There's not much good news coming out of the Jacksonville Jaguars' organization these days. The Jaguars finished 3-13 in 2014, missing the playoffs for the seventh straight season. That's the longest postseason drought in team history.

But a recent news item out of Jacksonville should make football fans nationwide proud of the organization.

After hiring Doug Marrone this week as assistant head coach/offensive line coach, the Jaguars now have three offensive line coaches on staff. The team is expecting two -- Marrone and assistant OL coach Luke Butkus -- to work directly with the players. The third, George Yarno, hasn't been with the team since the spring. That's when Yarno took a leave of absence after receiving a cancer diagnosis.

Jacksonville kept Yarno on payroll in 2014 and will do the same in 2015 even though he most likely won't be able to rejoin the team anytime soon. The classy move allows Yarno to keep his salary and medical benefits as he fights the disease. Making the decision all the more commendable, writes ESPN's Mike DiRocco, is the fact that the Jaguars aren't publicizing the decision to retain Yarno.

The team has been quiet about Yarno's condition and the decision to keep him on staff, but in May coach Gus Bradley said this about the longtime assistant:

"He's received some positive news on his treatment options and how we're going to go about attacking it," Bradley said. "He's confident in the treatment plan, felt really good at the initial part of it, and the plan that the doctors have. He's actually excited about it, about getting after this battle.

Yarno has been receiving treatment with his family in Spokane, Wash.

A former NFL offensive lineman himself, the 57-year-old Yarno would be entering his 25th year as an assistant coach and his eighth year coaching in the NFL.

Amid all the focus on misdeeds and misconduct of NFL players this year, it is important to emphasize that these behaviors are aberrational and not the norm. The definition of news is not dog bites man, it is man bites dog. Reading the daily recitation of drunk driving and bar fights involving players, coaches and executives can create the impression of sports gone haywire -- yet these incidents represent a minuscule percentage of the enormous pool involved with the league.

This is why I thought it was important to create an award that recognized the community and charitable service that characterizes the typical lives of people involved with professional football. Along with my partner, Cosmo DeNicola, we will be presenting the Steinberg-DeNicola Awards for Humanitarian Service at my 28th annual Super Bowl Party in Phoenix at the Science Museum on Saturday afternoon Jan. 31 Proceeds from a silent auction will go to benefit the awardees' causes, and local beneficiaries will attend.

The Owner’s Award with go to Woody Johnson of the New York Jets. Johnson has dedicated time and resources to try and improve the system of public health in this country and is a role model for community service. The Team Executive Award will go to Dennis Hickey, general manager of the Miami Dolphins. Hickey has been a stalwart support of the Special Olympics Program. The combination of pro football and these valiant young athletes is a natural.

The Coaches Award is being given to Jeff Fisher of the St. Louis Rams. Fisher has given vigorous support to the Wounded Warriors Project. Honoring and providing resources to the courageous soldiers defending our freedom is the least we can do as a society.

The Players Award recipient is Jonathan Babineaux, defensive lineman and team captain of the Atlanta Falcons. Babineaux has a foundation which has donated to over 84 community causes. He has provided laptops to needy toddlers, donated a computer lab to a group home and helped kids with prosthetic limbs.

I have helped athletes retrace their roots for the past 40 years, build programs at the high school, collegiate and professional level that have targeted specific ills and raised more than $800 million for causes. The NFL as a league, through its teams, execs, coaches and teams, consistently makes a positive impact in the community. This is the good news.

The Carolina Panthers' season ended with a playoff loss over the weekend in Seattle, but thanks to the kindness of their owner the team gained a new fan.

A sixth-grader from suburban Oklahoma City had a big decision to make: He needed a new NFL team to root for. Cade Pope had supported the St. Louis Rams because former Oklahoma Sooners star Sam Bradford is the team's quarterback. But with Bradford's future unclear after he sat out the 2014 season because of knee surgery, Cade is on the hunt for a new squad.

As a means of selecting a team, 12-year-old Cade wrote a letter to all 32 NFL owners asking why he should be a fan of their team. The lone response he got was from Carolina owner Jerry Richardson, who sent Cade a package with a replica Panthers helmet and a note that read:

"Cade we would be honored if our Carolina Panthers became your team. We would make you proud by the classy way we would represent you."

Here's Cade's story, from Oklahoma's News on 6:

NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |

The Panthers sent this tweet welcoming Cade to their fan base:


Cade's first experience rooting for the Panthers didn't go so well, as the team got trounced, 31-17, by the Seahawks in the NFC's divisional round. But with star linebacker Luke Kuechly and quarterback Cam Newton both under 26, the Panthers figure to have a bright future.

The unexpected death of Tyler Lorenzi in 2011 sent his friends and family into shock.

Lorenzi was an active, fun-loving 23-year-old whose inspiration spread far and wide. In the wake of the boating accident in which Lorenzi died, a few of his friends set out to make a film documenting his life and the positive philosophy that made him such a motivating force.

The co-directors, Ben Prawer and Jesse Swedlund, used a list Lorenzi created of his favorite things to do in his hometown, San Francisco. The list includes all sorts of activities in the Bay Area and embodies Lorenzi's love for adventure. For their documentary, Prawer and Swedlund found three of Lorenzi's friends from different points in his life. They brought these three to San Francisco and gave them the list, allowing them to explore the city through the eyes of their friend.

"In the process," the filmmakers write on their website, "[Lorenzi's friends] ultimately learn that while we can't choose how we will die, we can choose how we will live.'

Below is the trailer for Ty's List:

For more information or to support the film, check out the Ty's List website.

Sled hockey is a cool sport. For athletes with physical disabilities, sled hockey is a second chance. Military wounds, car accidents and other tragedies cannot halt these individuals from finding a niche on ice.

For a sled hockey team in Canada known as the Cruisers, their experience with the sport got even better when some NHL superstars surprised them with a visit. In a series of videos just released by Gatorade Canada, Sidney Crosby, Claude Giroux, Scott Hartnell, Ryan Miller, Logan Couture and Nathan MacKinnon all tossed aside their normal sticks and skates for sled hockey equipment one day in August to create lifetime of memories.

The game highlights show the NHL stars, while adjusting to their sleds, are on a rather level playing field with the Cruisers. The NHLers split teams with Crosby and Giroux wearing C's for both teams. Crosby knocks in an empty netter to cap off a 4-2 win for his team.

Gatorade Canada also unveiled some great interviews:

Sled hockey is known as sledge hockey nearly everywhere outside of the United States, thus the text of the videos in Canada. The U.S. Sled Hockey Team won the last two Paralympics gold medals in 2010 and 2014. In 2014, in Sochi, Russia took the silver medal and Canada the bronze.

These videos show a more tender side to a sport sometimes known more for hitting, fighting and slashing. At the very least, hockey fans will enjoy a reunion of Giroux and Hartnell, who played seven seasons together with the Philadelphia Flyers.

Peyton Manning thrives on making adjustments, so when he came across a fan letter that he wanted to answer, he didn't just drop the matter when it came without a return address. Manning and the Broncos public relations staff worked three months to track down Kristen Patterson and her husband, Army Sgt. Ryan Patterson.

The search ended in North Pole, Alaska, and resulted in a face-to-face meeting between Manning and the Patterson family, as reported by Corey Elliot of the Indianapolis Star.

The story began Sept. 21 when Kristen wrote a letter to Manning to ask if he could meet with Ryan, a die-hard Colts fan. As the Star put it, "During his two tours in Afghanistan, Patterson would set alarms to wake up at odd hours of the night just to stream Colts games."

Kristen asked Manning if they might be able to meet Dec. 22 in Cincinnati when the Broncos were playing the Bengals and the family was in the area visiting relatives for the holidays. But Kristen forgot to include a return address, and since the Patterson live in North Pole, Alaska, where Ryan is stationed at Fort Wainwright, Manning and the Denver PR crew had a lot of legwork ahead of them.

"He seemed genuinely tickled that we lived in North Pole, Alaska," Ryan told the Star. He said, 'You guys are really hard to find.' Before he left he shook my hand and thanked me for my service one more time and I thanked him for being my quarterback."

Here's the text of Kristen's letter, again via the Indianapolis Star:

Dear Mr. Manning,

My name is Kristen Patterson. I am writing to ask a question. You see my husband is a HUGE fan, and when I say HUGE I mean it. He is currently serving our country in the United States Army and has deployed twice to Afghanistan. He would set alarms to wake up at odd hours in the night just to listen to your football games. We recently had to move across the country for the Army and he tried to get us stationed in Colorado just so he could ensure that he would never miss your games.

We will be attending the Bengals vs. Broncos game on December 22, 2014, while home for the holidays, and it would mean so much to my husband if you might be able to find the time to just even say hello, not to mention it would make me to coolest wife ever of all time. I know you are a busy man, and if you can't, it will be ok. I just thought I might ask in the rare chance that you might agree to this.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Sincerely,
Kristen Patterson

Lauren Hill's inspirational story captured a national audience and brought much-needed media attention to the fight against cancer.

The 19-year-old has used that national spotlight to raise awareness and promote activism against cancer. The Cure Starts Now Foundation announced Tuesday that Hill's fundraising drive had reached its goal of raising $1 million to put toward the fight against cancer, including seeking a cure for the disease.


Hill's work once again drew the attention of Devon Still, whose 4-year-old daughter, Leah, is battling pediatric cancer. Still and Hill have previously exchanged gifts and words of support.


Hill first rose to prominence earlier this year through his inspirational determination to play college basketball -- this despite her inoperable brain tumor. While she wasn't able to participate in a full season, Hill did suit up in a college basketball game.

Since then, Hill has stopped playing basketball, but she continues to use her time to benefit others suffering from her condition. She's as brave as they come.

During last year's NBA Playoffs, a man who helmed the sidelines for 30 years quickly disappeared. Craig Sager, the man of many multi-colored suits, was diagnosed with leukemia and forced to enter treatment immediately.

Sager's absence was felt throughout the league, with players and coaches offering their support for him as he battled cancer. Seven months later, there's good news: Sager received a successful bone marrow transplant from his son, and the NBA broadcast legend figures to make a full recovery.

During the NBA's day-long slate of games, TNT took time out to air an 18-minute special on Sager's journey -- one Sager admits he was harder and longer than he expected.

Sager also shares how he first discovered something was wrong.

"As I was going back and forth to the locker rooms I just felt like, not myself, "Sager says. "I had a hard time getting back and forth, and I ran into Dr. Souryal from the Dallas Mavericks, who had operated on my knee in a skiing accident a few years earlier, and I said, 'Doc, I just don't feel good.' And he did some initial tests and said, 'You gotta go to the hospital. I'll drive you.'

"They took me to the emergency room to do the blood work, and they said that my hemoglobin was 4.6. According to their standards, that was 'walking dead.'"

But Sager fought hard, and appears well on his way to victory. his treatment process isn't over, but his wife already termed the ordeal "a miracle."

It's a long video, but well worth watching. You don't have to be a basketball fan to enjoy the story.

The best surprise in Memphis isn't the Grizzlies' 21-6 start to the season.

Rather, the team with the third-best record in the Western Conference did something so nice for one of its interns that it'll have you forgetting all about the Grizzlies' strong start.

Brandon Henderson, a 24-year-old team personnel intern, had his 1993 Chrysler New Yorker stolen while on a date in downtown Memphis. Upon finding out about Henderon's misfortune, the team's players chipped in to buy Henderson a new car.

"I don't know how the guys found out," Henderson said. " ... I try to keep stuff that happens at home away from work. It didn't seem real. It seemed like a dream. It’s like stuff you see on TV. They’d didn’t have to do it, but it’s a blessing."

Here are some videos of the heartwarming moment when the players surprised Henderson with a new Nissan Altima:


From guard Courtney Lee:

Kevin Love is one of the NBA's best passing big men. In particular, he is known for his outlet passes that trigger fast breaks.

Love started different sort of scoring play to celebrate the start of the holiday season in early December. He made a surprise visit to Scranton Elementary School in Cleveland to help Dick's Sporting Goods launch its #HolidayHoops.

Dick's is giving basketball hoops to two organizations every day in December, and Scranton Elementary was the first.


How is @kevinlove spreading love on #GivingTuesday? By teaming up w/ @dickssportinggoods launch #HolidayHoops!

A video posted by Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) on

In advance of the giveaways, Dick's took a novel approach of piquing the public curiosity by placing hoops in various spots in New York, Los Angeles and Cleveland. Here's what happened:



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