Archives for category: NFL

The dates are finally set.

Rookies fighting for NFL jobs, as well as free agents and veterans trying to stay with their teams will come to camp. There will be some chippiness and a few fights as well among teammates.

There’ll be heat, humidity, bugs, sleeping in dorms, learning playbooks that are bigger than most college text books, as you are trying to be one of 53 players that hopefully will be on an NFL roster when the season starts the Thursday after Labor Day.

If a rookie thought the Senior Bowl was easy or if a free agent thought he was going to make it, this is in of itself a job interview. It’s a chance to get a game check every week for 17 weeks (yes, NFL players get paid weekly).  It’s not about sitting around the campfire and eat s’mores. It’s learning a new playbook, new terminology and new names.

Training camp is not just a chance to see what all 32 teams have to either keep their hands on the Lombardi Trophy or have a chance to get their own. It’s also a chance for their respective fan base to make their own determinations and hope that they have a better season than they did in 2017. Players will work to impress their coaches and fan bases and hope they don’t hear the dreaded words that come from an assistant coach, ball boy or equipment guy, “coach wants to see you and bring your playbook.” Those words usually mean you’re getting cut or you’ve been cut. Most teams will play four pre-season games, while teams that play in the Hall of Fame Game in Canton will get five games. That’s a lot of film to look at and see who stays and who goes.

All 32 teams will have their camps close enough for their fan base to come out and see them. Only Houston and Dallas will not have camps in the state of Texas (Houston will go to West Virginia, while Dallas will travel to the West Coast and train in California), so that means you’ll have to make travel plans.

Hydrate, don’t forget the bug spray, get those photos and autographs and mind your manners. After all, these guys have work to do.

Below are the sites and dates for all 32 teams. Where there are two dates listed, the first date listed is the date for rookies to report, while the second date is for veteran players (most teams will have both rookies and veterans report on the same day). Check with your team as to practice times and if those practices are open to the public.

Arizona – University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona (Rookies – 7/22, Veterans – 7/27)
Atlanta – Atlanta Falcons Training Facility in Flowery Branch, Georgia (Rookies – 7/23, Veterans – 7/26)
Baltimore – Under Armour Performance Center in Owings Mills, Maryland (Rookies – 7/11, Veterans – 7/18)
Buffalo – St. John Fisher College in Rochester, New York (Rookies and Veterans – 7/25)
Cincinnati – Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio (Rookies – 7/23, Veterans – 7/25)
Cleveland – Cleveland Browns Training Complex in Berea, Ohio (Rookies and Veterans – 7/25)
Carolina – Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina (Rookies and Veterans – 7/25)
Chicago – Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Illinois – (Rookies – 7/16, Veterans – 7/19)
Dallas – Marriott Residence Inn in Oxnard, California (Rookies and Veterans – 7/25)
Denver – University of Colorado Health Training Center in Englewood, Colorado (Rookies – 7/24, Veterans – 7/27)
Detroit – Detroit Lions Training Facility in Allen Park, Michigan (Rookies – 7/19, Veterans – 7/26)
Green Bay – St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin (Rookies and Veterans – 7/25)
Houston – The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia (Rookies and Veterans – 7/25)
Indianapolis – Grand Park in Westfield, Indiana (Rookies – 7/22, Veterans – 7/25)
Jacksonville – TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Florida (Rookies – 7/18, Veterans – 7/25)
Kansas City – Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph, Missouri (Rookies – 7/22, Veterans – 7/25)
Los Angeles Chargers – Jack Hammett Sports Complex in Costa Mesa, California (Rookies and Veterans – 7/27)
Los Angeles Rams – University of California, Irvine in Irvine, California (Rookies – 7/23, Veterans – 7/25)
Miami – Baptist Health Training Facility in Davie, Florida (Rookies – 7/18, Veterans – 7/25)
Minnesota – TCO Performance Center in Eagan, Minnesota (Rookies – 7/24, Veterans – 7/27)
New England – Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts (Rookies – 7/22, Veterans – 7/25)
New Orleans – New Orleans Saints Training Facility in Metairie, Louisiana (Rookies – 7/18, Veterans – 7/25)
New York Giants – Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey (Rookies – 7/22, Veterans – 7/25)
New York Jets – Atlantic Health Jets Training Center in Florham Park, New Jersey (Rookies – 7/25, Veterans – 7/26)
Oakland – Napa Valley Marriott in Napa, California (Rookies – 7/23, Veterans – 7/26)
Philadelphia – NovaCare Complex in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Rookies and Veterans – 7/25)
Pittsburgh – Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania (Rookies – 7/24, Veterans – 7/25)
San Francisco – SAP Performance Facility in Santa Clara, California (Rookies and Veterans – 7/25)
Seattle – Virginia Mason Athletic Center in Renton, Washington (Rookies and Veterans – 7/25)
Tampa Bay – One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Florida (Rookies – 7/23, Veterans – 7/25)
Tennessee – Saint Thomas Sports Park in Nashville, Tennessee (Rookies – 7/22, Veterans – 7/25)
Washington – Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center in Richmond, Virginia (Rookies and Veterans 7/25)



FOX Sports Pro Football Hall of Famers Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long and Michael Strahan will headline a new THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL PREGAME SHOW live from New York City for the 2018 NFL season. Beginning in Week 4, the new THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL PREGAME SHOW will air at 7:30 p.m. Eastern on the FOX broadcast network and NFL Network, taking viewers up to kickoff.

Each and every week of the 2018 Thursday Night Football, Presented by Bud Light schedule will begin at 6 p.m. on NFL Network with Thursday Night Football Gameday. The Hall of Fame cast from NFL Network will get viewers ready for the NFL week and set the table for the upcoming Thursday Night game leading into the new THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL PREGAME SHOW. Over the next hour, the trio of Bradshaw, Long and Strahan, with additional insight and commentary from NFL Network analysts, will breakdown the night’s matchup from all angles and provide the final say leading up to kick-off. (Complete talent details will be announced prior to the start of the 2018 season)

In January, FOX Sports was awarded a five-year deal for Thursday Night Football that includes games between Weeks 4-15 (excluding Thanksgiving night) to be broadcast on FOX, simulcast via NFL Network and distributed in Spanish on FOX Deportes.

“Securing this trio of Hall of Famers to lead our inaugural THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL PREGAME SHOW was paramount in continuing the NFL’s goal of establishing this night as appointment viewing,” Eric Shanks, President and Executive Producer, FOX Sports told USA Today. “Terry, Howie and Michael, along with our partners at NFL Network, will set the weekly tone with expert analysis and special guests for a dynamic lead-in to each Thursday Night matchup.”

As the host of the THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL PREGAME SHOW, Strahan, a veteran on-air personality covering news, sports and entertainment is the first former professional athlete in the host role on a FOX NFL studio show. Strahan, Bradshaw and Long remain analysts on FOX NFL SUNDAY alongside Emmy-nominated host Curt Menefee and former coach Jimmy Johnson.

“I’m very fortunate to be part of award winning teams with Good Morning America and FOX NFL Sunday,” said Strahan. “I am looking forward to expanding FOX’s presence with the NFL and bringing the viewers a great evening of Thursday Night Football.”

In its 25th season of NFL coverage, the new THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL PREGAME SHOW will be FOX Sports first New York City-based live NFL studio show, complementing FOX NFL SUNDAY, the No. 1 NFL pregame show for the last 24 seasons and the network’s signature program, of which Bradshaw and Long have been an integral part since its inception in 1994.

The new THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL PREGAME SHOW will be produced by Executive Vice President, Production, Bill Richards, who also oversees FOX NFL SUNDAY.

The National Football League announced Tuesday that eight teams will carry an additional overseas player on their practice squads in 2018 as part of an expansion of the International Player Pathway program. The program, instituted last year, aims to provide international athletes the opportunity to compete at the NFL level, improve their skills and ultimately earn a spot on an NFL roster.

Alex Gray (Atlanta), Alex Jenkins (New Orleans), Eric Nzeocha (Tampa Bay) and Efe Obada (Carolina), participants in 2017, will return to their NFC South teams for the upcoming season.

An additional four teams – the AFC North – will carry an overseas player on their roster until the end of the 2018 training camp.  At that time, the players would be eligible for an international player practice squad exemption.

Baltimore, Cincinnati, Cleveland and Pittsburgh will each be given an exemption for an eleventh practice squad member – ineligible to be activated during the season – with two of the players selected coming from the United Kingdom and two from Germany. The AFC North was chosen to receive the international players in a random draw.

The players include Moritz Böhringer (Cincinnati), who was originally drafted in the sixth round by the Minnesota Vikings in 2016, German Football League player Christopher Ezeala (Baltimore Ravens), former British American Football League player Tigie Sankoh (Cleveland) and former English professional rugby player Christian Scotland-Williamson (Pittsburgh).

For the past three months, the players have been training alongside NFL players and draft hopefuls in Florida, under the supervision of former NFL-United Kingdom head of football Aden Durde, who was hired as Atlanta’s defensive quality control coach after this season’s program, along with IMG Academy coaches including running back coach Earnest Byner, offensive line coach Paul Dunn, defensive back coach Donnie Henderson and wide receiver coach Larry Kirksey.

The new players taking part in the 2018 International Player Pathway Program:

MORITZ BÖHRINGER, Tight End/Wide Receiver (Germany), Age: 24 – Cincinnati: Selected in the sixth round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings, becoming the first player to be drafted directly from European football. Bohringer had previously been combining his university studies with playing for the Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns in the German Football League. Bohringer spent the 2016 season on the Vikings practice squad.

CHRISTOPHER EZEALA, Fullback (Germany), Age: 22 – Baltimore: Played as a fullback and linebacker in the German Football League for the Ingolstadt Dukes, having begun playing the sport for the Munich Rangers and Allgäu Comets. Ezeala has focused on the fullback position, saying: “My coaches told me that while there are many linebackers like me in the NFL, there is no fullback that is so athletic and fast, so they are trying to create a new type of player with me.”

TIGIE SANKOH, Defensive Back (United Kingdom), Age: 21 – Cleveland: Played amateur football throughout his teenage years and attended the American Football Academy at Filton College in Bristol, England. Sankoh Went on to represent the London Warriors in the British American Football League.

CHRISTIAN SCOTLAND-WILLIAMSON, Tight End (United Kingdom), Age: 24 – Pittsburgh: Converted to American football early in 2018 after a professional rugby career in England, where he played for the Worcester Warriors in the English Premiership. Playing as a second-row forward, he was known in rugby for his physicality and tackling ability and came to international prominence when a tackle in a game against London Wasps was shared widely on the Internet. He graduated from Loughborough University, one of the UK’s leading sports institutions, with a degree in economics.

The returning participants from the 2017 International Player Pathway Program:

ALEX GRAY, Tight End (United Kingdom), Age: 27 – Atlanta: Born and raised in Bishop Auckland, England, Gray captained England’s rugby teams at Under-16, Under-18, Under-20 and International Sevens levels and played for Newcastle Falcons and London Irish. He was named in the original extended Great Britain Sevens squad for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, before suffering an injury. He signed for Yorkshire Carnegie for the 2016-17 rugby season and decided to convert to American football.

ALEX JENKINS, Defensive End (United Kingdom), Age: 25 – New Orleans: Born and raised in Bath, England, he began playing football at the Bath City Academy and for the Bristol Aztecs, earning a spot on the Great Britain youth team. Having been selected to participate in an all-star high school camp in Virginia, he earned a scholarship to play college football at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas. He was a three-year starter as defensive end at UIW, posting 3.5 sacks in his senior year.

ERIC NZEOCHA, Linebacker (Germany), Age: 25 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Nzeocha began playing football for the Franken Knights youth team in Neusitz, Germany and was selected for the German national junior team. He played three years at the University of Wyoming, switching from tight end to linebacker before the 2015 season. Nzeocha has an older brother, Mark, who is a linebacker for Dallas.

EFE OBADA, Defensive End (United Kingdom), Age: 26 – Carolina Panthers: Raised in London after arriving from the Netherlands at age 10, Obada signed as a free agent for the Dallas Cowboys in 2015 after playing only five games of amateur football with the London Warriors. He played in the preseason for the Cowboys and spent part of the 2015 season on the club’s practice squad. He has since had spells on the rosters of the Kansas City Chiefs and Atlanta Falcons.

NFL Draft weekend culminated an exciting time for another international NFL hopeful, offensive lineman Jordan Mailata. The Samoan-born Australian professional rugby league player for the South Sydney Rabbitohs was drafted in the seventh round by the Philadelphia Eagles (thereby making him ineligible for the International Player Pathway Program this season). Converted to football full-time early in 2018, the 6-8, 350-pounder has impressed NFL scouts at various workouts with his strength, footwork and athleticism and will now continue his football journey with the Eagles.

Round one is in the books.

The NFL Draft has come and gone and now it’s time for round two. For the teams that didn’t make the post-season, it’s a chance to improve their place in the standings. For those that were in the playoffs last year, it’s a chance to return to the post-season party. For the Eagles, it’s a chance to defend their title, while the other 31 teams will want a chance to knock them off the mountain. For all 32 teams, it’s a chance to knock off some rust and see what talent they have and will eventually need.

The National Football League announced the calendar for voluntary offseason workout programs, which are intended to provide training, teaching and physical conditioning for players. The calendar for 2018 is below.

As per Article 21 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, each club’s official, voluntary nine-week offseason program is conducted in three phases:

Phase One consists of the first two weeks of the program with activities limited to strength and conditioning and physical rehabilitation only.

Phase Two consists of the next three weeks of the program. On-field workouts may include individual player instruction and drills as well as team practice conducted on a “separates” basis. No live contact or team offense vs. team defense drills are permitted.

Phase Three consists of the next four weeks of the program. Teams may conduct a total of 10 days of organized team practice activity, or “OTAs”. No live contact is permitted, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills are permitted.

Article 22 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement stipulates that clubs may hold one mandatory minicamp for veteran players. This minicamp, noted below, must occur during Phase Three of the offseason program.

New head coaches are entitled to conduct an additional voluntary veteran minicamp. Any voluntary minicamp for veteran players had to be conducted prior to the NFL Draft (April 26-28) but no earlier than week three of the club’s offseason workout program and after at least one week of the two weeks of Phase One activities that the clubs may hold pursuant to Article 21. This year, seven clubs will hold voluntary veteran minicamps, as noted below.

Each club may hold a rookie football development program for a period of seven weeks, which in 2018 may begin on May 14. During this period, no activities may be held on weekends, with the exception of one post-NFL Draft rookie minicamp, which may be conducted on either the first or second weekend following the draft. The dates of each club’s post-draft rookie minicamps are noted below.

For specific information and detailed offseason program rules, please see Articles 21 and 22 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (beginning on page 131), available on

The NFL Offseason Workout Program calendar (dates are tentative and subject to change at the discretion of individual clubs):

OTA Offseason Workouts: May 15-17, May 22-24, June 4-5, June 7-8
Mandatory Minicamp: June 12-14
Rookie Minicamp: May 11-13

OTA Offseason Workouts: May 21, May 23-24, May 30-31, June 1, June 4-5, June 7
Mandatory Minicamp: June 12-14
Rookie Minicamp: May 11-13

OTA Offseason Workouts:  May 21-22, May 24, May 29, May 31, June 1, June 4-5, June 7-8
Mandatory Minicamp: June 12-14
Rookie Minicamp: May 4-6

OTA Offseason Workouts: May 22-24, May 29-31, June 4-5, June 7-8
Mandatory Minicamp: June 12-14
Rookie Minicamp: May 11-12

OTA Offseason Workouts: May 22-24, May 29-31, June 4-7
Mandatory Minicamp: June 12-14
Rookie Minicamp: May 11-12

OTA Offseason Workouts: May 15-17, May 22-24, May 29-31, June 1
Mandatory Minicamp: June 5-7
Rookie Minicamp: May 11-13

OTA Offseason Workouts: May 22-24, May 29-31, June 4-7
Mandatory Minicamp: June 12-14
Rookie Minicamp: May 11-13

OTA Offseason Workouts: May 22-24, May 29-31, June 4-7
Mandatory Minicamp: June 12-14
Rookie Minicamp: May 4-6

OTA Offseason Workouts: May 22-24, May 29-31, June 4-6
Mandatory Minicamp: June 12-14
Rookie Minicamp: May 11-13

OTA Offseason Workouts: May 22-24, May 29-31, June 4-7
Mandatory Minicamp: June 12-14
Rookie Minicamp: May 11-13

OTA Offseason Workouts: May 21-22, May 24, May 30-31, June 11-12, June 14
Mandatory Minicamp: June 5-7
Rookie Minicamp: May 11-13

OTA Offseason Workouts: May 21-23, May 30-31, June 1, June 4-7
Mandatory Minicamp: June 12-14
Rookie Minicamp: May 4-6

OTA Offseason Workouts: May 21-22, May 24, May 29-31, June 4-5, June 7-8
Mandatory Minicamp: June 12-14
Rookie Minicamp: May 11-13

OTA Offseason Workouts: May 22-24, May 30-31, June 1, June 4-7
Mandatory Minicamp: June 12-14
Rookie Minicamp: May 11-13

OTA Offseason Workouts: May 22, May 24-25, May 29, May 31, June 1, June 4-5, June 7-8
Mandatory Minicamp: June 12-14
Rookie Minicamp: May 11-13

OTA Offseason Workouts: May 22-24, May 29-31, June 5-8
Mandatory Minicamp: June 12-14
Rookie Minicamp: May 5-7

OTA Offseason Workouts:  May 22-24, May 29-31, June 4-7
Mandatory Minicamp: June 12-14
Rookie Minicamp: May 11-13

OTA Offseason Workouts:  May 21-22, May 24, May 29-31, June 4-7
Mandatory Minicamp: June 12-14
Rookie Minicamp: May 11-12

OTA Offseason Workouts:  May 22-24, May 29-31, June 11-14
Mandatory Minicamp: June 5-7
Rookie Minicamp: May 11-13

OTA Offseason Workouts: May 22-24, May 29-31, June 4-7
Mandatory Minicamp: June 12-14
Rookie Minicamp: May 4-6

OTA Offseason Workouts: May 21-22, May 24, May 30-31, June 1, June 11-12, June 14-15
Mandatory Minicamp: June 5-7
Rookie Minicamp: May 11-13

OTA Offseason Workouts: May 22-24, May 29-31, June 4-7
Mandatory Minicamp: June 12-14
Rookie Minicamp: May 11-13

OTA Offseason Workouts: May 21-22, May 24, May 29-31, June 4-7
Mandatory Minicamp: June 12-14
Rookie Minicamp: May 11-12

OTA Offseason Workouts: May 22-24, May 29-31, June 4-7
Mandatory Minicamp: June 12-14
Rookie Minicamp: May 4-6

OTA Offseason Workouts: May 22-24, May 29-31, June 4-7
Mandatory Minicamp: June 12-14
Rookie Minicamp: May 4-6

OTA Offseason Workouts: May 22-24, May 29, May 31, June 1, June 4-7
Mandatory Minicamp: June 12-14
Rookie Minicamp: May 11-13

OTA Offseason Workouts: May 22-24, May 29-31, June 4-7
Mandatory Minicamp: June 12-14
Rookie Minicamp: May 11-13

OTA Offseason Workouts:  May 21-22, May 24, May 29-30, June 1, June 4-5, June 7
Mandatory Minicamp: June 12-14
Rookie Minicamp: May 4-6

OTA Offseason Workouts: May 21-22, May 24, May 29-30, June 1, June 4-7
Mandatory Minicamp: June 12-14
Rookie Minicamp: May 4-6

OTA Offseason Workouts: May 22-24, May 29-31, June 4-7
Mandatory Minicamp: June 12-14
Rookie Minicamp: May 11-13

OTA Offseason Workouts: May 21-22, May 24, May 29-30, June 1, June 4-7
Mandatory Minicamp: June 12-14
Rookie Minicamp: May 11-13

OTA Offseason Workouts: May 22-24, May 29-31, June 4-7
Mandatory Minicamp: June 12-14
Rookie Minicamp: May 11-12



For football fans, it was “Must See TV” and the networks couldn’t be any happier.

The 2018 NFL Draft is one for the record books. With a combined 3.57 HH rating and 5.5M viewers, the 2018 NFL Draft is officially the highest rated and most-watched Draft ever.

The 2018 NFL Draft was covered across NFL Network, FOX, ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes and the broad distribution helped grow the combined rating and viewership by 25% and 20% respectively over 2017.

The expanded coverage of the 2018 NFL Draft marked the first time ever that the entirety of the live three-day event was aired on broadcast television.

The three-day event produced strong results from start to finish as Thursday’s coverage of Round One resulted in a combined 7.0 HH rating (+27% y/y) and 11.2 million viewers (+22% y/y) making it the second most-watched watched Draft day ever, while Saturday’s combined TV viewership resulted in an average of 2.9 million viewers making it the most watched Draft Day 3 ever.

2018 NFL Draft Round and Where Fans Watched (all times Eastern)

Round 1: Thursday, April 26 • 8 p.m. on NFL Network, FOX, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Deportes; NFL, FOX Sports and ESPN digital properties

Rounds 2-3: Friday, April 27 • 7 p.m. on NFL Network, FOX, ESPN/ESPN2; NFL, FOX Sports and ESPN digital properties

Rounds 4-7: Saturday, April 28 • Noon on NFL Network, ABC, ESPN; NFL and ESPN digital properties

TV figures include ESPN and ESPN2 digital viewing which is measured by Nielsen but exclude FOX and NFL digital viewing.

You may want to check that helmet if you’re an NFL player this year.

The NFL and the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) announced the results of an annual laboratory study to assess the performance of football helmets worn by NFL players.

Based on the results of this study and the opinions of the biomechanical experts involved, the NFL and NFLPA will prohibit 10 helmet models from being worn by NFL players. In previous seasons, NFL players could choose any helmet as long as the helmet passed current National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) certification standards. The prohibited helmets perform poorly in laboratory testing, have been discontinued by the manufacturer or were produced by companies no longer manufacturing football helmets. Six of these helmets are prohibited immediately. The other four may be worn by players who were using them in 2017 but may not be adopted by new players.

The results of the laboratory tests are displayed on a poster and shared with NFL players, club equipment managers, and club medical, training and coaching staffs to help inform equipment choices. Other factors, in addition to the ranking, should be considered by players when choosing a helmet, including fit, comfort, durability, player position and the player’s medical history. View the poster here:

The goal of the study, as in prior years, was to determine which helmets best reduced head impact severity under laboratory conditions simulating concussion-causing impacts sustained by NFL players during games. The helmet laboratory testing involved 34 helmet models—a survey of helmets used by NFL teams indicates that at least 98% of players are wearing helmet models that have been tested in this study.

The study continues to measure rotational velocity and acceleration as part of a combined metric to evaluate helmets. The NFL/NFLPA evaluation is the first of its kind to adopt rotational measures in its analysis.

The tests were conducted by an independent helmet testing laboratory, Biokinetics Incorporation of Ottawa, Canada. The study formulation, experimental design and data analysis were performed by biomechanical engineering consultants selected and appointed by the NFL and NFLPA. An independent biostatistician, Dr. Timothy McMurry, Assistant Professor of Biomechanics at University of Virginia, Department of Public Health Sciences, was retained to assist in the analysis of the data. The results were then presented to the NFL Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Allen Sills and to the NFLPA and its Medical Director, Dr. Thom Mayer.

Note: the results of this study should not be extrapolated to collegiate, high school or youth football.

In other NFL head-related news…

The NFL has named Dr. Nicholas Theodroe as their chairman of the NFL Head, Neck and Spine Committee, a board of independent and NFL-affiliated physicians and scientists, including advisors for the NFL Players Association (NFLPA). The committee brings together some of the foremost experts in brain and spinal trauma to advise the league on neuroscience, concussion and other health and safety issues.

Dr. Theodore is the Donlin M. Long Professor of Neurosurgery, Orthopaedics and Biomedical Engineering at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and Director of the Johns Hopkins Neurosurgical Spine Center. His research focuses on trauma, brain and spinal cord injuries, minimally invasive surgery and robotics. He has also served as the team neurosurgeon for the Arizona Cardinals and as a consultant to the Arizona Diamondbacks and Phoenix Coyotes.

“At the NFL, we are grateful for the medical and scientific experts who shape our health and safety initiatives and I look forward to working with Dr. Theodore in his new leadership position,” Dr. Allen Sills, NFL Chief Medical Officer told the New York Times and USA Today. “His clinical expertise—in addition to his extensive experience in injury prevention—will further advance our commitment to player health and safety.”

“Dr. Theodore will be a dynamic leader of the Head, Neck and Spine Committee at a time when significant progress is being made in injury surveillance, athlete care and scientific research,” said Jeff Miller, NFL Executive Vice President of Health and Safety Initiatives. “He will build on the substantial work of the previous leaders and further advance the health and safety of our sport.”

Under Dr. Theodore’s leadership, he and other experts who volunteer their time on the NFL Head, Neck and Spine Committee will continue to advise the NFL on medical policies, procedures and protocols, in addition to identifying and recommending medical research that impacts the health and safety of NFL players. The committee also analyzes injury data and proposes interventions, creates and supervises focused research groups with specific goals and aims to improve public education and advocacy for enhanced sports safety.

The NFL Head, Neck and Spine Committee developed the NFL Game Day Concussion Diagnosis and Management Protocol in 2011, which is reviewed each year to ensure players are receiving care that reflects the most up-to-date medical consensus on the identification, diagnosis and treatment of concussions. In March, the Concussion Protocol was published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine (BJSM), which marked the first sports league protocol of its kind to be published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

Until June 2016, Dr. Theodore was the Volker K. H. Sonntag Endowed Chair and Chief of the Spine Section in the Division of Neurological Surgery at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, Arizona, where he worked on the development of Barrow BrainbookÓ, a statewide concussion education program in Arizona.

Dr. Theodore graduated from Cornell University and attended medical school at Georgetown University, where he graduated with honors. After completing his internship at Bethesda Naval Hospital, Dr. Theodore served as a Senior General Medical Officer with the United States Marine Corps in Okinawa, Japan. After completing his neurosurgical residency and fellowship in spinal surgery at the Barrow Neurological Institute in 2001, he served as Chief of the Division of Neurosurgery at Naval Medical Center San Diego, overseeing the largest neurosurgery complement in the Navy.

Dr. Theodore is actively involved in the area of preventative medicine within neurosurgery. He is the former Medical Director and President of the ThinkFirst Foundation, a national injury prevention and educational organization focused on brain and spinal injuries.

About the NFL’s Health and Safety Initiatives: The NFL is committed to advancing progress in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of sports-related injuries. As part of the NFL’s ongoing health and safety efforts, in September 2016, Commissioner Goodell launched Play Smart. Play Safe.—a league-wide health and safety initiative. At the heart of the initiative is a pledge of $100 million in support for independent medical research and engineering advancements and a commitment to look at anything and everything to protect our players and make our game safer, including enhancements to medical protocols and improvements to how our game is taught and played. For more information about the NFL’s health and safety efforts, please visit

For more information on the NFL’s medical committees, please visit:

For more information on the NFL Head, Neck and Spine Committee, please visit

The NFL announced that more than 1,600 football fans from across the country are heading to the 2018 NFL Draft in Arlington to receive an exclusive on-the-field experience. Hand-selected by each of the 32 clubs to serve as their Draft ambassadors, these dedicated fans will sit in the “Inner Circle,” a newly-created team area where they will watch the event directly in front of the NFL Draft Theater on the field of AT&T Stadium.

The “Inner Circle” – which is being established for the first time at any Draft event – will feature team rivalry zones, chances for fans to celebrate the team selections with NFL players and Legends, and opportunities to showcase team spirit on national television. Each club designated more than 50 dedicated and loyal fans to participate in this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Prior to the start of the selection process on Thursday and Friday nights, a roll call of all 32 teams within the Inner Circle will be taken, allowing fans to show off their enthusiasm. Teams will provide “Inner Circle” fans with t-shirts, rally towels, foam fingers, flags and more and they will also receive an LED lanyard that will light up in team colors when their club is on the clock.

In addition, on Thursday night, some of these lucky fans will be visited by their newest team members after they are selected on stage. On Friday, fans in the “Inner Circle” will be joined by NFL Legends who will greet them on-the-field and take photos.

Fans without seated tickets to this free event are still able to register for a chance to attend by downloading the NFL Draft – Fan Mobile Pass app and checking in at the NFL Draft Experience presented by Oikos Triple Zero®, which is free and open to the public. Registered fans who attend the experience will have the opportunity to be upgraded into the theater as seating becomes available on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

A sampling of the “Inner Circle” Ambassadors is available below.

Arizona Cardinals: Local season ticket members in the Texas area will receive scarves and be joined by team cheerleaders.

Atlanta Falcons: Fans selected from The Cast fan club will be led in procession with a team drum.

Baltimore Ravens: Season ticket members will be joined by cheerleaders and Poe, the team mascot.

Buffalo Bills: Members of the local chapter of Bills Backers fan club will participate and receive foam fingers, rally towels and t-shirts.

Dallas Cowboys: Members of the Dallas Cowboys United Fan Club will rally behind their team and receive rally towel and pom-poms.

Green Bay Packers: Local season ticket members and fans will be given “Cheesehead” hats to wear during the event.

Indianapolis Colts: Fans from local booster clubs and members of the team’s women’s fan club will be on-site with t-shirts and flags.

New England Patriots: Season ticket members and local fan club members will receive thunder sticks and be joined by Patriots Legends.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Members of Steelers Nation Unite fan club will waive their Terrible Towels from the field.

Philadelphia Eagles: Local fans will receive light-up sticks waved during the Championship parade.

San Francisco 49ers: Texas-based booster club members are receiving wristbands that light up when their team makes a selection.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Local Bucs fans holding foam pirate swords will cheer on their team.

The 2018 NFL Draft will be held Thursday, April 26 – Saturday, April 28. The event will be held for the first time at an NFL stadium, enabling more fans than ever before to watch their favorite team’s selections. Additional information is available at