NFL Notes: From pur­ga­tory to Pro Bowl for Cow­boys’ Fred­er­ick

The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - SPORTS - By The As­so­ci­ated Press

Dal­las Cow­boys cen­ter Travis Fred­er­ick was se­lected to his fifth Pro Bowl this week. No big deal, ex­cept that he’s barely a year re­moved from not be­ing able to lift weights be­cause of an au­toim­mune dis­or­der that at­tacks the ner­vous sys­tem.

Fred­er­ick hadn’t missed a game in his five-year ca­reer when he was di­ag­nosed with Guil­lain-Barre syn­drome dur­ing train­ing camp last year. It wasn’t clear at the time how long he would be out, but Fred­er­ick ended up miss­ing the en­tire sea­son.

There were benchmarks on the road to re­cov­ery, such as hit­ting his max on the squat in the weight room and sur­pass­ing his per­sonal best on an­other lift­ing tech­nique. The next was start­ing a reg­u­lar sea­son game, and play­ing ev­ery week just as he used to do.

Now Fred­er­ick can say he has reached the Pro Bowl in the past five sea­sons he has played.

“The first one is al­ways spe­cial be­cause it’s such an un­be­liev­able honor,” Fred­er­ick said. “Then, each one brings its own unique feel­ing to it. But af­ter ev­ery­thing I’ve been through, this one means a lot to me.”

The 28-year-old cen­ter re­gained the start­ing job he had held since his first day as a rookie first-round pick in 2013. And while it has been an un­even sea­son for Dal­las’ run­ning game, the Cow­boys have the NFL’s No. 1 of­fense. With­out Fred­er­ick, quar­ter­back Dak Prescott was sacked the se­cond-most times in the NFL.

This year, he’s in the top five among fewest sacks.

“His im­pact has been sig­nif­i­cant,” coach Ja­son Gar­rett said of Fred­er­ick. “Not only phys­i­cally, but his abil­ity to com­mu­ni­cate and get ev­ery­body on the same page I think is crit­i­cal, not only in the run game but in pass pro­tec­tion.”

Ezekiel El­liott did win one of his two rush­ing ti­tles with­out Fred­er­ick last sea­son, but he’s right up there with Prescott in be­ing glad to have the 2016 All-Pro back.

“Last year, I know it had to be very scary for him,” El­liott said. “It was scary for me. Just to see where he was and be­ing able to come back and play on such a high level and make a Pro Bowl — that’s crazy.” STILL PER­FECT The Mi­ami Dol­phins will honor their 1972 per­fect sea­son team, cho­sen the great­est in league his­tory as part of the NFL 100 Great­est se­ries.

The cer­e­mony will take place Sun­day at half­time of the Dol­phins’ game against the Ben­gals.

“It’s al­ways spe­cial to be around the guys who came to­gether to ac­com­plish what no other team in the 100-year his­tory of the NFL has ever done — the per­fect sea­son,” said Pro Foot­ball Hall of Fame coach Don Shula, who will at­tend the cer­e­mony and turns 90 on Jan. 4. “It’s only fit­ting as the league closes out this mile­stone sea­son that the 1972 Dol­phins are of­fi­cially rec­og­nized with an honor that we al­ways knew was true — that they are the great­est team in NFL his­tory.”

The 1972 Dol­phins went 17-0 for the only un­de­feated, un­tied sea­son in league his­tory. Since Septem­ber, the NFL 100 Great­est se­ries has high­lighted the 100 best plays, games, char­ac­ters, game chang­ers and teams in NFL his­tory. SNUBBED STAND­OUT Detroit Li­ons re­ceiver

Kenny Gol­la­day is lead­ing the NFL with 10 re­ceiv­ing touch­downs, ranks third with 18.8 yards per catch and is among league lead­ers with 1,052 yards re­ceiv­ing.

Those num­bers, though, were not good enough to earn him a spot in the Pro Bowl.

“I feel like I’m still fly­ing un­der the radar right now, which is cool with me,” Gol­la­day in­sisted.

Gol­la­day was a thir­dround draft pick of the Li­ons in 2017 out of North­ern Illi­nois af­ter play­ing two sea­sons at North Dakota. He has two straight 1,000yard sea­sons, and has 154 catches for 2,592 yards and 18 touch­downs in three years in the NFL. GEN­ER­OUS EA­GLES The Ea­gles are lend­ing a sup­port­ive hand to 22 Philadel­phia-area

non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tions.

The team an­nounced this week that its Ea­gles So­cial Jus­tice Fund of the Philadel­phia Foun­da­tion awarded grants to­tal­ing $373,000 to or­ga­ni­za­tions that work to re­duce bar­ri­ers to equal op­por­tu­nity, with a spe­cific focus on ed­u­ca­tion, com­mu­nity and po­lice re­la­tions, im­prov­ing the crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem, and other ini­tia­tives tar­get­ing poverty, racial equal­ity, and work­force devel­op­ment in the Greater Philadel­phia area.

Among those re­ceiv­ing grants are Com­mu­nity Le­gal Ser­vices, Philadel­phia Bar Foun­da­tion, Philadel­phia Youth Network and Why Not Pros­per, which each got $25,000, and Philadel­phia Fu­tures, which re­ceived $20,000.

The Ea­gles So­cial Jus­tice Lead­er­ship Coun­cil is com­prised of a small col­lec­tion of play­ers and club ex­ec­u­tives, and works to iden­tify po­ten­tial grant re­cip­i­ents and se­cure con­tri­bu­tions to the Ea­gles So­cial Jus­tice Fund. Play­ers on the coun­cil in­clude Mal­colm Jenkins, Ra­sul Dou­glas, Avonte Mad­dox, Jalen Mills and Rod­ney McLeod.

“Read­ing through each grant ap­pli­ca­tion was in­cred­i­bly mo­ti­vat­ing and we are proud to sup­port so many non-prof­its in the Greater Philadel­phia area that work year-round to cre­ate im­pact,” Jenkins said. “These non-prof­its are pro­vid­ing a spec­trum of ser­vices to make our com­mu­nity bet­ter.”

In just two years, the Ea­gles So­cial Jus­tice Fund has pro­vided area-based or­ga­ni­za­tions with more than $858,000 in fund­ing.

“I am in­cred­i­bly proud of our play­ers for their trans­for­ma­tive work as mem­bers of the Ea­gles So­cial Jus­tice Lead­er­ship Coun­cil,” said Ea­gles chair­man and CEO Jef­frey Lurie. “Their col­lab­o­ra­tive ef­forts with pol­icy lead­ers, ad­vo­cates, grant re­cip­i­ents, and local or­ga­ni­za­tions have led to mean­ing­ful change in our re­gion and around the coun­try.

“By re­duc­ing bar­ri­ers to equal op­por­tu­nity, bridg­ing gaps, and sup­port­ing a prism of so­cial jus­tice pro­grams and causes, our play­ers are cre­at­ing a brighter, more in­clu­sive fu­ture for our com­mu­ni­ties.” CAM’S CAM­ERAS Cam New­ton is help­ing call the shots off the field, too.

The Carolina Pan­thers quar­ter­back is an ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer for a new se­ries for the mo­bile-first me­dia tech­nol­ogy plat­form Quibi called, “Iron Sharp­ens Iron,” which was cre­ated by New­ton’s Iconic Saga Pro­duc­tion and Liq­uid Light and fea­tures joint work­outs be­tween top pro­fes­sional ath­letes.

ROGER STEIN­MAN - THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

FILE - In this Oct. 20, 2019, file photo, Dal­las Cow­boys cen­ter Travis Fred­er­ick (72) pre­pares for the snap of the ball dur­ing the first half of an NFL foot­ball game against the Philadel­phia Ea­gles in Ar­ling­ton, Texas.

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