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WR Joshua Burrell Commits To Florida State

The Florida State Seminoles have landed a commitment from three-star wide receiver Joshua Burrell. The talented standout announced the big news from his Twitter account on Friday evening.

Burrell has been a top target for the Seminoles the entire cycle. His primary recruiters to FSU are Kenny Dillingham and Ron Dugans.

“FSU, I don’t know where to start,” Burrell recently told Steve Wiltfong of 247Sports. “I’m highly interested in them and they’re easily one of my leaders. They show me a bunch of love and make me feel like a priority. Coach Norvell used his one time phone call on me the first day. I can tell they really want me. I love their philosophy of a playmaker offense as well!”

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Brian Flores: People with loud opinions on Colin Kaepernick are silent on George Floyd

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Dolphins coach Brian Flores has become the first NFL coach to issue a statement on the murder of George Floyd. And it is a powerful one.

The statement, provided to ESPN.com, points out the inconsistency between those who have loud opinions on issues like Colin Kaepernick’s anthem protest and devices for incentivizing the hiring of minority coaches but who remain quiet, relatively speaking, on the killing of African-Americans by police.

“I’ve had the privilege of being a part of many different circles that have included some very powerful and influential people of all different races and genders,” Flores said. “The events of the last few weeks have brought some of the memories of those conversations back to light. I vividly remember the Colin Kaepernick conversations. ‘Don’t ever disrespect the flag’ was the phrase that I heard over and over again. This idea that players were kneeling in support of social justice was something some people couldn’t wrap their head around. The outrage that I saw in the media and the anger I felt in some of my own private conversations caused me to sever a few long-standing friendships.

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‘It’s been a rocky road’; Homeless student graduates as valedictorian in Florida

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (WBTV) – A Florida student says he has overcome a lot of hardships to graduate as the valedictorian of his 2020 class despite being homeless.
Martin Folsom, a student at A. Philip Randolph Career Academies in Jacksonville, Florida, has served as class president his freshman through senior year,
“It’s been a rocky road, a lot of hardships. But seeing myself now about to graduate, about to go to college – it feels good knowing all the stuff I’ve done was worth it,” Folsom said.
His story is one of triumph in challenging times, as he has been homeless and spent time living in shelters with his mother through his school career.

Gil Brandt believes TE Rob Gronkowski ‘ready to rock’ after missing 2019

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - FEBRUARY 04: Rob Gronkowski #87 of the New England Patriots celebrates with Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots during the third quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII at U.S. Bank Stadium on February 4, 2018 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

The Bucs’ acquisition of tight end Rob Gronkowski from the New England Patriots last month was the cherry on top of their offseason sundae. Tampa Bay had already landed six-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady, so reuniting him with his favorite target of all time seems like a recipe for success.

And even though Gronk retired from the game before the 2019 season, big things are still expected out of the future Hall of Fame tight end. Gil Brandt at NFL.com even had Gronk listed at No. 3 on his list of 12 players set to thrive this season after missing time in 2019.

Per Brandt:

“The NFL just wasn’t the same without the fun-loving Gronkowski last season. The impact of his roughly year-long retirement was felt particularly strongly in New England, which failed miserably in its attempts to find another tight end to help pick up the slack in 2019. No one suffered more than Tom Brady, whose difficulties last season stemmed partially from a lack of skill-position help. Reunited with Brady in Tampa, Gronk will create mismatch problems for opposing defenses with his physical presence, and he poses a serious threat both as a pass-catcher and run-blocker. Brady, meanwhile, no longer has to worry about the Patriots’ tight end issues as he resumes one of the most prolific working relationships of his career.”

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Michigan ‘hopeful’ fans will be allowed into Big House this fall

All signs continue to point toward a football season at the University of Michigan.

While the university works to formulate a plan for on-campus instruction this fall, its athletic department believes it might be allowed to let fans into Michigan Stadium.

In a letter sent to season ticket holders on Friday, the U-M ticket office announced the indefinite extension of the June 1 renewal deadline. But it also added this nugget: “The Athletic Department has been planning for and is hopeful that some yet to be determined number of Michigan fans will be able to attend games at Michigan Stadium this fall.”

There were no additional details about the potential plan, but the letter followed a university town hall forum on Friday in which interim provost Susan Collins told 6,000 faculty and staff that administrators were “very optimistic” about holding in-person classes this fall.

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Former Bears star safety Taylor passes away

Roosevelt “Rosey” Taylor, a two-time Pro Bowl safety with the Bears in the 1960s, passed away Friday at the age of 82.

Taylor spent the first nine seasons of his NFL career with the Bears from 1961-69, never missing a game. He appeared in 118 contests with 108 starts and registered 23 interceptions. The New Orleans native scored four defensive touchdowns, three on interceptions and one on a fumble return.

In 1963, Taylor was named first-team All-Pro and voted to the Pro Bowl after leading the NFL with a career-high nine interceptions while helping the Bears win the league championship. He was chosen second-team All-Pro in 1964 and 1965 and was voted to his second Pro Bowl in 1968.

Taylor is ranked as the 56th best player in Bears history by Hall of Fame writers Don Pierson and Dan Pompei in the “Chicago Bears Centennial Scrapbook,” which was published last year to commemorate the team’s 100th season.

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Latest On Teams’ Plans For Minor League Pay

3:14pm: The Astros will also pay their minor leaguers through August, Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle tweets. The Red Sox will do the same, Julian McWilliams and Alex Speier of the Boston Globe write. The Reds will pay theirs through Sept. 7, the end of the scheduled minor league season, per C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic.

2:16pm: As teams throughout the league make sweeping releases at the minor league level, neither the Twins nor the Royals plan on cutting any players, per ESPN’s Jeff Passan and MLB Network’s Jon Heyman (Twitter links). The Twins and Royals will also commit to paying all of their minor league player the current $400 weekly stipend through Aug. 31 — the would-be end of the minor league season — while providing full benefits. The Twins are also committing to front-office and baseball ops staff through at least the end of June, Do-Hyoung Park of MLB.com tweets.

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WVU Football Set for Phased Return

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – With the country and state starting to reopen from the COVID-19 pandemic, the West Virginia University Department of Intercollegiate Athletics has initiated a phased approach to bringing its football staff and student-athletes back to campus.

The Big 12 Conference announced last week that football student-athletes could return June 15 to on-campus facilities for voluntary workouts. With that announcement, the department, along with the appropriate parties, finalized plans for the return of Mountaineer football.

Protocols for screening, distancing, cleaning and sanitation have been set for Phase 1, which consists of a two-week period for coaches and players. The two-week slots are June 8-22 for coaches and staff and June 15-29 for football student-athletes.

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BONEYARD: A look at the SEC quarterbacks for 2020

Mississippi State will officially welcome quarterback KJ Costello to campus next week as the Bulldogs return to work. Costello was originally scheduled to make the move to Starkville once his spring classes ended several weeks ago, but with precautions related to the COVID-19 being taken, the former Stanford Cardinal stayed on the west coast.

Coach Mike Leach is looking to install the air raid offense at Mississippi State with Costello as the 2020 trigger man. The situation could prove to be a beneficial for all parties. Leach needs a veteran quarterback capable of running his scheme, while he settles the quarterback room for the future. Costello is looking to take a step forward as he builds his pro football stock.

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Report: Chiefs DT Chris Jones absent from virtual OTAs, no negotiations since franchise tag

Dec 29, 2019; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Chris Jones (95) celebrates after a tackle during the second half against the Los Angeles Chargers at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday we learned that Chiefs DT Chris Jones has not seen much traction on a potential contract extension in Kansas City.

A new report from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport shed’s light on exactly why that is. According to Rapoport, there has been “no negotiations or discussions” between the Chiefs and Jones’ camp since they placed the franchise tag on him back in mid-March. Jones has yet to sign his franchise tag tender and it seems unlikely that would occur at this time.

Rapoport also adds that Jones hasn’t been present for the Chiefs’ virtual OTAs and wouldn’t be present for any in-person OTAs if they were to occur at a later date. This directly contradicts the multiple occasions that Andy Reid has claimed 100% attendance for the virtual offseason program.

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