NFL players and owners help inspire change for social justice

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The NFL is promoting its “Inspire Change” initiative for social justice in stadiums and game broadcasts for the last two weeks of the regular season.

Video content is used to reinforce the impactful social justice work of NFL players, clubs, leagues and social justice partners to break down barriers to opportunity and end systemic racism.

The league has also funded four new national sponsorship partners: Year Up, Wall Street Bound, Free Minds Book Club, and Get Schooled. These national grant partners were recently approved by the Social Justice Working Group, composed of five players and five team owners.

“The grants allow the NFL and the players to continue to truly serve in the communities they either come from or where they currently live and in the grassroots organizations that do the work on the ground,” said Kelvin Beachum, offensive lineman from Arizona Cardinals, on the AP Professional Football Podcast. “It has been a pleasure for me to attend some of these meetings and to be able to see the applications that we receive each year and that we can review. And I have been honored to be able to give grants to organizations that we know will make a difference.

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“One thing I love about this community is that it’s very data-driven. So let’s look at the data provided by these organizations, by the fellows who work in partnership with the NFL Foundation to make sure that we use funds. ” makes the effect we all want. ”

Former NFL stars Aeneas Williams and Anquan Boldin, Saints linebacker Demario Davis and 49ers cornerback Josh Norman join Beachum. The owners are: Michael Bidwell (Arizona Cardinals), Arthur Blank (Atlanta Falcons), Gayle Benson (New Orleans Saints), Dee Haslam (Cleveland Browns) and Shad Khan (Jacksonville Jaguars).

“It’s always cool when an owner says, ‘What are the players thinking? What do the players want? ‘”Said Beachum. “I think this is a vote of confidence that an owner can really hold players accountable to step aside or help decide or take responsibility for where those grants should go. And then to be able to have the data suggesting why the scholarship is going there. … It’s a very fluid and very thoughtful group of people from both the NFL and players who decide where these grants should go. But it’s a team effort. “

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The NFL has now provided more than $ 180 million to 37 national funding partners and hundreds of grassroots organizations across the country through Inspire Change.

“This is a huge milestone for us and a testament to the generosity of the clubs and team owners as they truly come together with the league to support the $ 250 million 10 year commitment to combat social Injustice and Systemic Racism, ”said Anna Isaacson, NFL senior vice president of social responsibility. “We have achieved this commitment more than halfway and I am confident that we will exceed this goal at our pace, as we dedicate ourselves fully to this work and do our part.”

FEEL OLD

Jeff Ulbrich used to play defenses who wanted to stop Tom Brady. Now he’s drafting fixtures against the timeless quarterback.

Ulbrich is the Defensive Coordinator of the New York Jets, which face Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at home on Sunday. The matchup between 44-year-old Brady and 22-year-old Jets rookie Zach Wilson marks the largest age difference between the quarterbacks since at least 1950.

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Ulbrich is the same age as Brady and was part of the same NFL draft class. Ulbrich was a San Francisco pick in the third round in 2000, while Brady went to New England in the sixth round.

“My claim to fame is that I was drafted before him,” said Ulbrich. “It’s my only thing I’ve done better than him.”

Ulbrich was a linebacker and special team ace who played 10 solid NFL seasons with the 49ers before starting his coaching career in 2010.

And Brady? Well, he just keeps going.

“Yeah, it’s extremely frustrating, you know?” Ulbrich joked. “Every time I throw the tape when I have to plan, I assume and hope there will be some kind, you know, he falls off and his abilities deteriorate, and that’s not the case at all. Which is amazing. “

The seven-time Super Bowl champion leads the NFL in several pass categories, including yards (4,580) and touchdowns (37).

In addition, Brady is older than even the head coach on the other sidelines this weekend, 42-year-old Robert Saleh of the Jets.

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“I’ll ask him what water he’s drinking,” Saleh said with a big smile. “I want to ask him a lot of health questions because I have to get up, probably as relaxed as he does. … He is an absolute stallion and without question the greatest who has ever played the position.

“Anyone who questions that just look how many rings they have. It will be fun.”

BELICHICK ALSO PLAYED MADDEN

John Madden’s death on Tuesday spread throughout the NFL, and people across the league remembered him for his contribution to the coaching, broadcast and video game worlds.

Patriots manager Bill Belichick spent more than five minutes the day after Madden’s death was announced recalling how the Pro Football Hall of Famer inspired and influenced his coaching career.

It involved taking nuances from his coaching style and his awe for bringing to life key games that Belichick coached with the Giants and Patriots.

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“I have spoken to John on many different levels and have had many different experiences and conversations with him. All good, ”said Belichick.

But it turns out that Belichick even had experience with the video game version of Madden.

“I know when my kids were growing up they played it,” he said. “I watched them and they hit me.”

BACK ON TRACK

Dakota Dozier, Minnesota Vikings’ backup offensive lineman, was hospitalized for three days earlier this season after contracting COVID-19 and developing pneumonia-like complications.

The first few days of symptoms were mild, but difficulty breathing occurred. The oximeter that the Dozier family has in the house for their daughter with breathing problems showed him that he needed immediate medical attention.

“I checked mine and it was 82. They shouldn’t really go below 90 so that freaked me out a bit,” said Dozier. “Grateful for the care I’ve had.”

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The first two weeks back at the team facility were tough, although he only missed 10 days.

“Especially when running, it felt like I was out for two months,” said Dozier. “So it only took a while to get my stamina back, but the strength team and training team did a really good job helping me take one step at a time and get me back into good shape. ”

DEPEND

The Green Bay forecast calls for a maximum temperature of 12 degrees and a low of zero on Sunday when the Packers face the Vikings in a night game at Lambeau Field.

This is the type of game developed for Green Bay’s AJ Dillon, a 6-foot, 247-pound running back who got used to playing in cold weather, first at the Lawrence Academy in Groton, Massachusetts, and later at Boston College.

Dillon recalled playing a high school game in windy single-digit temperatures without the benefit of heated benches or coats on the sidelines. He also recalled playing on a frozen field when Boston College lost 27:20 to Iowa in their first season at Pinstripe Bowl.

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“We played at Yankee Stadium and they don’t have heaters under their field because it’s a baseball field and they don’t usually play that late – or never play in December – and man, we were ice skating out there,” said Dillon. “Half of the team had their sneakers. Some people had studs, some people had molded (studs).

“I looked like a guy in Scooby-Doo who’s running away from a monster (and) just going nowhere.”

Dillon had a career height of 124 yards in the snow at Lambeau Field when the Packers beat the Tennessee Titans 40:14 last season. However, there is no snow in the forecast for Sunday. Simply bitterly cold.

AFTER FURTHER REVIEW

The NFL Referees Association has ratified an employment contract for replay officials. Negotiations spanned eight months and focused on compensations and benefits not previously granted to replay officials.

“This took a lot of time and effort, and we couldn’t have done it without the input of Replay officers Mike Chase, Paul Weidner and Roddy Ames, and of course Mike Arnold’s legal advice,” said NFLRA Executive Director Scott Green.

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The new CBA runs until May 31, 2027.

“I would like to congratulate all Replay officials for their dedication to continuing to work without the CBA for most of this season,” added NFLRA President Carl Paganelli. “The final agreement recognizes the contributions and key role Replay officials play in each and every piece.”

AP Pro Football writers Dave Campbell, Rob Maaddi, Dennis Waszak Jr., and Barry Wilner, and AP Sports writers Kyle Hightower and Steve Megargee contributed.

More AP-NFL coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed in any way without permission.



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