Former NFL player Ben Utecht writing memoir about his battle with brain injuries

The Howard Books Division of Simon & Schuster, according to, have purchased the publishing rights to former NFL tight end Ben Utecht’s memoir, Counting the Days Until My Mind Slips Away: A Love Letter To My Family. The story details the 34-year-old’s battle with memory loss and long-term neurological damage following a concussion-laden football career.

Utecht played five seasons in the NFL and won a Super Bowl with the Indianapolis Colts in 2007 before retiring in 2009 at the age of 28. He left the game after sustaining his fifth documented concussion. He says that he has been experiencing memory loss since the age of 30.

After retiring, Utecht began to pursue a career in music. His story became a national one in the summer of 2014 when his song, “You Will Always Be My Girl,” a love letter to his wife and girls from the perspective an aging football player who may not remember who they are one day to brain injuries, went viral.

Limited Kids Omar Infante Jersey X factor: Packers tight end Jared Cook made the catch of the season to set up the winning field goal in Dallas. His impact on the Packers’ season has been nothing short of transcendent since returning from an ankle injury.

The best way to illustrate it: When Cook is on the field, Rodgers has thrown touchdown passes at about twice the rate that he did when Cook was injured. The Falcons had trouble against tight ends during the regular season, giving up 86 receptions for 988 yards and eight touchdowns to them. Those numbers ranked No. 23, 24 and 26 in the NFL, respectively.
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Bottom line: There isn’t going to be much defense in this game. Las Vegas gets it and has established a huge over/under of 60. The Falcons are the early favorite, but after watching Rodgers the past two months, are you ready to bet against him?

You guys know Aiken is penciled in as a starter for Baltimore, right

Four carries for 112 yards and two touchdowns, one of which went for 90 yards. I bet there might have been a few folks on that Kansas City sideline asking that same question that Coach Hamilton asked all those years ago. Unfortunately, Murray sustained a concussion on his fourth carry, which knocked him out for the rest of the game. He didn’t even start the game, and he was knocked out with a little over six minutes left in the second quarter.

There was a whoooooole lot of time left for Murray to do even more damage on the ground, had he not been hurt. The concussion ended up lingering, which caused him to miss the following game as well. That definitely put a damper on Murray’s momentum from the Chiefs game.

Regardless of what site you’re using to monitor redraft ADP, you won’t find Aiken anywhere. According to, Aiken has only been selected in 195 of over 2,700 best ball drafts.

You guys know Aiken is penciled in as a starter for Baltimore, right?

Breshad Perriman has missed double-digit practices in training camp. He’s been under the day-to-day designation, but the fact that a rookie isn’t getting on the field at this crucial point in preseason is concerning for his playing time going forward. He also struggled with drops during minicamp.

Aiken and Steve Smith were listed as the starters in the Ravens first depth chart of training camp. Smith, now 36, is about to begin his final NFL season. He caught fire to start 2014, but he only posted double-digit PPR performances in three of the final 10 games of last season.

So we’re looking at an aging veteran who slowed down late in 2014 and a rookie who has been absent for training camp. That’s not an ideal situation for any team, but it’s one Aiken can take advantage of.

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That emotional approach is also part of who Pryor is

He and Robert Griffin III explained what looked like an argument in the huddle was just competitiveness, but when the Browns won their first game because San Diego had to rush a last-play attempted field goal, Pryor pointed out why he was so upset about using that timeout. If the Chargers had one, he said, there would have been no rush. Timeouts, he said, are important.

That emotional approach is also part of who Pryor is. And he showed it when discussed the pregame talk he heard from a pastor before the Browns’ finale in Pittsburgh.
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He said the pastor talked about growing up and every Sunday sitting down in front of the TV to watch the Browns play. Sitting with him was his father. Then he said the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers would be the same. He’d watch the game with his father, who was still alive.

“It’s kind of the reason why I play this sport,” Pryor said. “But I never did really realize or have it come to my mind how important that is.

In a class full of underwhelming selections, a few players have managed to stand out as some of the NFL’s top talents. Particularly in the second and third rounds, where the Seattle Seahawks struck gold.

The Seahawks nabbed First Team All-Pro middle linebacker Bobby Wagner in the second round and the team’s two-time Pro Bowl franchise quarterback Russell Wilson in the third. After the pair helped the Seahawks make it to back-to-back Super Bowls and earn a Lombardi Trophy in 2013, they each earned big pay days during the 2014 offseason.
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Seattle added four years and $43 million to the contract of Wagner, while Wilson earned a franchise quarterback contract, signing a four-year, $87.6 million extension with $60 million guaranteed.

‘Monday Night Football’ 2015 live stream: How to watch Chargers vs. Steelers online

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The Pittsburgh Steelers’ season took a drastic turn for the worse when Ben Roethlisberger injured his knee in Week 3 against the St. Louis Rams. They hung on to win that game thanks to their defense, but lost in overtime to the Baltimore Ravens the following week. Now they head to the West Coast for a Monday Night Football matchup with the San Diego Chargers.

Despite coming into the NFL all the way back in 2002 and even with extremely low expectations as the team’s starting quarterback this year, McCown is playing at a historic level for the Browns in his first season with the team. Just two weeks after Browns fans chanted for backup quarterback Johnny Manziel, McCown is making headlines for his play in Cleveland.

Against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, McCown set multiple milestones, including the Browns franchise record for single-game passing yardage with 457. In the past three games, McCown has thrown for 1,154 yards, another team record. He’s also the first Browns quarterback to throw for 300-plus yards in three consecutive games.
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McCown and the Browns are coming off a thrilling 33-30 overtime victory over the AFC North rival Ravens, the type of game Cleveland is typically on the losing side of — and not just because it entered the matchup with a paltry 8-24 all-time record against the Ravens. The Browns have a reputation for finding a way of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. In Week 4, the Browns fought the San Diego Chargers for a hard four quarters, but after an offsides penalty, they lost by a field goal as time expired.

Golden Tate is ‘no Gumby,’ yet all he does is make defenders miss

Golden Tate knows people see what he¡¯s able to do on the field. He knows people watch him seemingly bend his away around opponents. But he insists it¡¯s not because of what many think.

Tate has a high level of athleticism. But flexibility? Not so much, he insists.

Game Youth Steve Larmer Jersey The Giants went to the top of the free-agent market and plucked players as if they were presents underneath the Christmas tree. They landed the top pass-rusher in Olivier Vernon, top run-stuffer in Damon Harrison and who they believed was the best cornerback in Janoris Jenkins — they were right — on the market.

More often than not, this approach has met with disaster (see: Washington Redskins, recent history). It is considered among the quickest ways to set back a franchise for years by tying up large sums of money in players their former teams allowed to walk. Free agents are often free agents for a reason.

Yet, somehow, the Giants found a way to do it effectively with their big-money expenditures and the bit pieces alike. They flat-out hit the free-agent jackpot, and it’s at the very top of the list of why they’ve gone from six-win team to Super Bowl contender.

The Giants (11-5) have a wild-card playoff game Sunday against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. They’ll be counting heavily on their offseason acquisitions.

The fact that the Giants turned it around isn’t stunning. They already had a veteran quarterback in place. It’s the suddenness of the U-turn and the impact of the new pieces that was surprising.
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“I hope, like I said last week — I want him to get the ball 20 times this week. We¡¯ll see what happens, we¡¯ll see how the game goes. He¡¯s been great about it, he¡¯s been on point. He¡¯s been tremendous in rehab through the process. Just to make it back physically is one, but mentally he made it back as well. We¡¯re really proud of him.”

The Warriors smother their man on defense because they know the help is always there

Now, the Warriors defense looks as tough as ever.

The Warriors smother their man on defense because they know the help is always there. Everyone can switch, and everyone knows where they should be. It forces teams into tough situations, like in the opening minute of Golden State¡¯s Wednesday win over Toronto when DeMar DeRozan bailed Toronto out with a Kobe-like contested fadeaway jump shot.

Authentic Womens Ryane Clowe Jersey That effort puts the Warriors third in the NBA in defensive efficiency, holding teams to 101.3 points per 100 possessions. For context, the Lakers give up 110, the Knicks give up 107.9, and the Grizzlies 100.5.
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Kerr told reporters in November that Durant had been ¡°inconsistent¡± defensively, and that his matriculation into their scheme was a learning process. But KD has quickly surged ahead of the curve. He leads the team in scoring, rebounding, blocks, and player efficiency rating, and could enter his hat into the Defensive Player of the Year award race, as well.

The home run rate may have been a bit fluky – his 22.1% home run-to-flyball ratio was tops in baseball. Niese may have not been a good fit for the Pirates philosophy of pitching fastballs inside, so perhaps a change of scenery will do him good. A one-year deal worth around $6-7 million would probably land him at this point.

Feldman was primarily a reliever last year for the Astros and Jays, but he did make five starts with a 3.65 ERA in those starts. Overall, he had a 3.97 ERA in 77 innings and was a 0.4 WAR pitcher, according to Fangraphs.

Tyler Eifert says he will play in Week 14 vs. Steelers

Cincinnati Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert told ESPN’s Bob Holtzman that he’s ready to go against the AFC North rival Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday. Eifert is dealing with a neck injury that forced him out of Cincinnati’s Week 13 game against the Cleveland Browns, but the tight end says he has no remaining concern about the injury at all.

Eifert returned to team practice on Wednesday, and most expected him to be available for Sunday’s game. He was listed as questionable going into the team’s game against the Browns, before he was declared inactive.

Fortunately, the Bengals defense stepped up big time and other players excelled for quarterback Andy Dalton in that game, and the Bengals dominated the Browns, 37-3. But Eifert is a big part of Cincinnati’s offense, and is third on the team with 522 receiving yards. More importantly, he has 12 touchdown receptions, which leads the NFL even after missing a game.

He has the most receiving touchdowns and the most total touchdowns, with Allen Robinson and Devonta Freeman coming in with 11 touchdowns each.

With Eifert out against the Browns, the Bengals managed 144 yards rushing and wide receiver A.J. Green put up five receptions for 128 yards. Tyler Kroft got the majority of snaps at tight end with Eifert out, with Ryan Hewitt and C.J. Uzomah getting some snaps as well.

The Houston Texans could theoretically go back to Brock Osweiler for the postseason, but it’s unlikely.

Tom Savage is coming off of his first start for Houston, and although he completed just two passes for 13 yards in the first half, head coach Bill O’Brien told ESPN’s Sarah Barshop that he believed Savage got into a rhythm in the second half against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Savage finished the day 18 of 29 for 176 yards, with no touchdowns and no interceptions. He also played the week before, filling in after Osweiler was benched and completing 63.9 percent of his passes for 260 yards, no touchdowns, and no picks.

Smith doesn’t fire you up the way those guys do, but it’s not crazy to think he can get it done

While Brady and Roethlisberger stand out on that AFC playoff quarterback list as guys who have delivered multiple championships, Smith has had his share of postseason success as well. Smith doesn’t fire you up the way those guys do, but it’s not crazy to think he can get it done.

See what the latest playoff picture looks like and simulate your own playoff scenarios.
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“We know who we are. We know what we are,” tight end Eric Ebron said. “We let the opportunity when we went to Green Bay last time slip away from us. We obviously know we can put up points, so we’re going to try to do our best and hopefully we don’t fall short like this game.”

Who, though, does Ebron believe the Lions to be?

“We’re a good team. We’re a damn good team,” Ebron said. “We just gotta finish games. That’s what we’re known to do. We just gotta finish this one. We fell two games short now, we didn’t finish.”

For their season to definitively continue beyond Sunday, the Lions have to rediscover the identity they once possessed, one of a team that believed in the fourth quarter, over and over again.

Game Mens Tre Jackson Jersey Otherwise, the Lions might be headed home from Ford Field next Sunday for good for the season.

Odell Beckham Jr. gave us the lamest apology ever

Odell Beckham Jr. got suspended and gave the lamest apology ever, but that’s not even the half of it! Danny, Stephen and myself hash it out on the podcast this week, with a special emphasis on the PR jockeying after the fact and how the NFL media changed the whole narrative about the incident.
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And that’s not all …

We also have a good discussion about the state of affairs in Denver. The Broncos problems go beyond just Osweiler versus Manning. Then we’ve got the Bengals, the deepest team in the league right now, but one that could be looking up at the Steelers in the standings if things don’t go well while Andy Dalton’s on the shelf.

Buffalo’s pass defense was atrocious against Washington last week, allowing Kirk Cousins to throw for 319 yards and four touchdown passes. But it doesn’t appear as if the Cowboys will be in position to take advantage of any weak points in the Bills’ secondary; they’re currently ranked 29th in the league in passing.
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Though the Bills’ defense received a lot of hype heading into the year, the play of quarterback Tyrod Taylor may be their biggest story of the season. Taylor, who never started a game in his career before 2015, has posted an average QB rating of 100.3 since Oct. 11.

One of the biggest reason for the recent success of the Bills’ passing game has been the re-emergence of Sammy Watkins, who’s rebounded after a sluggish start to the year. Watkins has reeled in six touchdown catches over his last four games and recorded 100 or more receiving yards in three of those contests.

Instead of playing for a playoff berth like some expected, Buffalo will try to reach the .500 mark before the season concludes. Only one picker at both ESPN and CBS Sports is taking the Cowboys, while all eight of our experts at SB Nation expect the Bills to win.

the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association agreed on the framework of a new collective bargaining agreement

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Last week the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association agreed on the framework of a new collective bargaining agreement. If it is ratified by both sides next month, the league will be assured of labor peace for the next six years.

If you don’t have a law degree or an ability to commit complex acronyms to memory it can be pretty hard to follow. So with the help of salary-cap guru/godfather Larry Coon, here’s a simpler way to learn some of the new rules and how they can affect your favorite team or player.

Thomas was on the bench late in the third quarter when, after Boston’s starters had whittled a 17-point deficit as low as four, the Grizzlies responded by pushing their lead back to nine before the end of the frame. Only recently has Stevens started playing Thomas at the start of fourth quarter and Thomas simply refused to let this game get away.

Thomas scored nine points in the first 1:57 of the fourth quarter then fed Amir Johnson for a layup that made it a one-possession game. A Thomas 3-pointer with 7:52 to play in regulation tied the game and set up a thrilling finish in which Thomas dueled with Memphis guard Mike Conley.

It waited on Tyreke Evans after the once-core player missed 11 months because of a problematic right knee, and through dings to Dante Cunningham (12 games missed), E’Twaun Moore (3) and Holiday again (3).
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It’s also still waiting on the development of rookies Cheick Diallo and Buddy Hield, the latter of whom has found his range since a bump to the first unit (52 percent from 3 in December). Pelicans players have missed 107 games this season, with 79 a result of injury, illness or injury-related rest.