Seau's family to allow his brain to be studied

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Seau's family to allow his brain to be studied

The Los Angeles Times reported Friday that "Junior Seau's family has decided to allow researchers to study his brain for evidence of damage as the result of concussions".

The newspaper quoted San Diego Chargers chaplain Shawn Mitchell, who spoke with the family. Mitchell said no decision has been made as to who will do the study, though the Boston University School of Medicine -- which has been conducting research into football-related head trauma and performed an examination of former Chicago Bears defensive back Dave Duerson, who requested in his suicide note that his brain be given to BU -- has publicly asked for the right to examine Seau.

The former Patriots, Chargers and Dolphins linebacker died Wednesday of a gunshot wound to the chest that police have ruled was self-inflicted. Speculation began almost immediately that brain trauma caused by repeated concussions sparked Seau's suicide, at age 43.

In the days since his death, Seau's friends and family have said he suffered multiple concussions during his 20-year career but always attempted to hide them from his team's medical staffs.

Seau left no suicide note. But before Duerson fired a bullet into his chest last year, he left word with his family to have his brain examined for damage he believed was caused by repeated blows to the head from his hell-bent style on the football field. Two weeks ago, former Atlanta Falcons safety Ray Easterling -- who was part of a lawsuit against the National Football League over the league's handling of concussion-related injuries -- also committed suicide, at age 62. Easterling's wife said he suffered from depression and insomnia and lost the ability to focus and organize his thoughts . . . all of which, she believed, was the result of head trauma from his football days.

Former player Kyle Turley has no doubt that Seau wanted to make sure his brain could be studied, which is why he -- like Duerson -- shot himself in the chest.

"I don't care what anybody says," Turley told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Thursday. "I know why he did it."

Sanu on Patriots' Super Bowl comeback: Lady Gaga's long halftime hurt Falcons

Sanu on Patriots' Super Bowl comeback: Lady Gaga's long halftime hurt Falcons

Three weeks removed from his team blowing a 25-point, second-half lead in the Super Bowl, Mohamed Sanu offered a possible explanation for the Atlanta Falcons losing their edge against the Patriots.

Lady Gaga.

More specifically, it was the half-hour-plus halftime show that interrupted the Falcons' rhythm, the receiver said Friday on the NFL Network's "Good Morning Football."

“Usually, halftime is only like 15 minutes, and when you’re not on the field for like an hour, it’s just like going to work out, like a great workout, and you go sit on the couch for an hour and then try to start working out again,” Sanu said.

Sanu was asked if the delay was something you can simulate in practice. 

"It's really the energy [you can't duplicate]," he said. "I don't know if you can simulate something like that. That was my first time experiencing something like that."

Patriots coach Bill Belichick did simulate it. In his Super Bowl practices, he had his team take long breaks in the middle.

Sanu also addressed the Falcons' pass-first play-calling that didn't eat up clock while the Patriots came back.

"The thought [that they weren't running the ball more] crossed your mind, but as a player, you're going to do what the coach [Dan Quinn] wants you to do." Sanu said. "He's called plays like that all the time."


 

It's official: Patriots nab third-round compensatory pick in Collins trade

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It's official: Patriots nab third-round compensatory pick in Collins trade

The Patriots received a conditional fourth-round pick in 2018 from the Browns in return for Jamie Collins. That's how the trade was described on the league's transaction wire. 

The "condition" of that fourth-rounder? Well, if the Browns received a third-round compensatory pick in 2017, the Patriots would nab that pick instead. 

On Friday, the NFL announced that the Browns had in fact been awarded a third-round compensatory pick, which meant that almost three full weeks after Super Bowl LI, everything was still coming up Patriots.

In actuality, the odds were pretty good all along that the Patriots would get what they got

Cleveland lost Pro Bowl center Alex Mack in free agency last offseason when he opted to sign with the Falcons. Because compensatory picks are based on free agents lost and free agents acquired, and because the Browns did not sign any similarly-impactful free agents, there was a good chance Mack's departure would render a third-round comp pick that would be shipped to New England.

Had Mack suffered a significant injury that forced his play to drop off or limited his time on the field, a third-rounder may have been out of the question, but he played well (named a Pro Bowler and a Second Team All-Pro) and stayed healthy -- lucky for the Patriots -- missing just 17 total snaps in the regular season. 

The Browns comp pick that will be sent to New England is No. 103 overall. The Patriots were also awarded a fifth-round comp pick, No. 185 overall. That was a result of the league weighing the departures of Akiem Hicks and Tavon Wilson against the arrival of Shea McClellin.

The Patriots now have nine selections in this year's draft: One first-rounder; one second-rounder; two third-rounders; one fourth-rounder*; two fifth-rounders; two seventh-rounders.

The third-round compensatory pick acquired by the Patriots carries additional value this year in that it is the first year in which compensatory picks can be traded. A near top-100 overall selection may allow the Patriots to move up the draft board or build assets in the middle rounds should they be inclined to deal. And we know they oftentimes are. 

* The Patriots forfeited their highest fourth-round selection in this year's draft as part of their Deflategate punishment. They acquired a fourth-round pick from the Seahawks last year. Because that would have been the higher of their two selections, that's the one they'll lose. They will make their own fourth-round pick at No. 137 overall.