Travis Frederick said he thought he played well at centre for the Dallas Cowboys after returning from a nerve disorder that sidelined him for an entire season.
The 2016 All-Pro made it clear Monday it wasn’t good enough.
Frederick retired from the NFL at 29, saying he “could no longer perform at my highest level” even though he went to his fifth Pro Bowl in his only season after recovering from Guillian-Barre syndrome.
“Each day, I faced a struggle: I could no longer perform at my highest level,” Frederick wrote in a long statement posted on Twitter and released by the team. “Playing ‘well’ is not what I expect of myself and not what my teammates deserve. Because of this, I know my days as a football player are done.”
A first-round pick seven years ago, Frederick missed all of 2018 after getting diagnosed with the auto-immune disease during training camp.
According to the National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke, Guillain-Barre causes the body to attack a network of nerves around the brain and spinal cord. Most people recover from even the most severe cases, which can include temporary paralysis, but some will continue to have some degree of weakness, according to the institute.
Frederick was asked frequently how he was feeling and how he thought he was playing during a season that started with high expectations for the Cowboys but ended without a trip to the playoffs. The former Wisconsin player’s answers were always upbeat, including during his final session with reporters after the season ended.
The final answer was something different, and leaves a big void in the middle of the offensive line. The Cowboys have invested heavily there with draft picks and subsequent contracts for a decade.
Frederick was among three first-round choices in a span of four years, and all of them signed lucrative second deals. Right guard Zack Martin has made the Pro Bowl in all six of his seasons, and left tackle Tyron Smith is a seven-time Pro Bowler.
There are four years remaining on the $55 million extension Frederick signed during the preseason in 2016.
“His leadership ability, production and intelligence put him at the top level of interior offensive linemen in our league for many years,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said.
“At the pinnacle of his success, his career on the field was only exceeded by a rare display of courage and determination in overcoming a life-threatening illness and returning to the game — a challenge that could only be completed by a person with rare levels of perseverance and strength.”
Frederick is married with two young children and said the Guillian-Barre diagnosis caused him to rethink his priorities.
“I spent much of that year thinking about both the past and future,” Frederick said. “I realized how fortunate I was to play a game for a living. I realized how fortunate I was to make friends and become teammates with some great men. Most of all, I realized the importance of my family and how much I want to be there for their peaks and valleys as they were for me.”
Frederick hadn’t missed a game in his first five NFL seasons when he took time away from training camp in California in 2018 because of feelings he said were similar to stingers in his neck and shoulders.
When he returned to camp, Frederick told reporters he checked out OK with doctors in California. Not long after, Frederick saw more doctors in the Dallas area, and received the diagnosis.
Frederick said the year not playing forced him to consider life after football. He said he knew how players feared the moment when they could no longer do something that had consumed them for 20 years.
“After months of contemplation, I not only accepted that moment, but I also, surprisingly, found myself welcoming the moment,” Frederick said. “I was ready for the next stage of my life. However, the competitor in me would not accept going out without returning to the field.”
Veteran Joe Looney started all 16 games and two playoff games in Frederick’s place two years ago and recently re-signed with the Cowboys.
Connor McGovern, a third-round pick last year who missed the season with a pectoral injury, played centre as a sophomore at Penn State before playing all but one game at guard during his final season as a junior.
More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL
Blue Jays notebook: Shaw 'a little bit more informed' after management meets with Jays players – TSN
TORONTO — Travis Shaw regrets speaking out in the way he did, but also admits he didn’t know what he and his Blue Jays teammates could be facing this summer when they arrived for summer camp a week ago.
On Friday, the first-year Blue Jays infielder sent out a series of tweets in response to my report on the severe penalties the team was warned about, focusing on the theme that there’s no way the Rogers Centre-Marriott City Centre Hotel quarantine bubble can be their reality all summer if the club is granted permission by the federal government and health authorities to play their 30 regular season games in Toronto.
“All summer isn’t going to happen. Not an option,” the 30-year-old infielder tweeted.
As we reported Friday, Shaw had no idea the quarantine bubble could extend into the regular season if the mandatory 14-day quarantine period is still in place and the Canada-U.S. border remains closed for non-essential travel.
Management decided to finally outline the potential scenarios to the team Saturday.
“We actually had a sitdown meeting,” Shaw said Sunday evening, addressing the topic for the first time on a Zoom call with reporters during the team’s workout. “They met with groups of people in the locker-room. I’m definitely a little bit more informed now than I was, say, a week ago. I kind of know what the deal is going forward. I know they’re still working with the government to get clearance for the regular season. Coming up here, I don’t think anybody thought that we could possibly be in here for three months, but everything’s kind of happening on the fly right now and we’re going to have to adjust accordingly.”
Now, Shaw and his teammates are well aware of just how unique, unenviable and challenging their situation could be, not only for summer camp over the next nine days until they leave for Boston to play a pair of recently-added exhibition games against the Red Sox, but far beyond that.
“It was kind of the first that I was hearing about it that we could possibly be in here all summer,” Shaw said of his initial Twitter response. “It’s not ideal to live in a hotel room for three months. I don’t think anybody would want to be stuck in a hotel room for three months. I like to go on walks, get away from work. Nice days like today in Toronto would be nice to walk by the water but we can’t do that this year and the Canadian government has made that pretty strict and we’re going to have to follow that and I, personally, will follow that.”
The Twitter fight Shaw found himself immersed in with fans and those protecting public health was something he regrets.
“It came out a little differently than I probably should’ve said it,” Shaw said. “I should’ve worded it a little bit differently. I was a little bit tone deaf, given the situation everybody is in right now.
“When we came up here we thought it was only going to be two weeks. We weren’t aware it could possibly be the entire summer.”
The team was told they could face a $750,000 fine and potentially jail time, the maximum penalty in the federal Quarantine Act, if seen outside the stadium walls.
It’s something they’ve all been taking seriously.
They just didn’t know it could be all summer.
“According to our rule sheet it just said $750,000 fine,” Shaw said. “And that is something I’m not going to break, I can promise you that.”
Shaw says the team hasn’t sat down to discuss how they’ll behave on the road when they start travelling to the States next week.
Whether the Jays stay in Toronto this summer, head back to virus-ravaged Dunedin, or find a way to make Sahlen Field in Buffalo work, the MLB clubs that take it upon themselves to self-isolate and stay healthy will have the best chance on the field in 2020.
“We have not discussed that yet,” Shaw said. “I think everybody has to be smart. I can’t sit here and say 100 per cent that everybody is going to stay in their hotel room on the road, either. I think people just have to be smart about it. I do not think people will go out and be selfish and jeopardize our team health and public health.
“Public health, public safety is priority No. 1. Team health, team safety is priority No. 2.”
During the discussion with management Saturday, it was conveyed to players that the club is still sorting through possibilities, but that Toronto is still without a doubt the preference.
“Unfortunately there’s not a lot of options to play somewhere else,” said Shaw, who added he won’t be opting out of this season like some players, even if he has to stay in a hotel room all summer. “The options are very limited. I don’t think anybody wants to play in Dunedin. That could be a competitive disadvantage just because of the heat, the weather and COVID outbreak that’s going on in Florida right now. Options are pretty limited right now.”
ROTATION SPOT AVAILABLE
The Jays’ rotation depth is already being tested a bit, as manager Charlie Montoyo announced Sunday that off-season trade acquisition Chase Anderson suffered a strained oblique and will miss some time.
Montoyo described it as a day-to-day situation, but oblique injuries and pitchers usually don’t mix well.
“He did it getting loose for a bullpen a couple days ago,” Montoyo said.
Slated for a mid-rotation slot, likely No. 4, that will bump Trent Thornton up a rung for the time being and give a host of other candidates a new lease on life.
After looking good in a simulated game on Saturday, lefty Ryan Borucki could be the front-runner, with Nate Pearson and his service time considerations looming after spending at least a week off the roster to begin the season in order to secure another year of team control.
Shut down in February with elbow tightness and toting around a long history of left arm issues, Borucki feels as healthy as he has in a while, adding he’s already built up to 50 pitches in bullpen sessions.
“I feel like I’m in the mix (for a rotation spot),” Borucki said. “I know what I’m capable of doing. I feel like everybody in this organization knows what I’m capable of doing. I showed that off in 2018 and I feel like (Saturday) was a good step to show everybody that maybe wrote me off that I am back and I can get hitters out in the big leagues.”
Borucki has tweaked his repertoire, too, ditching his slider in favour of a cutter, to go along with his fastball-changeup bread and butter.
“I just think the cutter, with the movement that I have on my fastball, really works well off my fastball,” he said. “I work inside to hitters really well and running it back in on them, then I can just throw the cutter right off that same lane and try to jam guys. I feel like it’s a better pitch than that bigger slider for me.”
Hyun-Jin Ryu, who will pitch Monday in an intra-squad game, Matt Shoemaker and Tanner Roark are locked into the first three rotation spots.
PEARSON GAINS CONFIDENCE
Not that he needed anymore confidence after dominating each and every one of his spring training outings, Nate Pearson can puff out his chest even more after carving through the top of the Blue Jays’ order Saturday.
Pearson faced Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio, who drew a walk, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Shaw, Randal Grichuk and Rowdy Tellez, not allowing a hit and striking out a pair (Shaw, Grichuk).
“That’s like our ‘A’ lineup and I’ll be facing a lot of ‘A’ lineups once I get my call to the big leagues, and it kind of just showed what my stuff measures up to and I thought I did pretty well,” Pearson said.
Getting ready in this setting has added new wrinkles for everyone, but Pearson was able to get himself mentally ready to stand on a big-league mound.
“I thought it was going to be a little bit different but I was able to pick up the exact adrenaline that I would have in a regular game,” Pearson said of the simulation game setting. “I haven’t been able to pitch in the Rogers Centre a lot so my first time being here as a guy that’s trying to break into the major leagues, it was awesome for me to be out there and I got a lot of adrenaline from it so I didn’t feel like I missed any parts of the environment.”
GURRIEL STILL MISSING
While the Jays continue to essentially “no comment” every question about a missing player or how many are still training in Dunedin, it’s been pretty clear the one key cog that’s missing is starting left fielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr.
No update has been given on the 26-year-old, nor has he been placed on the injured list like Brandon Drury, Jonathan Davis, Elvis Luciano and Hector Perez were a couple weeks ago.
Those five players have still not been spotted in Toronto.
Meanwhile, Austin Martin is now officially in the Jays’ 60-man player pool, but no ETA has been given for the fifth-overall pick.
Martin, like everyone else, would need to go through two COVID-19 tests in Dunedin before he can fly to Toronto to join workouts.
LeBron James To Forgo Social Justice Message On Back Of Jersey – RealGM.com
LeBron James will have his last name on the back of his jersey in lieu of a social justice message when the NBA season resumes.
James added that he had no input on the list of messages that players were able to choose from.
“It was no disrespect to the list that was handed out to all the players. I commend anyone that decides to put something on the back of their jersey. It’s just something that didn’t really seriously resonate with my mission, with my goal.
“I would have loved to have a say-so on what would have went on the back of my jersey. I had a couple things in mind, but I wasn’t part of that process, which is OK. I’m absolutely OK with that. … I don’t need to have something on the back of my jersey for people to understand my mission or know what I’m about and what I’m here to do,” said James.
285 out of a possible 350 eligible players picked out a social justice message to use on the back of their jerseys.
JaVale McGee recently said that he would use “Respect Us,” while Kyle Korver will use “Black Lives Matter.”
Travis Shaw apologizes for recent tweets, says they were 'tone deaf' – CBC.ca
Toronto Blue Jays infielder Travis Shaw has apologized for a series of tweets where he criticized COVID-19 rules and the team’s plan to enforce a closed environment at Rogers Centre and adjoining hotel should their Major League Baseball season be played in Toronto.
Shaw told reporters on a Zoom conference call that he was “a little tone deaf” with the tweets last Friday that were “out of frustration” and that he took responsibility for them and didn’t want them to become a distraction.
“I apologize for that, at no point was I saying I was going to break the rules or we’re going to break the rules,” Shaw said. “We know as a team that’s not an option and to get through this season, everybody is going to have to buy in and everybody is going to have to adhere to whatever protocols we’re set under.”
He noted if other teams don’t follow public-health guidelines, the season may be derailed in any case.
WATCH | Jays still uncertain where they will play thome games:
Shaw had raised concerns about the length of time players may need to stay in their current environment. He replied to a tweet from TSN reporter Scott Mitchell, who reported that multiple sources told him players could face a $750,000 fine and potential jail time if seen outside the ballpark — which also are the same maximum punishments in the Quarantine Act.
“We were told two weeks… not all summer… all summer is a bit much,” Shaw tweeted.
In an email reply, the club said arriving in Toronto, players understood the maximum penalties for leaving the Rogers Centre footprint during camp.
“The rules have kind of changed a little bit from when we first got up here, it was the first I was hearing about that we could be possibly be in here all summer,” Shaw said, adding he should’ve chosen his words differently.
He explained he’d rented a place one block from the Rogers Centre and had looked forward to taking walks by the water to get away from the game. Living in a hotel was not an ideal situation, he said.
Shaw said Blue Jays management — president Mark Shapiro and general manager Ross Atkins — spoke to players on Saturday about the situation.
“I was a little bit tone deaf to the situation, I should have said what I said, should have worded it a little bit differently,” Shaw said. “I apologize for that, take full responsibility.”
The Blue Jays are training in Toronto while figuring out where to play this coming season as the shortened 60-game schedule starts in less than two weeks.
WATCH | Mike Wilner previews Blue Jays season:
Ottawa has given the ball club the green light to hold training camp in Toronto, but hasn’t made a call on games. No fans will be in the stands.
The Buffalo News reported over the weekend the club had checked in with that city about playing in that city, usually the home of the their triple-A club. Blue Jays officials have said Dunedin, Fla., the club’s spring-training facility, is the most likely venue for home games if the team can’t play in Toronto.
For his part, Shaw said he and his teammates are hopeful Toronto is the club’s home this season.
He noted that weather and the COVID-19 situation in Florida means that Dunedin would put the Blue Jays at a competitive disadvantage.
Jays home opener is July 29
The Blue Jays are slated to open the season July 24 at Tampa Bay. The home opener is July 29 against the Washington Nationals.
Shaw said he doesn’t foresee opting out of the 2020 season, given he was looking to this year as a bounce-back season on a one-year contract after an admittedly poor 2019.
Meanwhile, Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said right-hander Chase Anderson is day-to-day with an oblique strain.
Anderson was projected to be a member of the Blue Jays’ five-man starting rotation.
Blue Jays notebook: Shaw 'a little bit more informed' after management meets with Jays players – TSN
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