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Monday, July 06, 2020

Boston Sports Info Tweet: Rex Burkhead




Wednesday, July 01, 2020

Scherff named to BTN's All-Decade Team








BySEAN BOCK 20 hours ago

Over the past few days, the Big Ten Network has been publishing its all-decade team for the Big Ten.

On Monday, it was announced that former Iowa linebacker Josey Jewell made the cut, and other Hawkeye made the list on Tuesday.

Former Iowa offensive lineman Brandon Scherff is the newest member of BTN's all-decade team.

"To understand what an unusual athlete Brandon Scherff was, you have to go back to his high school days when Scherff first gathered a claim as a 6-foot-5, 270-pound quarterback," said BTN's Rick Pizzo. "Throwing for more than 1,100 yards as a quarterback and even rushing for four touchdowns. Scherff eventually switched to the offensive line, ultimately earning a scholarship from his home state school, but that athleticism continued to pay off."

During his time at Iowa, Scherff started out at guard, and then moved over to left tackle after Riley Reiff graduated. After his junior season, Reiff decided to come back to Iowa City for his senior year. Scherff went on to win the 2014 Outland Trophy, which is awarded to the best interior offensive lineman in college football.

Scherff was selected by the Washington Redskins with the No. 5 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.

Dan Parr of NFL.com said that Scherff was the 2015 NFL Combine's strongest man after Scherff put up insane hang clean numbers.

"It was Scherff's hang-clean numbers that had people talking Thursday in Indy as the former Hawkeyes star took the podium," wrote Parr. "He said his one-rep max in the lift is 480 pounds, and there's evidence to back that up in this video from last summer of him doing three reps at 443 pounds. The guy can hang-clean about 100 pounds more than all-time mammoth offensive lineman Aaron Gibson weighed during his playing days."

Over the course of his career in the NFL, Scherff has become one of the most reliable offensive linemen in the league.

Injuries have hindered his overall performance at times in the league, but he has been selected to three pro bowls and was franchise tagged by the Redskins this offseason.

Scherff is scheduled to make $15,030,000 this season while playing for the Washington Redskins, which makes him the highest-paid former Hawkeye in the NFL.

"Brandon Scherff was one of my all-time all freaks guys in terms of super warrior workout guy, but also as an all-around athlete," said Fox Sports' Bruce Feldman. "I think he's one of the ones that seems like if you want to look back and say 'okay, we obviously know that Kirk Ferentz is a brilliant offensive line guy and he's had a ton of success for a long time at Iowa. I think Brandon Scherff really epitomizes that. He was really just a dominant force for them."

As annual 'Team Jack Trifecta' goes virtual, Rex Burkhead continues to shine light on pediatric brain cancer funding







Tuesday, Jun 30, 2020 01:43 PM
Angelique Fiske
LIFESTYLE EDITOR











































When Jack Hoffman and Rex Burkhead first met in 2011, neither could have known it would be the start of a friendship that would span years and thousands of miles. Hoffman is relentless in his support of Burkhead, and in turn, Burkhead uses his platform as an NFL running back to shine a light on an under researched and underfunded area that directly affects Hoffman: pediatric brain cancer.

In 2011, when Hoffman was just 5-years-old, he had a seizure and doctors discovered a brain tumor. He underwent two brain surgeries within five months, and to this day, his battle with pediatric brain cancer, as well as epilepsy, continues.

After meeting Hoffman and his family just weeks before his second operation, Burkhead quickly joined Team Jack – both as a friend and as an advocate for pediatric brain cancer research. The Team Jack Foundation has raised more than $8 million for research since its inception, and while folks continue to practice physical distancing in light of COVID-19, its annual Team Jack Trifecta event is going virtual.

The event features a 5k, a free-contest and a football clinic, all taking place from July 11 to 18. Though the Trifecta typically takes place in Plano, Texas, a silver lining in this moment is that now anyone can participate no matter where they are.

"We're excited to have not just my hometown or the state of Texas involved, but really just the whole country. Anyone can sign up," Burkhead said. "We've had people all over, Nebraska, California, Florida, all signing up. That's really neat that we can stretch out and really reach out to anyone."

Instead of a routed 5k, runners can choose their own path. Instead of a 3-on-3 basketball tournament that Burkhead said can get "pretty competitive," people can take on a free-throw contest. Signing up for the football camp gives participants access to prerecorded drills. They will then have the option to send their own videos back for critiques.

It will be a very different experience from years past, but the important thing is it will continue to raise money for an important cause.

"Pediatric brain cancer, it's still not heavily funded. It's a rare disease," Burkhead said. "It doesn't get much funding. It still needs a cure to be found and better treatment options really for these kids. That's the thing. A lot of these treatment options are over 30-years-old."

Despite the push for funding and research, the Hoffman family has made it their mission to do something about it by raising money and being a beacon of hope for families who share in their struggles.

Hoffman himself has managed to show strength at every turn. After consulting doctors, Hoffman competed in his first season of tackle football last fall.

While attending the Patriots 2018 AFC Championship win over the Chiefs in Kansas City, Hoffman suffered a seizure during halftime. After leaving the stadium and taking some time in the parking lot to recover, Hoffman insisted that he and his father go back in for the second half.

Burkhead went on to score two touchdowns, including the game-winner in overtime, and because of Hoffman's fortitude, he was in the stands to see it.

"It was unreal …. I got to see them afterwards and they told me," Burkhead said. "It was cool to have them there and experience it, and him and his dad flew out and watched the Super Bowl in Atlanta two weeks later."

To support the Team Jack Foundation by registering for the Trifecta, donating or bidding on the auction, you can visit its website here.

Former Badger Chris Borland named to BTN's All-Decade Team








4 hrs ago




























Chris Borland directs the UW defense during the Badgers' victory at Minnesota in 2013. Borland was named to the Big Ten Network's All-Decade Team on Monday. 
M.P. KING, State Journal

One of the best linebackers in Badgers history earned another honor Monday.
Chris Borland was named one of the three linebackers for the Big Ten Network’s All-Decade team. Iowa product and current Denver Bronco Josey Jewell and Michigan alum and current Pittsburgh Steeler Devin Bush were the other linebackers selected to the first team. UW's T.J. Watt was a second-team pick. 
Borland’s career at the University of Wisconsin started with a bang by earning Big Ten Conference freshman of the year accolades, but a shoulder injury derailed his sophomore campaign and limited him to just two games.
He built a reputation as a hard hitter and a tackling machine last three years on the field for the Badgers. He tallied 143, 104 and 112 tackles in those years, respectively, and his career total of 420 tackles is sixth-most in program history. Borland is fourth in UW history with 50 tackles for loss, and was an All-Big Ten selection four times, including two first-team nods.
His 15 forced fumbles are a conference record, and when he left college he was tied for the conference record with five defensive player of the week awards.
Borland’s senior year of 2013 was arguably his best, as he won the conference’s defensive player of the year and linebacker of the year awards en route to a first-team All-American selection by the Football Writers Association of America.
“He was really unblockable,” former Ohio State coach and current Big Ten Network analyst Urban Meyer said. “He was a guy that you have a guy accounting for him, but he would beat blocks so easily.”
The Kettering, Ohio, product was lightly recruited coming out of high school, but made his mark quickly on the Badgers. He was also a valued member of the special teams units at UW.
He was drafted in the third round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers, but played just one pro season. After a rookie year in which he posted 102 tackles, he retired from football due to concerns of repetitive head trauma.
The BTN All-Decade team was voted on by a panel of 24 writers and analysts. The team’s offensive line (Tuesday); tight ends and defensive backs (Wednesday); wide receivers and defensive line (Thursday); quarterback, specialists, all-purpose player and coach (Friday) will be announced later this week.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Lions’ defensive end Trey Flowers gives back to Huntsville community









Posted: Jun 27, 2020 / 06:12 PM CDT Updated: Jun 27, 2020 / 06:12 PM CDT

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Born and raised in Huntsville, NFL defensive end Trey Flowers has never forgotten where it all started. The former Columbia High standout won two Super Bowls as a member of the New England Patriots, and in 2020 he’ll enter his second season with the Detroit Lions. No matter what city he plays in though, this will always be his home.

Flowers is using his platform to give back to his community through his Flowers of the Future foundation. The 26 year old was out and about Friday evening in the Rocket City distributing free drive-thru meals.

His foundation seeks to invest in the lives of young people and promotes positive change in both Huntsville and Detroit during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s definitely important,” said Flowers. Obviously understanding I grew up here and knowing that with the situation that’s going on just you know how many lives it could affect.”

Flowers added, “Even just the kids being at home not getting the meal from the school and things like that, but you know just helping out trying to do my fair share and help out with feeding or giving them a meal.”

Flowers and the Lions will open up the preseason August 13-17 against his former team, the New England Patriots.

Notre Dame: Top 5 Offensive Line Recruits Of The Last Decade























Bryan Driskell
19 hours ago

Notre Dame has recruited the offensive line as well as any team in the country over the last decade plus since head coach Brian Kelly arrived in South Bend.

Former line coach Ed Warriner did some good things, and current line coach Jeff Quinn has made a couple of strong pickups. Former line coach Harry Hiestand was a dominant recruiter and coach. Working through the 2020 offensive line preview today I got to thinking about the line recruiting we’ve seen at Notre Dame, and who were the best of the best.

I am taking into account my own ranking of each player and the ranking of the national services (Rivals, ESPN, Scout, 247Sports).

1. QUENTON NELSON, 2014
Recruited By: Harry Hiestand
Rivals: #29 nationally
Scout: #46 nationally
247: #75 nationally
ESPN: #175 nationally

Nelson was a truly dominant high school player for Red Bank (N.J.) Catholic. He was big, physical and athletic playing tackle for Caseys. Nelson was an Army All-American and a Top 100 recruit by Rivals, Scout and 247Sports. How ESPN saw him as a non-Top 100 player is quite the mystery.
Rivals was the only network to rank Nelson as a five-star recruit. Nelson, of course, went onto become an All-American at Notre Dame, which was followed by him being the No. 6 overall draft pick of the 2018 NFL Draft.

2. LIAM EICHENBERG, 2016
Recruited By: Harry Hiestand
247: #60
ESPN: #67
Scout: #79
Rivals: #194

There were other players ranked higher by the recruiting services, but Eichenberg is this high because of how I graded him coming out of high school. Eichenberg was my No. 1 ranked Notre Dame recruit in the 2016 class, and 247Sports, ESPN and Scout all ranked him as a Top 100 recruit.

Rivals had him as a three-star recruit until the final rankings, which came after he dominated at the Under Armour All-American Game, but their ranking of him was still well below the other services, and where Eichenberg should have been ranked.

3. TOMMY KRAEMER, 2016
Recruited By: Harry Hiestand
247: #8
Scout: #37
Rivals: #41
ESPN: #99

Kraemer was the top-ranked recruit according to the services. Kraemer was the #8 overall player in the country according to 247Sports, and he was a five-star and the #26 overall player on the composite ranking. Nelson ranked #61 on the composite list due to him being ranked absurdly low by ESPN.

Kraemer was a brute right tackle for Cincinnati (Ohio) Elder, and graded out as as Top 50 recruit on my board and by 247Sports, Scout and Rivals. He’s the only consensus Top 100 recruit to sign with Notre Dame in the last decade.

4. TOSH BAKER, 2020
Recruited By: Jeff Quinn
247: #42
Rivals: #51
ESPN: #187

We will have to wait and see if Baker’s lofty ranking was worth it, but based on high school film he had a unique combination that is hard to match. Baker graded out as a Top 50 player on my board and ranked #42 nationally by 247Sports. Rivals had him just outside the Top 50 as well.

Baker was an Under Armour All-American after a brilliant career at Phoenix (Ariz.) Pinnacle. He’s a long and athletic player that was also a starting center on the dominant Pinnacle hoops team. He has left tackle written all over him.

5. MATT HEGARTY, 2011
Recruited By: Ed Warinner
ESPN: #36
Rivals: #70
247: #84
Scout: #105

Hegarty was the next closest player to Kraemer when it comes to being a consensus Top 100 recruit. The Army All-American was a top-notch athlete for Aztec (N.M.) High School, dominating as a left tackle. 

He didn’t have the great size of other players on this list, which is why he ultimately moved inside, but he was a brilliant high school football player.

NOTES

*** Ronnie Stanley didn’t make this list because the recruiting services greatly undervalued him. Scout had him as a Top 100 recruit, but he was ranked #145 by 247Sports, #176 by Rivals and ESPN didn’t even have him in their Top 300.

*** Robert Hainsey was a consensus Top 150 recruit after a stellar career at Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy. He was a bit undersized, but his technique, toughness and leadership made him a dominant prep player.

*** Alex Bars was a Top 100 recruit according to both ESPN (#76) and Rivals (#98). He didn’t make the cut due to him not making the Top 150 by 247Sports and Scout.

*** Joshua Lugg was ranked #84 overall by 247Sports and #107 by Scout, but he didn’t make the cut because Rivals had him ranked all the way down at #236.

*** Steve Elmer was ranked #60 by Rivals and #74 by Scout, but he didn’t make this list due to ESPN leaving him out of their Top 300. I liked Elmer as well, but not quite enough to put him above other players in the list.

Is Anthony Pleasant the best to wear No. 98? Ranking the best Browns to wear each jersey number: 96-99








Updated 1:25 PM; Today 1:00 PM

















Oilers quarterback Warren Moon is sacked by the Browns defensive end Anthony Pleasant during a game in 1990. Plain Dealer photo.


CLEVELAND, Ohio – We’ve reached the end of our rankings of the best Browns to wear each jersey number. The series concludes with numbers 96-99, highlighted by edge rushers and defensive linemen.
The rankings are below. 
NOTE: Rankings consider how players performed while wearing a specific number, not their careers as a whole. The goal is to rank five players at each number. However, some numbers are low on impactful candidaes. 
To get caught up the numbers so far, check out:

















Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway (7) tries to elude Cleveland Browns defender Reggie Camp during the AFC Championship game in 1987.AP

96. REGGIE CAMP, DE
Years: 1983-87.
Others: Kenard Lang, DE/LB (2002-05); James Jones, DT (1991-94); Dave Bowens, LB (2009-10); Don Shula, DB (1951)

A third-round pick in 1983, Camp stepped right into a starting role and started every game over his first four seasons. A knee injury in 1987 limited him to six games, and he was waived before the next season.

But before he left, Camp had 35 sacks, including 14 in 1984, a total that is second-most in a single season for the Browns.

Lang, a first-round pick of the Redskins in 1991, signed with the Browns as a free agent. He had 22.5 sacks over four seasons, along with 209 tackles. The Browns tried to convert him to linebacker in 2005, resulting in just five starts and two sacks. He was released shortly after the season ended.

Jones, a third-round pick, started every game for the Browns in his first two seasons, and 49 of 62 games over four seasons before leaving in free agency. He had 13.5 sacks and 165 tackles in Cleveland.

Bowens was a nine-year NFL vet when he was signed as a free agent in 2009. He returned two interceptions for touchdowns in 2010 and had six sacks and 111 tackles over two seasons.

Shula, the Hall of Fame head coach, was a ninth-round pick of the Browns in 1951 and wore No. 96 for his rookie year. He started six games and had four interceptions that season. In 1953 he was one of 10 players sent to the Colts in a 15-player deal. The Browns received Hall of Famer Mike McCormack in the trade, along with Don Colo. Both players claimed jersey numbers earlier in our rankings.



















Cleveland Browns outside linebacker Jabaal Sheard (97) fights off Detroit Lions center Travis Swanson (64) during a preseason game in 2014.AP

97. JABAAL SHEARD, DE/LB
Years: 2011-14.
Others: Alvin McKinley, DL (2001-06); Robert Banks, DE (1989-90).

Sheard was a second-round pick and had an immediate impact, totaling 8.5 sacks as a rookie. He was moved to outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense his final two years with the team. After 15 sacks in his first two seasons, he managed 7.5 over the next two and left in free agency in 2015.

Still, Sheard’s 23 sacks, 190 tackles, 27 tackles for loss and 92 quarterback hits are enough to top the rankings at No. 97.

McKinley, claimed off waivers from the Panthers after his rookie year, didn’t become a starter until his final two seasons with the Browns. He had five sacks and 68 tackles in 16 starts in 2005.

Banks, the best of the rest, had four sacks in 1989 and started 24 games over two seasons.




























Houston Oilers quarterback Chris Chandler (12) throws a pass as Cleveland Browns lineman Anthony Pleasant (98) reaches for it during a game in 1995.AP
98. ANTHONY PLEASANT, DL
Years: 1990-95.
Others: Sheldon Richardson, DT (2019); Phil Taylor, DT (2011-14); Ebenezer Ekuban, DE (2004); Jamie Meder, DT (2015-17). 

A third-round pick, Pleasant was a full-time starter over his final four seasons. He had 11 sacks in 1993 and an NFL-high six forced fumbles in 1995.

His final numbers included 33.5 sacks, 297 tackles and nine forced fumbles.

Richardson’s one season with the Browns so far propelled him to second place in our rankings. He had three sacks, 62 tackles and three forced fumbles in 2019.

Taylor, the 21st pick in 2011, started all 16 games as a rookie, totaling four sacks, but injuries became a staple of his career. A chest injury in 2012 limited him to eight games, and a knee injury in 2014 idled him for 11. He had seven sacks and 109 tackles over four seasons before being released.

Ekuban, signed as a free agent, played one season with the Browns, totaling eight sacks in 11 starts. He was traded to the Broncos a year later in the deal that brought Reuben Droughns to Cleveland.

Meder sneaks onto the rankings as a 15-game starter in 2016. He has just two career sacks, but one of the biggest blocked field goals in recent Browns history, allowing the Browns to defeat the Chargers for their only win in 2016.

















Cleveland Browns defensive tackle Orpheus Roye stretches during a training camp practice in 2007.AP

99. ORPHEUS ROYE, DL
Years: 2000-07.
Others: Paul Kruger, LB (2013-15); Bill Boedeker, HB (1947-49); Keith Baldwin, DE (1982-85); Corey Williams, DE (2008-09).

Roye completes our rankings by easily claiming the No. 99 jersey. Signed as a free agent after four seasons with the Steelers, Roye was a mainstay along the interior of the defensive line for eight seasons.

He started 102 of 113 games, had 9.5 sacks and 387 tackles. His most productive season might’ve been 2005 when he had 88 tackles and three sacks. A knee injury hampered his final season (2008), and he was released.

Kruger turned his nine sacks in a limited role with the Ravens in 2012 into a five-year, $40-million deal with the Browns in 2013. He had 18 sacks over three seasons with the Browns, with 11 coming in 2014. He was released in 2016 as part of the Browns’ roster rebuild.

Boedeker was an example of the depth the Browns had in the AAFC. He rushed for 717 yards and eight touchdowns and caught 32 passes for 783 yards and five touchdowns (averaging 24.5 yards per catch) over three seasons.

Baldwin, a second-round pick, had 4.5 sacks in 1984, his one season as a full-time starter.

The Browns traded a second-round pick to the Packers in 2008 for Williams, who was coming off two straight seasons with seven sacks. He signed a six-year deal worth $38.6 million, then had 4.5 sacks and 81 tackles over two seasons. The Browns traded Williams (along with a seventh-round pick) to the Lions for a fifth-round pick in 2010.

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