Former Patriots linebacker and current Houston sports radio host Ted Johnson joined Dennis & Callahan Thursday morning to talk about the concussion dangers in football. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Former Patriots linebacker Ted Johnson is a big advocate of post-concussion syndrome. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Former Patriots linebacker Ted Johnson is a big advocate of post-concussion syndrome. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Former Patriots linebacker and current Houston sports radio host Ted Johnson joined Dennis & Callahan Thursday morning to talk about the concussion dangers in football. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Johnson dealt with post-concussion syndrome after he retired in 2005 and the topic has come up again this week after 24-year-old 49ers linebacker Chris Borland retired because of fears of brain damage.

When Johnson retired there wasn’t much information about the serious dangers of concussions, but can relate to what Borland felt.

“I retired in the summer of 2005, the first day of training camp in 2005,” Johnson said. “I knew almost going into the offseason after we won our Super Bowl against the Philadelphia Eagles in 2004, I kinda knew that it might be coming to the end for me, but I wasn’t quite sure. I just knew my head hurt. I knew [from a] behavioral standpoint things weren’t right. I just knew my mood was shifting and something was wrong. I feel like I made the right decision.

“I feel like in a way I was maybe like what Patrick Willis, after his his eighth year shutting it down. I feel like after my 10th year that I was making the right decision even though I wasn’t educated and I wasn’t full informed on what I was dealing with. There was no name to what I had or what I was feeling. … For me I could relate to a lot of what Chris was going through and maybe what Patrick Willis and other guys who have retired because of the way their heads were feeling. I feel like for me in a lot of respects I don’t have a lot of regrets in that regard.”

The former linebacker said he didn’t know what post-concussion syndrome was until after a year after he retired and he started speaking with Chris Nowinski, the co-founder and president of Sports Legacy Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated to researching concussions. Johnson said he will be sharing his brain with Nowinski once he dies.

Johnson said the NFL and NFL doctors knew the dangers of concussions when he played, but just didn’t share the information.

“I know I have heard doctors from different teams reference post concussion syndrome,” he said. “This is the thing, if you remember back in the early 90s and remember Steve Young and Troy Aikman and remember watching football and the commentators would be like, ‘That is Troy’s seventh concussion, he better be careful. Oh, that is Steve Young’s eighth concussion, he better be careful.’ But, they would never finish the thought. It would be like he has to be careful, what do you mean he has to be careful? They knew something was wrong about concussions, but they never finished the thought.

“Can you imagine now? ‘Yeah, that is Tom Brady‘s eighth concussion, he better be careful.’ That would never be allowed now. They’ve come a long way, but I firmly believe the NFL and doctors, I mean it would be negligent on their part not to know that there was risks of having multiple concussions. I absolutely knew, actually feel in my heart of hearts they knew and just never shared that information.”

On a different topic, three years ago, on a Houston radio station Johnson called Vince Wilfork‘s wife Bianca the ugliest spouse of any of his former teammates. Wilfork is now a Houston Texan and Johnson still regrets his comments. He added it was a big pickup for the Texans, as Wilfork will help out their defensive line.

“That was a horrible mistake,” Johnson said. “That was about three years ago, I was doing a bit on another show that I had never done before and like my old man always says,’The best lessons in life always come at your own expense.’ I learned a hard lesson right there. That was a horrible mistake and I have put it behind me. It is something I regret every single day. Speaking on Vince Wilfork’s part coming here to Houston, it’s a huge pick up for these guys. Obviously the familiarity Vince has with Romeo CrennelMike Vrabel and Bill O’Brien is a big part. He is going to make that defensive line all the more better with J.J. Watt, hopefully Jadeveon Clowney comes back from his knee stuff. That was a massive, massive pickup for the Texans.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

WEEI.com will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that may be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2015 NFL draft. Here is one is a series of profiles of players who could be on the board when it’s time for the Patriots to make a selection.

A.J. Cann (right) (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

A.J. Cann (right) is known as a standout run blocker. (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

A.J. CANN

Position: Guard

School: South Carolina

Height: 6-foot-4

Weight: 311 pounds

Achievements: 2014 All-American, 2014 All-SEC, 2013 All-SEC, 2011 Freshman All-America first team

What he brings: Scouts see Cann as one of the best run blockers among guards in the draft. He uses his bulk and strength to drive defenders back and create holes for running backs. He is athletic for his size and is expected to be able to move around and get to the area where blocks need to be made. He is not as tall as many other offensive linemen, but experts like how he uses his strength and athleticism to overcome his size difference.

Where the Patriots could get him: Rounds 2-3

Notes: Cann was named permanent team captain to start his 2013 junior year and was named captain again in 2014. He started all but one game through his four years at South Carolina. ESPN.com ranks Cann as the third guard and 60th overall in the draft.

Related articles:

GoGamecocks.com: Cann’s draft diary

Greenville Online: Cann on NFL-readiness

Video: Here’s an analysis of A.J. Cann’s game from Senior Bowl executive director Phil Savage.

Blog Author: 
Nik Beimler

CHESTNUT HILL — Tyler Murphy has overcome big odds before.

The quarterback who made a name for himself in one season at Boston College as a graduate student came to The Heights as a quarterback who was tossed aside by the University of Florida.

During Florida’s 2013 homecoming loss to Vanderbilt, Murphy injured his shoulder, and redshirt freshman quarterback Skyler Mornhinweg played in Florida’s final 3 games. The 2013 Gators team finished 4-8, marking their 1st losing record since 1979 and the 1st time since 1990 that they didn’t play in a bowl. But if there was one thing the Florida quarterback became known for during his short stint in Gainesville, it was his ability to run with the football.

After the poor 2013 season, Murphy became one of several Florida players who chose to transfer to a different school. He transferred to Boston College in January 2014 as a graduate student.

Boston College coach Steve Addazio, and former Florida offensive coordinator, named him the team’s starting quarterback after the school’s annual Spring game, which served as a tryout for Murphy as well as the other, younger quarterbacks on the team.

Murphy immediately blossomed in his new home. His ability as a running quarterback fit in perfectly with Addazio’s rush-heavy offense. Over the season, Murphy lead the team to a 7’€“6 record, highlighted by a upset victory over No. 9 USC in October, a game in which Murphy ran for 191 yards. He broke the school record for rushing yards by a quarterback (both single-season and career), passing BC legend Doug Flutie in only nine games. In the final game of the season against Syracuse, he broke the ACC single-season rushing record by a quarterback with 1,079 yards.

“He’ll have to play that position,” Addazio said Wednesday. “The simple answer is yes. But he can do a lot of things. He is an elite athlete. These guys are all talking about it here. He’s an elite athlete. He’ll do whatever it takes, yeah. Whatever he has to do, no doubt.”

The real question is will an NFL team see enough from Murphy to either take a chance with a late-round pick or (more likely) sign him as a rookie free agent?

“Well, a lot of people are talking about him because he’s very versatile” Addazio said. “He’s running real well. He will do everything here really well. He’s a young quarterback so I think he’s caught the eye of a lot of people. He’s kind of a different guy. He’s extremely athletic and he’s extremely versatile. He’s needs to develop in the throw game. He’s got a great attitude. They all love him. The minute they minute him, they love who he is and what he is all about. So I think someone is going to get a great find in him, I really do. He can do a lot of stuff. He’s an elite athlete.”

But more than anything, according to Addazio, what sticks out about Murphy is his remarkable maturity as a 23-year-old quarterback who led Eagles to an unlikely Pinstripe Bowl bid against Penn State.

“He’s just got a great maturity about him,” Addazio said. “He’s been through a lot, a lot of coaches, a lot of coordinators, a lot of ups and downs. I think he was just so grateful and thrilled to have a program that was his, so to speak. He blended so well with our team. They loved him. He went out and had his best year. He’s not played a lot of football. That’s the amazing thing here. He played a little bit at Florida, the year before he came here and he played last year. So, he’s still going through that whole evolution of what young quarterbacks go through, especially in the throw game where things happen fast. He handled it all with grace and dignity, and he kept his competitiveness. And in the most competitive moments, he made some of the most competitive plays. So, there’s a future for Tyler, no doubt.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia
Andy Gallik (59) anchored a powerful offensive line at Boston College. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Andy Gallik (59) anchored a powerful offensive line at Boston College. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

CHESTNUT HILL — Of the 18 players on the field turf of the bubble-covered Alumni Stadium, no one has a bigger and brighter projected future in the NFL than center Andy Gallik. And his coach at Boston College made that much clear Wednesday during BC’s annual Pro Day workout.

“Andy’s going to have a great future playing,” Steve Addazio said of the All-ACC center Everybody likes him. His film doesn’t lie. He has really good film. He’s done well in the different workouts he’s had. The line coaches that have met with him or worked him out like him a lot. I’m sure he’s going to do well.”

Gallik is a pure center capable of playing guard but that’s not where Addazio, an offensive line guru himself, sees the stoudt lineman playing at the next level.

“He’s not strictly a center. He can play guard but he’s uniquely a good center,” Addazio said. “But he sure could play guard but he’s just got that knack. To watch him snap. To watch him shotgun snap a ball for example, or under center snap it and pull to the perimeter, I think he’s gifted. He’s one of the better guys I’ve seen do that. It’s just natural for him. He’s got great balance and he can run. I don’t know what the 40-times are but when you watch him on film, he runs well when he pulls and I think that’s a unique ability he has. And he’s bright. He calls every protection.”

Gallik’s resume is beyond impressive. He started all 12 regular-season games at center. He was named one of six Rimington Trophy finalists, awarded to the nation’s top center. He earned All-Atlantic Coast Conference first-team honors from the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association and second-team honors by the head coaches.

He also earned All-New England recognition by the area’s writers and named to ESPN.com’s All-ACC Team. He earned ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week honors after leading the Eagles to 452 rushing yards, five rushing touchdowns and 506 total yards in the 37-31 upset of No. 9 Southern California (Sept. 13). Gallik graded out at 85 percent and had three knockdowns in the victory. He was a key member of the offensive line that produced the 14th-best rushing attack in the nation, averaging 251.8 yards per game, second-best in the ACC.

The Eagles racked up 500 yards of offensive three times in 2014 and 400 yards twice more. BC became the second ACC school since 2000 to record back-to-back games of at least 400 rushing yards (USC and 413 vs. Maine, Sept. 20). The Eagles rushed for 100+ yards four times, 200+ four times and 300+ yards twice. He paved the way for quarterback Tyler Murphy to break the ACC single-season record for rushing yards by a quarterback (1,079) and BC’s career QB rushing yards record.

“I can’t figure out anymore who goes where and all that. I can’t even figure out sometimes why certain guys don’t get invited to the combine,” Addazio said. “I think it’s kind of laughable. I’ve made my living coaching the offensive line. I think I have a pretty good handle on who’s a good player, who’s not a good player. I don’t know. There’s so much that must go on that I must not know. But Andy is really talented and a really good player and he’ll do well.

“One of the things here for our offensive linemen, we coach them really hard. They’re tough here. They come out of here that means they’ve been coached really hard, they’re physical, they’re tough, they’re prepared to handle [different schemes]. We’re not just in some spread scheme here. We’re in a multiple scheme. They understand a power run game. They understand multiple protections. They’re pretty well developed and prepared to go play at the next level. So I think that he’ll be able to go in. And he’s smart. Those guys can go in and make an impact pretty quickly. So, he’ll be able to go help somebody.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

The Patriots officially announced the signings of defensive lineman Alan Branch and cornerbacks Bradley Fletcher and Robert McClain on Wednesday afternoon. Here’€™s a portion of the statement from the team on the moves:

Branch, 30, originally was signed by the Patriots on Oct. 29, 2014. The 6-foot-6, 325-pounder, played in eight games with two starts for New England in the regular season and finished with 14 tackles, two quarterback hits and one pass defensed. He played in all three postseason games, including Super Bowl XLIX and totaled seven tackles. Branch is a veteran of eight NFL seasons with the Arizona Cardinals (2007-10), Seattle Seahawks (2011-12), Buffalo Bills (2013) and Patriots (2014). Branch entered the NFL as a second-round (33rd overall) draft pick out of Michigan by Arizona in the 2007 NFL Draft. He joined Seattle as an unrestricted free agent in 2011 and Buffalo as an unrestricted free agent in 2013. He went to training camp with Buffalo last summer but was released on Aug. 24. Branch has started in 49 of 102 NFL games and has recorded 184 total tackles and eight sacks.

Fletcher, 28, is a veteran of six NFL seasons with the St. Louis Rams (2009-12) and the Philadelphia Eagles (2013-14). The 6-foot, 200-pounder, has played in 71 NFL games with 54 starts and registered 306 total tackles, one sack, eight interceptions with one returned for a touchdown, 64 passes defensed, two forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and 11 special teams tackles. He has played in one postseason game in 2013 with Philadelphia and added seven total tackles and one interception. Last season with the Eagles, Fletcher started in all 15 games that he played and tallied 66 total tackles, one interception that he returned 34 yards for a touchdown vs. Carolina on Nov. 10 and 26 passes defensed. Fletcher originally entered the NFL as a third-round (66th overall) draft pick by the St. Louis Rams out of Iowa in 2009. He was signed by Philadelphia as an unrestricted free agent from St. Louis on March 12, 2013.

McClain, 26, is a veteran of four NFL seasons with the Carolina Panthers (2010), the Jacksonville Jaguars (2011) and the Atlanta Falcons (2012-14). The 5-foot-9, 195-pounder, has played in 63 NFL games with 17 starts and has tallied 202 total tackles, three interceptions, 21 passes defensed, two forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries. He has also played in two postseason games in 2012 with Atlanta where he finished with one assisted tackle. Last season with the Falcons, he played in 16 games with six starts and finished with 60 total tackles, one sack, two interceptions and five passes defensed. McClain originally entered the NFL as a seventh-round draft pick (249th overall) by Carolina out of Connecticut in 2010. After being released by Carolina at the end of training camp in 2011, he was signed by the Jacksonville Jaguars on Dec. 12 but was released on Dec. 29. McClain was inactive during his two-game stint with Jaguars. He signed with Atlanta as a free agent on Jan. 10, 2012.
 

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

Many topics will be discussed next week at the NFL owners meetings in Phoenix — one of them being the rules within the game.

Prior to the meetings teams can submit rule change proposals, and the Patriots have submitted three:

1. Challenges to include anything
Coaches could challenge any part of plays, including penalties.

2. Fixed cameras on boundary lines
This is a topic Bill Belichick has talked about for years where he would like cameras positioned on all boundary lines (sidelines, end lines, goal lines), instead of using the TV camera angles for reviews. Belichick thinks this would help get all calls right via instant replay.

3. Extra points moved back to the 15-yard line
This is another topic Belichick has talked about for years. To make the extra-point a more competitive play, he would like the ball to be placed on the 15-yard line, opposed to the 2-yard line.

Also of note, the competition committee has a proposal that would require an eligible receiver who reports as ineligible be restricted to line up within the tackle box. This comes after the AFC divisional round when the Patriots declared eligible receivers ineligible, and helped them in their comeback win over the Ravens.

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

WEEI.com will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that may be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2015 NFL draft. Here is one is a series of profiles of players who could be on the board when it’s time for the Patriots to make a selection.

Josue Matias (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Josue Matias did not post great numbers at the combine, but he helped Florida State win a national championship. (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

JOSUE MATIAS

Position: Guard

School: Florida State

Height: 6-foot-6

Weight: 325 pounds

Achievements: 2014 All-ACC, 2013 All-ACC, 2012 All-ACC

What he brings: Many scouts see Matias as a sound all-around player who can play a complementary role on an offensive line, but he isn’t expected to be a star. He is praised for using his size and length to reach defenders first and establish a base in pass protection, and keeping his motor running in the running game to move defenders out of the way. The main concern has to do with his athleticism, as he is on the slower side after his first step, and he may have trouble moving his big frame to the point of contact on mobile blocks.

Where the Patriots could get him: Rounds 6-7

Notes: Matias had some injury trouble in high school, which led to him missing his senior season with a knee problem, but he made 43 consecutive starts for the Seminoles dating back to his 2011 freshman season. ESPN.com ranks him as the 11th guard and 190th overall in the draft. Matias did not test particularly well at the combine, finishing toward the bottom in all of the speed/agility tests that he participated in. Following his disappointing results at the combine, NFL.com’s Gil Brandt said that, despite not looking athletic, “Matias was a three-year starter on a very successful team. He also simply did not give up sacks.” His name is pronounced Hoe-sway Muh-tee-us.

Related articles:

CBSSports.com: Q&A with Matias from October 2014

New York Post: Matias’ journey from NJ to FSU

Video: Matias (70) and the rest of the FSU offensive line match up against Clemson in 2013.

Blog Author: 
Nik Beimler

Cornerback Robert McClain tweeted out the news Wednesday afternoon that he had apparently agreed to a deal with the Patriots.

Thankful to have the opportunity to continue my career with the @Patriots

— Robert McClain (@bobbymac36) March 18, 2015

Cornerback Robert McClain tweeted out the news Wednesday afternoon that he had apparently agreed to a deal with the Patriots.

The 5-foot-9, 180-pound McClain, a seventh-round pick of the Panthers in 2010, has spent four seasons in the league, and has three picks and 158 tackles in his professional career. The former UConn standout had his best season last year with the Falcons, where he started six games, had one sack, two interceptions and added 49 tackles.

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price