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SPORTS
January 30, 2015 | BY LES BOWEN, Daily News Staff Writer bowenl@phillynews.com
PHOENIX - A little more than 2 months ago, LeGarrette Blount left the Pittsburgh Steelers' bench during a game at Tennessee, got dressed and headed for the team bus, apparently upset that he wasn't getting the ball. Blount's actions on Nov. 17 ultimately affected the playoff fortunes of two AFC contenders. The Steelers, who released the former Oregon star the next day, ended up losing a wild-card round playoff game to the Ravens in no small part because they didn't have a viable backup to injured running back Le'Veon Bell.
SPORTS
January 30, 2015 | By Zach Berman, Inquirer Staff Writer
CHANDLER, Ariz. - When the New England Patriots drafted Logan Ryan in April 2013, the Eastern High School graduate sent a text message to another alumnus: Adam Taliaferro. "Hey, man, I'm playing for you," Ryan wrote, according to Taliaferro. Taliaferro starred for Eastern in the late 1990s. He went to Penn State, where he played as a freshman for Joe Paterno. On Sept. 23, 2000, Taliaferro suffered a spinal cord injury that paralyzed him from the neck down. Doctors gave him a 3 percent chance to walk again.
SPORTS
January 30, 2015 | By Jeff McLane, Inquirer Staff Writer
PHOENIX - It seems like ages ago, but Danny Amendola once was with the Eagles. It was for a cup of coffee, and he never played in a game in Eagles green, but the Patriots wide receiver said his nine-month stay in Philadelphia was beneficial. "I came into Dallas, went to Philly, and I was behind some great receivers that are still playing at a high level," Amendola said. "I learned a lot from them, and I knew that if my opportunity were to arise I was going to be ready. " The Eagles signed Amendola in January 2009 after he spent the entire 2008 season on the Cowboys practice squad.
SPORTS
January 30, 2015 | BY LES BOWEN, Daily News Staff Writer bowenl@phillynews.com
CHANDLER, Ariz. - Tom Brady and Vince Wilfork are the only two New England players with Patriots Super Bowl rings. They earned them 10 years ago in Jacksonville, as Eagles fans all too vividly recall. That 24-21 victory over the Birds brought home the Pats' third championship trophy in 4 years. Yesterday Wilfork, who was a rookie starter at nose tackle that night, acknowledged that he'd figured on having several more rings by now. "Oh yeah," Wilfork said yesterday, as the Patriots prepared for Sunday's Super Bowl XLIX meeting with the defending champion Seattle Seahawks.
SPORTS
January 30, 2015 | By Zach Berman, Inquirer Staff Writer
PHOENIX - LeGarrette Blount's football career seemed in peril after he threw a punch at an opposing player following Boise State's upset of Oregon in 2009. The incident came in Chip Kelly's first game as the Ducks' head coach. Kelly needed to make a decision about Blount's future. He suspended the running back but kept Blount on scholarship and in the football program. Kelly ultimately reinstated Blount after the running back met certain academic and behavioral conditions. That helped save Blount's career, which continues Sunday when he plays in the Super Bowl as a key part of the New England Patriots' offense.
SPORTS
January 29, 2015 | By Zach Berman, Inquirer Staff Writer
PHOENIX - The New England Patriots reached the Super Bowl with Patrick Chung as their starting safety, which might seem like a cruel joke in Philadelphia. In March 2013, the Eagles signed Chung away from New England hoping that he could help solve the team's ongoing problems at safety. In one season, Chung further contributed to those problems. The Eagles released him after the first season of a three-year, $10 million deal. He resurfaced in New England and earned a roster spot, a starting spot, and ultimately a contract extension.
SPORTS
January 28, 2015 | By Zach Berman, Inquirer Staff Writer
CHANDLER, Ariz. - New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft offered a defiant defense of his organization, coach Bill Belichick, and quarterback Tom Brady amid the ball-deflation controversy on Monday, further entrenching the team's position that it committed no wrongdoing. Kraft even demanded an apology if the league's investigation vindicates the team. "I want to make it clear that I believe unconditionally that the New England Patriots have done nothing inappropriate in this process or were in violation of NFL rules," Kraft said.
SPORTS
January 27, 2015 | By MARCUS HAYES, Daily News Sports Columnist
GLENDALE, Ariz. - Whew. That was close. The Seahawks are back at the Super Bowl. Things could not have worked out better for the NFL. The Seahawks are a fun, young team from the crunchy, techie Northwest already validated by last year's Super win. The Patriots are blue blood, original tea partiers, a dynastic compilation of talents forever sullied by accusations of cheating, again. It's REI vs. L.L. Bean; new-school owner Paul Allen vs. old-school monolith Robert Kraft; Microsoft vs. Mayonnaise.
SPORTS
January 27, 2015 | By Jeff McLane, Inquirer Staff Writer
PHOENIX - The Seattle Seahawks are trying to win consecutive Super Bowls, a feat accomplished only eight times, and yet they spent a great deal of a news conference Sunday answering questions about the Patriots and "Deflategate. " Seattle coach Pete Carroll and quarterback Russell Wilson did their best to downplay the hoopla that has built since the NFL announced that it was investigating the Patriots after 11 of 12 balls used in the first half of the AFC championship were found to be below the minimum compression.
SPORTS
January 26, 2015 | By Bob Ford, Inquirer Columnist
Let's start right at the top and say I had no idea that both teams in an NFL game supplied the footballs for their own offenses. The mystery of how a game ball gets from the Wilson factory to its appointed spot on the field never seemed like an interesting subject. There's a bag of balls, and when they need another, some kid tosses one to the official. What could be complicated about that? What could be more elemental to the game than the mere presence of the football? During one of the previous soccer World Cup preparations, U.S. coach Bruce Arena grew tired of taking questions every day on the ball that had been selected for play, one with a supposedly more aerodynamic cover and super technology that would transform it into an unstoppable scoring spheroid.
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