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Which QBs have the 49ers targeted at No. 3 in the NFL draft? Follow the clues – San Francisco 49ers Blog

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SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Imagine if the recent volume of social media inquiries connecting or disconnecting the San Francisco 49ers to quarterbacks Justin Fields, Mac Jones and Trey Lance in the upcoming NFL draft were put into solving actual mysteries.

We’d know the contents of Marsellus Wallace’s briefcase in “Pulp Fiction” and whether Tony Soprano is alive while sitting on the beach near the lost city of Atlantis. If we were really lucky, we could finally get to the bottom of who, exactly, let the dogs out.

But none of that moves the needle like the 49ers’ quarterback quandary.

“We looked at it as to move up to three, we had to feel good that there’s three guys we’d be comfortable with leading our team for a long time and we couldn’t make that decision before there was three guys so we had to feel that way with three,” Niners coach Kyle Shanahan said on March 29. “I think there’s a chance to get there with four and five.”

One thing we know for sure is that this is the season of confirmation bias. Have an opinion about which quarterback you want the 49ers to take? Chances are, you’ll embrace any nugget that supports your choice and ignore anything to the contrary.

Is it possible the 49ers moved to three without a firm decision but knew they wanted to have time to finalize that choice? Sure, but they had to be convinced on three players to make such a bold trade. They could, as Shanahan said, still “get there” with a fourth and fifth quarterback, but that player would have to pass whoever was No. 3 at the time of the trade.

The question, then, is which of the quarterbacks — assuming Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson are the other two — will be third on the Niners’ list come draft night?


The case for Ohio State’s Justin Fields

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Relive the highlights from Justin Fields at Ohio State as the QB is poised to be a top draft pick in the NFL.

Some observers believe Shanahan is hopelessly devoted to immobile pocket quarterbacks who will robotically do everything he wants and nothing more. Shanahan has had success with those pocket quarterbacks, making the best of the hand he’s been dealt. But he hasn’t had a chance to select his own guy from a lofty draft perch.

Shanahan grew up watching his father, Mike, coach physically gifted quarterbacks such as John Elway and Steve Young. He also watched as Patrick Mahomes snatched Super Bowl LIV away from the 49ers in the closing minutes.

Does Shanahan want someone who can check the boxes of pre-snap ability, accuracy and decision-making? Of course. But that’s not all he wants.

“You want an elite player,” Shanahan said. “And, of course, if you can get a guy who’s elite with his arm and can play in the pocket and do everything and still run around and make off-schedule plays, I mean, that’s what you’ve seen with Mahomes. Everybody wants something like that.”

One option would be Fields. At 6-foot-3 and 228 pounds with a 4.44 40-yard dash, Fields is a dynamic athlete with elite accuracy to all levels and the decision-making to operate Shanahan’s offense at its base but also elevate it to the next level.

Some meaningful numbers on Fields, courtesy of ESPN Stats & Information:

  • The 49ers have used motion at the highest rate in the NFL (67%) since Shanahan took over in 2017. Fields rushed for 867 yards in two season with the Buckeyes, while Shanahan quarterbacks have rushed for a total of 611 yards since 2014. Fields also threw six touchdowns while using motion at Ohio State, tied for third in the FBS during that span.

  • The 49ers have used play-action the eighth most in the NFL since 2017 and the third-most from under center during that time. Although Fields did most of his play-action damage from the shotgun, he also proved more than capable of getting it done under center — where he would play from on the 49ers — completing 26 of 35 throws for 384 yards with eight touchdowns and no interceptions during his college career.

Shanahan worked with Fields at the QB Collective camp for promising young quarterbacks when Fields was in high school. Fields has been working with former NFL quarterback John Beck, who played for Shanahan in Washington during 2010 and 2011 and the two remain close. In fact, Shanahan has been in contact with Beck throughout the pre-draft process as Beck has worked with Fields, Wilson and Lance.

None of that guarantees anything, but it does mean Shanahan has access to someone he trusts who has been around Fields often in the run up to the draft, no small thing given the remaining COVID-19-related restrictions on private workouts and prospect visits.


The case for Alabama’s Mac Jones

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Check out highlights from Alabama QB Mac Jones’ college career ahead of the 2021 NFL draft.

In the same quote in which Shanahan talked about finding an elite quarterback, he expounded on the idea that he only wants pocket quarterbacks such as Kirk Cousins, the player he drafted in the fourth round as offensive coordinator of the Washington Football Team in 2012.

Part of why Shanahan liked Cousins so much was the value in finding a quarterback capable of doing things Shanahan cares most about so late in the draft. Shanahan prioritizes accuracy, pocket poise and decision-making above all else.

“If you can’t sit in that pocket and play that position, eventually it’s not going to matter,” Shanahan said. “They both go hand in hand.”

It’s no secret that Shanahan sought to bring Cousins to San Francisco in 2018. The Niners passed on Mahomes and Deshaun Watson in the 2017 draft in order to wait for Cousins. As it turned out, the opportunity to trade for Jimmy Garoppolo came first and the Niners took it. When Garoppolo played well over the final five games, the plan changed.

All of that is necessary context to understand why Jones is in the mix for the Niners with the third pick. Jones has drawn comparisons to Cousins for his ability to diagnose coverages before the snap, his footwork and his accuracy. ESPN NFL analyst Matt Bowen says Jones “throws with anticipation, location and timing” and “he’s very good short to intermediate in terms of accuracy, putting the ball in location.”

Those are qualities that undoubtedly apply to the 49ers, who put a premium on that short to intermediate accuracy because of what it can do for their ability to gain yards after catch.

Some meaningful numbers on Jones:

  • A whopping 21.4% of Jones’ 2020 pass attempts were screens, and while those screen passes undoubtedly contributed to Jones’ 77.4% completion percentage becoming the highest in FBS history, his overall accuracy was still among the best in the nation. Jones had an off-target percentage of just 5.9% on all throws, which was seventh best in the FBS.

  • One way Jones could elevate San Francisco’s offense is with his deep ball accuracy. Jones’ 61.2% completion percentage on passes traveling at least 20 yards in the air was third in the FBS (just behind Wilson and Fields, notably) as he went 30-of-49 for 1,310 yards and 15 touchdowns with one interception. His off-target percentage on such throws was 16.3%, sixth best in the nation and ahead of all the other top quarterbacks in the draft except for Wilson.

While Shanahan went on to insist that Cousins isn’t his idealized version of a quarterback, he still acknowledged there’s a lot to like there.

“If you’re going to draw it up, you’re going to draw the biggest, fastest strongest and best quarterback in the pocket,” Shanahan said. “So, I think that’s pretty ridiculous to say that [about Cousins]. I’ll also tell you I love Kirk. I know I’m not allowed to talk about other players but Kirk’s a hell of a player and a lot of people would be lucky to have a quarterback like that.”


The case for North Dakota State’s Trey Lance

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Relive some of the incredible plays from Trey Lance’s college career.

When Shanahan took over the 49ers in 2017, there was a chance that Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen was going to enter the draft. There’s an alternate universe in which Allen declared and became a 49er. That didn’t happen, and Shanahan watched helplessly from the sideline last December as Allen shredded the 49ers to the tune of 375 yards and four touchdowns with an 80% completion rate in a 34-24 Buffalo win.

When Allen went through the draft process, he was regarded as a raw prospect from a smaller school with the physical tools to become a franchise quarterback. In Buffalo, Allen has done that, making progress every year before becoming an MVP candidate last season.

A day after the Niners lost to Allen and the Bills, Shanahan was asked if the way he evaluates quarterbacks has evolved.

“How I evaluate everything is always changing,” Shanahan said on Dec. 9. “You start to see you can win football games with any type of quarterback as long as they are good enough and you can be good enough in hundreds of different ways. … So, I evaluate quarterbacks in terms of trying to find people who can have a chance to be one of those elite-type guys and there’s lots of different ways to do it.”

If the Allen way of doing it is of particular interest to Shanahan, Lance could be the player he seeks. Much like Allen, Lance is a bit of an unknown after starting just 17 games at the FCS level and comes with questions about his ability to be consistently accurate. Also like Allen, the 6-4, 226-pound Lance boasts a powerful arm and the athleticism to rush for 1,100 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2019.

Some meaningful numbers on Lance:

  • Since 2017, the 49ers have run the third-most play-action dropbacks from under center, with 33.8% of their total passing yards coming from play-action during that span. Of the top quarterbacks, Lance easily has the most experience in similar situations. Of Lance’s dropbacks, 30% came from under center and 24.3% of his dropbacks came from under center with play-action. What’s more, Lance excelled in those situations, completing 53 of 77 passes for 847 yards with 12 touchdowns and no interceptions on play-action dropbacks from under center. For comparison’s sake, of the other top five quarterback prospects, Wilson’s 47 play-action dropbacks from under center were the closest to Lance.

  • In addition to his rushing skills, Lance also has a reputation for excellent ball security, an important factor for the 49ers, who had 11 turnovers during four one-score losses last season without starter Jimmy Garoppolo. In 2019, Lance’s only full season, he had zero interceptions on 287 pass attempts. In the past 20 seasons, he’s the only Division I quarterback to attempt 200-plus passes in a season without a pick. According to Pro Football Focus, Lance only had five turnover-worthy plays during 335 career dropbacks, which is tied for second-fewest among quarterbacks in this draft class.

Because of his lower level of competition, relative inexperience and accuracy questions, many view Lance as the guy in this class who most needs at least a year to sit and learn before playing. While that could be true, the amount of pre-snap responsibilities he had for the Bison and the type of offense he ran at North Dakota State suggests he could catch up quickly.

If he does need a year to sit, the Niners offer a desirable situation. Garoppolo or another veteran (if the Niners get a good offer for Garoppolo) can start before turning it over to the No. 3 pick in 2022. If it’s Lance, there are plenty of reasons to believe he has the potential to become the elite player Shanahan is hoping to find.

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Carolina in his mind? New York Jets rookie Zach Wilson catches a tough break – New York Jets Blog

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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — A look at what’s happening around the New York Jets:

1. Wilson vs. Darnold: Zach Wilson‘s NFL debut will be off-Broadway in location only. In terms of theater, his Week 1 road showdown against predecessor Sam Darnold is worth a neon marquee.

While Jets-Carolina Panthers is being billed as Darnold’s revenge game, the potential impact on Wilson can’t be dismissed. Already facing huge expectations as the No. 2 pick and perceived franchise savior, the 21-year-old rookie and presumptive starter will be under magnified pressure in what amounts to a statement game.

Is that a fair way to look at it? No, but that’s how it will play. The NFL schedule-makers, always lusting for drama, did the Jets no favors by staging Wilson versus Darnold. This is no soft opening, that’s for sure.

Wilson hasn’t commented yet on the matchup, but someone who knows him well believes he will be unfazed by the magnitude of it.

“He looks forward to opportunities like this,” said former NFL quarterback John Beck, Wilson’s longtime personal coach. “Because people kind of snubbed him young, meaning he wasn’t heavily recruited [in high school], he could see these as opportunities to prove something.

“He’s not one of those people who had everybody telling him how good he was. In situations like this, those [players] probably think, ‘Oh, gosh, I may fail and, if I fail, what does that mean?’ I think Zach views that as the opposite.

“To him, it’s not him versus Sam Darnold. In Zach’s mind, it’s him taking the stage at his first regular-season game. To him, that’s what this stage is about. Because of that, he wants to play really well in that situation. I think that type of challenge excites him.”

Last month’s Darnold trade wasn’t a clear-cut decision for Jets general manager Joe Douglas, who admitted he considered the possibility of pairing Darnold and Wilson. Despite his struggles in New York, Darnold remains popular within the organization and the fan base. In that sense, it’s probably a good thing the opener is on the road. If the day goes sideways, Wilson won’t have to worry about fan backlash.

2. Two for the show: As expected, Wilson will wear No. 2. There’s certainly not much Jets history associated with that number. The most recognizable player to wear No. 2 was place-kicker Nick Folk, a member of the team from 2010 to 2016. In terms of New York sports history, the all-time No. 2 is a no-brainer — former Yankees star Derek Jeter.

3. Sorry, wrong number: First-round pick Alijah Vera-Tucker will wear No. 75, which raises a question: Why is that number still in circulation? The Jets should retire that number because it belonged to the late great Winston Hill, who was recently inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Other ex-Jets in the Hall of Fame — quarterback Joe Namath (12), wide receiver Don Maynard (13) and running back Curtis Martin (28) — had their numbers retired by the team. Even defensive lineman Joe Klecko (73), not a member of the HOF (even though he should be), had his number retired. Why should Hill, who wore No. 75 with distinction for 14 seasons, be different? By the same token, offensive lineman Kevin Mawae (68), inducted in 2019, also should be afforded that honor. No current player has No. 68.

Vera-Tucker wore No. 75 at USC, so his preference is understandable. Chuma Edoga, another former USC lineman, wore it for the Jets the past two years. No one should wear it again now that Hill has been posthumously honored in Canton.

The Jets, aware of the Hill situation, haven’t ruled out adjustments in the future.

4. Inside the schedule: Every team’s schedule is filled with quirks and trends. Let’s take a closer look at the Jets’ slate:

  • Positives: They have 13 games at 1 p.m. ET, a franchise record. That’s not great for national exposure, but it makes the coaches happy. Prime-time games cut into the following week’s preparation. … The Jets and Chicago Bears are the only teams without back-to-back road games. … They face only one 2020 playoff team (Tennessee Titans) in their first seven games. … Starting in Week 10, they have six home games in a span of eight weeks, their first such stretch since 1976. … They could benefit from an unbalanced schedule. Due to the 17-game schedule and a London game, the Jets have nine home games, seven true road games and one international game. The Miami Dolphins have the same situation.

  • Negatives: The bye is Week 6, the earliest it can be. (Three other teams have the early bye.) For the Jets, it comes after their trip to London. That means they have to close the season with 12 straight games, which will be taxing. … Their rest differential is minus-2 days. That’s not ideal, but it’s better than the New England Patriots (-15) and Dolphins (-6). (Note: The Jets had a plus-8 differential last season, which did them no good.) … They’re away from home in four of the first six games, which could be a factor now that stadiums are expected to be at full capacity again. … Five of the Jets’ final 10 games are against 2020 playoff teams.

5. Did you know? The Jets play the Patriots in Weeks 2 and 7. If Wilson starts against Mac Jones, who will supplant Cam Newton at some point, it will mark the first time in the history of the Jets-Patriots rivalry that two rookie quarterbacks started. That covers 121 regular-season games. Tom Brady started 36 of them, none as a rookie, which explains a lot.

6. No opt-outs: Before the 2021 NFL draft, Douglas was on the fence when asked how he would evaluate prospects who opted out for 2020. On one hand, he said it would be a “challenge” to grade players based on 2019 tape. But he made sure to note he respected the wishes of those who decided not to play, ostensibly for COVID-19 concerns. (Wink, wink.)

As it turned out, no fewer than 19 teams drafted at least one player who opted out for the entire college season — but not the Jets. Wide receiver Elijah Moore opted out for the final two games at Ole Miss, but he still had eight highly productive games on tape in 2020. Douglas picked players who played, and I don’t think that was a coincidence. He’s all about minimizing risk, and he recognized opt-outs carried more risk than other players.

7. Super sleeper: For obvious reasons, the Jets’ third-day defensive draft picks didn’t get much exposure, but one name to watch is fifth-round pick Jamien Sherwood, the safety/linebacker hybrid. He was a tackling star at Auburn, but his pro evaluation dropped with a disappointing 40-yard dash (4.74 seconds) at his pro day. The Jets see him as an ideal fit as a weakside linebacker in their 4-3 front — a wide-open position — and there’s some thought he could emerge as the starter. He played safety with a linebacker mentality.

8. Looking for gems: The Jets were aggressive in signing undrafted free agents, doling out relatively large guarantees for coveted players. Oregon State cornerback Isaiah Dunn got $185,000 and Ole Miss tight end Kenny Yeboah received $180,000, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Those were two of the league’s biggest guarantees.

9. Whatever happened to…: Most of the members of the Jets’ previous coaching staff landed jobs in the pro and college ranks. Of the coordinators and position coaches on Adam Gase’s staff, only Gregg Williams (defensive coordinator), Joe Vitt (outside linebackers) and Jim Bob Cooter (running backs) are out of coaching. Vitt, Gase’s father-in-law, could retire. Gase, too, is not coaching; he has two years left on his contract.

10. The last word: “He’s a fantastic guy. I think he’s the leader of men that the Jets need. I think he’s going to be one of the biggest parts of the rebuild phase.” — center Connor McGovern on coach Robert Saleh, via inforum.com in Fargo, North Dakota (his hometown).



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New York Giants sign former first-rounder Kelvin Benjamin

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The New York Giants have signed former Carolina Panthers first-round pick Kelvin Benjamin, the team announced Sunday.

Benjamin and former Philadelphia Eagles running back and Super Bowl hero Corey Clement impressed over the weekend during tryouts at rookie minicamp and received one-year deals.

A wide receiver who had over 1,000 yards as a rookie for the Panthers in 2013, Benjamin has not played in the NFL since 2018. He worked primarily as a tight end at the tryout.

“In terms of Benjamin working a different position [Friday], we’re going to work different guys at a variety of things right now,” Giants coach Joe Judge said. “He’s a big guy. He’s always been a big receiver. He’ll work receiver. He’s working a little bit flex tight end as well.

“I wouldn’t really kind of, you know, pin him down to any one position at this point. We’re going to use the weekend to move him around to different spots and see how it works out.”

Benjamin would join a crowded tight end room along with Evan Engram, Kyle Rudolph, Kaden Smith and Levine Toilolo. The Giants also are deep at wide receiver after adding Kenny Golladay and John Ross in free agency and drafting Kadarius Toney in the first round. This will make it tough for Benjamin to ultimately land a spot on the final roster, regardless of position.

It was just three years ago during a Monday Night Football broadcast that ESPN analyst Booger McFarland famously declared Benjamin was “probably a Popeyes biscuit away from being a tight end.”

Benjamin, 30, has spent time with the Panthers, Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs. He has 209 career receptions for 3,021 yards and 20 touchdowns. The 28th overall pick in 2014 was originally drafted in Carolina by current Giants general manager Dave Gettleman.

Clement, 26, spent the first four seasons of his professional career with the Eagles. He has been slowed in recent years by injury but is best known for his performance in Super Bowl LII, when he had 100 receiving yards and a touchdown in the Eagles’ upset win over the New England Patriots. Clement also helped execute the Philly Special, a trick play that resulted in a touchdown reception by quarterback Nick Foles.

The Giants needed veteran depth at running back. With Saquon Barkley coming back from a serious knee injury, the Giants signed Devontae Booker as a free agent and drafted Gary Brightwell in the sixth round.

New York also announced that it had waived running back Jordan Chunn and tight end Nate Wieting.

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Fight for life: Ex-Ravens lineman Lional Dalton waiting for transplant – Baltimore Ravens Blog

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In March, Lional Dalton’s wife was setting up a Wall of Fame at their Atlanta home to showcase his days of lining up at defensive tackle for the Baltimore Ravens and playing a key role in one of the most physically dominating defenses in NFL history.

Sorting through all of the old pictures, Dalton came across a plaque thanking him for filming a public service announcement for the Living Legacy Foundation in Maryland, a nonprofit organization that facilitates organ donation and transplantation.

“It’s almost like God got a crazy sense of humor,” Dalton said. “What’s the odds of that?”

More than 20 years after publicly promoting the need for organ donation, Dalton is one of the 110,000 people in the United States who is in need of a life-saving transplant. Dalton, 46, has been battling Stage 4 kidney disease for the past 17 months, going to dialysis for five hours a day, three days a week, while understanding his future is uncertain.

The typical wait time for a kidney from the national deceased-donor waiting list is five years. An average of 17 people die per day waiting for a transplant.

“Waiting for a kidney is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do,” Dalton said. “I used to fight for my team on the field, but now I am fighting for my life.”

Dalton’s fortune changed two months ago when he discovered that plaque and a phone number on the back of it, a turn of events that caused his wife to get chills. “It was like that ‘a-ha’ moment,” said Tiffany Dalton, who has been married to Lional for eight years.

Dalton reached out to the Living Legacy Foundation, which soon got him an appearance on “Good Morning America” to explain the need to donate organs and to share his story. That four-minute interview stirred some people from the Baltimore area to call and offer help.

One woman intended to donate her kidney to her mother, but her mother passed away before the transplant. So she wants to give her kidney to Dalton in the name of her mother. The potential donor, who could not be reached for an interview, is undergoing tests to see if she is a match.

A kidney from a living donor can last 15-20 years. If successful, the affable Super Bowl champion nicknamed “Jelly Roll” can resume traveling the world with his wife and their two daughters.

“God willing, this lady comes through for me,” Dalton said. “I could have a kidney by the end of the year. That would be amazing.”

‘A big bombshell’

In a matter of hours, Dalton went from a relaxing start to 2020, to thinking his life was over.

Dalton hosted a New Year’s Eve party with friends, where he laughed and played games before going to bed. Around 6 a.m., he started experiencing shortness of breath and went alone to a nearby fire station, which was the closest emergency medical service.

With soaring blood pressure, Dalton was rushed to the hospital. His wife Tiffany woke to several missed calls because Dalton didn’t want to bother her initially, and she bolted out of the house to join him.

Dalton, who hadn’t felt sick before this, was informed by the doctor that his kidneys were functioning at 20%. Dalton’s first thought was to tell his wife to get all of his affairs in order because he didn’t know how long he was going to live. He started to cry, and Tiffany stepped out of the room to do the same.

“[The doctor] just dropped a big bombshell on us, and it was super surprising,” Tiffany said. “All of the emotions go down. It was a lot to process at first.”

Football’s impact on Dalton’s health

Dalton believes his kidney disease is an aftereffect of playing in the NFL. An undrafted defender out of Eastern Michigan, Dalton did whatever it took to make it in the league and stay there for nine seasons. He bounced around five teams, and he found out running around while weighing more than 300 pounds can inflict a significant toll on both knees.

For his last two years in Kansas City and Houston, Dalton estimated he downed four to five pills of anti-inflammatory medication every Wednesday and Thursday, the two most physical practices of the week. For his last three seasons, he acknowledged taking a pain-killing shot the day before games.

According to Dalton, an NFL team doctor told him that he had protein in his urine but didn’t explain this was a sign of kidney issues. Dalton thought he needed to stop eating red meat.

“They give a pill for everything,” Dalton said. “What happened in January [2020] was an accumulation of all the Motrin and anti-inflammatory medication. All that stuff wears on the kidneys. If I would have known in 2005 about my issues, I would have stopped taking all those pills when I was playing. But I didn’t know. That’s why I’m in the position I’m in right now searching for a donor.”

It’s been estimated that 3% to 5% of all late-stage kidney failure patients in this country are due to prolonged and high use of anti-inflammatory medication, according to the Living Legacy Foundation.

Dropping 118 pounds

Dalton sat atop the football world in 2000, though you wouldn’t believe it by how his Super Bowl ring slips off his finger.

He was a valuable backup to interior linemen Sam Adams and Tony Siragusa on the Ravens’ defense that allowed the fewest points in a 16-game season and spearheaded Baltimore to a 34-7 triumph over the New York Giants in Super Bowl XXXV. Teammates remember Dalton for how he stuffed the run, how much he ate and how he exercised his bulldog Biggie on the treadmill.

At that time, Dalton had the second-largest Super Bowl ring ever made, behind the Chicago Bears’ William “the Refrigerator” Perry. Dalton’s ring size was 16.

But these days, everything is smaller with Dalton.

“I tell people to just call me Jelly,” he said. “The rolls are all gone.”

After learning he has end-stage renal disease, Dalton read about how lowering your food consumption slowed down the deterioration of the kidneys in rats and mice. He immediately started fasting and switched to a 90% plant-based diet.

For breakfast, he might have a smoothie and some fruit. His favorite is almond milk with cinnamon and nutmeg along with a banana.

His bigger meals are between noon and 4 p.m. He eats falafel, rice, pita and hummus. His wife has learned how to batter cauliflower to make it taste like chicken.

“A player rep in Atlanta told me: It’s like the Super Bowl for your life,” Dalton said. “What you eat is how you feel.”

At his heaviest, the 6-foot-1 Dalton was 360 pounds. The day before a game, he once ate nearly two slabs of ribs, a pint of baked beans and some macaroni and cheese.

Now, he’s down to 242 pounds — a loss of 118 pounds. This is the lightest he’s been since middle school.

His waist line went from a size 48 to 38. His weight loss has been so dramatic that he’s no longer on blood pressure medicine. Dalton had been taking four pills a day for blood pressure, which had been further damaging his kidneys.

“I gave him a hug,” Tiffany said, “and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I feel like I have a new husband.”

Providing inspiration

Mornings became confusing for Lional and Tiffany’s two daughters, six-year-old Skye and two-year-old Sade.

“Where’s Daddy?” they asked.

Dalton had been taking his girls to school every morning and picking them up. But his schedule drastically changed. Dialysis treatment goes from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

During his 4 1/2 hours a day there, Dalton has written two books. His first was on his experiences and seeing different cultures: 19 countries in Africa along with Israel, Dubai and China. His other is a nearly finished ABC book that chronicles Skye’s travels, with pictures of her with different animals all around the world.

“Every day he encourages me and motivates me to be better, to be stronger, to not complain,” Tiffany said. “The things I’m going through is nothing compared to him. He definitely gives us strength.”

The hope for Dalton and the Living Legacy Foundation is he can inspire others too. Dalton wants to remove the stigma and fear surrounding organ donation. He explains how many lives in the community can be saved through organ, eye and tissue donation.

It’s the same message he was spreading in 1999, when he filmed his PSA.

Charlie Alexander, the CEO of the Living Legacy Foundation, remembers taking a picture with Dalton back then and thinking it’s great that Dalton is giving his time to a cause that he’ll never need.

“What it boils down to is this can happen to anyone,” Alexander said. “Nothing is guaranteed. We all need to be aware of what an impact we can make on people’s lives we may never know.”

How much of an impact can Dalton’s story make?

“People are looking to ‘Who can I trust right now on TV or online or in my community?’,” Alexander said. “You see a guy like Lional standing up in front of the room 20 years ago, when he didn’t have a proverbial horse in the race. Now, you’re seeing him standing there again today saying, ‘I hope you took my message seriously 20 years ago because my life depends on it.’”

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