Jeff Heath Jersey

Position of need, weakness of the Cowboys’ defense or the team’s top draft priority — Jeff Heath realizes there were persistent pleas for Dallas to upgrade the safety position this offseason. Yet, Heath is not going to let it affect his mindset as he prepares for his seventh year.

Heath was a guest on ESPN Dallas 103.3 [KESN-FM] this week and he discussed his mentality in the midst of calls for his demotion.

“I feel the same that I do every year. Regardless of what other safeties are there “So that’s going to be something that not only myself, but everyone deals with on a yearly basis.”

The Cowboys didn’t break the bank at safety this offseason. Dallas signed George Iloka and drafted Donovan Wilson in the sixth round to compete at strong safety, the position where Heath started all 16 regular season and two postseason games last year.

Xavier Woods is the likely starter at free safety. But strong safety figures to be a position that’s up for grabs with Iloka and Heath as the two leading candidates to top the depth chart.

How does Heath feel about the looming position battle? It is a situation that Heath says he’s grown accustomed to.

“That’s what makes the NFL the NFL. You always have to compete for your spot. I don’t see it as a competition with other players,” Heath said. “I see it as a competition with myself to try to be better than the year I was before. Improve on stuff I need to improve on. It’s just a more enjoyable way to play rather than trying to look over your shoulder at all times.”

The competition at safety is one of the marquee position battles for the Cowboys. A healthy contest to head the depth chart should naturally improve what was a sore spot on the Cowboys defense in 2018.

FRISCO, Texas – Dak Prescott scrambled left for a touchdown in red-zone drills at Cowboys minicamp on Thursday.

On a similar play Wednesday, he was sent out of bounds by safety Jeff Heath. Prescott shoved Heath afterward. Heath shoved back. Then the Cowboys leadership-council members moved on.

“I mean, Dak is one of my best friends on the team,” Heath said Wednesday. “That happens all the time.

“He’s a competitor. He’s got the same mentality that defenders have. I like that he reacted that way.”

Prescott, glancing left at Heath’s locker on Thursday, agreed.

“When you’re playing the same guys over and over again, and you’re getting better, they have good days, we have good days, you’re getting the best of each other, tensions raise,” Prescott said. “But he’s one of my best friends and that was just a heat-of-the-moment deal and just showing that I’m not going to take anything.”

Prescott said he and Heath talked afterward and laughed about it. Neither would expect any less fire, he added. Contact is limited during minicamp practices, which concluded Thursday. Players can’t compete one-on-one until training camp practices begin July 27.

But that level of competition is what coaches want, Jason Garrett said. Garrett lauded Prescott for balancing “great leadership skills” with being a “natural competitor.” Since becoming the Cowboys’ starter as a rookie in 2016, Prescott has claimed 14 regular-season game-winning drives. No NFL quarterback has posted more in his first three seasons. Coaches and teammates look to nurture that competitive spirit.

“Sometimes competition brings out the best in each other and guys burr up and it gets a little contentious,” Garrett said. “It gets a little edgy. All that stuff is good for your team.”

Prescott will continue to work on his mechanics the next six weeks individually and with his receivers. He and members of the receiving corps will travel for a throwing session midway through the break to fine-tune routes and stay fresh on communication. A timeline for Prescott’s looming contract negotiation, however, remains less certain. He said Thursday that “yeah, I’m involved. It’s about me. But [talks] stand where they stand.” Prescott declined to estimate when negotiations might wrap up.

“It happens when it happens,” Prescott said, wearing a Stetson hat just out of the box. “I’ve got my cowboy hat on, so I’m a Cowboy. Let’s say that.”

If nothing else, Jeff Heath is a survivor. From his entry into the NFL as an undrafted free agent to his rise to a starting safety, he has survived all challenges. Now he has to do it again. He formed one half of the Cowboys safety duo last year, but Xavier Woods is the one whose job is safe while Heath will have to fight for his playing time once again. Same as it ever was for Heath.

Heath’s main competition is going to come from George Iloka. Like Heath, he is a versatile safety but would seem to be more comfortable in the box than back as a single-high free safety. Fortunately for Dallas, Woods seems more than comfortable playing the free position, leaving Heath and Iloka to battle for the primary box safety spot. In the Cowboys scheme, though, the safeties often switch roles so they need interchangeable players. They have that, to some extent, in Woods, Heath and Iloka.

Heath is a brilliant athlete who shines on special teams, but his penchant for bad angles and reads have led to him being out of position far too often. Pro Football Focus saddled Heath with the most missed tackles against the run by a safety in the NFL during the 2018 season. That would seem problematic for a player who is in the box as often as Heath is during a season.

On the other hand, Iloka is a solid tackler. We turn to our friend John Owning for this:

This is setting up to be a pretty good camp battle. But competition is nothing new for Heath. It seems every year he’s being talked about in terms of being replaced. Heath does have a penchant for making big plays in key situations, leading to his somewhat derisive nickname as the GOAT. Crucial interceptions and his forced fumble on Derek Carr a couple of years ago are examples of how Heath comes up big at times, but it is the consistency of the every-down play that plagues Heath. The missed tackles and bad angles have led the Cowboys faithful to ask for his benching on more than one occasion.

Sixth-round pick Donovan Wilson could also find himself in this mix. He’s already become a pet cat for some. Training camp and the preseason games will be the test for Wilson to see if he can nudge his way into the competition, but a betting man would put his money on a competition between Heath and Iloka for the starting spot. One thing Heath has in his favor is the backing of the Cowboys front office. They have always believed in Heath more than the fanbase. Still, the fact they brought in Iloka and added Wilson in the draft would lead one to think there is a competition at the position.

Who ya got BTB as the starter opposite Xavier Woods?

FRISCO, Texas – If you think competition concerns Jeff Heath, think again.

The veteran safety’s career has been defined by defiance of the NFL odds, starting in 2013 as a rookie free agent out of tiny Saginaw Valley State.

“People forget how I got into this league. I was an undrafted player. I had one scholarship out of high school – one scholarship offer,” he said at the Cowboys’ annual Reliant Home Run Derby. I’ve never been handed anything in my entire life. And every year I’ve been in the NFL, I’ve had to earn everything I’ve gotten.

“So this year is no different. I kind of answer that question every year the same way, but I’m just going to keep giving you guys the same answer.”

The Cowboys have added depth at the strong safety spot this offseason. In March they signed eighth-year veteran George Iloka, a former starter in Cincinnati who can play either safety position, to a one-year deal. In April they drafted Texas A&M standout Donovan Wilson in the sixth round.

But until further notice, Heath once again projects as a starter beside third-year vet Xavier Woods. Earlier this month, Cowboys chief operating officer Stephen Jones said the team is comfortable with their safety depth.

“I just think we’ve got a good situation,” Jones said.

Indeed, Heath has been a big part of the defense’s improvement the last few years. A core special teams contributor since his rookie year, he emerged as a defensive starter in 2017.

He has led the Cowboys in interceptions (7) the past four seasons, including one against Aaron Rodgers in the 2016 divisional-round playoff loss to Green Bay. He has made winning plays in critical moments, like the forced touchback against Raiders quarterback Derek Carr that kept the Cowboys’ playoff hopes alive two years ago.

The Cowboys value Heath’s toughness and experience. But those outside questions about his role? He’ll continue to use them as fuel.

“When you’re an undrafted player you have a chip on your shoulder no matter what. And if you lose that chip, that’s when you start messing up,” he said. “I’m comfortable in that situation. I understand how this business is. They’re always looking to replace you. So I’m really just going to continue doing what I’ve been doing.”

Chris Jones Jersey

Shortly after the Kansas City Chiefs drafted defensive tackle Chris Jones out of Mississippi State back in 2016, the franchise signed him to a four-year, $6.23 million rookie contract.

That deal is set to expire following the 2019 season and given his world-beating 2018 season, the 24-year-old has elected to hold out of KC’s June minicamp. Fast forward a few weeks later, however, and Jones is still nowhere to be seen at the Chiefs’ facilities.

Training camp begins on July 26 and Jones has showed no signs that he will take part in the ever-important practice sessions.

What more need be said?

Jones is 100% justified in holding out. A player coming off a 15.5-sack, 29-QB hit, and 19-tackle for loss season should not be making $1.2 million the following campaign.

As Jones states, he has a while to keep playing at an elite level in the NFL. He’s established himself as one of the best interior linemen in the game and deserves a new-and-improved deal.

It’s as simple as that.

To say that the Chiefs are making an outlandish gaffe by hard-balling him wouldn’t even begin to describe the stalemate.

Chris Jones could be nearing a new deal, but he won’t be joining his team until he has one.

The star defensive tackle was not with the Chiefs for the start of the team’s three-day mandatory minicamp on Tuesday, NFL Media reported, citing unidentified sources.

Jones is expected to miss the entire minicamp as discussions around a contract extension have stalled. He will be subject to fines for his absence, the report noted.
Jones, who is in the final season of his rookie deal, has also missed all of the team’s voluntary workouts this offseason. While the two sides have started discussions to negotiate a contract extension, a timetable for a deal remains unknown.

“There’s a lot of time to go before the season starts, and he’s certainly a guy that we’ve targeted and would love to get done,” Chiefs general manager Brett Veach told the Star in March. “The conversations have started.

“I wouldn’t say they are heating up at a rapid pace, but you’ve got to start somewhere. We’ve had two to three of these conversations and they’re getting better.”

Jones, 24, was selected out of Mississippi State in the second round of the 2016 draft. He led the Chiefs and finished third in the NFL with 15 1/2 sacks last season.

Chiefs sacks leader Chris Jones has yet to make an appearance at the team’s offseason workout program, according to Yahoo Sports.

This may be nothing as OTAs at this point are a voluntary activity, but with Jones in the final year of his contract, it certainly is something to note.

Jones’ four-year, $6.23 million rookie deal is up after this season as he is set to make $1.19 million this year.

He tallied a career-high 15 1/2 sacks in 2018 and the 2016 second-round pick has 24 sacks in three seasons with the team.

But the Chiefs changed defensive coordinators this offseason as former Giants and Saints coach Steve Spaguolo took over the duties.

With that change has come some questions about the team’s personnel as they have already traded Dee Ford to the 49ers and picked up Frank Clark from the Seahawks in an effort to make the switch from the 3-4 to the 4-3 easier.

Jones may not be part of the team’s long-term plan for sure, but as of right now he appears to be as general manager Brett Veach spoke about his excitement in pairing Jones and Clark together.

“You have to win these games in the trenches – you have to have a great o-line and a great defensive line,” Veach said, via Yahoo Sports. “We feel really good about our defensive line.”

So it looks like Jones is in the team’s plans, but it’s possible the team could franchise tag him after this season much like they did with Ford this year.

Jones could very well be holding out in hopes of getting a new deal and that could explain his absence.

Or, he’s simply working out on his own and missing voluntary activities doesn’t matter. We’ll see which it is as this story unfolds.

When it comes to writing profiles, Esquire’s Chris Jones is used to getting the last word. But a few weeks ago, when Jones worked his storytelling mojo on Roger Ebert, he took on someone who had his own platform and his own audience.

jones-c“I knew Roger was writing about the story,” Jones told us via email, confessing his hands had trembled when he clicked on the link to see what Ebert had written about his piece. “I mean, he’s a critic, right? And I really enjoyed spending time with him, and I hope he enjoyed spending time with me. I didn’t want him to feel regret for having let me in.

“So, when I read what he posted, I felt like 1,000 pounds had been lifted off my shoulders. I could have received a million letters from other people saying they liked the story, but if Roger Ebert had hated it, I would have felt bad about that, literally for the rest of my life.”

Jones’ moving profile of the film critic drew praise from Ebert, and also garnered a mention by Jim Romenesko and a post from the Cronkite School’s Tim McGuire, who portrayed the article as a call to the journalistic ramparts. And it’s true that the Ebert article is beautifully written, and that Jones is a national continental treasure (it turns out that the Canadians get credit for him, along with Sidney Crosby and Celine Dion).

But the thing that struck me about the story is how its online existence has transformed it. If it had come out as a print piece only, the profile of Ebert would have been read and praised, then perhaps used in some classes or maybe eventually, it would have found its way into a collection of Jones work. But what has emerged instead is a larger, living thing—a dialog of stories, if you will, between Ebert and Jones, and Ebert and Esquire.

The online version referenced Ebert’s journal on the Chicago Sun-Times site and described the movie expert expounding there on the “existence of an afterlife, the beauty of a full bookshelf, his liberalism and atheism and alcoholism, the health-care debate, Darwin, memories of departed friends and fights won and lost.”

So we have an Esquire piece that points to nearly two years of entries in Ebert’s online journal, followed by Ebert using his online journal to comment on the Esquire piece. But the story doesn’t stop there. Ebert talks about his work with Esquire decades ago and mentions “the best interview I ever wrote” for the magazine. And that interview, “Saturday at Lee —-ing Marvin’s,” is now posted on Esquire’s site as well, linking back to Ebert’s response and the original profile.

These posts and stories work particularly well together because of the talent possessed by both writers. But their connection also illustrates how a standalone story can evolve into a larger narrative by picking up prologues and codas as it finds echoes and responses in the world.

Tyrone Crawford Jersey

The NFL is reportedly investigating allegations that Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman Tyrone Crawford pushed multiple police officers during an incident at the Coyote Ugly Saloon in Panama City Beach, Florida, on Friday.

According to TMZ Sports, NFL investigators visited the bar in an attempt to obtain surveillance video from the night in question. TMZ Sports posted video of the fight on Wednesday:

TMZ Sports previously reported that Crawford was one of eight to 10 people engaged in a bloody brawl at the Florida bar, which resulted in a bar employee suffering a broken foot.

Witnesses told TMZ Sports that Crawford “bull rushed his way through two cops and aggressively put his hands on two officers” while they were attempting to make an arrest. Crawford was not arrested, and he has not been charged with any crimes.

TMZ Sports noted that the police report states the bar does have surveillance, but there were blind spots that resulted in “key moments” of the fight being missed.

The 29-year-old Crawford is set to enter his seventh NFL season, all of which have been spent with the Cowboys. The 2012 third-round pick out of Boise State enjoyed a productive season in 2018 with 34 tackles and a career-best 5.5 sacks in 15 regular-season games.

Crawford is expected to play a big role in Dallas’ defense again next season as a starting defensive tackle, but he could face a suspension from the NFL under its personal conduct policy.

Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman Tyrone Crawford allegedly shoved two police officers during an incident at a Florida bar on Friday, according to TMZ Sports.

Per the report, the 6’4″, 290-pound lineman had to be restrained after he allegedly “aggressively put his hands” on a pair of officers who were making an arrest following a brawl involving eight to 10 people.

Per the report, Crawford and his associates got into an altercation with the Coyote Ugly Saloon staff in Panama City, Florida, last week. The brawl resulted in multiple injuries, with a bar employee suffering a broken foot, though there was no indication Crawford was injured.

Police were called to the scene as the situation escalated, and law enforcement said the fight was still ongoing when they arrived. Witnesses told TMZ Sports that the 29-year-old Crawford “was a key player” in the violence.

Crawford was not arrested.

TMZ Sports reported that the incident was captured on the bar’s surveillance video, although the footage has not been made public.

Crawford has spent the first six years of his career in Dallas, piling up 22 sacks in the process. The Cowboys captain had to leave a Dec. 23 contest because of a neck injury and subsequently missed the team’s final game of the regular season.

He was able to appear in both of the team’s postseason contests but was held without a sack against both the Seattle Seahawks and Los Angeles Rams.

Dallas Cowboys linebacker Tyrone Crawford is being prosecuted for that crazy bar fight at the Coyote Ugly Saloon — but shockingly, he’s not being charged with assault.

Remember, we posted footage showing the Cowboys defensive team captain WRECKING several bouncers at the Panama City Beach, FL bar on March 15. We also know Crawford shoved TWO police officers while they were in the process of making an arrest later that night.

But, despite the footage, court records show Crawford was only charged with the single misdemeanor count of unlawful assembly, which a maximum sentence of up to 60 days in jail.

It does not appear as if Crawford was ever formally arrested — but we know he’s already entered a not guilty plea and is currently fighting the charge. He’s due back in court next month.

We know the Panama City Beach Police Dept. conducted an investigation — and spoke with multiple Coyote Ugly staffers.

One staffer told police Crawford’s party had been bothering a female bartender at an inside area earlier that evening and they had been told to stay outside for the rest of the night or leave the premises.

25 minutes later, a fight broke out and several bouncers tried like hell to restrain Crawford and his brother — and judging by the video, it didn’t go very well.

The issue for Crawford and the Cowboys … the NFL can discipline Tyrone for his conduct if they feel he violated the league’s personal conduct policy … even if he ultimately beats the criminal charge.

We reached out to prosecutors to find out why Crawford was hit with such a minor charge — so far, no word back.

Dallas Cowboys defensive end Tyrone Crawford — a defensive team captain — shoved TWO police officers while they were making an arrest during a bar brawl in Florida, TMZ Sports has learned.

Crawford was at the Coyote Ugly Saloon in Panama City on March 15, when things got violent around midnight. Sources tell us Crawford’s crew had gotten into it with bar staff.

The fight was epic — in a bad way — multiple people suffered bloody injuries, including bar staff. One employee suffered a broken foot in the melee.

Cops raced to the scene … and witnessed 8 to 10 people still fighting outside, this according to the police report obtained by TMZ Sports.

The report does not mention Crawford by name, but we’ve spoken with witnesses who are adamant Crawford was a key player in the incident.

At one point, Crawford — 6’4″, 285 pounds — bull rushed his way through two cops and aggressively put his hands on TWO officers who were in the process of handcuffing one of the alleged combatants.

Multiple cops swarmed Crawford and restrained him — while pushing him away from the arrest scene.

The incident involving Crawford was captured on the bar’s surveillance video and shows the scene play out clear as day.

Despite the chaotic scene, Crawford was NOT arrested.

We’ve reached out to Crawford and the Cowboys for comment — so far, no word back from either camp.

Before the Rams acquired them during the second half of the season, running back C.J. Anderson and edge rusher Dante Fowler played against the Dallas Cowboys.

Anderson rushed for 35 yards for the Carolina Panthers in a 16-8 season-opening victory.

“They’re fast,” Anderson said of the Cowboys defense, which finished the regular season ranked seventh in the NFL. “And they’re a lot better now.”

Fowler made one tackle in the Jacksonville Jaguars’ 40-7 loss at Dallas in Week 6. It was the Cowboys’ highest-scoring game of the season.

“They have a pretty good offense,” Fowler said, noting the duo of quarterback Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott. “You can’t…

Geoff Swaim Jersey

After the Dallas Cowboys selected Laurence Gibson in the seventh round, everyone thought the Cowboys were done in the draft; however, they made a surprising move back into the seventh round where they selected Texas tight end Geoff Swaim.

Swaim is a two-year player at Texas who transferred from Butte College in California. He played in 26 career games with 22 career starts where he recorded 13 career catches for 84 yards and a touchdown.

Many of you may be wondering why team that doesn’t appear to have a need at tight end would draft a player with such abysmal production in two years of playing time. The reason Swain was drafted was because of his athleticism and inherent upside as a tight end.

Swaim was the ninth most athletic tight end in this draft class, per’s Zach Whitman. That athletic upside points to Swaim having upside as a receiver for the Cowboys.

While he may have more upside as a receiver, Swaim was primarily used as an in-line blocker for Texas’ heavy-run scheme.

In fact, the NFL Network’s Charles Davis stated that Swaim thrived as a blocker (h/t The Dallas Morning News’ Jon Machota):

When he was targeted in the passing game, Swaim showed natural hands and the ability to go up and make tough catches in traffic.

The hardest part of Swaim’s progression will be learning how to run routes and how to naturally separate from defenders when he is running his routes. This is the aspect of playing tight end that Jason Witten has mastered. He isn’t very athletic, but he knows how to pace his routes, use head and body fakes to create separation from defenders who are much more athletic than he is.

Swaim’s only chance to make the roster is to become the fourth blocking tight end if the Cowboys don’t keep a fullback on the roster. If not, Swaim will likely be delegated to the practice squad where he could develop his route running and hopefully develop into a more well-rounded tight end entering next year.

The Jacksonville Jaguars signed former Dallas Cowboys tight end Geoff Swaim Friday, addressing another big need they came into the offseason with. The terms of the veteran’s deal have yet to be revealed, but the team made the announcement official via social media.

Swaim, 27, was a seventh round pick (No. 246 overall) out of the University of Texas for the Cowboys in 2015 and spent four seasons there. He started in 18-of-37 games for Dallas during his tenure with Dak Prescott and company and managed to accumulate 35 catches for 336 receiving yards and a touchdown before hitting the open market.

As mentioned above, the Jags needed to add some players at the tight end position being that it’s arguably their biggest need with Nick Foles addressing their top need at QB. Prior to signing Swaim, the Jags had only two tight ends on the roster in Ben Koyack and Pharoah McKever as the organization let Austin Seferian-Jenkins and James O’Shaugnessy hit the open market.

Upon signing with the Jags, Swain told that he was ready to get to work alongside Foles in hopes to turn the Jags’ offense around.

“I’m very excited,” Swaim said. “Just evaluating options in free agency … being able to play with Nick and seeing the kind of style he plays … that was big for me to make my decision.”

The Jacksonville Jaguars will be signing former Dallas Cowboys tight end Geoff Swaim, according to Mark Long of the Associated Press. The Jaguars now have three tight ends on the roster and will be expected to add more either through free agency or the 2019 NFL Draft.

Swaim was originally a seventh round pick out of Texas by the Cowboys in the 2015 NFL Draft and was viewed mostly as a special teams player and a blocking tight end. Swaim forced his way on to the active roster in 2015 as a rookie, though didn’t play much.

Swaim worked his way up the Cowboys depth chart and eventually was the starting tight end once Jason Witten retired prior to the 2018 season. He started nine games before hitting injured reserve with a wrist injury. He ended the season with 26 receptions, 242 yards and a touchdown, though was mostly used as a blocker.

FRISCO, Texas — The Dallas Cowboys will be without starting tight end Geoff Swaim for the foreseeable future because of a wrist injury that will require surgery.

Coach Jason Garrett would not rule out the possibility of Swaim returning before the regular season ends on Dec. 30. Swaim suffered the injury late in the Cowboys’ 22-19 win against the Atlanta Falcons. Tests on Monday showed a break and other damage, according to Garrett, requiring the surgery.

Swaim has 26 catches for 242 yards and a touchdown in nine games, surpassing his career totals in his first three seasons. He missed one game with a sprained knee but has seven catches for 37 yards in the last two games.

Swaim became the Cowboys’ starting tight end after the retirements of Jason Witten, the franchise leader in receptions and yards, and James Hanna in the offseason. He entered the season with nine catches for 94 yards.

When Swaim missed the Nov. 5 game against the Tennessee Titans, the Cowboys went with rookie Dalton Schultz as their lead tight end because of his blocking ability. The Cowboys also have Rico Gathers and Blake Jarwin on the roster.

Schultz, Gathers and Jarwin have combined for nine receptions for 121 yards on the season.

The Cowboys have had two players return from in-season surgeries this season in defensive end Randy Gregory and left guard Connor Williams, who both missed one game because of knee surgery.

Dallas Cowboys tight end Geoff Swaim is a low-upside option for Week 7 against Washington. He’s been the most productive and only fantasy-relevant tight end in Dallas so far this season, catching a total of 16 passes for 180 yards and a touchdown in six games. He seemed to be developing somewhat of a Jason Witten-like floor in Weeks 4 and 5, but then turned in a two catch dud in Week 7 despite an unexpected strong performance from the Dallas offense. Swaim should not be started in standard leagues, but given the wasteland that is the tight end position this season, he’s a last ditch option in two-tight end leagues

Anthony Brown Jersey

U.S. Rep. Anthony Brown has lost a bid in a House committee to block Gov. Larry Hogan’s plan to widen portions of the Capital Beltway and Interstate 270.

The Hogan administration pitched the public-private partnership as a way to alleviate traffic congestion without relying on taxpayer dollars. Private contractors would recoup their investment through tolls charged on drivers who use the new lanes.

But Brown, a Democrat who represents parts of Anne Arundel and Prince George’s counties, opposes the plan for so-called “luxury lanes.” He recently tweeted that he is “committed to addressing traffic by getting cars off the road, investing in transit-oriented communities, and developing a regional, multi-modal transit system.”

Brown authored an amendment to bar the federal government from paying for environmental impact studies for the road expansions. A second Brown amendment would have blocked using federal dollars to transfer the Baltimore-Washington Parkway from the National Park Service to the state of Maryland; that plan also proposes an arrangement between the state government and a private company to build toll lanes.

But the House Rules Committee declined early Wednesday to make the amendments “in order.” That means the full House won’t be considering them as part of appropriations measures.

The committee permitted nearly 300 amendments, but none involved local transportation issues such as Brown’s toll lanes language.

“I will continue to advocate for my constituents who feel as though they have not been heard, and who want transit to be considered as part of any congestion-relief plan,” Brown said after the committee action. “I will always champion future-focused solutions such as transit-oriented development, and solutions that create safe, green, walkable communities.”

Michael Ricci., Hogan’s communications director, responded to Brown’s statement.

““Here are the facts: Our administration has held dozens of public outreach events on this project, and the governor has invested a record $14 billion in transit—including the Purple Line to Prince George’s County,” Ricci said. “Meanwhile, Congressman Brown has never offered a real plan of any kind to address this decades-long traffic problem that the governor is working every day to solve.”

Maryland’s Board of Public Works on June 5 approved the use of private companies for Hogan’s plan, but agreed to delay work on the Capital Beltway after running into opposition. The Republican governor agreed to proceed first with adding toll lanes to Interstate 270, which connects the beltway and Frederick. Widening the beltway in Prince George’s County would come later.

Rep. Anthony Brown had a minor stroke Friday night but is “expected to make a full recovery,” his office said Tuesday.

The Maryland Democrat, who lost a gubernatorial bid in 2014, experienced the stroke just hours after leaving the funeral of Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, a gubernatorial candidate this year who died suddenly last week.

Brown suffered the stroke at his home in Bowie, where he began feeling extremely dizzy and ill, spokesman Matt Verghese said in a statement. He was transported to University of Maryland Prince George’s Hospital Center.

Brown stayed at the hospital until Sunday. He is now recovering at home, though his return date to Capitol Hill remains uncertain and “he will have a limited public schedule,” Verghese said. “He’s in good spirits, staying active at home and communicating with staff, and is eager to return to Washington.”

The 56-year-old Brown was elected to Congress in 2016 from Maryland’s 4th Congressional District. He previously served two terms as lieutenant governor and two terms as a state delegate. He is also a colonel in the Army Reserve.

“Congressman Brown and his family are grateful for the excellent care he received and the outpouring of support and well wishes,” Verghese said.

Brown’s fellow Maryland Democrat Elijah Cummings was missing from the House for three months earlier this year after a knee infection. He returned in April.

The Washington Post first reported the news about Brown.

Brown burst out of the gate as one of the Cowboys’ best corners in his rookie season, but suffered what many viewed as an overall sophomore slump that anchored his value. He got back to brass tacks in 2018, though, staving off talented challenger Jourdan Lewis to not only remain a starter, but to also become statistically one of the best nickel corners in the NFL. And while most others rest in the summer calm that exists between minicamp and training camp, Brown is instead going full steam at making sure his contract year in 2019 is one that will soon justify a solid payday.

He was recently seen working out with three-time All-Pro and Super Bowl-winning defensive back Aqib Talib, and looks laser-focused on getting his first pro bowl nod or better.

Talib was obviously working out and conditioning for his own season to come with the Los Angeles Rams, but made sure Brown learned a few things to help him level up.
What gives Brown tremendous value with the Cowboys isn’t simply how physically imposing he is versus opposing wide receivers, but also the fact he’s never gone a full season without at least one interception. The defense in Dallas is justifiably praised for its ability to get after the quarterback, yes, but has also struggle to take the ball away in the air. Brown has four interceptions on his three-year resume, and while that may not seem like a lot to some, it’s seriously attractive for a Cowboys’ team looking to fix what ails them in that category.

The 25-year-old is also durable, which isn’t to say he’s never battled injury, but the optimal word is he’s “battled” — having missed just one regular season game since being drafted.

Brown has delivered 149 combined tackles (120 solo) and 27 pass break ups to go along with his four INTs, and can also be used as an added pass rush option, as evidenced by his five career hits on the QB and three career sacks. Now entering his second year under passing game coordinator Kris Richard, who loves Brown’s length as much as anything else mentioned above, the stage is set for Brown to potentially be the next player on the Cowboys’ roster to land his first-ever trip to Orlando, FL when it’s all said-and-done.

That is, of course, not necessarily his main goal.

He’d rather be playing in the Super Bowl, and then signing a hefty contract shortly thereafter.

Will Speaker Nancy Pelosi ever come to a point where she is ready to lead her caucus in opening an impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump?

The California Democrat hasn’t ruled it out, despite strong signals she wants to avoid the divisive move and let the voters decide in 2020 whether to punish Trump for his alleged misdeeds.

“The House Democratic Caucus is not on a path to impeachment. And that’s where he wants us to be,” Pelosi said Thursday of Trump.

Many House Democrats who support opening an impeachment inquiry — the number of which has grown exponentially this week — say they think Pelosi can be convinced.

“I think what’s swaying her is the same thing that’s swaying us,” Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chair Mark Pocan said. “Every time the president — basically he does another way to try to block us getting information — every time he tries to obstruct a witness from coming, every time he tries to cover up something that we’re trying to get from him, that just puts us one step closer and more members come on board.”

Democrats on both sides of the impeachment question have praised Pelosi for her cautious approach to the matter.

“She is rightfully a word of caution,” Virginia Rep. Gerald E. Connolly said. “You can’t rush into this. You can’t decide it’s a priority someone ought to be impeached and then try to fill in the blanks. And so I think I think that she’s exercising the mature judgment we hired her to exercise.”

Connolly said that while the president likely has committed impeachable offenses, he’d be hesitant to open an inquiry on the grounds of obtaining information that Trump is blocking from Congress because it could set a dangerous precedent about impeachment being the only recourse for executive branch stonewalling.

L. P. Ladouceur Jersey

The Dallas Cowboys veteran is only called into action around seven times a game. But he has yet to make an error after a dozen seasons in the league

Imagine an NFL player who has been perfect for almost 12 seasons; a man who has been true every moment of his career – never once sliding in the mud or stumbling to catch his feet or enduring a bad day. It seems impossible. Even machines occasionally break down and humans err.

Dallas Cowboys long snapper LP Ladouceur does not.

You may have never heard of Ladouceur though he has played for more than a decade on one of the world’s most famous teams. Chances are you wouldn’t recognize him without his helmet since the majority of his television appearances are closeups of his backside in the instant before he flicks a football between his legs. You have, undoubtedly, seen his work in the form of a decade’s worth of precise snaps whistling true to Dallas punters or flying toward the hands of holders on extra points and field goals. It is highly unlikely you took a moment to marvel at his reliability.

Long snappers live to be ignored because if they are noticed, it usually means a calamity has occurred. A snap has been botched and the ball is flying over the punter’s head or rolling helplessly toward the holder on a field goal, throwing the game’s most anonymous player under the glare of the television lens. Suddenly everybody knows the long snapper and there’s no place to hide. For Ladouceur, his perfection is silence.
RG III and the Cleveland Browns are a tragedy made for each other
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“I think the more you play this game, you start to realize that mentally you have to be sharp,” he says by phone following a recent practice. “The physical part is kind of a given. The guys who last long know that.”

Long snappers are often everybody’s joke; the guy at the bottom of the roster who has little to do with the result of the game. They are derided for their lack of impact, unappreciated by fans who have no idea the mental toll of waiting alone until the time comes to snap the ball. A few years ago, the Madden video game ranked Washington long snapper Ethan Albright as the league’s worst player, as if they knew something about him. He was a snapper and snappers have failed at more demanding positions, the thinking goes.

Nobody understands the importance of a long snapper until something happens, which is the damning thing about precision at the position. Last Sunday the Philadelphia Eagles lost their long snapper, Jon Dorenbos, to a season-ending wrist injury. Then Brent Celek, the only other Eagle who could long snap, injured his neck and couldn’t play. This left Philadelphia without a snapper. They couldn’t punt or kick field goals, until late in the game when, in desperation, they brought out tight end Trey Burton, who was able to complete an ugly, awkward snap on a go-ahead field goal. Two days later, they signed a real snapper to replace Dorenbos.

At least the Cowboys understand the value of a reliable snapper. They have bestowed on Ladouceur two, five-year contracts over the years which is almost unheard of for a NFL player. His career earnings approach $10m and he has carved a life for himself in the Fort Worth suburb of Aledo that no football-loving kid from Montreal could have dreamed of living. All for roughly seven snaps a game.

But if you think any of this is easy, it is not. Technique is important and while fans may scoff, long snappers put in long hours of practice on top of gym sessions and team meetings. Ladouceur says he works with the kickers and punters for large chunks of each Cowboys workout constantly bending over and snapping. Again and again and again until he has it right.

“Basically [a snapper has] to be a linebacker, but backward, be able to snap the ball backward like the quarterback throws,” Cowboys special teams coach Rich Bisaccia once told the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram.

But it’s hard to be a linebacker who isn’t really a linebacker. In college, Ladoceur was a defensive lineman and he still keeps the defensive player’s longing to run downfield and hit somebody. He has seven career tackles but rarely gets to make contact on punts or kicks. He lives in a strange dynamic inside the Cowboys locker room, playing a position that should give him a bond with offensive linemen but knowing he can never live in that closed society, while remaining an outsider as well to the defensive linemen who would normally be his peer group. He is friends with players in both groups but he is a special teams player, a designation that puts him in a different realm.

Still, he has played long enough to build a certain respect and has plenty of friends on the team. He has lived more Cowboys history than almost any other active player other than quarterback Tony Romo, who dropped a perfect snap from Ladouceur on what should have been a game-winning field goal in a 2007 playoff game against Seattle.

Logic says Ladouceur shouldn’t be here. Kids from French-speaking Canada rarely find their way to the NFL. But Ladouceur loved football and he was a relentless linebacker and defensive lineman at Notre Dame High School in Montreal, then later at nearby John Abbot College. He drew scholarship offers from several American colleges including Syracuse, California and Michigan State, choosing Cal after falling in love with the school on his official visit. He imagined a career as a dominating defensive lineman, but after a knee injury and a coaching change, he fell out of the defensive line rotation.

There was, however, an opportunity for a long snapper. And at some point he realized that any hope of playing professionally rested with his ability to snap efficiently on kicks. After graduating with a degree in earth and planetary sciences he was sighed by the New Orleans Saints who kept him through training camp, cutting him just before the final preseason game. He left New Orleans on one of the last flights before Hurricane Katrina arrived, returning to California where he waited in Sacramento for another shot at the NFL.

It came a few weeks later in the most surprising of ways. Because of a scheduling quirk, the Cowboys had games in San Francisco and Oakland on consecutive weekends and decided to spend the days in-between practicing in nearby San Jose. During the trip, they released their snapper and started looking for a new one. A Dallas player who shared the same agent as Ladouceur alerted the agent who put in a call. An invitation was extended and Ladouceur drove that night to the team hotel. The next morning he stepped into a team van headed to practice only to find the team’s omnipotent coach Bill Parcells and owner Jerry Jones a row in front of him.

“I was a Cal guy, I had long, blond hair” Ladouceur recalls with a laugh.

“We know about you,” Parcells said to him that day.

And all Ladouceur could think was: “What have I gotten myself into?”

But he survived. He nailed his snaps in that first game and then the others that followed. After the season, the Cowboys gave him a one-year contract and then another and soon he was the player whose roster spot was never questioned. “It’s definitely been a blessing,” says Ladouceur. “Every day I think about Coach Parcells saying yes. I saw him a couple years ago at the hall of fame game and I thanked him”

Parcells gave way to Wade Phillips who gave way to Jason Garrett and still Ladouceur remained. There’s never a need for a good long snapper until you need him.

He built a life in Dallas. He got married and started a family. He and a friend went into business as contractors building new houses. He loved the idea of putting families in houses. He became something of a name in an area where the Cowboys are the most powerful cultural institution. The long snapper who never made a mistake. When he retires he wants to teach French at his neighborhood high school.

“I feel like I’ve cemented myself,” he says. Before his thoughts turn towards teaching: “I feel I can do something great there.”

And yet there are few guarantees when you are the last player on the roster. Perfection has kept him with the Cowboys for all these years but somebody is always watching: waiting for hints of complacency, waiting to see if there will be failure.

On the very afternoon Ladouceur talked with the Guardian about his life as a snapper, a coach had observed Ladouceur in practice, noticed one snap was slightly off and noted the moment.

“A little high on the first one,” the coach said at the end of the workout.

A little high? After 12 years of perfection?

Ladoueur chuckles. “You can’t get too comfortable,” he says.

Nobody sleeps on perfect.

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La’el Collins Jersey

La’el Collins might be the best draft steal the Dallas Cowboys will ever make, and he still may only be with the team for a total of five seasons.

In one of the strangest plots of recent draft memory, Collins went undrafted in 2015 after spending months being considered one of the best offensive line prospects of the year. The reason? His ex-girlfriend was murdered, and he was considered a person of interest. He was never considered a suspect, but the mystery just a few days before the draft sent him plummeting.

He and his agent, knowing the windfall of cash he had lost, declared that no team should draft him, and all 32 clubs listened. From Sports Illustrated:

In Baton Rouge, Collins sweats out the second day of the draft while his agents unfurl a new plan. Rather than lobby for him to be drafted, they issue an ultimatum to teams: Draft La’el in the second or third rounds, or don’t draft him at all.

The hardest part, Gilmore says, was selling Collins on the idea: “I’m explaining it to this young man and he’s having a hard time accepting it. We’re trying not to get drafted? He had to have a lot of trust in us.”

Collins signed on with Dallas after a whirlwind recruiting pitch by Jerry Jones that included a lavish dinner with Tony Romo, Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick and Zack Martin.

It didn’t take long for him to see action, entering in just his second game as a replacement for injured starter Ron Leary.

In Collins three seasons, he’s started 30 of 48 possible games. After playing left tackle for LSU, he switched to left guard when he joined the Cowboys and was moved to right tackle last season.

Injuries have caused him to miss plenty of time over his first two seasons, though he played through back injuries to start and finish all 16 games in 2017.
Per Spotrac, the Cowboys’ offensive line recently eclipsed the Falcons as the highest allocation, $47,330,201, with Zack Martin’s extension. With the offensive line taking up 26.6% of the team’s cap space, the unit is expected to produce at an enormous level.

Over The Cap has Dallas as third in the league with just under $44 million spent on the line.

Collins is no doubt a huge key to the success of the offense, but with so much money tied up with Smith, Frederick and Martin for the foreseeable future can the Cowboys also sign Collins to a contract that will be equal to his level of talent?

Collins has two seasons left on his contract with a cap hit of $5,758,333 this season and $7,408,334 in 2019 before he becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2020.

This season Collins is responsible for 2.9% of the team’s total cap space and 12.2% of the offensive line’s total salaries.

On the horizon the Cowboys have another two key players whose contracts will be expired: Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott. Prescott becomes an unrestricted free agent the same year as Collins, and Elliot is to become a UFA in 2021.

Just how much more can the Cowboys look to invest in their offensive line? The club has already started on a path where the receiving options aren’t going to be heavily invested in, so there will be some savings there, but four highly-paid offensive linemen seems difficult to fathom.

A new deal of course depends on Collins playing the next two seasons like he did the last handful of games of the 2017 season. It was certainly a rough thing to watch as Collins got acclimated to the right side while facing a murderer’s row of defensive ends through the first two-thirds of the season. He faced off against Jason Pierre-Paul, Chandler Jones, Robert Quinn, Ryan Kerrigan and Justin Houston to start things off.

Pro Football Focus was not kind in their grading over that stretch, including a -11.8 grade against the Broncos. He leveled out over the last six games of the season, but there is still plenty of work to be done.

His performance did lead to the possibility of Dallas moving him back to left guard, especially with the way Chaz Green and Jonathan Cooper failed at the position last season. The possibility was escalated when Dallas signed swing tackle Cameron Fleming, who played very well at right tackle for the AFC champion New England Patriots.

Eventually Dallas would draft Texas’ tackle Connor Williams to play left guard and Collins looks to be the entrenched starter for 2018.

If he can continue his upward trend, the conversation will need to change to what happens for him after 2019, as Dallas would be dealing with a world of riches at what they consider their most important position group.

In this series, Cowboys Wire will be counting down the days until the regular season opener against the Carolina Panthers with a profile of the player whose jersey number matches the days remaining. On July 1, 71 days remain. Next up, No. 70 Zack Martin.

Cornerback Byron Jones and newly-paid defensive end Demarcus Lawrence won’t be the only big-name Dallas Cowboys sidelined until training camp, as right tackle La’el Collins is reportedly recovering from a torn rotator cuff.

According to Clarence Hill Jr. of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Collins “will be sidelined throughout the offseason rehabbing from surgery” and “said the Cowboys plan to be cautious with him throughout OTAs and minicamp.” He apparently suffered the torn rotator cuff late in the 2018 season and had it repaired shortly after the team’s final playoff game in January.

He promises, however, to be on the field for training camp in July, per Hill.

Jones and Lawrence had already been scheduled to miss most of the Cowboys’ offseason program, with the former undergoing hip surgery in March and the latter expected to rehabilitate for three to four months from a shoulder operation. And while the pressure is on Lawrence to live up to his new $100 million contract, there might be even more on Collins, who’s entering a contract year and has produced mixed results since moving from guard to right tackle in 2017.

A coveted tackle prospect out of LSU, Collins went undrafted in 2015 after an apparent legal misunderstanding off the field before landing a three-year, fully-guaranteed deal with Dallas. After 14 starts through his first two seasons, he converted to right tackle following the retirement of Doug Free and inked a two-year extension with the Cowboys through 2019.

Kavon Frazier Jersey

While it’s the negative stories that always catch the headline wave, there are actually many more positive ones that come out of the Dallas Cowboys’ organization but rarely go heralded — for obvious reasons. The organization is well-known for its ties to the community and outreach services that are partnered with Salvation Army, but it’s also what the players do on a regular basis that deserve a hearty salute. Frazier is one such individual, who goes above and beyond at every turn to help uplift the less fortunate.

His latest efforts are aimed at supplying schools with much needed technology upgrades, having partnered with Conn’s HomePlus and Hewlett Packard to donate 120 laptops to four separate Dallas ISD schools in 2019 — according to The Hub.

The schools to receive Frazier’s gift are William H. Attwell Middle, Patton Academic Center, Adelle Turner Elementary, and South Oak Cliff High, and each will receive 30 laptops a piece.

“At Conn’s HomePlus, we recognize today’s youth as tomorrow’s future,” said Norm Miller, CEO of Conn’s HomePlus in the official press release. “Similar to our partners at HP, we believe in the power of modern technology. We hope our donation will help inspire students in the Dallas ISD to excel in academics and push themselves to new limits.”

This is far from the first time the veteran Cowboys’ safety has done outreach, with his Frazier Cares Foundation having also hosted summer football camps and taking hundreds of kids to the debut screening of the blockbuster movie “Black Panther” in 2018. Dallas ISD is quite familiar with Frazier’s generosity, and he recently partnered with Under Armour and basketball Hall of Famer Nancy Lieberman to give children of single-parent homes in Dallas ISD a holiday shopping spree just a few months ago.

“It’s my favorite time of the year because I really get to show an impact on these kid’s lives and you know, give back,” Frazier said in December. “We gave 50 kids a $150 gift card to get whatever they want, if they want to get themselves something, if they want to get their family something for Christmas — we are giving back to what God has blessed us with — yeah it’s my favorite time of the year.”

Frazier is entering his fourth year in the NFL and has been an impact special teams player and more-than-solid rotational safety for the Cowboys, having stepped into the role of starter in impressive fashion last season when Xavier Woods was absent with injury. He’s done everything the team has asked of him and more, and continues to follow the mantra of being the “Right Kind of Guy”. That’s something he’s prided himself on since being selected in the sixth round of the 2016 NFL Draft, continuing to build his resume both on- and off-the-field following his days at Central Michigan.

“HP is proud to work with Conn’s, Dallas ISD and Kavon Frazier and Frazier Cares Foundation in this important community initiative for the Dallas ISD,” said Quyen Phan,
HP Sales Manager. “Education and the enrichment of learning through the application of technology is a cornerstone to building a better future for the next generation. Congratulations to Conn’s HomePlus and Frazier Cares Foundation for making this happen for the children of the Dallas ISD.

“HP is thrilled to have participated.”

Frazier and his wife welcomed their first child in May 2018, and while he’s realized the ultimate goal of raising his own in a two-parent household — something he didn’t have himself — Frazier hasn’t forgotten about those who don’t have that privilege and struggle on a tilted world stage.

For those children, Frazier will keep fighting, because he knows firsthand what they’re up against.

Dallas Cowboys linebacker Leighton Vander Esch remains sidelined at the team’s organized team activities because of a pelvic injury.

Kate Hairopoulos of the Dallas Morning News reported the update Wednesday and noted cornerback Chidobe Awuzie (hamstring) and safety Kavon Frazier (knee) are also absent from OTA session.

Vander Esch is coming off a terrific rookie campaign after the Cowboys selected him with the 19th overall pick in the 2018 draft. He registered 140 total tackles, which ranked third in the NFL, along with seven passes defended and two interceptions while playing all 16 games.

The 23-year-old Boise State product earned a Pro Bowl selection and was ranked as the league’s fourth-best linebacker by Pro Football Focus.

“There’s a lot of ways I can improve,” Vander Esch told reporters in April. “Getting off blocks, striking with my length and building coordination with that, getting my foot in the ground and just running and making plays. You’ve got to be in shape. You’ve got to be able to run and finish.”

He previously dealt with a groin injury during last year’s training camp.

Awuzie became a full-time starter for the Cowboys last year after spending most of his 2017 debut season as a reserve. He tallied 71 total tackles, 11 passes defended and an interception in 15 games.

The San Jose native missed one contest with an ankle injury.

Frazier’s injury required a knee scope that’s expected to keep him out of practice until training camp, per Clarence Hill Jr. of the Star-Telegram.

His recovery timetable is crucial because he’ll likely be battling for a spot on the team’s final 53-man roster during the preseason since the team has a lot of depth at safety.

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Before Kavon Frazier made a name for himself on the gridiron, the Dallas Cowboys rookie and Central Michigan University alumnus had another love.

The Grand Rapids native grew up playing both football and basketball at the Seidman Boys & Girls Club, but he favored the hardwood. Even after being advised to pursue football by his first coach and mentor, Grand Rapids Police Officer Percy Brown, Frazier was hesitant.

Now getting set to suit-up for his first 2016 NFL playoff game, Frazier is reminded of the positive impact officers like Brown had on his life growing up on the city’s Southeast Side.

“Before coach Brown passed away, he told me my key to making it out of there was football,” Frazier said. “And sure enough, he was right. He was a father figure in my life and I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for him.”

Frazier joined the club when he was 7, regularly visiting the Crofton Street location after school with his sister. He didn’t have a father at home, but said Brown – and later Officer Michael Harris – were some of the men at the youth center who were his male role models.

“Time is the biggest thing with them,” Frazier said. “Those guys just believed in every kid and they never gave up on anyone, no matter their background or what they did.”

Harris, who took over the Seidman Center 15 years ago, still keeps in touch with Frazier.

He called Frazier a good example of the positive impact officers can have on youth in the community, helping them make good decisions and keeping them out of trouble.

“Kavon was a kid who was always very talented. He was a hard worker and he was very intelligent,” Harris said. “It takes a village to raise a kid. Lots of people influence you along the way.”

Each of the three Boys & Girls Club locations in Grand Rapids is supervised by a GRPD community policing specialist, who provides guidance and support for hundreds of children annually.

For $5 a year, children can attend any of the clubs on weekdays after school. There, they have access to a study room, basketball gym, art room, and video game area, as well as a daily meal.

“Even though Seidman isn’t in the best neighborhood, you could go there and not have to worry about the negative influences or any trouble coming your way,” Frazier said. “It was a positive influence in my life.”

Frazier graduated from Grand Rapids Christian High School before going on to be a three-year starting defensive back at Central Michigan.

He was selected by the Cowboys in the sixth round of the 2016 NFL Draft, making the active roster and recording six tackles in limited playing time during his first season.

Since moving to Dallas, Fraizer’s respect for law enforcement officers has continued.

In July, the Cowboys safety took to Twitter to show his support for the Dallas Police Department after five officers were killed and another seven were injured in an ambush at a peaceful protest.

“Some of the stuff going on in the world is wrong, but I don’t think violence is the answer, especially toward police officers,” he said. “They’re trying to make communities safe, and they’re putting their lives on the line.

“Not all officers are bad people and it hurts that this stuff is going on, especially how I grew up.”

Frazier said his experience at the Seidman Center inspired him to give back to children.

Just before Christmas, Frazier took 35 members of the Boys & Girls Club of Dallas to his sponsor company, Under Armour, where each picked out a pair of new shoes. Afterward, he spent time with them at the club, posting a video to Twitter afterward.

Once his playing career is over, Frazier plans to put his child development degree to use by opening his own youth center.

“That’s down the road. I want to have time to plan but I definitely want to start one and give back,” he said. “(Harris and Brown) helped me stay out of trouble. I want to do that. If we can get these kids who don’t have fathers in their lives and get them those positive figures, that would go a long way.”

Damien Wilson Jersey

The Kansas City Chiefs added to their linebacker corps on Thursday, signing free agent Damien Wilson.

Here are five things to know about the newest member of the Chiefs’ defense.

A fourth-round pick out of Minnesota in 2015, Wilson racked up 98 tackles (69 solo), eight tackles-for-loss and 2.5 sacks in 64 career games (22 starts) with Dallas over four seasons.

He started seven games for the Cowboys in 2018, tallying 32 tackles (25 solo), two tackles-for-loss, a forced fumble and a sack.

His lone sack was the fourth-fastest in the NFL last season at just 2.04 seconds.

Wilson played outside linebacker in Dallas’ 4-3 defensive scheme and primarily did so as the strong-side, or SAM, linebacker. Nineteen of Wilson’s 22 career-starts for the Cowboys were at the SAM position.

Essentially, a 4-3 defense includes three linebackers while in its base formation: the weak-side linebacker (WILL), middle linebacker (MIKE) and strong-side linebacker (SAM). It remains to be seen how he’ll be used in Kansas City.

It’s worth mentioning, however, that Wilson was taught all three positions while in Dallas.

Wilson and Hitchens were teammates for three years in Dallas from 2015-17, sharing the field as starters 13 times. Hitchens lined up at middle linebacker while Wilson was on the strong-side for most of those occasions, but both players did a little bit of everything.

The duo is now reunited in Kansas City.

Wilson logged 345 special teams snaps last season – or 82.9 percent of the Cowboys’ total – to lead the team by a wide margin. He also led the team in that category in 2017 and finished second in 2016 by just four snaps.

The guy is comfortable contributing on special teams.

Wilson’s journey to this point began as a virtually unknown recruit in rural Mississippi. He caught the eye of Alcorn State and thrived as a defensive end before transferring to Jones County Community College the following year in the hopes of landing at a bigger school.

That goal was realized as a junior when Wilson transferred to the University of Minnesota, where he became a linebacker and finished second on the team with 78 tackles. His senior season was even better, highlighted by a team-leading 119 tackles, 10.5 tackles-for-loss and four sacks.

His efforts earned him a First-Team All-Big 10 selection by the media after the season.

While at Minnesota, Wilson played alongside Chiefs’ safety Eric Murray from 2013-14. The former Golden Gophers swapped jerseys after Kansas City’s matchup with Dallas in 2017.

The two players are now back together on the Chiefs’ defense.

A year after Anthony Hitchens left Dallas to sign with the Kansas City Chiefs in free agency, another Cowboys linebacker plans to do the same.

A source confirmed Tuesday that former Cowboys linebacker Damien Wilson intends to sign with the Chiefs when the new league year begins on Wednesday.

Wilson tweeted Tuesday: “The cowboys will always be in my heart and the fans have been unbelievably classy and supportive every year that I have been apart of the team. You will be missed dallas.”

Wilson, a fourth round pick in 2015, played in every game over his four seasons in Dallas. He started seven games last season at strongside linebacker, playing 28 percent of Dallas’ defensive snaps. He finished the 2018 season with a career-high 37 tackles, a sack and a forced fumble.

But his departure doesn’t come as a surprise. The Cowboys are returning six of the linebackers that were on their roster last season, including standout starters Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith. Veteran Sean Lee recently restructured his contract to remain with the club and play in a reserve role after being a starter for the past nine years.

The position group has become one of Dallas’ greatest strengths.

Wilson was also a significant special teams contributor, playing 82.5 percent of the special teams snaps last season.

Reserve linebackers Joe Thomas, Justin March-Lillard and Chris Covington are expected to compete for the extra snaps.

Wilson was arrested on two charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after police said he backed his truck into a woman and flashed a rifle at a man outside Toyota Stadium in Frisco on July 4, 2017. He was cleared of the charges three months later.

Linebacker Damien Wilson is set to sign with the Kansas City Chiefs at the start of free agency Wednesday afternoon, according to multiple reports.

Wilson was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the fourth round of the 2015 NFL Draft. He played his college ball at the University of Minnesota. He has bounced back and forth between being a starter and a backup during his four year career in Dallas.

Last season Wilson started seven games, racking up 37 tackles and a sack. It is expected that he will play strong side linebacker in defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s 4-3 scheme, just as he did for the Cowboys. He could also be a contributor on special teams.

Wilson’s deal is for two seasons. Things could of course change between now and the start of the regular season, but Wilson projects to be an early favorite to start at SLB.

Wilson is a thumper who plays with high energy. He was limited in Dallas due to the amount of nickel defense it plays. The Chiefs probably feel there is untapped potential in Wilson and that he just needs more opportunities. At just 25 years old his best football could very well still be in front of him.

Damien Wilson might be a smaller linebacker, but his exceptional length allows him to make plays many other “small” linebackers couldn’t. He’s a productive, very active player with a high tackle count in each of his two starting seasons and a nose for the ball. Wilson is agile enough to survive in coverage and off the ball, and he’ll attack and run down the ball outside the hashes.

Wilson doesn’t do well with blockers in his face and can shy away from a power-run game at the second level. He’ll get caught out of position and can take himself out of plays too often for a 4-3 inside linebacker. His vision is good, but his follow-through is not.

Rod Smith Jersey

For most of his 14-year career with the Broncos, wide receiver Rod Smith simply watched Pat Bowlen from afar, noticing him on the sideline at practices but not really getting to know him. After all, Bowlen was the owner. Smith was a player.

“I’m always cautious of who’s the boss,” Smith said. “I’ve always been cautious of who’s running things. Pat always had this real mysterious-type presence, especially when I was younger.”

But as Smith’s career as a Bronco started to wind down, the wall between him and Bowlen began to fall. Smith began peppering his boss with questions — about the team, about running the franchise, about life.

The business relationship evolved into a friendship.

“The thing was,” Smith said, “he was paying attention the whole time. He watched me grow up in the organization he built.”

Throughout his career with the Broncos, in which he set franchise marks in receptions (849), receiving yards (11,389) and touchdown catches (68), Smith also earned three Pro Bowl appearances. He was a starter on the Broncos’ two Super Bowl-winning teams, in 1997 and 1998. He was inducted in the team’s Ring of Fame in 2012.

But one of his fondest NFL memories doesn’t involve a ring or a trophy or any kind of personal accolade. It involves Bowlen. And it came after Smith retired.

“I was over there watching practice one day and, I can’t remember who it was, but he came over and said, ‘Hey, man, Pat wants to see you in his office,’ ” Smith recounted. “I had been retired for a couple years at that point, so when I hear Pat wants to see me in his office, I’m like ‘Ah, man, what’d I do?’ I’m scared walking up there, like I’m going to the principal’s office.

“We sat there for like 45 minutes just talking about life and kids and the team. It was the coolest 45 minutes. That will always be one of my fondest memories in the NFL, sitting down with the owner of the Broncos, having a family conversation.”

Smith played his entire career with the Broncos. In talking to other players throughout the league, he learned how unusual Bowlen was in his approach to the job and the team.

“The owner usually only shows up when there’s a problem,” Smith said. “Pat was always around, but he’d let you do your job. He let Coach (Mike) Shanahan coach the team. He let John Elway do his thing. To me, that’s what made the organization great, because the owner isn’t in the way. He’s not in the spotlight, but he makes sure things got taken care of.”

Even in retirement, Smith has found the Broncos have ensured the focus stays on the players. The alumni, he said, are regarded as family.
“I honestly believe I’m living the way I am right now because of that man and the way he handled things,” Smith said.

Cowboys backup running back Rod Smith made a name for himself during Ezekiel Elliott’s six-game suspension in 2017. Here are 10 things to know about the Cowboys’ backup running back.

Rod Smith was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana on Jan. 10, 1992. He starred at Fort Wayne’s Paul Harding High, rushing for 6,625 yards and 66 touchdowns to earn All-State honors. He then played for Ohio State and bounced around NFL rosters, joining the Cowboys in October 2015 after the Seahawks waived him. Seattle had initially signed Smith as an undrafted free agent on May 2, 2015.

Rod’s younger brother Jaylon Smith plays linebacker for the Cowboys, you might have heard. Smith’s dramatic knee injury in Notre Dame’s bowl game dropped him from a top pick to the Cowboys’ second rounder in 2016. As he worked his entire year for his nerve to regenerate, Jaylon received much press. All along, Rod flew under the radar.

“We understood it was going to be possible when Jerry [Jones] called me that night [of the draft], but for it to really happen, it’s a great feeling,” Rod said of playing with his brother.
Smith didn’t get much playing time in his first two years as an NFL player, or even in much of this year. He carried the ball 23 times for 99 yards in his first 28 games. But the last three games, he’s exploded. Beginning with the Cowboys’ Thanksgiving loss to the Chargers, Smith has four touchdowns in three games. He’s carried the ball 24 times for 115 yards averaging 4.6 yards a carry.

“I was stoked, super excited for him, happy for him, proud of him,” Jaylon told him after his first career TD. “That’s what I told him when he came to the sideline. He’s worked so hard, he’s been through so much, he’s always kept his eyes on the prize.”

Here’s a look back at that push:

Rod has been with the Cowboys – at least on the practice squad – since October 2015, before the Cowboys took Zeke with the fourth pick overall in 2016. But the two running backs’ team bonds date back further. Smith played for Ohio State from 2011-14, with Elliott joining the team in 2013.

Zeke was exuberant on Twitter after Smith’s two touchdowns against the Giants, tweeting “BOOBIE !” first followed by an explanation. He also tweeted “LET HIM SPINNNN!”

Smith’s response, per SportsDay Cowboys insider Kate Hairopoulos: “Can’t wait til you get back, brother. Just waiting on you. I know you ready, let’s do it.

Smith played four full seasons at running back, totaling 549 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground plus another 94 yards and two scores in the passing game. But he also ran into trouble as a Buckeye. Per an Oct. 2014 article in The Columbus Dispatch, Smith was kicked off the team for failing a drug test. He’d already missed much of spring practice for academic issues but, the article said, he “worked his way back into good graces this summer. Coaches had praised his maturation and described him as a leader among the running backs.”

When Elliott began dominating the offense at Ohio State, Smith began making more of his name on special teams — something he’d continue to do in the NFL.

“Rod’s getting experience,” offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said the Monday after Smith’s first career TD. “He hasn’t played a lot. He’s really coming along as a running back in his pro career at times and he was pretty raw coming out of college.”

Linehan said Smith has become effective not just in the run game but also on third downs and in pass protection. Throw in special teams, and he’s contributing to the roster meaningfully.

“He’s a good matchup in the pass protection game, has good hands and a nice feel of the passing game,” Linehan said. “So his experience that he’s getting is on the job. He was doing a little bit of that for us when he was below Zeke but now he’s got kind of a full-time role.”

Smith set an NFL record in the Cowboys’ 30-10 victory over the Giants. He became the first player in league history with a touchdown reception for over 80 yards and a rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter of a single game.

Smith has a pretty unique touchdown dance. After he scored a touchdown in Dallas’ 38-14 win over the Redskins, Smith laid down in the end zone and acted like he was taking a nap in the end zone with the ball as a pillow. Jaylon even wanted to get in on the fun.

The Cowboys had options at running back after Ezekiel Elliott’s six-game suspension began. Many thought the team would split the reps at running back between Alfred Morris and Darren McFadden. The Cowboys ended up going with Smith over McFadden and never looked back after he scored his first career touchdown against the Chargers on Thanksgiving. McFadden was released a few days later.
“Rod is versatile,” Stephen Jones said during his regular radio interview with 105.3 The Fan’s G-BAG Nation. “He obviously brings some explosiveness back there. He also catches the ball well out of the backfield, has some speed, and then of course he has the dimension the other two don’t have, which is he’s a really good special-teams player playing his role.

Smith wasn’t always a running back for the Cowboys. The team tried to move him to fullback early in his career. Dallas even cut Smith midway through the 2016 season.