Carson Wentz tops jersey sales in first five weeks

Let’s check in on NFL jersey sales since the start of the 2016 regular season.

Here’s the top seven, according to ESPN’s Darren Rovell.

1. Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles
2. Von Miller, Denver Broncos
3. Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers
4. Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys
5. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
6. Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots
7. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys


» Philadelphia has a new hero. Reminder: The Browns traded the pick that allowed the Eagles to land their quarterback of the present and future. This one could end up hurting the Believeland faithful worse than Big Ben. Related: Where is Jared Goff on this list?

» Say what you will about Cowboys fans, but they support the cause. Prescott is a backup quarterback. A backup quarterback with a bright future, sure, but still a backup quarterback. And he has the seventh-highest selling jersey in the entire league!

» I’ve been to Seattle on game day. You can’t tell me there’s anyone left in that region who doesn’t own a damn Russell Wilson jersey. People out there buying doubles now?

» As long as there are fraternity ragers, candlepin bowling, and lacrosse sectional tournaments, there will be a demand for Rob Gronkowski replica jerseys.

Aaron Hernandez jerseys popular on secondary market

The New England Patriots will offer fans the opportunity to turn in their Aaron Hernandez jerseys this weekend in exchange for another player jersey of comparative value.

It’s a slam-dunk PR move by the Patriots, who get to make Hernandez merchandise disappear while further distancing themselves from a former employee who’s now accused of first-degree murder.

The Patriots are banking on the idea that fans can’t get rid of their Hernandez gear fast enough. But not everyone is in purge mode when it comes to No. 81 jerseys.

The Boston Globe reported Monday that a secondary market has emerged for Hernandez merchandise. John Lamothe, a Patriots fan in Florida, was going to donate his Hernandez jersey to charity before deciding to put it on eBay.

“I thought I might get $15 for it,” Lamothe said.

The jersey sold for $289 on Sunday.

Lamothe isn’t the only person turning a profit off Hernandez’s sudden infamy. The Globe details several instances of individuals who are in line to make money off their Hernandez gear.

Sometimes the world does not make sense.

NFL Draft 2016: Ranking every New Jersey town in NFL history

With as much NFL football as there is in New Jersey — despite the fact that the governor goes to Dallas to get his fix — the first round of the NFL Draft should be a state holiday as we wait for the Giants and Jets to make their picks … and for Chip Kelly and the Eagles to do something absolutely crazy.

And that football frenzy, by the way, is backed by statistics: According to Pro Football Reference, New Jersey ranks as the state with the 13th most natives who’ve played in the NFL — 581 players. The Garden State also ranks as the 13th best state in terms of total NFL games played — 31,007. New Jersey natives have averaged 53.37 career games played.

That number is higher than Michigan (52.87), Texas (52.74), Alabama (51.83), California (51.02), Pennsylvania (45.27) and Ohio (44.97).

But within the Garden State itself, which towns and cities can claim bragging rights — in terms of total games played and total games played relative to the population of each city and town?

To settle this debate, we analyzed the Pro Football Reference’s NFL native database, which lists a birthplace for all 581 of the New Jersey’s NFL alumni and determined which towns are the best at producing NFL talent, factoring in the town’s size.

Here’s how we did it: To gauge which New Jersey cities and towns have been best in terms of producing a quantity of NFL talent, we ranked every New Jersey town and city by PFR games played totals.

Once we had a Top 25, we then related the amount of total NFL games played of each of those Top 25 towns to its current listed population. This gave us a “per capita” number, which indicates how efficient these towns have been at producing quality NFL talent.

As you can imagine, there are some surprises with regards to who tops that list. For example, Fort Dix, with a population of just 7,464, tops the list of NFL birthplaces, as the town collectively has played 0.0701 games per person.

In comparison, a city like Camden with a population of 76,903 has played 0.0229 NFL games per person. Fort Dix leads the way, thanks to being the listed birthplace of arguably the greatest New Jersey native in NFL history, Pittsburgh Steelers running back Franco Harris.

Check out the master interactive chart of every New Jersey city and town below. When we look at that Garden State town-by-town NFL success via total games played, it becomes clear places like Neptune, Trenton, Mount Holly, Englewood and Morristown have been good at producing NFL players who enjoy extended careers.

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Colin Kaepernick has never been more popular.

The suddenly controversial San Francisco 49ers back-up quarterback has been the talk of the sports world for over a week. With a spot on San Fran’s 53-man roster secure, don’t expect the Kaepernick conversation to go away any time soon.

Sooner or later, you might find yourself in a debate with someone showing the ultimate fan support for Kaepernick’s social justice crusade.

The reason? Kaepernick’s jersey sales have inexplicably skyrocketed on over the past few weeks. While the former NFC champion signal caller was once a popular player and hot-selling jersey, the best of Kaepernick on the field never produced what the NFL is seeing now.

According to the NFL Shop website, Kaepernick’s jersey has risen to the No. 1 overall best seller in the league. No. 2? New Eagles starting quarterback Carson Wentz. Following those quarterbacks on the list? Cowboys rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott and Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.

To put that into perspective, the 49ers back-up quarterback is selling more jerseys than Cam Newton, Von Miller, J.J. Watt, the new big thing in football-crazy Philadelphia, the star back on America’s team and the best wide receiver in the NFL who happens to play in the biggest market in sports.

The red 49ers home Kaepernick jersey ranks No. 1. As for the white road version? No. 16 among all of the best sellers.

Rutgers greats Mohamed Sanu, Leonte Carroo swap NFL jerseys after Falcons-Dolphins game

One leads Rutgers in career touchdown catches, the other in career receptions.

Two of the greatest wide receivers in Rutgers history crossed paths in the NFL for the first time Thursday night when Leonte Carroo’s Miami Dolphins defeated Mohamed Sanu’s Atlanta Falcons in Week 3 of the preseason.

The two friends commemorated the event by swapping jerseys afterward.

@Mo_12_Sanu [?][?]@LeonteCarroo1 #BrotherHoodOfTrust[?] [?]

— Rutgers Football (@RFootball) August 28, 2016

Sanu, who played at South Brunswick High School, mentored Carroo, a Plainfield native who grew up in Edison, during his days at Rutgers. Carroo often received and appreciated messages from Sanu after his biggest moments.

On the morning of Carroo’s private Pro Day at Rutgers in April, Sanu sent him a text that included a photo of his bank account. Sanu signed a five-year, $32.5 million contract with the Falcons in the offseason.

“Mohamed Sanu this morning sent me a text,” Carroo said, “and along with the text he sent me a picture of his bank account. He said, ‘If you want it, go get it.’ That was all the motivation I needed right there.”

Carroo was picked with the 86th overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft after finishing with 29 career touchdown grabs, nine more than any other receiver in Rutgers history despite using his freshman eligibility without making a catch. 

Sanu, who spent his first four NFL seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals, was picked with the 83rd overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft after setting a Big East record with 115 catches as a junior in 2011. He finished college with 210 for his career, three more than Brian Leonard.

Carroo (2,373) and Sanu (2,263) rank No. 3 and No. 5, respectively, in Rutgers history in receiving yards. Another NFL star, Kenny Britt, is No. 1 with 3,043 yards.

It appears as if Sanu already added Carroo’s jersey to a collection.

Got my dawg down stairs in the cave.. Fellow RU [?] @LeonteCarroo1

— Mohamed Sanu Sr. (@Mo_12_Sanu) August 26, 2016

Sanu added a suffix to his the back of his jersey this year. His son Mohamed Sanu Jr. recently celebrated a first birthday.

Both Carroo and Sanu — as well as San Francisco 49ers right tackle Anthony Davis and other former Rutgers stars in the NFL — spent time this past offseason training with Raritan Physical Therapy in Edison.

Check out the wild NFL jerseys of London before Giants-Rams

LONDON — This is the ninth year the NFL is playing games here in England, and Sunday’s Giants-Rams tilt at Twickenham Stadium is the 16th contest this city has hosted since 2007.

As a result, local fans are starting to get the hang of this American football thing, and they show their passion by wearing team jerseys, like many do back home.

A look inside Twickenham Stadium

But here, you need not worry about your jersey growing out of date due to a uniform change or your favorite player getting cut or traded. Because you can wear pretty much every jersey here, and it works. 

Don’t believe us? Click through the slideshow above and check out some of the jerseys we’ve seen here so far. We’ll add more as we see them. 

There are many people, and seemingly a few reporters present at the Giants’ Friday press availability, who would like to see an NFL franchise move here on a permanent basis.

But defensive tackle Damon Harrison, who is playing in a London game for the season straight year, threw some cold water on the much-discussed hypothetical, saying he feels an NFL team in the city would be a challenge for players.

“That would be tough,” Harrison said during a clinic for local children held at Syon Park in Brentford, where the Giants are staying prior to Sunday’s game against the Rams at Twickenham Stadium.

“The road teams would have to go 6-10 hours across the world. I think it would be good for football, but I’d have to stay in the states.”

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WASHINGTON — The number of people behind bars in New Jersey declined by a greater percentage than all but five other states from 2014 to 2015, newly released U.S. Justice Department statistics show.

The Garden State had 20,489 prisoners at the end of 2015, down from 21,590 from a year earlier, according to a report released Thursday by the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

That’s a decrease of 5.1 percent. Only Vermont, Alaska, Utah, Mississippi and Indiana showed a greater decline. The national drop for state prison populations was 1.6 percent.

New Jersey also was one of only six states whose prison population shrunk by more than 1,000 prisoners between 2014 and 2015. The others were California, Texas, Indiana, Louisiana and Florida.

There were 19,581 male and 908 female prisoners in New Jersey at the end of 2015. The male population dropped 4.8 percent from 2014 and the female population declined by 10.9 percent.

Including federal prisoners, the number of those behind bars at the end of 2015 was 1,526,792. That was the smallest number since 2005 when there were 1,525,900 inmates, and a drop of 2.3 percent from 1,562,319 in 2014.

Gov. Chris Christie and New Jersey state legislators have sought alternatives to incarceration for nonviolent offenders, especially those involved in drugs. For example, the state has set up drug courts in all 21 counties that send individuals to treatment programs rather than prison.

There also is a “ban the box” law that prevents prospective New Jersey employers from immediately asking for an applicant’s criminal record and efforts by the state Department of Corrections and Parole Board to prevent those released from prison from returning.

“The reductions cited in this report are the result of those and other public safety initiatives,” state Corrections Commissioner Gary M. Lanigan said.

In addition, Camden and Hudson counties in June joined 65 other counties, municipalities and states in a federal program that uses data to discover and replicate programs that have been proven to reduce the number of people behind bars.

President Barack Obama, who with U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) unsuccessfully sought to overhaul federal criminal justice laws, has been commuting sentences of those imprisoned for illegal drugs.

In the final weeks of his presidency, he has granted 1,176 commutations and 78 pardons. No other recent president has come close; next was President Lyndon Johnson with just over 200 commuted sentences.

Obama traveled to Newark, the city Booker formerly led as mayor, in November 2015 to highlight efforts to provide education, training and employment to former prisoners.

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Texas’ lieutenant governor has asked the Texas Rangers to aid the Houston Police Department in its investigation of Tom Brady’s missing jersey, which disappeared following Super Bowl LI.

“In Texas we place a very high value on hospitality and football. Tom Brady’s jersey has great historical value and is already being called ‘the most valuable NFL collectible ever.’ It will likely go into the Hall of Fame one day,” Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said in a statement.

“It is important that history does not record that it was stolen in Texas. I’ve called Colonel Steve McCraw to ask that the Texas Rangers work with the Houston Police Department on this case.

“I’m a Texans and Cowboys fan first, but the unquestionable success of the Super Bowl in Houston last night was a big win for our entire state and I don’t want anything to mar that victory. Whoever took this jersey should turn it in. The Texas Rangers are on the trail.”

A Houston Police Department spokesman told ESPN that no police report has been filed regarding the missing jersey but the department has been in contact with NFL Security.

“We have been looking into this disappointing matter and will continue to assist law enforcement authorities,” an NFL spokesman said Monday.

The Texas Rangers is a division in the Texas Department of Public Safety; it comprises 222 employees (162 Rangers and 62 support personnel) who, according to their website, leads “major incident crime investigations, unsolved crime/serial crime investigations, public corruption and public integrity investigations, officer involved shooting investigations, and border security operations.”

Ken Goldin of Goldin Auctions, based in New Jersey, told the New York Post that the jersey could be worth as much as $500,000 or nothing if it is not soon located and authenticated as the jersey Brady wore in the Patriots’ epic comeback victory.

“If I could give some legal advice to whoever has this, I’d hire a lawyer, turn it over to that lawyer, see if there’s a reward and be happy with it,” Goldin told the newspaper.

“This can’t be sold publicly right now, because there’s nobody who doesn’t know this was stolen.”

Brady on Monday called the missing jersey an “unfortunate” situation.

“I put it in the bag, and I came out and it wasn’t there anymore. It’s unfortunate because that’s a nice piece of memorabilia,” Brady said Monday. “If it shows up on eBay somewhere, someone let me know so I can track that down.”

Asked if he planned to give the jersey to his mother, Galynn, who has been battling an undisclosed illness, Brady said Monday: “Those are special ones to keep.

“What can you do? I’ll take a ring, and that’s good enough for me.”

ESPN’s Mike Reiss contributed to this report.

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The Eagles are pulling out all the stops for their must-win game against the New York Giants this Monday at Lincoln Financial Field.

Just like last season, when the Giants came to Philadelphia in Week 6 for a primetime matchup, the Eagles will be wearing their all black jerseys this Monday, calling the game a “black out.”

The stunt worked, along with one of the best games of the season from the team, leading to a 27-0 win.

The black jerseys have not always, however, meant an automatic “W” for the Eagles.

Debuted in 2003, the Eagles have worn the black jerseys 13 times, sometimes with white pants, sometimes with green pants, and most recently, with black pants.

How have their faired in their alternate jerseys?

Check out the game-by-game history.

A game-by-game look at the Eagles’ history wearing their black jerseys.

The Eagles first debuted their black jerseys against, you guessed it, the Giants in 2003.The Eagles won their first game in their new black jerseys, 28-10.

The Eagles wore their black jerseys twice during the 2003 season, losing this Week 16 matchup to the San Francisco 49ers, 31-28.

The Eagles wore their black jerseys during the debut season of wide receiver Terrell Owens, and won this matchup against the Baltimore Ravens, 15-10, in Week 7.

In addition to honoring team legend Reggie White on their helmets, the Eagles wore their black jerseys in a 38-10 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.

Eagles kicker David Akers made a field goal late in the game to clinch a 23-20 win over the Oakland Raiders, despite suffering a hamstring injury earlier in the game.

Eagles fans likely want to forget this one — a 42-0 loss to the Seattle Seahawks during the 2005 season.

This was another ugly one, as the Eagles lose 31-13 to the Tennessee Titans in this 2006 matchup.

The Eagles wore their black jerseys on Thanksgiving in 2008, beating the Cardinals 48-20 in a win that many feel propelled them to the NFC Championship that year.

The Eagles won this 2009 matchup against the Washington Redskins 27 -24, aided by this touchdown run by running back Eldra Buckley.

The Eagles lost to the Atlanta Falcons 30-17 in 2012, one of eight straight losses on their way to a 4-12 season, the last coached by Andy Reid.

With quarterback Nick Foles at the helm, the Eagles won a critical late-season game over the Arizona Cardinals, 24-21

The Eagles sacked quarterback Eli Manning time-and-time again during this Week 6 matchup in 2014, winning 27-0.

The Eagles needed this late-season game against the Seattle Seahawks in 2014, but weren’t able to get it, losing 24-14…..Overall, the Eagles are 7-6 in their 13 games wearing the black jersey.

There were plenty of encouraging signs in the Eagles’ blowout win over the Saints. From Fletcher Cox’s dominance to Josh Huff’s emergence, the Eagles showed what they’re capable of doing. Now the question is: Can they do it again vs. the Giants?