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Bills rookie Ford has fine reduced, donates fan-raised money to charity

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ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Buffalo Bills rookie Cody Ford‘s fine for an illegal blindside hit was reduced to less than a quarter of its original amount, the offensive lineman tweeted Thursday.

Originally fined $28,075 for his hit during Buffalo’s AFC Wild Card loss to the Houston Texans, Ford appealed the decision and won, earning a new punishment of $4,211.

Both the penalty and its ensuing fine were met with near-universal criticism last month; the penalty stalled a critical late-game drive and knocked Buffalo out of field goal range. Once the original fine was announced, fans started a GoFundMe campaign to help Ford pay the amount, raising $3,870 — which Ford said was donated to charity.

The call was widely panned because the hit seemed tame by NFL standards; Ford did not launch into defender Jacob Martin, whose body appeared to be facing Ford’s direction at the time of the impact. However, Ford was coming back toward the line of scrimmage and initiated contact with his shoulder, drawing the penalty.

On 3rd-and-9 in overtime against Houston on Jan. 4, Bills quarterback Josh Allen scrambled four yards to the Texans’ 38-yard line to bring up 4th down — which became 3rd-and-24 after the 15-yard penalty on Ford. Buffalo failed to convert from there, punted and ultimately lost the game on a game-winning Texans field goal.

The Bills’ second-round pick out of Oklahoma, Ford started 15 games at right tackle in 2019. In his tweet announcing the reduction Thursday, he stood firm that he disagrees with the penalty.



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Dez and Dak back together again and more NFL social media rumors

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Could Dez be back once the NFL is back? The former Dallas Cowboys star has been doing work with Cowboys starting quarterback Dak Prescott.


March 27

Does the trade of DeAndre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals have Houston Texans star quarterback Deshaun Watson evaluating his options? A few cryptic updates in the aftermath of the trade of his All-Pro receiver have to make Houston fans wonder.

Watson isn’t the only NFL player making waves on Twitter. Recently released quarterback Cam Newton is practicing with (at the moment) Los Angeles Chargers starting QB Tyrod Taylor. Could this be the future of the Chargers’ quarterback room?

Also, could Philadelphia become a “Shady” city again? It seems like LeSean McCoy wouldn’t mind.



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Tony Boselli recalls hospital stay — ‘I don’t want to die here’

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Even when his symptoms worsened and he started having trouble breathing, Tony Boselli still thought he’d be treated with IV fluids and given some medicine when he arrived at a hospital here.

It wasn’t until doctors told him he needed to be in the intensive care unit that he realized his condition was serious.

The former Jacksonville Jaguars left tackle ended up spending five days in Mayo Clinic while he fought COVID-19. About half of his stay was in the ICU, and he said it was shortly after he arrived there that he discovered he could be in even deeper trouble.

“It was kind of fuzzy, but I remember [the pulmonologist] saying, ‘If we don’t get your oxygen stabilized we’re going to have to go to the next level,'” Boselli said. “I remember laying there thinking, ‘What do you mean, if this doesn’t work?’ He says, ‘We don’t know what direction this is going to go.’

“I don’t know if I ever was like I thought I was going to die, but I remember having the conversation with myself: I don’t want to die here.”

Boselli, a Pro Football Hall of Fame finalist the past four years, said his oxygen level improved enough over the next 24 hours that he didn’t have to find out what that next level would have been. That was the beginning of his recovery process, and he improved enough daily that he was discharged Tuesday without needing additional oxygen at home.

Boselli said he first started feeling ill March 16, but he thought he had a cold or allergies. Then he felt much worse two days later. That’s also the day he said he got a call and was told he had been around someone who had tested positive for COVID-19. He phoned his doctor and got tested that day. Two days later he received the test results that revealed he had COVID-19.

He said his symptoms worsened over the next four days, and after a rough night in which he couldn’t sleep and was wheezing heavily, his doctor sent him to Mayo Clinic. His family was in self-quarantine because of his diagnosis — he said his wife, Angie, was also diagnosed with COVID-19 but had only mild symptoms — so the only way to communicate over the five days he was hospitalized was via text messages whenever he had the energy.

“The only people who could come in were health-care workers, and they had to be in their full protective equipment,” Boselli said. “They were great, though. Those doctors and PAs and nurses and techs, everyone, they’re amazing. These people were absolutely amazing. Superstars.”

He said he’s still weak and battling fatigue, and hasn’t quite shaken his cough. He still doesn’t have an appetite, either — “I had an egg for breakfast. An egg,” he said jokingly — and has lost 20 pounds over the past two weeks.

He tested negative for the virus Wednesday, and is awaiting the result of an additional test taken Thursday, but he said his doctor expects that test to be negative, too. Once he gets those results, Boselli said he’s planning on getting back on his bicycle and slowly gaining back his strength.

“I’m not going to be running any marathons any time soon,” he said.

“It’s been quite a few weeks but I’m feeling better. I’m home from the hospital and I’m on the right side of this thing now.”

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Eli Apple remains free agent after deal with Raiders falls through

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The Las Vegas Raiders and free-agent cornerback Eli Apple were unable to finalize a contract, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Apple, who played last season with the New Orleans Saints, remains a free agent.

Apple had agreed to a one-year contract with the Raiders on March 18, sources told Schefter, and he had posted to Instagram that he was “excited to start a new journey as a Raider.”

Apple, 24, has shown both great potential and inconsistency while starting 51 games over his four-year career with the New York Giants and Saints. He has three interceptions and 33 passes defensed.

He immediately became a starter for the Saints, who acquired him in a 2018 trade with the Giants, and held the job throughout 2019 until his season ended early because of a Week 16 ankle injury. His size and length make him an asset in man coverage, and he helped steady the Saints defense as the team finished 13-3 in both 2018 and 2019.

He was a positive locker room fit in New Orleans, where he was reunited with former Ohio State teammates such as cornerback Marshon Lattimore, safety Vonn Bell and receiver Michael Thomas. But he did battle inconsistency on the field — particularly in a 48-46 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in December — and he led the team with 11 called penalties in 2019 and 10 called penalties in 2018 (after joining the team in Week 8). He was also flagged 11 times for pass interference over that span.

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