NCAA

Jared Goff scoffs at increased scrutiny of hand size

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Jared Goff scoffs at increased scrutiny of hand size

Editor’s note: Scott Bair is in Indianapolis to cover the NFL Combine. Check back for his comprehensive coverage and catch his nightly updates on SportsNet Central.

INDIANAPOLIS – Jared Goff didn’t realize he had small hands until he got to the NFL Scouting Combine. The Cal quarterback's hands measured just nine inches from pinky to thumb, which is apparently a bad thing.

The measurement produced some wacky headlines, including this beauty from Yahoo Sports: “Jared Goff’s small hands could shape NFL draft starting at No. 2.” Or USA Today’s “Does Jared Goff have tiny hands? A brief investigation.”

These stories are written with tongue in cheek, but some NFL executives prize passers with big hands, which help throwing accuracy and power and avoid fumbling issues.

Goff is widely considered among the NFL draft’s top quarterbacks, and could be drafted as high as No. 2 by the Cleveland Browns. There’s competition for the top spot, most notably from North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz. For the record, Wentz has 10-inch hands.

Goff found it comical that such a statistic could hurt his draft stock, or impact the quality he put on film during three seasons with the Golden Bears. His best season was his last, throwing for 4,719 yards, 43 touchdowns and just 13 interceptions.

He also had 37 fumbles in three seasons, which media attributed to small hands. Goff scoffed when questioned about the issue, and started this interaction:

“How many did I have this past year?”

“Four.”

“That’s pretty good, right? My freshman year we went 1-11, so things don’t go well when you’re losing so much. I think I’ve improved if I only had four last season and (37) total.”

Goff believes he’s the best quarterback in this draft, and is NFL ready despite nit picking questions about his hands.

“I have tremendous leadership. I’m hard working. I believe I’m going to improve a team the day I get there,” Goff said. “I’m a guy who can play right away, but won’t be upset if I hang back and learn for a while. I’m excited to go through this draft process and I believe I’ll make an impact right away.”

He’d like to go as high as possible, though there is debate whether Goff or Wentz will be the first quarterback off the board. Goff and Wentz have trained together the past six weeks, and haven’t let the competition impede a fast friendship.

“There is a competition when we go out and throw together,” Goff said. “It’s by no means cutthroat, but we push each other to do our best every day.”

The scouting combine is apparently a time to be critical of quarterbacks, even before they go through drills later this week. Goff was questioned about his ability to function in inclement weather – the quarterback-needy Browns often play in muck – and how playing in a spread offense at Cal will hinder him in a pro-style scheme.

Goff isn’t worried about much, including real or perceived detractions.

“There will be a transition, as there would be for any quarterback entering the NFL,” Goff said. “I’m excited for the opportunity, though. I believe my skill set translates well, and I think I’ll do well as a professional.”

The Novato native is still having fun with the draft process despite increased scrutiny, which should ramp up in the coming weeks.

“I’ve talked to other pro quarterbacks, and they told me to enjoy the process and just be yourself,” Goff said. “It can be tiresome and you can run out of gas, but you have to keep going and find ways to have fun with it and soak it all in.”

Ex-Cal football player Eric Stevens fighting for ALS cure after diagnosis

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AP

Ex-Cal football player Eric Stevens fighting for ALS cure after diagnosis

Former Cal Bears fullback Eric Stevens now is a Los Angeles City firefighter. He knows what it's like to put others' lives ahead of his own. 

Now, his family hopes those will return the favor.

Stevens was diagnosed with ALS at the age of 29, soon after getting married to the woman of his dreams.

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Let’s help Eric #axeALS!!!! #TeamStevensNation

A post shared by Stevens Nation (@teamstevensnation) on

"The diagnosis and subsequent education they received about the horrific disease was the worst news one could ever imagine," a Facebook post dedicated to "Team Stevens Nation," described.

ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis -- also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, is a debilitating and incurable disease that causes the death of neurons controlling voluntary muscles. With a life expectancy between two and five years, paralysis comes much quicker. And there is much unknown about it. 

While there are many treatments going through clinical trials that are showing promise, there is still a 50 percent chance those could receive a placebo over the actual treatment.

"There is NO reason why a person with a terminal diagnosis should receive placebo over the actual treatment," the Facebook page explains. "Another downside to these clinical trials is they are a year-long process, and time is the one thing ALS patients don't have. Every single day without treatment is a day lost."

Those can donate to and share the family's GoFundMe page here

Stevens, now 30, totaled 14 carries for 53 yards, and 13 catches for 82 yards and one touchdown in his career at Cal that spanned from 2008-2012. But despite playing sparingly, he was voted team captain.

He was signed by the Rams as an undrafted free agent in 2013, but never played a snap in the NFL.

[RELATED: A's Piscotty accepts prestigious Hutch Award]

"Given his strong determination and success in anything he puts his mind to, Eric has chosen to fight and advocate for getting drugs and treatments available to patients NOW," the Facebook group wrote. "Eric's goal with the help of his family and friends is to raise awareness for ALS and act now toward getting treatments available."

Gavin Newsom signs 'Fair Pay to Play' act with LeBron James on 'The Shop'

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USATSI

Gavin Newsom signs 'Fair Pay to Play' act with LeBron James on 'The Shop'

Monday was a monumental day in college athletics.

California Governor Gavin Newsom went on HBO and Uninterrupted's "The Shop" to formally sign California's "Fair Pay to Play" act alongside Lakers star LeBron James.

The law will allow college athletes in the state of California to profit off the use of their name, image and likeness, and will make it illegal for universities to revoke a student's scholarship for accepting money. The bill will not pay athletes to play, but it will allow them to sign agents and seek out business deals.

"[Signing the bill] is going to initiate dozens of other states to introduce similar legislation," Newsom said on "The Shop" prior to signing the bill. "And it’s going to change college sports for the better by having now the interests, finally, of the athletes, on par with the interests of the institutions. Now we’re rebalancing that power arrangement."

The bill will go into effect Jan. 1, 2023.

Warriors forward Draymond Green has been a vocal proponent of the bill, and he gave Newsom props after the signing.

Newsom's bill has faced blowback from both California schools and the NCAA, as it would make it impossible for those schools to follow the NCAA's amateurism rules. The NCAA has called the bill unconstitutional and will challenge it in court.

The NCAA responded with a statement.

The Pac-12 also issued a statement. 

[RELATED: Draymond supports California bill for NCAA athletes]

The signing of the bill is expected to cause an avalanche of states to pass similar legislation and fundamentally change how amateurism and college athletics are viewed.

Well done, Gov. Newsom.