Category Archives: NFL

A Tiger Returns Home To Give Back

By Serena Crawford

A Louisiana native, a two time SEC champion, with one national title, and two time super bowl champion. Corey Webster who grew up in a small town outside of New Orleans by the name of Vacherie began to catch the eye of in state college football coach Nick Saban, while playing as an all-state quarterback at St. James High. Webster was recruited out of High School as a wide receiver, however went on to become one of the top defensive backs in college football. Being one of the Defensive Backs who began LSU being considered the DB-U of college football. During Webster’s time at LSU under Saban he had the honor of not only winning two conference championships and one national championship, but as well being named a Jim Thorpe award semi-finalist two years in a row. Which is the highest honor a defensive player can be considered for in college football.

In 2005 Webster was drafted by the New York Giants, where he went on to win two super bowl championships. In the NFL that’s a near impossible achievement for any NFL player. Webster played his last year in the NFL for the Giants in 2013. Soon after Webster decided to return back home to Louisiana.

However his reasons for returning back to Louisiana instead of staying in New York may surprise many who do not know him.

“I will always have ties to Louisiana and I want to impact the next generation in Louisiana in a positive way,” Webster said.

Currently Webster is making constant efforts in order to impact this generation and the next. This past year he attended his first semester at LSU as a Graduate Student in order to receive his Master’s in Liberal Arts.

“I’ve been a lifelong learner and education is very important to me,” Webster said.

Even though he is involved with other professions and endeavors he believes attending Graduate School will only assist in the professions he currently obtains.

“I want to be very educated on everything I have going on. Like my financial information, CWF Foundation, and other organizations I contribute my time and effort to. So, I’m always willing to learn as much as I can,” Webster said.

Since being in the NFL Webster has been involved in the act of giving back. While playing for the Giants, Webster was involved in many charities such as Thanksgiving food drives for chosen families and donating coats to under privileged kids in New Jersey, just to name a few.

Webster has brought back the spirit of giving to Louisiana. He not only assists in helping with his high school alumni and LSU, he is currently involved with POPB. Program on Personal Branding which gives former professional athletes the opportunity to learn how to leverage their association with the NFL to launch their next career. Life after the NFL. This program began in 2010 as Webster works along two other colleagues. Dray Louviere who is currently an LSU graduate student, and Dr. Thomas Karama a professor in the LSU Marketing Department.

Louviere assist’s in planning the POPB seminars for former and current athletes.

“Corey has been our connection in finding former players that need assistance now that they are finished with their profession football careers,” Louviere said.

Louviere had many commemorating things to say about working alongside Webster.

“Corey brings experience and knowledge of what the players that come through our seminar have gone through. Corey really displays a passion for this program because he just wants to help former players succeed in their future endeavors,” Louviere said.

Louviere notices that because of Webster joining the POPB, that the program has grown enormously,

“Before Corey joined the program, we had a missing piece that we needed in order to be successful. Now that Corey is part of the program, he brings us the connection to all of the players that need assistance because those players trust Corey,” Louviere said.

The POPB most recent client was former LSU Tiger Marcus Spears, assisting in his brand with his current position at the SEC Network. Spears a former teammate of Webster’s at LSU. Both Webster and Louviere only see this program continuously growing. Many could agree that they aren’t looking for praise for their efforts, conducting this program for self-benefit, they really want to help others.

“The next generation is the future so it’s vital that I invest in it. More people should live their lives with the future generations in high importance that would ultimately help transform the world into a better place” said Webster.

Currently the POPB is also assisting in forming a brand for student athletes.

Webster will influence not only the next generation, but also his peers and those who came before him can look up to his actions and follow in his giving footsteps. Many may not realize that most players who decide to retire from the NFL or if their careers come to an end to unfortunate circumstance, aren’t sure which direction to take in order to obtain a career.

Because the money that they were making while playing in the NFL won’t last forever, so there has to be a backup plan set in place. The Program on Personal Branding will allow for these former professional athletes to figure out what career path to take after football.

Webster and his colleagues are making efforts to make sure that these athletes have a life after football. Many people in the business aren’t really concern with such things. That says a lost about Webster and his character, being that he wants to do all he can in order to help others.

The Use of Racial Mascots in Sport

By Kyle Huber

 

In the last few years mascots used in athletic programs have come under scrutiny due to their derogatory perceptions. The most common cases are mascots derived from various Native American symbols.

Mascot names include a variety of Native American language such as Indians, Braves, Redskins, Warriors, Chiefs and various tribal names.

Many teams utilize Native American rituals in their cheers and mascot outfits, such as the tomahawk chop, dances, war chants, drum beating, war-whooping and symbolic scalping.

These behaviors are deeply rooted in the Native American culture and many believe these behaviors illustrate the Indian culture as comical and cartoonish.

There are two different views on the use of these racial mascots.

Those who support the use of these mascots claim the images are meant to honor Native Americans, show the power and toughness of them and to enhance athletics by fostering such identities.

Those in opposition find them disrespectful and give false identities to the culture of the Native Americans, by portraying Indians as aggressive fighters and ignore the contemporary lifestyles many Native Americans partake.

The U.S. Commission of Civil Rights in 2001 condemned the use of Native American images and mascots by sports teams, stating such use of mascots, logos and nicknames were disrespectful and stereotypical of the Native American culture.

The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) also condemns them claiming, “Negative Indian stereotypes- especially those perpetuated by sports mascots- affect the reputation and self-image of every single Native person and foster ongoing discrimination against tribal citizens.”

Florida State University (FSU) has formed a relationship with the Seminole Tribe, who allow the school to use the Seminole imagery as a tribute to their tribe.

Florida State’s mascot is a depiction of Seminole Chief Osceola, portrayed by a student who is a tribe member of the Florida Seminoles, and the fans use the tomahawk chop cheer.

In 2005 the NCAA condemned college mascots who used Native American symbols by prohibiting, “colleges or universities with hostile or abusive mascots, nicknames or imagery from hosting any NCAA championship competitions,” also banning of displays of hostile references by mascots, cheerleaders, dance teams, band and team uniforms at NCAA championships.

So schools can keep their Native American mascots, but cannot not display them at any championship events.

In the past forty years, several universities have changed their school mascots and nicknames.

In 1973, Stanford changed their “Indian” imagery and changed to their school color, Cardinal. In 1975, Syracuse changed from “Saltine Warriors” to “Orangemen,” but changed again in 2004 to “Orange.”

In the 90’s Marquette’s changed from “Warriors” to “Golden Eagles” and Miami University, Ohio changed from “Redskins” to “Redhawks.”

Some of the more recent name changes include the University of Louisiana-Monroe change from “Indians” to “Warhawks” in 2006, and the University of North Dakota dropped their nickname the “Fighting Sioux” in 2012 and currently do not have a nickname.

In 2007, the University of Illinois Fighting Illini got rid of their dancing Indian mascot, Chief Illiniwek.

Northwestern State Demons still use Native American imagery within their program.

Since 1960, the winner of the Northwestern State – Stephen F. Austin football game wins the Chief Caddo trophy.

The trophy is a 7-foot-6 wood carving of Native American Chief Caddo, to honor the Native Americans who first settled in the two communities and provided safety for the early settlers.

There are fewer teams with Native American imageries in professional sports, including the Atlanta Braves, Cleveland Indians, Chicago Blackhawks, Kansas City Chiefs and most scrutinized, Washington Redskins

The Redskins have had their mascot name since 1933, when the club’s name was changed from the Boston Braves to the Boston Redskins.

In 1992, Suzan Harjo and six other Native Americans filed a petition to the Trial Trademark and Appeal Board (TTAB) to terminate the use of Redskins by the club.

The TTAB issued a cancellation of the mascot, but in 2003, a District Court reversed the decision, due to the TTAB’s lack of evidence of disparagement, allowing the Washington Redskins to keep their name.

The most recent outcry has been from President Obama, who said that if he were the owner of the Washington Redskins, he would consider changing the name. However, Redskins owner Dan Snyder has continuously stated that he will not change the name.

The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) says, “The Washington Redskins are the worst…There is nothing more disrespectful or demeaning than to call an Indian a redskin.”

In 2002, the Native American Journalists Association (NAJA) asked all news organizations to stop reporting on sports teams who used Native American imagery.

The Oregonian and the Minneapolis Star Tribune have both discontinued the use of nicknames that are deemed offensive in their publications.

Several football broadcasters and analysts have also stopped using the term “Redskins.”

Analysts Tony Dungy and Phil Simms have elected to simply call the team Washington. “I will personally try not to use Redskins and refer to them as Washington,” said Dungy.

Others such as Boomer Esiason, Jim Nantz and Troy Aikman, say they will continue to call them the Redskins as long as it is their team name. “That’s the name of their team and that’s what I am going to use,” said Esiason.

In 2002, Sports Illustrated took a poll of Native Americans on their beliefs on the use of Native American mascots in sports.

The magazine concluded that the majority of Native Americans were uninterested in the topic and in many instances supported the “honor” aspect of the use of mascots.

There are other ethnic groups that are used as mascots, including the Norte Dame Fighting Irish, Hofstra University Flying Dutchmen, Bethany College Swedes and the University of Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns.

The use of “Cajuns” has been protested by African American activists over the years.

In 1997, Louis Farrakhan protested that the state funding of the University of Louisiana-Lafayette used, “African American and Creole tax dollar to promote a white culture.”

The University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) has also had to change school imagery. Since 1936, Ole Miss has used the nickname of Rebels.

In 1983, Chancellor Porter L. Fortune prohibited the official use of the Confederate flag on campus, although the students and community continue to display the flag.

They also removed Colonel Reb, an imitation of a white plantation owner from the Civil War era, as the college’s mascot and in 2010 introduced a black bear named Rebel as his replacement.

With the public becoming more aware and sensitive to these racially derogatory athletic symbols, many organizations and universities have done away with them.

“Two-thirds or over 2,000 ‘Indian’ references in sports have been eliminated during the past 35 years,” says The National Congress of American Indians.

This is an unfortunate negative aspect that has overshadowed the many positive influences sports play in today’s society.

Hopefully we will soon be able to find a solution to this on-going debate and worry more about the team performances rather than their names.

LSU In The NFL

By Jessica Busada

(Photo from Saturday Down South)Former Tigers Tyrann Mathieu, Odell Beckham Jr., Patrick Peterson, Jeremy Hill and Jarvis Landry

(Photo from Saturday Down South)
Former Tigers Tyrann Mathieu, Odell Beckham Jr., Patrick Peterson, Jeremy Hill and Jarvis Landry

At the beginning of this season LSU had 43 former players on NFL rosters. Many of them are making a name for themselves in their rookie season.

Around the NFL tweeted, “Dolphins drafted a keeper in Jarvis Landry. Has been a big difference maker for his offense.”

According to NFL.com, Jarvis Landry currently has 63 receptions, 573 yards and five touchdowns. He is 23rd in the NFL for total receptions.

Odell Beckham Jr. made an amazing catch that caught the attention of all sports fans and is currently the “Best of the Best” on “SportsCenter.” The internet went crazy immediately following the catch.

“That has to be the greatest catch I have ever seen,” NBC’s Chris Collinsworth tweeted.

“There is your play of the year, maybe of the decade, whatever. That is just impossible,” NBC’s Al Michaels said.

“It is spectacular, and it’s truly Odell Beckham. I saw him and Jarvis make catches like that in practice all the time,” LSU coach Les Miles said in response to Beckham’s catch.

On Dec. 7, Beckham had his sixth straight game with at least 90 receiving yards. No other player had an active streak of more than two games entering that Sunday.

Two former LSU players set a NFL record on Nov. 17. Jeremy Hill and Alfred Blue became the first rookies from the same college to rush for 150-plus yards on the same day in NFL history.

Former LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger set records in his rookie NFL season. With 345 passing yards he became the fifth former LSU football player to throw for 300-plus yards in a NFL game and the first since Matt Flynn in 2012.

Mettenberger became the fourth LSU quarterback to start on Monday Night Football in his game against the Steelers on Nov. 17, according to LSU’s football twitter page.

The rookies are not the only former Tigers catching the attention of fans with their success.

Former Tiger Brandon LaFell is in his fifth season of professional football. He is ranked 34th in the NFL for total receptions with 57. LaFell has 753 yards and seven touchdowns.

Bennie Logan is now in his second season of professional football and is ranked 18th out of all NFL defensive linemen.

It is clear that LSU produces football stars with major talent setting them up for success in the NFL.

 

 

The life and death of Joe Delaney, part 2

(continued from part 1)

KC_arrowhead_delaney

Kansas City Chiefs Ring of Honor at Arrowhead Stadium

Part 2:  Death and legacy

A family without a father

At the time of his death in 1983, Delaney left behind three daughters: Tamika (7), Crystal (7) and four-month-old Joanna, known as “JoJo,” all by his high school sweetheart and widow Carolyn grew up down the street from him in Haughton.

According to a Sports Illustrated article about Delaney, he built a modest home on the same street after he signed his first (and only) pro contract.

Unchanged by fame and fortune

Natchitoches native and local banker Ed Dranguet handled Delaney’s personal finances throughout his successful yet brief career with the Chiefs.

“Joe was a very conservative kid. He lived off the money he’d made during training camp and banked his regular season salary,” Dranguet said.

“The only extravagant purchase I ever knew him to make was a fully loaded 1981 Mercury Cougar he’d seen at the local Ford dealership and just had to have. He told me it was the first vehicle he’d ever owned, and for someone who came from such a humble background – from a family who didn’t have much – and could suddenly afford almost anything, it was quite surprising that his so-called ‘dream car’ was a baby blue Cougar he got for under $18,000.

“That’s just who he was: a very down to earth, humble country boy who never let money change him.”

Posthumous accolades

Acknowledging Delaney’s “exemplary deeds of services for his country or fellow citizens,” President Ronald Reagan posthumously named him the recipient of the Presidential Citizen’s Medal, the nation’s second highest civilian award, shortly after his death in 1983.

His alma mater, NSU, which had already retired his jersey number 44 during Delaney’s final home game of his senior season, continues to honor him by playing the annual “Joe Delaney Bowl” to conclude its football spring season. The team’s permanent team captains’ award is also named in his honor.

Though his Kansas City Chiefs number 37 is not officially retired by the organization, no player has worn that number since Delaney’s death. His name is included in the team’s Ring of Honor at Arrowhead Stadium, and he has been elected to the College Football, Louisiana Sports and Chiefs halls of fame.

Additionally, the 37 Forever Foundation works with the American Red Cross to provide swimming lessons for underprivileged children among the Kansas City community.

The tragedy continues

LeMarkits Holland was only 10-years old on that fateful June day in 1983.

The lone survivor of the drowning, he says he found it difficult to cope with the loss of his older brother and cousin, plus the fact that a famous athlete had sacrificed his life so that he might live.

Instead of turning the traumatic experience into a positive in his life, Holland claims that guilt and depression led him down the dark path that eventually led to him becoming a convicted felon for distribution of cocaine.

Now free and raising children of his own, Holland now goes by “Marty” and says he’s found faith in God and is determined to the make the most of this, his third chance in life.

“You sit back and look at your life and think about what happened,” Holland told Black Athlete Sports Network in a 2008 interview. “You can sit down and pinpoint the mistakes that you made, what you should’ve did and what you shouldn’t have did.

“I think about Joe a lot. I think about Joe every time I see a football game. Because all those people were out there, and he was the only one out there to risk his life to try to save a life.”

The heartache has continued for Delaney’s family as well. His eldest daughter, Tamika, lost her fiancé in a drive by shooting while he was on vacation in Los Angeles in the early 2000s. His oldest sister, Alma, suffered the cruel fate of also losing her son, Sharlon, to a drowning in 2005.

“Keeping my belief in God has got me through, and remembering that everything happens for a reason,” Carolyn Delaney told BASN in 2008.

Delaney_grave

His legacy

Nearly 30 years later, Joe Delaney is still fondly remembered almost unanimously by those who knew him as a man of tremendous character and athletic talent who willingly sacrificed everything he had to gain in life so that others might live.

Upon Joe’s death, former UPI sports reporter Rick Gosselin, now is a sports columnist for the Dallas Morning News, poignantly observed that “Great athletes are born with instinct. Joe Delaney died with it.”

The life and death of Joe Delaney, part 1

Joe Delaney

Photo courtesy of arrowheadpride.com

Part 1:  Life

Imagine a scenario in which you are a rags-to-riches millionaire athlete who must make an instantaneous decision to either put your life at risk in an attempt to try and save the lives of total strangers, or simply play it safe by looking for someone else who may be better suited to perform that task.

If you hesitated to make a decision for even just a split-second, you’re no Joe Delaney.

June 29, 2013, marks the 30th anniversary of the untimely passing of one of the most talented yet equally selfless and humble stars American football has ever seen.

Joe Delaney was a star running back for the Northwestern State Demons and NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs, who died just two years after being named the 1981 American Football Conference offensive Rookie of the Year by the United Press International sportswriters association.

For all his speed, agility and power as a football player and track and field star, Joe was a poor swimmer. On that particular June day in 1983 he had driven his family 100 miles east from his hometown of Haughton, La., to Monroe, for a day of fun and recreation at Chenault Park.

While playing softball, Joe responded to the desperate screams of three young boys who had found themselves in danger of drowning while swimming in a water-filled pit.

“There was a little boy who was next to the pit and he was interviewed on the television after it happened,” Joe’s sister Lucille Delaney recounted to local reporters shortly following the incident. “And he said someone asked Joe, ‘Can you swim?’ And Joe said, ‘I can’t swim good but I’ve got to save those kids.’ And then he said, ‘If I don’t come up, go get somebody.’ ”

Those were presumably the last words Joe ever uttered.

One of the boys drowned instantly, along with Joe, while another died the following day. Only the third survived.

Humble beginnings

Joseph Alton Delaney was born on Oct. 30, 1958, the third of eight children. His father, Woodrow Delaney, drove a cattle truck and his mother, Eunice, worked as a housekeeper at the local First Baptist Church of Haughton.

“I remember when he was in seventh grade, a little kid, and he said to our mother, ‘Momma, I’m gonna be a pro football player,’ ” Lucille told one of the many journalists who interviewed her soon after Joe’s death. “’I’m gonna make you proud of me one day.’

“He was so small, we all laughed at him. I mean, it just seemed impossible that he’d ever make professional football.”

Delaney was recruited as a wide receiver out of high school by Division I powerhouses like LSU, Oklahoma and Texas. However, the guy everyone remembers as an honest and selfless young man was not surprisingly turned off by the less than scrupulous college football recruitment process.

According to Don Hudson, former managing editor of The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Miss., who met Delaney as a fellow freshman at NSU, Joe confided in him that he’d been “offered cars, money and everything else,” but “it was the honesty of coach (A.L.) Williams” that ultimately landed him at Northwestern State in nearby Natchitoches to play college ball.

Williams will never forget the conversations he had with Joe while on the recruiting trail.

“We were a team that threw the football, and he asked me if he would be a wide receiver if he came to our school,” Williams said. “Joe said he wanted to play pro ball and it was at wide receiver where he thought he’d have a shot. I said, ‘yes,’ and he chose to play for us at Northwestern State.”

Consummate team player

Soon after practice began during his freshman season in 1977, Northwestern State’s starting tailback was injured.

“Joe knew we were in trouble, and he walked up to me and said, ‘If I can help the team at tailback, I’ll switch,” said Williams, who told him he’d come to the school as a wide receiver and the choice was up to him.

At 5-foot-9, 180 pounds, Delaney was considered too small to play the physically demanding position of running back. However, his speed and determination would eventually catapult him to stardom as one of the school’s greatest of all-time at that position.

Delaney finished his college career with 3,047 total yards and 31 touchdowns. He was posthumously elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1997 for his stellar career as a Demon.

Two-sport success

While football was the sport he became famous for playing, Delaney’s true passion was track and field.

Due to his commitment to the football team, he was unable to run track during the spring at NSU until his senior season. Hudson remembers asking Joe why he would risk potentially damaging his body and therefore his chances of being drafted early in the upcoming NFL Draft by running track.

True to his nature, Delaney’s response was, “Because my good friend, (head track coach) Jerry Dyes asked me to.”

Delaney still holds the NSU 200-meter record with a time of 20.64 seconds, and also ran the second leg of the school’s 4 x 100 relay team that won the 1981 NCAA championship at LSU’s Bernie Moore Track and Field Stadium. His teammates were Victor Oatis, Mario Johnson and a fellow football star named Mark Duper, who soon went on to earn the nickname “Super” Duper as one of quarterback Dan Marino’s favorite targets at wide receiver during his career as a Miami Dolphin (1982-1992).

Rising NFL star

1982 Topps Joe DelaneyDrafted by the Kansas City Chiefs and coach Marv Levy with the 41st pick in the second round of the 1981 NFL draft, Delaney would set four club records in his rookie season en-route to being voted the only rookie starter for the AFC in that season’s Pro Bowl.

Though his numbers declined during his second NFL campaign, Joe made no excuses. An eye injury he sustained early in the season severely limited his vision. He would play the remainder of the year wearing protective goggles before switching to contact lenses.

It wasn’t until May 1982 that he’d be diagnosed with a detached retina in his right eye. “Sugar Ray’s disease,” he called it, a reference to another famous patient of his surgeon at Johns Hopkins, boxing champion Sugar Ray Leonard.

Joe would never get a chance to find out whether or not the procedure had worked well enough to give him the opportunity to achieve the athletic success that Leonard went on to have.

Click here for part 2

 

Teammates to arch-rivals to draft prospects…

Teammates to arch-rivals to draft prospects… this is the story.

Photo courtesy of Dutchtown Quarterbacks Club

Photo courtesy of Dutchtown Quarterbacks Club

 

Eric Reid and Eddie Lacy began a journey together as teammates at Dutchtown High school in Geismar, La., and now they will reunite in the Big Apple for the Draft.

On April 25th, Reid and Lacy awaited their fate in the 2013 NFL Draft. Both Reid and Lacy were in New York City at Radio City Music Hall Thursday night for the draft.

Reid ended up going with the 18th pick in the first round to the NFC champion San Francisco 49ers, while Lacy had to wait until Friday when he was taken with the  61st  overall pick in the second round by the Green Bay Packers.

Even though both players have had significant success in their football careers thus far, their stories are substantially different.

Reid, a Baton Rouge native, knew all along that he was destined to be an LSU Tiger. His father, Eric Reid Sr., won a national championship in the 110-meter hurdle in 1987 as a senior at LSU. Reid Sr. is in the schools athletic hall of fame as an All-American hurdler and still works on the LSU campus.

Reid, opted out of his senior season with the Tigers to make himself available for the 2013 NFL Draft. Becoming a professional football player has been a dream of Reid’s since he was a little boy.

“It is my dream, I’m living my dream,” Reid said before the draft to KSLA.com. “It really doesn’t matter what team I go to. I’m doing what a lot of other people aren’t able to do, so I’m very blessed for that.”

In his three years with the Tigers, Reid played on teams that won 10 or more games all three years. In 2011 LSU went 13-1 capturing the Southeastern Conference title and contended against Alabama in the BCS National Championship Game.

Reid and the Tigers came up substantially short against Lacy and the dominant Tide, 21-0. Overall, Reid’s three-year record at LSU was 34-6.

In his final season with the Tigers in 2012, Reid started all 13 games and finished third on the team in tackles with 91. He earned First Team All-America as a junior and was named twice to SEC Academic Honor Roll in 2011 and 2012.

Overall in his collegiate career as an aggressive safety, Reid played in 39 games, starting 29 times. He finished with 194 career tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, and six interceptions.

On the other side of the ball, ground and pound running back Eddie Lacy endured a harder road to the pros.

In 2005, as a freshman, Lacy earned a spot on the varsity football team at Helen Cox High School in Harvey when disaster struck.

Lacy, a Gretna native, was forced out of his hometown when Hurricane Katrina hit and the Lacy family relocated to Texas. After the storm passed, the Lacy family enrolled in the “Share Your Home” program that landed Lacy in Geismar.

“Because of the hurricane, I didn’t know where I would wind up or what my future would be,” Lacy said to the Advocate.com.

At Dutchtown High school, Lacy took his frustration out on the football field while gaining serious attention as a dominant running back for the Griffins.

Both Reid and Lacy received national attention from colleges all over the country despite both players suffering injuries prior to the start of their collegiate football careers.

Lacy’s desire to play out of state led him to sign with Alabama. During his four years in Tuscaloosa, Lacy redshirted his freshman year and then sat patiently waiting behind Hesiman Trophy winner Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson, both now in the NFL.

As a junior, Lacy ran for 1,322 yards on 204 carries and 17 touchdowns, earning First Team All-SEC honors. In his final game as a Crimson Tide, Lacy earned MVP honors and scored two touchdowns and collected 140 yards in the BCS National Championship game against Notre Dame.

“He’s faster than you think,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said to ESPN.com. “He has very deceptive speed and very deceptive quickness. … I think Eddie is a very, very complete player. I don’t really see a lot of flaws in his game. I think he’ll be a very, very good player for somebody.”

In his four years with the Tide, Lacy has been a part of a program that went 50-5 winning three BCS National Championships and two SEC Championships. Needless to say, Lacy has been a part of a national powerhouse with Coach  Saban and the Crimson Tide.

Lacy faced a national disaster at the start of his football career but it seems like nothing will detour him on his path to success.

“I can get through anything, any obstacle after you know, everything that I’ve been through,” Lacy said to ESPN.com. “I just know that nothing can stop me.”

Two Tigers drafted in first round of the 2013 NFL Draft

saints mgWell, the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft is in the books.  Another record showing for the SEC, with 12 of the 32 players chosen on the first day of the draft hailing from schools that currently play in the conference that’s won the past seven consecutive BCS national football titles.

In fact, the New York Jets and Minnesota Vikings doubled their pleasure on SEC talent on day one in an effort to double their fun in the near future.  The Jets took cornerback Dee Milliner out of Alabama with the ninth pick and Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Williams four picks later at 13; while the Vikings took two guys who, if nothing else can be defined as spellcheck nightmares:  former UF defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd at 23 followed by wideout Cordarrelle Patterson out of Tennessee at 29.

LSU defensive end Bakevious Mingo  became the first Louisiana prospect be taken in the 78th NFL Draft, sixth overall by the Cleveland Browns.  Mingo is the sixth top six pick from LSU in the last seven years; following Morris Claiborne (#6, 2012), Patrick Peterson (#5, 2011), Tyson Jackson (#3, 2006), Glenn Dorsey (#5, 2008), and arguably the biggest bust in NFL draft history, JaMarcus Russell (#1, 2007).

Thirteen-year-old St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital bone cancer patient Markell Gregoire and lifelong Saints fan was called upon to announce the New Orleans Saints’ 15th pick, Kenny Vaccaro, a highly touted safety out of the University of Texas- Austin.  What a classy move by the Saints!

The only other Louisiana prospect to go in the first round besides Mingo was fellow LSU Tiger Eric Reid, selected at 18 by the defending NFL Champion San Francisco 49ers.  To get Reed, the 49ers were willing to give up the 31st pick in the first round to the Dallas Cowboys (Travis Frederick, C, Wisconsin) and the team’s 74th overall in the third round.

All-star attorneys suit up to argue future of NFL concussion lawsuit

Photo courtesy of Ron Cogswell

Photo courtesy of Ron Cogswell

After thousands of former players sued the National Football League (NFL) over its alleged negligence in the handling of concussions, the NFL tapped the star quarterback of the legal world, Paul Clement, to represent the league.

Clement, who served as U.S. solicitor general under President George W. Bush, typically argues high-profile cases, including the recent showdowns before the U.S. Supreme Court on the issues of health care reform and same-sex marriage.

Nevertheless, Clement is not the only all-star attorney involved in the lawsuit. The former players have hired David Frederick, who also regularly participates in important cases, such as those involving consumer protection interests.

Clement argued April 9 that the lawsuit against the NFL should be dismissed, while Frederick tried to convince the judge that the former players’ suit should be allowed to proceed to trial.

Yet, these high-profile attorneys did not square off in the U.S. Supreme Court or even in a federal court of appeals, which are the higher courts where their services are usually employed. Instead, their participation began at the outset of the case, arguing at a hearing before a federal district judge in Philadelphia. This involvement at the lower court level underscores the magnitude of the lawsuit against the NFL and the billions of dollars that are potentially at stake.

“(Clement and Frederick) spend most of their time … at the Supreme Court,” Paul Anderson, a Missouri attorney who tracks the NFL litigation, said in an interview with the Associated Press. “This is really a multibillion-dollar issue. That’s why both parties went out and hired the best of the best.”

After graduating magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, Clement clerked for two federal judges, including U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. It was only a matter of time before Clement made a name for himself in the legal community.

“The buzz in the legal world about Clement is like the buzz in basketball when LeBron James was coming out of high school and turning pro,” Washington attorney Evan Tager told the National Law Journal. “Paul Clement is the Holy Grail of law firm recruiting.”

Frederick boasts an impressive resume as well. Like Clement, Frederick also clerked for two federal judges after law school, including U.S. Supreme Court Justice Byron White, who was an All-American halfback at Colorado and the fourth overall selection in the 1938 NFL Draft. Thus, it is fitting that Frederick represents the former players in their suit against the NFL.

According to the Washington Times, over 4,000 former players are represented in the litigation. This includes roughly 300 players who played for the New Orleans Saints at some point in their career, such as Willie Roaf, Joe Horn, and Eddie Kennison.

Louisiana attorney Derriel McCorvey, a former LSU safety who spent one season with the Indianapolis Colts, has assisted a number of former players with their involvement in the lawsuit against the NFL. McCorvey’s clients include former LSU star Justin Vincent and former Southern standout Charlie Granger.

“The league is pretty powerful,” McCorvey said according to Bloomberg News. “Most people don’t have a good chance of taking on the league,” though McCorvey recognized that the arguments of the former players in the current suit against the NFL are strong.

During the April 9 hearing in Philadelphia, Frederick told U.S. District Judge Anita Brody that the efforts by the NFL to handle player safety issues were fraudulent and amounted to a “sham.” According to court filings, the former players believe that the NFL “glorified the hyper-violent collisions most likely to lead to head trauma and orchestrated a disinformation campaign to conceal the resulting brain injuries.”

Meanwhile, Clement argued that the players’ lawsuit should be dismissed because it is “pre-empted” by the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement (CBA), which requires certain disputes to proceed before an arbitration panel as opposed to being heard in court. Clement also stated that the individual NFL teams, as opposed to the NFL itself, were primarily responsible for the safety of the players.

“The (teams) are the ones who had doctors on the sidelines who had primary responsibility for sending players back into the game,” Clement said at a news conference following the hearing.

ESPN Legal Analyst Lester Munson believes the future of the lawsuit may come down to a case that was previously decided by a higher court whose decisions are binding on the Philadelphia court in which the NFL litigation currently resides. The case, Kline v. Security Guards, Inc., involved a group of security guards who sued their employer, alleging fraud and concealment. The court ruled that, because the security guards’ CBA did not expressly cover allegations of fraud or concealment, the case could proceed to trial as opposed to being sent to arbitration.

Frederick argued Tuesday that the CBA of the former NFL players, like that of the security guards, also did not specifically apply to claims of fraud or concealment. Thus, Frederick contended that the former players’ case should be able to proceed to trial.

Clement attempted to distinguish the Kline case from the current suit against the NFL. He argued that, unlike the CBA of the security guards, which did not mention the subject of their dispute, the CBA of the former NFL players did provide for disputes concerning health and safety provisions.

The judge’s emphasis on the Kline case during the hearing could be a bad sign for Clement and the NFL.

“It is always difficult to predict the outcome of a legal argument by parsing the questions the judge asks during the hearing,” Munson wrote on ESPN.com, “but (Judge) Brody’s focus on the Kline case was clearly good news for the players.”

While Brody’s ruling likely will not determine which side actually prevails in the lawsuit, the ruling could control whether a jury or a panel of arbitrators ultimately decides the case.

That factor alone could have a major impact on any eventual outcome.

“Juries in general are much more sympathetic to injured players and former heroes, and there’s no limit on how much they could provide in damages,” Anderson said in an interview with ABC News. “But if the NFL is able to get the cases in front of an arbitrator whose sole job is to interpret the contracts, they’ll most likely rule in favor of the league.”

Brody’s decision is not expected for a few months.

Regardless of whether the case is ultimately heard by a jury or an arbitration panel, both sides will have their all-star attorneys ready to suit up if their number is called.

Louisiana Tech well represented at NFL Combine

Photo courtesy of Westside Shooter

Photo courtesy of Westside Shooter

This may surprise you.

Louisiana Tech has more players participating in the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine than Michigan and Texas combined, as the Bulldogs make their presence known this week on a national stage in Indianapolis.

“It’s great to have so many players at the combine, and it’s important to continue to push our name out,” said Patrick Walsh, Associate Media Relations Director at Louisiana Tech.
“This further shows what we’ve been able to do at Louisiana Tech on the gridiron.”

The annual NFL Combine, an invitation-only event that brings together the nation’s top professional prospects, allows NFL teams to observe over 300 players as they undergo a series of physical and mental tests.

Louisiana Tech punter Ryan Allen, quarterback Colby Cameron, offensive lineman Oscar Johnson, offensive lineman Jordan Mills, and wide receiver Quinton Patton all received invitations to attend the combine.

Walsh said the number of combine participants this year is a record for Louisiana Tech.

The most anticipated prospect in the group is Patton. He hauled in 183 receptions for 2,594 yards and 24 touchdowns during his two seasons with the Bulldogs, leaving first-year Tech coach Skip Holtz to find a new target for the Bulldog offense.

“I thought he had a really solid day,” NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said Sunday following Patton’s workout. “He ran faster than people thought he would, he catches the ball very naturally … I think he’s a solid second round pick.”

Charley Casserly, who has served as general manager of the Washington Redskins and Houston Texans, also weighed in on Patton’s performance.

“The best thing he does is the ability to run after the catch and (separate) from defenders,” said Casserly, who now works as an analyst for NFL Network. “Those things don’t necessarily show up in a workout like this.”

Before playing for Louisiana Tech, Patton attended Coffeyville Community College in Coffeyville, Kan., where he garnered first team all-conference honors as a wide receiver and second team all-conference honors as a punter.

Mayock noted that, while Patton did not face Southeastern Conference-caliber defenses week in and week out during his college career, he excelled against quality competition when given the opportunity.

“He had 21 catches against Texas A&M,” Mayock said, referring to Patton’s 233 receiving yards and four touchdowns last season against the eventual Cotton Bowl champions. “(He) dominated the football game.”

When asked about the criticism regarding his lack of playing experience against higher quality opponents, Patton shrugged off the question.

“I really don’t care what people say,” he said Saturday when addressing the media. “I’m just a ballplayer.”

Patton made it clear that he has only one objective during his trip to Indianapolis.

“I’m just out to put on a show here,” Patton said. “Then it’s up to the football gods after that.”

ESPN analyst Mel Kiper, Jr. ranks Patton as the fourth-best wide receiver prospect in this year’s NFL draft. Mayock lists Patton as the fifth-best receiver in the draft.