Colts owner: Head coach Chuck Pagano diagnosed with leukemia
Pagano is in his first year with the Indianiapolis Colts after spending four seasons as defensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens.
October 1st, 2012
10:51 AM ET

Colts owner: Head coach Chuck Pagano diagnosed with leukemia

Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano has been diagnosed with leukemia, according to team owner Jim Irsay, and the coach's doctor describes it as a highly treatable form of the disease.

"I am very optimistic that he will beat this thing," Irsay said during a news conference Monday. Offensive coordinator Bruce Arians will take the team's helm during Pagano's absence, the owner said.

According to the National Cancer Institute, acute promyelocytic leukemia the type with which Pagano was diagnosed is an “aggressive (fast-growing) type of acute myeloid leukemia in which there are too many immature blood-forming cells in the blood and bone marrow.”

Prognosis favorable for Colts coach with leukemia

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NFL fans on Twitter hyped for refs' return
NFL officials -- the genuine article -- get ready for Thursday night's game in Baltimore.
September 27th, 2012
08:14 PM ET

NFL fans on Twitter hyped for refs' return

Football fans were rejoicing Thursday that the NFL's real officials were going to be back on the field for the evening's midweek matchup between the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens. Replacement officials hired by the NFL during a lockout of the regular officials had endured increasing criticism over a long list of what appeared to be bad calls.

Early arrivals at Baltimore's M&T Bank Stadium gave a rousing cheer to the game's seven officials, led by referee Gene Steratore, as they took the field before Thursday night's kickoff.

Once news got out that the lockout had been resolved, NFL fans on Twitter let fly with some ref-fueled humor:

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September 25th, 2012
10:28 PM ET

Chorus for regular NFL referees grows

Even the leader of the free world had time Tuesday to comment about the National Football League after Monday night’s controversial Seahawks-Packers game.

Replacement referees, standing in for regular officials who are locked in a labor dispute with the NFL, controversially ruled that a Seahawks receiver caught a game-winning touchdown pass as time expired. The referees also missed what the NFL says was a penalty against that same receiver a penalty that, had it been called, would have rendered the catch controversy moot and given the win to the Packers.

Airwaves and social media were buzzing with reaction Monday and Tuesday from NFL players, fans, and yes, President Barack Obama, who says he wants to see the regular referees get back to work.

Discussion of the call virtually took over Twitter in the United States, with the game generating more than 1 million tweets, the social media company said Tuesday. Already disappointed in missed and botched calls since replacements began working in the preseason, many fans and players called for the NFL to quickly settle the labor dispute.

NFL: Refs missed penalty, but Seahawks’ win stands

Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez told CNN that after Monday night’s 14-12 Seahawks victory over the Packers, “it’s becoming embarrassing.”

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NFL Films pioneer Steve Sabol dies at 69
Steve Sabol speaks on behalf of his father, Ed, in Dallas after the elder Sabol was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2011.
September 18th, 2012
03:48 PM ET

NFL Films pioneer Steve Sabol dies at 69

NFL Films President Steve Sabol, who helped his father establish the Emmy-winning production company that changed the way people viewed professional football, died Tuesday after an 18-month battle with brain cancer, the NFL said.

He was 69.

NFL Films, which has filmed every NFL game since 1965, produced weekly highlight shows in the days before sports cable networks, breaking away from highlight reels of the past by showing action in slow motion with multiple ground-level cameras, with stirring music and sound from the sidelines.

The company was founded by his father, Ed Sabol, but Steve was with the outfit from the beginning and took it over in 1987, helping it become a business with revenue of tens of millions of dollars, with programs on several networks.

“Steve Sabol was the creative genius behind the remarkable work of NFL Films,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goddell said in a statement. “Steve’s passion for football was matched by his incredible talent and energy.”

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When football, same-sex marriage and politics collide
Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo is becoming well-known off the field for his support of same-sex marriage.
September 8th, 2012
02:48 PM ET

When football, same-sex marriage and politics collide

In his 10th NFL season, Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo is catching more attention for his political views than his special teams talents. And after a Maryland politician slammed his views on same-sex marriage, other NFL players are stepping up to defend Ayanbadejo's freedom of speech.

Ayanbadejo is a vocal supporter of same-sex marriage. He filmed video shorts for Equality Maryland and even wrote about same-sex marriage for the Huffington Post in 2009.

State lawmaker and minister Emmett C. Burns Jr. is a self-described Ravens fan, but in a letter sent to team owner Steve Bisciotti, Burns said it was "inconceivable" that Ayanbadejo was publicly endorsing same-sex marriage.

In the letter, written on August 29 and obtained by Yahoo! Sports, Burns wrote, "Many of my constituents and your football supporters are appalled and aghast that a member of the Ravens Football Team would step into this controversial divide and try to sway public opinion one way or the other. Many of your fans are opposed to such a view and feel it has no place in a sport that is strictly for pride, entertainment and excitement.

"I am requesting that you take the necessary action, as a National Football Franchise Owner, to inhibit such expressions from your employee and that he be ordered to cease and desist such injurious actions. I know of no other NFL player who has done what Mr. Ayanbadejo is doing."

In March, Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley legalized same-sex marriage in Maryland, but the law doesn't take effect until 2013.

Amid the political convention-themed tweets filling his profile, Ayanbadejo responded on his Twitter page with this: "Football is just my job it's not who I am. I am an American before anything. And just like every American I have the right to speak!"

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Art Modell, former NFL owner, dies at 87
Art Modell, 87, was an NFL owner for 43 years, during which his teams won two Super Bowls.
September 6th, 2012
07:32 AM ET

Art Modell, former NFL owner, dies at 87

Former Baltimore Ravens owner Art Modell died Thursday, the team reported on its website.

Modell, 87, was an NFL owner for 43 years, during which his teams won two Super Bowls.

He died peacefully of natural causes at Baltimore's Johns Hopkins Hospital, the team said.

"'Poppy' was a special man who was loved by his sons, his daughter-in-law Michel, and his six grandchildren," Modell's son, David Modell, said in a statement released by the team. "Moreover, he was adored by the entire Baltimore community for his kindness and generosity. And, he loved Baltimore. He made an important and indelible contribution to the lives of his children, grandchildren and his entire community. We will miss him."

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Autopsy: No apparent damage to Seau's brain
Junior Seau committed suicide May 2 in his Oceanside, California, home.
August 21st, 2012
07:56 AM ET

Autopsy: No apparent damage to Seau's brain

The brain of  former National Football League star Junior Seau showed no apparent signs of damage from Seau's years in professional football, according to an autopsy report released Monday.

Seau's death on May 2 in his Oceanside, California, home was classified as a suicide the next day by  the San Diego County medical examiner.

The autopsy results released Monday showed Seau shot himself in the chest with a hollow-point bullet from a .357-caliber revolver. The bullet hit Seau's heart, spleen and left lung.

He had used zolpidem, a sleep aid sold under the brand name Ambien among others, and naproxen, a pain reliever sold under the brand name Aleve among others, but there were no signs of alcohol, "common drugs of abuse," or other medications, according to the report by deputy medical examiner Craig Nelson.

Seau's suicide came on the heels of the suicides of other former NFL stars, including former Chicago Bears safety Dave Duerson just over a year earlier.

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Ochocinco becomes Johnson again
Chad Johnson and Evelyn Lozada, shown here in February 2011, have an upcoming reality show on VH1.
July 24th, 2012
08:33 AM ET

Ochocinco becomes Johnson again

Ochocinco is a fine last name for a bachelor but apparently not a married man, so the Miami Dolphins wide receiver who had legally changed his name to match his uniform number is back to Johnson again.

"Ocho-cinco" represents Johnson's number, 85, in Spanish.

"Chad Ochocinco has officially changed his name back to Chad Johnson," says a posting on Johnson's website, ocnnreport.com.

Johnson made the name change official at the Broward County Courthouse in Florida on Monday, according to the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

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Chad Ochocinco signed by Miami Dolphins
After being released by the New England Patriots, the Miami Dolphins have signed Chad Ochocinco.
June 12th, 2012
07:51 AM ET

Chad Ochocinco signed by Miami Dolphins

Chad Ochocinco grew up as a child loving to watch the Miami Dolphins play. He went to Miami Beach High School but never got the chance to make the jump to play at the University of Miami - the big time for local stars - instead heading west to play in college at Oregon State.

He was taken in the second round of the 2001 NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals and spent nine years by the Ohio River before moving to the New England Patriots for the 2011 season. The Pats released him after one disappointing year, in which he caught only 15 passes for 276 all season.

But there's good news for the former Pro Bowl receiver (and Dancing with the Stars contestant) to celebrate. He's coming home.

Ochocinco will get to play in front of his hometown crowd, as a part of the Dolphins after the team announced on their website that they signed him to beef up their offense.

Ochocinco will likely get some good preseason airtime too. That's because the Dolphins will be the latest team to have their training camp and preseason filmed as a part of HBO's “Hard Knocks. ” The team might have been interesting enough to watch considering it will chronicle the coach Joe Philbin’s first season. But with Ochocinco aboard, who famously changed his last name to match his jersey number, the show may have just gotten a little bit more interesting.

His agent, Drew Rosenhaus, was one of the first to call out the welcome wagon on Twitter:

Chris Burke, writing for SI.com, said the move makes sense from a football standpoint. But like many others are sure to do, Burke questioned whether the flamboyant player will make a good fit in Miami.

"Why Ochocinco, of all guys? The Dolphins, after all, just traded away the enigmatic Brandon Marshall, in part because he didn’t fit in well in the locker room. Miami has also shown no outward interest in guys like Plaxico Burress or Santonio Holmes — players who, like Ochocinco, can make a few plays here and there but also raise a team’s trouble quotient," Burke wrote. "Maybe Miami believes Ochocinco brings more to the table than those guys, or that he’ll be extra motivated playing in Miami, where he grew up. Maybe the Dolphins think last season’s embarrassing run in New England will give Ochocinco the spark he needs to pick up the pieces and put together one last 1,000-yard season."

Exonerated in rape case, man lines up NFL tryouts
Brian Banks breaks down in a California courtroom after his rape conviction is expunged.
May 31st, 2012
11:57 AM ET

Exonerated in rape case, man lines up NFL tryouts

A Southern California man exonerated last week on a decade-old rape conviction was looking ahead Thursday to try to relaunch a dream taken from him because of prison time he served in the case, the chance to play in the National Football League.

Brian Banks was a football standout at Long Beach Polytechnic High School and had been offered a scholarship to play at the University of Southern California when he was accused of rape.

Fearing a potentially long sentence, he followed the advice of his attorney and pleaded no contest to assaulting a classmate.

But he maintained his innocence throughout nearly six years of imprisonment, subsequent probation and registration as a sex offender.

And, according to the California Innocence Project, the woman later admitted that Banks had not kidnapped or raped her during a consensual encounter.

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Junior Seau's family consents to brain study, chaplain says
Seau amassed 1,526 tackles, 56.5 sacks and 18 interceptions in his 20-season career with the Chargers, Patriots and Dolphins.
May 4th, 2012
10:06 AM ET

Junior Seau's family consents to brain study, chaplain says

[Updated at 11:06 a.m. ET] The family of former NFL star Junior Seau, who authorities say committed suicide this week, has decided to let researchers study his brain to see whether it was damaged by concussions suffered during his football career, San Diego Chargers chaplain Shawn Mitchell said Friday.

Seau was found Wednesday in his Oceanside, California, home with what authorities said was a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest. It is not clear if Seau left a note or an explanation.

The family made the decision to allow the research in hopes it will help NFL players and others in the future, Mitchell said.

Since news of Seau's death broke, there has been speculation about whether repeated hits to his head over the linebacker's 20-year pro career could be a contributing factor.

There is no evidence Seau suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative disease brought on by multiple concussions, though friends and family have stepped forward to say the legendary linebacker suffered a number of hits to the head during his career.

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Junior Seau's apparent suicide leaves San Diego Chargers "in shock"
Junior Seau had a stellar career with the San Diego Chargers. He was found dead Wednesday at age 43.
May 2nd, 2012
03:43 PM ET

Junior Seau's apparent suicide leaves San Diego Chargers "in shock"

[Updated at 3:43 p.m. ET] Talking to reporters outside Seau's home, a distraught Luisa Mauga Seau, the ex-player's mother, repeatedly thanked those who had shown love to her son.

"I pray to God, take me! Leave my son! But it's too late," she said in tears as those nearby tried to console her.

[Updated at 3:34 p.m. ET] The Oceanside, California, police chief says Junior Seau's death is being investigated as a suicide.

Authorities received a call from a woman who said she was his girlfriend. She said she found the former Pro Bowler unconscious with a gunshot wound to his chest Wednesday morning, Oceanside Police Chief Frank McCoy said in a news conference.

Police officers and firefighters went to the house and found him in one of the bedrooms. They tried to revive him, to no avail, McCoy said, adding that a handgun was found near Seau's body.

[Posted at 3:18 p.m. ET] The San Diego Chargers issued a statement on their website regarding "the passing" of their former Pro Bowl linebacker Junior Seau, who reportedly killed himself in his Oceanside, California, home Wednesday.

"Everyone at the Chargers is in complete shock and disbelief right now. We ask everyone to stop what they're doing and send their prayers to Junior and his family," the statement said.

After TMZ and other media outlets reported a police presence at his home early Wednesday, the Chargers tweeted that they had no information on the matter. Minutes later, they announced that a conference call with Coach Norv Turner had been canceled before issuing the statement on Seau's passing.

"The outpouring of emotion is no surprise," the team tweeted shortly after 3 p.m. ET.

Seau played 20 seasons in the NFL, 13 of which came with the Chargers. He played his last seven seasons with the Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots.

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Overheard on CNN.com: Football fans ponder bounty scandal, paralyzed player
New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma is one of four players suspended for their roles in the "bountygate" scandal.
May 2nd, 2012
03:07 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Football fans ponder bounty scandal, paralyzed player

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

A few readers pointed out an interesting juxtaposition on CNN's homepage today, featuring one story about a paralyzed player receiving an honorary signing and another about an alleged bounty scheme originating within the New Orleans Saints. Both were the subject of much discussion.

Four players suspended in NFL bounty scandal

Four past or present New Orleans Saints players were suspended Wednesday by the National Football League for their roles in the "bountygate" scandal involving bonuses for trying to hurt opponents.

Quite a few commenters were outraged.

jescott418: "I think its clear that this was way more then just rough playing ball. A clear plan to hurt players to get key ones out of the game was admitted. That is not playing football. That is intent to hurt someone for gain."

A few people said they thought the Saints are getting off easy.

mongoo: "Anyone involved in this should have been banned for life. That would send a real message. This is just a slap on the wrist."

But ... other people were outraged for other reasons. FULL POST

Four NFL players suspended in Saints bounty case
Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma is suspended for one season, accused by the NFL of helping to run the bounty program.
May 2nd, 2012
12:12 PM ET

Four NFL players suspended in Saints bounty case

[Updated at 12:47 p.m. ET] The NFL on Wednesday suspended four current or former New Orleans Saints players for varying lengths including linebacker Jonathan Vilma for the 2012-2013 season for their roles in a scandal involving bonuses for trying to hurt opponents.

The league said the suspended players Vilma, Scott Fujita, Anthony Hargrove and Will Smith had leadership roles in the pay-for-injury program, for which the NFL suspended three coaches and the Saints' general manager earlier this year.

Vilma, a defensive captain, helped the team's defensive coordinator establish and fund the program, the league said in a news release.

"Multiple independent sources also confirmed that Vilma offered a specific bounty $10,000 in cash to any player who knocked Arizona quarterback Kurt Warner out of the 2009 Divisional Playoff Game and later pledged the same amount to anyone who knocked Minnesota quarterback Brett Favre out of the 2009 NFC Championship Game the following week," the league said.

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 are the details of the other players' suspensions:

Hargrove, a defensive lineman now with the Green Bay Packers, is suspended without pay for the first eight games of the season. The league said Hargrove told at least one player on another team that Favre was a target of a large bounty during January's NFC Championship Game. "Hargrove also actively obstructed the league’s 2010 investigation into the program by being untruthful to investigators," the league said.

Smith, a Saints defensive end, is suspended without pay for the first four games of the season. Smith, while a defensive captain, assisted the defensive coordinator "in establishing and funding the program," the NFL said. "Multiple independent sources also confirmed that Smith pledged significant sums to the program pool for 'cart-offs' and 'knockouts' of opposing players," the league said.

Fujita, a linebacker now with the Cleveland Browns, is suspended without pay for the first three games of the season. He "pledged a significant amount of money to the prohibited pay-for-performance/bounty pool during the 2009 NFL Playoffs when he played for the Saints," the league said. "The pool to which he pledged paid large cash rewards for 'cart-offs' and 'knockouts,' plays during which an opposing player was injured."

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in an NFL news release, "No bounty program can exist without active player participation. The evidence clearly showed that the players being held accountable today willingly and enthusiastically embraced the bounty program. Players put the vast majority of the money into this program and they share responsibility for playing by the rules and protecting each other within those rules.”

In March, the NFL handed down an indefinite ban to Gregg Williams, the former Saints defensive coordinator who, in this past off-season, moved over to take that same position with the St. Louis Rams.

The NFL in March also suspended Saints head coach Sean Payton for the 2012-2013 season and Saints general manager Mickey Loomis for that season's first eight regular-season games. Assistant head coach Joe Vitt was suspended without pay for the first six regular-season games.

The league said in April that it might consider "modifying the forfeiture" of the 2013 draft pick for the Saints, assuming other conditions are met.

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May 2nd, 2012
11:11 AM ET

Buccaneers sign paralyzed Rutgers player Eric LeGrand

[Updated at 1:14 p.m. ET] Eric LeGrand's football coach at Rutgers helped him emotionally in the months after his on-field paralysis. Now the coach is symbolically helping him realize his dream of making it to the NFL.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, now coached by ex-Rutgers coach Greg Schiano, announced Wednesday they've signed the former defensive tackle who was partially paralyzed in a 2010 game to their 90-man off-season roster.

Schiano, who joined the Buccaneers this year after more than a decade with Rutgers, offered the symbolic deal to his former player by phone on Tuesday, LeGrand told reporters in a conference call.

"I said, 'Are you serious? You want to use this on me?'" LeGrand said. "(Schiano) said, 'It's the least we can do.'

"Honestly, it's amazing. It really is," he said.

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Football, TV star Alex Karras latest to sue NFL over head injuries
Alex Karras and his wife, Susan Clark, played adoptive parents in the 1980s TV show "Webster."
April 13th, 2012
01:50 PM ET

Football, TV star Alex Karras latest to sue NFL over head injuries

Alex Karras, the former Detroit Lions standout who starred in the 1980s sitcom “Webster” - and whose wife says is now suffering from dementia - has joined hundreds of ex-NFL players suing the league over concussion-related injuries.

Karras, who also played the horse-punching Mongo in the 1974 movie “Blazing Saddles," is the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit filed Thursday in federal court in Philadelphia on behalf of him and 69 other former NFL players.

The suit the 12th concussion-related complaint filed against the NFL by the Locks Law Firm in Philadelphia, now representing about 700 former NFL players alleges that the league didn’t do enough to warn players that they risked permanent brain damage if they played too soon after a concussion, and that it concealed evidence about the risks for decades.

The suits claim that plaintiffs suffer from neurological problems after sustaining traumatic impacts to the head.

Karras, 76, of California, “sustained repetitive traumatic impacts to his head and/or concussions on multiple occasions” during his NFL career, and “suffers from various neurological conditions and symptoms related to the multiple head traumas,” the latest lawsuit says.

“Alex suffers from dementia but still enjoys many things, including watching football,” his wife and “Webster” co-star Susan Clark said in a news release Thursday. “But dementia prevents him from doing everyday activities such as driving, cooking, sports fishing, reading books and going to big events or traveling.

“His constant complaint is dizziness the result of multiple concussions. What Alex wants is for the game of football to be made safer and allow players and their families to enjoy a healthier, happier retirement.”

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April 6th, 2012
02:54 PM ET

Players react with disgust to Gregg Williams ordering Saints to target 49ers' heads, knees

In many ways, the "kill the head" speech by former New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams sounds like typical pregame, fire-up-the-troops rhetoric, but former and current players say there are several instances where the now-suspended coach crossed the line.

The speech has added new fire to an already scalding scandal in which the NFL alleges that the Saints administered a bounty program aimed at taking out opposing players.

The day before the Saints' January 14 playoff clash with the San Francisco 49ers, Williams started his speech by instructing his team to never apologize for how they play. No big deal.

Williams goes on to say, "Kill the head, the body will die," a twist on the frequent tutelage of boxer "Smokin'" Joe Frazier. It sounds nefarious given the recent attention given to concussions in football, but it could probably be written off as normal locker room bravado.

Except, and this is a big except, Williams starts naming players by name, and what's more, he starts naming anatomy: tight end Vernon Davis' ankle, running back Frank Gore's head, quarterback Alex Smith's chin and wide receiver Michael Crabtree's "outside ACL."

Former Detroit Lions cornerback Lamar Campbell, who retired in 2004, told the Detroit Free Press that Williams' speech began like many that Campbell heard during his playing days. Listening to it made him reminisce at first.

“You hear, ‘Knock the (expletive) out of him,’ and, ‘Kick his ass,’ and I love, ‘They’re going to be shocked with our contact, they’re going to be shocked with our speed, they’re going to be shocked with the way we strip,’ ” Campbell said Thursday. “I felt nostalgic reading it and then I get to a line that says, ‘Let’s see how many times we can bull rush and get that outside ACL,’ and it’s like, hold up. You had me and then, ‘Go get this guy’s ACL?’ Are you serious?”

Perhaps most disturbingly, Gregg Williams demands a big hit on kick returner Kyle Williams because of a recent concussion, something the New York Giants' Jacquian Williams and Devin Thomas caught heat for the following week when they said the same thing.

"We’ve got to do everything in the world to make sure we kill Frank Gore's head," Gregg Williams said on the tape. "We want him running sideways. We want his head sideways."

This could simply mean Williams wants his defense in the backfield so quickly that Gore has trouble getting upfield, that he wants Gore running east and west rather than north and south. Again, probably pretty typical of the instructions that defensive coordinators give to their men.

Even Williams' invocation to "knock the f*** out of" backup running back Kendall Hunter isn't as bad as it initially sounds because he follows it with world-class hyperbole.

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March 26th, 2012
01:20 PM ET

'Excited' Tebow says hello to New York

Nobody, absolutely nobody, could be more excited to be a New York Jet than Tim Tebow.

"Excited" was the word Tebow used frequently and relentlessly at a press conference Monday as he was introduced as the Jets' second-string quarterback and first-string media sensation and quite possibly, the most soft-spoken, humble and likeable guy ever to grace an NFL uniform.

"I'm so excited about being a Jet," he said as he stood alone at a podium in the team's fieldhouse, used for the one-man news conference because of the crush of media that wanted to attend.

“I’m so honored and humble to be a Jet," he continued. "I’m so thankful they wanted me.”

Tebow came to the Jets last week in a trade with the Denver Broncos, who jettisoned Tebow after signing free-agent superstar Peyton Manning.

The Broncos let Tebow go after he took over their starting quarterback position during the 2011 season,  and led the team to the playoffs and a victory over the heavily favored Pittsburgh Steelers in their first playoff game. Surely the trade would have rankled the Heisman Trophy winner from the University of Florida.

"There’s no ill will to the Broncos, their coaching staff, Peyton Manning or anybody,” Tebow said. "I'm always gonna root for those guys because we went through a lot together."

"We'll have a lot of great memories for a long time from last season."

Now he seems, well, excited, to make memories in New York.

"I just want to make this team a little bit better because I'm here," he said.

And how will he do that behind starting quarterback Mark Sanchez? He's excited to do whatever is asked of him, even if that doesn't mean getting behind center on Sunday afternoons.

“I’m a football player first and then a quarterback," Tebow said.  “I will give my whole heart to being the best Jet I can possibly be.”

And that includes being a great teammate for Sanchez.

Tebow said he and the Jets starting QB are good friends who get along well, and should make each other better.

"We'll be stronger together than we would be apart," he said.

Meanwhile, New York is, you guessed it, excited to have Tebow.

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Big reaction to Tebow trade in the Big Apple
Editors of New York's tabloids had fun with the trade of quarterback Tim Tebow to the New York Jets.
March 22nd, 2012
07:51 PM ET

Big reaction to Tebow trade in the Big Apple

First, New York had Linsanity. Now it's Tebow Time. Fans in New York are fickle after all.

After a few hours of on again, off again wrangling, Tim Tebow inked a deal with the "city that never sleeps" and is now a member of the New York Jets. Is Tim Tebow the answer to Jets fans prayers? Will Tim Tebow be accepted by New York City's large liberal and secular population?

New York sports radio was aflutter yesterday with comments from listeners both for and against the trade. Jets legend Joe Namath, who took New York by storm when he led the Jets to become Super Bowl champions in 1969, called the trade a "publicity stunt" on ESPN Radio and said, "I'm sorry I just can't agree with this situation. And I'm a Tim Tebow fan, but I'm a bigger Jet fan than I am a Tim Tebow fan."

Tebow, many say, is the polar opposite to the flamboyant ladies' man Namath. Neither Mark Sanchez, the current Jets starting quarterback nor his head coach Rex Ryan made any public comments about the trade.

The news of Tebow's departure from the Denver Broncos to the New York Jets may have left a sour taste in Broadway Joe's mouth, but do all Jets fans feel the same way? How will Tebow fair in a city with so much flare?

The New York tabloids seized the moment with a full Tebow blitz with front page headlines reading, "Amen" and "God Him." Even Lady Liberty herself took a knee and "Tebowed."

When asked about the Tebow trade, New York City Archbishop Timothy Dolan chose to remain neutral, saying, "we are going to stay away from this one at this time."

On the New York Jets' official Facebook page, fan reaction was mixed. One fan who was clearly in favor wrote:  "Can't wait to start cheering on the Jets!! Treat Tebow well. He is a great role model for all the young and not so young men as well as girls. You will not be disappointed! God put him on your team for a reason. Just have faith and Believe."

Not everyone was as positive on the Facebook fan page, with one comment saying,  "The only people that like Tebow here are women, kids, and the Tebow Cult lol sad."

CNN took to the streets of New York to get the pulse of the people. Outside the New York Jets store in Manhattan, many of the fans we spoke to had mixed emotions.

New Yorker Andrew Rubin said, "I think that the trade was terrible. I think, if you get Tebow without giving out a fourth round pick, you shouldn't have done it because that locker room is gonna be Tebow guys, and there's gonna be Sanchez guys, and the Jets have so many holes to fill that giving up that fourth round pick, it’s terrible."

Julio Moran, a Jet fan visiting New York who hails from Florida, said: "I love it. It’s great. I think it’s good for publicity and I just think ... he’ll bring fire to the team. Even though Sanchez will be No. 1, he’ll light a fire under his butt."

When asked if Tebow can handle all that New York has to offer and stick to his religious morals, Jets fan James Colasanto said:  "He’s different than most guys who come into the NFL, you know, where he sticks by his religion. He seems like there’s nothing fake about him, so he shouldn't have any problems, I don't think, handling New York in that sense."

Some are calling the move sheer genius from a marketing perspective. Ronn Torossian, CEO and president of 5W Public Relations, said: "I think Tim Tebow can be the King. ... He comes to New York already a celebrity."

Torossian added there is a lot of rewards in New York but also lots of risks. He points out that Tebow has lived a relatively sheltered and private life and that will most definitely change in New York.

"Tebow needs to be careful of the liberal media, who he gives access to and how. One mistake in New York off the field can make his brand change very,very quickly," Torossian said.

CNN spoke to former New York Giants player Amani Toomer about Tebow coming to the Big Apple and the temptations he faces.

"Whatever type of person you are, New York City is not going to change you," Toomer said. "New York City is not that place where it turns you into something you are not. I don't see him having any problem being in New York City."

Whatever side of the discussion you’re on, one thing is certain, Jets fans in New York will have to wait until next season to see what type of Hail Mary passes Tim Tebow throws and if he is in fact their new "savior."

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Filed under: New York • Pro football • Religion • Sports • Tim Tebow
Reports: Manning to sign with Broncos
Peyton Manning has spent 14 years with the Indianapolis Colts.
March 19th, 2012
12:58 PM ET

Reports: Manning to sign with Broncos

Peyton Manning wants to join the Denver Broncos, ESPN and the Denver Post reported Monday.

Manning has told his agent to begin contract negotiations with the Broncos, ESPN and the Post reported, both citing unnamed sources.

The Indianapolis Colts released Manning, a four-time National Football League Most Valuable Player, earlier this month as he was due to be paid a $28 million bonus if he remained on their roster.

Manning sat out the 2011 season after having surgeries on his neck. He has spent his entire 14-year career with the Colts.

SI.com: Denver takes a risk on Manning

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Filed under: Football • Peyton Manning • Pro football
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