National Football League Heats Up, Player Draft Nears

April 2, 2020

Boselli: Coronavirus battle was a 'scary' time
Photo: News 4 Jax

The former Jacksonville Jaguars left tackle Tony Boselli ended up spending five days in Mayo Clinic while he fought COVID-19. About half of his stay was in the ICU, and he said it was shortly after he arrived there that he discovered he could be in even deeper trouble.

“It was kind of fuzzy, but I remember [the pulmonologist] saying, ‘If we don’t get your oxygen stabilized, we’re going to have to go to the next level,'” Boselli said. “I remember laying there thinking, ‘What do you mean, if this doesn’t work?’ He says, ‘We don’t know what direction this is going to go.’

“I don’t know if I ever was like I thought I was going to die, but I remember having the conversation with myself: I don’t want to die here.”

The New England Patriots’ team plane is being used to transport 1.2 million N95 masks from Shenzhen, China, to the United States.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the transfer was the result of multiple global negotiations and the Massachusetts governor, Charlie Baker, calling on Patriots team president Jonathan Kraft for his help in acquiring the masks.

The Patriots’ plane had to be upgraded for international travel and a waiver to avoid a 14-day quarantine in China was granted if the crew did not leave the aircraft, according to the Journal.

“I’ve never seen so much red tape in so many ways and obstacles that we had to overcome,” Patriots owner Robert Kraft said, according to the Journal. “In today’s world, those of us who are fortunate to make a difference have a significant responsibility to do so with all the assets we have available to us.”

The Kraft family paid $2 million, about half the cost, to acquire the masks, according to the newspaper. The initial order was for 1.7 million masks, but only 1.2 million could fit on the plane. The remainder of the masks are set to be delivered in another shipment, the Journal reports.

The former Dallas Cowboys Dez Bryant has been workout with Cowboys starting quarterback Dak Prescott.

The Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry has signed his $10.2 million franchise tender, the team announced Thursday. The two sides are still committed to working on a long-term deal before the July 15 deadline for franchised players to sign extensions.

A couple of high-profile pass-rushers in this year’s free-agent class, Jadeveon Clowney and Yannick Ngakoue, are still without a team, but there’s little chance of either one winding up with the Jets. That hasn’t stopped the rumors from swirling — this is the silly season for speculation — but the more likely scenario is the Jets attacking the problem the old-fashioned way, by developing what they have and hunting for a contributor in the draft.

The New York Jets added David Fales, 29, who spent most of last season with the Jets, is the only experienced backup to starter Sam Darnold. There’s always a chance they’ll add another veteran at some point, but Fales gives them a backup QB who knows coach Adam Gase’s offense an important factor amid the COVID-19 restrictions for the offseason.

The Las Vegas Raiders and free-agent cornerback Eli Apple were unable to finalize a contract. Apple, 24, has shown both great potential and inconsistency while starting 51 games over his four-year career with the New York Giants and Saints. He has three interceptions and 33 passes defensed.

Many pundits are already willing to crown the Buffalo Bills as the presumptive champions of the AFC East for the 2020 season, given the arrival of Stefon Diggs and departure of Tom Brady from the New England Patriots.

Bills general manager Brandon Beane wants to pump the brakes on that.

“The team to beat in the East is the Patriots,” Beane told local media during a videoconference Thursday. “And until somebody beats them, they are the team to beat. And as long as Bill Belichick’s there, you’re talking about probably the greatest head coach of all time that was paired with the greatest quarterback of all time.

Tua Tagovailoa underwent a voluntary medical recheck Thursday that was facilitated by the NFL combine, and the results of the comprehensive exam “were overwhelmingly positive.”

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