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CHICAGO — Former Chicago Bears cornerback Charles Tillman has become an FBI agent, according to multiple reports.

Sources told ESPN last September that Tillman had enrolled at the FBI Training Academy in Quantico, Virginia, in order to pursue a full-time career at the agency.

The FBI does not comment on personnel matters.

Tillman’s interest in joining the FBI after football dates back to his playing career, during which Tillman — according to another source — occasionally observed and worked alongside law enforcement officials during offseason months.

Tillman, who turned 37 on Friday, earned a criminal justice degree from Louisiana-Lafayette. His father, Donald Tillman Jr., was a sergeant in the Army.

One of the greatest defensive backs in Bears history, Tillman played 12 seasons with Chicago, earning two Pro Bowl nods and being named the NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year in 2013. He also won the NFL’s Salute to Service award in 2012.

Nicknamed “Peanut,” Tillman played his final season with the Carolina Panthers in 2015 but signed a one-day contract to retire as a Bear in July 2016.

Tillman spent his first year out of football working as an NFL analyst for Fox Sports.

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Leaner, meaner Ezekiel Elliott? Cowboys running back’s offseason work showing already – Dallas Cowboys Blog

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OXNARD, Calif. — Defensive end Tarell Basham was in perfect position for the tackle for loss, waiting for Ezekiel Elliott as the Dallas Cowboys‘ running back took a handoff. Then all of a sudden, Basham wasn’t.

With two quick steps, Elliott changed direction, got up to full speed and broke free to the left side of the field for a long gain during the Cowboys’ first training camp practice of 2021.

A year ago, Elliott might not have made that kind of a move, and perhaps not even two years ago, either.

It is premature to extrapolate what would have happened in a game situation or even a fully padded training camp practice, but what we’re seeing here is a different Elliott.

He is leaner, dropping to 218 pounds for the first time, by his estimation, since his freshman year at Ohio State in 2013. And perhaps more than anything, he is motivated by his less-than-stellar 2020 season in which he ran for a career-low 979 yards and those questioning whether he can still be the NFL’s top running back. It was just three years ago when Elliott led the league in rushing with 1,434 yards on 304 carries during the 2018 season.

“You’ve got to experience the lows to enjoy the highs,” Elliott said. “I definitely had some lows last year, so I am ready to experience some highs this year.”

The 26-year-old did not experience very many highs during the Cowboys’ 6-10 season in 2020. Life was difficult after quarterback Dak Prescott went down with a season-ending ankle injury, and tackles Tyron Smith (two games) and La’el Collins missed most or all of the season because of injuries. All-Pro guard Zack Martin missed six games because of a concussion and calf strain.

Elliott dealt with his own injuries, a hamstring and calf, that limited his work in practice.

“The biggest thing for Zeke, and just think since I’ve known him since his first day here, [is to] just be himself. He’ll take advantage of his opportunities,” Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy said. “I know his numbers aren’t [what they were] last year compared to what they were prior years, and the standard he set for himself, but he does so much more than just run the football for us. … The production on the field is not a concern. The production will be there with the opportunity.”

Elliott’s quest to regain his form started by reaching out to Josh Hicks, a Dallas-based trainer, who worked with Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Leonard Fournette before the 2020 season. Elliott spoke with Fournette, who got Hicks and Elliott together on a text message thread. Not long after the conversations began, the trainer and Cowboys running back found themselves at Prescott’s backyard turf field early in the offseason for their first workout.

Most of Hicks’ sessions with Elliott took place at nearby SMU, but they also worked out at some local high school fields.

“He didn’t say what he wanted to work on or how he wanted it to be done, but let me say it like this — most running backs that are bigger backs, my main focus is maintaining that for them, but still getting them to be able to move and stay elusive as if they was a smaller back,” said Hicks, who played running back for a brief time at Purdue. “We know they going to run somebody over. We know they going to get their shoulder down and get the short yardage. But do they have the lateral explosiveness to do the things smaller backs can do. If you can add that, well, it’s deadly.”

Hicks, who also counts Denver Broncos running back Melvin Gordon III as a client, sets up his drills for game-like situations. Instead of tacklers, however, he uses garbage cans, tossing them one way or the other, forcing Elliott to cut in a different direction while keeping his knees high.

“He understands it quick,” Hicks said. “He’ll catch on and we go. I’m not saying it’s science. It’s just football. You got guys that can play football and move well, and you got guys that can play football and don’t move so well, but they’re good athletes. You put everything together and practice it over and over and make it repetitious and that gets your quick-twitch muscles flowing real quick. That’s where that cut on a dime comes from.”

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Stephen A. Smith jokingly explains why Ezekiel Elliott is the most important player in the NFC East.

Elliott had two runs of 20 yards or more last season, which marked a career low. He had two 100-yard games, also a career low. He averaged 4 yards a carry, another career low.

“Definitely short-area quickness,” Elliott said of where Hicks has helped him the most. “You kind of look at Josh, he’s 5-7. He’s a lot smaller than me, he has [a] lot shorter legs than me and a lot more shifty, and so I kind of look at my game and look at what I need to improve on and that’s kind [of] going to the strengths of his game. When I went to work with him, it was just kind of getting better at my weaknesses.”

The hourlong workouts were always intense because Hicks has a no-nonsense style as a trainer. Elliott’s $90 million contract or his three Pro Bowl appearances do not faze him.

“I don’t care who you are, I mean, I talk to them all the same,” Hicks said. “If you’re messing up I’ll tell you. If it sucks, it sucks. If you’re slow, I tell you you’re slow. If it’s not right, it’s not right. But finish the rep though, because we’re coming back and I’m going to correct you. I don’t sugarcoat it, because at the end of the day my name is behind them. I can’t sit there and say, ‘That’s good,’ and it’s not good. Can’t do that.”

While most of the work between Elliott and Hicks was done prior to the start of the Cowboys’ offseason program, they got together a few times the week before the Cowboys flew to California for training camp. Consider it a sort of fine-tuning before the season started.

“I went and got in the lab and got better,” Elliott said.



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Tom Brady takes to social media to again show off all his Super Bowl rings

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Tom Brady can’t get enough of showing off his hands laden with Super Bowl rings. It’s almost an annual rite of summer. He wins a Super Bowl in February. His team gets its rings sometime in the summer before training camp and Brady shows them off.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers got their Super Bowl rings on Thursday. They feature 319 diamonds, which include 15 karats of white diamonds and 14 karats of yellow diamonds, reflect the Super Bowl’s 31-9 final score. The twist-off removable top is a first of any Super Bowl ring. On the bottom of the removable top, laser-etched in gold, is the word “HISTORIC,” to commemorate the accomplishment.

“We wanted it to represent the camaraderie and sacrifice that our players and coaches experienced along the way,” co-owner Darcie Glazer-Kassewitz said Thursday. “This ring tells the story of that journey, it reflects the heart and soul of a team like none other before it. We know it will be an emotional touchstone for everyone involved for many, many years to come.”

Brady took to Twitter Friday for a classic “How it started vs. How it’s going.” Showing off the six rings he won with the New England Patriots and his newest bauble, it’s safe to say, as it usually is for TB12, that things are going just fine.



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Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes says no physical limitations heading into camp

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Patrick Mahomes said he would have no physical limitations at Kansas City Chiefs training camp, which begins on Saturday for him with the start of a three-day camp for quarterbacks and rookies.

“I’ve been training, running, throwing, doing everything that I usually do,” said Mahomes, who had surgery for turf toe in February shortly after the Chiefs’ Super Bowl LV loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. “That’s what was so good about [offseason practice] and doing those things is that I tested it there and realized I was good, Then when I got back with [personal trainer Bobby Stroupe at his offseason home in Texas] I was able to do what I normally would do.”

The Chiefs initially hoped after the surgery that Mahomes would be able to participate for the final few days of offseason work. But Mahomes was ahead of schedule and a full participant for the entire four weeks of practice.

Mahomes said he and Stroupe worked on the surgically repaired toe during recent workouts.

“We definitely did a little bit more as far as mobility with the foot,” Mahomes said. “We always do stuff with the foot and ankle and knee but we did different stuff just to kind of keep that mobility going, strengthening that [area] that I kind of lost. Whenever you go in and have any surgery you’re going to lose some mobility.”

Most of the Chiefs veterans will report to camp at Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph on Monday with practice beginning on Wednesday. Coach Andy Reid said defensive end Frank Clark would report on time and participate in practice.

Clark was recently charged in Los Angeles with felony weapons possession after a March arrest. Clark was also arrested in Los Angeles in June in a separate incident in which police allegedly saw a submachine gun in his car but that incident remains under investigation.

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