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SPORTS
December 31, 2014 | By Joe Juliano, Inquirer Staff Writer
Tackle Donovan Smith, the most experienced player on the young Penn State offensive line for much of the 2014 season, announced Monday he has decided to enter the NFL draft. The 6-foot-5, 340-pound Smith, a redshirt junior who started 31 games at left tackle over the last three seasons, will forgo his final season of eligibility. In a release issued by Penn State athletic communications, Smith said "it seems like it was yesterday" since he sat down with former coach Joe Paterno to discuss his plans after high school in Owings Mills, Md. "I promised him and my family that I would get my degree," Smith said.
SPORTS
December 30, 2014 | BY MARK PERNER, Daily News Staff Writer pernerm@phillynews.com
CHECKING ALL THE names on tedsilary.com's list of city-team athletes playing in the NFL, of the 11 players only Corey "Philly" Brown, a wide receiver for the Carolina Panthers, and guard Earl Watford, of the Arizona Cardinals, are heading to the NFL playoffs. Brown caught one pass for 28 yards and rushed twice for another 41 yards to help the Panthers clinch the NFC South title with a 34-3 win over Atlanta. In his rookie season out of Ohio State, by way of Cardinal O'Hara, Brown started three games, caught 21 passes for 296 yards and two touchdowns and also rushed eight times for 95 yards.
SPORTS
December 28, 2014
Eagles cornerback Bradley Fletcher is the NFL leader in two dubious categories. Passing Yds. Allowed Fletcher, EAGLES 1,072 Jason McCourty, TEN 1,033 William Gay, PIT 897 Darrin Walls, NYJ 855 Brandon Carr. DAL 849 TD Catches Allowed If Fletcher allows one more touchdown reception, he will have allowed more in a season than any cornerback since 2008. Opp TDS Fletcher, EAGLES 9 Patrick Peterson, ARZ 8 Greg Toler, IND 8 David Amerson, WAS 8 First in Snaps Eagles cornerback Cary Williams is on pace to lead all NFL cornerbacks in snaps played for the second straight year.
SPORTS
December 28, 2014 | By Mike Sielski, Inquirer Columnist
By the time he traded for Eli Manning at the 2004 NFL draft, Ernie Accorsi was already an old newspaper guy and knew how the game worked. A former sportswriter at The Inquirer, Accorsi was the New York Giants' general manager from 1998 to 2007, and his signature decision over that period was to bank that, in a draft class that included Philip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger, Manning was the true crown jewel. "I remember the Harrisburg paper - it's my local paper, where I grew up - said, 'Accorsi bets his future on Eli Manning,' " Accorsi, a native of Hershey, said in a recent phone interview.
SPORTS
December 22, 2014 | By Bob Brookover, Inquirer Columnist
Depending on which side of the Great Johnny Football Divide you come down on, Johnny Manziel's debut as Cleveland's quarterback was either disappointing or delightful. There's little doubt how the Cincinnati Bengals felt during their 30-0 drubbing of Manziel's Browns last Sunday. Several Bengals taunted the QB, some with mocking imitations of his money-rubbing gesture. But no matter how bad his performance (10 for 18 for 80 yards, no touchdowns, two interceptions, three sacks, and a passer rating of 27.3)
SPORTS
December 19, 2014 | By John Smallwood, Daily News Columnist
WHEN I READ the story, I was taken aback. Chris Conte, a fourth-year free safety with the Chicago Bears, told a radio station that if he knew today that playing in the NFL would take at least a decade off his normal life span, he'd still do it all over again. "As far as after football, who knows?" Conte, who had suffered two concussions this season, told WBBM Newsradio in Chicago. "My life will revolve around football to some point, but I'd rather have the experience of playing and, who knows, die 10, 15 years earlier than not be able to play in the NFL and live a long life.
SPORTS
December 15, 2014 | By Bob Brookover, Inquirer Columnist
Rematches are all that remain on the Eagles' schedule. It's Dallas Sunday in the regular-season home finale at Lincoln Financial Field, Washington six days later at FedEx Field, and the New York Giants in the final regular-season game Dec. 28 at MetLife Stadium. The Eagles beat all three opponents the first time they faced them this season and are 7-2 in NFC East games under coach Chip Kelly. The one thing we really do not know about Kelly, however, is how well he handles these rematch games.
SPORTS
December 9, 2014
The Eagles have been among the NFL's best teams the last two years in offensive plays of 20-plus yards. On Sunday, however, the Seahawks made nearly all of them. Here are the 20-plus-yard plays: Seahawks Marshawn Lynch 21-yard run (1st quarter) Doug Baldwin 25-yard reception (1st) Russell Wilson 26-yard run for TD (2d) Baldwin 20-yard reception (2d) Baldwin 20-yard reception (2d) Paul Richardson 20-yard reception (2d) Jermaine Kearse 20-yard reception (3d)
SPORTS
December 8, 2014 | By Bob Brookover, Inquirer Columnist
Know any good young quarterbacks who can't run? The NFL could use a few. Deep into this 2014 season, two facts about the league's quarterbacks can't be ignored. First, and most problematic for a league whose signal-callers are its most prominent stars: The best of them are graying faster than a mid-January afternoon. Peyton Manning is 38. Tom Brady is 37. Drew Brees is 35. That's a lot of passing yards, record-book entries, and merchandising dollars headed for the exit. Not too far behind in total birthdays are Phillip Rivers (32)
BUSINESS
December 8, 2014 | By Joseph N. DiStefano, Inquirer Staff Writer
"This is one of the most-connected facilities in the NFL," if use of smartphones and iPads at Eagles games is any sign, says Charles W. Berger , pointing to wireless switches embedded under the stands at Lincoln Financial Field. Berger, a Willow Grove native, is chief executive officer of Extreme Networks , a San Jose, Calif., company with yearly sales of $600 million. It built the free WiFi system at the stadium last season, with project manager PCM Inc. "They put in 30 miles of cable in 90 days, building a bridge to our fans," said Anne Gordon , the Eagles vice president who oversees digital media.
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