Ball was sentenced in Madison, Wis., where he was a star for the University of Wisconsin. He finished his college career as the FBS all-time leader in touchdowns.
“I know that you’ve received trophies and scholarships for pounding people on the gridiron,” Dane County Circuit judge William E. Hanrahan said in sentencing Ball, according to the Journal Sentinel. “But you have crossed the line. You’ve earned nothing but condemnation and scorn here for your actions.
“There is a difference between hitting big guys in helmets and protective gear and throwing around frail, young women that are vulnerable and depend on you.”
Ball was a second-round pick in 2013 and was set to start for the Broncos in 2014. But injuries, including an emergency appendectomy, limited him to five games that season. He was cut at the end of the 2015 preseason and didn’t play an NFL regular-season game last season. Given his legal problems, it’s doubtful he ever resurfaces in the NFL.
Tom Brady’s decision to end his personal fight in the Deflategate saga was made simply to help everyone move forward.
That’s the point Brady stressed Friday when speaking to the media for the first time since deciding not to pursue further legal action in the appeal of his NFL-imposed four-game suspension.
“It’s just personal, and I’ve tried to move on from it,” Brady said Friday of his choice. “I try to focus on the positive, being here with my teammates and getting better. You don’t want to go out and do anything but try to be a great example for your teammates and we’ve got al ot of competitive guys that have been out here on the practice field, and I think that’s where the focus needs to be.”
Brady will be exiled away from the team over the first month of the season while serving his suspension, but he isn’t too concerned about how he’ll spend his time, instead focusing on preparing his teammates for life without him under center.
1 to 10 percent: Jimmy Graham suffered a ruptured patella last season, an injury that holds the league’s worst rate of long-term recovery. The injury has seemed to sap the athleticism of similarly scarred players. Graham’s outlook has drastically changed over the past two years; he has gone from the prime of his career as the focal point of the Saints’ offense to a question mark as just another part of the Seattle offense. … Bobby Wagner might benefit from playing on a legendarily successful defense, or the success of others might cause voters to punish Seattle’s middle linebacker. At this point, I’m not sure whether either is fair. … Michael Bennett finally got his due as a Pro Bowler in 2015, but he turns 31 this year. His four-year breakout run hasn’t been a historically notable peak, and Bennett won’t have a long enough career to accumulate huge counting stats.
Russell Wilson could lose it overnight — Colin Kaepernick seemed to — but he’s only getting better. He laid the running game arguments to rest last year, with Seattle’s attack only kicking into high gear after Marshawn Lynch was injured and the Seahawks moved to more of a pass-friendly attack. It’s far easier to imagine situations in which he keeps it up and makes the Hall of Fame than ones in which he slips and struggles to achieve greatness. 85 percent
Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman could go from fifth-round pick to the Hall of Fame. Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images
Richard Sherman had four Pro Bowls and three first-team All-Pro awards in his back pocket before turning 28. He produces counting stats, having accumulated eight picks in consecutive seasons, and he has that legendary moment of picking off Kaepernick on the “sorry receiver” play in the NFC Championship Game. It would take a career-ending injury or a Nnamdi Asomugha-in-Philadelphia-esque sudden drop-off in play for Sherman to miss out on enshrinement. 90 percent
Earl Thomas is just that much better, having five Pro Bowls and three first-team All-Pro awards before turning 27. The competition at safety isn’t quite as intense as it is at cornerback, and Thomas is quietly more essential to what Seattle has done on defense in years past. It’s a good competition to have, and it’s the third guy on the Seattle roster who is all but guaranteed to make the Hall of Fame.