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Former NFL, college coach Phil Krueger dies at 90

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PEMBROKE PINES, Fla. — Phil Krueger, who helped build a dominant defense as an assistant for 1967 national champion Southern California and later became part of the first coaching staff in Tampa Bay Buccaneers‘ history, has died. He was 90.

Krueger died Monday at his home, his family said.

Skilled in all phases of the game, Krueger coached offense, defense and special teams during more than three decades in the NFL and college. He was the head coach at Fresno State and Utah State, going 31-22, and an assistant at Illinois.

Krueger moved from the field to Tampa Bay’s front office and spent 10 years as an executive, known for his skill in negotiating contracts. He was hired as the Buccaneers’ first general manager in 1991 — prior to that, the team’s coaches made the player decisions.

Krueger worked under famed head coach John McKay at USC and Tampa Bay. Krueger’s fellow assistant at both places was future three-time Super Bowl champion Joe Gibbs.

Gibbs and Krueger were hotel roommates when Southern Cal played on the road.

“I have a lot of great memories from being on the same coaching staff with Phil,” Gibbs said this week. “He was very bright. A sharp guy with a great sense of humor. He was one of those guys that you always enjoyed being around.”

Krueger’s career path was set early on when he switched from grammar to the gridiron. He was teaching English at a high school in Arizona when he took over the football program, and later landed a job as an assistant coach at Long Beach City College.

Krueger was a defensive assistant at USC from 1966-70. In 1967, the Trojans went 10-1 — holding seven opponents to seven points or less — and won the national title.

“My favorite coach of all time,” former Southern Cal and longtime NFL linebacker Charlie Weaver said Saturday from his home in Fresno, California. “He recruited me out of junior college and I couldn’t wait to get to USC to play under the tutelage of Coach Krueger.”

In 1970, Weaver, Krueger and the Trojans were part of one of most significant college football games ever. A fully integrated USC squad went to Birmingham and beat Bear Bryant’s all-white Alabama team 42-21 in a matchup not nearly as close as the final score indicated.

“Coach Krueger had us prepared to play, it was a beatdown,” Weaver recalled.

Part of the vaunted “Wild Bunch” defensive front at USC, Weaver said he stayed in close touch with Krueger after their college days.

“We spoke at least once a year,” he said. “What a great man.”

Krueger joined McKay in 1976 on the expansion Buccaneers as an offensive backfield assistant, and they endured an 0-14 season. Krueger was coaching linebackers the next year when the Bucs started out 0-12 before finishing with two wins, including a victory over St. Louis in the final game.

Gibbs was on that Cardinals staff and was let go after the season. Krueger helped pave Gibbs’ move to Tampa Bay.

Krueger worked on special teams when the Bucs made their first playoff appearance, reaching the NFC title game in the 1979 season, and became an assistant to owner Hugh Culverhouse in 1981.

Krueger left the Bucs after one season as GM, but didn’t give up football. After moving to Florida to be near his daughter, Krueger spent three years as a consultant to a pro team in Tokyo, the Kajima Deers.

Born in LaSalle, Illinois, Krueger grew up in St. Louis and played football at Southeast Missouri State. He was a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army, serving in the Korean War and earning the Bronze Star.

“Phil Krueger was tough.. the reason I couldn’t get a date in high school (that’s my story),” daughter Kristi Krueger, a longtime anchor at WPLG-TV in Miami, posted on Facebook. “But my friends loved ‘Big Phil’ and he loved them. Dad was a brilliant writer and the reason I love poetry.”

Krueger is survived by his wife of 59 years, Kathy, daughter Kristi and two grandchildren. The family asked that any donations be made in Krueger’s name to the Alzheimer’s Association.

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Texans’ Kenny Stills reveals elaborate Black Lives Matter tattoo – Houston Texans Blog

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Houston Texans wide receiver Kenny Stills posted an Instagram photo of his new tattoo, done earlier in the month, that features a sign reading “BLACK LIVES MATTER.”

The tattoo includes images from the Black Lives Matter and civil rights movements on his right leg, and also shows signs that read “WE PROTEST SCHOOL SEGREGATION” and “SAY THEIR NAMES.”

Since former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the national anthem during the 2016 season, Stills has been vocal in his support of the fight against police brutality and racial injustice. Stills also has taken a knee during the national anthem.

On June 25, Stills participated in a social justice march for Breonna Taylor at the state capitol in Kentucky. In the lead-up to the protest, Stills offered to “pay for gas, rental cars, lodging, chartering buses…whatever it takes” to get people there. He also attended George Floyd’s funeral in Houston on June 9.

Stills has also been active on Twitter, speaking out about police brutality, especially since Floyd’s murder. He also tweeted “sports are a distraction from the movement.”

Earlier in the offseason, while addressing Floyd’s murder and systemic racism, Texans coach Bill O’Brien said he has “learned a lot over the last year of talking to Kenny Stills on why he takes a knee.”

“I think we all know why Kenny takes a knee and why Eric Reid takes a knee,” O’Brien said.



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Judges question legality of search warrants in Robert Kraft massage parlor sex case

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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Florida appellate judges on Tuesday questioned the legality of search warrants that let police secretly video record New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and others paying for massage parlor sex, pressing a prosecutor on his contention that the warrants were legally valid.

Deputy Solicitor General Jeffrey DeSousa found himself repeatedly queried by the three-judge panel as he tried to persuade them that the warrants and searches met all constitutional protections and that they should overturn lower court rulings that barred the recordings’ use at trial.

Misdemeanor charges against Kraft, 79, and other customers would have to be dropped if those rulings stand, although felony charges against the spa owners might proceed as there is other evidence against them.

Kraft and others were charged in February 2019 in a multi-county investigation of massage parlors that included the secret installation of video cameras in their lobbies and rooms. Police say the recordings show Kraft and other men engaging in sex acts with women and paying them.

Judge Robert Gross, who presided at the Florida Fourth District Court of Appeal hearing, seemed taken aback by DeSousa’s contention that he and his colleagues should primarily consider the plain language of the Fourth Amendment. It says judges can issue warrants if police demonstrate there is probable cause of a crime and the warrants must specify the place to be searched and the people or property to be seized.

Gross told DeSousa he seemed to be ignoring numerous rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court expanding Fourth Amendment protections since the 1960s, including some that restricted electronic surveillance by police.

“You are getting us off on the wrong foot by focusing on the language of the Fourth Amendment when we should be focusing on the Supreme Court jurisprudence … that is heavily weighted against you,” Gross told DeSousa.

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Redskins’ Ron Rivera — Don’t bet against Cam Newton with Patriots

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Ron Rivera has a message for those ready to doubt that Cam Newton can rebound with the New England Patriots: Don’t bet against him.

Rivera, who coached the Carolina Panthers for nine seasons with Newton as his starting quarterback, was asked Monday on 670 The Score in Chicago about whether he thought Newton has recovered from the injuries that have marred his past two seasons. Rivera said he had watched the workout videos that Newton posted on social media.

“He’s headed in the right direction,” Rivera said on the McNeil & Parkins Show. “I mean, he’s probably about as healthy as it gets from what I’ve seen on video. I think he’s ready to bust out.

“I would never bet against the young man, that’s for sure.”

Newton, who holds most of Carolina’s career passing records, missed 14 games last season with a Lisfranc injury and the final two games of the 2018 season with a shoulder injury that also required surgery.

He reached an agreement on a one-year, incentive-laden deal with the Patriots on Sunday, league sources told ESPN’s Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter. ‬The Patriots were the only team to make him an offer after he was released by the Panthers in March, according to Schefter.

Rivera said on 670 The Score that he believes the coronavirus pandemic, which prevented teams from conducting in-person workouts, was the main reason more teams didn’t try to sign him. As for why Rivera didn’t try to bring Newton to the Washington Redskins, he pointed to the presence of quarterback Dwayne Haskins, drafted by the Redskins in the first round last year.

“Honestly, if the circumstances would have allowed us, I would have had no issues with that. I would have been very confident and comfortable in going after him and bringing him to be part of what we’re doing here. To me those circumstances would have been going through an opportunity to see what we have in Dwayne,” he said.

Rivera instead brought another former Panthers quarterback to the Redskins, trading for Kyle Allen earlier this offseason. He said the benefit of being in his first year as the Redskins’ coach is that he can be patient with Haskins, who threw for 1,365 yards with seven touchdowns and seven interceptions after being selected with the No. 15 pick in 2019.

“We’ve been in this tough situation because there was a number of veteran guys that we liked but we have to find out what we have in the young guy, and that’s the benefit of being a new head coach is that we can go ahead and we can be patient. We can put these guys through workouts and get to know what we have and feel good about it or don’t feel good about it and then we’ve got to go out and make some changes,” he said.

“But until we get that opportunity to know what we have, it would have been very hard to bring in a guy who’s had such a solid career, who was league MVP at one time (in 2015), and expect the young guy to get chances to grow, so I just felt that because of our circumstances we could play this slow — and good for [Newton], he went to New England, which I think is going to be a great spot for him and I think he’s going to have a lot of success.”

With the Patriots, Newton will be in the mix to help replace Tom Brady, who left to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in free agency. The Patriots did not select a quarterback in April’s draft, with 2019 fourth-round pick Jarrett Stidham and 11-year veteran Brian Hoyer atop the depth chart.

Rivera was asked what he’d say to those who believe Newton’s best days are behind him.

“Don’t bet against him,” Rivera said. “I really wouldn’t. First of all, you got to know who he is and understand what all he’s gone through. He’s a guy that’s always tried to do things, I think, because he’s felt the pressure. He felt the pressure of being the No. 1 pick. He felt the pressure of having won the Heisman Trophy and being the No. 1 pick. He felt the pressure of being a Black quarterback, with all this stuff that’s been heaped on him.

“He’s really had to find his way through it, and he’s done a great job with it.”

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