From Comcast SportsNetENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) -- Broncos rookie right tackle Orlando Franklin was excused Wednesday to deal with a family tragedy. On Wednesday night, Franklin tweeted, "Thanks guys for all your prayers for my little brother. Its a shame that he had to die at 20." He didn't provide any other details. Franklin's status for Sunday's game against San Diego is uncertain. Coach John Fox had already addressed the media when Franklin apparently learned of the situation after practice. "Orlando was excused from afternoon meetings to deal with a family matter," team spokesman Patrick Smyth said Wednesday afternoon. Chris Clark and Tony Hills are backup tackles who could replace Franklin in the lineup against the Chargers if he's unable to play. It's not known when Franklin will return to practice. Franklin was born in Kingston, Jamaica, but moved in with his older brother in Toronto while in high school before going to Florida to gain recruiting attention. He starred at the University of Miami and was selected by the Broncos with the 46th overall draft pick in April. He has started all four games for Denver.
WALTHAM -- Go up and down the Boston Celtics roster and you won’t have any trouble finding players who will be cheering on the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI.
But there are some Celtics who understandably have mixed feelings about the game.
Among them is Jae Crowder, who grew up in Villa Rica, Ga. which is about 32 miles outside of Atlanta.
“I’ve been cheering for the Falcons all my life,” Crowder said. “I’m here in Boston; I’ve been a Patriots fan.”
And within that fandom, Crowder has developed a friendship with New England players, among them being Patriots running back LaGarrette Blount.
Not soon after the Patriots punched their ticket to the Super Bowl, Crowder got a text message from Blount.
“He knows,” Crowder said of Blount. “Yeah, he knows I’m in between.”
Isaiah Thomas, whose hometown Seattle Seahawks were beaten by the Falcons, said Crowder didn’t become a Falcons fan until they made the playoffs.
“Bandwagon? But I just took his money though,” quipped Crowder, referring to the Falcons beating the Seahawks in an earlier round of the playoffs. “We did them Seahawks real dirty; bandwagon.”
He’s not the only Celtics player with ties to Atlanta.
Boston rookie Jaylen Brown grew up just a few minutes outside of Atlanta in Marietta, Ga.
Thomas said Brown is a Pittsburgh Steelers fan.
“I don’t know how that is,” Thomas said. “Don’t let him tell you he’s an Atlanta Falcons fan. Jae just started reppin’ them when they made the playoffs. They can do what they want; they might as well root for the Patriots.”
For Thomas, cheering for the Patriots is more than just supporting his fellow professional athletes. As he tries to continue growing as a player and a leader for the Celtics, the Patriots and the way they do things in many ways has been a blueprint of sorts for Thomas.
“They’re the team you want to be,” Thomas said. “Every year they give themselves a chance. From top to bottom, they’re 100 percent professional. They think championship every year. That’s how you should be. We want to model that. Hopefully the can go out and win it, and we can try to piggy-pack on what they did.”
Another Celtic with Atlanta ties is Al Horford, who made it clear which team had his support.
“Going to school in Florida, being in the south for so many years, college football is kind of my thing,” said Horford, who revealed that he never attended a Falcons during his nine seasons with the Atlanta Hawks. “I would watch them on TV and stuff like that. I know it’s exciting for them. It’s a big deal to be in the Super Bowl. But I’m here in New England now so I’ll be cheering for the Patriots.”
With Tom Brady spending this week and next preparing for the Super Bowl, Andy Dalton has been named his replacement in the Pro Bowl.
This will mark Dalton’s third Pro Bowl appearance. He finished fourth in the AFC in passing yards (4,206) and tied for 10th with 18 passing touchdowns. Brady threw 10 more touchdowns in four fewer games.
Though he’s often skipped the actual games, this was the 12th season in which Brady was named to the AFC’s Pro Bowl roster. He’s been named to the Pro Bowl in each of the last eight seasons.