NFL hires 24 full-time officials

The NFL has hired 24 full-time game officials from among the current 122-person roster of officials, the NFL and NFL Referees Association (NFLRA) jointly announced today.

The 24 full-time officials, up from 21 in the inaugural season of the program in 2017, come from all seven on-field officiating positions and represent a collaborative initiative intended to promote the common goal of improving every aspect of NFL officiating.

In an effort to improve consistency, efficiency and accuracy, the full-time game officials will work throughout the calendar year on game preparation and game administration, analyzing current game trends, communicating with the clubs, and assisting to ensure that there is a qualified pipeline of future officials.

“Working with the full-time game officials last season was extremely beneficial,” said NFL Senior Vice President of Officiating ALBERTO RIVERON.  “Their presence greatly improved communication with the clubs.  Our collective goal is to make a positive impact on NFL officiating overall, and this initiative was an important factor for us in that effort.”

“We are supportive of providing our members the opportunity to voluntarily commit additional time for additional compensation to NFL officiating, especially in the offseason,” said NFLRA Executive Director SCOTT GREEN. “This program is the result of extensive discussion and planning, and the NFLRA looks forward to continuing and supporting the program in its second year.”

A look at the 24 full-time officials by position:

No. Name Pos. College NFL Experience

(including 2018)

122 Brad Allen Referee Pembroke State 5
66 Walt Anderson Referee Texas 23
23 Jerome Boger Referee Morehouse 15
135 Pete Morelli Referee St. Mary’s 22
132 John Parry Referee Purdue 19
11 Fred Bryan Umpire Northern Iowa 10
81 Roy Ellison Umpire Savannah State 16
115 Tony Michalek Umpire Indiana 17
124 Carl Paganelli Umpire Michigan State 20
134 Ed Camp Down Judge William Paterson 19
59 Rusty Baynes Line Judge Auburn-Montgomery 9
32 Jeff Bergman Line Judge Robert Morris 27
10 Julian Mapp Line Judge Grambling State 10
9 Mark Perlman Line Judge Salem 18
84 Mark Steinkerchner Line Judge Akron 25
97 Tom Hill Field Judge Carson Newman 20
41 Boris Cheek Side Judge Morgan State 23
88 Brad Freeman Side Judge Mississippi State 5
120 Jonah Monroe Side Judge Arkansas 4
1 Scott Novak Side Judge Phoenix 5
133 Steve Freeman Back Judge Mississippi State 18
78 Greg Meyer Back Judge Texas Christian 17
111 Terrence Miles Back Judge Arizona State 11
12 Greg Steed Back Judge Howard 16
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Ex-Jags RB Fred Taylor on Ramsey: He backs up his talk(Audio)

Jaguars star corner Jalen Ramsey is an honest guy, and in today’s world of political correctness, it’s very refreshing. Plus, when you play like Ramsey, you can talk all you want.

In 2017, Ramsey made his first Pro Bowl and was First Team All-Pro. He was one of the reasons Jacksonville had one of the best defenses in football last season.

Recently, Ramsey was suspended by the Jaguars for one week after criticizing a local Jacksonville reporter on Twitter. Also, in a GQ magazine interview, Ramsey gave an honest assessment on various players around the league.

According to former Jaguars RB Fred Taylor, Ramsey is just a very candid guy.

“I’ve spoke to Jalen in the past. He’s a kid that keeps it one-thousand; you know how they say keep it one-hundred. He doesn’t hold any punches,” Taylor told the Go4it podcast.  “He’s a great young man, and he’s very passionate, on and off the field. He’s not going to bite his tongue. They tell you to, ‘Just be yourself,’ and in then in a sentence, they tell you, ‘Nah, you can’t say this or you can’t say that.’ There’s no filter with Jalen. He just goes out there and talks.”

Taylor has no issues with Ramsey being honest as long as he continues to play well.

“If it were one thing where he wasn’t backing it up, I’d get it, but he goes out there to this day and backs it up,” Taylor said.  “So, until he says something that is out of pocket, and there’s no backing it up. Then, if I were the coach, I would honestly talk to him about it. Because there’s one thing if it’s a distraction, but if the team is behind him, and they’re going, and everybody is focused. Keep it up, man. It might be his way of getting under the other team’s skin, and bringing out the best in him.”

The Jaguars are expected to be one of the favorites in the AFC. They have the defense to make a lot of noise, but if Ramsey has any type of slippage in play, and he continues to do a lot of talking, it could become a distraction. However, if he continues to make plays, he can keep on talking!

Taylor talks Ramsey at 4:05 mark of the interview:

Asante Samuel believes he belongs in the Hall of Fame

Throughout his 11-year NFL career, CB Asante Samuel was a playmaker. In his five seasons with the Patriots, Samuel amassed 22 interceptions, three that went for touchdowns. In 2007, Samuel was named to the Pro Bowl and was First Team All-Pro. Also, Samuel was apart of two Super Bowl winning teams with the Patriots.

In 2008, Samuel would sign with the Philadelphia Eagles, where he would continue his playmaking ways. In four seasons with the Eagles, Samuel had 23 picks, two that went for touchdowns, and three Pro Bowl appearances.

Samuel would retire in 2013 after spending two seasons with the Falcons. He ended his career with 51 interceptions(32nd in NFL history), six that were returned for touchdowns. He also had seven picks in the playoffs, which is tied for six in NFL history, and of those seven picks, he returned 4 for touchdowns, which is an NFL record.

Does Samuel belong in the Hall of Fame? He thinks so.

“If I’m not mistaken, it’s three people(seven players) in the Hall of Fame already with 50 interceptions in 10 years,” Samuel told TMZ Sports. “I mean I broke the playoff record, which Willie Brown had (most interceptions returns for touchdowns). He’s a Hall of Famer. I was a two-time interception leader in the NFL (2006, 2009), which is more than others.

“The facts are the facts, so if you are going by the facts, Pro Bowls and All-Pros, yeah, I was overlooked. I had 10 interceptions one year(2006) and didn’t make it to the Pro Bowl, so we’ll see how that go. The facts are the facts.”

Samuel, along with notable players such as Tony Gonzalez, Champ Bailey, and Ed Reed will be eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2019.

I think Samuel has a great case for the Hall. Based on the numbers, he was a playmaker not only in the regular season, but in the playoffs, too.

If we look at Samuel’s complete body of work, you have to say that he belongs in the Hall of Fame. Only thing you could point to is that missed interception opportunity in Super Bowl XLII against the New York Giants, but that does not overshadow the many plays he made in his career.

 

Tomlinson: ‘I would put Teddy Bridgewater in, and then bring Sam(Darnold) along slowly’

The New York Jets are in an interesting position right now. In the draft, the team grabbed their QB of the future in Sam Darnold. While in free agency, the time signed former Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater and re-signed last year’s starter, Josh McCown.

Both Bridgewater and Darnold have played well in the preseason, but with Darnold starting the third preseason game against the Giants on Friday night, it seems that Darnold could be the guy on opening day.

But, if it were up to Hall of Fame RB LaDainian Tomlinson, Bridgewater would be the starter for the Jets in Week 1.

“For me, I think Teddy Bridgewater has played the best,” Tomlinson told TMZ Sports. “Sam Darnold is obviously the future, but do you need to put him in right now? If it was me, I would put Teddy Bridgewater in, and then bring Sam along slowly.”

Based on the way he has played to this point, I believe Bridgewater does give the Jets the best chance to win, but if the Jets feel Darnold is ready, they probably should put him out there and try to trade Bridgewater, which perhaps is the likeliest scenario. No matter what happens, it nice to see Bridgewater back on the field after that terrible knee injury back in 2016.

Ex-NFL WR Andre Rison believes he is a Hall of Famer

When you talk about former NFL star WR Andre Rison, you tend to talk about all the other things instead what he did on the field. You talk about his relationship with the late Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes from the group TLC and her burning down his house, you talk about some of the times he got in trouble off the field, but in reality, Rison was an outstanding player.

He won a Super Bowl with the Packers in 1996, he led the NFL in receiving touchdowns(15) in 1993, Rison was a five-time Pro Bowler, and became only the 5th wide receiver in NFL history to notch 60 touchdowns in his first six seasons in the league, but he moved around a lot. Rison played for seven teams in his 13-year career and did not always have the best reputation in the locker room.

With all that being said, Rison believes he belongs in the Hall of Fame:

“Do I deserve to be in the Hall of Fame? Yeah, I scored double figures in touchdowns about four or five straight years(1990-93) and went to four or five Pro Bowls (in) straight years,”(1990-93) Rison told TMZ Sports. “I proved I can play when I was 30. I played in AFC championship games, NFC championship games; I won Super Bowls.”(Won Super Bowl with Packers in 1996)

Rison has borderline Hall of Fame numbers. He is 42nd in receiving yards(10,205). His numbers, in terms of yards, are better than Hall of Famer wide receivers like Raymond Berry, Fred Biletnikoff, Charley Taylor, Lynn Swann, Tommy McDonald and John Stallworth, but those guys played in a different era, so their numbers are not going to be the same. In terms of receiving touchdowns, Rison is 18th in receiving touchdowns(84), which is the same as Tommy McDonald, but it’s better than Biletnikoff, Taylor, Berry, Swann and Stallworth. Also, Rison has more touchdowns than Hall of Famer Michael Irvin, but Irvin did win three Super Bowls with the Cowboys.

In the end, I think Rison’s reputation is going to hurt his chances. Recently inducted Hall of Famer Terrell Owens had first ballot Hall of Fame numbers. However, Owens’ reputation was the reason he had to wait. Rison does not have T.O. numbers. Therefore, I think Rison misses the cut.

In my mind, Rison makes the Hall of Very Good.

Moss: ‘If I would have been just kamikaze, it would have been a short career'(Video)

Randy Moss was special. He was a freak athlete that made a lot of corners look bad during his 14-year career. Many corners have been “Mossed!” However, there was another side to Moss. Some accused him of taking plays off or some have questioned his desire to go across the middle, but at the end of the day, he’s a first ballot Hall of Famer.

Moss was not the biggest of guys (6’4, 210 pounds), but he was fast, and he could jump out of the building. Moss did what he needed to do to have a long career in the NFL.

“Listen, 14 years, six-foot-four; I’m a basketball player,” Moss said. “I had to pick and choose when to go out of bounds and stay in bounds. Hey, if I would have been just kamikaze, it would have been a short career.”

Along the way, Moss made some “business decisions.”  Recently, Moss talked about one of those “business decisions” when he faced one of the men he was inducted into the Hall with, Ray Lewis.

Listen below:

Shannon Sharpe thinks the Eagles could have a problem if Foles plays well(VIDEO)

A wise man once said, “If you have two quarterbacks, you have none.” However, for the Eagles, they legitimately have two starting quarterbacks. You have the guy who was on his way to being the MVP last season before his injury in Carson Wentz, and they have the Super Bowl MVP in Nick Foles.

Wentz, who is returning after tearing his ACL and LCL last season, has not done any 11-on-11 drills, but that could happen soon, according to the third year quarterback.

“I think there’s been really no secret that it’s going to be close,” Wentz said on Tuesday as transcribed by ESPN. “Seeing where I’m at in camp and finally, hopefully next week, doing 11-on-11, I think naturally it’s going to be close. Ultimately, it won’t be just my call or the coaches’ call. It will come down to what the doctors say, really.”

Foles will start against the Patriots on Thursday night in Foxboro.

According to FS1’s Shannon Sharpe, if Foles starts the season, and gets off to a good start, the Eagles could have some issues.

Here is what Sharpe said on Undisputed today:

This could be an issue for Eagles, but quite frankly, it’s a good problem to have. Whether it’s this year or next year, the Eagles will be Wentz’s team for years to come. Therefore, the Eagles are in a good spot no matter what happens.

Randy Moss on Dawkins: ‘There’s nothing he couldn’t do on the field'(Video)

Hall of Famer Brian Dawkins did a lot of great things on the football field during his 16-year NFL career. He was good in coverage; he ended his career with 37 interceptions. He was good at blitzing the quarterback; Dawkins finished his career with 26 sacks, and he was opportunistic. Dawkins finished his career with 36 forced fumbles.

Essentially, there was nothing Dawkins could not do, so says Hall of Famer Randy Moss, who was inducted with Dawkins, into the Pro Football Hall of Fame last week.

“There’s nothing he couldn’t do on the field,” Moss recently said. “Interceptions, roamed the field, blitzed, tackle any person on the field.”

I guess that is why Dawkins is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Listen below as Moss talks Dawkins:

 

Earnest Byner on Browns: ‘I’m predicting at least 8-8 this year’

It’s a new day in Cleveland. While LeBron James is gone, there is not the same gloom and doom as it was the last time he left.

What’s the difference? It might be because the Browns could be a decent football team this year. The organization looks different at the top with the hiring of GM John Dorsey. Furthermore, they have a QB that took a team to the playoffs last season in Tyrod Taylor. Plus, they brought in a three-time Pro Bowler in WR Jarvis Landry, and after Thursday night’s performance, they could have a franchise QB with the number one overall pick in Baker Mayfield.

According to former Browns RB Earnest Byner, there is a different vibe with the Browns this year.

“The mentality I think has changed,” Byner told TMZ Sports.  “When I met with the guys, not just me. When we had the rookie dinner, and was able to get a feel for Baker(Mayfield), for (Nick) Chubb, for (Denzel)Ward. But also, get a feel for some of the veterans who attended the dinner. It just felt different. I think there is reason for them to feel good about the Browns. To me, I’m seeing at least 8-8. I’m predicting at least 8-8 this year.”

Also, Byner is very high on Mayfield, and loves the rookie signal caller’s attitude:

“Yeah, he’s cocky. That’s okay. Be cocky,” Byner said. “But, also be a winner. And, the winner mentality is always learning, always growing, always developing. And, I think this guy has that.”

8-8 is a great starting point for the new look Browns, and if Mayfield indeed has the goods, the future is super bright for the Browns. Last season, in the AFC, 9-7 was good enough to make the playoffs, so they could sneak into the playoffs if Byner’s prediction is correct.

Even with LeBron in Los Angeles, the sun might still be shining bright in Cleveland.

 

HOF Aeneas Williams likes the new helmet rule(Video)

The game of football is changing. With the increased awareness of concussions, the NFL is trying to refine the rules to protect the players, but with any rule change, it’s going to take time for the players to adjust.

The league is doing whatever it can to take the helmet out the game.

Here is the new rule change that the NFL approved back in March:

 It is a foul if a player lowers his head to initiate and make contact with his helmet against an opponent. Contact does not have to be to an opponent’s head or neck area – lowering the head and initiating contact to an opponent’s torso, hips, and lower body, is also a foul. Violations of the rule will be easier to see and officiate when they occur in open space – as opposed to close line play – but this rule applies anywhere on the field at any time.

Penalties for Violation: Loss of 15 yards. If the foul is by the defense, it is also an automatic first down. The player may also be ejected. Ejection standards:

Player lowers his helmet to establish a linear body posture prior to initiating and making contact with the helmet
Unobstructed path to his opponent
Contact clearly avoidable and player delivering the blow had other options

After watching the first week of the preseason, it seems that every big hit is going to be a penalty, so you wonder what kind impact it will have on the game when the regular season gets underway.

Hall of Famer and former defensive back Aeneas Williams likes the new changes. He believes the changes are good for the players and good for the game:

‘It may be a slight adjustment, or some of the guys may not like it at first, but it’s going to cause quality of life after the game,” Williams recently told Paul Gant. “It’s going to help cause less injuries, but we still will have the same an exciting brand of football. It just will be an adjustment; it will take a little while for guys to adjust, but they will, and it still will be a great game.”

Taking the helmet out the game is not a bad thing, especially with what we know about concussions. Will players adjust? In reality, they don’t have a choice, but for now, be prepared to see a lot of yellow on the field.

Listen below as Williams talks his career, The Award for Excellence program, and the new rule changes in the NFL: