Posts by Eric Adelson
Eric Adelson at Yahoo Sports 13 hrs ago
It's been nearly half a lifetime since Pete Carroll walked up to Brian Banks at Long Beach Poly High and said, "Hey, you can do something. You can be something."
Banks was 15 years old at the time, and to him, that message seemed clear: he had a future playing football.
But two years later, Banks became ensnared in an ordeal of injustice, anger and heartbreak that lasted a decade. On his way to possibly playing for Carroll at USC, Banks was wrongly accused of raping a girl at his high school. Rather than facing 41 years to life in prison if he fought the charges and lost, he pleaded guilty and was sent to prison for five years.
"I screamed and yelled and begged for people to help," Banks said Sunday by phone. "And even then no one listened."
Banks, now 29, was cleared and freed in May 2012 after serving five years of probation (in addition to the five years in prison) when his accuser recanted her story. He got a tryout from Carroll and the Seahawks, and then another from the Falcons. But it was too late for his original dream to come true.
So the challenge became about separating himself from his plight, and finding power over it.
Eric Adelson at Yahoo Sports 8 days ago
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – He was arrested. He was cut. Then he went to the Super Bowl.
"This is my first time winning anything," LeGarrette Blount said Sunday night, his eyes glimmering after a 30-carry, 148-yard, three-touchdown game against the Indianapolis Colts here. "We never won [high school] states. We never won the national championship at Oregon."
Now his new team, and his old team, had won an AFC championship trophy. Blount picked a couple of strips of confetti out of the base of the silverware, then held it in his hand as he stood in front of his locker. He had been grinning for a good 45 minutes, smiling wider when asked about going from the outs with the Pittsburgh Steelers to the star of the show in a championship game.
"It's a blessing that I ended up here," he said.
LeGarrette Blount with the Lamar Hunt trophy. pic.twitter.com/CyKNUcJyFX
"If you don't want to be here, don't be here," Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey told reporters at the time. "He had a decision to make as a man, and he made it. You know the consequences."
"Can't beat that."
Eric Adelson at Yahoo Sports 11 days ago
Instead of cashing in, Cardale Jones went all in.
The 22-year-old overnight pro prospect called a press conference Thursday to announce what he described on Twitter as a "life-changing decision." Most everyone figured the Buckeyes quarterback would bolt for the pros after the best three-game NFL audition in college football history. But just when cynicism seems to dominate the sports landscape, a glimpse of idealism shows up. Jones said he wasn't ready to leave, and he wanted to get his degree. He made a major bet on himself.
"It's everybody's dream when they play a collegiate sport to make it to the next level," Jones said in a very short press event. "At my point in my career, I feel like it's best for me to go back to school and one of the most important things for me is to graduate."
Sure, there's reason to think this was as calculated as cold hard cash: Jones thinks he can stay at Ohio State for a year and then get selected at the very top of the draft instead of in the second or third round. But consider the risks, and the self-belief Jones needed to stay in Columbus.
Eric Adelson at Yahoo Sports 12 days ago
Beating Peyton Manning in Denver was a supreme feat for Andrew Luck, so it's hard for a lot of people to imagine following that up with a victory against Tom Brady in New England.
The rapidly ascending Colts quarterback might have a fairly simple way to do it, though.
Hand off to Daniel "Boom" Herron eight times.
Indianapolis is 8-0 this season, including two playoff victories, when Herron has eight rushing attempts or more. In all five of the Colts' losses, Herron had seven attempts or fewer. That includes New England's 42-20 maiming of the Colts on Nov. 16, in which Herron had no carries at all.
Too simplistic? Maybe, but each team's ground game has changed since the Patriots' win in Indianapolis. Jonas Gray, who trampled a sieve-like Colts' defense for 201 yards and four touchdowns, wasn't even active against the Baltimore Ravens last Saturday. The Patriots had 14 rushing yards against Baltimore, with Tom Brady taking the lion's share of rushing attempts with six.
Eric Adelson at Yahoo Sports 16 days ago
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The little boy ran over to his dad, greeted with a kiss and a crushing hug, grinning and squirming as he was wrapped up.
Tom Brady grinned too, grabbing a New England Patriots ski hat by his locker and fitting it around his 4-year-old son's head. The boy tried to wriggle free, and Brady just wouldn't let go.
Ben Brady might be too young to remember what his dad did here on Saturday, too young to comprehend what makes his father a football legend and why. But Brady will always remember how dearly he had to hold on to the moment he lost and then suddenly found again.
Bill Belichick had to concoct some special gridiron alchemy too, with four offensive linemen playing on certain downs and a running back serving as an ineligible fifth. The Patriots, a team that used to roar through the postseason as a budding dynasty, required every possible advantage they could grab simply to stay in a game in which they fell behind by 14 points, not once but twice.
Eric Adelson at Yahoo Sports 18 days ago
"History doesn't repeat," Mark Twain supposedly said, "but it often rhymes." So it's somewhat appropriate that Boston won the United States' 2024 Olympics bid a few days before the New England Patriots begin their quest for a fourth Super Bowl title. Because 2024 will mark 100 years since an American cyclist represented the U.S in the Paris Games. His name was Ignatius Gronkowski. He's Rob's great-grandfather.
What does this have to do with Patriots vs. Baltimore Ravens? More than you think. Because Ignatius' sport of choice actually says a lot about the on-field brilliance of the man they call Gronk.
Cycling, of course, requires balance as much as brute strength, and that's been a hallmark of all the Gronkowskis. Rob's dad, Gordy, blocked for Joe Morris at Syracuse, and he put his boys on skates from the time they were 5 years old. Rob was taught steadiness and poise, and watching him run his routes is a lot like watching a hockey player crash the net.
Eric Adelson at Yahoo Sports 18 days ago
For the last time: it was never about the video.
The structure of the 96-page Mueller Report, which was released in full on Thursday, says everything about the NFL's inept investigation of the Ray Rice incident and the ensuing chase for a smoking gun. The report goes on for much of its first five pages about the whereabouts of the video of Rice punching then-fiancee Janay Palmer last February, including entire sections on searched phone records, examined emails, mailroom interviews and even a tip line for would-be informants.
Then, on Page 6 of the report, the real bombshell, which was known all along:
"And by June 6, the League had a copy of the grand jury indictment, alleging that Rice 'did attempt to cause significant bodily injury to [Palmer], and/or did purposely or knowingly cause significant bodily injury to [Palmer] and/or under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life, did recklessly cause significant bodily injury to [Palmer].'"
DV is DV.
Eric Adelson at Yahoo Sports 20 days ago
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers should have two top passers to choose from with their top-overall NFL draft pick in Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota, depending on if the Oregon Ducks quarterback decides to leave school early. To borrow a phrase from former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld, they are dealing with some known unknowns.
In the case of Winston, one of these known unknowns is clear: he makes questionable decisions off the field. Some of these decisions are silly. Some are serious. The best quarterbacks, from Drew Brees to Tom Brady to Russell Wilson, rarely if ever make questionable decisions off the field. If the Bucs take Winston with their No. 1 choice, they are not drafting a player who has been a perfect citizen. But there's a layer of concern on the field as well.
Winston comes from a line of Jimbo Fisher products who were first-round failures. Fisher mentored JaMarcus Russell at LSU, then Christian Ponder and E.J. Manuel at Florida State. None were anywhere near as reliable as pros as they were under Fisher, although Manuel has had only two seasons in Buffalo to establish himself.
Eric Adelson at Yahoo Sports 21 days ago
The Detroit Lions' hangover just got worse.
NFL head of officiating Dean Blandino appeared on NFL Network on Monday and counted not one, not two, but three possible missed calls on the now-famous third-down play in Dallas on Sunday.
First, the penalty that was called and then un-called: pass interference on Dallas Cowboys' linebacker Anthony Hitchens, who was cited for interfering with Detroit tight end Brandon Pettigrew on a fourth-quarter pass from quarterback Matthew Stafford. A flag was thrown on the play, and then picked up without explanation after the yardage was marched off. Blandino described the situation as a "tight judgment call," for Pete Morelli and his crew. Blandino said it wasn't clear if Hitchens making contact with Pettigrew's arm was "significant" enough to warrant a penalty. He certainly didn't say pass interference was not committed.
No penalty was doled out, the Lions punted on fourth down, and Detroit lost the game.
Eric Adelson at Yahoo Sports 25 days ago
When the Detroit Lions drafted Matthew Stafford in 2009, Detroit was coming off an 0-16 season. Five years later, the shadow of those days has dissipated, and the Lions are an 11-win team. Now another shadow has emerged: Stafford is a guy who can win in Detroit, but he's also developing a reputation as a guy who can't win the toughest games in Detroit.
Since he arrived in the Motor City, Stafford's Lions are 3-31 against teams that finish with a winning record. They are 0-17 against those teams on the road. Eleven wins is the mark of a good team, but that new 0-for is a warning that Stafford can only get the Lions so far.
More evidence came last Sunday, as Stafford looked shaky bordering on skittish. He was 20-for-41 against the rival Green Bay Packers, including some throws that didn't come anywhere near their targets. It was his third straight game throwing for less than 250 yards. The Lions had the better defense; the Packers had the better passer, even though he was operating on one fully functional leg.
Can Stafford do it?
Stafford had his usual folksy cheer on Wednesday when he faced the media, shrugging off any concerns about his reputation.