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Utah defensive lineman Lowell Lotulelei says Michigan defensive lineman Maurice Hurst Jr. told him Saturday that he had been diagnosed with the same heart condition as Lotulelei's older brother Eddie Vanderdoes Jersey , Star.
The comments came shortly after ESPN first reported Hurst will not be allowed to participate in drills.
League spokesman Michael Signora confirmed that players can be held out based on certain diagnoses but that he believed Hurst was still in town.
Jeff Foster, president of National Football Scouting, declined to confirm details of what happened because of privacy concerns. But he did tell The Associated Press that six to eight players have been withheld from drills this year for reasons players were not aware of before their arrival.
Foster said that number has stayed relatively consistent over the past 13 years.
Hurst had been rising steadily on mock draft boards.
The 6-foot-2, 280-pound defensive tackle had 59 tackles and 5 1/2 sacks last season. He also had 13 tackles for loss and has been considered one component of a deep class of defensive tackles in this year's draft.
Hurst's father played seven seasons with the New England Patriots as a cornerback.
Word leaked just after defensive linemen and linebackers started talking to reporters at the NFL's annual scouting combine in Indianapolis.
"I just found out in the NFLPA meeting that we just had. He just said, 'Star was your brother?' And I said yeah. He's like, 'Man, I just got the same thing that he did,'" Lowell Lotulelei told reporters. "Obviously I didn't go through it, so I don't really know what he's feeling like. But I kind of understand the disappointment just because my brother trained just like he trained and you're expecting one thing and getting another. I feel for him. It sucks. But I think he'll be fine just like my brother was."
Five years ago, Star Lotulelei arrived at the combine as the expected first pick in that year's draft.
Things changed dramatically after doctors identified an "abnormal" test on his heart.
Lotulelei then sought additional opinions Joe Barksdale Jersey , eventually was cleared to exercise and was taken by Carolina with the 14th overall selection in the 2013 draft. He has missed only four games in five NFL seasons.
Miami Dolphins receiver Kenny Stills vacationed this offseason in Africa, led several teammates on a training trip to Nebraska and returned to find the NFL’s national anthem debate again at peak volume.
”We’ve got to clean up how things are looking,” Stills said following the Dolphins’ first training camp practice Thursday.
The sixth-year pro is part of the debate because he kneeled during the anthem the past two seasons and has been vocal discussing social injustice issues that inspired the protest.
Stills would prefer the league had no anthem policy so players could do as they wished, and said he’ll wait until a policy is set to decide what he’ll do during the anthem this season.
”At some point before the season starts, the league and the players association are going to come to an agreement,” he said. ”And at that point I’ll have a better idea what I’ll be doing.”
Last week the league and union issued a joint statement saying the two sides are still working on a resolution. Their statement came hours after The Associated Press reported Dolphins players who protest on the field during the anthem could be suspended for up to four games under a team policy issued last week.
The Dolphins subsequently issued a statement saying all options regarding the team’s policy remain open.
On Thursday, coach Adam Gase said he doubted a Miami player would be suspended for protesting during the anthem.
”I mean, if anybody knew actual rules in the NFL, good luck suspending somebody,” Gase said. ”It takes about 5 De'Vondre Campbell Jersey ,000 things before anybody can get suspended by a club.”
Gase said he doesn’t see anthem issue as potentially divisive for his team.
”I think they do a good job of when issues come up, they get together and hammer it out,” Gase said. ”These guys aren’t shy about speaking up. They’ve done a good job of making sure, as a group, they talk through things.”
Three-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman Jurrell Casey also plans to continue protesting, but wants people to quit seeing this as an anthem issue. The Tennessee Titans lineman said he will continue protesting by raising his fist at the end of the anthem.
”The biggest thing that we have right now is the way the justice system is set up for minorities,” said Casey, whose wife is an attorney. ”And that’s just what the whole battle is about, trying to bring light to enlighten the things that’s going on around the minority community.”
The league hasn’t been able to reach an agreement. On Wednesday, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said he’ll insist his players stand for the anthem.
Stills’ reaction to Jones’ comments?
”I wouldn’t expect anything different Xavien Howard Jersey ,” Stills said.
Stills said he hadn’t spoken much with Dolphins owner Stephen Ross about the issue since last year. Ross didn’t attend the first day of training camp.
Stills tuned out the anthem debate this offseason by traveling to Victoria Falls, Kruger National Park and Cape Town, where he learned about African culture, went on safaris and tried bungee jumping. More recently, he spent time in Lincoln, Nebraska, with other Dolphins wideouts and a receivers coach he has known since he was in the 10th grade.
”The anthem stuff was becoming a really quiet, quiet topic,” Stills said.
No more. Defensive end Robert Quinn, who protested during the anthem while with the Rams last year Breshad Perriman Jersey , was asked following his first Dolphins practice what the league should do about a policy.
”I’ll just say one thing: It’s called freedom of speech,” he said. ”Simple as that.”
Quinn, Stills and others have been targets of criticism for their protests, which they believe have been misconstrued as unpatriotic.
But Stills was nominated by teammates last year for the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, a reflection of his standing in locker room. His latest community project is with the nationwide OK Program, which mentors young black men.
”I think I’ve done a good job of trying to figure out ways to continue to use my voice and platform for the right things,” Stills said, ”and put the messaging back in the right direction.”
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