How about we change things up a bit and start off the day with something uplifting, inspirational and positively heartwarming? Yeah, didn’t think you’d mind.
In a classy move reminiscent of Eric LeGrand and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers a couple of years ago, the New Orleans Saints announced Saturday that they have signed former Tulane football player Devon Walker to an NFL contract. During a game against Tulsa in September of 2012, Walker suffered a severe spinal cord injury attempting to make a tackle and was paralyzed from the neck down.
Walker spent three months in the hospital before being released and returning to school at Tulane. In 2013, the former defensive back was named the recipient of the Disney Spirit Award.
Shortly after receiving his degree in cell and molecular biology Saturday afternoon, Walker was surprised by Saints head coach Sean Peyton with the contract from the club.
“When Devon got hurt, his football career was just starting to take off after three years of hard work,” Peyton said in a statement. “Despite the devastating injury he suffered, Devon refuses to let that define him.
“He is an outstanding young man, who is not only an inspiration to his coaches and teammates at Tulane, but to all of us. Devon’s character, determination, intelligence and work ethic are everything that we look for in a New Orleans Saint when we sign a player. This is the least we can do to recognize Devon and these attributes that we want all of our players to have.”
Bravo, Sean Peyton and the New Orleans Saints. And God bless you, Devon Walker, for showing the sports world what it truly means to have heart and for the inspiration you have been and will continue to be.
(Photo credit: Tulane University)
A stadium proposal for Temple University will not be filed this June, putting the future of a potential on-campus football home for the Owls on the sidelines for a little bit longer.
According to a report from The Temple News, the proposal for the on-campus athletic venue did not achieve its goal of obtaining enough support from the surrounding community in order to move forward with the plan. This was likely to be expected after the stadium plans stalled during a city council meeting earlier this year. This occurred shortly after protestors interrupted a town hall meeting about the project the previous week.
“We’re not there yet,” Temple Vice President of Public Affairs Bill Bergman said in the report. “We continue to work with neighbors, talk to neighbors. We’re really looking at what we need to do this summer.”
The stadium has failed to generate the kind of community support Temple was hoping to have as concerns about what the stadium will do to the community have been heated. Residents do not seem to have the positive vibes about a stadium that will play home to Temple football that the university officials have envisioned. To some, the construction of a football stadium that would also host other events seems like wasteful spending with resources that could be used in other ways.
Temple is currently playing home games at Lincoln Financial Field, home to the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles. The lease agreement for Temple runs through the end of the 2019 season. If Temple cannot get moving on their on-campus stadium plan, the Owls may have to look into an extension on the lease. Temple will have little problem getting an extension, but the university would probably prefer not to have to lock into an extended lease if playing on campus becomes a viable option.
Central Michigan’s football program held a fun softball game over the weekend, pitting coaches against seniors. CMU head coach John Bonamego used the opportunity to award a well-deserved scholarship to tight end Logan Hessbrook.
Central Michigan shared the moment with a quick video clip on Twitter, accompanied by a pair of interviews with the newly awarded scholarship player and the head coach.
Hessbrook was CMU’s sixth-leading receiver in 2017 with 132 yards on 10 receptions in three games. The majority of that production came in games against FCS Rhode Island and Big 12 doormat Kansas. With last year’s top tight end Tyler Conklin having graduated and moved on from the program, Hessbrook could be in line for a much more pivotal role in the offense this fall.
The Ithaca, Michigan native has worked hard since joining the Chippewas however, and now his commitment and dedication to the program has paid off with a scholarship.
It’s a tremendous challenge getting fans to come out to the stadium these days. When (nearly) every game is on TV, why go to the stadium when you have to miss out on the six other games on TV plus you have to deal with spotty in-stadium plus having to fight through traffic and parking and obnoxious fans to your left and right — and, oh yeah, you still have to pay for your tickets and concessions on top of all that.
UNLV has now eliminated one of those objections.
Borrowing a page from baseball, the Rebels have introduced an all-you-can-eat ticket package. For just $79, fans get tickets to UNLV’s games against UTEP (Sept. 8), Fresno State (Nov. 3) and Nevada (Nov. 24) while gaining access to all the hot dogs, nachos, popcorn and soft drinks they can stomach.
“It’s a great way for your family to enjoy first-class entertainment and create a memory for an affordable price,” UNLV athletics director Desiree Reed-Francois told the Las Vegas Sun.
Season ticket holders will also have the option of adding the all-you-can-eat option for $30 a ticket — which works out to $5 per ticket per game.
The move feels more like a promotion that will keep on-the-fence ticket buyers in the stadium rather than brining new people out, but Reed-Francois is determined to increase attendance as UNLV plays its penultimate season in the 47-year-old Sam Boyd Stadium. The Rebels drew 17,449 fans per game to the 35,000-seat stadium.
“I’m told all of the time that this isn’t a football town,” she said. “We’ll flip that (opinion). There’s an opportunity for football in this town.”
It won’t affect the scoreboard one whit come September, but Wisconsin got a nice little victory on Saturday.
The annual Manning Passing Academy came to a close on Saturday with the Air It Out competition among the camp’s counselors, which was comprised of a who’s who of returning college quarterbacks. Among a group that included Penn State’s Trace McSorley, Missouri’s Drew Lock, UCF’s McKenzie Milton, Washington’s Jake Browning, Georgia’s Jake Fromm, Alabama’s Jalen Hurts and others, Badgers quarterback Alex Hornibrook was the only player able to hit the golf cart streaking down the right sideline.
Hornibrook, a rising junior, completed 198-of-318 passes (62.3 percent) for 2,644 yards (8.3 per attempt) with 25 touchdowns against 15 interceptions, good for a 148.61 efficiency rating, which rated 24th nationally. He led the Badgers to a 13-1 record, a Big Ten West championship, an Orange Bowl victory over Miami and a No. 7 final ranking in the AP poll.