1) I don't like hearing about the concussion issue that surrounds football any more than most football fans, but it's simply not going to go away. There's a risk involved in every sport we play and contact sports are even more dangerous. From football to soccer, cheerleading to hockey, lacrosse to baseball, basically every time you participate in a sport you are taking a risk.
Taking precautions to make sports safer is the only thing that can help, and this recent data from USA Football is a step in the right direction and a rare bit of positive news when it comes to concussions. The Heads Up Football program was developed by USA Football "to advance player safety in the game of football," and Virginia's Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) made a commitment to the program in 2013. Since that time football injuries have dropped 24 percent, with concussions down 43 percent in their district.
The FCPS is so impressed with the program that Heads Up Football elements have been adopted by other sports as well. This has resulted in a decrease in concussions in boys and girls lacrosse, cheerleading and wrestling.
No sport will ever be 100% safe, but teaching and coaching kids differently is the only thing that will help keep sports trending safer.
2) The Oakland Raiders have made some nice additions this offseason and they are one of the more buzzed about franchises heading into the 2016 season. One of the newest Raiders', Bruce Irvin, is already taking division title, even though they play in a very competitive division. Last year they went 7-9 to finish in 3rd place behind the Kansas City Chiefs and Denver Broncos, but Irvin believes it's their time, "I think we are ready to take that next step and really capture this AFC West."
I think the Broncos will take a little step back and the Chiefs are tough to predict, but Oakland should make it a three team race.
3) Speaking of the Broncos, head coach Gary Kubiak is talking about 2015 7th round quarterback Trevor Siemian as their potential starting QB this year over free agent pick up Mark Sanchez and 2016 1st round draft pick Paxton Lynch.
Siemian should be the most comfortable in Kubiak's offense, but should his comfort be enough to beat out the experience of Sanchez and the talent and potential of Lynch? What would that say about Lynch if he can't beat out a 7th round 2nd year pro?
4) The New York Jets have an offer on the table for QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, reportedly 3 years with $12 million guaranteed in 2016. Even with no other teams making him an offer, he's still a bit salty at the "low-ball" offer. Some now believe that he'll take a smaller deal with another team just to stick it to the Jets.
This is just ridiculous. If my options to play pro football are between the Jets and not playing, I'd be thankful for the team offering me a contract.
5) Teams keep giving Trent Richardson chances and he keeps on disappointing them. The latest are the Baltimore Ravens who are finding out that he's not in shape.
I really never saw him as an elite talent after his rookie season where he averaged 3.6 yards per carry.
I also feel like I've talked about him too much through the years in my Ten Thoughts, so this will be a Richardson free zone from now on. Unless he does something really positive that warrants a mention, but we all know that isn't happening.
6) Speaking of second chances, Dion Jordan is planning to apply for reinstatement into the NFL after being suspended for drug use. Jordan's athletic gifts saw him plucked 3rd overall in the 2014 draft by the Miami Dolphins, but his career never took off. If the 'Fins don't want him back, some team will take a flier on the 26 year old's potential.
7) Another player seeking a fresh start is QB turned wide out Terrelle Pryor, who is still with the Cleveland Browns, and still very confident in his ability.
"I just really want to go beat up on some corners," he said. "Catch the ball over them, run past them, catch the ball stiff-arm them whatever, it doesn't matter. Every time I touch the field, practice, game, I'm going to bring high energy, high effort."
Athletically speaking, the 6'4", 233 pounder has it all, and if he can successfully make the transition to his new position he'll give that offense a nice boost.
8) Ex-NFL running back Ricky Williams is opening a marijuana friendly gym in California called Power Plant Fitness.
I see what he did there...
9) Social media, if done right, can be a lot of fun. A perfect example is the Twitter exchange between the Chicago Bears and the Carolina Panthers. ESPN has the entire exchange right here and it's definitely worth checking out if you missed it. Make sure you scroll all the way down, you'll want to see how the back and forth ended.
10) Bears' fans, are you wondering why third round pick Jonathan Bullard is the only member of their draft class not to sign yet?
For reasons not entirely known, the current labor deal allows for more negotiation in round three than in the other rounds. Over time, this has created fluctuations in the various slots, giving both team and player ammunition for digging in and not budging.
There are just some things that the NFL does that make us all scratch our heads.