Brooks takes initiative to maximize his talents


Brooks takes initiative to maximize his talents

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SANTA CLARA -- One of the more intriguing aspects of covering a professional football player's career is being there when he gets it, the time he comes to understand exactly what is required for him to be successful at the NFL level.For some, the realization comes within the first two or three years in the league. Others take a few years more. For many, it doesn't come at all.When David Carr was with the 49ers, he told me he thought he knew how to prepare as an NFL quarterback. He believed he was doing everything necessary to be ready for a season. That realization came when he joined the New York Giants. Working with Eli Manning, Carr learned all that his position truly demanded. But by then, Carr said, it was too late. He was a seven-year veteran at the time and his starting opportunities were gone.Like Carr, Ahmad Brooks finally "got it" entering his seventh year in the league."I feel more of a professional now," Brooks said. "And once you get into the NFL you (don't) understand everything it takes to be a professional. I think I learned that over the course of years." What's unique about the 49ers outside linebacker's experience, is that his awareness came together after the best year of he career and after he signed a six year, 37 million contract extension with the team in February.Any off-field issues from early in Brooks' career have remained in the past. But he's made a few key changes over just the last few months. Gone from his diet are his favorite three-course meals home cooked by his mom. He avoided the temptation of her tasty dishes by spending his first offseason at the team facility rather than at his Virginia home. "You can get caught up in being complacent, just going home and not doing anything," Brooks said.Brooks replaced complacency with "initiative," his word, and decided to be with the teammates whom he felt were strong leaders. That included following the intense work out routines of defensive linemen Justin Smith and Ray McDonald and linebacker Tavares Gooden."I feel a lot more in shape on the field play to play just running to the ball. Feeling a little more swift out there," Brooks said.RELATED: Ahmad Brooks career stats 2011 game logs News
Brooks says his bench and squat are up from last season, as is his weight, 5 pounds to 270. But his body fat is down, to 16 percent, he estimates."The best shape of my life," Brooks said, "I dont necessarily think so, but my NFL career, yeah."Vic Fangio certainly hopes so. The defensive coordinator has made it clear he expects a big season from Brooks and believes he can bring more to the 49ers pass rush.The difference for Brooks this year, he believes he can, too.

Trump blasts NFL for not demanding players stand during national anthem


Trump blasts NFL for not demanding players stand during national anthem

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is again criticizing the NFL over players kneeling during the national anthem.

Trump said on Twitter Wednesday that the “NFL has decided that it will not force players to stand for the playing of our National Anthem.”

He adds: “Total disrespect for our great country!”

Trump appeared to be responding to the NFL annual fall meeting on Tuesday. The league invited players and representatives from their union to discuss social issues.

The topic of the national anthem was not discussed at length. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said owners did not ask players to commit to standing during the anthem.

Trump has suggested the owners should “fire” any players who knelt during “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Ezekiel Elliott's suspension again on hold, now expected to play vs 49ers


Ezekiel Elliott's suspension again on hold, now expected to play vs 49ers

NEW YORK — Dallas Cowboys star Ezekiel Elliott was granted another legal reprieve Tuesday night in the running back's fight to avoid a six-game suspension over domestic violence allegations.

A New York federal judge issued a temporary restraining order blocking the league's suspension, clearing Elliott to play Sunday at San Francisco.

U.S. District Judge Paul Crotty's ruling came five days after a federal appeals court overturned a Texas court's injunction that had kept Elliott on the field.

Crotty granted the request for the restraining order pending a hearing before the presiding judge, Katherine Polk Failla, who is on vacation.

The NFL was ordered to appear before Failla on or before Oct. 30 to argue why the suspension should not be blocked by a preliminary injunction — the next step in the legal process — until the court can rule on challenges the players' union brought against the suspension.

"We are confident our arguments will prevail in court when they are taken up again later this month," NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said.

Elliott, last year's NFL rushing leader as a rookie, was barred from the team's facility Tuesday as players returned from their off week. The NFL placed him on the suspended list Friday, a day after the league's favorable ruling from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.

The 22-year-old Elliott was suspended in August by Commissioner Roger Goodell after the league concluded following a yearlong investigation that he had several physical confrontations in the summer of 2016 with Tiffany Thompson, his girlfriend at the time.

Prosecutors in Columbus, Ohio, decided not to pursue the case in the city where Elliott starred for Ohio State, citing conflicting evidence, but the NFL did its own investigation. Elliott denied the allegations under oath during his NFL appeal.

The suspension's announcement in August led to weeks of court filings, with NFLPA lawyers contending that league investigators withheld key evidence from Goodell and that the appeal hearing was unfair because arbitrator Harold Henderson refused to call Goodell and Thompson as witnesses.

In an opinion accompanying the ruling, Crotty agreed with the Texas judge who had backed the claims of Elliott's attorneys. Crotty wrote that Henderson's denial of testimony from Goodell and Thompson was significant because of credibility issues related to Thompson.

"In effect, (Elliott) was deprived of opportunities to explore pertinent and material evidence, which raises sufficiently serious questions," Crotty wrote.

Attorney Daniel Nash, arguing for the NFL, accused Elliott's legal team of seeking relief from courts in Texas to evade courts in New York and the effect of the April 2016 ruling that reinstated a four-game suspension of New England quarterback Tom Brady in the "Deflategate" scandal.

Nash warned Crotty that allowing the union to continue to delay the suspension would invite "every player who's suspended" to go to court for relief.

"They know under the Brady decision they have no chance of success. None," Nash said.

Attorney Jeffrey Kessler, representing the players' union, said the harm to a player's short career was serious when a suspension is served.

"He can never get that back," Kessler said, arguing that the irreparable harm — among issues of law considered before a temporary restraining order is granted — faced by a player is much greater than harm claimed by the league when a suspension is delayed. In his opinion, Crotty agreed.

Nash suggested during the hearing that the union was overstating its claims of irreparable harm.

"In their view, an NFL player missing six games is the end of the world," he said.

Brady managed to delay his suspension for a year through the union's court challenges. He served it to start last season, when the Patriots went 3-1 without him and later won the Super Bowl.

Elliott's case shifted to New York after the appeals court ordered the Texas court to dismiss Elliott's lawsuit, which Judge Amos Mazzant did earlier Tuesday.

A three-judge panel of the New Orleans court ruled 2-1 last week that Elliott's attorneys filed the Texas lawsuit prematurely because Henderson had yet to decide on the running back's NFL appeal.

Elliott's legal team indicated it intended to pursue rehearing before a larger panel of the appeals court while also filing for the restraining order in the Southern District of New York.

The NFL filed in the New York court after Elliott's NFL appeal was denied because the league considers it the proper venue as the home of its headquarters and the site of the hearings before Henderson. It's also where the NFL won the Brady case in the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.