INDIANAPOLIS — The NFL’s top medical experts are asking college football physicians and trainers to help make the game safer.

They want the NCAA to pitch in, too.

Dr. Allen Sills and Jeff Miller, the NFL’s executive vice president for health and safety initiatives, spent Monday and Tuesday in Indianapolis sharing data about their findings on the prevention and treatment of injuries. It’s the most formal presentation league executives have had with college officials, and Sills and Miller hope this presentation leads to a broader conversation that includes discussions about lower-body injuries.

“We’re able to show them what we’re working on and what we’re finding and how we’re applying that knowledge into the day-to-day care of professional athletes,” Sills told The Associated Press. “I think we hope this is the start of even more regular interaction between the two organizations because we share the exact same goals, which is improving the health and safety of players.”

The two-day meeting included participants from the NFL’s health and safety team, the NCAA’s Sport Science Institute and medical staffs from schools in each of the power five conferences. It comes amid a rapidly evolving landscape of injuries in football. Sills is the league’s chief medical officer.

Over the past decade, Miller estimates the NFL made between 50 and 60 rules changes to enhance player safety. Members of the league’s competition committee now routinely contact the medical team before considering making additional changes.

Players, they say, are asking more questions about equipment, such as helmets. Coaches and assistant coaches, they add, have shown greater interest in how they can reduce the number of injuries at practices.

“They (coaches) care about these people,” Miller said. “They care about the performance of them and they care about their long-term viability in the league, and those are all real good reasons to be open minded about how we practice, train and treat athletes as they go through an NFL training season or regular season.”

But the key may be how far these changing attitudes trickle down to the college, high school and even youth-league levels, and the NFL wants to do more to get the message out.

PATRIOTS: Tom Brady earned $2.35 million from jersey, video game and trading card sales in 2018, more than any other player, according to a report from The Athletic.The royalty money does not include Brady’s individual endorsements, which include brands like Under Armour, Tag Heuer, Aston Martin, Foot Locker and Ugg.

“(The number) is just truly staggering, because he’s been in the same market, selling the same jersey for 17 years,” Russ Spielman, president of sports marketing at GSE Worldwide, told The Athletic. “You see, Peyton Manning moves markets when he did, and you understand when his jersey goes to the top of the sales. But for Tom, I mean, how many more Patriot fans are there that don’t own his jersey at this point, but it keeps going. It’s awesome to watch.”

• Former New England tight end Rob Gronkowski retired in March, and because of that is again being welcomed in Western New York.
Gronkowski, who reportedly donated $50,000 to the Oishei Children’s Hospital in Buffalo, joked that he feels welcome in the Buffalo area again, thanks to retirement.

“We were out Saturday night, and they were all giving cheers at our charity event, and everything,” said Gronkowski, who grew up near Buffalo in Williamsville, N.Y. “It was cool to finally be accepted, once again, where I grew up. So, I decided to come back and start giving back.”

RAIDERS: Oakland signed first-round draft pick Clelin Ferrell, the defensive end from Clemson who was selected fourth overall by the Raiders in April. A three-year starter and two-time national champion, Ferrell started in all 44 games he played. He made 166 tackles, including 50 for loss, 27 sacks, had seven passes defensed, five forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries as a Tiger.

BRONCOS: Fans arrived in droves Tuesday in Denver to pay respect to owner Pat Bowlen, who died last week at 75 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s, and just two months shy of his enshrinement into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The public tribute to Bowlen at Broncos Stadium at Mile High featured all sorts of memorabilia, including his famous fur coat , Super Bowl trophies , vintage photos, videos and numerous footballs marking big moments. Then there was his desk, which was noteworthy for a piece of paper resting in his in-box . It was a to-do list containing three items: be No. 1 in everything; beat the Raiders; win the Super Bowl.


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