Football News Headlines
NOTE: The intent of the News Section is not to dwell on negative stories that are more suited to be found in the Police and Crime Section of your local newspaper, but to report and document stories that cover the entire realm of The World of Football. Chances are, you may not have seen some of these stories before.
(Obituary) May 13, 2017 – Len Rohde, an offensive tackle in the NFL for 15 years, dies at the age of 79. Rohde played college football at Utah State and was selected in the fifth round of the 1960 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers. He retired following the 1974 season and had played in 208 consecutive games. After football, he stayed in the Bay Area and went on to own six Burger King franchises and five Applebee’s restaurants.
(Obituary) May 12, 2017 – Yale Lary, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, dies at the age of 86. Lary played college football at Texas A&M and was selected in the third round of the 1952 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions. He played for Detroit from 1952-1953, 1956-1964. He played safety, was a punter and also returned kick. Lary helped lead the Lions to three NFL championships in 1952, 1953 and 1957. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1979.
(Court Ruling) May 9, 2017 – A judge in Massachusetts overturns the murder conviction of the late Aaron Hernandez. An odd state law allows for a convicted person to have their record cleared if they die before exhausting all of their appeals. (See related article on April 19, 2017)
(Obituary) May 9, 2017 – Katherine Berman, the wife of long-time ESPN broadcaster Chris Berman, dies as the result of a two-car accident in Connecticut. The Berman’s had been married for 33 years.
(College) May 8, 2017 – The Collegiate Commissioners Association (CCA), which oversees the National Letter of Intent Program in Division I, approves a plan to allow high school seniors to sign in December rather than waiting for the first Wednesday in February. The new early football signing period runs from December 20-22.
(CFL) May 7, 2017 – With the first overall selection in the 2017 Canadian Football League player draft, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers selected DL Faith Ekakitie who played at the University of Iowa. A total of 71 Canadian-born players were taken over the eight rounds of the draft.
(NFL) April 29, 2017 – With the final pick (#253 overall) in the 2017 NFL Draft, the Denver Broncos selected Chad Kelly, a quarterback from Ole Miss. He is this year’s Mr. Irrelevant.
(NFL) April 27, 2017 – With the first overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft held in Philadelphia, the Cleveland Browns selected Myles Garrett, a defensive end from Texas A&M.
(Media) April 26, 2017 – ESPN announced that it was letting go of 100 writers, reporters, columnists and on-air personalities. Among those fired by the network were Danny Kanell, Ed Werter and Trent Dilfer. The network is struggling financially and is looking to move more content to a digital format.
(Obituary) April 19, 2017 – Aaron Hernandez, a former NFL player who was serving a life sentence for murder, is found hanged in his prison cell. He was 27. Hernandez played college football at Florida and was selected in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots. He played tight end for New England from 2010-2012. He was serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole for the 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd, a semiprofessional football player who was dating his fiancÚ’s sister. Less than a week before, on April 14, he was acquitted in a trial for a double murder that took place in 2012.
(Obituary) April 18, 2017 – Walter William “Bill” Anderson, who played in college, the NFL and was a longtime college football broadcaster, dies at the age of 80. Anderson played wingback and was a team captain at Tennessee. He was selected in the third round of the 1958 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins. He played for Washington from 1958-1963. He then signed with the Green Bay Packers and played there in 1965 and 1966. He was on the Super Bowl I championship team. Anderson was hired as an assistant coach at Tennessee in 1964. In 1968, he and John Ward became the team’s radio broadcasting team. The two worked together for 31 years until they both retired from broadcasting in 1998. Anderson is a member of the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame and the Knoxville Sports Hall of Fame.
(Obituary) April 13, 2017 – Dan Rooney, the owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers, dies at the age of 84. He began working for the team his family owns in 1955. In 1975, he became the team president and was the controlling owner of the team from 1988-2003. Since then, he had been the team’s chairman. He was instrumental in passage of The Rooney Rule, which requires NFL teams to interview at least one minority candidate for vacant head coaching positions. He also spent three years as the U.S. Ambassador to Ireland from 2009-2012. Rooney was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2000.
(Obituary) April 12, 2017 – Wayne Hardin, a Hall of Fame college football coach, dies of a stroke at the age of 91. Hardin was the head coach at Navy from 1959-1963. During his time there, he produced two Heisman Trophy winners, HB Joe Bellino in 1960 and QB Roger Staubach in 1963. He then went on to be the head coach at Temple from 1970-1982. His overall record as a head coach was 118-74-5. Hardin was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2013.
(Obituary) April 10, 2017 – Spike Dykes, who was a college football coach, dies at the age of 79. Dykes is best known as the head coach at Texas Tech from 1986-1999. At the time he retired, he was the winningest head coach in school history with a record of 82-67-1. He started out has a high school coach in Texas and then spent time as an assistant coach at Mississippi State, Texas and New Mexico before becoming an assistant coach at Texas Tech in 1984. Dykes was named Southwest Conference Coach of the Year in 1989, 1993 and 1994 and Big 12 Coach of the Year in 1996.
(Arena) April 7, 2017 – In the season-opening game of the 30th Arena Football League season, the Washington Valor defeated the Baltimore Brigade 51-38 in Washington. Both are expansion teams this year in the AFL.
(Obituary) March 29, 2017 – Ken Sparks, a Division II college football coach, dies at the age 73. Sparks was the head coach of the Carson-Newman Eagles for 37 years, from 1980-2016. He played wide receiver at the school and graduated there in 1968. His overall head coaching record was 338-99-2, the fifth most wins in college football history. When Sparks took over as head coach, Carson Newman competed at the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) level. Sparks led the team to five NAIA titles. After moving to the Division II level, he led the team to 21 South Atlantic Conference (SAC) championships.
(NFL) March 28, 2017 – The NFL announced that video reviews for all games will now be handled by an officiating crew located at NFL headquarters in New York, who will be monitoring every game. The Canadian Football League went to this type of replay review system a few years ago. Also, the NFL announced that players will no longer be able to leap over the line of scrimmage in an effort to block field goal and extra point attempt.
(NFL) March 27, 2017 – During their Spring Meeting in Phoenix, AZ, NFL owners approved the move of the Oakland Raiders to Las Vegas by a vote of 31-1. The only dissenting vote came from the Miami Dolphins. Plans call for a $1.7 billion stadium to be built in Vegas that will open in 2020.
(Obituary) March 24, 2017 – Clay Matthews, Sr., the father and grandfather of a number of NFL players, dies at the age of 88. Matthews was a two-way player for the San Francisco 49ers in 1950 and 1953-1955. He played on the offensive and defensive lines. He is the father of Clay Mathews, Jr., who played for the Cleveland Browns and Atlanta Falcons from 1978-1996 and Bruce Matthews, who played for the Houston Oilers and Tennessee Titans from 1993-2001. Bruce was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2007. Clay Sr. is also the grandfather of five other NFL players; Casey Matthews who currently plays for the Minnesota Vikings, Clay Matthews III who currently plays for the Green Bay Packers, Mike Matthews, who currently plays for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Jake Matthews, who currently plays for the Atlanta Falcons and Kevin Matthews, who played for the Tennessee Titans in 2010 and 2012.
(NFL) March 20, 2017 – The NFL and the New England Patriots announced that the jersey of Tom Brady, which was stolen from his locker after the Super Bowl in February, has been found in Mexico. It was taken by a foreign media journalist who was covering the Super Bowl and had access to the locker room. No other details are available at this time.
(Obituary) March 6, 2017 – Mickey Martin, a former player and scout in the NFL, dies after battling ALS at the age of 61. Martin played college football at Tennessee and for the Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders from 1977-1987. The right guard won two Super Bowls with the Raiders (XV and XVIII) and after his playing career was over, he spent another 29 years as a player scout for the team.
(Obituary) March 6, 2017 – George Karras, a college football coach and player scout in the NFL, dies at the age of 83. Karras was a college football coach for 20 years and the head coach at Wichita State from 1965-1966. He then spent time as a player scout for the Denver Broncos before he became the Oakland Raiders as the director of player personnel from 1987-1997.
(NFL) March 1, 2017 – The NFL Salary Cap is increasing from $155.27 million last year to $167 million for each team in 2017. This is the fourth consecutive year that the cap has increased by at least $10 million over the previous year.
(Obituary) February 23, 2017 – Bernie Custis, a pioneering black quarterback who played in Canada, dies at the age of 88. Custis played college football at Syracuse and was selected in the 11th round of the 1951 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns. There were no black quarterbacks in the NFL at the time and he would have had to change positions if he wanted to make the team. So he decided to go to Canada where he could continue to play QB. He signed with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 1951 and played for the team through 1954, winning a Grey Cup in 1953. Custis also played for the Ottawa Rough Riders in 1955 and 1956. When his playing career was over, Custis spent 31 years coaching at various levels of college football in Canada. He was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1998 as a Builder. Custis is also a member of the Syracuse University Athletic Hall of Fame and the McMaster University Hall of Fame in Canada.
(Obituary) February 19, 2017 – Darryl Hammond, who played 16 seasons in the Arena Football League, dies of Lou Gehrig’s Disease at the age of 50. Hammond played college football at Virginia and began his AFL career with the Albany Firebirds from 1991-1994 as a wide receiver/defensive back. He also played for the St. Louis Stampede (1995-1996), Nashville Kats (1997-2001), Georgia Force (2002-2003), Austin Wranglers (2004) and the Nashville Kats again (2005-2006). Hammond was named the AFL’s All-Ironman Team in 2000 and 2001, helping to lead the Kats to an ArenaBowl appearance in both of those seasons. After his playing career was over, Hammond became the assistant general manager of the Kats and also was the team’s radio color analyst. He was a stunt double in the movie The Longest Yard in 2004 and had a role in the movie Invincible in 2006. In 2009, he had a role as a volleyball coach on the TV show Hanna Montana. He was inducted into the Arena Football League Hall of Fame in 2013.
(Obituary) February 17, 2017 – Leonard Myers, a former NFL player, dies of cancer at the age of 38. Myers played college football at the University of Miami and was selected in the sixth round of the 2001 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots. He played for the Patriots from 2001-2002 and won a Super Bowl with the team in his rooky season. He also played briefly for the New York Jets and the Detroit Lions in 2003. In 2015, Myers was the wide receivers coach at Division II New Mexico Highlands University. Last month, he was the cornerbacks coach of the Nationals team in the NFLPA Collegiate All-Star game.
(Obituary) February 16, 2017 – John Jackson, who was a college football assistant coach for many years, dies at the age of 81. Jackson was the running backs coach at USC from 1976-1981. During that time he coached, not one, but two, Heisman Trophy winners; Charles White (1979) and Marcus Allen (1981). Jackson was also a part of USC’s 1978 National Championship team. He went on to be the running backs coach at UNLV from 1999-2004. He also spent time coaching at Hofstra, Dartmouth and Illinois.
(Obituary) February 13, 2017 – Darrel K. Smith, dies of cancer at the age of 55. Smith played college football at Central State University in Ohio. He went on to play eight seasons in the Canadian Football League for the Toronto Argonauts (1986-1992) and one more with the Edmonton Eskimos in 1993. He was a wide receiver who helped lead the Argos to the 1991 Grey Cup championship. To this day, he still holds three Toronto team records; consecutive games with a reception (96), touchdowns in a single season (20) and average yards per catch (17.5).
(Obituary) February 12, 2017 – Quentin Moses, a former NFL player, dies in a house fire in Monroe, Georgia at the age of 33. Moses played college football at the University of Georgia and was selected in the third round of the 2007 NFL Draft by the Oakland Raiders. However, he signed with the Miami Dolphins as a free agent. He played for the Dolphins from 2007-2010. He started out playing on the defensive line but was eventually moved to the linebacker position.
(Obituary) February 8, 2017 – Ray Newman, who was a player scout in the CFL and NFL, dies at the age of 92. Newman was an NFL scout for the New Orleans Saints from 1967-1971 and for the San Diego Chargers from 1971-1978. He then joined the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League and was responsible for signing quarterback Warren Moon. Moon then led the Eskimos to five consecutive Grey Cup championships from 1978-1982. Prior to becoming a player scout, Newman was the head coach at Bakersfield College from 1959-1966. Newman is a member of Ourlads’ Scout Hall of Fame.
(NFL) February 5, 2017 - The New England Patriots defeated the Atlanta Falcons in overtime 34-28 in Super Bowl LI. The game was played in Houston, TX in front of 70,807 fans. Lady Gaga performed at halftime. It was the fifth Super Bowl title for New England and the first time the Super Bowl ever went into overtime.
(NFL) February 4, 2017 - The Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2017 is announced. They are quarterback Kurt Warner (St. Louis Rams, New York Giants, Phoenix Cardinals), running back LaDainian Tomlinson (San Diego Chargers, New York Jets), kicker Morten Andersen (New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons, New York Giants, Kansas City Chiefs, Minnesota Vikings), running back Terrell Davis (Denver Broncos), defensive end Jason Taylor (Miami Dolphins, Washington Redskins, New York Jets), safety Kenny Easley (Seattle Seahawks) and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.
(Obituary) January 30, 2017 – Don Coleman, an outstanding college football lineman, dies at the age of 88. Coleman played college football at Michigan State and was the MVP of the school’s 9-0 season in 1951. He was the first black All-American player in 1951 as well as the first player at MSU to have his jersey retired. Coleman was selected in the eighth round of the 1952 NFL Draft by the Chicago Cardinals. He was then traded to the Green Bay Packers, who wanted him to play defensive back. Instead of playing pro football, he joined the Army and served as an officer in Korea. Coleman returned to MSU and spent time as an assistant football coach and eventually became the Dean of Students. He was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1975, the MSU Athletics Hall of Fame in 1992 and the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame in 1997.
(Obituary) January 23, 2017 – Ralph Guglielmi, a quarterback in college and in the NFL, dies as the result of a stroke at the age of 83. Guglielmi played college football at Notre Dame, He was selected in the first round of the 1955 NFL Draft (third overall selection) by the Washington Redskins. Guglielmi played in Washington in 1955, 1958 and 1960, then played for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1961 and the New York Giants in 1962. In 1963, he played for the Giants and the Philadelphia Eagles. Guglielmi was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2001.
(Obituary) January 19, 2017 – Craig Howard, a high school and college football head coach, dies at the age of 64. Howard was a head coach at Nease High School in Florida and won a state title in 2005 with future Heisman Trophy winning quarterback, Tim Tebow. Howard went on to be the head coach at Oregon Tech from 1991-1992 before becoming the head coach at Southern Oregon University in 2011, a school in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. He won the NAIA National Championship in 2014 and was named NAIA Coach of the Year.
(Obituary) January 17, 2017 – Tirrel Burton, a long-time college football assistant coach, dies at the age of 86. Burton played tailback in college at Miami (Ohio) and was selected in the sixth round of the 1956 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles. He did not play in Philly, however. Instead, he spent a year playing in the Canadian Football League for the Ottawa Rough Riders. He became an assistant coach at Miami (Ohio) in 1969 before moving on to the University of Michigan. He was an assistant coach at U of M for 22 seasons, from 1970-1991, coaching receivers and running backs. Burton was inducted into the University of Miami (Ohio) Hall of Fame in 1974.
(Obituary) January 13, 2017 – Johnny Gramling, a quarterback in college and in the CFL, dies at the age of 85. Gramling played college football at the University of South Carolina from 1951-1953. He was the first quarterback in school history to throw for 2,000 career passing yards. He then played in Canada for most of the 1954 Canadian Football League season for the Ottawa Rough Riders. He left the CFL team when he was called to active duty in the U. S. Air Force. He then played for the football team at Shaw Air Force Base. Gramling was inducted into the University of South Carolina Hall of Fame in 2000.
(NFL) January 12, 2017 - The San Diego Chargers announced that the team in moving to Los Angeles in time for the 2017 season. The team plans to play in the StubHub Center in Carson in 2017 and 2018. They will then move into the Los Angeles Rams' new stadium, which is now under construction in Inglewood, in 2019. The StubHub Center is home to Major League Soccer's Los Angeles Galaxy, and it has a seating capacity of only 27,167.
(College) January 9, 2017 - The #2 Clemson Tigers defeated the #1 Alabama Crimson Tide 35-31 to win the College Football National Championship. Alabama beat Clemson last year in the championship game.
(College) January 9, 2017 – The College Football Hall of Fame announced the Class of 2017 inductees. It is made up of 10 players and three coached. The players are LB Bob Crable, Notre Dame (1978-81), RB Marshall Faulk, San Diego State (1991-93), WR Kirk Gibson, Michigan State (1975-78), QB Matt Leinart, Southern California (2003-05), QB Peyton Manning, Tennessee (1994-97), OT Bob McKay, Texas (1968-69), LB Dat Nguyen, Texas A&M (1995-98), RB Adrian Peterson, Georgia Southern (1998-2001), NG Mike Ruth, Boston College (1982-85) and DB Brian Urlacher, New Mexico (1996-99). The coaches are Danny Ford, Clemson (1978-89) and Arkansas (1993-97), Larry Kehres, Mount Union (Ohio) (1986-2012) and Steve Spurrier, Duke (1987-89), Florida (1990-2001) and South Carolina (2005-15). They will be officially inducted at an awards dinner in New York on December 5, 2017.
(College) January 7, 2017 - The James Madison Dukes defeated the Youngstown State Penguins 28-14 to win the national championship of the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), formerly known as Division I-AA.