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Houston Texans star J.J. Watt visits Santa Fe High School shooting victims 

Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt continues to make an impact in the wake of the mass shooting at a southeastern Texas high school, KTRK reported.

>> Read more trending news

Watt visited some of the victims injured in the deadly shooting at Santa Fe High School on Monday and took photographs with them and their nurses at the hospital. He also visited several victims at their homes, KHOU reported.

A gunman opened fire Friday at the high school in Santa Fe, Texas, killing 10 and wounding 13.

Among the students Watt visited Monday was Chase Yarborough, who he visited at home; and Clay Horn, who remains in the hospital after suffering a gunshot wound.

Horn could undergo more surgery Tuesday, KTRK reported.

>> J.J. Watt offers to pay for funerals of Santa Fe victims

Last week, Watt offered to pay the funeral expenses for the people who were killed.

>> Exchange student, substitute teacher among those killed

Former Cleveland Browns QB Johnny Manziel signs with CFL team

Johnny Manziel is taking his football career north of the border.

>> Read more trending news 

The former Texas A&M star quarterback who had two disappointing seasons with the Cleveland Browns marred by off-the-field antics has signed a two-year-deal with the Canadian Football League.

Manziel will play for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, the league announced Saturday. Manziel confirmed his decision on Twitter. "I believe this is the best opportunity for me moving forward and I’m eager for what the future holds," Manziel wrote.

Manziel last played professional football in 2015. He has a 74.4 career quarterback rating in the NFL.

Manziel has been working on a comeback since being released by the Browns in 2016. Known for his excessive partying off the field, Manziel says he is now sober and has been receiving treatment for bipolar disorder. 

Texans defensive end J.J. Watt offers to pay for funerals of Santa Fe victims

Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt has offered to pay for the funerals of all the victims in Friday morning’s mass shooting at Santa Fe High School, KRIV reported.

>> Read more trending news

“Absolutely horrific,” Watts tweeted Friday in response to the shooting, which left 10 people dead and 10 others injured at the high school located southeast of Houston. 

The Texans confirmed Friday night that Watt will pay for the funerals, KTRK reported.

Dimitrios Pagourtzis, 17, a student at the school, was arrested and charged with capital murder and aggravated assault of a peace officer in the shooting in which 10 people were killed and 10 others were injured. 

>> Santa Fe High School shooting: 10 dead, 10 injured

Watt has been honored for his philanthropic efforts. He was named the Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year in 2017, along with Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve, for his work in helping Houston recover after Hurricane Harvey. Watt helped raise $37 million through the Houston Flood Relief Fund.

Watt was also given the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award during Super Bowl LII weekend.

On Facebook, Chris Allen of Crowder Funeral Home wrote that Mount Olivet Cemetery was offering free plots for the victims, KHOU reported.

Former Green Bay Packers lineman Carlos Gray shot to death in Alabama 

Former Green Bay Packers defensive lineman Carlos Gray was shot to death in his Alabama home, AL.com reported.

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Gray, 25, was found dead at his Pinson home Monday night, according to the Jefferson County Coroner’s Office. Police and first responders were sent to Gray’s home when a friend found Gray wounded and unresponsive, AL.com reported.

Authorities said they found marijuana, digital scales, a Glock handgun with an extended magazine and an AK-47 rifle with a large capacity magazine at Gray’s home, AL.com reported.

Gray played collegiately at North Carolina State University and left after his junior year to enter the 2014 NFL draft. He signed with Green Bay as an undrafted free agent in 2014. He played in four preseason games for the Packers in 2014 and was released in 2015. 

Gray was the father of two young children. He was renovating houses, selling cars and working as a party promoter, AL.com reported. 

’Mr. Irrelevant’: NFL draft’s final pick has 'big chip' on his shoulder

Trey Quinn said he has “a big chip” on his shoulder, and he is determined to prove his relevance in the NFL.

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Quinn, a wide receiver from Southern Methodist University, was tabbed as “Mr. Irrelevant” -- the final pick in the 2018 NFL draft -- when he was drafted at No. 256 by the Washington Redskins.

It was the first time the Redskins chose the final player in the draft since 1992, when they picked Matt Elliott, ESPN reported.

“There's a big chip on my shoulder, and you'll see it on me, but I'm excited," Quinn told ESPN. “I'm excited to be a part of an organization, and after a long day, I'm kind of stressed out. I'm just excited to be a part of the Skins and go dominate a little bit.”

While quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy and was the No. 1 pick in the draft, Quinn receives a few perks for being the final pick. He will get a trip to Disneyland, a custom Rolex watch and a trophy that is called the Lowsman -- the opposite of the Heisman, ESPN reported.

Quinn was not irrelevant for SMU. He led the Football Bowl Subdivision with 114 catches in 2017 and scored 13 touchdowns.

"Trey Quinn is a very exciting prospect," Redskins coach Jay Gruden told ESPN. "He caught a lot of balls, did some punt returns. He's a great option route runner, great feel in the zones. Strong hands. Good physical blocker. Good after the catch.”

The final pick bounced around during the third day of draft. It was originally owned by the Falcons. Atlanta traded the pick to the Los Angeles Rams, who subsequently dealt it to Washington, NFL.com reported.

Shaquem Griffin's inspirational story not limited to football fans

Shaquem Griffin’s story is an inspirational one, and it moved to another level after he was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in the NFL draft. His legion of well-wishers continues to grow.

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Griffin, who was drafted in the fifth round, received encouragement and best wishes from players and fans on Twitter. 

The outside linebacker had his left hand amputated as a child because of amniotic band syndrome, but was a two-year starter at the University of Central Florida and was a first-team all-conference selection both seasons. 

He was reunited with his twin brother Shaquill when the Seahawks made him the 141st overall pick. That brought Griffin full circle from the NFL scouting combine, when he bench-pressed 225 pounds 20 times with a prosthetic left hand.

"I couldn't breathe," Griffin told ESPN said after he was drafted. "I didn't know what to say. I was trying to get the words out, but I couldn't talk."

Griffin’s well-wishers included pro athletes and people who have faced the same hurdles as the linebacker. They were joyous in their posts.

“Thrilled for you,” former major-league pitcher Jim Abbott, who was born without a right hand, wrote on Twitter. “Beyond words.”

“So grateful for this moment!!!” Twitter user Gienelle wrote, showing a picture of her son displaying a prosthetic left hand. “This pick is powerful for my boy!! His dreams just went through the roof!! “

Chris Pugh, whose daughter lost fingers to amniotic band syndrome, called Griffin “inspirational.”

“No matter what team he plays for, I'm a big Shaquem Griffin fan,” he wrote.

Drew Carfrae, a Steelers fan from Iowa who said he used a wheelchair, wrote that “to see someone that other people would say had a ‘disability’ prove doubters wrong, is amazing.” 

“Cheering and crying that his dreams came true,” wrote Amy Eldridge, whose son has one hand. 

Twelve-year-old Julianna Linton was born with amniotic band syndrome and posted a video before the draft. She also got to meet Griffin when the Knights played Houston in 2016.

On Twitter, Griffin thanked “everyone who has helped push me, motivate me and support me. Most importantly, thank you Seahawks.”

Buffalo superfan 'Pancho Billa' announces team's 3rd-round pick

The Bills Mafia took care of its biggest fan during the NFL draft Friday night.

>> Read more trending news

Ezra Castro, known as “Pancho Billa,” was called to the podium by Buffalo Bills legends Andre Reed and Fred Jackson to read the team’s third-round pick, The Buffalo News reported.

Castro, a Dallas resident, was in attendance at the draft, which was held at AT&T Stadium in nearby Arlington, Texas. 

Castro is president of the Dallas Fort-Worth Bills Backers chapter and a lifelong Bills fan. He has been battling cancer since last fall and recently had chemotherapy, the News reported.

At the podium, Jackson acknowledged Castro, calling him “one of the most recognizable fans in Buffalo’s history.”

Then Reed, the Bills’ the Hall of Fame wide receiver, said that Castro “has been battling cancer, but this is not to dampen his spirit and his love for the game and his Bills.

Jackson returned to the microphone and invited Castro on stage to read the Bills’ draft choice.

"With the 96th pick, the Bills Mafia selects Harrison Phillips, defensive tackle, Stanford," Castro said, his voice cracking.

Reed and Jackson presented Castro with a Bills No. 18 jersey that had “NFL Draft” stitched on the back.

General Manager Brandon Beane said Castro’s moment at the podium “sent chills up everybody’s spine in the draft room."

“We’re all praying for him,” Beane told the News.

Who's Honor? Vince Young fumbles Harold Landry's name during NFL draft

New Tennessee Titans linebacker Harold Landry suddenly has a new nickname thanks to a verbal gaffe by Vince Young during Friday’s NFL draft.

>> Read more trending news

The NFL allowed each team to select a “franchise legend” to announce its second-round pick, ESPN reported. When Young stepped to the podium in Arlington, Texas, to announce the Titans’ pick, he butchered Landry’s name.

“Titan Up. Titans Up, baby. With the 41st pick in the 2018 draft, the Tennessee Titans select Honor, Honor Landry,” Young said during the live broadcast.

Landry, who starred at Boston College, has never been called Honor.

Young apologized to Landry in a tweet, while Landry responded on Twitter that the former quarterback’s name fumble was not a big deal, ESPN reported

Tampa Bay Buccaneers will use parrot to deliver 4th-round pick in NFL draft

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be winging it during the latter stages of the NFL draft.

>> Read more trending news

The NFL announced Monday that the Bucs will have a parrot deliver its fourth-round selection from the pirate ship at Raymond James Stadium to an announcer during Saturday’s televised Day 3 draft show.

The parrot, a Catalina macaw named Zsa Zsa, is based at the Florida Exotic Bird Sanctuary in Hudson, Florida.

The bird is not the first animal to participate in an NFL draft. Last year, an orangutan aided in the Colts announcing their fourth-round selection of offensive lineman Zach Banner, the NFL reported on its website. 

Reaction on the Buccaneers’ upcoming pick ranged from humor to squawks of surprise. One website, JoeBucsFan, posted a video of The Three Stooges’ 1936 comedy short, “Disorder in the Court,” where a parrot is figured prominently in the climactic court scene.

Undoubtedly, some fans will post the iconic parrot sketch from “Monty Python’s Flying Circus.”

Regardless, the Bucs will be giving the NFL the bird on Saturday.

Ex-NFL QB Mark Rypien said mental health issues led to attempted suicide

The MVP of Super Bowl XXVI said he once tried to kill himself after suffering “from a complex stew of mental health conditions,” KHQ reported.

>> Read more trending news

Former Washington Redskins quarterback Mark Rypien spoke with the Spokane television station and The Spokesman-Review in separate interviews about his problems, citing “Dark places, depression, anxiety, addictions, poor choices, poor decisions” that were caused by the concussions he suffered during his playing career.

The 11-year NFL veteran said he was speaking out after the January suicide of Washington State quarterback Tyler Hilinski and the apparent self-inflicted gunshot death of Coeur d’Alene High School principal Troy Schueller in Idaho, ESPN reported.

Rypien’s cousin, former NHL player Rick Rypien, also suffered from depression and died in an apparent suicide in 2011, ESPN reported..

"Let's address this now," Rypien told the Spokesman-Review. "Let me share my story so others can share theirs. Let's get rid of this silence that happens when you're caught up in this cycle and you don't know how to find the help I've been afforded.

"My story is impactful because people see me in a different light. I want them to see me in an accurate light. I've been down the darkest path. I've made some horrible, horrible mistakes. But I've given myself a chance to progress forward.”

Some of those mistakes included trips to Spokane spas that were closed down as part of a prostitution ring, ESPN reported.

Rypien, 55, said he also tried to commit suicide on the same day as his daughter Angie’s birthday, ESPN reported.

“I took 150 pills and a bottle of booze,” Rypien told KHQ. “If it wasn’t for my wife (Danielle) coming home and finding me on the floor, and shoving hydrogen peroxide down my throat, and charcoal, to throw up all these pills, I wouldn’t be here today.”

Rypien also had an episode of domestic violence with his wife in November 2017, according to a police report obtained by KHQ. Rypien admitted to the violence and blamed it on new medication he was taking to battle his mental issues.

"Part of this thing is getting the right medications,” Rypien told KHQ. “When you use something that doesn't address that? That impulse control? You go from zero to 60 very quickly.

“I don't remember that night. I remember losing control.” 

"They had warned us when they put him on it," Danielle Rypien told the Spokesman-Review. "We're not talking about an antidepressant. We're talking about an anti-seizure med they added to his antidepressant, and it was the second one they had tried. The first one was also a disaster. They had warned us ... maybe he'll adjust into the medication after a rough patch, but expect weirdness.

"This is not a snapshot of our relationship. This was a unique and crazy night."

The charges were dropped and the case was eventually dismissed, KHQ reported. 

Mark Rypien’s history of concussions and their effects may not deter other young athletes from playing football. But he said he wants to persuade people with mental challenges to bring them out into the open, he told the Spokesman-Review.

“It’s hard,” Rypien said. “There’s a lot of guilt and shame just to be in front of your own family in situations like this. When I was really dark, I felt there was no hope. That’s kind of the message I want to get out – that there is hope. I’m getting help.”

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