Thursday, June 27, 2019

Bill Belichick Praises Kirk Ferentz After Coaching Retreat

Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz decided to take his staff to visit one of his former employers for a retreat. That former employer just so happens to be six-time Super Bowl champion Bill Belichick. Judging from the New England Patriots head coach’s reaction, he holds Ferentz in high regard.
Per The Daily Iowan, Belichick praised Ferentz for his accomplishments at Iowa and expressed gratitude for his friendship. He reportedly invited his former assistant to speak to his team after a practice.
“He’s the winningest coach in the history of Iowa football,” Belichick said in a release. “He’s the longest-tenured FBS coach at one school in football. He’s coached at every level very successfully, so I think his résumé speaks for itself. He’s a tremendous person; I learned a lot from him in the three years that he coached for me at the Browns.”
“I’m grateful for our friendship and relationship and the family members that he’s sent us,” he said in a release.

Ferentz worked as an offensive line coach under Belichick with the Cleveland Browns from 1993 to 1995. Though Belichick was fired when the Browns moved to Baltimore in 1996, Ferentz stayed on with the newly-formed Baltimore Ravens until 1998 before being hired by the Hawkeyes.
The relationship clearly continued well beyond their parting in 1996.

Ferentz’s son Brian got his coaching start with the Patriots before joining his own staff in 2012.
Meanwhile, Ferentz’s younger son James currently plays center for the Patriots.
Suffice it to say, the Iowa head coach has one of the best friends to have in all of sports, let alone football.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Marshal Yanda can rank among all-time best guards with strong finish

Ravens guard Marshal Yanda was selected to his eighth Pro Bowl after last season. Tommy Gilligan/USA TODAY Sports

Jamison Hensley ESPN Staff Writer

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Marshal Yanda made certain that he will finish his career with the Baltimore Ravens.

Yanda can put himself in the conversation as one of the NFL's all-time great guards if he adds an exclamation point over the next two seasons.

If Yanda reaches the Pro Bowl in 2019 and 2020, he will total nine trips to the all-star event. Randall McDaniel, Will Shields and Larry Allen would be the only players with more Pro Bowl selections as a guard, according to the Elias Sports Bureau (Bruce Matthews’ 14 Pro Bowls included five as a center).

But it's uncertain whether Yanda will play next season and strengthen a potential Hall of Fame resume.

"You just take it one day at a time," he said. "I’m healthy, I’m feeling really good about playing this fall, and I don’t look any further down the road. I’m worried about playing this fall and playing good football."

Yanda, who will turn 35 in Week 2 of the regular season, has been among the most dominant linemen of his generation. He is the second-best guard in Pro Football Focus' grading history (since 2006).

Known for his toughness and technique, Yanda was a key member of the Ravens' run-heavy offense with quarterback Lamar Jackson. Last season, he led an offensive line that has helped the Ravens produce the NFL's No. 2 rushing attack (141.9 yards per game).

There was concern among Ravens officials that Yanda wasn't returning this year.

Asked recently about the state of the offensive line, owner Steve Bisciotti said, "I’d be much more concerned if our All-Pro decided that he was going to call it a career. I kind of looked at that as our upgrade. I really thought that Marshal was pretty close to maybe deciding that it was a career."

Yanda was entering the final year of his four-year, $32 million contract before agreeing to a one-year contract extension on April 11.

He received an $8 million signing bonus after reducing his 2019 base salary by $5 million (from $7 million to $2 million). His base salary for 2020 is $7 million.

“Whatever happens, we just wanted to make sure I could finish it here, and that’s important to me, just being able to play my entire career here and just taking care of me," Yanda said of the reasoning for the extension. "That was the whole deal there."

A third-round pick in 2007, Yanda has gone from being the 10th offensive lineman drafted in 2007 to becoming one of the best in the league. Known for his powerful run blocking, Yanda has shoved three defenders to single-handedly open a hole. A top-notch pass protector, he regularly allows the fewest sacks at his position.

In 2014, then-offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak said Yanda is as good as any offensive lineman he's been around. In 2015, coach John Harbaugh offered a prediction.

"He's just a special human being and a special player," Harbaugh said before adding, "and he's a Hall of Famer some day."

Yanda has built a reputation on being among the league's most durable players. He ranks fifth among active offensive linemen with 151 starts, which tops all guards currently in the NFL.

But recent injuries started to take their toll on Yanda. He missed nearly all of the 2017 season with a broken ankle, and then began last year's training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list after having an offseason procedure on his shoulder.

“Just with the injuries that I have had, last year was a wait-and-see kind of deal, one week at a time, one game at a time, and I just didn’t know how my body was going to hold up," Yanda said. "So, I was prepared, if I was going to end the season on injured reserve, then I was probably going to hang it up, just because you don’t want to keep pushing your body too far."

Yanda played all 16 games and reached the Pro Bowl for the seventh straight season in which he has played at least half a season. His 1,108 snaps were the second-most in the NFL.

Just as important, Yanda finished the season healthy.

"The best thing is that I didn’t have to recover from an offseason surgery, so I didn’t have to rehab this offseason," Yanda said. "I could lift, and I could do some shoulder maintenance, but I didn’t have to get any range of motion back. I didn’t have to do rehab, so that was a big offseason for me of not having to do that. I could get stronger and feel good about it."

Yanda has a good relationship with Eric DeCosta, who took over for Ozzie Newsome as the Ravens general manager. Their connection dates back to the days eading up to the 2007 draft, when DeCosta made it known that Baltimore needed Yanda's grit on the team.

During this year's mandatory minicamp, Yanda and DeCosta were seen chatting a couple of times on the sideline. Yanda declined to say whether he approached DeCosta about wanting the extension that he ultimately received.

“Let’s just say, I wanted to be here. Eric wanted me to be here, and that was the main goal, what was accomplished," Yanda said. "So, I’m really happy to be able to get to finish it here.”

Monday, June 24, 2019

NFC West Outlook: The top player at every offensive position

How many 49ers claim the top spot?
By Kyle Posey@KP_Show

We are a few months away from the 2019 NFL season kicking off. There have been plenty of top 50 player lists, but I thought it’d be interesting if we narrowed it down to the division. How many San Francisco 49ers are the best player at their position in the NFC West? It’s a fun discussion to have. For today, we’ll go over the offenses. We’ll do the defenses tomorrow. Let’s start with the quarterback position.



The highest graded guard that returned to the division is Austin Blythe, who graded a 71.8. It was Rodger Saffold, but he’s with the Tennessee Titans now. The next graded guard? Mike Person, at 67.2. With Saffold out of the picture, there isn’t a clear answer.

If I were placing a bet, I’d say Laken Tomlinson will outperform Person.

The Cardinals and the Seahawks have consistently struggled on the interior line. Neither team gets the benefit of the doubt here.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Adam Coon out to prove haters wrong at World Wrestling Championships

Bill Khan, Livingston Daily Published 2:44 p.m. ET June 20, 2019 | Updated 1:04 a.m. ET June 21, 2019

Fowlerville's Adam Coon (left) beat Cohlton Schultz of Colorado on Saturday, June 15, 2019 to earn a berth in the Senior World Wrestling Championships. (Photo: Tony Rotundo/

Every sport’s fan base has its share of haters, keyboard warriors and other perpetual critics who can’t simply appreciate greatness, but feel compelled to pick it apart.

Adam Coon of Fowlerville doesn’t have much to prove as a wrestler, yet has found one of his greatest achievements scrutinized by people who fancy themselves experts in the sport.
Welcome to life in the age of social media.
For Coon, all this does is add to the considerable fire that burns within him to, at the very least, win another medal at the Senior Wrestling World Championships Sept. 16-17 in Kazakhstan. Coon won a Greco-Roman silver medal at 130 kilograms at the World Championships last October in Budapest, Hungary.
It’s a medal that some critics believe should be engraved with an asterisk.
The criticism?
“I got the silver, but I had the easy route,” Coon said. “If you look at the competitors I had, it wasn’t the elite of the crop, but when you look at the actual accolades of the people I had to beat to get there, it may not be as deep as some of the guys on the other side, but they were still very tough competitors. Because they weren’t the most dominant guys, they think I had a weak route to get to the finals.”

Adam Coon (Photo: Daryl Marshke/Michigan Photography)

In his first senior World Championships, Coon pinned four opponents before losing in the title match, 9-0, to 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Sergey Semenov of Russia.
Coon qualified for a return trip to the World Championships last Saturday in Lincoln, Nebraska, by winning 8-0 and 5-1 decisions over Cohlton Schultz of Parker, Colorado.
“I really want to prove to myself and the rest of the world I belong on the podium again, it wasn’t just some crazy thing that happened last year where I got a great route to it,” Coon said. “I want to make sure I prove to myself it’s really deserved, and hopefully it’s the top step this time. There’s probably a target painted on my back, but I also look at it as kind of being an underdog.
"Even though I got a silver last year, not a lot of people have respect for it. I want to prove them wrong. I have a lot of drive.”
Coon can be his own worst critic, too, a common trait in elite athletes. Although he won both of his matches by decisive scores in Lincoln, he realizes he has some things to clean up if he’s going to be successful in Kazakhstan.
“He was very good at showing my weaknesses,” Coon said. “He was able to pummel and get to positions I shouldn’t have let him get to. He was controlling positions. If I’m going to win a world and Olympic title, I can’t let anyone get those positions. He helped to expose my weaknesses.
“It’s always nice when you get really tough competition. You can see where you’re really at, because you’re rested. If you’re just going against local competition that isn’t as tough or you’re going against weak competition trying to get a medal, you never get better.”
Coon has won medals on the world stage four times. He was the 2011 cadet world champion in freestyle, a bronze medalist in Greco-Roman and freestyle at junior worlds in 2014 and a silver medalist at senior worlds last year.

Adam Coon of Fowlerville has tournaments in Peru and Kazakhstan in the upcoming months before he can begin focusing on an Olympic year. (Photo: Tony Rotundo,
After winning four wrestling state championships at Fowlerville and taking second in the NCAA tournament twice at the University of Michigan, Coon has been able to devote himself to wrestling full-time since completing his collegiate career in March 2018.
“It makes it really nice,” said Coon, 24. “I don’t have to do homework and all the stuff that goes along with it. I can just focus on wrestling. It makes it easy just training and making sure I’m ready to go. I don’t have to divert my time to study.
“It’s all wrestling. Wrestling’s my job right now, so I’ve got a really fun job.”
Before heading to the World Championships, Coon will compete Aug. 6-8 in Lima, Peru, at the Pan American Games. Coon won a gold medal at the Pan American Championships in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on April 18.
Competing in Peru and Kazakhstan will add two new countries to the list in which Coon has competed. He’s also wrestled in Croatia, Germany, Hungary and Mexico.
“It’s nice to travel the world and see what it has to offer,” he said.
Coon hopes to add Japan to that list next year, with Tokyo hosting the Summer Olympic Games. The Olympic Trials will be held April 4-5 at Penn State.
Coon is unsure what lies in store for him between the World Championships and the trials.
“I’m just focused on the Pan American Games and worlds,” he said. “After that, I’ll figure it out. If you look too far forward, you start missing out on good things.”

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Riley Reiff helping Boys and Girls Club of the Sioux Empire raise money for programs

By: Matt Holsen 

Posted: Jun 19, 2019 05:40 PM CDT
Updated: Jun 19, 2019 05:40 PM CDT

LAKE POINSETT, S.D. (KELO) -- The Fourth Annual Celebrity Golf and Walleye Classic at Lake Poinsett is raising more than $45,000 for the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Sioux Empire. Minnesota Viking and South Dakota-native Riley Reiff was on hand to help out this past weekend. 
He's a pro when it comes to football but Vikings offensive lineman Riley Reiff isn't as confident about his skills from the tee. 
"I golf. I'm not very good at it though. We got a nice day out here today. Hopefully hit a few of them straight," Reiff said. 
Reiff is playing at Lake Region Golf Club to benefit the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Sioux Empire. The Parkston-native has taken part in the organization's event at Lake Poinsett the past three years. 
"This is a great event. We've been doing it for a while now. It goes to a good cause and it's in my home state. There's a lot that goes into it. A lot of people that donate their time," Reiff said. 
One of those people is Director of Philanthropy Amy Sumner. 
"This event is significant for our children because it's a major fundraising event. Every dollar that we raise, 100-percent, goes back into making a difference for the kids," Sumner said. 
Sumner says roughly $45,000 is raised for the club which has 500 members in Sioux Falls. 
Lake Region Golf Club General Manager John Fraser donates time on the course to make sure those kids are taken care of.  
"It's going towards helping kids. It's going towards giving them a place to be. A place to learn. A place to make new friends. Helping out those families that need those services and it's just been a really great fit for Lake Region Golf Club," Fraser said. 
"We're kind of that extra level of help for the kids after school and in the summer to make sure these kids are ready when they go back to school next fall and able to be successful in the classroom which will then eventually make them successful in life," Sumner said. 
With summer in full swing, raising money to make that happen is more important than ever.
The Boys and Girls Clubs of the Sioux Empire only charges $75 for a year of its services. Sumner says half of its kids are on scholarship which shows you the need in the community for affordable care. 

Iowa football: Marshal Yanda standing the test of time

by Andrew Wade 17 hours ago

Marshal Yanda is entering his 13th season with the Baltimore Ravens and the former Iowa football player doesn’t appear to be slowing down.

At the ripe age of 34, most offensive linemen have maybe one or two years left, but after starting all 16 games, making the Pro Bowl and being named a Second Team All-Pro, former Iowa football player Marshal Yanda isn’t showing signs of slowing down. And if the Baltimore Ravens want to be successful running the ball and protecting Lamar Jackson in 2019, they will need their anchor on the interior offensive line to continue his steady ways.
Last year, coming off an injury that derailed his entire 2017 season, Yanda was rated the 4th best guard in all of football according to Pro Football Focus with a rating of 75.2.
This season, Yanda will be gunning for his 8th Pro Bowl selection and seventh All-pro selection, and he will be doing it with a second-year dual-threat quarterback behind him and a freshly signed Mark Ingram.
The Ravens are talented, but they will need the big men up front to get the run game going so it gives Jackson some room to work the play action and get him out of the pocket. For Yanda, this could be his final go around.
With just two years remaining on his contract, Yanda will be 36 before he starts his next contract, so there is a good chance we could see the Iowa football player call it quits and hang it up at that point unless he continues to not age and instead, dominates competition that is nearly 10 years younger than him.
At this point, nothing would surprise me with Yanda, a former third-round pick who was a steal for the Ravens and managed to become the highest-earning active Iowa football player in the NFL.
My prediction is Yanda starts all 16 games but does show signs of aging, yet he will remain one of the top-15 guards in the league.

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