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own. New England ran six straight times, capped by a 4-yard TD run by
09-24-2019, 10:45 AM,
Post: #1
own. New England ran six straight times, capped by a 4-yard TD run by
By the time the Chargers called during the offseason to offer him a tryout Daniel Jones Jersey , James-Michael Johnson had had enough.Still reeling from a year in which he spent time with five teams and got cut six times, the NFL linebacker passed on the chance to grind it out in camp.He retired at age 27 after four seasons.He wasn’t sad to see his playing days come to an end.“It’s just better now, knowing that if I go to work every day, work hard, get better at my job and learn everything I can in the occupation, that I’ll continue to progress,” said Johnson, now 29, who works as an emergency medical technician near his hometown of Fairfield, California, with hopes of joining a fire department. “Everything’s not based on my 40-yard dash.”While the league this week will celebrate the longevity of 41-year-old Super Bowl quarterback Tom Brady and others like him, stories resembling Johnson’s — a short stay in the league, followed by a virtually unnoticed retirement — are far more common.A first-of-its-kind analysis, conducted by The Associated Press , found that the average amount of experience on opening-day NFL rosters has dropped from 4.6 to 4.3 years over the past 14 seasons . That’s despite provisions in the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement that had the potential to extend players’ careers.Had Johnson chosen to stick it out and made it onto the Chargers’ roster, they could have gotten him for cheap. Under one of the provisions covering veterans, he could have received a one-year contract for the 2017 league-minimum $775,000 Quincy Williams II Jersey , and it would have counted as only $615,000 against the team’s salary cap.But Johnson, a fourth-round pick in 2012, had stuck around long enough to qualify for a modest pension and, with the help of the NFL, had a decent 401(k) started. He loved helping people and looked forward to a different kind of life.So he decided to give up the game before some assistant coach or general manager he barely knew made the decision for him.Johnson — who played what is considered one of the league’s most disposable positions — said that he had never even heard of the salary provision that might have helped him, but that it didn’t sound like a realistic way of keeping guys like him around.“They’re always going to go with the younger player,” Johnson said. “You’re always going to go with the first-year undrafted free agent over the fourth- or fifth-year guy, when you’re dealing with the roster bubble and a couple hundred thousand dollars.”Eric Winston, president of the NFL Players’ Association, agreed: “There are very few positions outside of quarterback where teams are going to want to keep a veteran who’s decently paid and doesn’t start.”There were other factors at play in Johnson’s decision.The Hollywood hit “Concussion” came out during his final season. The movie is based on the real-life investigation into the brain disease caused by multiple hits to the head — a disorder discovered in more than 100 deceased former NFL players who donated their brains to science.Johnson estimates he has had scores of head traumas over his dozen years of football at the high school, college and pro levels. He tells of one instance — not all that uncommon — when he got hit so hard against the Cowboys that “I felt like someone had thrown a grenade at me.”“I don’t remember how I got to the sideline,” he said. “But when you watch the film, you see me, and you say, ‘All that happened was he got hit, hopped up and jogged off.’ Nobody knew anything bad had happened to me.”Because of what he knows now, Johnson feels compelled to someday spell out the risks to his 4-year-old son Ryquell Armstead Jersey , James-Michael Jr., if he wants to play football.“I still wonder how that’s all going to play out for me when I’m 45 or 50,” Johnson said.Though he misses the competition, he doesn’t miss football itself. In fact, he barely ever watches it.His best memories of the NFL will be what happened off the field. He loved the Tuesdays when he would be invited to schools, food banks or charity events for a chance to meet people in the community. He made friends in all the locker rooms he was part of.Fresh out of football, Johnson considered scouting and coaching, only to be turned off by both.Invited to an NFL rules meeting, Johnson said he felt the priority wasn’t to make the game safer or more fair.Meanwhile, coaches he looked up to in college described a transient existence of slowly working your way up the ladder in a career that is ultimately dependent on head coaches who commonly get fired every four or five years.To Johnson, it sounded not all that different from the life he had just left. In all, he got cut seven times by six teams.Though his paychecks are not as gaudy these days, Johnson feels as if he can breathe again.“Now, I know if I do my job to the best of my ability, I can keep coming to work,” he said. “Someone’s not to call me up into the office and say, ‘We looked at the tape, and we’re thinking about bringing in a younger Gardner Minshew II Jersey , better player today.'” FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — It’s not every day that a team finds itself cheering for the one that beat it the season before in the Super Bowl.This isn’t the typical season for the New England Patriots.Patriots players erupted in a loud cheer in the locker room as Eagles kicker Jake Elliott’s 35-yard field goal sailed through the uprights as time expired to give Philadelphia a victory over the Houston Texans on Sunday.Article continues below ...Combined with the Patriots’ 24-12 win over the Buffalo Bills just minutes before to snap a two-game losing streak, New England moved back into the No. 2 spot in the AFC with one game to play. A Patriots win over the Jets next week would give New England a first-round bye in the playoffs.“Fly, Eagles, Fly!” receiver Julian Edelman said afterward.It was a perfect ending to a less than perfect day for the Patriots.New England (10-5) earned their 10th straight AFC East title with Sony Michel running for 116 yards and a touchdown. It also improved to 7-0 at home this season and became the first franchise in NFL history to earn playoff berths in 10 straight seasons. It marked the Patriots’ fifth straight win over the Bills (5-10) and their 26th series sweep of Buffalo.Tom Brady went 13 of 24 for 126 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions — his lowest output since he passed for 123 yards in a 2003 loss to the Bills.“We didn’t have our best day in the passing game.But it felt good to win.At this time of year, whatever it takes to win, that’s what you’ve got to do,” Brady said. “And we still have one hugely important game left.We have to finish strong.”But with the touchdown he joined Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Philip Rivers with at least 10 seasons of 4,000-plus passing yards. Manning has 14 such seasons, Brees entered the day with 12 and Rivers has 10.It was Michel’s fourth 100-yard rushing game of the season.It helped mask Brady’s mild day. The two interceptions were his third time with multiple picks in a game this season. He now has 11 interceptions in 2018, his most since 2013.Brady’s touchdown pass of the game came thanks to a heads-up play by Julian Edelman in the third quarter .Leading 14-6 and facing fourth-and-4 on the Bills 32, Brady found Edelman over the middle on a quick slant. Edelman was tackled and rolled up by safety Rafael Bush, but Edelman never touched the ground. He got up and sprinted into the end zone.Brady’s interceptions were among three turnovers by the Patriots on the day, but Buffalo was only able to turn them into three points. Leading 24-6 in fourth quarter, he was replaced by backup Brian Hoyer.Asked why he pulled Brady with more than six minutes to play, coach Bill Belichick said because “I thought it was the right thing to do.”Bills back running back LeSean McCoy returned after a one-game absence with a left hamstring injury. He had a quiet return Christian Wilkins Jersey , rushing six times for 9 yards. He didn’t play the first series of the game and said afterward he was benched by coach Sean McDermott after a disagreement for which McCoy took responsibility.“We had an issue. He corrected me. That’s all,” McCoy said.Rookie quarterback Josh Allen was bottled up for most of the day, limited to 20 of 41 for 217 yards with two interceptions. He ran five times for 30 yards. Buffalo finished with 72 rushing yards, the first time in five games it failed to rush for 100 or more.“Gotta get better,” Allen said. “We’ll learn from this one. New England is the team that teams want to be. The trajectory of where we want to put this team and how they can sustain success, so yeah we’re gonna learn from this one.”After going three plays and out on their first drive of the day, the Patriots went to the run game to score the game’s first touchdown. New England ran six straight times, capped by a 4-yard TD run by Michel. It was Michel’s first touchdown since New England’s Week 12 win over the Jets.Following a Buffalo punt, the Patriots crossed into Bills’ territory again, but gave the ball back when Rex Burkhead fumbled. But Stephen Hauschka’s 43-yard field goal attempt hit the crossbar.After both teams exchanged punts, New England pushed its lead to 14-0 in the second quarter via a 27-yard touchdown run by James White .NO OFFENSEBuffalo’s first six drives of the game were a regression for an offense that had shown promise in recent games. The Bills went three plays and out three straight times, followed by six plays and the missed field goal; three-and-out; and one play and an interception by Allen.The Bills returned the favor when Lorenzo Alexander picked off an errant pass by Brady. But Buffalo again failed to convert the turnover into points, turning the ball over on downs when Allen’s deep, fourth-and-3 pass for Robert Foster fell incomplete.INJURIESBills: LB Julian Stanford left in the first quarter with an ankle injury and did not return. … WR Isaiah McKenzie was evaluated for a head injury in the second quarter but returned in the second half. … WR Deonte Thompson left in the third quarter with a toe injury.Patriots: WR Cordarrelle Patterson left with a knee injury in the third quarter.UP NEXTBills: Host Miami next Sunday.Patriots: Host the Jets.
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