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Ex-Lions coach Rick Forzano dies; gave Bill Belichick his start in NFL

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Former Detroit Lions, Connecticut and Navy coach Rick Forzano has died at the age of 90, the Lions announced Thursday.

Forzano coached the Lions in 1974 to 1976, compiling a 15-17 record as the team moved from Tiger Stadium to the Silverdome, but his tenure in Detroit is better known for helping to start the career of New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick.

Forzano briefly lived with Belichick’s family in 1959 after joining Navy as an assistant coach and asked 10-year-old Bill to break down film.

Years later, after Belichick spent a year as a staff assistant with the Baltimore Colts, Forzano gave the 23-year-old his first full-time NFL job in 1976, first as a special teams assistant and then as wide receivers and tight ends coach.

“Rick gave me a great opportunity here, because when I was with the Colts I didn’t have a position to coach, I didn’t really have a group of players that I was responsible for,” Belichick told NFL Films in Detroit in 2017. “When I came here, Rick gave me the opportunity with the tight ends. The opportunity to coach a position, that’s a big step for any coach, and that was an opportunity that Rick gave me that I probably wasn’t ready for, but I certainly appreciated the opportunity for it.”

Forzano also had future NFL head coaches Joe Bugel, Raymond Berry and Jerry Glanville on his staffs jn Detroit.

“It was a big part of my life and development and career, and I’ll always be appreciative of that opportunity, like I said, that was given to me by (then-owner William Clay) Ford and coach Forzano,” Belichick told the Detroit News in 2014.

After coaching, Forzano became a color analyst for football games on ABC and NBC, along with starting Rick Forzano Industries, which connects domestic and international companies to the United States military, government and automotive industries.

Forzano, from Akron, Ohio, graduated from Kent State in 1951. He coached in college at Wooster, Kent State, UConn and Navy. He was also an NFL assistant in St. Louis and Cincinnati.

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Chiefs’ Hill meets with NFL investigators

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Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill met with NFL investigators Wednesday for eight hours, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

It was a “very thorough interview,” according to the source.

Hill has been banned from the team’s training facility amid an investigation by the Kansas Department of Children and Families into possible child abuse, battery or neglect. The investigation began after officers in Overland Park, Kansas, were called to Hill’s home twice in March when Hill’s 3-year-old son suffered a broken arm.

Hill, a three-time Pro Bowler, remains subject to a suspension under the NFL’s personal conduct policy.

There is currently no criminal investigation, according to Johnson County District Attorney Stephen M. Howe.

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Ex-RB Wood, woman indicted in child death case

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LAS VEGAS — A former pro football player and his girlfriend have been indicted on murder and 20 felony child abuse charges in the death of the woman’s 5-year-old daughter, court officials said Tuesday.

Former NFL and Canadian Football League running back Cierre Marcelle Wood, 28, and Amy Taylor, 26, are accused of killing Taylor’s daughter, La’Rayah Davis, who was found lifeless on April 9 in Wood’s apartment.

Taylor and her daughter had moved in with Wood and his young daughter less than two weeks earlier.

A judge who heard evidence last month against Wood said it was clear that La’Rayah suffered before she died and that Wood and Taylor were responsible for her death.

The judge cited photos of numerous external bruises from what were described as finger-pokes to the girl’s abdomen, back, arms and legs. Autopsy findings showed La’Rayah had 20 newly broken ribs, internal bleeding, a lacerated liver and bruises to her heart, diaphragm and connective tissue.

Taylor told police she sat on the girl while disciplining her about a week before her death, according to court documents.

Wood told police he used exercise as discipline, and had La’Rayah do physical activities including running sprints in the apartment. On the day she died, La’Rayah fell backward while doing sit-ups and hit her head on the carpeted floor, he said.

Taylor told police she was at a grocery store at the time.

A scheduled bail hearing for Wood was called off after the indictment, filed June 14, moved the case to state court for trial with Taylor on charges that could get each of them life in prison if they’re convicted.

Wood plans to plead not guilty at his arraignment July 2, his lawyer Thomas Ericsson said.

Taylor’s public defender, Sarah Hawkins, declined to comment.

Wood played for the University of Notre Dame before NFL stints with Houston, New England and Buffalo.

He was released last year by the Montreal Alouettes in Canada. Ericsson said Wood worked in Las Vegas as a health care associate.

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Cam Newton’s $1,500 plane offer shows it’s hard to stay under radar – Carolina Panthers Blog

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If Cam Newton wanted to have a quiet offseason, he’s not succeeding.

The Carolina Panthers quarterback has caused quite a social-media stir. He was photographed all over Paris at Men’s Fashion Week, then was caught on video making a $1,500 offer to switch seats on the flight home (and denied).

The latter in particular drew attention — 4.5 million views on the video posted to Eli Edwards’ Twitter account as of Wednesday morning.

“Man, I don’t know,” Edwards told ESPN.com. “I’m not big on Twitter. I just posted the video on Twitter because I didn’t get the response on Instagram I expected. The Twitter one went viral.”

Edwards, 28, was headed home after proposing to his girlfriend at the Women’s World Cup. Newton was headed back to Charlotte to attend his annual 7-on-7 high school football tournament in Rock Hill, South Carolina.

Edwards, a former Colorado State defensive end, initially ran into the former Auburn star at the ticket counter and recognized him.

When Newton missed his initial flight, as Edwards later discovered, the 2015 NFL MVP had to fly home in economy with a connection through Dallas. The 10-hour flight is tough enough on an average-sized person, but when you’re 6-foot-5, leg room is a premium.

So Newton offered $1,500 to a passenger in what appeared to be an exit-row seat.

And was turned down.

Twice. The first offer was for $1,000.

Edwards initially thought it was joke that Newton was flying in economy. He’s almost positive the passenger who turned down the offer didn’t have a clue who Newton was.

“No one did, honestly,” Edwards said. “I felt no one knew the situation except me.”

The video got arguably as much or more attention as when Newton, coming off his second offseason shoulder surgery in three offseasons, threw for the first time in practice during a three-day minicamp on June 11-13.

For comparison, Edwards said his proposal video that was posted internationally got only about 7,000 views.

Newton, known for his big smile, gave a sheepish grin after being denied and walked to his seat. He suffered through the flight and made it back in time for his tournament.

“To me, it didn’t look like he was mad,” Edwards said of Newton. “It looked like he slept about seven hours, so he couldn’t have been that uncomfortable.”

Meanwhile, social media was abuzz wanting to know everything from why the passenger turned down the money to why Newton was in economy.

“The guy asked Cam how tall he was,” Edwards said. “Cam said he was 6-6. The guy said he was 6-4. He was with the three other gentlemen. It was like asking a couple to move because they were all together.”

Newton also caused a stir with his unusual style in Paris.

Newton considers himself the “King of Swag,’’ at least in the NFL. From his signature designer hats, to loafers and no socks, to outlandish color combinations, the first pick of the 2011 draft was among a star-studded cast of athletes in Paris that included NBA star Russell Westbrook and Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce.

Here Newton is with Westbrook:

In an interview with ESPN.com in May, Newton mentioned Kelce as one of the few NFL players who might challenge him in style.

“Man, it’s a lot of [NFL] guys who take fashion extremely serious,” he said. “They dare to be different. Travis Kelce is one of them. Odell [Beckham] easily one of them. How can you forget about Antonio Brown?”

Brown caused arguably the biggest offseason stir before players broke for the final time before the start of training camp when he was traded from the New York Giants to the Cleveland Browns.

However, Newton owns bragging rights for the past two weeks thanks to an unusual encounter captured by Edwards.

“I feel like he was trying to be incognito,” Edwards said of Newton. “But with Cam’s appearance, you can spot him right away.”



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