Entries in NFL (29)


National Football League to Ban Purses in Stadiums Next Season

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The National Football League is banning all purses in its stadiums this coming season. The decision is meant to increase safety at the games, but many fans, particularly women and families with young children are crying foul.

NFL Chief Security Officer Jeffrey Miller says the decision was made with fans in mind. “By taking this minor step per person we create a major improvement,” Miller said. “It really does dramatically increase our security posture at our stadiums.”

“Football is such a national past-time in the US. If you are a terrorist bad guy that would be a great target,” said former FBI special agent and ABC News consultant Brad Garrett. “I think it's a reasonable approach.”

The new policy limits the size and type of bags that may be brought into stadiums. Fans are now only allowed to bring in a hand-sized clutch and a clear, one-gallon Ziploc or freezer bag. Anything larger must be a clear tote. The NFL is selling acceptable totes online.

NFL officials said they'd make exceptions for people who had things like medical supplies that couldn't fit into a small bag.

Seat cushions are also banned, due to fears that they could contain an explosive device, according to the news release from the NFL.

“I have no problem saying what a huge issue I have with that,” one female fan told ABC’s Susan Saulny. “That's not appropriate.”

The fan said that she might have to root for her favorite team, the Steelers, from her couch instead of the stadium.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Pat Summerall Passes Away at Age 82

Focus on Sport/Getty Images(DALLAS) -- Former Fox and CBS NFL announcer Pat Summerall passed away on Tuesday after suffering cardiac arrest, according to his wife Cheri. He was 82 years old.

Summerall played in the NFL from 1952 through 1961, suiting up for the Detroit Lions, the Chicago Cardinals and the New York Giants. As a placekicker, he converted 100 of 212 field goals in 109 career games.

Following retirement, he joined CBS in the mid-1960s, taking part in NFL, NBA, PGA Tour and tennis broadcasts. In 1981, he was paired with former Oakland Raiders head coach John Madden, forming one of the most popular tandems in sports broadcasting history.

The duo joined Fox in 1994 after CBS lost the rights to broadcast NFL games. They continued calling games together until Super Bowl XXXVI in 2002.

During his broadcast career, Summerall called more Super Bowls on TV, 16, than any other broadcaster. He was also known for lending his voice to the Masters golf tournament and tennis' U.S. Open.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Female Kicker’s NFL Tryout Falls Short

Elsa/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Lauren Silberman became the first woman in history to try out for the NFL when the kicker participated Sunday in the New York Jets’ regional combine.  But she didn’t have much of a chance to show what she could do.

Silberman attempted just two kicks -- one that went 19 yards and the other just 13 -- before she asked to see a trainer, suffering from an injury to her quadriceps that she said happened while she was training for the tryout.

“The minute I kind of touched the ball, my quad, I could just feel tense up and hurt.  It was really painful as soon as I made full impact,” Silberman said on Sunday.

While the end result was not what she had hoped for, it was an opportunity she couldn’t pass up.

“I’ve always been an athlete, and I’ve always been a gamer,” she said later.  “When I had the opportunity to be in the NFL, one of the world’s most competitive leagues, I absolutely had to take the chance.”

The 28-year-old New Yorker had said she hoped her powerful foot would impress the scouts and earn her an invite to an NFL training camp as a kicker.

“It would be a lifelong dream come true,” Silberman told ABC News.

Silberman is a University of Wisconsin and Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduate and a former college club soccer player.

While she is new to the gridiron, Silberman had said she hoped her years of studying sports video games would give her an advantage.

She said she was proud to have the opportunity to achieve her goal, even if some view it as a long shot.

“Hopefully, even if this doesn’t work out, I can contribute and strengthen the league one day in a different way,” she said.  “So we’ll see where this goes.”

As for the NFL teams that watched her performance, Silberman has one simple message.

“Please give me one more chance!  I was injured,” she said.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Female Kicker Trying Out For NFL

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Lauren Silberman will become the first woman in history to try out for the NFL when the kicker participates Sunday in the New York Jets’ regional combine.

“It would be a lifelong dream come true,” Silberman told ABC News.

The 28-year-old New Yorker said she hopes her powerful foot will impress the scouts and earn her an invite to an NFL training camp as a kicker.

Silberman is a University of Wisconsin and Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduate and a former college club soccer player.

While she is new to the gridiron, Silberman hopes her years of studying sports video games will give her an advantage.

“I”m hoping through all of this virtual play that I’ve done that it will extend to performing well physically on the field,” she said.

The historical significance of Silberman’s tryout was not lost on ABC News sports consultant Christine Brennan.

“What Lauren is trying to do is something that’s incredibly admirable, shows her confidence, her comfort level, her love of sports,” Brennan said. “That statement should reverberate throughout the United States.”

Silberman’s tryout comes one week after NASCAR driver Danica Patrick sped into the history books, becoming the first woman to take the pole position at the Daytona 500 and the first to lead a lap in the race.

Patrick finished the race in eighth place, the best showing ever for a woman in the Daytona 500.

Silberman said she’s proud to have the opportunity to achieve her goal, even if some view it as a long shot.

“Hopefully, even if this doesn’t work out, I can contribute and strengthen the league one day in a different way,” she said. “So we’ll see where this goes.”


Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Exclusive: Junior Seau Suffered Brain Disease from NFL Hits

Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A team of scientists who analyzed the brain tissue of renowned NFL linebacker Junior Seau after his suicide last year have concluded the football player suffered a debilitating brain disease likely caused by two decades worth of hits to the head, researchers and his family exclusively told ABC News and ESPN.

In May, Seau, 43, shot himself in the chest at his home in Oceanside, Calif., leaving behind four children and many unanswered questions.

Seau's family donated his brain to neuroscientists at the National Institutes for Health who are conducting ongoing research on traumatic brain injury and football players.

A team of independent researchers who did not know they were studying Seau's brain all concluded he suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative disease typically caused by multiple hits to the head.

"What was found in Junior Seau's brain was cellular changes consistent with CTE," said Dr. Russell Lonser, chairman of the Department of Neurological Surgery at Ohio State University, who led the study of Seau's brain while he was at NIH.

Patients with CTE, which can only be diagnosed after death, display symptoms "such as impulsivity, forgetfulness, depression, [and] sometimes suicidal ideation," Lonser said.

Seau's family described to ABC News and ESPN a long descent into depression in the years prior to his death.

Gina Seau, his ex-wife with whom he remained close following their divorce, said the linebacker had difficulty sleeping and became withdrawn and "detached emotionally" from his children.  In one exchange, he described his mood as "low" and "dark."

"A lot of things, towards the end of his life, patterns that we saw and things that worried us, it makes sense now," she said of the diagnosis.

The night before his death, Junior Seau sent a text message to his ex-wife and children in which he simply wrote, "I love you."  They were the last words anyone would hear from him.

More than 30 NFL players have in recent years been diagnosed with CTE, a condition once known as "punch drunk" because it affected boxers who had taken multiple blows to the head.  Last year, 4,000 retired players joined a class-action lawsuit against the league over its alleged failure to protect players from brain injuries.

The NFL has said it did not intentionally hide the dangers of concussions from players and is doing everything it can now to protect them.

On Thursday, the league issued a statement in response to NIH's finding: "We appreciate the Seau family’s cooperation with the National Institutes of Health.  The finding underscores the recognized need for additional research to accelerate a fuller understanding of CTE.  The NFL, both directly and in partnership with the NIH, Centers for Disease Control and other leading organizations, is committed to supporting a wide range of independent medical and scientific research that will both address CTE and promote the long-term health and safety of athletes at all levels." 

"The NFL clubs have already committed a $30 million research grant to the NIH, and we look forward to making decisions soon with the NFL Players Association on the investment of $100 million for medical research that is committed in the Collective Bargaining Agreement. We have work to do, and we’re doing it," the statement continued.

Gina Seau said she and her ex-husband expected physical injuries from playing professional football but never thought "you're putting your brain and your mental health at a greater risk."

Junior Seau, she said, was never formally diagnosed with a concussion but routinely complained of symptoms associated with concussions after receiving hits to the head during games and in practices in 20 seasons in the NFL.

"The head-to-head contact, the collisions are just, they're out of control," Gina Seau said.

"He was a warrior and he loved the game," she added.  "But ... I know that he didn't love the end of his life."

For the Seaus, football gave them everything and, they believe, it has now taken it all away.  They understand its attraction and, all too well, its routine danger.

"I think it's a gamble," Gina Seau said.  "Just be extremely aware of what could potentially happen to your life."

None of the Seau children play football anymore and their mother is glad of that.

"It's not worth it for me to not have a dad," said one of the Seaus' sons, Tyler Seau, 23.  "So, to me, it's not worth it."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Jovan Belcher: Kansas City Chiefs, Carolina Panthers Face Off Day After Murder-Suicide

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The Kansas City Chiefs are facing off against the Carolina Panthers Sunday, one day after linebacker Jovan Belcher killed his girlfriend before turning the gun on himself in front of his coaches.

"This just doesn't seem real...praying for 59 and his family," Kansas City Chiefs offensive tackle David Mims tweeted, referring to the number Belcher wore on the field.

The decision to play the game as scheduled Sunday came "after discussions between the league office, Head Coach Romeo Crennel and Chiefs team captains," the franchise said in a statement.

On Saturday morning, Belcher, 25, shot and killed his girlfriend, Kasandra Perkins, 22, before driving to Arrowhead Stadium, police said.

"We heard that they had been arguing in the past [and] as far as recently, they'd been arguing before the shooting occurred this morning," Kansas City Police spokesman Darin Snapp said.

The couple had lived together and had a 3-month-old daughter.

A woman first alerted police Saturday morning that her daughter had been shot by her boyfriend, who was a Kansas City Chiefs player, Snapp said. Police initially believed the woman was Perkins' mother, but later learned she was Belcher's mother, who lived with the couple to help care for their daughter and according to family members was extremely close to Perkins.

Belcher drove to the stadium where he held a gun to his head in the parking lot and talked to his coaches.

"They said the player was actually thanking them for everything they'd done for him," Snapp said. "They were just talking to him and he was thanking them and everything. That's when he walked away and shot himself."

Belcher appeared to have pulled the trigger when officers arrived at the stadium, Snapp said.

The 6-foot-2, 228-pound linebacker joined the Kansas City Chiefs in 2009, and had spent all four seasons of his career with the team. He has played in every game since joining the team and was considered to be a rising star.

Originally from West Babylon, N.Y., where he was a three-time all-America wrestler in addition to playing on the football team, Belcher went undrafted out of the University of Maine, where he started all 45 games in which he played.

Maine Head Football Coach Jack Cosgrove described Jovan as a "tremendous student-athlete."

"His move to the NFL was in keeping with his dreams," Cosgrove said in a statement released by the university today. "This is an indescribably horrible tragedy. At this difficult time, our thoughts and prayers are with Jovan, Kasandra and their families."

Belcher signed with the Chiefs as a rookie free agent, started 15 of 16 games his second season and last year started all 16 games as left inside linebacker.

Belcher expressed gratitude for his NFL career in an article posted on Nov. 21 on the Chiefs' website that has since been taken down.

"First and foremost, God. Family and friends just keeping me focused, coaches and just everyone," he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


NFL Heavyweights Hate New Slim-Fit Uniforms

Byron Bell of the Carolina Panthers. Streeter Lecka/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The NFL’s heaviest players have weighed in on Nike’s new slim-fitting uniforms and the reviews are anything but flattering, according to The Wall Street Journal.

“I hate them. They are built for thin guys,” Alex Boone, a 300-pound offensive lineman for the San Francisco 49ers, told the paper. “It makes me look like I have big old love handles.”

Reebok had been the manufacturer for the past 10 seasons, and this is Nike’s first year making the uniforms as part of their new contract.  Nike designed slimmer, more contoured uniforms, and while they may look stunning on the sculpted receivers and running backs, the guys in the trenches say they are unflattering and uncomfortable.

“I don’t really care for the new jerseys. … I feel like they should put different material in for the big guys,” Terrence Cody, a defensive lineman for the Baltimore Ravens, told The Wall Street Journal. “It feels like it tightens up and stuff, it’s hard to breathe, it constricts.”

Boone said his wife told him that when he wears the uniform “it looks like [he] ate a small baby.”

In a statement, Nike defended the jerseys. Other players interviewed for The Wall Street Journal’s story said there is no problem with the uniforms and that anyone who complains is putting a premium on looking pretty.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Lockout Ends As NFL and Referees Association Strike a Deal

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The NFL and the NFL Referees Association (NFLRA) have reached a tentative agreement ending a three-month lockout.

The deal was reached late Wednesday night and the two sides will finalize the paperwork later Thursday morning, a league source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.  Regular union referees will be on the field in Baltimore Thursday night when the Ravens face the Cleveland Browns.

"Our officials will be back on the field starting tomorrow night," commissioner Roger Goodell said in a joint statement released by the NFL and NFLRA.  "We appreciate the commitment of the NFLRA in working through the issues to reach this important agreement."

The new collective bargaining agreement between the two sides is for eight years, according to ESPN.  Members of the referees union are expected to vote to ratify the pact on Saturday.

Replacement referees worked the first three weeks of the regular season, and were under intense scrutiny from players, fans and coaches.  The controversy reached its apex during Monday Night Football this week after a blown call on the final play of the fourth quarter cost the Green Bay Packers a win against the Seattle Seahawks.

The fury over the replacement refs made it all the way to the White House, with President Obama tweeting earlier this week, "NFL fans on both sides of the aisle hope the refs' lockout is settled soon."

The NFLRA was seeking improved salaries and retirement benefits in their negotiations with the NFL during the lockout.

According to the joint statement released by the NFL and NFLRA Wednesday night, "Retirement benefits will be provided for new hires, and for all officials beginning in 2017, through a defined contribution arrangement, which will have two elements:  an annual league contribution made on behalf of each game official that will begin with an average of more than $18,000 per official and increase to more than $23,000 per official in 2019, and a partial match on any additional contribution that an official makes to his 401(k) account. "

"Apart from their benefit package, the game officials’ compensation will increase from an average of $149,000 a year in 2011 to $173,000 in 2013, rising to $205,000 by 2019," the statement continued.

Another point agreed upon by the two sides was the NFL’s demand for a pool of 21 developmental officials who will eventually be considered for membership in the union of 121 regular referees once properly trained.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Anger Grows over NFL Replacement Refs After Seahawks-Packers Game

Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images(SEATTLE) -- Football fans have had enough and are demanding that the NFL bring back its regular referees, who were locked out before the season started because of a contract dispute.

The last straw may have come Monday night on what was technically the second-to-last-play of the Seattle Seahawks-Green Bay Packers game when the much maligned replacement referees allegedly blew the call in the end zone.

With Seattle down 12-7 and almost no ticks left on the clock in the fourth quarter, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson heaved a Hail Mary pass as receiver Golden Tate was surrounded by a mob of Packers.

As the ball came down, Green Bay's M.D. Jennings jumped up and grabbed the interception.  Or so everyone thought.

Tate fell down with Jennings, grasping for the ball that the Green Bay safety had cradled in his arms.

The refs ran over and ruled a completion for Seattle, giving them a 13-12 lead.  After 10 minutes, in which a replay inexplicably vouched for the refs' bizarre call, enough Packers returned to the field so that the Seahawks could kick the extra point, sending the hometown fans home happy but angering just about everyone else.

After three weeks, the consensus is nearly unanimous that the replacement referees have done a terrible job and the NFL needs to negotiate in good faith with regular crews to get them back on the field for the next full slate of games this Sunday.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Female Ref Makes History at NFL Game

The Seattle Seahawks(NEW YORK) -- Millions of women had a rooting interest in Sunday's NFL game between the Detroit Lions and St. Louis Rams without having to be a fan of either team -- or pro football, for that matter.

On Sunday, 42-year-old Shannon Eastin became the first woman in NFL history to officiate a regular season game when she acted as a line judge in the Lions 27-23 victory.

Eastin wouldn't have gotten the opportunity when she did had football owners not locked out the regular group of referees and inserted replacements over a contract dispute that is still ongoing.

Eastin arguably broke football's glass ceiling last month when she worked a pre-season game. The NFL has already put her cap and whistle on display in the Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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