Minnesota safety Harrison Smith has been to the Pro Bowl each of the last three Februarys and is coming off arguably his best season in 2017 when he didn’t allow a touchdown in coverage and broke up 17 passes.
In 1927, when NFL owners discussed banning black players, eight of the nine African-American players disappeared from pro football. Duke Slater was the lone exception — and he remained the league’s only African-American player from 1927-29.
A rookie has led the NFL in rushing each of the last two seasons, Kareem Hunt in 2017 and Ezekiel Elliott in 2016. As the second overall pick of the 2018 draft, Barkley becomes the highest drafted running back since Reggie Bush in 2006.
The Giants are following the path of their NFC East rival Cowboys with a run-heavy offense after passing on all the quarterbacks at the top of the 2018 draft to take Penn State running back Saquon Barkley.
Twenty-one of the 22 position players on the NFL all-decade team for the 1960s have been enshrined in Canton, but only nine of the 22 position players on the AFL all decade team for the 1960s have been enshrined. Ed Budde is among those AFL selections passed over.
A member of the New York Jets’ vaunted “Sack Exchange” in the 1970s, Joe Klecko is the only defensive player in NFL history voted to the Pro Bowl at three different positions – end, tackle and nose tackle.
Robert Kraft hired both Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick as his head coaches. Parcells took the Patriots to one Super Bowl and Belichick took them to eight more. Belichick’s teams won five Lombardi Trophies.
Dez Bryant signed a five-year, $70 million contract in 2015 but did not manage 1,000 yards or 10-plus touchdowns in any of the three seasons since agreeing to his new deal. The Cowboys were not getting the expected bang for their bucks, so Bryant became a salary-cap casualty.
The Denver Broncos have lived and died by their pass rush in recent seasons and GM John Elway gave it a little more teeth when he selected the draft’s best pass rusher, Bradley Chubb of North Carolina State, with the fifth overall pick.
The Packers missed the playoffs last season with a 7-9 record in large part because their perennial MVP candidate Aaron Rodgers missed nine games with a fractured right collarbone. He’s healthy and back on the field in 2018.