Seau's brain will be donated to research

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Seau's brain will be donated to research

From Comcast SportsNet
SAN DIEGO (AP) -- The family of former NFL star Junior Seau will donate his brain for research into repetitive head injuries. San Diego Chargers chaplain Shawn Mitchell said the family made the decision Thursday. "The Seau family really has, almost like Junior, a philanthropic approach, where they always desire to help others," Mitchell said in a phone interview Friday. "The purpose is not initially to discover anything about their son and what led to these tragic circumstances, but rather the betterment of other people and athletes down the road through anything that can be learned through the study." Mitchell said he didn't know where the brain was being sent. He said the family was not speculating as to whether concussions were a factor in Seau's suicide. Seau, a standout college and Chargers player, was found dead Wednesday at his Oceanside home. An autopsy concluded he shot himself in the chest. Some have speculated that brain injuries from football may have played a role in his death, but there's been no medical confirmation of such damage. Seau's ex-wife, Gina, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that he sustained concussions during his 20-year NFL career, during which he also played for Miami and New England. Mitchell said he never heard Seau complain about dizziness or headaches. "With Junior, that would be so outside of his nature because he had an amazing threshold for pain," Mitchell said. Family members and friends have said they weren't aware of any issues that may have led to Seau's suicide. Police said no suicide note was found. "This is not anything I thought he would ever do," former San Diego Chargers safety Miles McPherson said. A few weeks ago, a smiling Seau was videotaped playing a ukulele and singing while attending the spring game at Southern California, where he starred before being drafted by the Chargers in 1990. Mitchell said that friends of Seau's who were at his charity golf tournament a month ago said his "spirits were great." Boston University's Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy has analyzed the brains of dozens of former athletes, including that of former Chicago player Dave Duerson, who shot himself in the chest last year. While saying it was saddened by Seau's death, center officials would not say if they have reached out to the Seau family or would be interested in studying his brain. Duerson's family has filed a wrongful death suit against the NFL, claiming the league didn't do enough to prevent or treat concussions that severely damaged Duerson's brain before he died in in February 2011. Former Atlanta Falcons safety Ray Easterling, who had joined in a concussion-related lawsuit against the league -- one of dozens filed in the last year -- shot himself last month at age 62. His wife has said he suffered from depression and dementia after taking years of hits.

Hawkeyes going to Outback Bowl for fifth time, taking on Florida

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USA TODAY

Hawkeyes going to Outback Bowl for fifth time, taking on Florida

Iowa is going back to the Outback Bowl.

Yes, for the fifth time in the last 13 seasons, the Hawkeyes will wrap their campaign with a trip to Tampa and an appearance in the Outback Bowl. And for the third time, their opponent there will be the Florida Gators. That game kicks at noon on Jan. 2.

Iowa and Florida met in the Outback Bowl to conclude the 2003 and 2005 seasons, splitting those two matchups.

This time around, the Hawkeyes are coming off an 8-4 regular season, a disappointing follow up to their 12-2 campaign a season ago that started off a perfect 12-0 before postseason losses in the Big Ten title game and the Rose Bowl.

Kirk Ferentz has led his team to a bowl appearance in 14 of his 18 seasons, though Iowa has lost the last four of those games, without a bowl win since taking down Missouri in the 2010 Insight Bowl.

Iowa is 2-2 in its four previous Outback Bowl appearances, beating Florida, losing to Florida, beating South Carolina and losing to LSU.

As for the Gators, they own an 8-4 record, as well, after falling to Alabama in Saturday’s SEC Championship Game. Florida is known for its sluggish offense, one of the lowest-scoring teams in the country.

Start spreadin' the news: Northwestern to face Pitt in Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium

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USA TODAY

Start spreadin' the news: Northwestern to face Pitt in Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium

Start spreadin' the news.

Northwestern is heading to New York for its bowl game this season, specifically the Bronx, where it will battle Pittsburgh in the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium.

Though it isn't your typically warm bowl destination, the baseball-stadium setting should be pretty fantastic. The game will be played at 1 p.m. on Dec. 28.

The Wildcats reached bowl eligibility with their sixth win in the regular-season finale against Illinois. Northwestern is heading to back-to-back bowl games after missing out on the postseason in back-to-back seasons in 2013 and 2014.

This is just the 13th-ever bowl trip for the Cats, though it's their seventh in 11 seasons under Pat Fitzgerald. Northwestern has a 1-5 record under Fitzgerald in the previous six bowl games, though that win is one of just two all-time bowl victories by the program.

This season started slowly for the Cats, who lost upsetting home games to Illinois State and Western Michigan and started 1-3. But Northwestern turned things around with back-to-back road wins over Iowa and Michigan State and finished 6-6. The Cats' offense has been particularly effective this season compared to seasons past. Wide receiver Austin Carr took home Big Ten Receiver of the Year honors and is a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award after leading the conference in receptions, receiving yards and touchdown catches. Running back Justin Jackson was the league's leading rusher until getting surpassed by just a couple yards by both Wisconsin's Corey Clement and Penn State's Saquon Barkley, who both competed in Saturday night's Big Ten Championship Game, adding to their respective rushing totals.

Pitt has had a pretty noteworthy season. Despite having four losses, it beat two teams that finished ranked in the top five of the College Football Playoff rankings: No. 2 Clemson and No. 5 Penn State. The Panthers are coached by former Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi.