Ex-NFL player suffering from memory loss writes ‘love letter’ to family – Fox News

Former NFL tight end Ben Utecht caught one pass from superstar quarterback Peyton Manning the night of Feb. 4, 2007, helping the Indianapolis Colts win Super Bowl XLI.

But that?s not the memory he most wants to retain. Or the life experience he most wants to share.

Utecht, who sustained five documented concussions during his five-year NFL career with the Colts and Cincinnati Bengals, said Sunday on ?Fox & Friends? that he?s already experienced some long-term memory problems since he last took the field in 2008. That reality led him to write the autobiographical ?Counting the Days While My Mind Slips Away: A Love Letter to My Family.?

?That was the foundation of writing the book; was to really give a legacy story to my family with the realities that many former NFL players face due to the consequences of concussion,? Utecht said. ?And when I left the game at 30 years old already having some long-term memory problems it really made me think long and hard about bad questions.?

Questions such as, will the 35-year-old Utecht remember his four daughters, who range in age from 1 to 7 years old, as young girls? Will he be able to tell them stories from his football days? Will he be able to warn them about head injuries?

An increasing number of ex-NFL players have come out in recent years to link concussions suffered on the gridiron to memory issues plaguing post-playing lives. In an effort to provide his family with a sharp document of Utecht?s journey from the football field to the doctors table, he wrote ?Counting the Days.? The book serves a dual purpose, Utecht said, by hopefully urging others to pay attention to head safety.

?The book is designed to get people to care about their mind and their memories,? Utecht said. ?Maybe for the first time to realize how important their memories are to their identity.?

Ex-NFL player suffering from memory loss writes ‘love letter’ to family – Fox News


What we learned: Cardinals not worried about offense – NFL.com


Carson Palmer played three drives on Sunday in Houston and two of them ended with interceptions. The team’s starting offense has looked disjointed throughout the preseason. And it will all be completely forgotten in two weeks.

The preseason matters more to some teams than others. Through their actions and words this week, the loaded Cardinals made it clear this week they aren’t worried. When you look at Sunday’s effort closer, they shouldn’t be.

Palmer had two passes picked off on fluky tip plays. Texans linebacker John Simon deserves credit for a one-in-a-million pick six he pulled off against Palmer, but there’s not a lot to learn from that play. The Cardinals marched 75 yards for a touchdown in between Palmer’s interceptions and ran the ball well all night. They won the battle up front on offense and had over 200 yards in the first quarter and a half. Palmer took a few big hits — the team’s offensive line certainly has questions — so Arians removed his quarterback early in the second quarter. Larry Fitzgerald and Patrick Peterson didn’t even play.

“I’m not interested in seeing them play 30 plays,” Arians said earlier this week. “I know what they can do.”


We’ll see what they can do in two weeks against New England. Save the judgment for then.

Here’s what we did manage to learn during three games Sunday as Preseason Week 3 wrapped up:

1. Arians might be more worried about his defense. After two sluggish preseason outings, Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler looked terrific against Arizona against little pressure. He had only two incompletions in 13 attempts while pushing the ball down the field, especially in three beautiful throws to rookie Will Fuller.

2. While Fuller dropped one of those deep throws, the first-round pick has quickly looked the part of a No. 2 wide receiver across from DeAndre Hopkins. Fuller and fellow rookie Braxton Miller combined for six catches and 96 yards, including Fuller’s 26-yard score. Miller has seamlessly jumped right into the Texans offense as the starting slot receiver. Offseason hype candidate Jaelen Strong is stuck at No. 4 in a suddenly deep receiver group.

3. It was also telling that Texans rookie running back Tyler Ervin got so many snaps with the first team. He’s going to be the primary backup and third down back behind Lamar Miller. He’s shown impressive niftiness and burst in the preseason.


4. Cardinals cornerback Mike Jenkins was carted off the field after a non-contact knee injury. Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said last week Jenkins had a chance to start opposite Patrick Peterson. It’s a thin position for the Cardinals, who will rely on rookie Brandon Williams and veteran Justin Bethel, who had a rough night in his return from foot surgery.

5. The most notable part of Sunday night’s BengalsJaguars game could prove to be a non-story. Bengals receiver A.J. Green left the game in the first quarter with a right knee injury after limping off the field. He stayed on the sideline standing throughout the game and the team said it was not serious. (Then again, that’s what the Cowboys said about Tony Romo‘s injury.)

6. The Bengals‘ starters look regular season ready, especially Andy Dalton. Cincinnati out-gained Jacksonville 122-14 in the first quarter while Jeremy Hill and Gionvani Bernard continued to look exceedingly sharp heading into the regular season.

7. Jacksonville’s offense was a mess with a lost fumble and a trio of three-and-outs in the first half (along with a field goal), but at least they saw projected starting left tackle Kelvin Beachum back on the field. The team moved former No. 2 overall pick Luke Joeckel to guard and there will be a learning curve there.

–Gregg Rosenthal

8. After missing last week’s contest with rumors swirling about the health of his shoulder, Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater looked sharp and poised in the pocket Sunday. Bridgewater navigated the Chargers pass rush, standing tall in the pocket to find receivers down field. He finished 12-of-16 passing for 161 yards and a touchdown while taking three sacks. The Vikings moved the ball at will sans Adrian Peterson, but the red zone offense still needs work — settled for chip-shot field goals after getting first-and-goal situations on the opening two drives of the game. Right before the half Bridgewater made a trio of beautiful passes: A 19 yarder to Charles Johnson, a 22-yard dime on the sideline to Stefon Diggs and a 27-yard laser to Kyle Rudolph for the touchdown. Teddy is primed for the regular season.


9. It’s notable that Vikings first-round receiver Laquan Treadwell got reps with the first team offense on the third drive of the game and into the second quarter. Bridgewater didn’t look the rookie’s way and he had no targets in the first half, but it’s clear the coaching staff would like Treadwell to push for playing time. The 6-foot-2 receiver didn’t have a target until he caught a two-point conversion from backup quarterback Shaun Hill. Treadwell boxed out the cornerback and snatched the ball out of the air in the end zone. It’s the type of play the Vikings need from the rookie this season, but he’ll have to prove he can do it against starting-caliber corners, not just undrafted backups.

10. Melvin Gordon continues to impress this preseason. The running back looks decisive and explosive through the hole. The rookie tiptoeing that characterized his play last season is gone, at least for the preseason. Gordon scampered untouched on a 39-yard score — after a brilliant audible by Philip Rivers. It was the type of play that showed when the Chargers offensive line is healthy and opening holes, Gordon has the speed to take advantage and run to daylight. Now the Chargers need to keep that offensive line healthy.

11. The injury bug continues to haunt San Diego. A week after losing tight end Jeff Cumberland to an Achilles injury, the Bolts got struck again. Running back Branden Oliver went down with a torn Achilles tendon late in the first half. The injury will likely take away the utility backup who was set to play a relief role both between the tackles and in passing game. The offensive line also suffered a scare with right tackle Joe Barksdale going down with an ankle injury (this offensive line is cursed!). The team held Barksdale out out of precaution. He likely would have returned if it were a regular season game.

–Kevin Patra

What we learned: Cardinals not worried about offense – NFL.com


Ex-NFL player suffering from memory loss writes ‘love letter’ to family – Fox News

Former NFL tight end Ben Utecht caught one pass from superstar quarterback Peyton Manning the night of Feb. 4, 2007, helping the Indianapolis Colts win Super Bowl XLI.

But that?s not the memory he most wants to retain. Or the life experience he most wants to share.

Utecht, who sustained five documented concussions during his five-year NFL career with the Colts and Cincinnati Bengals, said Sunday on ?Fox & Friends? that he?s already experienced some long-term memory problems since he last took the field in 2008. That reality led him to write the autobiographical ?Counting the Days While My Mind Slips Away: A Love Letter to My Family.?

?That was the foundation of writing the book; was to really give a legacy story to my family with the realities that many former NFL players face due to the consequences of concussion,? Utecht said. ?And when I left the game at 30 years old already having some long-term memory problems it really made me think long and hard about bad questions.?

Questions such as, will the 35-year-old Utecht remember his four daughters, who range in age from 1 to 7 years old, as young girls? Will he be able to tell them stories from his football days? Will he be able to warn them about head injuries?

An increasing number of ex-NFL players have come out in recent years to link concussions suffered on the gridiron to memory issues plaguing post-playing lives. In an effort to provide his family with a sharp document of Utecht?s journey from the football field to the doctors table, he wrote ?Counting the Days.? The book serves a dual purpose, Utecht said, by hopefully urging others to pay attention to head safety.

?The book is designed to get people to care about their mind and their memories,? Utecht said. ?Maybe for the first time to realize how important their memories are to their identity.?

Ex-NFL player suffering from memory loss writes ‘love letter’ to family – Fox News


Furious fans set fire to jersey of anthem-protesting NFL player – New York Post

San Francisco 49ers fans are fuming mad with quarterback Colin?Kaepernick?s racial protest of the national anthem ? so they?re?setting fire to his jersey.

Thousands of 49ers fanatics incinerated Kaepernick on Twitter with?some even lighting up his number 7 jersey following his decision to?sit down during the national anthem at Friday night?s preseason game.

?Welp when you don?t rise for the flag to show your respect for the?men and women who fought and continue to fight for our freedom you?start #losing #fans and well here is a video of my father in?law#burning his #kaepernick #Jersey and now he is gonna need a new?#49ers Jersey,? one angry fan wrote on Instagram with a video of the
emblazoned jersey.

Another 49ers supporter, wearing former linebacker Patrick Willis??jersey, uploaded a video of himself torching Kaepernick?s jersey and?standing at attention while the national anthem played in the?background.

Others demanded that Kaepernick get booted from the team for his?unpatriotic protest.

?People die every single day defending that flag you refuse to stand?for and I won?t stand for that,? @nate3914 said in an Instagram video?before dousing the jersey in lighter fluid and watching it burn. ?This?jersey was the worst $50 investment I have ever had ? you should never?play in the NFL again, move to Canada.?

Kaepernick, an avid supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement,?refused to stand during Friday?s game game against the Packers.

?I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag or for a country?that oppresses black people and people of color,? he said in a?post-game interview with the NFL. ?To me, this is bigger than football?and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way.?

Colin KaepernickPhoto: AP

This is not the first time the 28-year-old player has skipped out on?standing during the national anthem, a gesture that is ?encouraged but?not required,? according to NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy.

He did it twice last year during preseason games that he wasn?t in uniform.

And the 49ers are sticking by their quarterback, releasing a statement supporting Kaepernick.

?The national anthem is and always will be a special part of the?pre-game ceremony. It is an opportunity to honor our country and?reflect on the great liberties we are afforded as its citizens,? the?team said.

?In respecting such American principles as freedom of religion and?freedom of expression, we recognize the right of an individual to?choose and participate, or not, in our celebration of the national?anthem.?

Furious fans set fire to jersey of anthem-protesting NFL player – New York Post


John Harbaugh wants changes to preseason schedule – NFL.com


John Harbaugh is not a fan of preseason football.

After watching veteran tight end Benjamin Watson tear his Achilles and rookie running back Kenneth Dixon exit with an?injury in a meaningless game, the Baltimore Ravens‘ coach lamented the length of the preseason.


“I know the league and the Players Association is working very hard and trying to figure out ideas to work out the preseason,” Harbaugh said Saturday night, via the Baltimore Sun. “These are big, fast, strong men running around out there. It’s not 25 years ago. … It’s not the 70s anymore. These guys playing in these games – it’s tough – and they’re not meaningful games. They are important to get better, and they improve us. But we football coaches can find ways to get our guys ready and get our players evaluated without the kind of risk that a game necessarily entails.”

Coaches have been exceedingly careful with key players this season, keeping many on the sidelines for all but a handful of series.

Harbaugh insisted he wasn’t reacting to the injuries of Dixon and Watson, or even to Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo breaking his back this weekend. Harbaugh believes it’s been evident for years that an adjustment needs to be made.

“I’m really hopeful that the union and the league can get together and do something that’s good for everybody, especially what’s good for the players and for the fans,” he said. “Maybe it’s more games that are meaningful. Bigger rosters are something I think would really help. If you go more games, fewer preseason games, and bigger rosters, that’s good for everybody. To me, that’s something that they can put their heads together and work out. It would be a positive.”

Let’s not start the 18-game schedule banter again.

The bigger rosters argument that has been made by coaches could help keep players fresher, create more jobs and competition. Yet it wouldn’t eliminate non-contact injuries, like the one that wiped out Watson’s season.

Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs didn’t disagree with Harbaugh’s assessment of the preseason?but admitted players need the practice before the regular season starts.

“Anytime you line up on a football field and risk getting hurt, it’s out there,” Suggs said. “Truth be told, we need some of these games, just maybe not four; maybe three, maybe two. But we do need some of them. But other than that, people getting hurt, it’s very unfortunate. But we know it’s part of the game.”

When asked how many preseason games he’d like to see, Harbaugh replied: zero.

“If I had my choice, I’d go none,” he said. “That might be an extreme point, but we could run scrimmages, or we could run practices against other teams and figure it out. We’d all be in the same boat. That’s for people higher up than me to decide.”

There is a careful balance that needs to be struck between getting players ready for the regular season and minimizing risks. Yet football as a sport is an inherent risk every time a player steps onto a field, whether for a practice, scrimmage, game or even merely individual drills.

Perhaps four preseason games aren’t necessary to get ready and another reduction is in order — in the 1970s the preseason was cut from six games to four. It is interesting to note that coaches lament practice restrictions engineered by the CBA, yet don’t utilize or want the prep time preseason games provide.

John Harbaugh wants changes to preseason schedule – NFL.com


Tracking all the 2016 NFL roster cuts for the 75-man deadline – SB Nation

With the beginning of football season on the way, there also comes the unfortunate end of the NFL dreams of many players.

While all eyes will be on the cut down to the 53-man roster at the beginning of September, teams have to get things started by trimming rosters down from a maximum of 90 players to 75 before the end of August.

Teams have until Aug. 30 to whittle down to 75 players, less than a week before the Sept. 3 deadline to get the rosters to 53. But players who receive the pink slip a few days early typically have a harder time earning a valuable spot on a practice squad. For most players, not earning a spot on a 75-man roster means that getting on another roster at all could be a challenge.

We?re keeping track of all the players who didn?t get a spot on the 75-man rosters and were informed of their release:

Arizona Cardinals

?

Atlanta Falcons

Sergio Brown, S
David Glidden, WR
Michael Huey, OL
Gus Johnson, RB
Jordan Leslie, WR
Arthur Lynch, TE
Ivan McLennan, LB
Efe Obada, DE
Will Ratelle, FB
Sean Renfree, QB
Jordan Sefon, CB
Jordan Walsh, G
Ryan White, CB
Brandon Williams, DL

?

Baltimore Ravens

?

Buffalo Bills

?

Carolina Panthers

Jared Barber, LB
Avius Capers, WR
Braxton Deaver, TE
Reese Dismukes, C
Ray Drew, DT
David Foucault, T
Stephen Hill, WR
Tom Lally, DE
Matt Masifilo, C
Miles Shuler, TE
Willie Smith, T

?

Chicago Bears

?

Cincinnati Bengals

?

Cleveland Browns

?

Dallas Cowboys

?

Denver Broncos

?

Detroit Lions

?

Green Bay Packers

?

Houston Texans

?

Indianapolis Colts

Justin Berger, WR
Alden Darby, S
Eric Herman, G
Ricky Lumpkin, DT
Mike Miller, TE
Chase Price, RB
Winston Rose, CB
Delvon Simmons, DE
Josh Stangby, WR
Junior Sylvestre, ILB

?

Jacksonville Jaguars

?

Kansas City Chiefs

Stevie Brown, CB
Mike Williams, WR

Los Angeles Rams

?

Miami Dolphins

Akil Blount, LB
Ruben Carter, C/G
A.J. Cruz, WR
Ryan DiSalvo, LS
Brandon Harris, CB
Matt Hazel, WR
Gabe Hughes, TE
Marshall Koehn, K
Al Louis-Jean, CB
Vinston Painter, G
Brandon Shippen, WR

?

Minnesota Vikings

Melvin White, CB

New England Patriots

V’Angelo Bentley, DB
E.J. Biggers, CB
Donald Brown, RB
Frank Kearse, DL
Bear Pascoe, TE
Cedric Thompson,S
Nate Washington, WR

New Orleans Saints

?

New York Giants

?

New York Jets

?

Oakland Raiders

?

Philadelphia Eagles

?

Pittsburgh Steelers

?

San Diego Chargers

?

San Francisco 49ers

Busta Anderson, TE
DiAndre Campbell, WR
Kendall Gaskins, RB
Darren Lake, DL
John Lunsford, K
Wynton McManis, LB
Blake Muir, OL
Erik Pears, OL
Ian Silberman, OL
Jerome Simpson, WR
Cleveland Wallace, CB

Seattle Seahawks

?

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Travis Britz, DT
Daniel Davie, CB
Andre Davis, WR
Taylor Fallin, OL
Jeremiah George, LB
Martin Ifedi, DE
Storm Johnson, RB
Ishmaa’ily Kitchen, DT
Kimario McFadden, S
Jacob Schum, P
Tevin Westbrook, TE
Major Wright, S

?

Tennessee Titans

?

Washington

Al Bond, OL
Cody Booth, OL
Shiro Davis, LB
Ejiro Ederaine, LB
Jeremy Harris, CB
Willie Jefferson, LB
Valdez Showers, WR
Dez Stewart, WR
Jarvis Turner, WR
Kelsey Young, RB

Tracking all the 2016 NFL roster cuts for the 75-man deadline – SB Nation