SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California’s workers’ compensation system has awarded millions of dollars in benefits for job-related injuries to thousands of professional athletes, including many who played for out-of-state teams, according to a report.
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Report: Athletes cash in on Calif. workers’ comp (The Associated Press)
INDIANAPOLIS — Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o drew a very large media crowd for his session at the podium during the 2013 scouting combine in Indianapolis and it did not take long for the first question about “the incident”. Te’o knew the questions were coming and said that some of the NFL teams are getting that issue out of the way at the start of their 15-minute interviews. “Quite a few teams asked me about it,” Te’o said. “Some go to certain lengths, some just ask me, ‘Just give me a brief overview of how it was’ then they get straight to business. “Some guys just talk briefly for 30 seconds and the next 14 minutes is all plays and getting down to business. That’s how I prefer it to be.” Several NFL coaches and general managers have been asked this week about the “catfishing” hoax and how it could affect Te’o’s draft status. The consensus has been that while they’re interested in seeing how Te’o handles the media scrutiny, they know how well he plays on the field and that, above anything, will determine where he gets picked. “If he can handle that distraction and still be able to perform on the football field, I really don’t think it makes that much of a difference,” Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera said on Thursday. “Whatever happened is a set of circumstances that only he really knows what it was all about. We’ll talk about it. We’ll find out about it. The bottom line is, is he a good person and can he play football? That’s probably the most important thing that he’ll have to answer. “I don’t think it’s going to hurt his draft stock. He’s coming here to improve his draft stock. I do think he’s a heck of a football player and I think he’s got a bright future in this league.”
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From the combine: NFL teams more concerned with football than ‘catfishing’ when it comes to Manti Te’o (Shutdown Corner)
Offensive tackle will get franchise tag in Denver.
No plans for Broncos, Clady to talk (National Football Post)
INDIANAPOLIS — When former NFL executive Bill Polian recently dismissed the “Moneyball” ethos out of hand as it applies to football, it showed a distinct sense of Polian’s old-school scouting roots — but also, how the old school and new school don’t always meet up in the NFL. While tape will always rule in football, more and more teams are using advanced statistical analysis as a tie-breaker when many players are graded similarly. Between STATS, Inc, Football Outsiders, and Pro Football Focus — organizations that have all done custom analytical breakdowns for NFL teams — there’s a burgeoning market for the new wave of metrics. Polian was not convinced. “As a practical tool, Moneyball does not work in the NFL because there are very few undervalued players and no middle class because of our salary cap,” Polian told Tim O’Shei of Buffalo Business First in January. “There is no middle class in football because the minimum salaries are so high, and because of the salary cap, a player will reach a point where you can’t keep him. They go. They’re going to get big money elsewhere.” NFL general managers with current positions in the league, however, tend to see it differently, and many of them were happy to talk about it at the scouting combine. Atlanta GM Thomas Dimitroff and new Chicago Bears GM Phil Emery are two who truly believe that sabermetrics do help the scouting and player evaluation process. “It helps us on both sides — pro and college,” Emery told me on Thursday. “All testing and measurable data, you’re using that as a determining factor to maybe separating players. So you may have two players that are very similar, that might have the same grade. Or you might have five at any one position that have the same grade. Then that is a way to help you determine how you stack it, one through five. Those type of metrics – the psychological testing – all those things factor in terms of creating separation between players so if you pick them in the order from the highest to the lowest.” Emery has consulted extensively with several services, and as he said on New Year’s Day, it’s going to be a major part of the equation as long as he’s got a desk in the league. “I went to STATS Inc., [and] went through all the numbers,” Emery told the Chicago Sun-Times . “Went to Pro Football Focus, did all the numbers. I’m familiar with STATS Inc. We’re one of their contracted teams. Spent quite a bit of time with their people, not only their programmers but went to their offices, watched how they grade tape, how they triple-check all their facts. So I trust all their data, that’s it’s unbiased, that it doesn’t have my hands in it, that it doesn’t have our coach’s or scout’s hands in it, or anybody else in the league. They are simply reporting fact. Some ways to look at it is in a very Moneyball way, crunching the numbers.”
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From the combine: More teams are using ‘Moneyball,’ but tape still tells the primary story (Shutdown Corner)