Tom Brady

21 Apr 19
Revolution

The NFL draft presents the ultimate opportunity for teams to…

21 Apr 19
Redwood Times
Ten of thousands of high school football programs feed into 130 Division I college programs, which feed into 32 NFL pro teams. With the NFL draft is coming up this Thursday; remember it’s mainly hype by the TV talking heads. I respect the New England Patriots. They’re a bunch of no-names, low draft picks and free agents and all they do is win Super Bowls. Look at the 2018 New England Patriots roster. On offense their starting center was Dave Andrews, an undrafted free agent. heir starting guards were Joe Thuney, a third-round pick and Shaq Mason, a fourth-round pick. Starting tackles were Marcus Cannon, a fifth-round pick and Trent Brown, a seventh-round pick whom they got in a trade from the San Francisco 49ers. Trent Brown went from being a seventh-round pick, to winning a Super Bowl ring, to now being the highest-paid NFL lineman as he just signed a four-year, $66 million contract with the Oakland Raiders. Starting tight end was Rob Gronkowski (“Gronk”), a second-round pick and future NFL Hall-of-Famer. Starting wide receivers were Chris Hogan, an undrafted free agent who played lacrosse (not football) at Penn State. He played football for his fifth year of college eligibility at Monmouth University (New Jersey). Cut by the San Francisco 49ers, New York Giants and Miami Dolphins, he gained fame on HBO’s “Hard Knocks” with the Miami Dolphins when Reggie Bush was miked and said of Hogan, “He’s like 7-11. He’s always open.” The other starting receiver was Julian Edelman, a seventh-round draft pick from Kent State. He was small coming out of high school and no colleges wanted him, so he played his first year at College of San Mateo (JC). He then transferred to Kent State where he was a three-year starter at quarterback. The New England Patriots selected him in the seventh round of the 2009 NFL draft. To go from a short guy to Super Bowl MVP with the second-most catches and receiving yards in post-season history behind only Jerry Rice is unheard of. (Google “Julian Edelman SI body” as Julian was one of the many athletes who posed naked for Sports Illustrated’s “Body Issue.”) The running backs are more of the same. Fullback James Develin was an undrafted free agent. Rex Burkhead was a sixth-round pick and James White was a fourth-round draft pick. Sony Michel was the only starting New England Patriot offensive player drafted in the first round. And there’s Tom Brady, the GOAT — the “Greatest Of All Time.” To understand what drives Tom Brady, you have to go back to the 2000 NFL draft, where he was the 199th player selected that year in the sixth round. Brady’s family grew up in San Mateo, just a few miles south of Candlestick Park, where they had season tickets to the 49ers. Steve Young had just retired and the 49ers needed a quarterback. Chad Pennington went in the first round to the New York Jets. In the third round the 49ers selected Giovanni Carmazzi from Hofstra University, who never played a single down in a regular season NFL game. Today Carmazzi is a yoga-exercising goat farmer who lives two hours north of San Francisco, off the grid with no TV or computer. The other quarterbacks drafted ahead of Brady in 2000 were Chris Redman by the Baltimore Ravens, Tee Martin by the Pittsburg Steelers, Marc Bulger of the New Orleans Saints and Spergon Wynn by the Cleveland Browns. All are out of football and most never had much of the NFL career. Brady has played in nine Super Bowls, winning six; both records. He is the winningest quarterback in NFL history. Brady has led the New England Patriots to an unheard of 13 AFC Championship games, winning nine and has a current streak of eight consecutive AFC Championship games (2011-2018). Since Brady became the New England Patriot’s starting quarterback in 2001 after an injury to Drew Bledsoe, they’ve never had a losing season and have won 16 division titles. Between the 2003-2004 seasons, Brady lead the Patriots to 21 consecutive wins (including the post-season), also an NFL record. So don’t fall for all the glitz and hype about the NFL draft. It’s pretty much a crapshoot on which players might have solid NFL careers and who’s gonna crash and burn quickly. The Patriot way: Do your job! Teams win championships, not individual players. Matthew Owen resides in Eureka.
21 Apr 19
Times-Standard
Ten of thousands of high school football programs feed into 130 Division I college programs, which feed into 32 NFL pro teams. With the NFL draft is coming up this Thursday; remember it’s mainly hype by the TV talking heads. I respect the New England Patriots. They’re a bunch of no-names, low draft picks and free agents and all they do is win Super Bowls. Look at the 2018 New England Patriots roster. On offense their starting center was Dave Andrews, an undrafted free agent. heir starting guards were Joe Thuney, a third-round pick and Shaq Mason, a fourth-round pick. Starting tackles were Marcus Cannon, a fifth-round pick and Trent Brown, a seventh-round pick whom they got in a trade from the San Francisco 49ers. Trent Brown went from being a seventh-round pick, to winning a Super Bowl ring, to now being the highest-paid NFL lineman as he just signed a four-year, $66 million contract with the Oakland Raiders. Starting tight end was Rob Gronkowski (“Gronk”), a second-round pick and future NFL Hall-of-Famer. Starting wide receivers were Chris Hogan, an undrafted free agent who played lacrosse (not football) at Penn State. He played football for his fifth year of college eligibility at Monmouth University (New Jersey). Cut by the San Francisco 49ers, New York Giants and Miami Dolphins, he gained fame on HBO’s “Hard Knocks” with the Miami Dolphins when Reggie Bush was miked and said of Hogan, “He’s like 7-11. He’s always open.” The other starting receiver was Julian Edelman, a seventh-round draft pick from Kent State. He was small coming out of high school and no colleges wanted him, so he played his first year at College of San Mateo (JC). He then transferred to Kent State where he was a three-year starter at quarterback. The New England Patriots selected him in the seventh round of the 2009 NFL draft. To go from a short guy to Super Bowl MVP with the second-most catches and receiving yards in post-season history behind only Jerry Rice is unheard of. (Google “Julian Edelman SI body” as Julian was one of the many athletes who posed naked for Sports Illustrated’s “Body Issue.”) The running backs are more of the same. Fullback James Develin was an undrafted free agent. Rex Burkhead was a sixth-round pick and James White was a fourth-round draft pick. Sony Michel was the only starting New England Patriot offensive player drafted in the first round. And there’s Tom Brady, the GOAT — the “Greatest Of All Time.” To understand what drives Tom Brady, you have to go back to the 2000 NFL draft, where he was the 199th player selected that year in the sixth round. Brady’s family grew up in San Mateo, just a few miles south of Candlestick Park, where they had season tickets to the 49ers. Steve Young had just retired and the 49ers needed a quarterback. Chad Pennington went in the first round to the New York Jets. In the third round the 49ers selected Giovanni Carmazzi from Hofstra University, who never played a single down in a regular season NFL game. Today Carmazzi is a yoga-exercising goat farmer who lives two hours north of San Francisco, off the grid with no TV or computer. The other quarterbacks drafted ahead of Brady in 2000 were Chris Redman by the Baltimore Ravens, Tee Martin by the Pittsburg Steelers, Marc Bulger of the New Orleans Saints and Spergon Wynn by the Cleveland Browns. All are out of football and most never had much of the NFL career. Brady has played in nine Super Bowls, winning six; both records. He is the winningest quarterback in NFL history. Brady has led the New England Patriots to an unheard of 13 AFC Championship games, winning nine and has a current streak of eight consecutive AFC Championship games (2011-2018). Since Brady became the New England Patriot’s starting quarterback in 2001 after an injury to Drew Bledsoe, they’ve never had a losing season and have won 16 division titles. Between the 2003-2004 seasons, Brady lead the Patriots to 21 consecutive wins (including the post-season), also an NFL record. So don’t fall for all the glitz and hype about the NFL draft. It’s pretty much a crapshoot on which players might have solid NFL careers and who’s gonna crash and burn quickly. The Patriot way: Do your job! Teams win championships, not individual players. Matthew Owen resides in Eureka.
21 Apr 19
Around the NorthEast Corner

  While everyone is enjoying their Easter Sunday, I still have one more preview before the weekend concludes and that’s the 44th NECC baseball tournament that’s been going on since 1968. Here’s the look at this year’s bracket and the tourney champions from the first 43 years the tournament has been held with the exception […]

21 Apr 19
Press Telegram
At the end of November of 1925, after three years spent dominating college football at the University of Illinois, Red Grange signed a contract with the Chicago Bears. It was decision without precedent in football’s brief history. For the fledgling NFL, which still lagged behind the college game in terms of popularity, it was a significant step towards legitimizing the league. For the star players that followed Grange, his signing – and the 67-day barnstorming tour that accompanied it – laid the groundwork for future college football players to jump to the NFL. The draft was born a decade after that, defining that path even further. Almost a full century later, the primary path to pro football remains largely unchanged and unchallenged, even as both college football and the NFL have become billion-dollar cultural behemoths. Star players still must spend at least three seasons removed from high school graduation, per the NFL’s collectively bargained eligibility rules. During those three years, while playing as unpaid amateurs on a massive national stage, they must balance schoolwork with the ever-increasing demands of football. Only recently did the NCAA make sure these players were adequately fed in the meantime. This week, hundreds of prospects will reach the long-awaited end of their amateur football journey when they’re selected in the NFL draft. They’ll sign their first pro contracts and ink their first sponsorship deals, finally able to profit off of the developing fame and football ability that got them this far. But as the draft approaches, I’ve found myself wondering: Why exactly did they have to wait this long to cash in? “The ascending American football player is really the only athlete in the world that’s in a revenue sport that doesn’t have an early professional option,” says Don Yee, a longtime NFL agent whose client list includes the likes of Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo. Yee has a plan to change that. Next summer, after years spent ramping up, Yee, along with a group of organizers that includes former NFL coaches, NFL media executives and NFL players, will launch Pacific Pro Football, a start-up football league that plans to function as an alternative path to the NFL. Contrary to the college route, the league would offer young, pro prospects a paid option to pursue their development. Last month, sitting in a corner booth at the Brookside Golf Course clubhouse in Pasadena, with the iconic Rose Bowl looming in the distance, Yee laid out his plan for a four-team league, based in Southern California, which would focus entirely on preparing football prospects for the NFL. Only ascending young players deemed to have pro potential would be offered contracts. The league would follow NFL rules, with practices wide open to NFL scouts and adhering to NFL rules, all catered towards NFL evaluation. “Envision the Senior Bowl over a two-month season,” Yee explained. Prospects whose sole intent is to make the NFL wouldn’t need to masquerade as college students, attending class and trying to make grades, all while many hover just above the poverty line. Instead, Pacific Pro Football plans to pay players an average salary of $50,000 for a two-month season, with room for high-profile players to be offered more. Outside sponsorships and personal branding opportunities will be strongly encouraged – adidas is already signed on as a league partner. For players who are interested, Pacific Pro Football even plans to offer free community college or vocational program tuition. “Most of these players want to know, ‘How can you get me ready for the NFL?’ ” Yee says. “From a football standpoint, what we’ll have to demonstrate is that if you come play with us, we’ll definitely shorten your learning curve. We’ll help you reduce the risk of failing out of the NFL.” Yee, who has long been critical of the NCAA, contends that college football is diverging from the NFL in this regard, as differing styles and rules have given rise to a different game. On this point, plenty of NFL talent evaluators agree. At positions like offensive line, where the learning curve is especially steep, development at the college level lags further behind its pro counterpart than ever before. Given a legitimate opportunity, it’s not difficult to imagine top prospects opting for a year of hyper-focused football development over finishing a general studies degree — or pursuing one at all. Take Trevor Lawrence, for example. If the 20-year-old Clemson quarterback was eligible for the draft this year, he would be the “clear-cut No. 1 pick,” according to ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper. With that in mind, what does Lawrence have to gain from a football perspective from returning to Clemson for two more seasons? What if another option existed? College players are beginning to seriously consider these alternatives. Every December now, top prospects debate whether or not to play in bowl games. After suffering an injury last fall, defensive end Nick Bosa, a surefire top-three pick in this year’s draft, decided to withdraw from Ohio State to focus on rehab and draft training. How long might it be before a top prospect like Lawrence – or Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa – decides to take his football future into his own hands by sidestepping college football entirely? Pacific Pro Football isn’t the only league aiming to lure prospects away from the college game. Last month, in an interview with the Southern California News Group, new XFL commissioner Oliver Luck described the NFL’s eligibility rules as “meaningless to us.” He expects the XFL will sign “a handful of guys” who aren’t yet eligible to play in the NFL. Agents contacted by Luck were told top prospects could earn as much as $200,000 per season. How the XFL – which, unlike Pacific Pro Football, plans to include veteran players – will decide which players are physically and mentally ready for pro football is uncertain. Even Luck admits the league’s decisions on young prospects will be “subjective”. “We don’t want to put a 19-year-old in the position where he’s not prepared to compete against a 27-, 28-year-old,” Luck said. “But there are some 19-year-olds that could. The 3-year rule comes out of the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement. There’s not a lot of science behind that. It’s just the union bargaining with management.” In a recent interview with Bleacher Report, star Clemson wideout Justyn Ross was asked if would be tempted to accept such an offer. “Yes and no,” Ross said, before noting that other college football players he knew “would take that money and run.” The day is rapidly approaching when top prospects will actually have that choice to make. The XFL launches next February and is sure to target young college players next season. Pacific Pro Football plans to kick off next June. Yee believes it would only take one elite player to potentially change the path to the NFL ever. “I strongly believe that once we secure a prominent player, many will follow,” Yee says. “This part isn’t opinion. It’s really more researching the past.” It was 94 years ago that Grange made the radical decision to sign with the Bears – a move Grange’s own father criticized in the media. Now, as today’s young stars consider possibly alternative paths to pros, it’s not all that radical to think another superstar is bound to subvert the system, sooner rather than later.
21 Apr 19
Orange County Register
At the end of November of 1925, after three years spent dominating college football at the University of Illinois, Red Grange signed a contract with the Chicago Bears. It was decision without precedent in football’s brief history. For the fledgling NFL, which still lagged behind the college game in terms of popularity, it was a significant step towards legitimizing the league. For the star players that followed Grange, his signing – and the 67-day barnstorming tour that accompanied it – laid the groundwork for future college football players to jump to the NFL. The draft was born a decade after that, defining that path even further. Almost a full century later, the primary path to pro football remains largely unchanged and unchallenged, even as both college football and the NFL have become billion-dollar cultural behemoths. Star players still must spend at least three seasons removed from high school graduation, per the NFL’s collectively bargained eligibility rules. During those three years, while playing as unpaid amateurs on a massive national stage, they must balance schoolwork with the ever-increasing demands of football. Only recently did the NCAA make sure these players were adequately fed in the meantime. This week, hundreds of prospects will reach the long-awaited end of their amateur football journey when they’re selected in the NFL draft. They’ll sign their first pro contracts and ink their first sponsorship deals, finally able to profit off of the developing fame and football ability that got them this far. But as the draft approaches, I’ve found myself wondering: Why exactly did they have to wait this long to cash in? “The ascending American football player is really the only athlete in the world that’s in a revenue sport that doesn’t have an early professional option,” says Don Yee, a longtime NFL agent whose client list includes the likes of Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo. Yee has a plan to change that. Next summer, after years spent ramping up, Yee, along with a group of organizers that includes former NFL coaches, NFL media executives and NFL players, will launch Pacific Pro Football, a start-up football league that plans to function as an alternative path to the NFL. Contrary to the college route, the league would offer young, pro prospects a paid option to pursue their development. Last month, sitting in a corner booth at the Brookside Golf Course clubhouse in Pasadena, with the iconic Rose Bowl looming in the distance, Yee laid out his plan for a four-team league, based in Southern California, which would focus entirely on preparing football prospects for the NFL. Only ascending young players deemed to have pro potential would be offered contracts. The league would follow NFL rules, with practices wide open to NFL scouts and adhering to NFL rules, all catered towards NFL evaluation. “Envision the Senior Bowl over a two-month season,” Yee explained. Prospects whose sole intent is to make the NFL wouldn’t need to masquerade as college students, attending class and trying to make grades, all while many hover just above the poverty line. Instead, Pacific Pro Football plans to pay players an average salary of $50,000 for a two-month season, with room for high-profile players to be offered more. Outside sponsorships and personal branding opportunities will be strongly encouraged – adidas is already signed on as a league partner. For players who are interested, Pacific Pro Football even plans to offer free community college or vocational program tuition. “Most of these players want to know, ‘How can you get me ready for the NFL?’ ” Yee says. “From a football standpoint, what we’ll have to demonstrate is that if you come play with us, we’ll definitely shorten your learning curve. We’ll help you reduce the risk of failing out of the NFL.” Yee, who has long been critical of the NCAA, contends that college football is diverging from the NFL in this regard, as differing styles and rules have given rise to a different game. On this point, plenty of NFL talent evaluators agree. At positions like offensive line, where the learning curve is especially steep, development at the college level lags further behind its pro counterpart than ever before. Given a legitimate opportunity, it’s not difficult to imagine top prospects opting for a year of hyper-focused football development over finishing a general studies degree — or pursuing one at all. Take Trevor Lawrence, for example. If the 20-year-old Clemson quarterback was eligible for the draft this year, he would be the “clear-cut No. 1 pick,” according to ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper. With that in mind, what does Lawrence have to gain from a football perspective from returning to Clemson for two more seasons? What if another option existed? College players are beginning to seriously consider these alternatives. Every December now, top prospects debate whether or not to play in bowl games. After suffering an injury last fall, defensive end Nick Bosa, a surefire top-three pick in this year’s draft, decided to withdraw from Ohio State to focus on rehab and draft training. How long might it be before a top prospect like Lawrence – or Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa – decides to take his football future into his own hands by sidestepping college football entirely? Pacific Pro Football isn’t the only league aiming to lure prospects away from the college game. Last month, in an interview with the Southern California News Group, new XFL commissioner Oliver Luck described the NFL’s eligibility rules as “meaningless to us.” He expects the XFL will sign “a handful of guys” who aren’t yet eligible to play in the NFL. Agents contacted by Luck were told top prospects could earn as much as $200,000 per season. How the XFL – which, unlike Pacific Pro Football, plans to include veteran players – will decide which players are physically and mentally ready for pro football is uncertain. Even Luck admits the league’s decisions on young prospects will be “subjective”. “We don’t want to put a 19-year-old in the position where he’s not prepared to compete against a 27-, 28-year-old,” Luck said. “But there are some 19-year-olds that could. The 3-year rule comes out of the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement. There’s not a lot of science behind that. It’s just the union bargaining with management.” In a recent interview with Bleacher Report, star Clemson wideout Justyn Ross was asked if would be tempted to accept such an offer. “Yes and no,” Ross said, before noting that other college football players he knew “would take that money and run.” The day is rapidly approaching when top prospects will actually have that choice to make. The XFL launches next February and is sure to target young college players next season. Pacific Pro Football plans to kick off next June. Yee believes it would only take one elite player to potentially change the path to the NFL ever. “I strongly believe that once we secure a prominent player, many will follow,” Yee says. “This part isn’t opinion. It’s really more researching the past.” It was 94 years ago that Grange made the radical decision to sign with the Bears – a move Grange’s own father criticized in the media. Now, as today’s young stars consider possibly alternative paths to pros, it’s not all that radical to think another superstar is bound to subvert the system, sooner rather than later.
21 Apr 19
SCNG
At the end of November of 1925, after three years spent dominating college football at the University of Illinois, Red Grange signed a contract with the Chicago Bears. It was decision without precedent in football’s brief history. For the fledgling NFL, which still lagged behind the college game in terms of popularity, it was a significant step towards legitimizing the league. For the star players that followed Grange, his signing – and the 67-day barnstorming tour that accompanied it – laid the groundwork for future college football players to jump to the NFL. The draft was born a decade after that, defining that path even further. Almost a full century later, the primary path to pro football remains largely unchanged and unchallenged, even as both college football and the NFL have become billion-dollar cultural behemoths. Star players still must spend at least three seasons removed from high school graduation, per the NFL’s collectively bargained eligibility rules. During those three years, while playing as unpaid amateurs on a massive national stage, they must balance schoolwork with the ever-increasing demands of football. Only recently did the NCAA make sure these players were adequately fed in the meantime. This week, hundreds of prospects will reach the long-awaited end of their amateur football journey when they’re selected in the NFL draft. They’ll sign their first pro contracts and ink their first sponsorship deals, finally able to profit off of the developing fame and football ability that got them this far. But as the draft approaches, I’ve found myself wondering: Why exactly did they have to wait this long to cash in? “The ascending American football player is really the only athlete in the world that’s in a revenue sport that doesn’t have an early professional option,” says Don Yee, a longtime NFL agent whose client list includes the likes of Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo. Yee has a plan to change that. Next summer, after years spent ramping up, Yee, along with a group of organizers that includes former NFL coaches, NFL media executives and NFL players, will launch Pacific Pro Football, a start-up football league that plans to function as an alternative path to the NFL. Contrary to the college route, the league would offer young, pro prospects a paid option to pursue their development. Last month, sitting in a corner booth at the Brookside Golf Course clubhouse in Pasadena, with the iconic Rose Bowl looming in the distance, Yee laid out his plan for a four-team league, based in Southern California, which would focus entirely on preparing football prospects for the NFL. Only ascending young players deemed to have pro potential would be offered contracts. The league would follow NFL rules, with practices wide open to NFL scouts and adhering to NFL rules, all catered towards NFL evaluation. “Envision the Senior Bowl over a two-month season,” Yee explained. Prospects whose sole intent is to make the NFL wouldn’t need to masquerade as college students, attending class and trying to make grades, all while many hover just above the poverty line. Instead, Pacific Pro Football plans to pay players an average salary of $50,000 for a two-month season, with room for high-profile players to be offered more. Outside sponsorships and personal branding opportunities will be strongly encouraged – adidas is already signed on as a league partner. For players who are interested, Pacific Pro Football even plans to offer free community college or vocational program tuition. “Most of these players want to know, ‘How can you get me ready for the NFL?’ ” Yee says. “From a football standpoint, what we’ll have to demonstrate is that if you come play with us, we’ll definitely shorten your learning curve. We’ll help you reduce the risk of failing out of the NFL.” Yee, who has long been critical of the NCAA, contends that college football is diverging from the NFL in this regard, as differing styles and rules have given rise to a different game. On this point, plenty of NFL talent evaluators agree. At positions like offensive line, where the learning curve is especially steep, development at the college level lags further behind its pro counterpart than ever before. Given a legitimate opportunity, it’s not difficult to imagine top prospects opting for a year of hyper-focused football development over finishing a general studies degree — or pursuing one at all. Take Trevor Lawrence, for example. If the 20-year-old Clemson quarterback was eligible for the draft this year, he would be the “clear-cut No. 1 pick,” according to ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper. With that in mind, what does Lawrence have to gain from a football perspective from returning to Clemson for two more seasons? What if another option existed? College players are beginning to seriously consider these alternatives. Every December now, top prospects debate whether or not to play in bowl games. After suffering an injury last fall, defensive end Nick Bosa, a surefire top-three pick in this year’s draft, decided to withdraw from Ohio State to focus on rehab and draft training. How long might it be before a top prospect like Lawrence – or Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa – decides to take his football future into his own hands by sidestepping college football entirely? Pacific Pro Football isn’t the only league aiming to lure prospects away from the college game. Last month, in an interview with the Southern California News Group, new XFL commissioner Oliver Luck described the NFL’s eligibility rules as “meaningless to us.” He expects the XFL will sign “a handful of guys” who aren’t yet eligible to play in the NFL. Agents contacted by Luck were told top prospects could earn as much as $200,000 per season. How the XFL – which, unlike Pacific Pro Football, plans to include veteran players – will decide which players are physically and mentally ready for pro football is uncertain. Even Luck admits the league’s decisions on young prospects will be “subjective”. “We don’t want to put a 19-year-old in the position where he’s not prepared to compete against a 27-, 28-year-old,” Luck said. “But there are some 19-year-olds that could. The 3-year rule comes out of the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement. There’s not a lot of science behind that. It’s just the union bargaining with management.” In a recent interview with Bleacher Report, star Clemson wideout Justyn Ross was asked if would be tempted to accept such an offer. “Yes and no,” Ross said, before noting that other college football players he knew “would take that money and run.” The day is rapidly approaching when top prospects will actually have that choice to make. The XFL launches next February and is sure to target young college players next season. Pacific Pro Football plans to kick off next June. Yee believes it would only take one elite player to potentially change the path to the NFL ever. “I strongly believe that once we secure a prominent player, many will follow,” Yee says. “This part isn’t opinion. It’s really more researching the past.” It was 94 years ago that Grange made the radical decision to sign with the Bears – a move Grange’s own father criticized in the media. Now, as today’s young stars consider possibly alternative paths to pros, it’s not all that radical to think another superstar is bound to subvert the system, sooner rather than later.
21 Apr 19
Whittier Daily News
At the end of November of 1925, after three years spent dominating college football at the University of Illinois, Red Grange signed a contract with the Chicago Bears. It was decision without precedent in football’s brief history. For the fledgling NFL, which still lagged behind the college game in terms of popularity, it was a significant step towards legitimizing the league. For the star players that followed Grange, his signing – and the 67-day barnstorming tour that accompanied it – laid the groundwork for future college football players to jump to the NFL. The draft was born a decade after that, defining that path even further. Almost a full century later, the primary path to pro football remains largely unchanged and unchallenged, even as both college football and the NFL have become billion-dollar cultural behemoths. Star players still must spend at least three seasons removed from high school graduation, per the NFL’s collectively bargained eligibility rules. During those three years, while playing as unpaid amateurs on a massive national stage, they must balance schoolwork with the ever-increasing demands of football. Only recently did the NCAA make sure these players were adequately fed in the meantime. This week, hundreds of prospects will reach the long-awaited end of their amateur football journey when they’re selected in the NFL draft. They’ll sign their first pro contracts and ink their first sponsorship deals, finally able to profit off of the developing fame and football ability that got them this far. But as the draft approaches, I’ve found myself wondering: Why exactly did they have to wait this long to cash in? “The ascending American football player is really the only athlete in the world that’s in a revenue sport that doesn’t have an early professional option,” says Don Yee, a longtime NFL agent whose client list includes the likes of Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo. Yee has a plan to change that. Next summer, after years spent ramping up, Yee, along with a group of organizers that includes former NFL coaches, NFL media executives and NFL players, will launch Pacific Pro Football, a start-up football league that plans to function as an alternative path to the NFL. Contrary to the college route, the league would offer young, pro prospects a paid option to pursue their development. Last month, sitting in a corner booth at the Brookside Golf Course clubhouse in Pasadena, with the iconic Rose Bowl looming in the distance, Yee laid out his plan for a four-team league, based in Southern California, which would focus entirely on preparing football prospects for the NFL. Only ascending young players deemed to have pro potential would be offered contracts. The league would follow NFL rules, with practices wide open to NFL scouts and adhering to NFL rules, all catered towards NFL evaluation. “Envision the Senior Bowl over a two-month season,” Yee explained. Prospects whose sole intent is to make the NFL wouldn’t need to masquerade as college students, attending class and trying to make grades, all while many hover just above the poverty line. Instead, Pacific Pro Football plans to pay players an average salary of $50,000 for a two-month season, with room for high-profile players to be offered more. Outside sponsorships and personal branding opportunities will be strongly encouraged – adidas is already signed on as a league partner. For players who are interested, Pacific Pro Football even plans to offer free community college or vocational program tuition. “Most of these players want to know, ‘How can you get me ready for the NFL?’ ” Yee says. “From a football standpoint, what we’ll have to demonstrate is that if you come play with us, we’ll definitely shorten your learning curve. We’ll help you reduce the risk of failing out of the NFL.” Yee, who has long been critical of the NCAA, contends that college football is diverging from the NFL in this regard, as differing styles and rules have given rise to a different game. On this point, plenty of NFL talent evaluators agree. At positions like offensive line, where the learning curve is especially steep, development at the college level lags further behind its pro counterpart than ever before. Given a legitimate opportunity, it’s not difficult to imagine top prospects opting for a year of hyper-focused football development over finishing a general studies degree — or pursuing one at all. Take Trevor Lawrence, for example. If the 20-year-old Clemson quarterback was eligible for the draft this year, he would be the “clear-cut No. 1 pick,” according to ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper. With that in mind, what does Lawrence have to gain from a football perspective from returning to Clemson for two more seasons? What if another option existed? College players are beginning to seriously consider these alternatives. Every December now, top prospects debate whether or not to play in bowl games. After suffering an injury last fall, defensive end Nick Bosa, a surefire top-three pick in this year’s draft, decided to withdraw from Ohio State to focus on rehab and draft training. How long might it be before a top prospect like Lawrence – or Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa – decides to take his football future into his own hands by sidestepping college football entirely? Pacific Pro Football isn’t the only league aiming to lure prospects away from the college game. Last month, in an interview with the Southern California News Group, new XFL commissioner Oliver Luck described the NFL’s eligibility rules as “meaningless to us.” He expects the XFL will sign “a handful of guys” who aren’t yet eligible to play in the NFL. Agents contacted by Luck were told top prospects could earn as much as $200,000 per season. How the XFL – which, unlike Pacific Pro Football, plans to include veteran players – will decide which players are physically and mentally ready for pro football is uncertain. Even Luck admits the league’s decisions on young prospects will be “subjective”. “We don’t want to put a 19-year-old in the position where he’s not prepared to compete against a 27-, 28-year-old,” Luck said. “But there are some 19-year-olds that could. The 3-year rule comes out of the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement. There’s not a lot of science behind that. It’s just the union bargaining with management.” In a recent interview with Bleacher Report, star Clemson wideout Justyn Ross was asked if would be tempted to accept such an offer. “Yes and no,” Ross said, before noting that other college football players he knew “would take that money and run.” The day is rapidly approaching when top prospects will actually have that choice to make. The XFL launches next February and is sure to target young college players next season. Pacific Pro Football plans to kick off next June. Yee believes it would only take one elite player to potentially change the path to the NFL ever. “I strongly believe that once we secure a prominent player, many will follow,” Yee says. “This part isn’t opinion. It’s really more researching the past.” It was 94 years ago that Grange made the radical decision to sign with the Bears – a move Grange’s own father criticized in the media. Now, as today’s young stars consider possibly alternative paths to pros, it’s not all that radical to think another superstar is bound to subvert the system, sooner rather than later.
21 Apr 19
Pasadena Star News
At the end of November of 1925, after three years spent dominating college football at the University of Illinois, Red Grange signed a contract with the Chicago Bears. It was decision without precedent in football’s brief history. For the fledgling NFL, which still lagged behind the college game in terms of popularity, it was a significant step towards legitimizing the league. For the star players that followed Grange, his signing – and the 67-day barnstorming tour that accompanied it – laid the groundwork for future college football players to jump to the NFL. The draft was born a decade after that, defining that path even further. Almost a full century later, the primary path to pro football remains largely unchanged and unchallenged, even as both college football and the NFL have become billion-dollar cultural behemoths. Star players still must spend at least three seasons removed from high school graduation, per the NFL’s collectively bargained eligibility rules. During those three years, while playing as unpaid amateurs on a massive national stage, they must balance schoolwork with the ever-increasing demands of football. Only recently did the NCAA make sure these players were adequately fed in the meantime. This week, hundreds of prospects will reach the long-awaited end of their amateur football journey when they’re selected in the NFL draft. They’ll sign their first pro contracts and ink their first sponsorship deals, finally able to profit off of the developing fame and football ability that got them this far. But as the draft approaches, I’ve found myself wondering: Why exactly did they have to wait this long to cash in? “The ascending American football player is really the only athlete in the world that’s in a revenue sport that doesn’t have an early professional option,” says Don Yee, a longtime NFL agent whose client list includes the likes of Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo. Yee has a plan to change that. Next summer, after years spent ramping up, Yee, along with a group of organizers that includes former NFL coaches, NFL media executives and NFL players, will launch Pacific Pro Football, a start-up football league that plans to function as an alternative path to the NFL. Contrary to the college route, the league would offer young, pro prospects a paid option to pursue their development. Last month, sitting in a corner booth at the Brookside Golf Course clubhouse in Pasadena, with the iconic Rose Bowl looming in the distance, Yee laid out his plan for a four-team league, based in Southern California, which would focus entirely on preparing football prospects for the NFL. Only ascending young players deemed to have pro potential would be offered contracts. The league would follow NFL rules, with practices wide open to NFL scouts and adhering to NFL rules, all catered towards NFL evaluation. “Envision the Senior Bowl over a two-month season,” Yee explained. Prospects whose sole intent is to make the NFL wouldn’t need to masquerade as college students, attending class and trying to make grades, all while many hover just above the poverty line. Instead, Pacific Pro Football plans to pay players an average salary of $50,000 for a two-month season, with room for high-profile players to be offered more. Outside sponsorships and personal branding opportunities will be strongly encouraged – adidas is already signed on as a league partner. For players who are interested, Pacific Pro Football even plans to offer free community college or vocational program tuition. “Most of these players want to know, ‘How can you get me ready for the NFL?’ ” Yee says. “From a football standpoint, what we’ll have to demonstrate is that if you come play with us, we’ll definitely shorten your learning curve. We’ll help you reduce the risk of failing out of the NFL.” Yee, who has long been critical of the NCAA, contends that college football is diverging from the NFL in this regard, as differing styles and rules have given rise to a different game. On this point, plenty of NFL talent evaluators agree. At positions like offensive line, where the learning curve is especially steep, development at the college level lags further behind its pro counterpart than ever before. Given a legitimate opportunity, it’s not difficult to imagine top prospects opting for a year of hyper-focused football development over finishing a general studies degree — or pursuing one at all. Take Trevor Lawrence, for example. If the 20-year-old Clemson quarterback was eligible for the draft this year, he would be the “clear-cut No. 1 pick,” according to ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper. With that in mind, what does Lawrence have to gain from a football perspective from returning to Clemson for two more seasons? What if another option existed? College players are beginning to seriously consider these alternatives. Every December now, top prospects debate whether or not to play in bowl games. After suffering an injury last fall, defensive end Nick Bosa, a surefire top-three pick in this year’s draft, decided to withdraw from Ohio State to focus on rehab and draft training. How long might it be before a top prospect like Lawrence – or Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa – decides to take his football future into his own hands by sidestepping college football entirely? Pacific Pro Football isn’t the only league aiming to lure prospects away from the college game. Last month, in an interview with the Southern California News Group, new XFL commissioner Oliver Luck described the NFL’s eligibility rules as “meaningless to us.” He expects the XFL will sign “a handful of guys” who aren’t yet eligible to play in the NFL. Agents contacted by Luck were told top prospects could earn as much as $200,000 per season. How the XFL – which, unlike Pacific Pro Football, plans to include veteran players – will decide which players are physically and mentally ready for pro football is uncertain. Even Luck admits the league’s decisions on young prospects will be “subjective”. “We don’t want to put a 19-year-old in the position where he’s not prepared to compete against a 27-, 28-year-old,” Luck said. “But there are some 19-year-olds that could. The 3-year rule comes out of the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement. There’s not a lot of science behind that. It’s just the union bargaining with management.” In a recent interview with Bleacher Report, star Clemson wideout Justyn Ross was asked if would be tempted to accept such an offer. “Yes and no,” Ross said, before noting that other college football players he knew “would take that money and run.” The day is rapidly approaching when top prospects will actually have that choice to make. The XFL launches next February and is sure to target young college players next season. Pacific Pro Football plans to kick off next June. Yee believes it would only take one elite player to potentially change the path to the NFL ever. “I strongly believe that once we secure a prominent player, many will follow,” Yee says. “This part isn’t opinion. It’s really more researching the past.” It was 94 years ago that Grange made the radical decision to sign with the Bears – a move Grange’s own father criticized in the media. Now, as today’s young stars consider possibly alternative paths to pros, it’s not all that radical to think another superstar is bound to subvert the system, sooner rather than later.
21 Apr 19
San Gabriel Valley Tribune
At the end of November of 1925, after three years spent dominating college football at the University of Illinois, Red Grange signed a contract with the Chicago Bears. It was decision without precedent in football’s brief history. For the fledgling NFL, which still lagged behind the college game in terms of popularity, it was a significant step towards legitimizing the league. For the star players that followed Grange, his signing – and the 67-day barnstorming tour that accompanied it – laid the groundwork for future college football players to jump to the NFL. The draft was born a decade after that, defining that path even further. Almost a full century later, the primary path to pro football remains largely unchanged and unchallenged, even as both college football and the NFL have become billion-dollar cultural behemoths. Star players still must spend at least three seasons removed from high school graduation, per the NFL’s collectively bargained eligibility rules. During those three years, while playing as unpaid amateurs on a massive national stage, they must balance schoolwork with the ever-increasing demands of football. Only recently did the NCAA make sure these players were adequately fed in the meantime. This week, hundreds of prospects will reach the long-awaited end of their amateur football journey when they’re selected in the NFL draft. They’ll sign their first pro contracts and ink their first sponsorship deals, finally able to profit off of the developing fame and football ability that got them this far. But as the draft approaches, I’ve found myself wondering: Why exactly did they have to wait this long to cash in? “The ascending American football player is really the only athlete in the world that’s in a revenue sport that doesn’t have an early professional option,” says Don Yee, a longtime NFL agent whose client list includes the likes of Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo. Yee has a plan to change that. Next summer, after years spent ramping up, Yee, along with a group of organizers that includes former NFL coaches, NFL media executives and NFL players, will launch Pacific Pro Football, a start-up football league that plans to function as an alternative path to the NFL. Contrary to the college route, the league would offer young, pro prospects a paid option to pursue their development. Last month, sitting in a corner booth at the Brookside Golf Course clubhouse in Pasadena, with the iconic Rose Bowl looming in the distance, Yee laid out his plan for a four-team league, based in Southern California, which would focus entirely on preparing football prospects for the NFL. Only ascending young players deemed to have pro potential would be offered contracts. The league would follow NFL rules, with practices wide open to NFL scouts and adhering to NFL rules, all catered towards NFL evaluation. “Envision the Senior Bowl over a two-month season,” Yee explained. Prospects whose sole intent is to make the NFL wouldn’t need to masquerade as college students, attending class and trying to make grades, all while many hover just above the poverty line. Instead, Pacific Pro Football plans to pay players an average salary of $50,000 for a two-month season, with room for high-profile players to be offered more. Outside sponsorships and personal branding opportunities will be strongly encouraged – adidas is already signed on as a league partner. For players who are interested, Pacific Pro Football even plans to offer free community college or vocational program tuition. “Most of these players want to know, ‘How can you get me ready for the NFL?’ ” Yee says. “From a football standpoint, what we’ll have to demonstrate is that if you come play with us, we’ll definitely shorten your learning curve. We’ll help you reduce the risk of failing out of the NFL.” Yee, who has long been critical of the NCAA, contends that college football is diverging from the NFL in this regard, as differing styles and rules have given rise to a different game. On this point, plenty of NFL talent evaluators agree. At positions like offensive line, where the learning curve is especially steep, development at the college level lags further behind its pro counterpart than ever before. Given a legitimate opportunity, it’s not difficult to imagine top prospects opting for a year of hyper-focused football development over finishing a general studies degree — or pursuing one at all. Take Trevor Lawrence, for example. If the 20-year-old Clemson quarterback was eligible for the draft this year, he would be the “clear-cut No. 1 pick,” according to ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper. With that in mind, what does Lawrence have to gain from a football perspective from returning to Clemson for two more seasons? What if another option existed? College players are beginning to seriously consider these alternatives. Every December now, top prospects debate whether or not to play in bowl games. After suffering an injury last fall, defensive end Nick Bosa, a surefire top-three pick in this year’s draft, decided to withdraw from Ohio State to focus on rehab and draft training. How long might it be before a top prospect like Lawrence – or Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa – decides to take his football future into his own hands by sidestepping college football entirely? Pacific Pro Football isn’t the only league aiming to lure prospects away from the college game. Last month, in an interview with the Southern California News Group, new XFL commissioner Oliver Luck described the NFL’s eligibility rules as “meaningless to us.” He expects the XFL will sign “a handful of guys” who aren’t yet eligible to play in the NFL. Agents contacted by Luck were told top prospects could earn as much as $200,000 per season. How the XFL – which, unlike Pacific Pro Football, plans to include veteran players – will decide which players are physically and mentally ready for pro football is uncertain. Even Luck admits the league’s decisions on young prospects will be “subjective”. “We don’t want to put a 19-year-old in the position where he’s not prepared to compete against a 27-, 28-year-old,” Luck said. “But there are some 19-year-olds that could. The 3-year rule comes out of the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement. There’s not a lot of science behind that. It’s just the union bargaining with management.” In a recent interview with Bleacher Report, star Clemson wideout Justyn Ross was asked if would be tempted to accept such an offer. “Yes and no,” Ross said, before noting that other college football players he knew “would take that money and run.” The day is rapidly approaching when top prospects will actually have that choice to make. The XFL launches next February and is sure to target young college players next season. Pacific Pro Football plans to kick off next June. Yee believes it would only take one elite player to potentially change the path to the NFL ever. “I strongly believe that once we secure a prominent player, many will follow,” Yee says. “This part isn’t opinion. It’s really more researching the past.” It was 94 years ago that Grange made the radical decision to sign with the Bears – a move Grange’s own father criticized in the media. Now, as today’s young stars consider possibly alternative paths to pros, it’s not all that radical to think another superstar is bound to subvert the system, sooner rather than later.
21 Apr 19
Press Enterprise
At the end of November of 1925, after three years spent dominating college football at the University of Illinois, Red Grange signed a contract with the Chicago Bears. It was decision without precedent in football’s brief history. For the fledgling NFL, which still lagged behind the college game in terms of popularity, it was a significant step towards legitimizing the league. For the star players that followed Grange, his signing – and the 67-day barnstorming tour that accompanied it – laid the groundwork for future college football players to jump to the NFL. The draft was born a decade after that, defining that path even further. Almost a full century later, the primary path to pro football remains largely unchanged and unchallenged, even as both college football and the NFL have become billion-dollar cultural behemoths. Star players still must spend at least three seasons removed from high school graduation, per the NFL’s collectively bargained eligibility rules. During those three years, while playing as unpaid amateurs on a massive national stage, they must balance schoolwork with the ever-increasing demands of football. Only recently did the NCAA make sure these players were adequately fed in the meantime. This week, hundreds of prospects will reach the long-awaited end of their amateur football journey when they’re selected in the NFL draft. They’ll sign their first pro contracts and ink their first sponsorship deals, finally able to profit off of the developing fame and football ability that got them this far. But as the draft approaches, I’ve found myself wondering: Why exactly did they have to wait this long to cash in? “The ascending American football player is really the only athlete in the world that’s in a revenue sport that doesn’t have an early professional option,” says Don Yee, a longtime NFL agent whose client list includes the likes of Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo. Yee has a plan to change that. Next summer, after years spent ramping up, Yee, along with a group of organizers that includes former NFL coaches, NFL media executives and NFL players, will launch Pacific Pro Football, a start-up football league that plans to function as an alternative path to the NFL. Contrary to the college route, the league would offer young, pro prospects a paid option to pursue their development. Last month, sitting in a corner booth at the Brookside Golf Course clubhouse in Pasadena, with the iconic Rose Bowl looming in the distance, Yee laid out his plan for a four-team league, based in Southern California, which would focus entirely on preparing football prospects for the NFL. Only ascending young players deemed to have pro potential would be offered contracts. The league would follow NFL rules, with practices wide open to NFL scouts and adhering to NFL rules, all catered towards NFL evaluation. “Envision the Senior Bowl over a two-month season,” Yee explained. Prospects whose sole intent is to make the NFL wouldn’t need to masquerade as college students, attending class and trying to make grades, all while many hover just above the poverty line. Instead, Pacific Pro Football plans to pay players an average salary of $50,000 for a two-month season, with room for high-profile players to be offered more. Outside sponsorships and personal branding opportunities will be strongly encouraged – adidas is already signed on as a league partner. For players who are interested, Pacific Pro Football even plans to offer free community college or vocational program tuition. “Most of these players want to know, ‘How can you get me ready for the NFL?’ ” Yee says. “From a football standpoint, what we’ll have to demonstrate is that if you come play with us, we’ll definitely shorten your learning curve. We’ll help you reduce the risk of failing out of the NFL.” Yee, who has long been critical of the NCAA, contends that college football is diverging from the NFL in this regard, as differing styles and rules have given rise to a different game. On this point, plenty of NFL talent evaluators agree. At positions like offensive line, where the learning curve is especially steep, development at the college level lags further behind its pro counterpart than ever before. Given a legitimate opportunity, it’s not difficult to imagine top prospects opting for a year of hyper-focused football development over finishing a general studies degree — or pursuing one at all. Take Trevor Lawrence, for example. If the 20-year-old Clemson quarterback was eligible for the draft this year, he would be the “clear-cut No. 1 pick,” according to ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper. With that in mind, what does Lawrence have to gain from a football perspective from returning to Clemson for two more seasons? What if another option existed? College players are beginning to seriously consider these alternatives. Every December now, top prospects debate whether or not to play in bowl games. After suffering an injury last fall, defensive end Nick Bosa, a surefire top-three pick in this year’s draft, decided to withdraw from Ohio State to focus on rehab and draft training. How long might it be before a top prospect like Lawrence – or Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa – decides to take his football future into his own hands by sidestepping college football entirely? Pacific Pro Football isn’t the only league aiming to lure prospects away from the college game. Last month, in an interview with the Southern California News Group, new XFL commissioner Oliver Luck described the NFL’s eligibility rules as “meaningless to us.” He expects the XFL will sign “a handful of guys” who aren’t yet eligible to play in the NFL. Agents contacted by Luck were told top prospects could earn as much as $200,000 per season. How the XFL – which, unlike Pacific Pro Football, plans to include veteran players – will decide which players are physically and mentally ready for pro football is uncertain. Even Luck admits the league’s decisions on young prospects will be “subjective”. “We don’t want to put a 19-year-old in the position where he’s not prepared to compete against a 27-, 28-year-old,” Luck said. “But there are some 19-year-olds that could. The 3-year rule comes out of the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement. There’s not a lot of science behind that. It’s just the union bargaining with management.” In a recent interview with Bleacher Report, star Clemson wideout Justyn Ross was asked if would be tempted to accept such an offer. “Yes and no,” Ross said, before noting that other college football players he knew “would take that money and run.” The day is rapidly approaching when top prospects will actually have that choice to make. The XFL launches next February and is sure to target young college players next season. Pacific Pro Football plans to kick off next June. Yee believes it would only take one elite player to potentially change the path to the NFL ever. “I strongly believe that once we secure a prominent player, many will follow,” Yee says. “This part isn’t opinion. It’s really more researching the past.” It was 94 years ago that Grange made the radical decision to sign with the Bears – a move Grange’s own father criticized in the media. Now, as today’s young stars consider possibly alternative paths to pros, it’s not all that radical to think another superstar is bound to subvert the system, sooner rather than later.
21 Apr 19
Redlands Daily Facts
At the end of November of 1925, after three years spent dominating college football at the University of Illinois, Red Grange signed a contract with the Chicago Bears. It was decision without precedent in football’s brief history. For the fledgling NFL, which still lagged behind the college game in terms of popularity, it was a significant step towards legitimizing the league. For the star players that followed Grange, his signing – and the 67-day barnstorming tour that accompanied it – laid the groundwork for future college football players to jump to the NFL. The draft was born a decade after that, defining that path even further. Almost a full century later, the primary path to pro football remains largely unchanged and unchallenged, even as both college football and the NFL have become billion-dollar cultural behemoths. Star players still must spend at least three seasons removed from high school graduation, per the NFL’s collectively bargained eligibility rules. During those three years, while playing as unpaid amateurs on a massive national stage, they must balance schoolwork with the ever-increasing demands of football. Only recently did the NCAA make sure these players were adequately fed in the meantime. This week, hundreds of prospects will reach the long-awaited end of their amateur football journey when they’re selected in the NFL draft. They’ll sign their first pro contracts and ink their first sponsorship deals, finally able to profit off of the developing fame and football ability that got them this far. But as the draft approaches, I’ve found myself wondering: Why exactly did they have to wait this long to cash in? “The ascending American football player is really the only athlete in the world that’s in a revenue sport that doesn’t have an early professional option,” says Don Yee, a longtime NFL agent whose client list includes the likes of Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo. Yee has a plan to change that. Next summer, after years spent ramping up, Yee, along with a group of organizers that includes former NFL coaches, NFL media executives and NFL players, will launch Pacific Pro Football, a start-up football league that plans to function as an alternative path to the NFL. Contrary to the college route, the league would offer young, pro prospects a paid option to pursue their development. Last month, sitting in a corner booth at the Brookside Golf Course clubhouse in Pasadena, with the iconic Rose Bowl looming in the distance, Yee laid out his plan for a four-team league, based in Southern California, which would focus entirely on preparing football prospects for the NFL. Only ascending young players deemed to have pro potential would be offered contracts. The league would follow NFL rules, with practices wide open to NFL scouts and adhering to NFL rules, all catered towards NFL evaluation. “Envision the Senior Bowl over a two-month season,” Yee explained. Prospects whose sole intent is to make the NFL wouldn’t need to masquerade as college students, attending class and trying to make grades, all while many hover just above the poverty line. Instead, Pacific Pro Football plans to pay players an average salary of $50,000 for a two-month season, with room for high-profile players to be offered more. Outside sponsorships and personal branding opportunities will be strongly encouraged – adidas is already signed on as a league partner. For players who are interested, Pacific Pro Football even plans to offer free community college or vocational program tuition. “Most of these players want to know, ‘How can you get me ready for the NFL?’ ” Yee says. “From a football standpoint, what we’ll have to demonstrate is that if you come play with us, we’ll definitely shorten your learning curve. We’ll help you reduce the risk of failing out of the NFL.” Yee, who has long been critical of the NCAA, contends that college football is diverging from the NFL in this regard, as differing styles and rules have given rise to a different game. On this point, plenty of NFL talent evaluators agree. At positions like offensive line, where the learning curve is especially steep, development at the college level lags further behind its pro counterpart than ever before. Given a legitimate opportunity, it’s not difficult to imagine top prospects opting for a year of hyper-focused football development over finishing a general studies degree — or pursuing one at all. Take Trevor Lawrence, for example. If the 20-year-old Clemson quarterback was eligible for the draft this year, he would be the “clear-cut No. 1 pick,” according to ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper. With that in mind, what does Lawrence have to gain from a football perspective from returning to Clemson for two more seasons? What if another option existed? College players are beginning to seriously consider these alternatives. Every December now, top prospects debate whether or not to play in bowl games. After suffering an injury last fall, defensive end Nick Bosa, a surefire top-three pick in this year’s draft, decided to withdraw from Ohio State to focus on rehab and draft training. How long might it be before a top prospect like Lawrence – or Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa – decides to take his football future into his own hands by sidestepping college football entirely? Pacific Pro Football isn’t the only league aiming to lure prospects away from the college game. Last month, in an interview with the Southern California News Group, new XFL commissioner Oliver Luck described the NFL’s eligibility rules as “meaningless to us.” He expects the XFL will sign “a handful of guys” who aren’t yet eligible to play in the NFL. Agents contacted by Luck were told top prospects could earn as much as $200,000 per season. How the XFL – which, unlike Pacific Pro Football, plans to include veteran players – will decide which players are physically and mentally ready for pro football is uncertain. Even Luck admits the league’s decisions on young prospects will be “subjective”. “We don’t want to put a 19-year-old in the position where he’s not prepared to compete against a 27-, 28-year-old,” Luck said. “But there are some 19-year-olds that could. The 3-year rule comes out of the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement. There’s not a lot of science behind that. It’s just the union bargaining with management.” In a recent interview with Bleacher Report, star Clemson wideout Justyn Ross was asked if would be tempted to accept such an offer. “Yes and no,” Ross said, before noting that other college football players he knew “would take that money and run.” The day is rapidly approaching when top prospects will actually have that choice to make. The XFL launches next February and is sure to target young college players next season. Pacific Pro Football plans to kick off next June. Yee believes it would only take one elite player to potentially change the path to the NFL ever. “I strongly believe that once we secure a prominent player, many will follow,” Yee says. “This part isn’t opinion. It’s really more researching the past.” It was 94 years ago that Grange made the radical decision to sign with the Bears – a move Grange’s own father criticized in the media. Now, as today’s young stars consider possibly alternative paths to pros, it’s not all that radical to think another superstar is bound to subvert the system, sooner rather than later.
21 Apr 19
Daily News
At the end of November of 1925, after three years spent dominating college football at the University of Illinois, Red Grange signed a contract with the Chicago Bears. It was decision without precedent in football’s brief history. For the fledgling NFL, which still lagged behind the college game in terms of popularity, it was a significant step towards legitimizing the league. For the star players that followed Grange, his signing – and the 67-day barnstorming tour that accompanied it – laid the groundwork for future college football players to jump to the NFL. The draft was born a decade after that, defining that path even further. Almost a full century later, the primary path to pro football remains largely unchanged and unchallenged, even as both college football and the NFL have become billion-dollar cultural behemoths. Star players still must spend at least three seasons removed from high school graduation, per the NFL’s collectively bargained eligibility rules. During those three years, while playing as unpaid amateurs on a massive national stage, they must balance schoolwork with the ever-increasing demands of football. Only recently did the NCAA make sure these players were adequately fed in the meantime. This week, hundreds of prospects will reach the long-awaited end of their amateur football journey when they’re selected in the NFL draft. They’ll sign their first pro contracts and ink their first sponsorship deals, finally able to profit off of the developing fame and football ability that got them this far. But as the draft approaches, I’ve found myself wondering: Why exactly did they have to wait this long to cash in? “The ascending American football player is really the only athlete in the world that’s in a revenue sport that doesn’t have an early professional option,” says Don Yee, a longtime NFL agent whose client list includes the likes of Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo. Yee has a plan to change that. Next summer, after years spent ramping up, Yee, along with a group of organizers that includes former NFL coaches, NFL media executives and NFL players, will launch Pacific Pro Football, a start-up football league that plans to function as an alternative path to the NFL. Contrary to the college route, the league would offer young, pro prospects a paid option to pursue their development. Last month, sitting in a corner booth at the Brookside Golf Course clubhouse in Pasadena, with the iconic Rose Bowl looming in the distance, Yee laid out his plan for a four-team league, based in Southern California, which would focus entirely on preparing football prospects for the NFL. Only ascending young players deemed to have pro potential would be offered contracts. The league would follow NFL rules, with practices wide open to NFL scouts and adhering to NFL rules, all catered towards NFL evaluation. “Envision the Senior Bowl over a two-month season,” Yee explained. Prospects whose sole intent is to make the NFL wouldn’t need to masquerade as college students, attending class and trying to make grades, all while many hover just above the poverty line. Instead, Pacific Pro Football plans to pay players an average salary of $50,000 for a two-month season, with room for high-profile players to be offered more. Outside sponsorships and personal branding opportunities will be strongly encouraged – adidas is already signed on as a league partner. For players who are interested, Pacific Pro Football even plans to offer free community college or vocational program tuition. “Most of these players want to know, ‘How can you get me ready for the NFL?’ ” Yee says. “From a football standpoint, what we’ll have to demonstrate is that if you come play with us, we’ll definitely shorten your learning curve. We’ll help you reduce the risk of failing out of the NFL.” Yee, who has long been critical of the NCAA, contends that college football is diverging from the NFL in this regard, as differing styles and rules have given rise to a different game. On this point, plenty of NFL talent evaluators agree. At positions like offensive line, where the learning curve is especially steep, development at the college level lags further behind its pro counterpart than ever before. Given a legitimate opportunity, it’s not difficult to imagine top prospects opting for a year of hyper-focused football development over finishing a general studies degree — or pursuing one at all. Take Trevor Lawrence, for example. If the 20-year-old Clemson quarterback was eligible for the draft this year, he would be the “clear-cut No. 1 pick,” according to ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper. With that in mind, what does Lawrence have to gain from a football perspective from returning to Clemson for two more seasons? What if another option existed? College players are beginning to seriously consider these alternatives. Every December now, top prospects debate whether or not to play in bowl games. After suffering an injury last fall, defensive end Nick Bosa, a surefire top-three pick in this year’s draft, decided to withdraw from Ohio State to focus on rehab and draft training. How long might it be before a top prospect like Lawrence – or Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa – decides to take his football future into his own hands by sidestepping college football entirely? Pacific Pro Football isn’t the only league aiming to lure prospects away from the college game. Last month, in an interview with the Southern California News Group, new XFL commissioner Oliver Luck described the NFL’s eligibility rules as “meaningless to us.” He expects the XFL will sign “a handful of guys” who aren’t yet eligible to play in the NFL. Agents contacted by Luck were told top prospects could earn as much as $200,000 per season. How the XFL – which, unlike Pacific Pro Football, plans to include veteran players – will decide which players are physically and mentally ready for pro football is uncertain. Even Luck admits the league’s decisions on young prospects will be “subjective”. “We don’t want to put a 19-year-old in the position where he’s not prepared to compete against a 27-, 28-year-old,” Luck said. “But there are some 19-year-olds that could. The 3-year rule comes out of the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement. There’s not a lot of science behind that. It’s just the union bargaining with management.” In a recent interview with Bleacher Report, star Clemson wideout Justyn Ross was asked if would be tempted to accept such an offer. “Yes and no,” Ross said, before noting that other college football players he knew “would take that money and run.” The day is rapidly approaching when top prospects will actually have that choice to make. The XFL launches next February and is sure to target young college players next season. Pacific Pro Football plans to kick off next June. Yee believes it would only take one elite player to potentially change the path to the NFL ever. “I strongly believe that once we secure a prominent player, many will follow,” Yee says. “This part isn’t opinion. It’s really more researching the past.” It was 94 years ago that Grange made the radical decision to sign with the Bears – a move Grange’s own father criticized in the media. Now, as today’s young stars consider possibly alternative paths to pros, it’s not all that radical to think another superstar is bound to subvert the system, sooner rather than later.
21 Apr 19
Daily Breeze
At the end of November of 1925, after three years spent dominating college football at the University of Illinois, Red Grange signed a contract with the Chicago Bears. It was decision without precedent in football’s brief history. For the fledgling NFL, which still lagged behind the college game in terms of popularity, it was a significant step towards legitimizing the league. For the star players that followed Grange, his signing – and the 67-day barnstorming tour that accompanied it – laid the groundwork for future college football players to jump to the NFL. The draft was born a decade after that, defining that path even further. Almost a full century later, the primary path to pro football remains largely unchanged and unchallenged, even as both college football and the NFL have become billion-dollar cultural behemoths. Star players still must spend at least three seasons removed from high school graduation, per the NFL’s collectively bargained eligibility rules. During those three years, while playing as unpaid amateurs on a massive national stage, they must balance schoolwork with the ever-increasing demands of football. Only recently did the NCAA make sure these players were adequately fed in the meantime. This week, hundreds of prospects will reach the long-awaited end of their amateur football journey when they’re selected in the NFL draft. They’ll sign their first pro contracts and ink their first sponsorship deals, finally able to profit off of the developing fame and football ability that got them this far. But as the draft approaches, I’ve found myself wondering: Why exactly did they have to wait this long to cash in? “The ascending American football player is really the only athlete in the world that’s in a revenue sport that doesn’t have an early professional option,” says Don Yee, a longtime NFL agent whose client list includes the likes of Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo. Yee has a plan to change that. Next summer, after years spent ramping up, Yee, along with a group of organizers that includes former NFL coaches, NFL media executives and NFL players, will launch Pacific Pro Football, a start-up football league that plans to function as an alternative path to the NFL. Contrary to the college route, the league would offer young, pro prospects a paid option to pursue their development. Last month, sitting in a corner booth at the Brookside Golf Course clubhouse in Pasadena, with the iconic Rose Bowl looming in the distance, Yee laid out his plan for a four-team league, based in Southern California, which would focus entirely on preparing football prospects for the NFL. Only ascending young players deemed to have pro potential would be offered contracts. The league would follow NFL rules, with practices wide open to NFL scouts and adhering to NFL rules, all catered towards NFL evaluation. “Envision the Senior Bowl over a two-month season,” Yee explained. Prospects whose sole intent is to make the NFL wouldn’t need to masquerade as college students, attending class and trying to make grades, all while many hover just above the poverty line. Instead, Pacific Pro Football plans to pay players an average salary of $50,000 for a two-month season, with room for high-profile players to be offered more. Outside sponsorships and personal branding opportunities will be strongly encouraged – adidas is already signed on as a league partner. For players who are interested, Pacific Pro Football even plans to offer free community college or vocational program tuition. “Most of these players want to know, ‘How can you get me ready for the NFL?’ ” Yee says. “From a football standpoint, what we’ll have to demonstrate is that if you come play with us, we’ll definitely shorten your learning curve. We’ll help you reduce the risk of failing out of the NFL.” Yee, who has long been critical of the NCAA, contends that college football is diverging from the NFL in this regard, as differing styles and rules have given rise to a different game. On this point, plenty of NFL talent evaluators agree. At positions like offensive line, where the learning curve is especially steep, development at the college level lags further behind its pro counterpart than ever before. Given a legitimate opportunity, it’s not difficult to imagine top prospects opting for a year of hyper-focused football development over finishing a general studies degree — or pursuing one at all. Take Trevor Lawrence, for example. If the 20-year-old Clemson quarterback was eligible for the draft this year, he would be the “clear-cut No. 1 pick,” according to ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper. With that in mind, what does Lawrence have to gain from a football perspective from returning to Clemson for two more seasons? What if another option existed? College players are beginning to seriously consider these alternatives. Every December now, top prospects debate whether or not to play in bowl games. After suffering an injury last fall, defensive end Nick Bosa, a surefire top-three pick in this year’s draft, decided to withdraw from Ohio State to focus on rehab and draft training. How long might it be before a top prospect like Lawrence – or Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa – decides to take his football future into his own hands by sidestepping college football entirely? Pacific Pro Football isn’t the only league aiming to lure prospects away from the college game. Last month, in an interview with the Southern California News Group, new XFL commissioner Oliver Luck described the NFL’s eligibility rules as “meaningless to us.” He expects the XFL will sign “a handful of guys” who aren’t yet eligible to play in the NFL. Agents contacted by Luck were told top prospects could earn as much as $200,000 per season. How the XFL – which, unlike Pacific Pro Football, plans to include veteran players – will decide which players are physically and mentally ready for pro football is uncertain. Even Luck admits the league’s decisions on young prospects will be “subjective”. “We don’t want to put a 19-year-old in the position where he’s not prepared to compete against a 27-, 28-year-old,” Luck said. “But there are some 19-year-olds that could. The 3-year rule comes out of the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement. There’s not a lot of science behind that. It’s just the union bargaining with management.” In a recent interview with Bleacher Report, star Clemson wideout Justyn Ross was asked if would be tempted to accept such an offer. “Yes and no,” Ross said, before noting that other college football players he knew “would take that money and run.” The day is rapidly approaching when top prospects will actually have that choice to make. The XFL launches next February and is sure to target young college players next season. Pacific Pro Football plans to kick off next June. Yee believes it would only take one elite player to potentially change the path to the NFL ever. “I strongly believe that once we secure a prominent player, many will follow,” Yee says. “This part isn’t opinion. It’s really more researching the past.” It was 94 years ago that Grange made the radical decision to sign with the Bears – a move Grange’s own father criticized in the media. Now, as today’s young stars consider possibly alternative paths to pros, it’s not all that radical to think another superstar is bound to subvert the system, sooner rather than later.
21 Apr 19
Daily Bulletin
At the end of November of 1925, after three years spent dominating college football at the University of Illinois, Red Grange signed a contract with the Chicago Bears. It was decision without precedent in football’s brief history. For the fledgling NFL, which still lagged behind the college game in terms of popularity, it was a significant step towards legitimizing the league. For the star players that followed Grange, his signing – and the 67-day barnstorming tour that accompanied it – laid the groundwork for future college football players to jump to the NFL. The draft was born a decade after that, defining that path even further. Almost a full century later, the primary path to pro football remains largely unchanged and unchallenged, even as both college football and the NFL have become billion-dollar cultural behemoths. Star players still must spend at least three seasons removed from high school graduation, per the NFL’s collectively bargained eligibility rules. During those three years, while playing as unpaid amateurs on a massive national stage, they must balance schoolwork with the ever-increasing demands of football. Only recently did the NCAA make sure these players were adequately fed in the meantime. This week, hundreds of prospects will reach the long-awaited end of their amateur football journey when they’re selected in the NFL draft. They’ll sign their first pro contracts and ink their first sponsorship deals, finally able to profit off of the developing fame and football ability that got them this far. But as the draft approaches, I’ve found myself wondering: Why exactly did they have to wait this long to cash in? “The ascending American football player is really the only athlete in the world that’s in a revenue sport that doesn’t have an early professional option,” says Don Yee, a longtime NFL agent whose client list includes the likes of Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo. Yee has a plan to change that. Next summer, after years spent ramping up, Yee, along with a group of organizers that includes former NFL coaches, NFL media executives and NFL players, will launch Pacific Pro Football, a start-up football league that plans to function as an alternative path to the NFL. Contrary to the college route, the league would offer young, pro prospects a paid option to pursue their development. Last month, sitting in a corner booth at the Brookside Golf Course clubhouse in Pasadena, with the iconic Rose Bowl looming in the distance, Yee laid out his plan for a four-team league, based in Southern California, which would focus entirely on preparing football prospects for the NFL. Only ascending young players deemed to have pro potential would be offered contracts. The league would follow NFL rules, with practices wide open to NFL scouts and adhering to NFL rules, all catered towards NFL evaluation. “Envision the Senior Bowl over a two-month season,” Yee explained. Prospects whose sole intent is to make the NFL wouldn’t need to masquerade as college students, attending class and trying to make grades, all while many hover just above the poverty line. Instead, Pacific Pro Football plans to pay players an average salary of $50,000 for a two-month season, with room for high-profile players to be offered more. Outside sponsorships and personal branding opportunities will be strongly encouraged – adidas is already signed on as a league partner. For players who are interested, Pacific Pro Football even plans to offer free community college or vocational program tuition. “Most of these players want to know, ‘How can you get me ready for the NFL?’ ” Yee says. “From a football standpoint, what we’ll have to demonstrate is that if you come play with us, we’ll definitely shorten your learning curve. We’ll help you reduce the risk of failing out of the NFL.” Yee, who has long been critical of the NCAA, contends that college football is diverging from the NFL in this regard, as differing styles and rules have given rise to a different game. On this point, plenty of NFL talent evaluators agree. At positions like offensive line, where the learning curve is especially steep, development at the college level lags further behind its pro counterpart than ever before. Given a legitimate opportunity, it’s not difficult to imagine top prospects opting for a year of hyper-focused football development over finishing a general studies degree — or pursuing one at all. Take Trevor Lawrence, for example. If the 20-year-old Clemson quarterback was eligible for the draft this year, he would be the “clear-cut No. 1 pick,” according to ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper. With that in mind, what does Lawrence have to gain from a football perspective from returning to Clemson for two more seasons? What if another option existed? College players are beginning to seriously consider these alternatives. Every December now, top prospects debate whether or not to play in bowl games. After suffering an injury last fall, defensive end Nick Bosa, a surefire top-three pick in this year’s draft, decided to withdraw from Ohio State to focus on rehab and draft training. How long might it be before a top prospect like Lawrence – or Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa – decides to take his football future into his own hands by sidestepping college football entirely? Pacific Pro Football isn’t the only league aiming to lure prospects away from the college game. Last month, in an interview with the Southern California News Group, new XFL commissioner Oliver Luck described the NFL’s eligibility rules as “meaningless to us.” He expects the XFL will sign “a handful of guys” who aren’t yet eligible to play in the NFL. Agents contacted by Luck were told top prospects could earn as much as $200,000 per season. How the XFL – which, unlike Pacific Pro Football, plans to include veteran players – will decide which players are physically and mentally ready for pro football is uncertain. Even Luck admits the league’s decisions on young prospects will be “subjective”. “We don’t want to put a 19-year-old in the position where he’s not prepared to compete against a 27-, 28-year-old,” Luck said. “But there are some 19-year-olds that could. The 3-year rule comes out of the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement. There’s not a lot of science behind that. It’s just the union bargaining with management.” In a recent interview with Bleacher Report, star Clemson wideout Justyn Ross was asked if would be tempted to accept such an offer. “Yes and no,” Ross said, before noting that other college football players he knew “would take that money and run.” The day is rapidly approaching when top prospects will actually have that choice to make. The XFL launches next February and is sure to target young college players next season. Pacific Pro Football plans to kick off next June. Yee believes it would only take one elite player to potentially change the path to the NFL ever. “I strongly believe that once we secure a prominent player, many will follow,” Yee says. “This part isn’t opinion. It’s really more researching the past.” It was 94 years ago that Grange made the radical decision to sign with the Bears – a move Grange’s own father criticized in the media. Now, as today’s young stars consider possibly alternative paths to pros, it’s not all that radical to think another superstar is bound to subvert the system, sooner rather than later.
21 Apr 19
Sportschasers

Part of the fun of trying to figure out what 32 groups of secretive people are going to do with millions of their bosses’ dollars is that they aren’t going to tell you the truth about it until afterward. And so it is with the NFL draft, which every year is preceded by storylines and […]