Philly’s Ibraheim Campbell Is a Real-Deal NFL Prospect at Safety

IBRAHEIM-CAMPBELL-JERRY-LAI-USA-TODAY-SPORTS-940X540It looked like Northwestern was going to lose. Notre Dame led the Wildcats by two scores with just over four minutes to play. But the Fighting Irish had picked up two first downs and looked poised to run out the clock. Then Ibraheim Campbell stepped in.

Or, rather, laid into Notre Dame senior Cam McDaniel, forcing a fumble the Wildcats recovered. It was a devastating turnaround. “The amount of self-hatred I had after the game,” McDaniel — who had fumbled just once in his career previously — said later. “It wrecked me, it really did.” Northwestern drove down the field for a tying field goal, and upset the Fighting Irish on another field goal in OT.

Campbell forced two fumbles in that contest, Northwestern’s first game against ND since a famous upset in 1995. Now, the Wildcats have a winning streak against the Fighting Irish — their first since 1962. “It’s the reason that you play college football, to go into those environments, to get those opportunities,” Campbell said via phone earlier this week. “Those College GameDay moments.”

The Germantown native is hoping to move to a bigger stage soon: Campbell is a top safety prospect in this year’s NFL Draft. At the NFL combine, he has a chance to help (or hurt) his draft prospects with a good performance.

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Cheaters Sometimes Win

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Deflate-Gate has turned out to be a brilliant tactical development for the New England Patriots, who I predict will win this year’s Super Bowl.

The Pats have evolved this week from a pack of blatant cheating weasels to the unfairly persecuted, a dramatic transition last seen in Godfather II. In front of a special Senate Committee, Michael Corleone denied he was remotely involved in organized crime, and urged the committee to absolve him of guilt with the same enthusiasm with which they accused him. Meanwhile, Tom Hagen was screaming, “This committee owes an apology Senator!”

Patriots owner Robert Kraft pulled a similar trick out of his hat a few days ago when he lectured the press and the public about accusing his organization of cheating. Kraft was crafty in his wording, but only an idiot couldn’t see through it. He said “if” the NFL’s investigation turned up no evidence of wrongdoing, he hoped that everybody was prepared to beg the Patriots for forgiveness. Or something like that. He didn’t say “when” the NFL finds no evidence of wrongdoing. He was spitting into the wind. Just like Michael Corleone.

But here’s the thing. Corleone was a gangster. And the Patriots did cheat. And no smoke-and-mirrors, fancypants dialogue can wriggle human beings from hard, cold reality.

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Jerry Jones Paid for Chris Christie’s Cowboys Trips

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Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones paid the cost of Chris Christie’s travel — including a private jet — to Sunday’s NFL playoff game featuring the Cowboys versus the Lions. (You know: The one featuring “The Hug.”)

NJ.com reports:

Christie has now attended three games at the invitation of Jones, who invited the governor and picked up the tab, said Christie spokesman Kevin Roberts.

“Governor Christie attended the game last night as a guest of Jerry Jones, who provided both the ticket and transportation at no expense to New Jersey taxpayers,” Roberts said.

The governor’s office cited The Code of Conduct for the Governor, adopted under former Gov. Jim McGreevey, in Executive Order 77, which says the governor “may accept gifts, favors, services, gratuities, meals, lodging or travel expenses from relatives or personal friends that are paid for with personal funds.”

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Michael Sam on Coming Out Before the NFL Draft: “If I had it my way, I never would have done it the way I did.”

A preview of the GQ cover featuring Michael Sam.

A preview of the GQ cover featuring Michael Sam.

Out athlete Michael Sam graces the cover of the GQ “Men of the Year” issue, out on newsstands nationwide November 25, where he gives a candid interview about his childhood, his coming out, and all of that horrible locker room reporting. We have a preview of some of the more poignant moments of Sam’s interview with GQ writer Andrew Corsello. Read more »

Ed Rendell Is OK with NFL Game Being Moved This Time

I tweeted the above joke yesterday. In 2010, a Vikings-Eagles game in Philadelphia was moved to Tuesday night because of snow. Rendell fumed over it, and the incident somehow led to a book by Rendell, A Nation of Wusses.

They’ve gotten quite a bit of snow this week in upstate New York, and Jets-Bills — originally scheduled for Sunday in Buffalo — has been moved to Monday at Detroit’s Ford Field. The NFL made the decision yesterday.

And, thanks to NJ.com’s Dom Cosentino, my tweet is no longer just a joke: We now know Ed Rendell’s feelings on the move. He’s okay with it this time!

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It’s Hard to Trust Roger Goodell

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NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, during happier times.

I once met and interviewed Adrian Peterson.

He greeted me, as he does everyone, with a vice-grip handshake that stuns you to your core, a handshake that I found extremely peculiar. A firm handshake is what most men do. But this was ridiculous. It was as if Peterson was out to exert and display his power for no particular reason at all other than to exert and display that he was stronger than you. And it was like he didn’t want you to forget it.

With that story, I make a rather lengthy, but pertinent leap to his case of child abuse. Adrian Peterson whupped up on his 4-year-old boy, perhaps as a form of backwater punishment, but certainly as an exertion of power.  After reading about this case and seeing the photos of a bruised 4-year-old, I come to the conclusion that Peterson is a loathsome and contemptible man.

But this is not just a story about a bad human being. It’s a story of how the National Football League has turned into a joke when it comes to governing their employees. Their punishment of Adrian Peterson for the rest of the NFL’s regular season may pass a moral test, but it’s another ass-backward attempt to gain public trust by manipulating rules and regulations solely upon the whims of an empty suit named Roger Goodell.

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Would You Let Your Son Play Football?

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So: Are you going to let your son play football?

I’m not. And if you’re like growing numbers of parents, you won’t either: Pop Warner participation rates dropped almost 10 percent between 2010 and 2012. Why? Because we love our sons, and we are worried that the rough, tumble, and hard knocks of a football game might turn their brains into soup.

There’s a name for the soup: CTE, chronic traumatic encephalopathy. It’s a brain-wasting disease notable for producing depression, sharp personality changes, and erratic, even violent behavior among those who suffer from it — and those who suffer from it seem to be disproportionately people who hit and get hit for a living: Football players. I’ve written about it before, noting that it seemed connected to the suicides of Penn lineman Owen Thomas and former Eagles standout Andre Waters, and asking whether it might’ve had anything to do with the murder charges against former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez.

It’s worth revisiting now because of three reports that emerged in recent weeks: Read more »

Can’t a Guy Get a Beer in This Town Without Freaking Football Blaring in the Background?

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During football season, Eagles talk — and also Eagles shouting, Eagles yelling and Eagles screaming — hangs in the air with a ubiquity rivaled only by oxygen. It dominates your television, your radio, your phones both smart and dumb, your already-fucked-up Facebook feed. It soaks into workplace asides, sidewalk encounters, waiting-room chats, barroom blather. It is everywhere. And for a large percentage of Philadelphians, this is an invigorating and compelling reality. We’ve waited all year, and it’s finally here! E-A-G…

For a much smaller portion of the population, however, the return of the National Football League spells hell. Living in Philly and rooting for a team other than the Eagles is an interesting existence, as we’ve recently discussed. But what about those who detest not only the Eagles, but the entire NFL and the controversial culture it’s spawned?

Joey Sweeney, founder and editor of the long-running city blog Philebrity, wants you.

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Is This the NFL’s Next Commissioner?

Should Condi Rice be the next NFL commissioner?

Should Condi Rice be the next NFL commissioner?

It seems clear that Roger Goodell is finished as commissioner of the NFL.

His silence on the arrests of NFL players Adrian Peterson, Greg Hardy, Ray McDonald and Jonathan Dwyer has been deafening. The man Time once dubbed “The Enforcer” is persona non grata since his fumbling of the Ray Rice case.

The public relations impotency of the once-heralded Goodell has forced owners to do something they hate to do – talk to the fans about team problems. That’s what the commissioner is supposed to be for. He is a useful mouthpiece when things are bad.

The NFL investigation of the Ray Rice debacle is a formality. Roger Goodell will be fired or he will resign, not because he didn’t take domestic abuse seriously, but because he hurt the NFL brand and almost cost the league billions in endorsements.

So who is in line to replace Goodell when he is kicked to the curb?

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