Brett Favre takes jet to Green Bay, hangs out, flies back
In his first public appearance in Green Bay since he retired from the NFL in 2010, Favre appeared at his eponymous steakhouse in town which was packed to the gills, per reports for a fundraiser for Rawhide Boys Ranch, a local home for troubled youth founded by former Packers quarterback Bart Starr, who is battling ill health.
Favre kicked off the 30-minute chat alongside Steve Young with five big words.
"It's exciting to be back," Favre said.
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Favre's appearance was a surprise. Earlier in the day, media reports swirled that Favre was on his way to Green Bay but that he did not plan to attend the Monday night game against the Atlanta Falcons. He was believed to have left soon after the presentation with Young to return back to his home in Mississippi.
Favre did not speak with the media afterward, and the next time he might be seen in Green Bay could be next season when he's expected to be inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame, along with a ceremony that has been years in the making with a few bumps on the road.
It appears that Favre and the franchise are on the best terms now that they have been since his left the Packers in 2008.
"Obviously the history with my departure from Green Bay and all those things has made wonderful news, good or bad," Favre said, "but I think we're well beyond that."
The fans certainly were. His steakhouse was packed, and fans heard Favre and Young trade stories about their battles together, former Packers and 49ers coach Steve Mariucci and other tales of yore. The audience ate it all up.
Just as the fans will eat up Favre's return for his July induction into the Packers' Hall, along with a ceremony at a regular-season game in 2015 to retire his jersey. Expect the good times to be there once again, like they were ever so briefly on Monday.
Gronkowski Spotlights NFLs 60percent Surge in Knee Injuries From 20112013-12-09
Gronkowski, a two-time Pro Bowl tight end whos scored 42 touchdowns in his 44 career starts, was injured during the third quarter of yesterdays 27-26 win over the Cleveland Browns. After catching a pass down the middle of the field, Gronkowski was taken down after being hit in the right knee by Browns defensive back T.J. Ward, who dove low on the play.
Gronkowski will miss the rest of the season with torn anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments, ESPN said, citing unidentified people familiar with the situation. Its the 40th ACL injury of the season, according to ESPN, up from 32 last year and 25 in 2011.
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You see what defenders are doing -- theyve been put into a tough position getting away from the head, said Merrill Hoge, who retired as a running back because of concussions and is now an ESPN NFL analyst. When you lose a guy like that, that hurts not just the New England Patriots, that hurts the National Football League because hes a guy that people identify with, hes a significant player and hes a difference-maker.
With the loss of Gronkowski, the Patriots odds of winning the Super Bowl moved to 8-1 from 6-1 at the Las Vegas Hotels SuperBook. The Patriots lead the American Football Conference East Division at 10-3, tied for the third-best record in the NFL, with three games left in the regular season.
In the past seven games with Gronkowski in the lineup, the Patriots averaged 32 points a game. Without him for the first six weeks, they averaged 20.8 points a game.
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I dont think too many teams have players of that caliber at any position to just put in another Rob Gronkowski, Patriots coach Bill Belichick said today on a conference call. One way or another, well have to adjust.
Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne and running back Vick Ballard, St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford, New York Jets running back Mike Goodson, Miami Dolphins tight end Dustin Keller and Cleveland Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer are among NFL players to suffer ACL injuries this season.
In an effort to reduce concussions and brain trauma, the NFL has cracked down on hits by defensive players to the head and neck area of offensive players. Safeties Dashon Goldson of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Brandon Meriweather have both been suspended one game this season by the NFL for repeated helmet-to-helmet hits on defenseless receivers.
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The defenseless receiver rule has to extend not only to the head, but also to the knees, said Terrell Davis, the leagues Most Valuable Player in 1998 who now is an NFL Network analyst.
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the leagues competition committee in the offseason routinely reviews all plays and injuries to determine if rule changes need to be made.
Ward, whose hit forced Gronkowski to be taken off the field on a cart, said the rule changes have made many defensive players go low to make tackles.
If I were to hit him up high, theres a chance I would be fined, so I was just being safe, Ward told reporters. Gronks a big dude, hes not small by any means, it just makes it difficult. My intention is not to hurt anyone, thats not what this game is about and thats not how I play.
Gronkowski is listed as 6-foot-6, 265 pounds (2 meters, 120 kilograms); Ward is listed as 5-foot-10, 200 pounds.
Hoge said the NFL needs to address knee injuries. His suggestion is incorporating a target zone so defensive players cant deliberately hit above the neck or below the knees.
Nobody is saying you cant hit the guy as hard you need to hit him still, Hoge said. Thats still going to be a part of the game. Were just saying up around the head and neck area and below the knee, lets make our emphasis there so we can avoid catastrophic injuries like this.
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NFL draft questions: Will Philadelphia Eagles take QB?2013-04-24
Will the Philadelphia Eagles draft a quarterback?
Coach Chip Kelly's squad is the biggest mystery of the draft. The Eagles could go in absolutely any direction with the No. 4 overall pick.
Kelly's former Oregon charge Dion Jordan makes sense as a pass rusher as the Eagles transition to a 3-4 defensive attack, but so do defensive linemen like Shariff Floyd and Star Lotutlelei. Outside of defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, the team is starting over on the defensive line. Linebacker similarly is lacking long-term solutions, while the entire starting secondary consists of low-cost, free-agent gambles.
On offense, it's worth wondering if Kelly sees wide receivers DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin as fits for the coming years. Drafting an offensive tackle like Oklahoma's Lane Johnson could give the Eagles the most talented tackle combination in the NFL. (In this scenario, Todd Herremans could move inside.) In short: No one knows anything when it comes to the Eagles. That's just how Kelly likes it.
The options are endless with the No. 4 overall pick, although it's hard to imagine the Eagles taking a quarterback. There just isn't a play-caller in this draft who looks worthy of a top-10 pick. But it's worth wondering if Kelly wants to wait a year to find a young quarterback he can groom from scratch.
The Michael Vick experiment under Kelly is a year-to-year proposition. Kelly has talked about quarterback Nick Foles' potential, but there are questions about how well he will fit into the offensive scheme. To put it another way: If Foles was in this draft, would Kelly select him? If the answer is no, Kelly still might not want to wait a year before investing another pick on the position.
The Eagles' quarterback depth chart is crowded with Dennis Dixon also in the mix, but it lacks clarity. My guess: The Eagles showed what they thought about this draft class with their offseason moves. They paid Vick. They kept Foles. They added a known commodity in Dixon as a reserve.
It's easy to imagine the Eagles adding a mid-to-late round draft pick at the position, but it would be a surprise if they took a quarterback early. Kelly likely won't follow former Eagles coach Andy Reid's approach of taking "his guy" in his first draft.