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Is there a referee crisis for the NFL?

Florida Football Insiders



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

Florida Football Insiders



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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Former Bucs first round pick McCants arrested, again

Florida Football Insiders



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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Is former FSU now Eagles DB Ronald Darby in jeopardy in Winston investigation?

Florida Football Insiders



Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Former Florida State and now, Philadelphia Eagles defensive back Ronald Darby, who was part of their Superbowl win in February, may be in jeopardy of having violated the NFL’s personal conduct policy in the Jameis Winston investigation.

Darby, who’s 24 was Winston’s teammate at Florida State, was drafted by the Bills in the the same 2015 draft that the Bucs took Winston #1 overall, and also just completed his third year in the league.

And central to the investigation, he claims he was with Winston in the vehicle in Arizona on the night in March of 2016, when a female Uber driver maintains that Winston inappropriately touched her. Darby gave a statement after the incident, which maintained that he was in the vehicle the entire time and that Winston did nothing wrong.

As we wrote Thursday night, the NFL, after investigating the accusation for 10 months, is poised to suspend Winston at least three games for upcoming season, as soon as Friday.

Well now, there is more information coming out from NFL Network reporter Mike Garafolo  on the network’s “NFL Total Access” show Thursday night. Garafolo has learned from sources that part of the NFL’s finding is that Winston and Darby were lying about Darby being in the car the entire time.

This is a critical piece to the puzzle of what went on that night in Arizona. And as adamant as Winston and Darby both were last Winter (almost 18 months after the incident), if it has been disproven, then Darby could be facing suspension as well.

For the record, Winston claimed that there was another unnamed person in the Uber vehicle that night. That person has never been identified to this point. Reportedly, Winston’s girlfriend at the time, now fiance, Breion Allen, was with him that weekend in Arizona, but was not the unnamed third person in the Uber that night.

Back to Darby. He battled injuries after being traded to Philly in 2017 and was limited to just eight regular season games. However, he made four tackles and defended a pass in the Eagles 41-33 championship win over the Patriots. He is entering the final year of his rookie deal.

Darby is no stranger to Winston and his controversies, as he was a witness in Winston’s sexual assault accusation at their apartment in Tallahassee in December of 2012. Winston was a red-shirt quarterback (not active) and would become a much bigger star in 2013. That’s when he led FSU to an unbeaten season and the National Title with Darby part of the that team.

Darby gave a sworn affidavit in late 2013, almost a year after the incident, backing Winston’s claim that Winston and the accuser, FSU student Erica Kinsman, had consensual sex.

Again, we await the NFL making public their findings in the investigation of the March 2016 incident. They will notify Winston in writing of what they found and what their proof/reasoning is for the suspension.

And, the league may very well shed light on Darby’s situation and could, emphasis on could, take action against him, too.

So, now we wait.

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