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Breaking: Former Dolphins Nick Buoniconti speaks out about brain disorder

Ari Russell

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According to an in depth report that will come out this week in Sports Illustrated, former Miami Dolphins LB Nick Buoniconti has been suffering from what appears to be a brain disorder. According to the story, Buoniconti has fallen multiple times, has memory loss and even has hard a time doing simple tasks such as putting on a shirt over the past four years.

Though he hasn’t officially been diagnosed with CTE, signs are really starting to point to that being the case. He’s also not the only member of the 1972 Miami Dolphins undefeated team that has had some brain issues. RB Jim Kiick, who had terrible living conditions before being moved to an assisted-living facility has been suffering from early onset Alzheimers. Back up QB Earl Morrell died in 2014 had one of the most advanced stages of CTE. Bill Stanfill who died in 2016 had been diagnosed with Dementia at the age of 69.

The Miami Herald has more:

Former Dolphins defensive lineman Manny Fernandez said last year that four members of 1972 Dolphins had cognitive issues but understandably declined to identify them. Former star safety Dick Anderson said two of those four require assistance, though Anderson and Fernandez note it’s impossible to know whether those four have CTE, Alzheimer’s Disease or advanced dementia.

Fernandez relayed a story from 2015 of when he left his home north of Albany, Georgia., to drive to South Florida for a funeral. Two and half hours later, he realized he had left his suit and garment bag at home.

For the full article click here.

Nick Buoniconti is a figure known even outside of 1970s football as he spent over two decades on the weekly cable show “Inside the NFL” alongside NFL Hall of Famer Len Dawson. Buoniconti is speaking out about his condition to raise awareness of the brain issues a lot of former players are seeming to get later in life. The fact that so many high profile members of the iconic 1972 Miami Dolphins team, the last to go unscathed en-route to winning the Super Bowl, are suffering physically may open more eyes to the effects football has on the human brain. It also speaks to the need for the NFL to come up with a more concrete policy in regards to dealing with the health of the former players.

Brain injuries have been a touchy subject for the league. However, the raising of awareness by former players such as Nick Buoniconti ought to push the conversation into a more reasonable arena. It should open up the eyes of the current NFLPA in how they negotiate the next collective bargaining agreement, to potentially include long term care for those who played in the league and suffer major effects from the injuries they sustained while playing. Either way this is going to be a tough story to digest once Sports Illustrated releases it, considering how beloved Nick Buoniconti is in the South Florida community.

Born in the Nation’s Capital, Washington D.C., Ari Russell watched the rise of the 1980’s Miami Hurricanes and knew that he had to be part of the “U” someday. After graduating from Coral Gables, Ari rose through the ranks of the former XM Satellite Radio and then Sirius/XM as college football executive producer. He later spent 2 seasons as the publisher of the website “Beyond U Sports” focusing on major college football/basketball. Ari brings a great perspective on everything Miami, including the Dolphins to F.F.I.

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Bama QB Tua Tagovailoa present to start NFL combine

Florida Football Insiders

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John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL Scouting Combine is getting underway in Indianapolis this week and on Monday morning, one of the prized quarterbacks that will be available early in the first round of the draft was there for official measurements and to meet with teams.

Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa, whose season ended with a fractured hip last November, is on the road to recovery and he was officially measured and also, met with numerous teams that are looking at the possibility of drafting him:

In addition to not only the injured hip, but also a history of high ankle sprain problems, Tagovailoa has got to answer critics on his size. At just 6 – 0 feet there will be concerns about his ability to clearly see downfield through the massive bodies on NFL Sundays.

However, this can be combated by moving him around out of the pocket and that’s something that Alabama was successful at doing over his three years as well.

As we wrote recently, Tagovailoa was injured in Alabama’s 10th game of the season suffering a fractured hip on a sack late in the first half at Mississippi State. He missed the Tide’s final two regular-season games and then, their Citrus Bowl win January 1st, over Michigan

He came to Alabama from Hawaii and the same high school as Marcus Mariota, having thrown for over 8,000 yards which at that time was a Hawaii High School record. And, he had a career of 84 passing and 27 rushing touchdowns in three seasons.

Tua burst onto the scene nationally, when he relieved Jalen Hurts in the second half and overtime of Alabama’s thrilling title game win over Georgia in the 2018 College Football Playoff Championship Game. Tagovailoa threw the game-winning touchdown pass on the first overtime possession, as Alabama celebrated their fifth National Title in nine seasons under Saban.

In his second season at the helm in the 2018 regular season, Tagovailoa was named second-team AP All-American and was a Heisman Trophy finalist, as the Tide reached the National Title game, again, before being beaten soundly by Clemson 12 months ago.

As this junior season unfolded, Tagovailoa was named almost became synonymous with the Dolphins, who started the season horribly at 0 – 7 and the moniker “Tank for Tua” began to gain momentum in South Florida.

Tagovailoa is obviously on the Dolphins list to look at strongly to select in the top five in the draft and currently, Miami is slated to pick fifth.

It is expected that Tagovailoa will work out for teams probably later in March or maybe even, early April at the Tide’s facility in Tuscaloosa, prior to the NFL draft coming to Las Vegas.

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Colorado announced hire of Dolphins assistant Dorrel Sunday

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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Former UCLA coach and recently promoted Dolphins assistant Karl Dorrell is headed back to college, as the new head coach of the Colorado Buffaloes.

The school confirmed Dorrell’s hire on Sunday evening with a five-year contract to take over their Big 12 program:

The Buffaloes have been seeking a head coach since there coach Mel Tucker abruptly left to take the Michigan State job earlier this month.

Dorrell came to the dolphins with Brian Flores this past season, as wide receiver coach and earlier last week was promoted to assistant head coach for the upcoming season. Miami’s top receiver, DeVante Parker, blossomed under Dorrell’s tutelage as the year went on. He finished the season with 72 catches for 1,202 yards and nine touchdowns becoming the favorite target of QB Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Dorrel is the latest Dolphins assistant on the move. Flores fired the offensive coordinator Chad O’Shea he brought with him from New England. And, his defensive coordinator Patrick Graham left to take the same job with the Giants.

Dorrell had also been the Dolphins receivers coach, previously from 2008 – 10 and then, their quarterbacks coach in 2011 under the late Tony Sparano.

Colorado’s athletic director Rick George said in a statement Sunday night,

“I am excited that Karl Dorrell has agreed to become our head football coach,” George said. “Karl has had great success as a college coach, both as a head coach and an assistant, and he knows the Pac-12 Conference and West Coast well. It was important that our next coach have CU ties, and Karl has those ties having worked at CU twice previously. Karl shares my passion for Colorado and our vision for winning championships. He will be a tremendous mentor and role model for our student-athletes, and he will provide great leadership for our program going forward.” 

The CU Board of Regents still have to approve Dorrell’s contract, which will be $18 million for five seasons.

Dorrell had previously been on Colorado staffs two other times in his career, including most recently as offensive coordinator under Rick Neuheisel from 1995- 98.

Dorrell was named head coach of his alma mater UCLA in 2003, where he lasted five seasons and went to a bowl game every year finishing with a career 35 – 27 record before being fired after the 2007 season.

Dorrell had previously been receivers coach for the New York Jets 2015 – 18 under Todd Bowles (above) and two of his receivers had made the Pro Bowl during his time there.

Colorado picked Dorrell from an interview process that also included former Buffaloes player and Kansas City Super Bowl offensive coordinator Eric Bienemy, who interviewed and was under strong consideration.

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