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Father of NFL hopeful killed in South Florida

The father of NFL hopeful and Florida State University star Travis Rudolph was killed this weekend in an accidental shooting, according to reports from the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.

Darryl Rudolph was shot Saturday morning while he was doing repair work at Sugar Daddy’s Adult Cabaret on Military Trail, south of Southern Boulevard.

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Officials say Rudolph, 55, was working in the back storage room of the club at about 9:30 a.m. The club hired him to do odd jobs, mainly repair work, the sheriff’s office said.

A coworker was in an adjacent room moving a firearm off a shelf. The gun discharged and fired a bullet through a wall and into Rudolph’s neck/back area. He was rushed to St. Mary’s Medical Center where he died.

An initial investigation deemed the shooting accidental. The sheriff’s office stressed the investigation is active and ongoing. It is unclear who owned the gun or whether anyone will face charges in the shooting.

Sugar Daddy’s has been the backdrop — both directly and indirectly — of numerous gun-related incidents.

Greg Bryant, the former standout football player at American Heritage, spent his final hours alive at Sugar Daddy’s nearly a year ago. The 21-year-old was heading home to Delray Beach after a night watching his musician friends perform at the suburban West Palm club. He was fatally shot May 7 on Interstate 95.

No one has been arrested in Bryant’s death.

Travis Rudolph, a West Palm Beach native and Cardinal Newman High School graduate, made national headlines last summer when he ate with a middle school student with autism who was sitting alone. The wide receiver and his Seminoles teammates were visiting the student’s Tallahassee middle school.

As a junior in 2016, Rudolph led the Seminoles in receptions (56), receiving yards (840) and receiving touchdowns (seven). He left Florida State a year early but still managed to sneak into the university’s all-time top 10 in receptions (153) and receiving yards (2,311).

In March, Rudolph told The Post he was happy with his decision to enter the NFL draft early. He had private workouts with the New England Patriots and the Miami Dolphins planned for April.

Patriots respond to comparison photo showing team with Obama versus Trump

The Patriots have snapped back after a collage photo posted by The New York Times shows a comparison of the team celebrating their Super Bowl win with former president Barack Obama in 2015 and this year with President Donald Trump. 

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According to the team, the comparison photo suggests a significantly smaller turnout for Trump’s celebration. The two photos show the Patriots personnel with the president on the south side of the White House. In the 2015 photo, two staircases are filled with men, whereas the photo with Trump shows empty staircases. 

“These photos lack context,” the Patriots wrote on Twitter. “In 2015, over 40 football staff were on the stairs. In 2017, they were seated on the South Lawn.”

The Patriots posted another photo to their Twitter account Wednesday showing Patriots staff and players who visited the White House Wednesday, among other personnel.

The organization said 34 players visited the White House Wednesday. 

>> Related: Tom Brady won't visit White House with Patriots to celebrate Super Bowl win

>> Related: Patriots owner Robert Kraft speaks on players skipping White House Trip

Tom Brady, Chris Long, Alan Branch, LeGarrette Blount, Martellus Bennett, Dont’a Hightower and Devin McCourty were not among the players who made the trip to Washington, D.C.

>> Related:Whose inauguration crowd was bigger, Trump or Obama?

>>Related: Rob Gronkowski crashes Press Sec. Sean Spicer’s press briefing

Patriots spokesman Stacey James told The New York Times about 34 players visited the White House in 2005 and 2006 when George W. Bush was in office. He said nearly 50 players attended the event in 2015 when Obama hosted. 

“James said that one reason substantially fewer players showed up this time as compared to 2015 was that some veteran players did not see the need to go twice in three years,” The New York Times reported.

The New York Times responded to the Patriots Wednesday on Twitter. 

“Patriots say (number) of players was smaller this year than 2015, but total delegation was roughly the same,” the publication wrote.

The delegation was made up of Patriots players as well as the organization’s personnel.

Investigators taking closer look at Aaron Hernandez's final hours

The Massachusetts Department of Corrections said state police will investigate what it called the apparent suicide of former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez, but others are promising to take a closer look into what happened.

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The question of why Hernandez would end his own life might go unanswered.

It was just after 3 a.m. Wednesday when corrections officers found Hernandez hanging from a bed sheet.

No suicide note was left, but sources told Fox25Boston that “John 3:16” was written on his forehead and the wall of his prison cell.

The Bible passage reads:

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

State police spent the day gathering evidence from the cell, reviewing surveillance video and speaking with prison staff.

>> Related: Aaron Hernandez's lawyer, agent dispute suicide claims, want full investigation

Officials said Wednesday that there was no indication that Hernandez was suicidal.

“It’s possible it might not be a suicide, but there are people committing suicide in this facility,” State Sen. Jamie Eldridge said. “(There are) five, six, seven people every few years.”

According to the Boston Globe, Hernandez is the 27th suicide in Massachusetts state prisons since 2010, and the second so far this year.

Another person promising to investigate Hernandez’s apparent suicide is his high-profile attorney, Jose Baez. He recently won an acquittal for Hernandez in his double murder trial.

In a statement, Baez writes:

“We are heartbroken and we are determined to find the truth. We are looking into the process and will conduct a transparent investigation into his untimely death.”

The Globe reports that an official told it that corrections officers conduct nighttime bed checks once an hour and on a staggered schedule to increase the chance of locating an inmate who may have an issue.

“I really hope Gov. (Charlie) Baker and the Legislature take a hard look at improving conditions for prisoners and corrections officers,” Eldridge said.

Aaron Hernandez's lawyer, agent dispute suicide claims, want full investigation

News of former NFL player and convicted murderer Aaron Hernandez’s prison suicide sent shockwave across the country, but his high-profile lawyer and agent are disputing claims that the former Patriots player killed himself.

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Athletes First president Brian Murphy took to Twitter on Wednesday morning to cast doubt on the news.He said there is “absolutely no chance (Hernandez) took his own life.”

"Chico was not a saint, but my family and I loved him and he would never take his own life," he said.

Hernandez’s attorney, Jose Baez, called for an investigation into his client’s death Wednesday because, he said, there were no signs that the former New England Patriots player was suicidal.

“Aaron was looking forward to an opportunity for a second chance to prove his innocence,” Baez said in a statement. “Those who love and care about him are heartbroken and determined to find the truth surrounding his untimely death.”

Hernandez was serving a life-sentence for killing Odin Lloyd in 2013. He was acquitted Friday in a 2012 double killing in the South End that prosecutors said Hernandez committed after one of the men allegedly spilled a drink on him.

Legal analyst Peter Elikann told Fox25Boston that Hernandez’s suicide is likely to affect his previous murder conviction.

“I know that’s going to be hard for a lot of people to swallow but if you die during an appeal in Massachusetts, the appeal of a criminal case, the conviction is vacated,” Elikann said.

Hernandez was in the process of appealing the conviction, which came with a life sentence with no possibility of parole.

“Clearly it’s a very, very narrow legal technicality,” Elikann said. “It’s not like you’ve been vindicated or people now realize you weren’t guilty or anything.”

Officials said Hernandez was found hanging in his cell by corrections officers at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley around 3:05 a.m. 

Tom Brady won't visit White House with Patriots to celebrate Super Bowl win

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will not visit the White House on Wednesday in an annual tradition for Super Bowl winners to meet with the president.

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“I am so happy and excited that our team is being honored at the White House today,” Brady said in a statement released by ESPN’s Mike Reiss. “Thank you to the president for hosting this honorary celebration and for supporting our team for as long as I can remember. In light of some recent developments, I am unable to attend today’s ceremony, as I am attending to some personal family matters.” 

Brady, 39, later posted a photo on social media in honor of his parents’ 48th wedding anniversary. The post suggested Brady would be spending the day with his parents. 

“For 48 years, my sisters and I have had the best example of love, friendship and compassion in our lives,” he wrote. “And it's so special to celebrate together.”

Brady’s mother, Galynn Brady, has been undergoing treatment for cancer for the last couple of years, The Washington Post reported. Tom Brady’s Super Bowl game was the only game his mother was able to attend due to health issues, according to Reiss. 

Most of the Patriots team will get together at the White House to celebrate its Super Bowl win with President Donald Trump.

Trump has repeatedly spoken and tweeted about his fandom of the Patriots and his friendship with Tom Brady and Patriots owner Robert Kraft, a known Trump supporter.

>> Related: Patriots owner Robert Kraft speaks on players skipping White House Trip

Several members of the team will not attend the ceremony because of the man whose hand they would be shaking.

Chris Long, Alan Branch, LeGarrette Blount, Martellus Bennett, Dont’a Hightower and Devin McCourty said they are not making the trip to Washington, D.C.

“We’ll have a lot of fun at the ring ceremony,” McCourty told WFXT. “We had a lot of fun at the afterparty. We had a lot of fun on the plane coming back. The ring ceremony is really the thing where the last time the team gets together… where you get to enjoy everyone on that team. So I don’t, me personally, I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything.”

Tom Brady also did not participate two years ago when the team met with then-President Barack Obama at the White House to celebrate its Super Bowl 49 win.

Tom Brady did not cite politics as a reason.

Bengals’ Pacman Jones blows up at reporter, boots him from interview

 In his first interview with reporters in the locker room since his Jan. 3 arrest, Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Adam Jones blew up at a television reporter who asked if Jones wanted to say anything to the fans.

On the first day of voluntary offseason workouts, Jones made it clear to reporters before the interview started he wasn’t going “to talk about court,” but he did give a thoughtful answer early in the session when the same reporter asked how important it was for Jones to still be with the team after the arrest.

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“Words can’t express can’t express my gratitude or my feelings for the organization, Mr. (Mike) Brown, coach (Marvin) Lewis, the teammates, the City of Cincinnati,” Jones said. “This is home for me. I’m very eager to be here. I don’t take it for granted. I love playing football, and I love helping the guys out and working together for one common goal, which is winning. I’m more than happy to be here.”

But a couple of minutes later Jones got irate when the reporter asked, “I know you said you were thankful for the organization, is there anything you have to show to fans, have to prove to the fans for them to welcome you back since there were a lot of people upset with the way things went down in the offseason for you?” 

 >>Related: Prosecutor drops felony charge against Pacman Jones

“Didn’t I just tell you don’t ask me that?” Jones said. “You out the (interview). Turn around. Go back that way. See you. Next question. That’s his last interview for the year.”

The reporter complied, but Jones, who reportedly was taking anger management classes in wake of his arrest, continued to berate the reporter, who had walked away from his locker, while walking to the restroom after ending the interview, yelling at him for asking “stupid ass (expletive) questions.”

Jones continued after returning for the restroom, telling the reporter to “shut the (expletive) up.” After a couple of teammates tried to calm Jones, Lewis entered the locker room and sat down to talk with him.

The Bengals declined to comment on the incident. 

 

Ex-NFL tight end drove truck that accidentally hit, killed daughter 

Former Baltimore Ravens tight end Todd Heap was behind the wheel of a truck that accidentally struck and killed his 3-year-old daughter Friday, police confirmed.

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The incident occurred about 3:45 p.m. at Heap’s home in Mesa, Arizona, the Arizona Republic reported.

The child was in the driveway of the home when Heap moved a truck forward, striking her, police said. She was taken to a local hospital, where she was pronounced dead, police said.

Heap, 37, was born in Mesa and starred in football at Arizona State University, where he was a two-time All-Pac-10 selection, the Arizona Republic reported. After being selected as a first-round pick in 2001, he played professionally for the Baltimore Ravens until 2010, finishing his career with the Arizona Cardinals in 2011 and 2012. He was an All-Pro selection at tight end in 2003 and was inducted into the Ravens’ Ring of Honor in 2014.

Mesa police said impairment was not a factor, the Arizona Republic reported.

Report: Marshawn Lynch agrees to contract terms with Raiders

Retired Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch has agreed to contract terms with the Raiders, according to a tweet from sports journalist Michael Silver.

The trade with the Seahawks has not yet been completed. 

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Seahawks writer Brady Henderson said on Twitter that the Seahawks still hold Lynch's rights.

"Re-worked deal is presumably a precursor to a trade as his contract includes a $9M base salary for 2017," Henderson wrote.

Earlier this month, Lynch reportedly told the Raiders that he intends to un-retire and play again, according to an NFL insider.

League sources told ESPN in mid-March that the Raiders were trying to acquire Lynch.

Seattle, which has Lynch under contract for another two years, could decide to release Lynch and allow him to sign with Oakland, according to ESPN. The sports network reported that Lynch has considered coming out of retirement, and playing for his hometown team could influence his decision.

Though Lynch himself has yet to publicly announce or deny his intention to return to the NFL, he fueled the rumors that he wants to come out of retirement.

Amid the March ESPN speculation of his return, Lynch retweeted:

Lynch is from Oakland and has said in the past he’d like to play for his home team. Lynch famously announced his retirement with a tweet showing a picture of cleats over a phone wire with a peace out emoji.

Woman receives football scholarship at Division II Colorado college

An Arizona high school student will start her college career in the fall as the first woman to receive a football scholarship at a Division II university.

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On Wednesday, Becca Longo, 18, of Basha High School in Chandler, Arizona, signed a letter of intent to play for Adams State University in Alamosa, Colorado.  Longo will join the university’s football team as a kicker. She’ll also join the women’s basketball team at the school. 

According to ESPN, about a dozen women have played on college football teams, but none have received a scholarship for such a high division NCAA-affiliated program. 

Longo caught the attention of Adams State coaches when she sent highlight videos to the football department at the school. Adams State offensive coordinator Josh Blankenship visited Basha High School to see Longo on the field. He was impressed, and soon after, Longo was offered a scholarship.

Adams State head football coach Timm Rosenbach said he didn’t know that Longo was the first woman to receive an NCAA football scholarship out of high school.

“I don’t look at it that way,” he told the Arizona Republic. “My wife is a former pro athlete. I see (Longo) as a football player who earned it.

“It was like recruiting any other athlete... To me, there is no doubt she can be competitive. She has a strong leg, and she can be very accurate.” 

Longo, who started playing football during her sophomore year of high school, said she was inspired by a female player who played on her older brother’s high school football team.   

“I’m ready to compete,” Longo said. “I don’t really have any expectations beyond that.”

Pro football player finishes chemo treatments, accidentally breaks victory bell

Houston Texans offensive tackle David Quessenberry finished his last round of chemotherapy Tuesday after a 3-year battle with non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

A video shared online shows the NFL star celebrating by ringing a victory bell and accidentally breaking it.

Quessenberry, who was drafted by the Texans in 2013, has been receiving treatment at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

The hospital has a small bell hanging on a wall for patients to ring after they finish their last round of chemo.

Quessenberry, 26, rang the bell enthusiastically and ended up yanking the whole thing off the wall.

“It has been more than 1,000 days since my fight began. Yesterday, I received my last infusion of chemo therapy. The things I have seen and the things I felt through my fight I could never forget,” Quessenberry wrote on Instagram. “This bell, just like cancer, never stood a chance.”

Quessenberry was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin T lymphoblastic lymphoma in 2014. Doctors discovered a mass in his lungs when the 300-pound player sought treatment for a persistent cough and shortness of breath, the Houston Chronicle reported.

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