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Denver Broncos WR DaeSean Hamilton tears knee ligament in workout away from team facility, sources say



ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Broncos wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton, whom Denver was trying to trade in recent days, has suffered a torn knee ligament in a workout away from the team’s complex, team sources told ESPN.

Hamilton suffered the injury Friday morning, and had not been working out at the team’s suburban Denver facility, sources said.

Hamilton is the second Broncos player to have suffered a significant injury away from the team’s complex after tackle Ja’Wuan James suffered a season-ending Achilles tendon injury earlier this month. James was officially released Friday.

The Broncos were seeking to trade Hamilton, who was a fourth-round pick in the 2018 draft, over the past week and had talks with at least one team as recently as Thursday. The Broncos, given Courtland Sutton‘s return from last season’s ACL tear and the depth at wide receiver overall, were expected to waive Hamilton if no trade partner could be found before they began their OTAs later this month.

The Broncos will begin “Phase 2” of their voluntary offseason program Monday.

The NFL Players Association had advised players not to take part in voluntary workouts at team facilities this offseason. The Broncos players were among the first to issue a joint statement in April saying they would boycott the voluntary workouts, and the team has still had a little more than 20 veteran players working out at the facility at various times in April and May.

James’ injury has already been a flashpoint between the NFL and the NFLPA over the “non-football injury” designation. That designation means teams are not required to pay players their full base salaries if they were injured outside of team facilities.

The day after James was injured earlier this month, he was specifically named in a memo from the NFL’s management council to team executives and head coaches. In that memo it was outlined under the “Non-Football Injuries” designation that teams like the Broncos would have “no contractual obligation” to pay players like James who were injured away from the team facilities.

The memo also outlined why a player’s salary would be paid if the injury had been suffered during a workout at a team’s complex. The memo also said: “Clubs are encouraged to remind players of the significant injury-related protection provided if they choose to work out at the club facility and the risks they undertake in choosing to train at a non-NFL location.”

The NFLPA responded two days later in an email to players that said: “It was gutless to use a player’s serious injury as a scare tactic to get you to come running back to these workouts.”

The email added: “This memo is another sign of what they think of you and also affirms that they simply want to control you year-round in any and every way that they can.”

James’ release Friday had a vested veteran, non-football injury, post-June 1 designation.

The Broncos are essentially voiding $10.58 million worth of guarantees James had for the season — $10 million in base salary in addition to a 17th game check, added when the schedule was increased.

The Broncos will carry a $13 million “dead money” charge against this year’s salary cap after James’ release. James and the NFLPA could file a grievance to try to recover some of the money he lost with the release.

Earlier Friday, James had posted on social media that his “surgery went well,” adding: “Appreciate everyone reaching out. Always remaining positive & striving to be better than yesterday.”

Given the Broncos were trying to trade Hamilton and were poised to waive him if they didn’t find a trade partner, his situation might be handled differently than James’ by the team as both players are likely headed for injured reserve at some point.

Hamilton’s base salary for the 2021 season was scheduled to be $2.183 million, while James has a $10 million salary guarantee.

Hamilton, who has struggled with drops and some confidence issues that have followed some of those drops, had 81 receptions over his first three seasons combined and five career touchdowns. He had 23 catches for 293 yards and two touchdowns last season.

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Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay buys Elton John’s touring piano for $915,000



INDIANAPOLIS — Jim Irsay continued to add to his already vast music collection when the Colts owner tweeted Saturday that he purchased the piano used on tour for decades by music legend Sir Elton John.

Irsay reportedly purchased the Steinway & Sons Model D Grand Piano for $915,000 during an auction conducted by Heritage Auctions on Saturday in Dallas.

“Just added to the collection,” Irsay tweeted.

The piano, which was used on tours during the 1970s through the 1990s, was signed by Elton, with the inscription, “Enjoy this as much as I have, Elton John” on the frame.

One of Irsay’s biggest passion — outside of owning the Colts — is collecting memorabilia.

Some of the most memorable things Irsay owns are guitars previously used by Elvis Presley, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Prince.

Irsay also has handwritten lyrics to “With God on Our Side” from Bob Dylan, a drum head used and signed by Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart, the piano used by Lennon to compose songs for “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band,” a drum kit from the Beatles’ Ringo Starr, a tomato soup wrapper signed by Andy Warhol and the script from the movie “Jerry McGuire.”

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Lifeguard-turned-Miami Dolphins guard schooling Florida’s youth on water safety – Miami Dolphins Blog



MIAMI — Miami Dolphins guard Solomon Kindley has held the nickname “Big Fish” since he was a small kid, but he truly earned the moniker during the summer of 2016 while visiting Georgia Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart’s lake house.

Smart hosted a group of freshman players for some fun in the water following summer workouts. Bulldogs running back Brian Herrien, who could not swim, wore a life jacket and camped out in the shallow end, but once Kindley and his teammates decided to take out the boat, he didn’t want to be left behind and asked to join.

The players began throwing the football around and taking turns hanging on the float tied to the back of the boat. Herrien accidentally let go of the float, and he flew into the middle of the lake as the boat drove away. Kindley, a high school lifeguard, stepped into action.

“He was panicking and splashing and splashing. So I jumped in to save him and held him there until the boat came to pick us up,” Kindley said. “The crazy part is his head was above the water the whole time, so he wasn’t really drowning, but he was panicking. When I got to him, we both started laughing. We talk about it every time I see him, and it became a joke around the team.”

Kindley, a 6-foot-4, 335-pound guard who is entering his second season with the Dolphins, says he’s the NFL’s fastest swimmer and figures people reading this won’t believe it when they see him. He has always been a big kid, and he remembers what happened in grade school when he participated in swim races in his hometown of Jacksonville, Florida. While getting into the pool and when swimming, he would hear parents laughing and making snide comments about him.

“I’ve been doubted my whole life when I got in the pool because of my size,” Kindley said. “I remember people whispering about what I was doing in here. They asked if I was a lifeguard or a dad. I was a young kid. Then I got in the water and smoked everybody in my race group.”

It’s no surprise that Kindley is using the pool as his way to give back to Florida youth. In June, Kindley began a partnership with the Progressive Firefighters Association to help roughly 500 Miami-area kids learn how to swim and water safety, and to help older kids learn how to become lifeguards through donations from the Children’s Trust. It’s a free seven-week program held at Charles Hadley Park in Miami. The program is open to anyone, but there is a particular focus on helping Black kids erase the stigma that they can’t swim.

When Kindley began thinking of starting his own swim camp, the Dolphins’ public relations team suggested he partner with the Progressive Firefighters, a group of current and retired African American firefighters who volunteer their time to run a program in the Miami area. Kindley and his agent, Toney Scott, quickly jumped at the idea.

Keith Bell, a Miami Fire Department chief and president of the Progressive Firefighters Association, described the program’s goal as “wanting to drown-proof our community.”

Kindley remembers his first swimming “lesson.” He and his brothers used to sneak out of the house and go to the local community pool while their mom was at work, and one day they were thrown in the 12-foot deep section of the pool by an older man who felt the kids’ fight-or-flight instincts would force them to swim. Bell, who is a Black man, says he learned to swim in a similar fashion.

“About 80% of my teammates, whether in high school, college or the pros, can’t swim,” Kindley said. “When I was a lifeguard — I worked with younger kids — I would give them advice to learn it at a younger age when you listen and respect your parent, or whoever is teaching you. As you get older, you have more fear and it becomes harder.

“Water can be very fun. Water can be very dangerous. [Through this program], those kids are going to learn CPR, first aid, learning how to swim if they don’t know and getting lifeguard certification. It’ll give them the lead over the world from something simple like a swim class.”

According to the Florida Department of Health, from 2017 to 2019, Florida had the highest unintentional drowning death rate in the country among children 0 to 9 years of age, 3.28 per 100,000 population. The rate nearly doubled, to 6.29 per 100,000 population, for children 1 to 4 years old, also the highest in the U.S. The number of children under the age of 5 lost annually to drowning in Florida (67 in 2017, 74 in 2018, 50 in 2019) would fill three or four preschool classrooms.

“Swimming is not just another sport. Swimming is a lifesaving tool,” Bell said. “We volunteer our time because we want to stop kids from drowning. Eventually, we want to build swim leagues and have the inner city compete against each other.”

Kindley says he’d love to be there for those future races. The former Georgia standout from Jacksonville says it’s a no-brainer for him to make a splash in both of his Florida communities, including in his hometown where he hosted a youth football camp last month.

Later this month, Kindley will head to Dolphins training camp to begin an on-field competition with veteran Jesse Davis for the starting left guard spot. But in the front of his mind is a swimming competition he recently lost to Bell’s son, who beat him during a race on the first day of the swim program.

Kindley brags that he has smoked several Dolphins teammates in pool races, players such as quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, guard Robert Hunt and offensive tackles Austin Jackson and Jonathan Hubbard, but he might have found a new rival.

“I’m going to get some training and I’m coming for him,” Kindley said with a smile. “I swim really fast like a fish, but I can admit when I get beat.”

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How Titans’ Kristian Fulton built a brand in Nashville



NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Although Tennessee Titans defensive back Kristian Fulton is entering his second season in the NFL, he is facing a different kind of rookie season this year. Kristian, 22, and his older brother Keith, 25, recently opened an urban wear boutique in Nashville called The Trenches.

“We came up with ideas and our goals, so when we had the opportunity we could make something happen. Once I knew I was going to the NFL and got the chance to make some money, that’s really when it started to come about,” Kristian said.

Kristian was drafted in the second round of the 2020 NFL draft (61st overall) and signed his four-year, $5.3 million rookie contract soon after. He played sporadically as a rookie, but finished with an interception and a sack. His season was limited due to a knee injury and being placed in COVID-19 protocol. He figures to be a key part of the secondary this season at right corner and as the nickel corner.

Kristian was destined to play in the NFL from his days at Archbishop Rummel High School in Metairie, Louisiana, where he was named New Orleans Defensive Player of the Year as a junior. The Fulton brothers played on the same high school team and shared dreams of playing in the pros.

“I expected to play football when I was younger. We played on the same high school team and won two championships. I played running back in college at four schools, chasing the dream of getting to that next level,” Keith said.

Keith started with a scholarship to Mississippi College. He transferred to Southeastern Louisiana, then to Grossmont College before finishing his final two years at LSU.

While at LSU, as it became clear his NFL dreams wouldn’t be realized, Keith made the decision to shift his focus to the management side of sports. He also developed a love for art, which would eventually grow into an idea for the layout of the boutique. Keith was intrigued by the prices he saw collectors paying for art. Being from New Orleans, a place where artists abound, made his interest even stronger.

Now that interest is on display, by way of the featured artists whose works rotate on a monthly basis inside the boutique. The decision to showcase artists offered the opportunity to become an investor while helping those who might otherwise not have a chance to sell their paintings.

“I see a lot of galleries here in Nashville, but not everyone is able to get into them. I thought it would be cool to showcase local artists and Black artists around the country. It was cool to give them a shot to sell their product,” Keith said.

The Trenches features a unique blend of fashion, footwear and art.

“It all comes together. Clothes, music, art, it’s layered,” Keith added. “We tied it all together into one.”

Their mother, Michelle Fulton, had similar business aspirations and is happy to see her sons make it a reality.

“I tell them how proud I am of them, because back when I was in college, my dream was to own my own business. A dream of mine has become a dream come true for them and it makes my heart full.”

None of the clothing brands in The Trenches are mainstream names. Instead, the boutique features rising designers from New Orleans and other cities across the country.

“Everybody falls into the trend of high-end luxury brands. Growing up, we couldn’t afford that, so we supported the local brands. There were a lot of them that we thought could do it big if they had the opportunity. Now, we want to give them a chance,” Kristian noted.

There are typically four or five different brands featured in the store on a rolling basis. Kristian mentioned the “Fulton Kounty” clothing line as one of his favorites.

“That’s a smooth design to come up with. Fulton Kounty, that’s like a jail. That’s how I’m going to lock everybody up,” Kristian said, referring to his coverage skills on the football field.

The sneakers make up another part of the boutique’s unique formula; the Fulton brothers didn’t always have access to the latest and greatest sneaker releases. Keith recalled a time when he wanted to get the LeBron James Galaxy 9 sneakers, but couldn’t get his hands on them.

“That’s really the main thing. Giving other people the opportunity to have the chance to get some kicks they might not be able to get at the main stores,” Kristian said.

According to Keith, it’s really difficult to get a hold of new sneaker releases because of hoarders who buy up the supply. But the connections that he has developed and the doors that have opened because Kristian is an NFL player help the brothers get access to rare sneakers, like Nike’s Kobe Mambas, various Jordans and more.

When it comes to the Fulton brothers’ passion for shoes, the apple didn’t fall too far from the tree.

“I am a shoe fanatic,” Michelle said, “I start with the shoes and then I’ll find the clothes to match. In their late-high-school to early college days, I began to notice their style take shape. It started with lots of different style tennis shoes. I’d tell them they reminded me of myself. I’d say to them, ‘You are definitely my child,’ because when they pack for a trip they have a separate suitcase for their shoes.”

The Trenches isn’t just a boutique for the Fulton brothers. It’s a way to connect to the community.

As Kristian’s business manager, Keith traveled to Nashville right after Kristian was selected in the draft, so he could network.

“I was thinking of different ways where he [Kristian] could introduce himself to the community in Nashville as a businessman, not just an athlete. I thought about the idea as a way that we can give back to the community,” Keith said. “There’s a lot of intimate but also family-oriented spots in New Orleans that we would go hang out at. There weren’t too many places that had those spots that we are used to. We wanted to bring that here.”

They’ve been able to bring the New Orleans vibe to Nashville through free seafood boils and other events that were hosted at the boutique, which is located on historic Buchanan Street in North Nashville.

The location is not a coincidence. They initially looked at storefronts downtown near the Broadway strip, only to find that they were too expensive. That’s when Keith turned his attention to Buchanan Street.

“It’s been a very popular area in the Black community in Nashville. We learned that quickly when we got here with the Black-owned businesses they have. We felt like it was the perfect location for us to keep it in the trenches, close to the community,” Keith said.

The storefront sits directly on Buchanan Street next to a thriving Black-owned kitchen and lounge, and across the street from a flourishing Black-owned pizza shop. Naming the boutique “The Trenches” goes perfectly with the culture they came from.

“We feel like everybody is either actually from the trenches or they want to be from the trenches. It’s a popular thing in our generation coming up. That’s how we gravitated to the name. It’s relatable,” Kristian said.

For Kristian, a big part of being relatable is actually being present in the store. He wants his customers to have access to him to talk about fashion, football, footwear or anything else that will help provide a unique shopping experience.

Opening The Trenches wasn’t easy, especially during the coronavirus pandemic. Despite being a sports management major at LSU, Keith didn’t have any business experience. He had to rely on his research and some help from mentors.

They opened the boutique on Saturday, March 20 of this year only to close the following Wednesday because they sold all of their products. Now the shelves are always stocked and the boutique is prospering.

“Our saying is, ‘The real always prevail.’ There was a lot that we went through and there’s a lot that people go through, too,” Keith explained. “I feel like everybody — well, most people — can feel our story, where we came from and what we are trying to do. For us to make it out, we want to inspire everybody.”

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