3 Bangladesh participates in the Free Youth Soccer Battalion as part of its efforts within the Union

With OTAs having wrapped up and training camp still a month away, now is the time for the NFL to focus heavily on youth football camps.

On Tuesday, the league announced 350 current and former NFL players and coaches will host free, non-contact youth football camps for more than 80,000 children across America. That will come through the NFL Foundation, the league’s nonprofit organization representing all 32 clubs, which has also awarded $1 million in grants to support youth football camps.

One NFL player taking part in these youth camps is Cincinnati Bengals cornerback William Jackson III, who is hosting a camp in Houston, Texas. Youth camps like Jackson’s will focus on teaching proper technique across varying skill levels and emphasize teamwork and sportsmanship.

“The NFL is proud to support current and former NFL players and coaches as they give back to their communities and expand opportunities for children to play football and have fun,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. “This summer, thousands of children will attend these free camps and learn the fundamentals of football directly from members of the NFL family who are outstanding role models both on and off the field.”

 

Bengals roster breakdown: 90 players in 90 days

200 of the camp grant recipients are working with USA Football to host FUNdamentals Camps this summer, which introduce young athletes to football by teaching basic skills.

Among the FUNdamentals camp hosts will be Bengals cornerback Darqueze Dennard and quarterback AJ McCarron. Dennard is hosting a camp in Jeffersonville, Georgia. McCarron will host his camp in Mobile, Alabama.

All drills at FUNdamentals camps are based on USA Football’s Player Progression Development Model, ensuring participants learn in an age-appropriate manner.

“The team nature of the military and sports hold distinct similarities – both can foster exceptional character and inspire extraordinary achievement,” said Retired Army General Raymond Odierno, chairman of USA Football, who served as the 38th Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army from 2011-15. “Playing football afforded me these qualities and USA Football’s FUNdamentals camps, made possible through the NFL Foundation, deliver this to thousands of kids today. Our fun and forward-thinking programs open doors to fitness, friendships and life-enriching values that last a lifetime.”

We’ve seen other Bengals hosting football camps this summer, including Dre Kirkpatrick, Tyler Eifert and A.J. Green. Head coach Marvin Lewis also has his own youth camp.

It’s great seeing so many Bengals doing their part in helping coach up future football players.

Former Dolphins DE Jason Taylor to have Jimmy Johnson present him at Hall of Fame induction

Former Miami Dolphins defensive end Jason Taylor will look to a familiar face to present him this summer during his Pro Football Hall of Fame induction. Taylor announced on social media Monday that former head coach Jimmy Johnson will introduce him in Canton, Ohio, on Aug. 5.

Taylor said he took his time in making this decision. Johnson was the coach who drafted Taylor in the third round in 1997 out of the University of Akron and helped mold the defensive end’s early portion of his career.

Taylor, a first-ballot Hall of Famer, finished with a franchise record 139.5 career sacks in 15 seasons. He will join former running back LaDainian Tomlinson, kicker Morten Anderson, running back Terrell Davis, quarterback Kurt Warner and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones as members of the 2017 Hall of Fame class.

Nick Saban: Jonathan Allen a ‘steal’ for Washington Redskins

The way Nick Saban sees it, other teams’ fears about Jonathan Allen were the Washington Redskins’ gain in the 2017 NFL Draft.

Allen, the former Crimson Tide star defensive lineman, was once considered a likely top-five pick, but slid all the way to Washington at No. 17 on draft night.

For Saban, that was a theft by the Redskins.

“[The Redskins] got a steal because if everyone isn’t afraid of his shoulder, which was never a problem, here, he would have been picked in the top five,” Saban told ESPN’s John Keim.

Saban is referring to the concerns about Allen’s surgically repaired shoulders, which are both moderately arthritic. That wasn’t the only concern evaluators had about Allen, though, as one executive predicted a couple weeks before the draft that Allen would be a surprise slider, citing a lack of explosiveness.

Now, before anyone completely dismisses Saban’s comment as just another college coach singing the praises of his former player, keep in mind that the Alabama coach doesn’t think all of his players are steals.

In fact, Saban told Keim that another Tide player picked by the Redskins in the 2017 draft, second-round linebacker Ryan Anderson, “got picked where he should.”

Time will tell if Saban, or the teams that passed on Allen, were right, but Saban’s not alone in his thinking. NFL Network draft expert Mike Mayock called Allen a steal after the Redskins’ pick was announced in Round 1.

If he’s still being called a steal years from now, a few GMs might be wishing they had such foresight.

Ezekiel Elliott phone records turned over to NFL

The NFL Players Association and representatives for Ezekiel Elliott last week turned over phone records and other documents to the NFL as the league continues its investigation into allegations Elliott assaulted his girlfriend last year, a source with knowledge of the communications between the sides told NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo.

The information was shared in an effort for both sides to work toward a conclusion in the matter, Garafolo added.

USA Today’s Tom Pelissero first reported the development.

NFL investigators interviewed the Dallas Cowboys running back in October as part of the league’s ongoing probe into allegations he assaulted his girlfriend last summer.

Elliott’s now ex-girlfriend told police in July that Elliott abused her on five separate occasions from July 17 through July 22, 2016, according to the Columbus (Ohio) City Attorney’s Office. In September, prosecutors announced they would not charge Elliott. However, he remains subject to the NFL’s personal conduct policy.

“After reviewing the totality of the evidence, the City Attorney’s Office, Prosecutor Division is declining to approve criminal charges in this matter for any of the 5 alleged incidents,” the Columbus City Attorney’s Office wrote in a statement. “This is primarily due to conflicting and inconsistent information across all incidents resulting in concern regarding the sufficiency of the evidence to support the filing of criminal charges.”

Elliott, 21, has denied the accusations made by his former girlfriend. He is entering his second NFL season with the Cowboys.