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The Journal Gazette

Friday, November 10, 2017 1:00 am

NFL

Hernandez brain was most severe CTE case

Associated Press

BOSTON – Aaron Hernandez suffered the most severe case of chronic traumatic encephalopathy ever discovered in a person his age, damage that would have significantly affected his decision-making, judgment and cognition, researchers at Boston University revealed at a medical conference Thursday.

Ann McKee, head of BU's CTE Center, which has studied the disease caused by repetitive brain trauma for more than a decade, called Hernandez's brain “one of the most significant contributions to our work” because of the brain's pristine condition and the rare opportunity to study the disease in a 27-year-old.

Hernandez, a former New England Patriots tight end, hanged himself with a bedsheet in April in a Massachusetts prison while serving a life sentence for the murder of Odin Lloyd in 2013.

In a diagnosis that linked one of football's most notorious figures with the sport's most significant health risk, doctors found Hernandez had Stage 3 CTE, which researchers had never seen in a brain younger than 46 years old, McKee said. The extent of that damage represents another signpost in football's ongoing concussion crisis, which has seen professional players weigh early retirements and parents grapple with whether to allow their young sons to take up the sport. The findings released Thursday will only heighten those concerns.

Colts' Davis gone

One day after Vontae Davis complained publicly about how the Indianapolis Colts handled his demotion, his locker was empty after the two-time Pro Bowl cornerback was cut by the team.

After 5 seasons in Indy, it was over just that fast.

“This isn't about one guy. Nobody's bigger than the team,” Colts coach Chuck Pagano said Thursday. “We love Vontae, I love Vontae and I'm grateful for the contributions he's made. But we're putting this to bed.”

Deal in works

The NFL expects a five-year contract extension with Commissioner Roger Goodell to be finalized soon, despite a threatened lawsuit by Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.

The extension would carry through 2024. Goodell became commissioner in 2006.

All 32 owners voted in May to extend Goodell's contract and authorized the compensation committee to work out the details.