TIME Football

NFL Suspends Cowboys Player Greg Hardy for 10 Games

Greg Hardy on October 21, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Grant Halverson—Getty Images Greg Hardy on October 21, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Suspension follows NFL investigation of whether he violated its personal conduct policy

The NFL has suspended Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy for 10 games without pay, the league announced Wednesday.

The suspension comes after the NFL investigated whether Hardy violated the league’s personal conduct policy. Hardy is able to appeal the decision within three days.

Last year, while Hardy was a member of the Carolina Panthers, the defensive end was found guilty by a judge in a bench trial of assaulting and threatening to kill his ex-girlfriend Nicole Holder. The charges were dismissed in February after Holder failed to appear in court and could not be found by prosecutors, who said she received a settlement from Hardy.

Hardy only played one game in 2014, as he spent most of the season on the commissioner’s exempt list.

Despite the possibility that the NFL would issue a suspension, the Cowboys signed Hardy to a one-year deal worth up to $13 million in March. The 10-game suspension means that Hardy’s first game as a Cowboy would come against the Panthers, his former team.

A North Carolina judge ruled earlier this month that the NFL could view photos submitted as evidence in the case as part of the league’s investigation.

On Tuesday, Hardy filed a petition to expunge domestic charges against him.

In 2013, Hardy had his best season in the NFL, recording 15 sacks and 40 tackles en route to Pro Bowl honors.

This article originally appeared on SI.com.

TIME Football

Tim Tebow’s Contract With Eagles Includes No Guaranteed Money

Tim Tebow speaks during a television broadcast in Atlanta on Dec. 5, 2014.
Brynn Anderson—AP Tim Tebow speaks during a television broadcast in Atlanta on Dec. 5, 2014.

It includes only the "typical, one-year, $660,000 deal"

Tim Tebow’s contract with the Philadelphia Eagles includes no guaranteed money, USA Today reports.

The deal, signed Monday, offers a $660,000 base salary, the minimum available to a three-year veteran. It includes an injury split that would drop the quarterback’s salary to $388,000 if he is placed on injured reserve, according to USA Today.

It’s a typical, one-year, $660,000 deal — paid in weekly installments of $38,824 during the season if Tebow makes the team — that comes without a signing bonus or other guaranteed money, according to contract details obtained by USA TODAY Sports on Wednesday.

Tebow, 27, last played for the New York Jets in 2012. He signed with the New England Patriots in June, 2013 but was cut before the season. He spent last season working for ESPN and SEC Network as a college football analyst.

In 2011, Tebow quarterbacked the Denver Broncos to the playoffs and fired a game-winning pass to Demaryius Thomas in the team’s first-round win over the Steelers. He completed only 46.5 percent of his passes on the season.

The Eagles currently have four quarterbacks on their roster in addition to Tebow: Sam Bradford, Matt Barkley, Mark Sanchez and G.J. Kinne.

This article originally appeared on SI.com.

TIME Football

Stop Everything: The NFL Has Released Its 2015-16 Season Schedule

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) yells before the NFL Super Bowl XLIX football game against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, Feb. 1, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz
Matt Rourke—AP New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) yells before the NFL Super Bowl XLIX football game against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, Feb. 1, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz

Are you ready for some football?

The NFL stole headlines on Tuesday by releasing the schedule for the upcoming 2015-16 regular season—including three games to be played in London.

Meaningful games kick off on Sept. 10 (a Thursday) when the New England Patriots begin their Super Bowl defense against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Gillette Stadium.

The first Sunday features an intriguing match-up between the Indianapolis Colts and the new-look Buffalo Bills while “Sunday Night Football” will see the New York Giants travel to Dallas to face the Cowboys.

Monday Night Football will be the usual opening weekend double-header; starting with the Philadelphia Eagles v Atlanta Falcons before a Minnesota Vikings v San Francisco 49ers nightcap.

Three games will be played at Wembley Stadium in London this year; in Week 4 the Miami Dolphins play the New York Jets, Week 7 the Jacksonville Jaguars face Buffalo and in Week 8 the Kansas City Chiefs clash with the Detroit Lions.

The annual Thanksgiving Day football match-ups also draw a lot of interest. This year’s turkey games have Philadelphia v Detroit, Carolina Panthers v Dallas and a prime-time game of the Chicago Bears versus the Green Bay Packers.

Of note, NFL legend Brett Favre is expected to have his jersey retired by Green Bay during the Thanksgiving game, according to the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel.

To find out who your favorite team is playing, click here.

TIME Football

Johnny Manziel Apologies to Browns Fans After Troubled Rookie Season

Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel watches from the sidelines in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals in Cleveland on Dec. 14, 2014.
Tony Dejak—AP Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel watches from the sidelines in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals in Cleveland on Dec. 14, 2014.

Quarterback says he wants to focus on football in coming months

Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel has apologized to his team and his fans, saying he let them down in his difficult rookie season. In a statement released Friday, Manziel acknowledged that he had disappointed many people close to him and said he planned to work hard to regain everyone’s trust and respect. “I understand that will take time and will only happen through what I do and not what I say,” he said in the statement.

In January Manziel entered rehab at Caron, a treatment center in Pennsylvania that specializes in drug and alcohol issues. The decision followed a rookie season in which he performed poorly on the field and was involved in a number of off-the-field incidents involving drinking and partying. “I also understand there’s a lot of curiosity about this but anyone who has a friend or family member that’s been through things like this knows it’s an ongoing process,” he said, referring to his stint in rehab. “I’m going to continue to ask folks to try to respect my privacy as I determine to what degree I am comfortable talking about a subject which I consider very personal.”

Manziel is expected to rejoin Browns team practices next week. “I look forward to seeing my teammates next week and focusing on football and my desire to be the best possible player, teammate, and man that I can be,” he said.

Read next: Why NFL Players Are So Likely to Declare Bankruptcy

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TIME Courts

Jameis Winston’s Sex Assault Accuser Files Lawsuit

Rose Bowl - Oregon v Florida State
Jeff Gross—Getty Images Quarterback Jameis Winston of the Florida State Seminoles reacts after losing 59-20 to the Oregon Ducks at the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1 in California.

Lawsuit stems form alleged assault in late 2012

The woman who accused former Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston of sexual assault in December 2012 has filed a lawsuit against Winston, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

According to the Times, the lawsuit is over claims of sexual battery, assault, false imprisonment and “intentional infliction of emotional distress arising out of forcible rape.” It was filed Thursday in the Circuit Court of the Ninth Judicial District.

The accusers’s attorney provided a statement to the Times, calling Winston “an entitled athlete who believes he can take what he wants.” From the statement:

“Over the past two years, this survivor of sexual violence has had to endure a delinquent police investigation, a hostile FSU athletic department, and Mr. Winston’s bullying lawyer. But the more these forces sought to silence her, the more determined she has become to step forward and hold Jameis Winston accountable for his actions. With the support of her family, she is prepared for this fight and for the counterclaims and the smear campaigns that will surely follow.”

The accuser previously filed a federal civil lawsuit against Florida State university trustees in January.

Winston was accused of sexual assault in December 2012. No charges were filed, but in November 2013, the state’s attorney announced that it was opening an investigation into the accusation. The investigation was completed a month later, and again no charges were filed.

The quarterback faced a Student Code of Conduct case at FSU in December to determine if he violated up to four school student conduct codes. Winston was cleared by an arbitrator after a two-day hearing, which included Winston reading a five-page statement denying the allegations against him. It was the first time he publicly gave his side of the story regarding the allegations.

In October, a Fox Sports report based on its own investigation of the case alleged that FSU administrators and Tallahassee police took steps to “hide and then hinder” the Winston investigation.

The accuser discusses her allegations against Winston in The Hunting Ground, a documentary that premiered in January at the Sundance Film Festival.

Winston could be drafted No. 1 by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the upcoming NFL draft, which begins on April 30.

This article originally appeared on SI.com

TIME Football

NFL Reinstates Vikings Player Adrian Peterson

Minnesota Vikings' Adrian Peterson arrives for a hearing in New York City on Dec. 2, 2014.
Seth Wenig—AP Minnesota Vikings' Adrian Peterson arrives for a hearing in New York City on Dec. 2, 2014.

He's "highly unlikely" to be suspended again upon his reinstatement

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson has been reinstated from the commissioner’s exempt list, the NFL announced Thursday.

Peterson may participate in all team activities, beginning Friday. He told ESPN.com on Tuesday that he was unsure whether he would participate in the Vikings’ offseason workouts.

“We look forward to Adrian re-joining the Vikings,” the team said in a statement.

Commissioner Roger Goodell informed Peterson “that he is expected to fulfill his remaining obligations to the authorities in Minnesota and Texas, as well as the additional commitments Peterson made during his April 7 meeting with the commissioner regarding maintaining an ongoing program of counseling and treatment as recommended by medical advisors,” the NFL said.

Peterson was indicted on child abuse charges in Texas in September for allegedly hitting his four-year-old son with a switch. After the indictment, he was placed on the exempt list and missed the final 15 games of the season. He pleaded no contest to a count of misdemeanor reckless assault in November and was sentenced to probation.

Peterson was still paid while on the exempt list but was suspended indefinitely without pay after his plea. Peterson’s appeal of the suspension was denied by an NFL-appointed arbitrator in December but a federal judge overturned the suspension in February. After the suspension was overturned, Peterson was placed back on the exempt list.

Peterson met with commissioner Roger Goodell last week to discuss his reinstatement.

The NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported last week that Peterson is “highly unlikely” to be suspended again under the NFL’s revised domestic violence policy after his reinstatement.

There has been much speculation this offseason as to whether Peterson will play for the Vikings next season. General manager Rick Spielman and owner Mark Wilf have said they would like Peterson back with the team. Peterson’s agent, Ben Dogra, reportedly had a “heated exchange” with Vikings executive Rob Brzezinski at the NFL combine in February. Dogra also said in March that he doesn’t “think it’s in [Peterson’s] best interests” to remain in Minnesota.

Peterson is under contract for three more seasons.

This article originally appeared on SI.com.

TIME Soccer

Morris Scores in 1st U.S. Start in 2-0 Win Over Mexico

Jordan Morris
Mo Khursheed—AP U.S. forward Jordan Morris plays an international friendly at the Alamodome in San Antonio on April 15, 2015

Remember, this kid is still in college

(SAN ANTONIO) — Jordan Morris made a loud statement in his first start for the U.S. national team against his country’s biggest and most bitter rival.

His reward? A game pennant given to him by veteran Michael Bradley to hang in his room at college.

The 20-year-old Stanford sophomore scored his first international goal early in the second half, Juan Agudelo added his first international goal in four years, and the Americans dispatched Mexico by their traditional 2-0 score in an exhibition game Wednesday night.

“I was nervous but I was excited,” Morris said. “It’s something I’ve dreamed of since I was a little kid, scoring a goal, especially in such a big game in front of so many fans.”

Morris, thought to be the first collegian to start for the U.S. in at least two decades, scored in the 49th minute after Bradley brought the ball upfield and passed to Gyasi Zardes. The return pass ricocheted off defender Mario Osuna and was picked up by Morris at the top of the penalty area. He took a touch, broke in and slid the ball between the legs of goalkeeper Cirilo Saucedo from 10 yards.

“It just kind of popped out,” Morris said. “I’m happy that when I got the chance, I got to the ball and put it away.”

Agudelo replaced Morris in the 65th and scored seven minutes later. Bradley made a long pass from the midfield line and Agudelo controlled it just outside the penalty area. He cut inside with half a dozen touches and beat Saucedo to the near post with a low shot from 19 yards.

It was the third international goal for Agudelo and first since March 2011. Playing his second international match since November 2012 and his first since March last year, he dropped to his knees and was mobbed by a group of teammates.

Before a sellout crowd of 64,369, U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann improved to 3-0-3 against his team’s regional rival.

The U.S. has defeated Mexico by “dos a cero” in four straight home World Cup qualifiers, all in Columbus, Ohio. The U.S. is 13-5-5 against Mexico since 2000, including a win in the second round of the 2002 World Cup.

With the game not on a FIFA international date, both teams were missing top players. And with the U.S. looking ahead to this summer’s CONCACAF Gold Cup, Klinsmann mixed a roster of veterans and young players.

Morris, who trained with the national team last May and made his debut at Ireland in November, started because captain Clint Dempsey is sidelined by a hamstring injury and Jozy Altidore was serving a one-game suspension for a red card.

“You say, ‘Why not give him a chance?'” Klinsmann said. “He trained very well. We see his improvement.”

Klinsmann also saw some nerves in the youngster.

“When Jordan was doing his shooting before the game, he was pretty much missing everything. I told him, ‘Just relax. It’s OK,'” Klinsmann said. “To see a boy like Morris score his first international goal, you jump for joy.”

Klinsmann also gave defender Ventura Alvarado his first start and started center back Omar Gonzalez for the first time since last summer’s World Cup.

Kyle Beckerman, who was deep in a midfield diamond, limped off midway through the second half with a bruised left thigh.

Morris narrowly missed a chance in the first half when a cross barely sailed over his head for what would have been a point-blank chance at goal.

The Americans avoided their tendency to give up late goals. The U.S. had allowed 13 goals from the 80th minute on in their previous 13 games.

Mexico’s best chance came late in the first half when Eduardo Herrera ran into the penalty area and poked a low cross past goalkeeper Nick Rimando into the side netting. El Tri had complained about the field conditions on Tuesday and by game time the grass was uneven, with large brown and dirt patches causing players to slip and stumble several times.

“I think they had better luck with the ball, but they weren’t that much better,” Mexico coach Miguel Herrera said. “Their opportunities were really mistakes on our part, slipping on the field because we didn’t have the right cleats.”

 

TIME Football

Family of Aaron Hernandez’s Victim Speaks After Conviction

Ursula Ward, mother of shooting victim Odin Lloyd, looks up to the heavens as she talks about her deceased son outside Bristol County Superior Court on April 15, 2015, in Fall River, Mass., after former New England Patriots football player Aaron Hernandez was found guilty of murder in the shooting death of Odin Lloyd.
Stew Milne—AP Ursula Ward, mother of shooting victim Odin Lloyd, looks up to the heavens as she talks about her deceased son outside Bristol County Superior Court on April 15, 2015, in Fall River, Mass., after former New England Patriots football player Aaron Hernandez was found guilty of murder in the shooting death of Odin Lloyd.

"It feels like a bad dream"

Odin Lloyd’s mother and other family members delivered their victim impact statements after former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was convicted of first-degree murder in the June 2013 death of Lloyd.

Before Hernandez was formally sentenced, Lloyd’s mother, Ursula Ward, addressed the courtroom.

Ward said called her son the “backbone” of the family and she forgives those responsible for her son’s murder.

“I forgive the hands of the people who had a hand in my son’s murder,” Ward said.

“I feel like I want to go into the hole with my son Odin,” she said. “I will never hear him say, ‘Mom, you’re so beautiful.’ I miss my baby boy Odin so much, but I know I’m going to see him again someday.”

Lloyd’s uncle and sister also spoke.

Olivia Thibou, Lloyd’s sister, said that writing her brother’s eulogy for his funeral was the hardest thing she has ever had to do.

She said that she went to text Lloyd on the phone after the birth of her daughter but realized he was not with them anymore.

“It feels like a bad dream,” Thibou said. “Every day I look at my son, and I know that my daughter never got to meet to him. I won’t ever see him again, but I have to go to his grave site and look at his stone to tell him that I love him.”

This article originally appeared on SI.com

TIME Football

Former Football Star on What Aaron Hernandez Can Expect in Jail

Former New England Patriots NFL football player Aaron Hernandez listens during his murder trial at the Bristol County Superior Court in Fall River, Mass., on Wednesday, April 15, 2015. Hernandez is accused of killing Odin Lloyd in June 2013. (Dominick Reuter/Pool Photo via AP)
Dominick Reuter—AP Former New England Patriots NFL football player Aaron Hernandez listens during his murder trial at the Bristol County Superior Court in Fall River, Mass., April 15, 2015.

"It’s like an emptiness. This huge gaping feeling," Maurice Clarett says

Life for Aaron Hernandez’s family—his mother, fiancée and daughter—will never be the same after the football star was found guilty of murder on Wednesday, and the reality is “saddening,” Maurice Clarett, another onetime football star, tells TIME in an interview.

The former Ohio State running back-turned-author said he had been upset to hear that Hernandez, 25, was accused of shooting and killing an acquaintance after a personal conflict while he was a star tight end for the New England Patriots. For his part, Clarett knows what it’s like to go from football star to convict: he spent more than three years in prison on robbery and concealed weapons charges, which derailed his career.

“It’s like you’re going to develop and live an entire different reality,” Clarett tells TIME of how it feels to be convicted of a serious crime. “It’s like an emptiness. This huge gaping feeling.”

Prison time tears families apart, Clarett said, and he foresees a difficult future for Hernandez now that he’s preparing to spend the rest of his life in prison.

“One parent will be taken out. You’re repeating your own cycle,” he said.”Children, they’re victims as well.”

Clarett says that his daughter still asks him questions about the time he spent in prison and that it hinders his ability to be the father he wants to be. Hernandez has a daughter, too, and she’ll likely only be able to see her father during short prison visits as she grows up, Clarett said.

That doesn’t mean Hernandez isn’t guilty or shouldn’t have received a life sentence, Clarett added. But he believes that athletes entering the professional sports world should undergo more intensive education and training to prepare them to be role models.

“They never really teach these guys to think. When I grew and I experienced, it just came from self-education,” he said. “You need to educate.”

Read next: Ex-NFL Player Aaron Hernandez Convicted of Murder

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TIME society

Why I Quit High School Football

football-helmet
Getty Images

Zocalo Public Square is a not-for-profit Ideas Exchange that blends live events and humanities journalism.

We need to realize the game’s dangerous potential and make changes to an ultra-competitive culture

I wore football pads, real pads, like the pros wear, for the first time when I was 12 years old, walking out onto the practice field at the start of my seventh grade season, moms and dads cheering the entire team on before we ran our first wind sprint. I felt so much anticipation before heading out on to that field. I made sure the foam guards fit snug around my knees and thighs and that the contraption wrapped around my shoulders and chest wouldn’t give. I saw the world through a facemask when I put my helmet on, something I’d only experienced through toy helmets up to that point in my life.

All I could think about was how I had waited my whole life for this. I could feel the glory of doing something big, making some catch or tackle in a varsity game in the years to come. I had no idea that I’d be done with football only four years later, that I’d leave the game by my own choice before I finished high school. I quit organized ball my sophomore year without giving any reasons to my coaches or ever really coming up with one for myself.

It wasn’t until the weeks leading up to my graduation from college in 2012 that I found my reason, something I think I knew all along. One of my favorite players, one of the most energetic and enthusiastic linebackers of all time, Junior Seau, was found dead after taking his own life. It sparked a national conversation about the physical toll the game takes on players, especially on professional players who dedicate years to what is potentially killing them. For me, it was a realization of how much I hated the pain everyone experiences playing. Of course, Seau experienced a lot more pain than I ever did. Tests revealed he suffered from CTE, a type of chronic brain damage that was later found in many other players, most likely caused by repetitive hits to the head. But I was finally honest with myself. I quit playing football all those years before because I was afraid of getting hurt. I couldn’t tell anyone at the time, including myself, because of the stigma against quitters, against those who couldn’t take the pain required to play, especially in the conservative part of rural Minnesota where I grew up. There’s so much ritual, so much rite of passage associated with playing junior high and high school football, that quitting is almost akin to leaving a cult.

With how important football is to my family, I remained a loyal fan of both my college and professional teams, but I never played another down. In a family ingrained with football culture, that is especially difficult. My father loves to tell stories about the game. From watching his favorite team, the Browns, as a kid growing up in Ohio to attending some of the greatest games in the Orange Bowl when he moved to South Florida as an adult. Even more, he loves telling stories from his days playing.

My older brother, who also quit before he finished high school, likes to talk about the time he broke the leg of the coach’s son in a tackling drill during a summer practice his final season. Though he’s in his thirties now, I can see whenever he tells it that the story still carries a sense of achievement for him.

These two men taught me the game, my father who threw me routes in our back yard, who told me to always come down with the ball whenever it was thrown too high, even if it meant a terrifying hit from a defender. And my brother, who chased me all through the house, picked me up, and threw me down wherever he could, always trying to hit me hardest so I’d be ready for the real thing someday.

Yet I have no football stories to tell, at least no stories of personal glory, no big games that I helped win or hard hits I put on other players. The only memories I really have of the game are times I felt terrible pain, times I really questioned why I even played at all.

The first time was eighth grade, in a game we lost by some large margin, which was how most of our games turned out. I ran with the ball towards the sideline when an opposing player dove and caught my shoulder pads at the back just below the neck, what’s known as a “horse collar” tackle. My full sprint stopped immediately, shoulder pads pulled up to my throat, the full weight of the player cutting off the air in my windpipe.

When I popped up in front of my coach, gasping for air, eyes already watering from the sudden pain, he knew immediately that I wanted to sit out the next few plays.

Frustrated by the score, maybe misreading how hurt I actually was, he yelled, “Fine! Get on the bench!”

I walked over, gasping, trying to breathe through thick mucus that had suddenly formed in my throat, what I thought was blood. I started to cry. To this day, I can’t remember if I played again in that game. I do remember an odd wheeze in my throat for a week or so after.

Still, I pressed on for two more years, that dream of playing in a big game taking me back to the first practice each summer, until another incident when I was a player on the junior varsity. It happened during tackling drills we ran as a team with the older juniors and seniors. In one line was the offense that, one by one, picked up a ball and sprinted over three tackling dummies before trying to avoid a single defender on the other end. The defense, in the other line, took turns popping up off their backs after the whistle, trying to tackle the guy coming at them with the ball.

Somehow I paired up with one of the biggest defensive seniors on the team. He was, I remember, always a nice enough guy outside of football, but turned agitated and mean with the excitement of the drill. After the coach blew the whistle, I only made it to the last dummy. Trying to take the last step over, I caught this senior’s shoulder pad in mid air just above the chest. My helmet popped half off, the chin guard caught on my throat. The world went black for a second and, once I staggered to my feet, I “saw stars” for the first time in my life. Head ringing, I stumbled back to the end of the line. For what it’s worth, the coach complemented my bravery getting back up.

A year later, I tried to forget the whole thing as I sat at home alone while another round of summer practices started a new season. I never wanted to feel pain like that again.

Reflecting on this aspect of my past after Seau’s death and the national discussion on head trauma that followed made me realize that I am part of the last generation to play football before its serious injuries, especially head injuries, were ever a consideration. Between 2010 and 2012, years that coincide with what many consider to be the “concussion crisis” in the NFL, participation in the youth football program Pop Warner dropped 9.5 percent, according to ESPN. I graduated high school in 2007. As someone who really does love the game, it’s difficult to see the number of young players entering high school drop across the country. It’s even more difficult to know I was one of them.

But if the game is going to survive, it’s important to realize that people like me do have stories to tell, just not the ones of glory and triumph. It’s not to make accommodations for weaker players, but to realize the game’s dangerous potential and make changes to an ultra-competitive culture that desperately needs it.

I don’t think you can ever make football entirely safe. I don’t think you ever need to. But a game isn’t enjoyable when it becomes something more than a game, especially something that leaves so much destruction and defeat behind.

Rian Bosse is a graduate student at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism. He no longer plays the game, but he enjoys watching and rooting on the Minnesota Vikings. He wrote this for Zocalo Public Square.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

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