|Father of former Patriots DL Ron Brace: ‘I believe the concussions had something to do with his death’||05.03.16 at 9:44 am ET|
The father of former Boston College and Patriots defensive lineman Ron Brace III said at Brace’s memorial service Monday that his son dealt with symptoms from concussion issues prior to his unexpected death on April 23 at the age of 29.
Ronald Brace Jr., wearing his late son’s No. 97 Patriots jersey as he spoke at St. John’s Congregational Church in Springfield, said despite reports that his son died of a heart attack, the actual cause of death has not yet been determined.
Brace Jr. said he believes his son had brain damage caused from his football career. The father said Brace suffered fainting spells, which apparently led to him getting into a car accident and also collapsing at a drug store.
“This concussion stuff is serious,” Brace Jr. said (via MassLive.com). “Ron had an extraordinary amount of concussions. I believe the concussions had something to do with his death.”
Brace Jr. said he discovered his son was dead after finding him in front of the television at the family home in Springfield and first thinking that he was sleeping.
“He looked so peaceful in his face, but when I touched him to try to wake him up he was cold,” Brace Jr. said.
A Springfield native who prepped at Worcester’s Burncoat High School, Brace was a second-round pick in 2009 after a stellar career at BC. He played four NFL seasons, all with the Patriots, appearing in 39 games and starting seven.
|Chris ‘Mad Dog’ Russo on D&C: ‘[Tom] Brady should just sit back, take his medicine, let it go’||04.26.16 at 10:35 am ET|
Sirius XM Radio host Chris “Mad Dog” Russo, who gloated when Tom Brady’s initial Deflategate suspension was announced last year, checked in with Dennis & Callahan with Minihane on Tuesday morning and encouraged Patriots fans to accept Brady’s punishment following Monday’s federal appeals court decision and “get over it.” To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
“You guys have got to move on now,” Russo said (loudly). “He’s going to get four games. That’s all there is to it. The Supreme Court’s not listening to this [appeal]. Those 13 judges aren’t listening to this, the whole circuit appeal court deal [en banc]. This is over. He lost. Move on. It’s not that big a deal in the big picture, for crying out loud. Move on.”
While many in New England continue to insist Brady was railroaded, Russo downplayed the controversy.
“He’s not going to jail for the rest of his life, for crying out loud. It’s four lousy football games,” Russo said. “He’s not going to jail. He’s not wrongly convicted. He’s not going to jail for 20 years. My god, it’s four games. Four Sundays of a phenomenal career he can’t play. He’ll live. He’ll live. You’ll live.”
Russo said Patriots fans should appreciate that some good can come out of this, including having a fresher Brady for the last three-quarters of the season.
“If you look at this from a Brady perspective, or a Patriots [perspective], he’s 40 years old, or whatever he is [actually 39 in August]. So maybe a little less wear and tear,” Russo said. “Look at this as a positive. Forget about arguing what the facts are. The deflate stuff, the balls, who cares? That’s over with now. I don’t mind it. He’s got to figure out a way to serve these four games. Let it go. Four games, the suspension is upheld. You’re not taking this to the Supreme Court. They’re not going to hear it anyway.”
Added Russo: “Brady should just sit back, take his medicine, let it go, put up with the lousy four games. He’s going to live. The team will be fine. [Bill] Belichick can get all motivated — he loves this. He can prove that he can coach without Brady, as he did with [Matt] Cassel the year they went 11-5 and should have made the playoffs . They can go 2-2 at worst, maybe even 3-1 — you’ve got to figure they’ll lose that Arizona game now with the backup. But as a result of that, they get Brady there for Week 5 on October 9th against the Browns, and away we go. You go 10-2, you win 12, 13 games and you take a crack at Denver again in the championship game or somebody else. What’s so bad?”
|Reports: S Patrick Chung signs 1-year extension with Patriots||04.01.16 at 12:16 pm ET|
Safety Patrick Chung’s successful second stint with the Patriots landed him a one-year contract extension that will keep him in Foxboro through 2018, according to multiple reports.
Chung, who played for the Patriots from 2009-12 and returned in 2014 after a disappointing season with the Eagles, will get a $2.4 million signing bonus and a base salary of $2 million in 2018, with roster bonuses that could reach $400,000 ($25,000 per game), according to ESPN.
The 28-year-old is due to make $1.4 million in base salary in 2016, with $200,000 in roster bonuses ($12,500 per game) and a cap number of $3.18 million. Then in 2017 he’ll get $2.5 million in base salary with roster bonuses that could total $400,000 ($25,000 per game). His cap hit that season is $4.5 million.
Chung has made a name for himself with his ability to cover tight ends and defend against the run. He was rated as the sixth overall safety last season by Pro Football Focus.
|Ravens CB Tray Walker dies from injuries sustained in dirt bike accident||03.18.16 at 8:02 pm ET|
Ravens cornerback Tray Walker died Friday from injuries sustained in a dirt bike accident in Miami the previous evening, the team announced. Walker, a rookie last season, was 23.
According to police and media reports, Walker was wearing dark clothing and no helmet while riding a Honda dirt bike with no headlights Friday night down a Miami street. His bike collided with a Ford Escape at an intersection. The woman driving the SUV stayed at the scene and cooperated with police, while Walker was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital.
“He wasn’t responding to nothing [the doctors] tried to do,” family friend Lissette Lowe told reporters. “They tried everything. They tried and he wasn’t responding.”
Added another family friend, Yolanda Hardy: “That was his dream [to play in the NFL] and he made it. Tragedy struck, and we don’t even have words. We don’t know what to say. Just pray for the family.”
Walker’s agent said he believes the Miami native was riding alongside another NFL player, and some early reports indicated police wanted to talk to an unidentified member of the Patriots who apparently did not remain at the scene. Wide receiver Aaron Dobson shot down rumors that he was the Patriot in question, tweeting that he had never met Walker.
Walker, a fourth-round draft pick last year out of Texas Southern, played sparingly, mostly on special teams, in eight games last season. He was expected to challenge for the No. 3 or 4 cornerback spot this year.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh wrote an open letter to his team earlier Friday. “That was the kind of phone call you never want to get as a coach, as a parent, as a brother, as a firned,” he wrote. “This shook me and all of us.”
|Aaron Dobson implies he’s not Patriot said to be sought by police in connection to Ravens CB Tray Walker’s serious accident||03.18.16 at 10:49 am ET|
As Ravens cornerback Tray Walker continued to fight for his life Friday morning following Thursday night’s dirt bike accident on a Miami street, rumors flew as to which Patriots player was being sought by police for questioning about the incident.
Reporter Liane Morejon of Miami TV station WPLG 10 tweeted late Thursday that police were looking for a Patriot who was present during the crash but “is apparently nowhere to be found now.”
Responding to rumors that he was the player in question, wide receiver Aaron Dobson posted a Snapchat video Friday morning in which he says: “[People] talking about the cops looking for me, man. What? I’m down in Miami grinding, man. I don’t know what the hell y’all talking about, man.”
UPDATE, 2 p.m.: Via Dobson’s Twitter account, the receiver issued a more firm denial, writing: Even through I have never met nor was I with Tray Walker last night, my heart and prayers go out to he and his family. … I am hopeful he has a speedy recovery.
Even though I have never met nor was I with Tray Walker last night, my heart and prayers go out to he and his family.
— Aaron Dobson 3 (@aarondobson17) March 18, 2016
Walker, 23, was listed in critical condition at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami after his dirt bike — with no lights — collided with a Ford Escape at a Miami intersection shortly before 8 p.m., police said. He was not wearing a helmet.
“It’s a bad situation,” Walker’s agent, Donald Butler, told The Baltimore Sun on Friday morning, explaining that Walker was in intensive care after overnight surgery. “I’m going to be honest. We’re praying that he’s able to fight through it. … He has some head injuries. He’s fighting for his life right now. That’s really the most I can say.”
A Miami native, Walker played sparingly in eight games for the Ravens last season after being drafted in the fourth round out of Texas Southern.
|Report: Unidentified Patriot sought by police after accident that leaves Ravens CB Tray Walker in critical condition||03.18.16 at 6:39 am ET|
According to reports out of Miami, an unidentified Patriots player was being sought by police after Ravens cornerback Tray Walker suffered serious injuries in a dirt bike accident on a city street Thursday night.
Tweeted Liane Morejon of Miami’s WPLG 10: cops are looking for a Patriots player present during Tray walker dirt bike crash; is apparently no where to be found now.
Can’t confirm who @patriots player is, but sources say he was there & cops cant find him; want to intvw him as witness to Tray Walker crash.
UPDATE, 10:30 a.m.: Apparently responding to rumors that he was the Patriots player being sought, Aaron Dobson posted a Snapchat video in which he says: “[People] talking about the cops looking for me, man. What? I’m down in Miami grinding, man. I don’t know what the hell y’all talking about, man.”
Walker, 23, was listed in critical condition with head trauma after the accident in Northwest Miami-Dade just before 8 p.m. Police said he was clipped by an SUV while driving through an intersection. The woman driving the Ford Escape remained on the scene and talked to police. Walker’s bike did not have lights, and he was wearing dark clothing.
His sister said Walker underwent surgery upon his arrival at Jackson Memorial Hospital.
“Right now we need prayer,” Shalonda Martin said.
In a statement from the Ravens late Thursday, coach John Harbaugh reacted with shock.
“Oh my God. This is devastating news,” he said. “Our prayers and hopes are with Tray and his family tonight.”
Walker, a 2015 fourth-round draft pick, played sparingly in eight games last season as a rookie. A Miami native, he played collegiately at Texas Southern.
|Reports: Former Patriots DL Gary Jeter dead at 61||03.11.16 at 9:18 am ET|
Gary Jeter, who ended his 13-year career by playing one season for the Patriots in 1989, died Thursday at the age of 61, according to multiple reports.
Jeter was drafted fifth overall by the Giants in the 1977 NFL draft out of Southern California. He spent six seasons in New York, with his best season coming in 1980 when he recorded 10 sacks and was a Pro Bowl alternate. He was traded the Rams in 1983 and was named Comeback Player of the Year in 1985 when he recorded 11 sacks.
He had seven sacks with the Patriots in 1989, then was released. He failed a physical with the Rams and retired.
Jeter had been living in New Jersey since his retirement. News of his death stunned former Giants teammate Beasley Reece, who said he recently played golf with Jeter.
“This is the worst possible news,” a shaken and sobbing Reece said (via the New York Daily News). “This is a great loss for the Giants.
“We lost one of the good guys. A quality guy. A giant of a man who could not have been nicer. This defies all reason.”
Added Reece: “He was a gentleman. This will be difficult to get over. He came to the Giants with a big reputation from a big university and he had a big personality and a big smile to match it. He was built like a freak of nature. He defied the stereotype of a football player as he was well read and would engage in debates in the locker room. He was an eclectic individual.”
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