photography), Media Training and Media Interviews (Television, Radio and Print). Their professional stylists and makeup team will make attendees dazzle in front of the camera of celebrity photographer Tony Mandarich.

The first annual B2 Effect, sponsored by MAC Cosmetics, NAPZ, Live Lids, Boom Media and Image Consulting, Verizon and Mandarich Studios was a huge success. Some big names like former Seattle Seahawks Offensive Lineman Chester Pitts, Offensive Lineman Tony Mandarich, and Pro Bowler Wade Smith, along with his wife Rita Smith, CEO of NAPZ, Brandi Maxwell, as well as many more were present. Be sure to check out to get more details on upcoming events, and remember YOU are your brand, and YOU can change other perceptions.


Follow me on twitter @MorganMoeDean

Or Instagram @MorganMoeDean


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It’s All About the Slot Position for the Patriots Thu, 29 Jan 2015 02:33:55 +0000 There are a number of things that pop out when watching the New England Patriots. It is clear who their leader is on offense. Tom Brady is the answer that many of the players give when asked about why they are able to win at the slot position. They point to his accuracy, the way that he demands them to run routes and most importantly, the timing. The Patriots are able to beat opposing defenses with smaller shifty receivers. They also have the ability to use brute force with tight end Rob Gronkowski lining up at the slot position.

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Julian Edelman is the classic story of how a guy was able to settle into a spot after doing whatever it takes to secure a roster spot. He played numerous positions when he first got to New England. He has played everything from special teams to cornerback to wide receiver. Versatility has always been something of relevance to Patriots head coach, Bill Belichick. Edelman has bought into the idea. “Anytime the coach asks you to do anything around here you’re going to jump on it. That’s ultimately how I made this team and I take pride in going out there and trying to contribute in any kind of way I can. Coach has coached for 40 years in the NFL, so whatever he says he probably knows.”

Edelman’s previous experience as a college quarterback has helped him to be on the same page as Brady. He said that is essential to being successful in the slot. “Usually if you wind up in the slot you have to be on the same page as the quarterback. You have to be able to adjust and adapt quickly and be able to be familiar with coverage. We have a bunch of guys who can come in here and do that. Danny (Amendola) does a great job of doing that. JoJo (Brandon LaFell) comes in and he does the same thing.” Edelman said.

The underdog mentality and chip on the shoulder is something that helps smaller receivers such as Edelman and Amendola do so much damage from the slot. They both have the tough mindset that is needed to make plays in the middle of the field, an area where a linebacker is typically waiting for the opportunity to land a kill shot. They have to take on bigger guys in the blocking game as well. It’s all about the mindset.

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Amendola is another example of the underdog that beat the odds. His mentality is perfect for the slot position and his quickness makes him able to win there also. He talked about the formula for being a successful slot receiver. “You have to be dip in and out of linebackers easily. It’s usually easier if you’re quicker guy with the ability to read the spaces and coverages on the run.” Amendola continued; “You have to deal with some bigger guys and you can’t be afraid of getting hit. Getting in and out of breaks allows quick receivers to beat corners like Richard Sherman.”

Defenses are so focused on stopping Amendola when he works the underneath routes. Playing the slot position requires precise routes and Amendola has become a master at converting routes according to the coverage that he sees. He may not have the big time yards per catch numbers but he is a major key to the Patriots ability to keep the chains moving. Brady throws to spots and trusts that his receiver will get to that spot when he throws it.

Brady said that the Patriots offense does a variety of things. He said that there is a lot of timing involved in what they do. The great players have the uncanny ability to simplify the game. Brady showed why he falls into that category when he explained the game that is played on the inside. “It comes down to one on one match ups. You have to win the match ups. Football is a game of match ups.” Brady said; “I have had a lot of great players at the slot position over the years. They do such a great job with their quickness and awareness. Those guys make it easier for me.”

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Just when the opposing defenses adjust to covering the smaller slot guys, the Patriots unleash their power forward version of a slot receiver in Rob Gronkowski. Gronkowski is the home run hitter from the slot position. Amendola and Edelman give opposing defenses “death by a thousand paper cuts” but the phrase “One hitter, quitter” is the best way to describe the way Gronkowski wins in the slot.

Gronkowski is a player that loves physical contact and that’s why he is perfect for the slot. Defenders simply have not found a way to stop him. Some attempt to fight his size with a linebacker while others attempt to use a safety to cover him down the field because he can run by most linebackers. Gronkowski said that he focuses on using technique along with his size. His body allows him to create space and separation.

“You have to use technique. You can’t slack; I use my body against a smaller, faster defender than myself.” Gronkowski said; “I can use my body in a way where I can get open and catch the ball. You have to be ready, focused and prepared. You have to be physically and mentally ready.”

The combination of Gronkowski and Brady has been one of the most potent ones in the NFL over the years. They help each other. Gronk has such a big frame and is able to use it when running the seam routes from the slot position. The Patriots like to throw it to him because his body naturally creates a window for Brady to drop the ball into. Often times, the defender tries to climb him and ends up being called for pass interference.

Gronkowski noted that Brady helps him as well. “Tom gives us tips how to get open. He sees it all the time out there on the field.” It’s a simple explanation but it makes sense. The Patriots are a lethal team on offense and it starts with Tom Brady as the trigger man. Amendola and Edelman nickel and dime defenses with the underneath routes until Gronkowski drops the hammer with a big gain. They will without a doubt be in attack mode on Super Bowl Sunday.

Follow on Twitter: @TDavenport_PPI


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Most Entertaining Seahawks and Patroits Quotes from Media Day Thu, 29 Jan 2015 01:37:47 +0000 Only 90 percent of NFL players will never get a chance to play in the most watched show on Earth.  For the 10 percent that do become Super Bowl contenders, Media Day is a perfect place for them to open up about a range of highly entertaining topics. Imagine football talk mixed in with a guy wearing a barrel.Yes, that is Media Day.

With that being said, no stone was left unturned this year. Pro Player Insiders uncovered everything from Michael Bennett professing his love for Wyatt Erp hats to breaking down fashion and hair, to Beast Mode speaking eight words and Revis Island reflections. As expected another common theme, for both the Pats and Hawks, was the overwhelming feelings of what it means to be playing for a world championship ring.

Here are the most entertaining quotes of Super Bowl XLIX Media Day:

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We must start with the most impactful quote form Media Day, compliments of Mr. Marshawn Lynch. Drum roll, please. The Beast Mode expressed his deep most feelings about his experience 29 times by saying, “I am here so I don’t get fine.”

Russell Wilson “I have to shout out Jermain Kearse on making the game winning catch, just gives you the chills down your spine…it’s a testament to our season and our resilience.” Wilson went on to mention on a lighter note the player with the most moves, “I’d have to say the best dancer on the team, is Richard Sherman. As for the best style…yes Earl and Michael Bennett have great hats on and fashion sense.”18-DSC08528 copy

Doug Baldwin spoke up about getting off Revis Island, “You know what? I am going to bring my sunblock, my shades, my hat and I am going to go to Revis Island and see what I can do. I will let you know after the game (how it goes).”

Kam Chancelor said after sitting in the same seat as Rob Gronkowski for Media Day and will be covering him Sunday. ” I text messaged Gronk last week about non -work related stuff. Yes we are friends. I mean I guess it was destiny. It was destiny for us to have the same seat.

Michael Bennett on his hat and stress leading up the big game, “I like my Wyatt Erp hat.” And as for stress, “I’m never stressed, man. I wake up every day and look in the mirror and say, ‘Damn, I look good,’ so I can’t be stressed.”

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Richard Sherman on Marshawn’s reluctance, “I don’t think players should be obligated to (soak to media) any more than the commissioner is obligated to speak to the media. I think that if players are obligated to speak to the media EVERYONE in NFL personnel should be obligated to speak to media weekly.”

Earl Thomas mentioned the continued support of his family, “My brother plays a big role in my life. Together (with Seth Thomas) we have really gotten our foundation going for the community.” And as for his style, “I got my country swag going that’s what is up.”

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Offensive linemen J.R. Sweezy and Lemuel Jeanpeierre each respectively said, “It means a lot to me to be here. We truly are grateful to be blocking for Russell and fighting for the Twelves’.”

Marcus Burley is only a 2nd year DB but he brought his lucky backpack to media day. “I don’t leave home without it. Can’t you tell?”



Tom Brady on potentially tying Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw for four Super Bowl wins, “It’s hard to think about those things. I am fortunate to be on some great teams. Those guys are unbelievable players. I was the biggest 49ers fan growing up and to watch Joe and Steve young -my idols-were just great for the sport.”

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Darrelle Revis, when asked who the best cornerback in the NFL is by Hall of Famer Deion Sanders, “Who’s the best corner? You are, Deion… You can answer that question. I don’t know. Everybody has a lot of opinions. I respect them all. We have a lot of great corners in this league, I could go down the list… it’s a bunch, man.”

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Brandon Browner on being a Seahawk, Patriot, and a Beaver, “Well, I think Belichick and Carroll have the exact same football IQ. Although it was hard watching my former teammates last year in the Super Bowl, I am fortunate to be here this year with Belichick. It’s a dream come true.” Of course Browner went on to shout out his Alma matter Oregon State, “Oh, and I am proud to be representing Beaver Nation. OSU, fight, fight, fight.”

Vince Wilfork spoke fondly of his wife, Bianca, “She has always been there for me during the good and bad. She is the one person I can count on. Being out of football, she was the one who pushed me. She woke me every day at 5 am or 6 am and we would work out three times a day. She has pushed me to the max. I am so grateful to have her in my life.”

Rob Gronkowski made it clear who the best and worst dancer on the team was, “Julian Edelman. He’s the worst dancer. Well, the best dancer? I mean, since I’m the only one who really whips out my dance moves, I’d have to go with myself.”22-DSC08439 copy

Devin McCourtney, spoke about sharing his success with his twin brother that plays on the Titans, “My mom, a single mom, raised two children that made it to the NFL. That is pretty remarkable. We share that bond and…technically my twin brother will be the first Patriots twitter handle to tweet after we win the Super Bowl (we share twitter handle).”

Duron Harmon mentioned his the best moment thus far in his career, “Of course wining the AFC championship. That was huge. I am really proud to be on this team and with (former Rutgers teammate) Devin McCourtney who is more than a brother to me.”

Dont’a Hightower points out his teammate’s beard, “I don’t know who has the best hair, but….look over there (points to Robert Ninkovich). Niko wins the best beard award. It’s so long and fluffy.”


Lagarrette Blount on his hair, “Of course I got my hair twisted. BOOM. It’s got to stick out of my helmet just right.”

Jimmy Garapollo, only a rookie, expressed his gratitude for the moment for the first time coming out here yesterday, just arriving on the plane was kind of surreal. You sit back and say, ‘Am I really going to the Super Bowl?’ It’s exciting. Also to share it with my family and my brothers who all played football at some time in their lives.”

And that’s a wrap for the excitement circus we call Media Day.  Topping the list of quotables, as expected, was Seattle’s Bennett and Boston’s Gronkoswki. Looking back, this is day that could possibly go down in history… but only because Lynch stuck around for 5 minutes.

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Meet Seattle Seahawks’ Head Coach Pete Carroll, A True Architect Wed, 28 Jan 2015 23:59:32 +0000 The sheer definition of an architect is one who designs a structure, or supervises the construction. In Pete Carroll’s case he was asked to build a winning team and lead a group of men to Super Bowl contention. In the past two seasons, Carroll has done just that. Carroll was hired by the Seattle Seahawks in 2010 and has his team on the cusp of their second Super Bowl victory in as many years. The Seahawks have missed the playoffs just once with Pete Carroll at the helm, but how exactly was he able to resurrect the Seahawks’ franchise so quickly?

Pete Carroll Media Day

What did he do to return his team to prominence? Did he sign a ton of veteran free agents? Force a particular scheme on his incumbent players that didn’t fit them? Become rigid and conservative as a coach because he had yet to acquire the players he wanted?

The answer is none of the above.

Carroll’s reign at the top of the college ranks granted him familiarity with the most talented college football players in the country. As a result of his time recruiting high school players at USC, he had greater knowledge of players entering the professional ranks compared to the other 31 teams in the NFL. During Tuesday’s Media Day event, Carroll spoke about his ability to cast a wider net in the realm of scouting to quickly improve the Seahawks depth chart.

“When we went through the first few years, we had a lot of knowledge of guys around the country, who were coming in and coming out,” Carroll said. “… We turned out a lot of players at [USC] but we knew players throughout the entire country. That did help us for a while.”

Though Carroll was quick to point to his familiarity with talented college players as a reason for his success in Seattle, he deserves to be credited for having the gumption to “reach” for players he felt could help his team. Talents like left tackle Russell Okung and free safety Earl Thomas were projected to be outstanding players in the NFL, but Carroll also took calculated risks on several talented players in the draft.

Carroll has stated on multiple occasions that he does not subscribe to conventional wisdom. That statement never held truer for him than in the 2012 NFL draft.

In 2012 the Seahawks took a chance on defensive end Bruce Irvin. Many NFL draft pundits considered Irvin a character concern and a classic underachiever in the college ranks. Carroll was able to see through Irvin’s lack of production and came to the conclusion that his skill set was misappropriated at West Virginia University. Carroll stood firm in his convictions and selected Irvin with the fifteenth pick overall when many pegged him as a second round selection at best. Carroll’s investment in Irvin would not be in vain as he lead all rookies with eight sacks.

The Seahawks also selected Russell Wilson with the No. 75 overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft. Wilson was considered by many as too short to be an effective NFL quarterback. Fortunately for Carroll, Wilson was able to prove his critics wrong. Wilson was talented enough to beat out newly acquired free agent quarterback Matt Flynn for the starting position as a rookie. Most coaches would’ve awarded the starting position to the player with this highest salary, but not Carroll. He did the right thing, and gave the starting job to the best player. Wilson has since led his team to two trips to the Super Bowl.

In previous drafts, Carroll selected Richard Sherman, a raw athlete making the switch from wide receiver to cornerback; Kam Chancellor, a hard-hitting strong safety who many thought was too slow to play the position in the NFL; and K.J. Wright, a supreme athlete with “suboptimal” linebacker instincts.

If NFL draft selections were punches in a boxing match, the Seahawks have been able to land nearly every blow in recent years. Carroll took risks on each of the aforementioned players, and each of them are making him look like a genius for selecting them at a higher draft slot than the “experts” thought they should’ve been taken.

Carroll has also signed some quality free agents during his time with the Seahawks, but only one — running back Marshawn Lynch has made the type of impact for the team his draft picks have.

Building through the draft is paramount to resurrecting a franchise, but success in the draft is not the sole reason for his accomplishments in the NFL. When asked what makes Carroll a great coach Richard Sherman put it best,

“He allows his players to bump their heads and scrape their knees, and learn from their experiences on and off the field. He trusts his players more than I think a lot of coaches do, and we appreciate him for that.”

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick also offered up high praise for Carroll during Tuesday’s Media Day event.

“Not a coach in the NFL I respect more than Pete Carroll. He’s a tremendous coach. … I’ve studied Pete from afar over a long period of time. I’ve learned a lot from what he does, and indirectly, I think he’s made me a better coach. I have all the respect in the world for Pete and his staff.”

Carroll is clearly one of the best coaches in the NFL. With that said, his ability to rapidly construct a perennial playoff contender should cement his is status as one of the greatest architects the NFL has ever seen.

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Ravens Coaching Staff Announcements Wed, 28 Jan 2015 20:26:23 +0000 The Baltimore Ravens have new coaching staff assignments, including Chris Hewitt (fourth season with Ravens) being named defensive backs coach, Matt Weiss (seventh season with Ravens) appointed cornerbacks coach and Drew Wilkins (sixth season with Ravens) named defensive coaching assistant, head coach John Harbaugh announced Wednesday.

In 2014, Hewitt served as the team’s assistant defensive backs coach, Weiss as defensive quality control/linebackers assistant and Wilkins as a coaching staff assistant.

The Ravens have also promoted Richard Angulo to tight ends coach and Mike Macdonald to defensive assistant, and they have hired Andy Bischoff as offensive quality control.

In his first season with Baltimore, Angulo, 34, spent the 2014 campaign as a coaching intern in support of offensive quality control duties. Prior to joining the Ravens, he worked two seasons as offensive line/strength and conditioning coach at Trinity International University in Deerfield, Ill. Angulo also played in the NFL as a tight end with St. Louis (2003), Minnesota (2004-06), Chicago (2006) and Jacksonville (2007-08).

Macdonald, 27, spent last season as a Ravens’ defensive coaching intern. His main duties included a supporting role with the defensive backs/secondary. Prior to joining Baltimore, Macdonald served as a safeties and defensive quality control coach for the Georgia Bulldogs (2011-13) while earning his master’s degree in sports management.

Bischoff, 44, spent the last two seasons (2013-14) under current Ravens offensive coordinator Marc Trestman as tight ends/staff coordinator with the Chicago Bears. Prior to his time in Chicago, Bischoff also worked under Trestman with the CFL’s Montreal Alouettes (2008-12) as the team’s running backs/tight ends/special teams coordinator.



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Super Bowl is a Special Moment for Darrelle Revis Wed, 28 Jan 2015 17:53:33 +0000 Making it to the Super Bowl after eight years of reigning as the NFL’s best cornerback is a special moment for the New England Patriots elite player, Darrelle Revis. He has gone through quite a bit throughout his path. There was a year ending injury, there was the Rex Ryan era and then there have been the numerous contract issues. At the end of the day, this situation that Revis is facing is a lot similar to the one that another top level cornerback went through years ago when he changed teams.

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Revis and Deion Sanders share more than just being the best corner in their respective playing days. Both of these players got to play in the Super Bowl while under a one year contract. Both were hired to be the piece that puts their team over the edge. The respect that they have each other was evident at Super Bowl Media Day. Deion asked Revis who is the best corner? “Revis fired back really fast by saying; “You are Deion. Everybody has a lot of opinions, I respect them all. We have a lot of great corners in this league.”

The season ending injury that Revis suffered was also a topic of discussion at media day. Playing in the Super Bowl after the injury was a top goal for him and he landed in just the right place to be able to do so. “That was the No. 1 goal for me, just winning a Super Bowl. Every year, that’s what we play for. You know I had a bump in the road, having an ACL injury. That kind of twisted my mind up a little bit because it was more so me focusing on my health. Once I focused on my health to make sure I could get back where I need to be and playing at a high level, I was confident and determined. Just focus and get with the right team and that’s what I did.”

Starting his career as a member of the rival New York Jets made the match of Revis and the Patriots an interesting one. He said that he embraced the move once he sat down with Bob Kraft and Bill Belichick. Revis said that they had one on one conversation. “It was a very chill conversation. We shared football ideas and the idea of me joining the New England Patriots. At that point, I felt very comfortable and I wanted to join the team.”

Tom Brady and the Patriots have been to numerous Super Bowls so from a preparation standpoint, it has been a huge help for Revis. He said that he has been able benefit from their past experiences. The off the field distractions have come but overall, Revis said that he is enjoying his first season with the Patriots. “I’m not really thinking about that right now. This year has been great, it’s been awesome. It’s been enjoyable too, winning so much and being a part of a great organization. At the same time, the off-the-field situations will take care of themselves. That’s how I always approached it and always addressed it.” Revis said.

There was a time when the opportunity to play in a Super Bowl didn’t seem to be a likely event for Revis. He’s played on some pretty bad teams that had high hopes of making it to the big game. Finally getting the opportunity to play on Super Bowl Sunday is a special moment for him. He summed it up by saying; “It’s pretty awesome. I mean, this is what you play for every year. In the offseason you work hard to get to this point and when you get there, like right now, it’s so surreal to me. It’s awesome, but it’s also crazy. But at the same time, it shows that hard work pays off, and there’s still work to be done. We have one more game left as a team to accomplish our ultimate goal, which is holding the Lombardi Trophy up.”

Follow on Twitter: @TDavenport_PPI

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Offensive Line A Strength for Patriots Wed, 28 Jan 2015 13:52:09 +0000 LeGarrette_Blount

Following his first AFC Championship victory, Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount said…well…bluntly that the Patriots offensive line was, “The best in the league, for sure. I probably should’ve had more yards than I did. I probably missed a couple holes.”

That is a strong statement from Blount, who finished the game with 30 carries for 148 yards and three touchdowns, considering how the offensive line began the season.

Just days before the kickoff of the 2014 season, the Patriots traded former-All Pro Logan Mankins to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The move generated much ire from Patriots Nation and cast a close eye on whomever was to fill the shoes of the beloved and suddenly former-Patriot. It also put more attention on new line coach Dave DeGuglielmo who was taking over for the retired Dante Scarnecchia, the much beloved coach who had been with the organization for over 20 years.

Injuries and inconsistency plagued the offensive line and DeGuglielmo came under heavy criticism as New England tumbled out of the gate to start the season at 2-2.

The season turned for the Patriots following their Week 5 matchup against the, then undefeated, Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday night. The Patriots won soundly 43-17 and after a bit more shuffling and recuperating from injury the offensive line was set with Nate Solder, first-time captain Dan Connolly, rookie Bryan Stork, Ryan Wendell, and Sebastian Vollmer.

The offensive line finished the regular season surrendering just 21 sacks to opponents. Only the Baltimore Ravens and Denver Broncos gave up fewer.

A wrinkle DeGuglielmo used was rotating players and rearranging the lineup when certain scenarios were presented. Rookie Cameron Fleming and Marcus Cannon being heavily involved in the rotation.

“[W]e just draw it up and we see if we like it and if we feel good about it in practice we just run it on game day,” Fleming said following the Patriots championship victory.

The Patriots also added an eligible tackle as a tight end in some three tight-end sets to add an extra blocker. Fleming, when healthy, has been the go to as the third tight end/tackle, as he helped to pave the way for running back Jonas Gray in the Patriots Week 11 victory over the Colts and again was substituted in heavily during the AFC title game.

“It felt great,” Fleming added . “I guess I came back at the perfect time and was able to report eligible at the right game, so, it was great. I was very happy.”


It has been a long season for the offensive line who have been heavily criticized when things go wrong and never acknowledged when things go right.

Late in the season the play of Solder seemed to dip, once injuries began to plague Connolly. Fans were quick to bark out their opinions and observations as they feared for quarterback Tom Brady’s blindside protection. But in the end, Solder validated his position in more ways than just blocking.

“Well, we thought it would work. It was a great time. Josh called it,” Brady said, referring to offensive coordinator Josh McDaniel’s decision to throw a pass to Solder, which the 6’8″, 320-pound tackle caught and rumbled for 16-yards, diving for the touchdown.

“Nate made a great catch,” Brady continued. “Tough conditions out there – it’s raining, I mean, for God’s sake and he runs over two guys to get in there. He played a little tight end his first year [in college]. So I don’t know, maybe we have more tricks up our sleeve.”

The shifting has not stopped. After the line began to really gel, Stork suffered a knee injury in the Divisional Round victory over the Ravens. Stepping in for him was Josh Kline and Wendell shifted over to fill the gap at center left by Stork. Despite being thrust into duty, the Patriots diversity showed once again, and the team gained 177 yards on the ground. If anything is certain in New England, it is that things are always changing.

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Super Bowl MVP Spotlight Wed, 28 Jan 2015 13:33:23 +0000 There’s a saying that “Big time players make big time plays in big time games.” That is surely an accurate way to look at the majority of the past Super Bowl MVPs. There are a few trends that emerge when examining the list of Super Bowl MVPs. Some of the players saved their best performances for the Super Bowl. For others, it was just business as usual. The amount of quarterbacks that have been named as the MVP far outnumbers any other position. Here is a breakdown of the past Super Bowl MVPs by position:


Quarterback: 26

Running Backs: 7

Wide Receivers: 6

Linebackers: 3

Defensive Ends: 2

Safety: 2

Cornerback: 1

Defensive Tackle: 1

Kick/Punt Returner: 1

As you can see, the quarterback position has been named Super Bowl MVP almost four times as many as any other position. It is the only in which there are any players that have been named the MVP more than once. Bart Starr (1967, 1968), Terry Bradshaw (1979, 1980) Joe Montana (1982, 1985, 1990) Tom Brady (2002, 2004) and Eli Manning (2008, 2012) are the only players to win the award more than once. Montana is a three time winner which is an NFL record. Bart Starr and Terry Bradshaw are the only players to win the award in back to back years.

The only cornerback to ever win the MVP award was Larry Brown with the Dallas Cowboys in 1996. Desmond Howard was the only return man to be named MVP. He won the award in 1997 with the Green Bay Packers. The only defensive tackle to be named the MVP was Randy White. He was also a co-MVP, sharing the award with defensive end Harvey Martin in 1978. White and Martin were a part of the Dallas Cowboys record setting seven Super Bowl MVPs. Here is a breakdown of the Super Bowl MVPs by team:

Dallas Cowboys: 7

Pittsburgh Steelers: 6

San Francisco 49ers: 5

Green Bay Packers, New York Giants: 4

New England Patriots, Oakland/LA Raiders, Washington Redskins: 3

Baltimore Ravens, Denver Broncos, Miami Dolphins: 2

The Chicago Bears, Indianapolis Colts, Kansas City Chiefs, New Orleans Saints, New York Jets, Seattle Seahawks, St. Louis Rams and Tampa Bay Buccaneers all have one Super Bowl MVP. The Cowboys list does include White and Martin as two separate winners despite them being co-MVPs in 1978.


The Super Bowl is a game where relatively unknown players have the game of their career. Sometimes, the big games bring out the baller in lesser known players. There are all kinds of circumstances that lead to a player getting to shine in the Super Bowl spotlight. In some cases, such as Larry Brown and Dexter Jackson, it was matter of being in the right place at the right time. Both of these players were able to intercept errant throws by the opposing quarterback. Last year’s MVP, Malcolm Smith was a reserve linebacker that was able to get an interception off of a tipped pass. He returned it for a touchdown. Deion Branch is a player that just caught fire in a game and was able to exploit match ups. He tied a Super Bowl record with 11 receptions en route to being named Super Bowl MVP of 2005. Branch coincidentally played for both of the teams that are in this year’s Super Bowl. He signed a big free agent contract with the Seahawks after his Super Bowl MVP game.

Obviously, the player that is named the Super Bowl MVP usually comes from the winning team. There has only been one member of the losing Super Bowl team that won the MVP award. Chuck Howley was a linebacker for the Cowboys and won the award after his team lost to the Baltimore Colts. Howley had two interceptions and recovered a fumble in that game. He was the first defensive player to be named MVP.

There are a total of eight Super Bowl MVPs that are still active. They include: Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Eli Manning, Santonio Holmes, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Joe Flacco and Malcolm Smith. There is a chance that that number expands this year unless Brady has a big game in this year’s Super Bowl.

Follow on Twitter: @TDavenport_PPI


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“Don’t just go through it…. Grow through it” @JBernstine Wed, 28 Jan 2015 13:30:12 +0000

"Don't just go through it…. Grow through it"

— jordan bernstine (@JBernstine) January 6, 2015

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