Kristian Dyer

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  • Adham Talaat with Seahawks fullback Derrick Coleman (@A_Talaat90)

    MARTINSVILLE, N.J. – On the surface, Adham Talaat is a typical Division III player trying to pursue his NFL dreams.

    Talaat is a 6-6, 292-pound defensive end who is generating some serious buzz from scouts. The interest is well-founded after a senior season in which the defensive end registered 46 tackles and five sacks despite facing double- and triple-teams from offensive linemen. Teams are intrigued by his size and strength and the rawness of his game, despite the fact that he has never heard the crowd cheer after one of his tackles.

    As a toddler, Talaat was diagnosed with profound to severe hearing loss and fitted for hearing aids after his grandmother noticed one day that he wasn't responsive to her calls. He attended and played at Gallaudet University, the only college in the world dedicated to deaf and hard of hearing students.

    Talaat is an unusual case among NFL draft prospects, but that hasn't stopped him before.

    At a young age he recognized that he was the only student in

    Read More »from NFL Draft: Division III Adham Talaat doesn’t let hearing impairment stop him
  • Bears guard Matt Slauson overcomes stuttering issue, with the help of football

    (USA Today Sports Images)

    Before he was the starting left guard of the Chicago Bears, Matt Slauson was an overweight kid in elementary school, which “made for an obvious target.” There was also something else that made him an obvious target for bullies, something that would make him run home from school crying.

    He stuttered.

    He was always aware of his stuttering, even from an early age. Slauson was picked on and bullied growing up – “everyone knows that kids are ruthless” – and as a large kid with a speech impediment he said bullies seemed to naturally find him. There were times he'd come home in tears to his mother's arms, asking her, “Why am I fat? Why am I dumb?”

    One autumn day in fifth grade, he walked by one of the town fields in Sweet Home, Ore. when he was stopped by the head coach of the local team. He was asked by the coach if, based solely on his size, if he'd be willing to play football. The thought instantly appealed to him.

    “I definitely used it to my advantage to get a little revenge on a lot of

    Read More »from Bears guard Matt Slauson overcomes stuttering issue, with the help of football
  • (Photo by Kristian Dyer)

    At a time when most draft prospects are trading up their cars, NFL hopeful Rashid Williams recently traded in his luxury sedan for a minivan. He's heard the jokes and the zingers from the other players training at TEST Parisi Football Academy in Martinsville, N.J., including that he drives a “soccer mom mobile.” But his minivan is more than a set of wheels to take him to his combine training every day.

    He also lives in it. Williams is homeless by choice.

    For most NFL draft prospects, sacrifices are to be expected as they ready for the combine and their individual Pro Days; for Williams, his ambition has taken him so far as to empty his life savings to train for the NFL draft. This decision now means that he lives out of his van to pursue this goal.

    He is far from your typical athlete readying for a shot at an NFL payday.

    He ran track at Division II Holy Family in Philadelphia and never played college football. Then after college, he went through a series of jobs before he enrolled at

    Read More »from NFL hopeful Rashid Williams gives up job, lives out of a van to train for shot at pros
  • Joe Namath believes Johnny Manziel will be an NFL success

    (USA Today Sports Images)

    Johnny Football has a fan in Broadway Joe.

    The comparisons between Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel and Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Namath of the New York Jets are only natural. Both were supreme talents in college and offered respective franchises a potential game-changer under center. And both grabbed attention off the field for a love of life, very often after hours. That's part of the concern for talent evaluators when they look at Manziel, whose partying and poor choices have grabbed headlines for all the wrong reasons.

    In the eyes of Namath, the concerns about Manziel's lifestyle are unfounded. Namath was certainly known for his off-the=field escapades, including dating a string of models and Hollywood starlets as well as frequenting all the hot spots in New York. So while he has had the experiences with the off-the-field side of the game, he doesn't see any red flags with Manziel's character concerns.

    “This is an era where things get blown out of proportion. He isn't doing

    Read More »from Joe Namath believes Johnny Manziel will be an NFL success
  • Defensive rookie of the year Sheldon Richardson never gave up on NFL dreams

    (USA Today Sports Images)

    There were times growing up that Sheldon Richardson remembers being told to forget about his dream of playing in the NFL, but that never made much sense to him.

    In middle school, he remembers when the school would host "Career Day" and different adults would filter into his classroom and tell them about their vocations. There would be doctors and lawyers and architects – but never a professional athlete. When the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?" was invariably asked by the presenter, Richardson's hand would shoot up.

    He'd blurt out, “I want to be a professional football player.” He remembers other students were always encouraged when they gave their dream jobs. But there was Richardson, almost always discouraged from his ambition.

    “They just told me it shouldn't be my dream. Shouldn't be my only dream. I told them how can you expect to succeed in Plan A when you're working on Plan B?” Richardson told Shutdown Corner. “I was probably 11 or 12 years old. It seemed

    Read More »from Defensive rookie of the year Sheldon Richardson never gave up on NFL dreams
  • Nick Foles (Getty Images)A Hall of Fame quarterback thinks Nick Foles might be destined someday to be among the best quarterbacks ever to play the game.

    In an exclusive interview with Yahoo Sports and the Shutdown Corner blog, former New York Jets quarterback Joe Namath counts himself a fan of the Philadelphia Eagles second-year quarterback. Foles plays in his first playoff game on Saturday night against the New Orleans Saints, and Namath thinks the Eagles have an edge in this game because of Foles.

    “Over the past month, I’ve decided that Nick Foles is one of the best passers I’ve seen,” Namath said. “He throws on the move, what he puts on the ball - wow. He is special. He runs around there like an NBA guard, or maybe even a small forward. He’s big; he can throw. His throwing motion, throwing on the move, reminds me of Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay. Throwing that ball, this cat is good. He gives them a big edge.”

    Read More »from Joe Namath: Nick Foles could be one of the best quarterbacks to play in the NFL
  • (USA Today Sports Images)

    The New York Giants won't be getting a Super Bowl bonus, but one member of the team will be capitalizing on the big game being in town. Rookie safety Cooper Taylor is subletting his apartment to capitalize on the Super Bowl being just a short jaunt away in East Rutherford, N.J.

    In a story that ran in Friday's New York Post, Cooper detailed his desire to get out of the city for what will be a cramped and crowded build-up to the first ever Super Bowl in the New York area. He shares his apartment with his girlfriend Susan Carlson, a real estate agent.

    Not surprisingly, Carlson saw the demand of the Super Bowl and the surge in hotel prices in the New York City area (some motels are charging more than $1,000 a night) as something the couple could capitalize on. She told Yahoo Sports the rationale behind the decision.

    Read More »from Giants safety Cooper Taylor renting his New York-area apartment during Super Bowl week
  • (USA Today Sports Images)

    FLORHAM PARK, N.J. – Rumors of Rex Ryan's demise might be a tad bit premature.

    If you believe the reports, Ryan is on his last legs as coach of the Jets, ending a five-year stint that started with the franchise's first back-to-back appearances in the AFC championship game and ended with three straight seasons without the playoffs. Ryan, the gregarious and often unfiltered head coach, has found the success from his first two years with the Jets to be fleeting, but this year's 7-8 record has exceeded every expectation.

    This was a team picked to be among the bottom three in the league by nearly every major media outlet. They were given three wins by most of these outlets as well, and that was with veteran quarterback Mark Sanchez under center.

    But with Sanchez hurt in preseason and a very raw rookie in Geno Smith starting at quarterback this year, the Jets somehow won seven games with one to go. They did it with a defense that lost six starters from the year before and an offense down

    Read More »from Fire Rex Ryan? That might be difficult after the job the New York Jets coach has done
  • (Getty Images)

    FLORHAM PARK, N.J. – In the face of criticism that his addition to the New York Jets secondary has been anything but the savior the team needed, future Hall of Fame safety Ed Reed took exception with the New York media on Friday and questioned its understanding of football.

    During his only availability of the week, Reed spent the first half of his comments lashing out at the media for a lack of understanding of the game and for what he saw as unfair criticism of his play. The 37-year old has at times shown his age and a lack of mobility on the field, which played a role in his ouster from Houston. Now with the Jets, his play has been marked by missed tackles and bad mistakes.

    So Reed bristled when the first question directed to him on Friday was about his play.

    Read More »from When Ed Reed is asked about his play this season, he questions media’s knowledge of game
  • Josh Gordon rebounds from suspension to become one of NFL’s best receivers

    (USA Today Sports Images)

    The numbers for Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon this season have been sensational. The league's leader with 1,467 receiving yards, Gordon has scored a touchdown in five straight games. He is arguably the best receiver in the NFL over the last half of the season.

    It has been an amazing 2013 for a player who started the season on suspension.

    A positive drug test cost him the first two games of this year with a league-mandated suspension. Another positive test and he would be suspended for a full year. There were rumors during the season that the Browns were trying to trade Gordon.

    Gordon explained that the positive test that cost him a two-game suspension was for codeine in some cough medicine he took during the offseason. That explanation drew some rolled eyes from fans and certainly the media.

    But he is answering every question on the field. There are no more eyes rolling when his name is brought up.

    “Definitely from the point I got back, I definitely decided to try to make

    Read More »from Josh Gordon rebounds from suspension to become one of NFL’s best receivers

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