Jen Welter made history this week by becoming the first female member of an NFL coaching staff.

During her rounds of interviews with the team, Welter revealed that her own experience playing professional football earned her paycheck not quite up to NFL standards.

Her salary for a 12-game season? A whopping twelve dollars -- one per game.

In fact, Welter still has the paycheck from her first season with the Dallas Diamonds in 2004, playing in the Women's Football Alliance.


"It was a dollar a game, but that's technically what made us pro," Welter told AZCentral.com.

Welter played 14 seasons in the WFA, winning four titles along the way. She also joined Team USA and won the gold medal twice at the International Federation of American Football's Women's World Championship.

"She is battle-tested and does have knowledge of the game," said Dawn Berndt, owner of the Dallas Diamonds and manager of Team USA, to ESPN. "Hopefully a lot of her athletes will give her an opportunity to show what she knows before they judge her on her size. She's a tiny package. But she's a tiny package with amazing heart and knowledge.

"Given the opportunity, she's going to excel."

Welter will join former NFL linebackers Bob Sanders and Larry Foote as coaching interns at Cardinals training camp. She may not have the money those two enjoy, but she's got the pedigree -- and a bright future.

Just when you thought Fetty Wap's hit song "Trap Queen" might be growing old, you get assurance that it's still alive and well.

That assurance comes from the Kansas City Royals, who are apparently big fans of the track. So much so that they challenged one another to reference its lyrics during post-game interviews Tuesday night.

After the 2-1 win over the Cleveland Indians, each Royals player had to use the phrase "1738," which appears in the intro of "Trap Queen," in his responses to media questions.

Reporters were perplexed -- then annoyed.


To the contrary, Andy McCullough. Some fans would call this stunt genius. Here's how the answers were constructed.[YIEDMO]




Since the average person still probably has no idea what's going on, here's a quick explainer: the Fetty Wap song uses the term 1738 in reference to Remy Martin 1738 cognac, which he thought was the most expensive liquor in the world, but was only the most expensive in the "urban district."

That doesn't explain why Royals players have taken to the phrase, but that's all the sense anyone can make of this public stunt -- so far, anyway.

Given the relative success, though, it seems only a matter of time before some pro sports team tries the same with Taylor Swift's album "1989."

At this point in the offseason, NFL players are used to working out away from team facilities. Rules in the league's Collect Bargaining Agreement prohibit players from training with a football at team headquarters.

Justin Tucker knows this all too well, having to find different places to kick over the offseason. This week, Tucker needed to find a field, and he didn't have to look far.

Earlier this summer, Tucker chose to work out in Baltimore's Patterson Park. He didn't share his plans with other people, but after fans spied him and helped him run down balls launched across the field, Tucker had an idea.

Practicing with fans, he realized, created a mutual benefit.

"I had a bunch of helpers out here," Tucker said. "A bunch of people shagging ball and throwing them back for me. Then I thought, 'Well shoot, I might as well make this a mini community event.'"

So Tucker took to Twitter to advertise.


The more people that came to his practice, the more help he'd get and the louder the environment became. Fans enjoyed a great experience, while Tucker saved himself the trouble of booting kicks and then running them down himself.

It remains to be seen whether kicking with fans will help Tucker, who finished eighth in fields goals made last year. Either way, it seems like fun for those kids.

Even when there's snow on the ground, the kids play soccer. If you lived in arctic Canada, you'd know better than to wait for the landscape to thaw.

Soccer may seem a bit out of place in the distant, cold province of Nunavut, and in many ways, it is. But soccer has gained traction because of its accessibility: It's a relatively cheap sport to play, much cheaper than hockey, and cheaper even than hunting, which is the preferred form of recreation among the Inuit peoples.

And, as featured in a New York Times story by Jere Longman, soccer has proven to be an important outlet for the youth in Iqaluit, where the suicide rate is 10 times the Canadian national average. The harsh landscape, combined with long, dark winters and a high cost of living, create a tough situation for many Inuit.

Another complication: The people living in Iqaluit are traditionally nomadic peoples that have been trying for decades to figure out community living. The social and environmental strains place a hard burden on the youth.

But soccer has been a lifesaver -- literally. It provides a way for the community to connect with the rest of the world, and it provides a distraction from tough aspects of life, including violence, sexual abuse, and other suicides.

Iqaluit's people have had to adapt the game: They typically play in side on basketball courts, and they created their yellow and red referee cards from construction paper.

"Around here, you've got to be flexible with a capital 'F'," said a local tournament organizer.

For the team's coach, who used to be a drug addict before quitting his addiction and becoming a positive force, soccer is a source of joy -- and a point of pride.

"I'm trying to show the community that you can turn your life around," he tells the NYT. "I'm proud of my team. I'm proud of myself."

Tags:
Canada, Soccer

Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs has a running start on his post-football career. Suggs has established a production company called Team Sizzle Worldwide, and it already has five films to its credit. Suggs is also helping to consult on the HBO football-based drama "Ballers." Here's more from Suggs on his transition into the business of show biz and the upcoming NFL season:

This text will be replaced

Barack Obama is the most basketball-crazed U.S. president we've had in a while -- probably ever. His staff is filled with former college basketball players, and he claims the Chicago Bulls as his favorite sports team.

Even his brother-in-law, Craig Robinson, is a college basketball coach, having served stints at both Brown and Oregon State.

Obama also enjoys a good game of pick-up ball. But, as he explained in the latest podcast episode of WTF with Marc Maron, the White House has not been kind to his game.

"I used to play basketball more," Obama says. "But these days, I've gotten to the point where it's not as much fun because I'm not as good as I used to be, and I get frustrated.

"I was never great, but I was a good player and I could play seriously. Now I'm one of these old guys who's running around."

Obama famously spent both Election Days playing pick-up ball with Scottie Pippen and other former basketball players in Chicago, using the game as a distraction from the day's frenzy.

But those games have been few and far between, and Obama now sees himself as a liability.

"The guys I play with -- who are all a lot younger -- they sort of pity me and sympathize with me," he says. "They tolerate me, but we all know I'm the weak link on the court, and I don't like being the weak link."

In fairness to Obama, though, he is 53. Not to say he's old, but at a certain point, you should probably expect your game to decline.

You can listen to the full hour-long interview with Obama on the WTF website.

The San Francisco 49ers have embraced the mentality of "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em." That's why you'll find their team offices functioning a little more like a Silicon Valley startup.

As reported by Kevin Clark of The Wall Street Journal, the 49ers have made key changes to their work environment all aimed to appeal to their younger players, many of whom are of a generation that is constantly connected to technology.

It might sound like the 49ers are giving up -- functioning as the weary parents who simply don't want to fight anymore.

The reality is much different: 49ers coach Jim Tomsula is using research from Stanford to optimize the work environment for his players.

According to that research, the 49ers work climate now involves "phone check" breaks every 30 minutes. Beyond half an hour, the study argues, millennials are too distracted and aren't learning information as well.

"The [experts] are telling me about attention spans and optimal learning," Tomsula told the WSJ. "I'm thinking, 'My gosh, we sit in two-hour meetings. You are telling me after 27 minutes no one's getting anything?'"

A relaxed cell phone policy is just one of several changes, each of them designed to accommodate multi-tasking and shorter attention spans.

Players are also getting to use enhanced digital playbooks, and weekly social media briefings are designed to help players better manage their social media presence.

It's a smart move for a team whose average player age is 25.2, and it also represents a massive departure from the traditional way of doing things in the NFL.

But so far, 49ers coaches are seeing positives -- players aren't just happier and more focused, but the increased use of technology is providing valuable visual learning opportunities.

"Our whole lives, we've gone with a paper and pad," says Tomsula. "Next week, a young person's phone will be outdated. We decided we have to be on top of that."

A.J. Francis isn't depending solely on the NFL. He's entering his third year with the Miami Dolphins and is earning a base salary of $510,000, but the defensive tackle knows that all of those riches can disappear in a flash.

Meanwhile, paychecks don't start flowing in until July. That leaves players with a few months where they have to make ends meet on their own.

And since he's got some extra free time on his hands, Francis elected to earn a little spare change on the side.

Now, he drives an Uber and makes $40 to $50 per trip. And that's not all: He's turned his second job into an online reality series where he records conversations with passengers and posts the best ones online.

Here's the promo video for Francis' show, which includes some NSFW language:

"I'm not putting all my eggs in one basket," Francis told ESPN after an offseason practice earlier this week. "Where I'm from, when you have a job, where are you when that job is over?"

Uber has proven to be a perfect fit for Francis, who enjoys driving, has a strong work ethic and loves to talk. By driving people around and engaging in thoughtful conversation, he's able to check off all three boxes.

Francis' friends and family compliment him for his "hustle," and his awareness that the NFL dream isn't one that will last forever. And he points out that he's a great choice for an Uber driver: he's never received a ticket.

Because Francis is a backup player, most fans aren't likely to recognize him. He says nobody's entered the car and recognized him as a Dolphins player yet.

"People just think I'm some big dude in a nice car," he said. "I tell them at the end of the interview who I am, and the shock on their face is really funny."

Like Shaquille O'Neal, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Ray Allen before him, LeBron James is dipping his toes in the world of acting. This summer, he has a prominent role in the new Judd Apatow film "The Trainwreck," where he will star alongside comedy giants Bill Hader and Amy Schumer.

That taste of the big screen has James looking ahead to future roles. James is hopeful that in the future, he'll be able to take on more diverse parts and become a more accomplished film star.

That includes starring in comedies, action-adventure movies, and, yes, even superhero films.

"I always talked about it as a kid, and even as an adult," James told Rachel Nichols. "I was like, 'Wow, you know, I always wanted to be the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. And then when I got older, the Bad Boys movies, I was like, 'I would love to do an action movie.'

"Either be, like, a cop or something, or be, like, Batman. Hopefully I can do some more things. Maybe, we'll see."

He may be wet behind the ears still in terms of being a film star, but LeBron could probably do just as well as other actors to step into the world of superhero movies.

After all, Val Kilmer was Batman long ago. Halle Berry made a terrible Catwoman movie. He'd have to try pretty hard to set a new low in the genre.

You can watch the full interview here:


LeBron James talks basketball, Batman and Bed Bath & Beyond as he and the Cleveland Cavaliers face the Atlanta Hawks in the NBA's Eastern Conference Finals.

Posted by Rachel Nichols on Wednesday, May 20, 2015

For most people, a hole-in-one is a euphoric thing, a ticket to 15 minutes of fame. For Brian Butler, it's something more like a sucker punch.

The Boston College golfer was participating in a one-day professional golf tournament when he sunk a hole-in-one to his own surprise. The ace came at the 18th hole of a new par-3 course in Rhode Island, from a distance of 158 yards.

The accomplishment garnered him a $10,000 prize from the tournament's organizers. But Butler was then faced with a decision to make.

The senior-to-be would make himself ineligible to play at the college level if he accepted the money. So, to satisfy NCAA rules, he opted to give the money back.

"I'm not going to give up my last year of college golf for $10,000," Brian Butler said to Golfweek. It's a smart move going by the simple math: $10,000 isn't even half of the value of his golf scholarship, which he would have lost.

Still, every man has his price. Butler was playing in the pro tournament with full awareness that a great performance could earn him a ticket into a tournament qualifier. Should a hole-in-one happen at the qualifier, that $10,000 prize becomes $1 million. Would have forced him to reconsider?

"That," he said, "would probably be a different story."

Butler's 3-over 57 did earn him one of two spots in the main event, which offers a purse of $102,000. Only $25,000 of that goes to the winner, though, so even a win is likely to be turned down in favor of one more season at Boston College.

But only because the NCAA is forcing him to choose.

You know what, though, it could be worse -- much worse. You could be the guy who missed a $1 million hole-in-one by one single inch:

Syndicate content