August 29th, 2013
04:14 PM ET

NFL and ex-players reach deal in concussion lawsuit

The National Football League has reached a "historic" settlement with thousands of retired players who accused the league of deliberately concealing the dangers of head trauma, the case's mediator said Thursday.

The deal calls for the NFL to pay $765 million to fund medical exams, concussion-related compensation, medical research for retired NFL players and their families and litigation expenses, according to a court document filed in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia.

The agreement still needs to be approved by the judge assigned to the case, which involved more than 4,500 former players.

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Filed under: Health • Pro football
Patriots player mum as police search for clues in man's death
June 20th, 2013
05:05 AM ET

Patriots player mum as police search for clues in man's death

Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez is used to throngs of media clamoring to ask him questions, but the NFL star has never had to deal with them camping outside his home.

After reports that the player had been questioned in connection with a homicide not far from his Massachusetts house, that's what he's been faced with for the past three days.

A line of reporters waited on the road in front of his house Wednesday, along with neighbors eager for a word from the player.

Nearby, police sifted through the woods for clues that could shed some light on what happened to Odin Lloyd, 27, who was found dead less than a mile from Hernandez's expansive home in North Attleborough.

Hernandez has yet to say anything publicly.

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Filed under: Football • Massachusetts • Pro football
Former NFL announcer Pat Summerall dies
April 16th, 2013
06:10 PM ET

Former NFL announcer Pat Summerall dies

Pat Summermall, the football player turned legendary play-by-play announcer, died Tuesday, He was 82.

He was best known as a broadcaster for teaming with former NFL coach John Madden. Summerall also worked for years alongside former player Tom Brookshier and became the voice of the NFL in the 1970s and 1980s, calling most of the league's signature games.

Summerall called games for CBS, Fox and ESPN and worked more than 10 Super Bowls.

As a player, he was a placekicker, who played for the Chicago Cardinals and New York Giants from 1952 to 1961. He scored more than 500 points as an NFL player.

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Report: Flawed device, errors contributed to Super Bowl blackout
The Mercedes-Benz Superdome stands in semi-darkness shortly after halftime of the Super Bowl on February 3.
March 21st, 2013
09:29 PM ET

Report: Flawed device, errors contributed to Super Bowl blackout

A combination of technical and communication failures contributed to the partial power outage that disrupted this year's Super Bowl, an independent analysis has determined, utility Entergy New Orleans said Thursday.

The power was cut off to half the Mercedes-Benz Superdome early in the third quarter of Super Bowl XLVII between the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers, causing a 34-minute delay in the February game.

Dr. John Palmer of Palmer Engineering & Forensics said a recently installed relay had a "design defect" that caused it to trip in an unpredictable way.

He said the device's trip level had been left at the factory default setting, which was inappropriate for its application in the dome.

Palmer's report also cited "inadequate communication between the manufacturer and the utility" as a contributing factor.

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Filed under: Energy • Louisiana • New Orleans • Pro football • Sports • Super Bowl • U.S.
NFL checking 'do you like girls' allegation
Nick Kasa plays for Colorado against Stanford last November. Kasa says an NFL team asked him an inappropriate question.
February 27th, 2013
08:38 PM ET

NFL checking 'do you like girls' allegation

The National Football League is investigating whether draft prospect Nick Kasa was questioned about his sexual orientation during a recent skills audition for NFL scouts and coaches, a spokesman said Wednesday.

Kasa, who played tight end at the University of Colorado, told CNN earlier Wednesday that during the audition, he was asked: "Do you have a girlfriend? Are you married? Do you like girls?"

"Any team or employee that inquires about impermissible subjects or makes an employment decision based on such factors is subject to league discipline," said Greg Aiello of the NFL.

League policy states that teams "neither consider nor inquire about sexual orientation in the hiring process," Aiello said. "In addition, there are specific protections in our collective bargaining agreement with the players that prohibit discrimination against any player, including on the basis of sexual orientation."

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Paterno as Penn State coach
February 10th, 2013
12:42 PM ET

Paterno family: Freeh report 'factually wrong'

The family of the late Joe Paterno released a report Sunday morning that absolved the coaching great of blame in the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal and said a prior review commissioned by Penn State University was "factually wrong, speculative and fundamentally flawed. "

Former Attorney General Dick Thornburgh put together the new report, the Paterno family said in a written statement.

"The experts determined that the conclusions of the (university) report are based on raw speculation and unsupported opinion - not facts and evidence," Thornburgh said, according to the statement.

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Filed under: College football • Crime • Jerry Sandusky • Joe Paterno • Penn State • Pennsylvania • Sports
February 8th, 2013
03:41 PM ET

Manufacturer blames Super Bowl outage on incorrect setting

[Updated at 3:41 p.m. ET] We're now getting possibly competing explanations about why the Super Bowl power outage happened Sunday.

Hours after the Entergy New Orleans power company announced that it believed a newly installed electrical relay device was to blame, the device's manufacturer responded that the outage happened because the device was operated at an incorrect setting.

Get the details here.

[Posted at 9:49 a.m. ET] The cause of Sunday's power outage at the Super Bowl in New Orleans has been traced to an electrical relay device, Entergy New Orleans Inc. announced Friday. This device has since been removed from service and new replacement equipment is being evaluated.

The 35-minute electrical outage at the Super Dome set off a storm of social media amusement among viewers and inspired advertising tweets with blackout twists.

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Filed under: Football • Louisiana • New Orleans • Pro football • Sports
2013 Super Bowl: The best photos
February 3rd, 2013
09:28 PM ET

Superdome power outage halts Super Bowl XLVII

Super Bowl XLVII ground to a halt early in the third quarter Sunday night, when about half of the lights in the Superdome went out.

Lights in the New Orleans stadium's upper tier went dark with the Baltimore Ravens leading the San Francisco 49ers 28-6, minutes after the Ravens' Jacoby Jones ran back the kickoff that opened the second half a record 109 yards for a touchdown.

About 10 minutes later, an announcement inside the Superdome indicated that the lights would be restored "momentarily." A short time later, lights began coming back on incrementally.

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Filed under: Pro football
Parcells, Carter, Sapp headline new Pro Football Hall of Fame class
Bill Parcells -- far right -- was head coach for four teams before his induction, along with six others, to the Hall of Fame.
February 2nd, 2013
09:40 PM ET

Parcells, Carter, Sapp headline new Pro Football Hall of Fame class

The Pro Football Hall of Fame is about to get a lot bigger.

The hall's selection committee on Saturday - meeting in New Orleans, on the eve of Super Bowl XLVII - selected  former players Larry Allen, Cris Carter, Curley Culp, Jonathan Ogden, Dave Robinson, Warren Sapp and legendary coach Bill Parcels. They'll be formally inducted in August.

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February 1st, 2013
08:19 PM ET

Manti Te'o hoaxer's voice said to match recordings

The voice on telephone messages left for Manti Te'o matches that of the 22-year-old man who says he posed as a woman in carrying on a relationship - by e-mail and over the phone - with the Notre Dame linebacker, according to the "Dr. Phil" show.

"They all say, with scientific certainty, that Ronaiah Tuiasosopo is the female voice in those recordings," host Phil McGraw said, citing conclusions by forensic voice analysts with three independent contractors.

That conclusion supports Tuiasosopo's assertion that, posing as a woman, he was involved in a relationship with Te'o, who had not known that his love interest was a man.

Te'o rose to prominence while leading Notre Dame's Fighting Irish to an undefeated regular season. This year's Heisman Trophy runner-up, he told interviewers in September and October that his grandmother and girlfriend, whom he described as a 22-year-old Stanford University student, had died within hours of each other.

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Filed under: College football • Hoax • Manti T'eo • Sports
NFL union chief asks league to allow worker's comp claims
January 29th, 2013
11:04 AM ET

NFL union chief asks league to allow worker's comp claims

The head of the National Football League Players Association says the league can take quick steps to help players' health by ending its opposition to the players' worker compensation cases.

DeMaurice Smith spoke CNN's Carol Costello in an exclusive interview on Tuesday after word that the union is giving $100 million to a Harvard Univeristy-led study on player health.

The study will take 10 years, but Smith said the league can start making things better for players now.

“We are asking the National Football League to stop fighting our players on their worker’s comp cases, which is the main way our players get health care for the injuries they suffer at work," Smith said.

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Penn State supporters mark anniversary of Joe Paterno's death
Loyal fans gather Tuesday at a mural depicting late football coach Joe Paterno and other Penn State luminaries.
January 22nd, 2013
10:02 PM ET

Penn State supporters mark anniversary of Joe Paterno's death

On the anniversary of the death of Joe Paterno, a few dozen people visited a mural depicting the image of the college football coaching legend whose legacy was tarnished by the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal.

With the temperature in single digits, about 40 fans in State College, Pennsylvania, stopped by the mural that depicts Paterno and other prominent figures in Penn State University history, according to video shot by CNN affiliate WHP.

Paterno died January 22, 2012, at age 85 in a State College hospital, according to his family. He had been suffering from lung cancer and a broken pelvis.

He had been the all-time leader in major college football victories for a coach, with 409 wins. But a decision by the governing body of major college sports struck 111 victories from his record, beginning in 1998 - a move that posthumously bumped him from the top of the list.

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Filed under: College football • Football • Joe Paterno • Penn State
NFL reinstates Saints' Payton after yearlong suspension
Sean Payton is back with his team after a year's suspension over the team's bounty scandal.
January 22nd, 2013
11:31 AM ET

NFL reinstates Saints' Payton after yearlong suspension

Sean Payton's season of exile from the National Football League is officially over.

The NFL on Tuesday reinstated the New Orleans Saints head coach after he served a seasonlong suspension for the Saints' bounty scandal. The reinstatement came after Payton met with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and "acknowledged ... his responsibility for the actions of his coaching staff and players," an NFL news release said.

"Sean fully complied with all the requirements imposed on him during his suspension," Goodell said in the release. "More important, it is clear that Sean understands and accepts his responsibilities as a head coach and the vital role that coaches play in promoting player safety and setting an example for how the game should be played at all levels.”

Payton said he was "thankful today Commissioner Goodell has granted me reinstatement."

"As I stated back in March, I, along with (Saints General Manager) Mickey Loomis, take full responsibility for all aspects of our football program,” Payton said in a statement released by a Saints spokesman.

"I clearly recognize that mistakes were made, which led to league violations. Furthermore, I have assured the commissioner a more diligent protocol will be followed."

Payton's reinstatement is immediate, meaning he can attend this week's Senior Bowl, a college all-star game featuring NFL Draft prospects.

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Filed under: Football • Louisiana • New Orleans • Pro football • Sports
Report: Te'o's dead girlfriend a hoax
January 16th, 2013
08:14 PM ET

Report: Te'o's dead girlfriend a hoax

Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o said Wednesday he was the victim of a "sick joke" that resulted in the creation of an inspirational story that had him overcoming the deaths of his grandmother and girlfriend as the team marched toward the BCS National Championship Game.

His statement came after the sports website Deadspin published an article that called the girlfriend story a "hoax" and raised questions about whether she ever existed.

Jack Swarbrick, director of athletics at Notre Dame, told reporters Wednesday night that Te'o was the victim of an elaborate hoax. "And he will carry that with him for a while," Swarbrick said.

Te'o's own words on girlfriend

Social media lights up over story

Notre Dame official chokes up

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Filed under: College football • Football • Sports
Seau had brain disease, examination suggests
Junior Seau committed suicide May 2 in his Oceanside, California, home.
January 10th, 2013
10:29 AM ET

Seau had brain disease, examination suggests

A deeper examination of the late NFL linebacker Junior Seau's brain suggests he had traumatic brain disease after all, the National Institutes of Health says.

An examination suggests Seau had the brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the NIH said Thursday.

"On initial examination the brain looked normal but under the microscope, with the use of special staining techniques, abnormalities were found that are consistent with a form of chronic traumatic encephalopathy," the NIH said in a statement.

There was also a small part of his brain with "evidence of scarring that is consistent with a small, old, traumatic brain injury," the NIH said.

Seau's May 2012 death was classified as a suicide. In August, an autopsy showed no apparent signs of damage.

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ESPN apologizes for Musburger comments on quarterback's girlfriend
Former Miss Alabama USA Katherine Webb drew just as much attention as her boyfriend Monday night
January 8th, 2013
05:29 PM ET

ESPN apologizes for Musburger comments on quarterback's girlfriend

The attention that Brent Musburger gave to the girlfriend of Alabama's quarterback during last night's championship college football game apparently made ESPN a little uncomfortable.

ESPN on Tuesday afternoon apologized for the play-by-play man's gushing about Katherine Webb's beauty as the network showed her in the stands at the game Monday night.

"We always try to capture interesting storylines and the relationship between an Auburn grad who is Miss Alabama and the current Alabama quarterback certainly met that test. However, we apologize that the commentary in this instance went too far and Brent understands that," ESPN said.

CNN was not able to reach Musburger for comment through ESPN.

"Wow, I'm telling you, quarterbacks you get all the good-looking women. What a beautiful woman. Wow!" Musburger said during one of his several in-game comments. Webb subsequently became an Internet sensation as Alabama trounced Notre Dame. Read more about Musburger's comments, the public's reaction, and the reaction from Webb herself.

Former NFL commissioner rescinds player punishments in bounty case
Former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who now coaches for St. Louis, admitted to paying players for vicious hits.
December 11th, 2012
02:22 PM ET

Former NFL commissioner rescinds player punishments in bounty case

Former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue has rescinded punishments against players in the New Orleans Saints bounty case, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said Tuesday on Twitter.

In March, the NFL said an investigation found the Saints had an "active bounty program" during the 2009, 2010 and 2011 seasons. During this time, players were purportedly offered "bounty" payments if they managed to hurt opposing players and knock them out of a game.

The following statement by the NFL was released following the announcement:

"We respect Mr. Tagliabue’s decision, which underscores the due process afforded players in NFL disciplinary matters. This matter has now been reviewed by Commissioner Goodell, two CBA grievance arbitrators, the CBA Appeals Panel, and Mr. Tagliabue as Commissioner Goodell’s designated appeals officer. The decisions have made clear that the Saints operated a bounty program in violation of league rules for three years, that the program endangered player safety, and that the commissioner has the authority under the CBA to impose discipline for those actions as conduct detrimental to the league. Strong action was taken in this matter to protect player safety and ensure that bounties would be eliminated from football."

December 5th, 2012
11:24 AM ET

NFL linebacker's mother screams as his baby cries in 911 tapes

Inside the Kansas City home that Jovan Belcher fled, his baby daughter wailed, his mother was in hysterics and his girlfriend was quiet. Barely breathing.

This is what the NFL linebacker left behind on Saturday in a rush of violence that left many wondering why.

Few answers came from 911 tapes released this week by police. But the tapes provide a heartbreaking soundtrack of the fleeting moments the morning that police say Belcher killed his girlfriend Kassandra Perkins and then later turned the gun on himself just outside the front door of the Chiefs' practice facility.

"Oh my God. Oh my God. Kasi," Belcher's mother, Cheryl Shepherd, bawled. "The baby is crying ... Please get the ambulance here!"

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'One of everyone's favorite teammates'
December 3rd, 2012
10:17 AM ET

A gun control halftime show: Should Bob Costas have spoken out on Belcher suicide?

There are a few things you can usually expect out of an NFL halftime show. A debate about gun control isn't one of them.

But Sunday wasn't a normal day in the NFL. It was two days after Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher shot and killed 22-year-old Kasandra Perkins, his girlfriend and the mother of his child, before killing himself outside the front door of the Chiefs' practice facility.

It was shocking. And it was expected that this tragedy would seep through into Sunday's football coverage.

But many people were not expecting Bob Costas to make a plea for gun control.

During halftime of NBC's "Sunday Night Football," Costas blamed the nation's gun culture for what happened between Belcher and his girlfriend, remarks that set off a heated debate about whether the sportscaster should have launched into what some called a "rant" on gun control.

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Police: NFL Chiefs player commits suicide after killing girlfriend
Reports citing police indicate Jovan Belcher, shown here during a game last week, killed his girlfriend and then himself.
December 1st, 2012
04:35 PM ET

Police: NFL Chiefs player commits suicide after killing girlfriend

In an apparent murder-suicide, a Kansas City Chiefs player shot himself in the head in front of his coaches at a team training facility after earlier shooting to death his girlfriend at her residence, police said.

Kansas City, Missouri, police spokesman Darin Snapp identified the player as linebacker Jovan Belcher, 25, according to NFL.com.

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