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Former Canes coach Dennis Erickson new AAF Spring league Salt Lake City coach

Florida Football Insiders

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James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

The new attempt at a Spring football league, the Alliance of American Football (AAF), continues to name franchise cities and new head coaches. And the one taking the helm of the new Salt Lake City, UT, team is familiar to fans in the state of Florida.

A source close to Dennis Erickson confirmed to F.F.I. that Erickson will be named the new head coach of the Salt Lake City team at a press conference on Wednesday afternoon.

Erickson had most recently been assistant head coach/running backs coach at the University of Utah under Kyle Wittingham for four seasons until he retired after the 2016 season. He is best known for his six year run in Coral Gables replacing Jimmy Johnson (1989-94), where Miami won two National Championships, and his QB, Gino Toretta, won the Heisman Trophy.

Erickson left for the NFL to coach the Seahawks 1995-98. He later coached at Oregon State, back in the NFL with the 49ers (2003-04), and then back to college with Arizona State starting in 2007. That season, he led the Sun Devils back to prominence with a 10-2 finish, a share of the then-Pac-10 title and was named coach of the year in the conference.

The AAF has already announced three previous franchise locations and head coaches, including the team coming to Orlando in February of 2019 that will be coached by former Gators legend Steve Spurrier. Spurrier is no stranger to a Spring league, as his first head coaching job was with the very successful Tampa Bay Bandits of the USFL in the 1980’s. He was also briefly (2002-03) head coach of the Redskins.

The new league also named an Atlanta franchise with former Vikings coach Brad Childress as the coach, and last week announced a Memphis franchise with former 49ers coach and Bears Hall of Famer, Mike Singletary, to lead them.

So, the hiring of Erickson by the AAF fits the pattern of established head coaches with previous NFL head coaching experience.

It has also been reported that the AAF will have a “Southern California” team, that may play in San Diego, and former UCLA, 49ers, and University of Washington coach Rick Neuheisel is expected to be their head coach.

The league also announced Wednesday that they will have a new franchise in Tempe, AZ and will name that coach at a press conference on Friday afternoon.

The AAF plans to have eight total teams play a 10 game schedule from February to April of 2019, and already have a national TV/cable deal with CBS Sports for their “game of the week.”

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New Jersey authorities charge Janoris Jenkins brother in homicide at his home

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Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

It only took a little over 24 hours for authorities in Bergen County, New Jersey to make an arrest in the homicide at the home of New York Giants defensive back Janoris Jenkins. And as it turns out, Jenkins older brother William is being charged aggravated manslaughter in the death of 25-year-old Roosevelt Rene.

Rene, who had been staying at the Jenkins home as a guest and friend of the family, was found by a worker in the basement of the home on Tuesday morning.

The 34 year old older brother, William Jenkins had been taken into custody early Tuesday in New Jersey and was sent to Ontario County, New York on a parole violation. He is in the process of being extradited across the New York/New Jersey state lines to Bergen County to face the manslaughter charge.

On Monday evening the NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported that Rene had been strangled or suffocated to death.

Meanwhile. Janoris Jenkins, who just completed his second season with the Giants after signing as a free agent, is reportedly still in Florida. And, he has yet to comment either himself or through a spokesperson about the death at his home.

Janoris Jenkins was not believed to have been home this weekend as neighbors  reported that he and his girlfriend had gone to Florida two weeks ago after Giants mini-camp at concluded.

The Giants have had no comment other than they are monitoring the situation.

As we wrote on Monday, Jenkins is a former star at Pahokee High School where they won the state championship and was part of the Gators National Championship season of 2008 as a freshman in Gainesville.

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Is there a referee crisis for the NFL?

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Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Over the course of the past couple of weeks a story has developed that isn’t getting nearly as much attention as it probably should.

Yes, whether or not Bucs QB Jameis Winston is suspended for at least the first three games of the season is a big deal.

Whether or not Quarterback Tom Brady and tight end Rob Gronkowski are happy or unhappy with the New England Patriots and coach Bill Belichick is also a big deal.

And yes, whether or not players, like Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald and Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones, can get new contracts or will be holding out come training camp next month is again, a big deal.

However, we haven’t seen nearly as much coverage on something that is also very significant once the game start being played. There are four former NFL referees from a year ago that have all resigned/retired and that’s a big number all at once.

As is laid out here, with the NBC official announcement Thursday that former referee Terry McAulay will be joining NBC Sunday Night Football in the booth, that means three of them will be in the Network TV booth this fall:

There has already been some eyebrow raising at Triplette going to Monday Night Football as a rules expert for ESPN, but they obviously had a need when Gerry Austin agreed to go join former MNF analyst Jon Gruden in a newly created position with the Raiders.

And as for Steratore, who worked Superbowl 52 last year, he will serve not only in the booth with the Jim Nantz and Tony Romo, but will be used as a college basketball rules analyst this winter for CBS’ hoops coverage. He’s shown above dealing with Seahawks coach Pete Carroll being on the field and flagged 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct in their December loss at the Jaguars.

The fourth referee is Ed Hochuli, who is retiring and yet to have a TV role, if there is one for him.

The bigger point is that everyone of these head referees are long time veterans and represent approximately 25-30% of the referees who work weekends in the NFL.

And in the cases of Steratore and McAulay, they are younger than Triplette and Hochuli, and could have conceivably been referees another 10 years or so, had they wanted.

So, why didn’t they want to continue?

Former supervisor of the NFL officials and now Fox TV rules analyst, Mike Pereira, has repeatedly expressed that due to the micromanaging that HD replay reviews have caused, that many of the “rank and file” are disgruntled and discouraged.

And, if several on field officials can follow his lead and end up with a high paying network TV gig, then who can begrudge them?

Still, we at F.F.I. can’t hope but wonder if this kind of turnover with head referees will have some effect with the new ones taking over botching calls or situations come this fall.

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Former Bucs first round pick McCants arrested, again

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The sad tale of former Buccaneers number one pick Keith McCants continues, as early Monday morning he was arrested, yet again, this time in St. Petersburg for drug possession.

McCants, who was taken fourth overall as the Bucs first round pick in 1990, was booked in the Pinellas County jail for felony possession of crack cocaine.

According to jail records, this is the ninth different time that McCants has been arrested on some charge in the Tampa Bay area in the last eight years.

McCants, now 50 years old, never lived up to the billing of being taken in the top five, as he played only three seasons in Tampa Bay,. He battled weight and knee problems and only registered 12 sacks in three seasons. He also played for the Oilers and the Cardinals in subsequent seasons, but was out of the NFL by 1995.

McCants has repeatedly tried to get his life in order, including giving motivational speeches and writing an essay in the Sporting News in 2011 warning younger players about dangers with drugs, etc. and his troubles. 

The former Alabama All American was also featured on the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary “Broke” in 2012, where he detailed how he had lost all of his $4.5 million dollars from his playing career.

McCants was booked at 4:24 a.m. in the Pinellas County Jail Monday morning and bonded out at $2,000  on the felony charge for drug possession, and also for driving with a revoked or suspended license.

One of McCants previous arrests was for driving with a suspended license in January of this year and he was to have stood trial on July 10th on that charge.

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