Sunday, September 29, 2013

New York City's Internet Site Gets a User-Friendly Update

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has spent much of his three terms shepherding New York's march into the Internet age. He has encouraged the creation of new apps for finding public bathrooms and avoiding dangerous bike routes, among others. He has deployed a squad of data-crunchers to streamline everyday services. And one of his dearest wishes has been to transform the city into a second Silicon Valley.

All the while, the Internet face of Mr. Bloomberg's high-tech government has languished halloween party in a box the pre-Facebook era. was established in 2000, when Rudolph W. Giuliani was mayor, the city's 311 services line did not exist and the first iPhone was seven years from distracting anybody. had plenty of text, an unglamorous warren of drop-down menus and a clunky search engine. Yet after a series of decidedly smartphone-age steps, including creating its own cloud computing network, the city unveiled a new on Sunday afternoon - the site's first redesign since 2003.

Visitors can tell at a glance whether alternate-side parking is in effect, whether garbage will be collected that day and whether schools are in session. A yellow box allows residents to pay their property taxes and parking tickets, file 311 complaints or report noisy neighbors without leaving the home page. Mayoral announcements will be live-streamed. And Google now provides the search.

"It's the face of the City of New York, and it's reflected that through various different stages, but it also reflects where the Internet was at the time," said Rachel S. Haot, the city's chief digital officer. "The Internet had changed a lot since that original look and feel."

The redesign has been planned since 2011, when Mr. Bloomberg included it among other goals for the city's digital future. The city held a hackathon, during which programmers and designers brainstormed new looks for the site, and hired a Brooklyn firm, Huge Inc., to create the final design.

Many of the changes are based on data on what the site's 35 million annual unique visitors tend to look for - most commonly, information on parking, transit, garbage collection and school openings, Ms. Haot said. (If the new site's many avenues for airing grievances are any indication, its visitors are also fond of complaining.)

"It's completely data-driven," she said, "just like Mayor Bloomberg."

Though few were surfing the Internet on cellphones when it started, the Web site is now fully accessible on smartphones and tablets, shape-shifting to accommodate different screen sizes. Ms. Haot said a quarter of the site's visitors were arriving through mobile devices, a number that continues to grow.

As the Web site changed colors and fonts, the city's Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications was overhauling the infrastructure behind it. Though the site collapsed under the strain of the traffic Hurricane Irene brought in 2011, it withstood heavy use during Hurricane Sandy last year, and it can now accommodate new social media platforms and other changes, said Rahul N. Merchant, the chief information and innovation officer.

It was, Mr. Merchant said, "a good time to refresh - a good time to bring it into the next century."

Source: Nytimes

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Fact Sheet: The United States and India - Strategic and Global Partners

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama hosted Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Mrs. Gursharan Kaur at the White House on September 27, 2013. Their visit underscored the close ties between the United States and India, underpinned by shared democratic values that have strengthened and enriched both nations. The leaders highlighted ongoing cooperation in the following areas:

Advancing Defense and Security Cooperation

    Defense Cooperation: The U.S.-India defense relationship remains a major pillar of the strategic partnership between our two countries. Defense trade has reached nearly $9 billion, and both governments are committed to reduce impediments, ease commercial transactions, and pursue co-production and co-development opportunities to expand this relationship.

    Defense Trade: U.S.-sourced defense articles have enhanced the capabilities of the Indian armed forces, demonstrated by the use of C-130J and C-17 transport aircraft to support flood relief operations and t Indian peacekeeping operations. India is also the first nation to deploy the P8-I Poseidon, a state of the art maritime surveillance aircraft. U.S. companies look forward to concluding additional transactions to bring new capabilities to India's services in the near future.

    Joint Military Training: U.S. and Indian services participate in a range of bilateral exercises, including: MALABAR, YUDH ABHYAS, and RED FLAG. India accepted an invitation to participate in the 2014 Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC) in Hawaii, a multilateral exercise that is expected to involve nearly two dozen nations.

    Peacekeeping Cooperation: The United States and India discussed joint principles for bilateral cooperation on training peacekeepers and plan to conclude a memorandum of understanding between the U.S. Army Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute and the Centre for United Nations Peacekeeping India. For six decades, India has been among the largest troop contributors to peacekeeping missions around the globe, and the United States remains the largest financial supporter of U.N. peacekeeping.

    Non-Proliferation Cooperation: The United States and India work closely on global non-proliferation and arms control. The United States continues to support India's full membership in the four multilateral export control regimes - Nuclear Suppliers Group, Missile Technology Control Regime, Wassenaar Arrangement, and Australia Group, in a phased manner, and welcomed India's March 2013 update to its Special Chemicals, Organisms, Materials, Equipment, and Technology (SCOMET) list.

    Nuclear Security: The United States and India collaborate on nuclear security issues and look forward to working together in the lead up to the next Nuclear Security Summit to be held in The Hague in March 2014.

    Global Entry Trusted Traveler Program: The United States has offered to open a dialogue with the Government of India to make the trusted traveler program, Global Entry, available to Indian citizens. The program enables expedited entry to frequent travelers to significantly reduce wait times for individual travelers. The United States has Global Entry partnerships in place with a very limited number of countries.

    Indo-U.S. Policing Conference: The United States and India are jointly organizing the first India-U.S. policing conference in New Delhi, December 10-11, 2013. The conference will bring together U.S. and Indian police chiefs, federal, state, and local officials, and private sector representatives and offers an opportunity to exchange information on homeland security and law enforcement technologies.

    Global Health Security: The United States and India place a priority on preventing, detecting, and responding to infectious disease threats. Both countries recognize the importance of strengthening and exercising the global capacity to counter biological threats required to achieve the core competencies of the World Health Organization International Health Regulations.
Fostering Bilateral Trade and Investment

    Trade: U.S.-India bilateral trade in goods and services grew from $59.9 billion to $92.5 billion between 2009 and2012, despite a challenging global economy. Both countries are committed to expanding this relationship and removing obstacles to growth, including through expert level discussions in the Trade Policy Forum (TPF) and other bilateral dialogues, with plans for a TPF Ministerial in the year ahead. TPF meetings allow for discussion of trade and investment challenges, including localization measures, regulatory barriers, and protection of intellectual property rights.

    Investment: India is one of the fastest growing sources of investment into the United States. Indian foreign direct investment (FDI) in the United States increased from $227 million in 2002 to almost $5.2 billion in 2012, supporting thousands of U.S. jobs. Meanwhile, U.S. investment in India reached more than $28 billion in 2012. On October 31, 2013, Indian companies will participate in the first global SelectUSA Investment Summit in Washington to foster investment and partnerships between Indian businesses and U.S. state and local governments.

    Economic and Financial Partnership Dialogue: Continuing the close cooperation between the U.S. Department of Treasury and India's Ministry of Finance, the 4th U.S.-India Economic and Financial Partnership Ministerial will be held in Washington D.C. on October 13, 2013. The dialogue, planned to include the Governors of our respective central banks, will include discussions on macroeconomic and financial developments, including cooperation on anti-money laundering/countering the financing of terror, focusing on policies to strengthen each of our economies.

    Commercial Dialogue: The U.S. Department of Commerce and Indian Ministry of Commerce and Industry led a public-private discussion on September 24 on manufacturing and supply chain sustainability to conserve food, energy, and natural resources.

    Civil Aviation Cooperation: The U. S. Trade and Development Agency, with other U.S. agencies, sponsoring the U.S.-India Aviation Summit, October 29-31, 2013, in Washington, D.C. The summit intends to focus on new air traffic management technologies, aircraft environmental issues, and expanding aviation infrastructure. The Indian civil aviation market is expected to be the world's third largest by 2020, surpassing 450 million domestic passengers.

    Manufacturing: To facilitate closer cooperation on strengthening the manufacturing sector in both countries and eliminating barriers that dampen investor confidence, the United States has proposed the creation of a Joint Committee on Investment in Manufacturing.

    High Technology: Since the Department of Commerce launched the High Technology Cooperation Group in 2002, U.S. strategic trade exports have increased significantly, exceeding $5.8 billion in 2012. Only 0.02 percent of U.S. exports to India require a license today, compared with 24 percent in 1999.
Cooperating on Clean Energy, Energy Access, and Climate Change

    Civil Nuclear Cooperation: The Westinghouse Electric Company and the Nuclear Power Corporation of India, Ltd., signed a preliminary commercial contract under the auspices of the U.S.-India Civil Nuclear Initiative. This agreement should facilitate progress toward licensing the AP-1000 nuclear reactor technology in India. The Indian government is planning to develop commercial nuclear power sites in Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh using U.S. nuclear technology. Both governments also decided to complete discussions on the Administrative Arrangements at an early date.

    Nuclear Safety: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the Indian Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) intend to sign a memorandum of understanding for the exchange of technical information in nuclear safety matters. This arrangement should solidify close cooperation between the regulators.

    Off-Grid Clean Energy: India and the United States launched a new initiative - Promoting Energy Access through Clean Energy (PEACE) - focused on/aimed at harnessing commercial enterprise to bring clean energy to those currently under-served by the electricity grid. Initial PEACE activities are planned to include a new off-grid clean energy alliance and a "PACEsetter Fund" for supporting early-stage projects. In addition, the Export-Import Bank of the United States is exploring options to mobilize up to $250 million in financing to support off-grid solar and other clean energy projects. PEACE is intended to be a new track under the U.S.-India Partnership to Advance Clean Energy (PACE). Since PACE's inception in 2009, roughly $2 billion in public and private resources have been mobilized for clean energy projects in India.

    Climate Change Working Group: Recognizing that climate change is a defining challenge of our time and that there are mutual benefits to intensifying cooperation, the U.S. and India created a Climate Change Working Group to advance action-oriented cooperation as well as to enhance dialogue, including helping reach an ambitious multilateral climate agreement in 2015. The Working Group plans to promote existing and new cooperation on clean energy, smart grid, and energy efficiency; adaptation and resiliency to climate change; and sustainable forestry and Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+).

    Space Cooling Efficiency Collaboration: Demand for space cooling - primarily for air conditioners - constitutes a large portion of peak electricity demand in India. Air conditioners could add as much as 140 GW to peak load by 2030 and management of the peak contribution is critical for maintaining supply security and avoiding load shedding. The new U.S.-India Collaboration on Smart and Efficient Air Conditioning and Space Cooling is intended to advance policies and innovation to drive mass deployment and rapid uptake of high-efficiency cooling equipment and technologies to capture significant energy savings, potentially avoiding the need to build as many as 120 large power plants.
Expanding Opportunities in Education

    Higher Education: The United States is the most favored destination for Indian students, with more than 100,000 Indians pursuing higher studies in the United States. Since 2009, the jointly funded Fulbright-Nehru program has nearly tripled, with approximately 300 students and scholars from each country participating annually - making it the largest Fulbright faculty program in the world.

    Primary Education and Teacher Preparation: USAID launched the READ Alliance, bringing together the public and private sectors to strengthen the reading skills of millions of Indian primary schoolchildren. USAID is also partnering with the Indian Ministry of Human Resource Development and Arizona State University to train educators from 15 Indian states.

    Obama-Singh Knowledge Initiative: Launched during Prime Minister Singh's 2009 visit to Washington, the initiative already has funded 16 partnerships between U.S. and Indian universities and is currently inviting a third round of applicants.

    Community College Collaboration: With the support of the U.S. government, U.S. community college administrators are collaborating with the Government of India on their goal of establishing 200 new community colleges. During the Higher Education Dialogue in June, the American Association of Community Colleges and the All India Council for Technical Education signed a Memorandum of Understanding to encourage cooperation and develop and implement activities between Indian and U.S. community colleges. In addition, the State Department sponsored Community College Initiative Program provides year-long educational and hands-on training opportunities in the United States for 40 Indian students every year.
Partnership in Global Development

    Child Survival: In 2012, India and the United States, in partnership with Ethiopia and UNICEF, launched the Child Survival Call to Action to end preventable child deaths. Since the Call to Action, hundreds of government, civil society, and faith-based organizations have committed to promoting the ten best practices to prevent maternal and child deaths. Through this work, the United States and India are leading the world to target health investments, rigorously evaluate our work, and drive historic reductions in childhood mortality.

    Millennium Alliance: The Millennium Alliance is a public-private partnership between USAID, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, and India's Technology Development Board supporting innovations that strengthen early-grade reading, provide safe drinking water and nutritious food stuffs, increase access to clean and affordable energy, and deliver quality health care to those most in need. With more than 1,400 applications received, the first awardees were announced in June 2013, receiving grants for nearly $1.5 million.

    Science and Technology Endowment Board: The U.S.-India S&T Endowment Board is a bi-national initiative that supports commercialization of innovative technologies by awarding nearly $3 million annually for entrepreneurial projects. The Endowment Board plans to announce fourth call for grant proposals in the fall focusing on health, water, sanitation, and clean energy.

    Triangular Cooperation in Agriculture: Launched by Prime Minister Singh and President Obama in 2010, the United States and India work together to improve agricultural productivity and innovation in Africa. USAID, the National Institute of Agricultural Extension Management (MANAGE) in Hyderabad, and the National Institute of Agricultural Marketing (NIAM) in Jaipur are providing training to agriculture professionals from Kenya, Liberia and Malawi.

Assistance to Afghan Women: The United States continues its collaboration with India to assist the people of Afghanistan, particularly in the areas of women's economic empowerment and agriculture. Over the last year, dozens of Afghans have received scholarships to train at India agricultural institutions and develop vocational and leadership skills.

Source: Officialwire

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Fred Jackson's Full Fantasy Scouting Report Following C.J. Spiller's Injury

The Buffalo Bills lost cj-spiller">C.J. Spiller, who has turned into one of the NFL's top running backs, to a knee injury in Week 3, so Fred Jackson will be expected to step up.

RB @CJSPILLER is out for the game with a knee injury. #BUFvsNYJ

- Buffalo Bills (@buffalobills) September 22, 2013

With the news of Spiller's injury, Bills fans should feel comfortable with Jackson leading the way in the backfield for as long as Spiller is out. After all, the veteran has three seasons with at least 900 rushing yards since 2009.

The 32-year-old is only two years removed from his last big season, but he could be called upon to get back to his old form.

Jackson had 97 yards and a score on 25 carries and nine receptions for 76 yards this season entering his matchup with the New York Jets. Against New York, he had 72 yards on seven attempts with four catches for 37 yards.

Spiller and Jackson have split carries throughout the season, and Jackson has taken advantage of his opportunities. He may not be the runner he once was, but he can still move the football.

Buffalo has the benefit of having two solid running backs. Jackson will reward all fantasy owners who take a chance on him. If Spiller misses any games, Jackson has the potential to rush for 100 yards and a score whenever he gets 15 or more carries.

Source: Bleacherreport

UCLA football recruiting 2014: Bruins hoping to translate on-field success to recruiting

The Bruins have not yet matched the recruiting excellence from last year, but have plenty of room to fill out their class.

UCLA has seen a renaissance under Jim Mora, Jr., winning the Pac-12 South in his first year as a head coach and recording the top 2013 recruiting class in the conference (and seventh in the nation). The Bruins' 2014 class has gotten out to a bit of a slower start, but there's enough room left for significant improvement.

UCLA's 2014 class ranks 56th in the 247composite team rankings. That's good for seventh in the Pac-12, which looks less bad when you consider they have just nine commitments.

The Bruins have picked up two commitments in the month of September -- four-star cornerback Adarius Pickett and three-star cornerback Denzel Fisher.

Top Bruins

Pickett is the star of the class so far. The cornerback from El Cerrito (Ca.) High School is considered a four-star prospect by the 247sports composite. He is rated as the 15th-best cornerback in the nation and the 13th-best player in the state.

Austin Roberts is another key component of the Bruins' 2014 class. The wide receiver from Carmel (In.) High School is considered a four-star prospect by the 247sports composite. He is ranked as the 24th-best receiver in the country and the second-best player in the state.

Barry Ware is also a big part of the UCLA class. The wide receiver from Centennial (Ca.) High School is considered a three-star prospect by the 247sports composite. He is ranked as the 52nd-best receiver in the nation and the 40th-best player in the state.

On target

Ainuu Taua, of Lompoc (Calif.) High School, is an undersized, but very active defensive tackle who also holds interest from Ole Miss and Oklahoma. Taua is a four-star recruit.

Bryce Dixon, of Ventura (Calif.) St. Bonaventure, is a four-star tight end who also holds offers from USC, Miami, Oregon and Arizona State.

John "JuJu" Smith, of Long Beach (Calif.) Poly, is an excellent safety, rated five-stars, who also holds interest from notre Dame, USC, Alabama and Michigan.

Follow @SBNationCFB Follow @SBNRecruiting

* Picking Week 4's biggest games, eating pretty sandwiches

* Spencer Hall's Alphabetical | Bill Connelly's Numerical | This Week in Schadenfreude

* Bo Pelini's apology accepted by Nebraska

* Mack Brown's apology for losing to Oklahoma, a month early!

* What we learned from the Alabama-Texas A&M classic

* Today's college football news headlines

Source: Sbnation

A new smart sensor attached to your teeth can track how much you eat and how much you talk as well as let your doctor know just exactly how much you may be smoking, researchers in Taiwan say.

Researchers from National Taiwan University in Taipei recruited eight volunteers who were willing to glue prototype sensors using dental cement to their back teeth. The sensors were accelerometers that could differentiate between chewing, speaking, coughing, and smoking 94 percent of the time, reported LiveScience this week.

Head researchers Hao-hua Chu and Polly Huang, along with their team, presented their work Sept. 11 at the International Symposium on Wearable Computers in Switzerland.

"Our mouth is an opening into our health — our drinking and eating behaviors shed light on our diet," Chu told LiveScience. "How frequently we cough also tells us about our health, and how frequently we talk is related to social activity that can be related to health."

"Your future dentist can offer two options for artificial teeth — the first one is a traditional artificial tooth, and the second option is a smart tooth that you can use to record your activity," Chu said. "We might also be able to put in a small energy harvester to provide enough power to run the device for a day at least, instead of taking the tooth out and recharging it."

Source: Pottsmerc

The new blackberry Z30 is the latest full touch-screen device that has the largest screen BlackBerry has introduced to date. Of course there will be difference in specifications and hence, user experience as well as developers developing applications for the devices. Even though applications built for Z10 will work on Z30, if you want everything to work and look at its best, minor tweakings are needed. The team over at the DevBlog has kindly provided us with a whole list of comparison between the 3 devices.

First of all, the screen size and aspect ratio is different! The BlackBerry Z30 will be sporting a larger screen with a higher resolution.

The camera features are the same across all three devices, however.

The BlackBerry Z30 comes with a more powerful processor than the BlackBerry Z10 or BlackBerry Q10, giving the device better graphics capabilities.

Also, all other features are common across all three devices, the exception being that the BlackBerry Q10 has a physical keyboard and the others have a full touch screen.

To find out more, head over to the DevBlog!

Source: Berryreview

Hull City striker Sone Aluko and England women's forward Eniola Aluko made it a family affair on Saturday with goals in their team's respective victories.

Eniola, who plays for Chelsea in the English women's Super League, scored her country's last goal in a 6-0 rout of Belarus in their opening World Cup qualifier in Bournemouth.

And just hours later, former Glasgow Rangers and Aberdeen star Sone bagged the first Premier League goal of his career to give Hull a 3-2 win at Newcastle.

He steered an inch-perfect 76th-minute volley past Newcastle goalkeeper Tim Krul to spark a wild touchline jig of joy from Tigers boss Steve Bruce as the visitors twice came from behind to secure their second win of the season.

"Obviously very happy to score 1st Premiership winning goal! Happy big sis scored for England today too in their win! Proud of u sis!" Sone tweeted after the match.

Eniola, 26, was born in Lagos, Nigeria, while Sone, 24, was born in west London, yet it is the older sister who represents England and the brother who plays for Nigeria at international level, even though he turned out for England in the Under-16 to Under-19 age groups.

Eniola, who also played for Great Britain at the 2012 Olympics in London, was delighted to hear Sone had made it a dream day for the pair.

"Nice to get off to a winning start to our WC qualifying. Lovely 6-0 win. Just heard Sone Aluko bagged his 1st prem goal too! Good Day," she tweeted.

Posted by pmnews on September 21, 2013, 8:06 pm. Filed under Football, International, Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Source: Pmnewsnigeria

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Ian Williams was lost for the season, depriving the 49ers of a valuable key on the defensive line. (John Froschauer/AP)

It was on display for the entire nation to see. One of the biggest continued injustices in the NFL.

With eight minutes left in the first quarter of the Seahawks' victory over the 49ers, Seattle ran a toss sweep to the left with Marshawn Lynch for two yards. On the interior, 49ers third-year nose tackle Ian Williams, playing on the right shoulder of center Max Unger, started to flow to his right to defend the run. Out of Williams' view, Seahawks right guard J.R. Sweezy dove at Williams' left knee and continued to roll in his legs. Williams' left ankle was broken, and he needed season-ending surgery.

Giants defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins, a 10-year veteran who also played with the Packers and Eagles, was watching the game at home. And he, once again, became enraged.

"I think just think it's messed up," Jenkins told "You've got a guy out there busting his butt trying to play and do stuff the way he's told. You're in the NFL, if you're an offensive lineman and you can't block someone, then you shouldn't be in the NFL. Why do you need to cut somebody from the side or take a shot like that? And when people are getting hurt and it's their livelihoods that are in jeopardy just because someone wants to take an easy block ... I don't think that's right. It's out of hand and out of control. I don't understand why those type of things are ignored while we go with everything else to protect other players."

Every other position on the field seems to be enjoying increased protection under the rules-don't even think about breathing on a quarterback while he's in the act of throwing or just after-except for defensive linemen. The Williams injury comes about a month after Vikings defensive tackle Kevin Williams (no relation) was chasing a play, watching the ball, when 49ers guard Joe Looney put his helmet right on the knee of Williams. Luckily Williams avoided a major injury. He called the block "dirty." In the NFL rulebook, it was called legal.

Might as well declare it open season on NFL defensive linemen.

"Yeah, it does feel like that," Jenkins said. "I try to tell people we're not allowed to hit the quarterbacks low when it's our job to tackle the quarterbacks. So we have to try to bring this person down, but if he's in the pocket there you can't hit him low. Whereas as offensive linemen, it's not their job to try to tackle us, but they can hit us low or do whatever."

The NFL looked into eliminating low in-line blocks in the offseason, but decided against it. The league said a players panel and coaches deemed a rule wasn't needed.

"We did put a proposal in with respect to peel back inside the tackle box because we saw some plays that we really thought should be eliminated," said Falcons president Rick McKay, the competition committee chairman. "We brought active and retired players in and talked low blocks from start to finish. They were all very consistent, 'We can play the block. We can feel it coming. It's not a concern.' We went through it from start to finish with them because we had put out in the survey the idea that the chop block was under consideration and I think the players and the coaches-defensive line and offensive line coaches-convinced us otherwise.

"Low blocks and cut blocking has always been a necessity based on size. It is that ability to equalize. Whether it's the big man on the little man in space, or whether it's the little man on the big man when he is in close quarters. That has always been a method that's been used."

But does that need to continue? It's hard to think of a reason why low blocks head up-like a running back taking out a blitzing linebacker-can't continue, while blocks from the side are eliminated. That would also likely cut down on injuries to offensive linemen that come as a result of other linemen falling on the backs of legs in the tackle box.

You're in the NFL, if you're an offensive lineman and you can't block someone, then you shouldn't be in the NFL.

All injuries put a player's career in danger. Fortunately, Ian Williams worked himself from an undrafted free agent to earn a two-year extension this offseason. Can you imagine if this injury happened while he was still working for the minimum? Still, Williams is far from set for life with his three-year, $3.76 million contract. What most don't understand is that lower body injuries put a lineman's career at risk-more than any other type of injury.

"If you have no lower body, you can't even play," said Jenkins, an undrafted player himself who has been nicked up from time to time and saw his play suffer. "You have a 300-plus pound guy in front of you. You have to take on one, two guys at a time. If you don't have a base, if you're not able to have that strength to hold up the line, then you're no good. They'll just find someone else."

If the NFL can put provisions in to protect a quarterback from even being tackled low, there's no reason why similar protections can't be afforded to defensive linemen. It's time to make blocks legal only from above the knee on up. The NFL should be in the business of protecting the livelihood of all its players, not just those that put up fantasy statistics.

First ...

As Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski nears a return after offseason back surgery, I hope he's getting good advice. He is one of the league's best players and, if healthy, he could go down as the best all-around tight end to play the game. Gronkowski is that good. He is still just 24 years old, with most of his career in front of him. But after two surgeries in four years, his back is a ticking time bomb if not fully healed. It's why several teams took him off the draft board in 2010-even before the second procedure. I'm always leery about the medical decisions made on a player's return to action, and that's not specific to the Patriots. There's too much conflict of interest. The team wants the player back (the Patriots are in desperate need of even viable targets), and a player always wants to play-especially someone like Gronkowski-so there aren't many checks and balances. Already from Gronkowski we've seen him "play"-he was that compromised-on a badly injured ankle in the Super Bowl, and re-break his arm last season.

I don't have a whole lot of confidence Gronkowski's family would hold him back if he wasn't quite ready; his father and brothers were all athletes. Agent Drew Rosenhaus has a very good relationship with Bill Belichick, and likes it that way. And Patriots team doctor Thomas Gill, who was not retained by the Red Sox after the 2011 season, recently had a grievance filed against him (and later withdrawn) by the NFLPA. reported the union found evidence that may show Gill did not act in the best interest of former defensive tackle Jonathan Fanene (though it can't be discounted that the grievance was just a recourse for the Patriots going after Fanene's signing bonus). My question is this: who's definitely looking out for Gronkowski's best interest? That question is why I'm a proponent of players being handled by independent doctors, who solely decide when a player can return. Doubt that will ever happen, but it would be nice to have total confidence Gronkowski is receiving the best objective advice possible, because his long-term health is more important than this season.

Source: The MMQB with Peter King