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Wes Welker enjoys first year coaching

After 12 seasons in the NFL, Wes Welker decided in 2016 it was time to leave the field. The five-time Pro Bowl wide receiver had six documented concussions during his career, according to ESPN. "They definitely factor in. Especially when you start having kids and having your family and everything. A lot of those things come into play and you start thinking about the future down the road." —Wes Welker told NFL Network Welker, 36, didn’t take long to get back to football. He began coaching the Houston Texans wide receivers this season. “I always try to put myself back in their shoes and back where I was at that time where I really didn’t know anything. I think there’s some key things that you just kind of try to emphasize and try to stay on top of them." —Wes Welker on coaching young receivers Welker led the NFL three times in receptions. The Texans were 29th in passing offense last season. So, they should no doubt heed his advice.

NFL makes changes to broadcast to avoid another ratings hit

The NFL took an 8% hit in ratings last year and is doing everything possible to make sure that doesn’t happen again. The dip has been blamed on everything from the presidential election to millennials. Whatever the reason, the league doesn’t think it has anything to do with the on-field play. Instead, they are working on ways to better package the game for their audience. Using eye-tracking technology to learn how fans watch games, the NFL came up with changes to help tighten up the pace of play. While viewers don’t seem to take issue with the overall length of a game, the constant breaks are problematic. The league is taking steps to limit the amount of commercial breaks. “[Fans] want a pace of play that doesn’t involve us chopping things up. You’re going to see, next [season] really working hard to tighten up that game presentation.” - Tod Leiweke, NFL Chief Operating Officer Leiweke’s example of a choppy broadcast was the use of commercial breaks after an extra point and then again after the ensuing kickoff. In exchange for fewer breaks in the game, individual commercial breaks will be extended 30 seconds each, something Leiweke said fans don’t mind. There will be other changes in commercial breaks, including using a double box. This will show the field in one box with a commercial playing in the other. The NFL will continue to stream games for viewers who prefer that over a traditional broadcast. Amazon paid $50 million for the rights to stream 10 Thursday night games. All of the changes come with an eye on the future, even beyond millennials. “There is another generation of fans coming, and they are different. And they have been brought up in a different world that is moving at a very, very rapid pace. And great organizations are going to have the ability to move swiftly and make decisions.” - Tod Leiweke.

Aaron Rodgers defeated Erin Andrews in ‘The $100,000 Pyramid’

Aaron Rodgers is not only a Super Bowl champion but also a champion when it comes to game shows. Just check out the latest episode of ABC’s “The $100,000 Pyramid.” The Green Bay Packers quarterback helped Brooke Snell of California win the $100,000 grand prize and defeat Fox Sports reporter Erin Andrews. The $100,000 clue was “Terry Bradshaw,” and Rodgers correctly guessed the phrase, “People That Are Bald.” The win didn’t come easy for Rodgers. Andrews was trash-talking the Packers quarterback the entire episode. The “Dancing with the Stars” co-host referenced the Packers’ 44-21 loss to the Atlanta Falcons in January’s NFC Championship Game as well as his struggles playing in cold weather. In the end, Rodgers got the last laugh and tweeted after the show to rub the victory in Andrews’ face. Rodgers is now 3-0 in game shows, winning $50,000 for charity on “Celebrity Jeopardy” and winning on ABC’s “Big Fan.”

Cam Jordan says Saints are ready to win Super Bowl now

Defensive end Cameron Jordan made a bold statement before training camp kicked off for the New Orleans Saints. The 27-year-old spoke with Monday Morning Quarterback and updated reporter Greg Bishop on the Saints’ plans. Jordan hinted that the Saints aren’t rebuilding, despite coming off a 2016 season in which they finished 7-9. Instead, he says they are ready to win it all now. "We're building a team to win a Super Bowl. We're not building for the future. It's hard not to believe in our team. We're ready to win it now." Jordan went on to praise his quarterback Drew Brees, calling him one of the best in the game. "Is there a better quarterback? You tell me how many 5,000-yard seasons have been produced in NFL history." The Saints have finished 7-9 in each of the past three seasons and have seen division rivals Atlanta and Carolina reach the Super Bowl in that span.

Minnesota Vikings receiver Michael Floyd sentenced to one day in jail

A Scottsdale, Arizona, judge found Minnesota Vikings receiver Michael Floyd in violation of the terms of his house arrest by testing positive for alcohol. Floyd was initially arrested in Scottsdale in December for DUI when he was found asleep at the wheel of his car. Floyd, then a member of the Arizona Cardinals, had a blood alcohol level of .217. In February, Floyd was sentenced to 24 days in jail and 96 days under house arrest while avoiding alcohol, which he violated in June, the 90th day of his house arrest. Floyd was sentenced to one day in jail for the house arrest violation, which he claimed was the result of drinking too much kombucha. Kombucha tea is a fermented drink made with tea, sugar, bacteria and yeast. The Vikings’ ownership and front office supported Floyd’s kombucha claim because the team offers the tea “on tap” at the team facilities. After signing with the Vikings in May, Floyd was given permission by the court to serve his house arrest in Minnesota so he could attend offseason workouts with the Vikings. Vikings chief operating officer Kevin Warren wrote a letter that was attached to a defense motion filed by Floyd’s attorney to cancel the court hearing. Vikings chief operating officer Kevin Warren After the court’s ruling, the Vikings front office stood by Floyd and offered support for the 27-year-old receiver.

Mets promote Tim Tebow despite underwhelming numbers

Tim Tebow isn’t exactly tearing the cover off the ball in his first season in the Mets organization. In 64 games with the low Class A Columbia Fireflies, the Former NFL QB batted .222 with three home runs and 23 RBI. Despite Tebow’s underwhelming stats, the Mets promoted him to high Class A St. Lucie of the Florida State League, leaving some wondering if the move was motivated by marketing. With seven errors to only 50 putouts, Tebow’s fielding has been worse than his hitting, but his impact on ticket sales is indisputable. According to ESPN, the average attendance this season for the Florida State League is 1,404. Meanwhile, none of Tebow’s 64 games with Columbia drew less than 2,645 fans. Mets GM Sandy Alderson admitted Tebow’s numbers are below average but said he’s pleased with the former Heisman winner’s first half of the season. “I wouldn’t say he’s excelled there, but I would say what he’s done there, given all the circumstances, justifies the promotion to St. Lucie.”

Heart condition jeopardizes Nick Fairley's career

The New Orleans Saints have put veteran defensive tackle Nick Fairley on the non-football injury list for the entire 2017 season. In March, Fairley signed a four-year deal worth $28 million with the Saints, but a physical revealed a heart abnormality. After seeking the opinions of three different heart specialists, the Saints decided it would be best if the 29-year-old sat out this season. "We'll weigh all of those things. We'll meet with him and his agent, and kind of weigh the three different opinions.”—Saints coach Sean Payton, two weeks before the decision One of the doctors recommended that Fairley quit playing football. At the NFL Combine in 2011, NFL doctors discovered that the former Auburn star had an enlarged heart, but it has not been an issue until now. The 29-year-old was coming off his best season with 43 tackles and 6.5 sacks in 16 starts.

Martellus Bennett ranks his favorite NFL quarterbacks to play with

Green Bay Packers tight end Martellus Bennett has been fortunate to play with some of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. Between the five franchises that Bennett has played for, he has caught touchdown passes from five Pro Bowl quarterbacks, including three Super Bowl champions. Over the course of his nine-year NFL career, Bennett has played with Tony Romo, Eli Manning, Jay Cutler, Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers. Bennett won a Super Bowl with Brady and the Patriots in 2017. Bennett signed with the Packers during the offseason saying it was part of his strategy to play with another future Hall of Fame quarterback, Aaron Rodgers. During an interview on "NFL Total Access," Bennett ranked the five franchise quarterbacks that he has played with. 5. Tony Romo 4. Eli Manning 3. Jay Cutler 2. Tom Brady 1. Aaron Rodgers A few surprising takeaways from the list. Winning a Super Bowl with the Patriots in 2017 wasn’t enough to put Brady atop Bennett’s list, but he had nothing but praise for him. Bennett Even though Bennett had his best seasons playing with Cutler in Chicago, the veteran tight end didn’t have nice things to say about Cutler when he left in 2016. Bennett in 2016 Looking ahead to the 2017-18 NFL season, Bennett could have a bright future playing with Rodgers, who threw 40 touchdown passes in 2016. Bennett’s confidence in Rodgers is premature since he has yet to play a single down in Green Bay. Bennett

Michael and Martellus Bennett honored at the BET Awards for philanthropic work

With a break in the NFL calendar, Martellus and Michael Bennett aren’t spending the summer laying around. The Bennett brothers were honored with the “Shine A Light Award” at the 2017 BET Awards. ESPN’s Cari Champion presented Martellus and Michael with the award for their philanthropic work. Michael, a defensive end with the Seahawks, pledged the money from his 2017 endorsement deals to charities that help rebuild minority communities and help women of color. The Seattle star also founded The Bennett Foundation, which works to fight obesity, specifically among children. Martellus, the younger of the two brothers plans to donate all the money he makes from his jersey sales in 2017 to after school programs. The Packers tight end runs his own company, The Imagination Agency, that encourages exploration of the arts by children. As a part of the award, My Black is Beautiful will donate $10,000 on the Bennett’s behalf to the Black Girls Code organization.

New York Jets owner Woody Johnson nominated for U.S. ambassador

The White House announced Thursday that President Donald Trump plans to nominate New York Jets owner Woody Johnson to serve as a U.S. ambassador. If confirmed by the Senate, Johnson, 70, would serve as an ambassador to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Johnson would remain the owner of the Jets but will be required to live in the United Kingdom throughout his three-year appointment. Johnson’s younger brother and Jets minority owner, Christopher Johnson, 58, would take over as the Jets’ chairman and CEO. Christopher will oversee the day-to-day operations of the Jets, who finished last in the AFC East in 2016. “The New York Jets have been an integral part of our family since 2000, but this is a unique opportunity for Woody. His patriotism and commitment to our country have always been a passion of his.” Woody isn’t the first NFL owner to serve as an ambassador. Late Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney was appointed as the U.S. ambassador to the Irish Republic for more than three years under President Barack Obama.

Patriots' Malcolm Mitchell signs children's book deal

It’s only his second year in the NFL and Patriots wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell is already moonlighting – as a children’s book author. Children’s book publisher Scholastic and Mitchell recently agreed to a three-book deal. Mitchell self-published his first book, “The Magician’s Hat,” while still a college athlete at the University of Georgia. The wide receiver travels to local schools and reads his book to children. “The Magician’s Hat” will be re-published with new illustrations and released in May of 2018. Mitchell also founded Read with Malcolm, a youth literacy initiative that hopes to introduce book ownership to young students from households where reading may not be a priority. Mitchell’s website states that the receiver was a “struggling reader” when he started college but used books to find his full potential. The 2016 Super Bowl champion Patriots had two children’s book authors. Tight end Martellus Bennett has written a number of children’s publications through his Imagination Agency company. Bennett, now with the Green Bay Packers, released “Hey A.J. It’s Saturday” in 2016 and has a comic book series called “Towel Boy.”

What they're saying about Colin Kaepernick

It’s been almost a year since Colin Kaepernick became a national story for bringing awareness to black oppression by protesting during the national anthem. Kaepernick finished out the 2016 season with the San Francisco 49ers, but the free agent quarterback has not been picked up by an NFL team yet. Some feel Kaepernick’s protests have scared off teams. Others feel it’s more about his declining skill level. Here’s what people are saying. —Mike Ditka NFL writer, Mike Freeman —Kaepernick’s coach last season, Chip Kelly —Kaepernick’s former coach Jim Harbaugh —NFL commissioner Roger Goodell —Seattle Seahawks player Michael Bennett —Donald Trump