Chris Harris: An appreciation

We're well into the 2015 offseason now, with the draft quickly approaching. But I’d like to take a moment to congratulate Chris Harris Jr. on his special 2014 campaign. Among other things, Chris won a place on the AP’s All-Pro second team and PFF’s All-Pro first team. That adds to his Pro Bowl status. Rarely has a player deserved an honor more.

The undrafted fourth-year defensive back out of Kansas played 1,004 snaps in the 2014 regular season. He allowed 46 receptions on 89 targets for 356 yards and did not give up a single touchdown. He stole three interceptions, permitting a 47.8 opposing quarterback rating, per Pro Football Focus' metrics. He had 54 tackles, 50 of them solo.

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Football medicine: What comes after opioids?

The problems with overmedication and athletes has been well-known for over half a century. The iconic book - and later movie - North Dallas Forty brought the issue to the public’s eye. Pills and numbing injections were and are used to keep the player from knowing how much damage he was inflicting upon his body.

That’s what pain is - it’s a way of your body telling you that something’s wrong. Block it and you may injure yourself permanently. Oral painkillers were a daily part of life for many, perhaps most of the football players back then. For many players and ex-players of today, they still are.

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Scouting the 2015 Broncos: Jon Halapio

Broncos guard Jon Halapio is a Floridian from St. Petersburg. Signed to the practice squad in December, he remains Denver's property, at least for now. So, I spent some time on him and his film.

Mike Mayock once made a comment. He said to put on some tape of a guy. Don’t look to see which guy it is. If by the middle you’re still not sure which guy you should be watching, he’s not worth watching for. That was pretty much my experience with Halapio.

He chose to attend the University of Florida in 2009. He did so over offers from the University of Colorado and from Notre Dame. He suffered an eye injury that required stitches just three games into his freshman year, and was granted a medical redshirt for the year from that incident. That gave him time away to think.

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Broncography: James Casey

Back in 1986, I bought a house up in the Rocky Mountains and, with the help of some friends, spent a weekend moving my things in. Like a lot of folks, the first thing I hooked up was the stereo. Moving’s always easier with some music to move you. I got up the next morning and rubbed some liniment on the aches. I had breakfast and went to my clinic. Just a normal day.

I got an odd phone call in the afternoon and decided to drive home. I did - and there was no house there. The stereo was off, but had developed a short. It turned itself on and overheated. That started a smoldering fire.

They’d saved the roof and outside walls. Everything else was gone, except for the few things in my car. It was very much as I'd imagine being hit in the stomach by Derek Wolfe would feel. You stand there like an idiot, unable to think or act. You suddenly notice that tears are running down your face. The shock is overwhelming.

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Rivers for Mariota is still a thing

It's been suggested several times over the past couple of months that Philip Rivers might be headed to Tennessee in return for the #2 pick in the upcoming draft, which San Diego would then use to select Marcus Mariota out of Oregon (provided that Tampa Bay goes with Jameis Winston at #1).

Each time, it would have been perfectly reasonable to dismiss the notion as offseason BS or excessive rosterbation. But the rumors haven't died yet, and now the draft is but two weeks away. Here's what's being written about Rivers' future in San Diego:

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Aaron Hernandez found guilty of first-degree murder

A jury has found Aaron Hernandez guilty of first-degree murder in the 2013 shooting death of Odin Lloyd. Hernandez faces a mandatory life sentence without parole.

Co-defendants Carlos Ortiz and Ernest Wallace are due to go on trial for Lloyd's murder at a later point. Hernandez also faces charges in the 2012 drive-by double homicide of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado.

Fifty shades of brown

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Three Broncos sign ERFA tenders

Over the past four days, the Broncos' three exclusive rights free agents signed their respective tenders. Paul Cornick and Ben Garland ($510K each) signed on Friday, while Brandon Marshall ($585K) signed on Monday. These moves are mere formalities, as the players were essentially stuck with the team the moment they were tendered on March 6.

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Broncos add FB/TE James Casey

The Broncos have added yet another player familiar to Gary Kubiak, agreeing to a one-year deal with fullback/tight end James Casey. Originally drafted by Kubiak's Texans in 2009, Casey played four seasons in Houston, parlaying his most productive season into a free agent deal with the Eagles in 2013.

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The 2015 Broncos’ central issue

Like many, I see the option of grabbing a center as a prime goal for the Broncos. Matt Paradis might have come to the point where he’s ready. On the other hand, John Elway has spoken repeatedly on their happiness with OT Michael Schofield. He’s been far less effusive about Paradis, although says that they still have faith in him.

That situation has left me combing through the various centers available this year. Will Montgomery went to the Bears, so an additional change is needed. Who?

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