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14 Year Old Illinois football prodigy, 14, recently feature in Sports Illustrated is shot dead.

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The 14 year old teen was featured by Sports Illustrated as one of the six teens “who will rule the future in sports” died after he was shot at a party in Illinois on Saturday night, according to police.

Jaylon McKenzie was 14 and an eighth grade student at Central Junior High School in Belleville, Ill., not far from East St. Louis. A 15-year old girl was also critically injured in the shooting.

McKenzie told Sports Illustrated that his goal was to make it to the NFL and be a star for the Los Angeles Rams.

The shooting unfolded in Venice, Ill. around 11:40 p.m. Saturday night, Illinois State Police told Fox News.

Officers were responding to a report of a disturbance and shots fired at a large party. They said when they arrived they found McKenzie and the other teen were shot and needed medical attention. Police said officers immediately began life-saving measures before both victims were transported to nearby hospitals.

McKenzie was pronounced dead a short time after arriving at the hospital.

Gunner told the St. Louis Post Dispatch that her son had been to his school’s eighth-grade dance earlier that night. She said he later went to another school’s post-prom party in Venice.

On Sunday, State Rep. LaToya Greenwood, D-East St. Louis, posted a picture of McKenzie on her Facebook page and wrote, “There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love. #JaylonMcKenzie”

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McKenzie played running back, receiver and defensive back. According to Sports Illustrated, he drew national attention in August when he caught five passes for 161 yards and two touchdowns to help the East team to a victory at the NFL’s 8th Grade All-American Game in Ohio.

He’d drawn the attention of college football coaches at the age of 14, the Post-Dispatch reported. He also reportedly got his first verbal scholarship offer in December from the University of Missouri and the University of Illinois reached out to him about a week ago.

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Football

Robby Anderson Signs Two-Year, $20 Million Deal with the Carolina Panthers

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For the first time in his NFL career, Robby Anderson won’t be playing football for the New York Jets. The 26-year-old signed with Jets as an undrafted free agent back in 2016 and turned himself into a very quality wide receiver.

Anderson’s breakout season came in his second year back in 2017, when he made 63 catches for 941 yards and seven touchdowns. Over the past two seasons, Anderson has amassed 1,531 yards combined.

Now Anderson will be leaving the Jets to sign with the Carolina Panthers on a two-year, $20 million deal.

Anderson’s decision to go to Carolina should not be too surprising, as he is reuniting with his former college coach Matt Rhule.

Rhule coached him at Temple University, where Anderson finished his collegiate career with the second-most receiving yards and catches in school history.

Now Anderson gets the chance to play on a short-term deal with the Panthers in an offense he is comfortable in. He can then test free agency one last time before he turns 30 years old.

Anderson should provide Teddy Bridgewater with the type of deep threat that may have been lacking in their offense prior to his signing.

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Clippers Owner Steve Ballmer Set to Purchase The Forum for $400 Million

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The site for the Los Angeles Clippers new home is finally set in place, as they have long looked to leave Staples Center to get their own building.

Now Clippers owner Steve Ballmer is putting the pieces in motion to build their own arena, as he has purchased The Forum from James Dolan for $400 million in cash.

Ballmer has long been in a legal battle with Dolan and the city of Inglewood to make it the new home of the Los Angeles Clippers. Ballmer was struggling to get clearance to build a new arena with The Forum still in operations.

Now Ballmer simply buys The Forum himself and can use the site to build a new arena for the Clippers and music fans alike.

The Clippers desperately needed to have their own building, as they will always play second fiddle the Los Angeles Lakers at the Staples Center.

When those two teams play against one another, the crowd is always more filled with Lakers fans, regardless of if it is a designated Clippers’ home game.

Now the Clippers can create an identity and fandom of their own, with an impending new arena set to built in the coming years.

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Carolina Panthers Release Former MVP Cam Newton

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This offseason, the Carolina Panthers made it abundantly clear that they were planning for life without Cam Newton.

First they signed Teddy Bridgewater to a lucrative three-year, $63 million deal, clearly establishing him as their new starting quarterback. They later signed XFL star P.J. Walker to be his backup, while exploring all options to trade Newton.

After failing to find a taker on the trade market, the Panthers were forced to release the former 2015 NFL MVP.

After only missing five games across his first eight seasons with the Panthers, injuries derailed Newton’s career last season. A fractured foot limited him to just two games played.

If Carolina tried to trade Newton prior to that injury, there is a good chance that they would find some suitors for his services.

Unfortunately for the Panthers, teams are unsure if he will return to the field healthy and were unwilling to trade for Newton. Especially since Carolina was clearly going to be forced to release him with the addition of Bridgewater.

One of the more difficult aspects of acquiring Newton is that teams are unable to put him through a physical during this uncertain time due to the coronavirus. If they were to trade for him, teams would have had to pay his near $19 million salary.

Now that he has been released, teams will be able to sign Newton for far less money and also won’t have to give up any other assets to acquire him. This should make it more likely that someone takes a flier on the three-time Pro Bowler.

Newton is still just 30 years old, and is one-year removed from completing a career-high 67.5 percent of his passes for 3,395 yards. Across his career, few dual-threat quarterbacks have been more successful than Newton.

While his tenure with the Panthers didn’t end how he would have liked, hopefully Newton can once again return to the field healthy and be a big contributor for a new team next season.

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