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were not re-officiating the play

  • 16 May
    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Big brother stood behind little brother during the first workout together at the gym, lifted off the bar with five-pound weights on either end and passed down the inspiration that would stick with him along with it.Pat Elflein dreamed of playing football at Ohio State. Matt Elflein was going to do everything he could to help him get there.I saw it in him, the drive, and I remember the very first time at Metro Fitness in Pickerington [Ohio], Matt, now 27, said. I told him, Hey, if you want to play at Ohio State, it starts right now. That stuck with him ever since, and I tried to ingrain that work ethic in his head.Our relationship is one of a kind. We click. Ever since he got into playing some sports, I was just trying to be the older brother to look out after him.That early influence on the younger brother clearly worked. Pat Elflein is a senior captain of the Buckeyes, the rock of the offensive line at center, an Outland Trophy semifinalist and a surefire NFL draft pick when the time comes.But eventually, the roles shifted in the family. Little brother was the one standing behind big brother, and the weight that was holding him down was brutal drug addiction that threatened to destroy their bond.And this time the message had far greater stakes.Blessed with the same athletic genes and the work ethic the family passed on as well, Matt Elflein turned himself into a college football player first. And thats where the trouble started.He had dealt with his share of bumps and bruises as any linebacker would, dating to high school. And while dabbling in rugby, hed once had somebody fall on his head, breaking his eye socket and needing a plate put in his face. His mom didnt sign the paperwork for rugby again, turning him into a one-sport star on the way to a career at Ohio Dominican.A torn labrum during his sophomore year came with surgery and a bottle of pills that wound up doing far more damage than the hit that injured him.Thats when the whirlwind started, Matt said. I was introduced to pain pills. I was in my dorm, living on my own and didnt really have anyone to hold me accountable. Dont get me wrong, I was an adrenaline seeker. I loved the adrenaline rush, an opium rush, any of that. Anything that made me feel good, I liked.Thinking back to when I was younger, I had this addictive personality. Anything that made me feel good, I wanted more of. That started with the gym, really. That was my first addiction. I was working out before practice, before school, during football, after football.Eventually that effect would wear off for him. By the time he was physically ready to get back on the practice field or in the gym, Matt was already focused on chasing a different high.What started as a recovery process instead spiraled violently the other way. And for a while he was able to continue functioning, making it through some classes, passing some qualification tests and holding down a couple of jobs, but the addiction was taking hold.Well, you know, everyones rock bottom is different, Matt said. Rock bottom is when you quit digging. For me, it was bouncing between those two jobs and sleeping in my car. Sleeping at the drug house, sleeping on the floor there -- it was bad. I mean, I couldnt go home. They heated the house with a stove. There were mice and everything. It was terrible, dirty, [like the kind of] place you see on TV you would never think you would be.There I was. I was f------ there. Sleeping on the floor, scraping change to get a dollar to get a cheeseburger. And I lost my family. They didnt want anything to do with me, they still cared, but it was from a distance.That mission that started in the Metro Fitness had been accomplished. Pat Elflein had just arrived at Ohio State, was battling for a job on the offensive line and ready to achieve everything hed talked about with Matt over the years.But he was distracted, hurting and trying to figure out how to help a brother he barely recognized anymore.It was one of the worst things Ive ever been through, Pat said. Going from someone who was so close to you and you looked up to so much, goes through this disease and it just changes who that person is. This person is now lying to you, stealing from you and is doing whatever they can to get that fix. Theyre a totally different person, and they dont have control over that.Its tough not knowing if hes coming home that night, where hes at, where hes sleeping because hes not sleeping at home. Its really a tough situation.That was certainly obvious to those around the Buckeyes, who could see that Pats mind was often elsewhere.The young offensive lineman had his own future and career about which to worry. And while he wanted to be around to support Matt, thats not always possible for somebody in the middle of a football season.Yeah, it was awful, coach Urban Meyer said. Pat is like a family member, and my wife Shelley is very close with him. She deals with addiction -- thats her career, shes a psychiatric nurse and shes incredible. Shes helped other players and players families, so we actually got all together. I love Pat, theres nothing I wont do for him.If someone you love is dealing with a hard time, his reaction didnt surprise me. And how he ended up dealing with it didnt surprise me. Hes an All-American center, but hes also an all-American person, which is even more important. I didnt want him to go through this by himself.Nobody can go through it alone.Matt fought that message four times, leaving rehab stints early and believing he had the answers for the problem without the help. Eventually it started to sink in as the distance between his younger brother and the family continued to grow.I was just hard-headed and refused to listen to the people that have all these degrees hanging on their wall or 15 years sobriety -- I thought I was different, that I could do it on my own, Matt said. Well, I couldnt. Finally my mom found me at work, like 5:30 in the morning, took me to McDonalds, got me a big orange juice and a steak-egg-and-cheese bagel, it was so good. Then we sat down and talked, cried, she came to me and she found me, but I was like, I need help. I need to go to rehab.I went back to work, she called me about three hours later and said, So, you want to go to rehab? Your plane leaves at 6. It arrived in Florida. After 47 days of inpatient treatment, the corner was turned. Three years later, hes sober, a project manager at work, a part-time firefighter, new dad -- and a rock again for his little brother.Pat Elflein stood on a stage at his high school in Pickerington, flanked by a senator on one side and an Army general on the other.His youth football coach, Wayne Campbell, who founded a nonprofit organization to fight drug usage called Tylers Light and had organized the event for more than 600 students as part of the push for drug-free clubs across Ohio, was in the audience.The Ohio State center was supposed to have 10 minutes to speak about his own experiences with his family, and Campbell was waving his hand to tell Elflein to wind it down.He just put his head down and said, Ive got another story to tell you, Campbell said. I went, Oh no, hes going way over. Pat what are you doing?Then he starts telling this story about his friend, I had never heard it because it just happened -- this place came to a standstill. You could hear a pin drop. Now Im thinking, It was meant to be. Im glad I didnt wave him off the stage and he got to say that part. Hes got it from a personal perspective, then his best friend.Drugs had just stolen another relationship with Elflein, this time for good. And while in this case there was no sign of a battle with addiction, Zach Hemmilas death hit Elflein hard after his childhood friend died in his sleep with a toxic mix of prescription pills in his bloodstream.The Arizona center had grown up down the street from him in Pickerington, best friends until a job took the Hemmila family to Phoenix -- where he would develop into another No. 65 on a Power 5 offensive line.Speaking to those kids kind of like fired off a rocket, Campbell said. Hes come to some awareness events before, and hell get up on the stage and talk. This was a completely different deal -- and the thing is, its away from football. We know youre popular over here, but look over here.He used that platform, and I think he really got excited about the feedback he got. Kids were just surrounding him. Pat, hes an All-American at Ohio State, but they wanted to talk about this. They didnt just want an autograph, they wanted to talk about this issue with him, which is really cool.The phone buzzes around three times each day, one Elflein to another.The fight never ends, but the older brother has a new habit for his addictive personality to chase -- staying sober. And when little brother needs a little motivation, he knows one easy way to find it.Hes my rock, thats my man, Pat said. If theres ever something I need, ups and downs, he calls me, I call him.Weve been through it all together.There was even another shoulder issue in the family to get through recently. And even though it was just a minor scope for Pat, there was another bottle of prescription pills around that couldnt help but give something of a scare to an otherwise imposing 6-foot-3, 300-pound lineman.Oh yeah, because I know how easy that stuff is to get addicted to, Pat Elflein said. I had my mom hold on to it so she was giving it to me when I needed it. Right when I felt like I didnt need it anymore, we got rid of them. They were gone.As soon as I could tolerate the pain with just Ibuprofen or something over the counter relief, those things were gone.That was one lesson among many learned the hard way.And now its a new message for the Elfleins to deliver when they stand behind somebody else needing a lift.It gives me chills to hear him speak, Matt said. Thats why Im so open about it as well. Addiction is a vicious cycle, and I feel that pain.Oh man, this is just all about helping other people.After having drugs splinter a one-of-a-kind bond, now the brothers can help tackle that problem together. Cheap Ultra Boost UK Outlet . Duchene scored two goals and had an assist, helping the Colorado Avalanche beat the Carolina Hurricanes 4-2 on Friday night to match the best 10-game start in team history. Ultra Boost UK Sale . Luis Suarezs double powered Liverpool to a 4-0 victory over Fulham, and Southampton easily overcame Hull 4-1 to continue the south coast clubs impressive start to the season. Liverpool and Southampton sent Chelsea down to fourth place as the west London club was held to 2-2 at home. http://www.wholesaleultraboostuk.com/ . The team said Saturday that Lopez was hurt during its 121-120 overtime loss at Philadelphia on Friday. The Nets said they would issue another update next week after consultation with their doctors. Adidas Ultra Boost UK . Louis Blues. 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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Just last month, Joe DeCamillis, the Denver Broncos special teams coach, vehemently defended the NFL rule that allows players to leap over the snapper to block a field goal or extra point attempt so long as any contact is incidental.DeCamillis shared his thoughts after Arizona coach Bruce Arians complained about Seattle linebacker Bobby Wagners leaping block of a 39-yard field goal attempt in a frustrating 6-6 tie.The reason that is a prevalent play in my opinion is because of what theyve done to field goals as far as your restrictions in trying to block things, DeCamillis said. The way people are doing it now, they bury their heads and they cut block you so you cant go through them. The only way to get a field goal blocked, against certain teams, is to go over top.He begged the leagues gatekeepers to keep this particular gate open and not to succumb to the notion that its an unsafe play.In my opinion, I think it would be a mistake to take that play out, DeCamillis said. I think you have to play it on the other side. I think the more you make things easy on people, the less coaching is involved.The antidote, he said, was the same mantra coaches tell kids from the time they first strap on shoulder pads and a helmet: Heads up!The snapper has to see whats happening, DeCamillis said, adding teams have to vary their snap count to keep opponents from timing their leap just right.Theres things you have to do, in my opinion, for that to not happen to you, DeCamillis said. I just think its another thing that doesnt need to be taken out of the game. I dont see thats any bigger of a deal with safety than any other play thats going on, a receiver going across the middle, whatever it is.The Broncos (7-3) pulled off the perfect block Sunday when the Saints lined up for the potential game-winning extra point. New Orleans (4-5) had just tied the game at 23 on Drew Brees 32-yard TD toss to Brandon Cooks with 1:22 remaining.Justin Simmons timed his leap perfectly, cleared seventh-year long snapper Justin Dresher and blocked Wil Lutzs kick. Fellow rookie safety Will White Shoes Parks scooped up the football and raced 84 yards for the first game-winning defensive 2-point conversion in NFL history.Im just glad he had the right cleats on, safety Darrian Stewart said. I think thats what saved us.The play was upheld because officials couldnt determine whether Parks stepped out of bounds as his white cleats blended in with the white sideline and no CBS angles were available to prove otherwise.Twitter blew up with fans wondering if Parks had gone out of bounds or whether it was even legal for Simmons to leap the snapper or for defensive lineman Jared Crick to push the snapper toward the ground just as Simmons jumped over him.Dean Blandino, the NFLs senior vice presiddent of officiating, said it was all legal .ddddddddddddBlandino explained that Simmons cleared the line without using his hands or arms and didnt land on a player, so his action is legal.Cricks was, too. Lined up over the right guard, he twists at the snap and pushes the snapper toward the ground.Thats legal, open-hand push: legal, Blandino said. If there was a grab and a pull, that would be defensive holding. This is a similar concept as an offensive lineman blocking a defensive player. If he can get up on top of that defensive player and push him toward the ground its legal versus grabbing and pulling him.Then, the return.There was a question as to whether the defender steps out of bounds with the right foot at about the Saints 35-yard line. White shoe, white sideline, very difficult to tell from all available angles, Blandino said. ... We need something looking right down the line from either end zone, thats going to be your best look. And unfortunately, we just dont get that look.It looks like the foot could be out but you just cant tell, Blandino said, adding, Its important to remember in replay, were not re-officiating the play. Replay is designed ... to fix obvious mistakes. And if its not an obvious mistake, then the call on the field must stand.NBC affiliate WDSU had an end zone angle of Parks racing down the Saints sideline but even that was inconclusive.Coach Gary Kubiak gave game balls to Simmons and DeCamillis in the jubilant locker room.Also Sunday, two big-time quarterbacks called out their respective teams following demoralizing losses that continued monthlong slumps by two of the early-season Super Bowl favorites.After Zeke Elliotts 32-yard touchdown sprint in the closing seconds gave Dallas a 35-30 win over Pittsburgh, Ben Roethlisberger said the Steelers, who havent won since Oct. 9, were undisciplined and not accountable. Pressed for specifics, he said, Just a feel.Following Green Bays 47-25 loss at Tennessee, the Packers fourth in five games, Aaron Rodgers criticized his teams focus and energy for the second straight week.There has to be that healthy fear as a player that if you dont do your job theyll get rid of you, Rodgers said. So, I think weve all got to go back and the urgency has got to pick up, the focus has to pick up and we got to play better.Such comments by the quarterback can galvanize a team, but Roethlisberger and Rodgers also risk losing the locker room for the home stretch with their teams just one game out of first in their division.---For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-NFL---Follow Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton ' ' '