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Death of a Titan | Sports Daily Newsletter

The troubling NFL story of Frank Wycheck.

Frank Wycheck believed he had chronic traumatic encephalopathy after years of violent football collisions. He agreed in 2008 to donate his brain to Boston University for CTE research.
Frank Wycheck believed he had chronic traumatic encephalopathy after years of violent football collisions. He agreed in 2008 to donate his brain to Boston University for CTE research.Read moreAnton Klusener/ Staff illustration/ Getty Images

Frank Wycheck was a larger-than-life football player out of Northeast Philly who went on to star in the NFL. He played in Pro Bowls and became part of Tennessee Titans lore for his part in the iconic Music City Miracle.

But Wycheck estimated that he had endured as many as 25 concussions during his playing days. He paid a heavy toll. After his NFL career, the likely fallout from those brain injuries — constant headaches, widening memory gaps — cast a shadow over Wycheck’s personal and professional lives.

He died at age 52. Later this year, scientists in Boston will tell Wycheck’s family whether he was another football player whose love of the game had exacted a heavy price, and left him with chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

Matt Breen and David Gambacorta tell Wycheck’s story.

— Jim Swan, @phillysport,

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Phillies players were given explicit guidelines through an app on their phones for their four-day pond-hop to London, down to hour-by-hour breakdowns of when to sleep on the plane and how to proceed when they touched down Thursday morning in Britain and Sunday night in Boston. After two months of not getting tripped up by the competition en route to a 45-20 start, they were trying to avoid stumbling over the schedule. How will they fare when play resumes stateside starting tonight in Boston? They don’t know for sure, but it’s not due to a lack of planning.

Next: The Phillies open a three-game series in Boston at 7:10 tonight. Zack Wheeler (7-3, 2.23 ERA) will start against Red Sox right-hander Kutter Crawford (2-5, 3.51).

Caitlin Clark has become an American icon for her country … which she will not be allowed to represent. Clark was not named to the U.S. Olympic women’s basketball team. How does that make sense for the wildly popular WNBA rookie?

She’s been snubbed by the selection committee and beaten down by jealous WNBA peers. Women’s basketball and women’s sports are doing all they can to screw up the Caitlin Clark Phenomenon, Marcus Hayes writes.

The 76ers will select at No. 16 in the NBA draft, just outside the lottery after sliding in the standings during Joel Embiid’s eight-week absence with a torn meniscus in his left knee. Can they still pick a quality player there? History shows that it can be a crapshoot, but we decided to look at the last five years of selections, which include familiar names like the Houston Rockets’ Alperen Sengun and Utah Jazz’s Keyonte Clark.

Eagles cornerback Darius Slay caused a stir on a local podcast when he said the team would not be wearing its popular kelly green uniforms at some point this season. Long story short: Slay was wrong.

Worth a look

  1. New job: Former St. Joseph’s standout Ryan Daly has joined Phil Martelli Jr.’s coaching staff at Bryant.

  2. Popular guy: Only one Union player’s jersey is among the top 25 sellers in MLS this year.

  3. Moving on: Former coach Mike Jordan has settled his lawsuit over his firing at Lafayette College.

  4. Birds of a feather: St. Joseph’s Hawk mascot David Moser is following in the footsteps of his mother, Barbara who flapped her wings in the 1990s.

  5. Busy agenda: Assistant GM Brent Flahr talks about the Flyers’ preparations for the NHL draft.

🧠 Trivia time

Who is the only Phillies player to win the MVP award at the All-Star Game? First with the correct answer here will be featured in the newsletter.

A) Mike Schmidt

B) Chase Utley

C) Johnny Callison

D) Ryan Howard

What you’re saying about the Phillies

We asked you: Which Phillies players do you think should make the All-Star team? Among your responses:

If my Phillies-centric bias took over, I’d say that 10 Phillies should make the NL all-star team. In this historically great year, they are performing far above any other team in the NL. But that’s not realistic. … A more objective guess would be that these 6 players should make the all-star team: Harper, Bohm, Realmuto, Wheeler, Suarez, and Strahm should be chosen or voted in. Others might argue against Realmuto because several other NL catchers have better stats on paper. But the stats and my eyes convince me that these six deserve it. … In any other year, when the Phillies had fewer players having good years, Nola, Hoffman, Kerkering, and Turner might have made it. — Jay W.

Phillies All-Stars should be: Harper, Suarez, Bohm and Nola. All having All-Star seasons. — Tom G.

Those Phillies who qualify to be an All-Star this year include Nola, Ranger, Wheeler, Bohm, and Harper. If Turner had not been injured he would certainly have gone. Sosa has been outstanding filling in for him and would sure have my vote to go. Nola is 10-2 and 7th best ERA, Ranger is 10-1 with best ERA, Zach is 7-3 with 4th best ERA. Bohm is 2nd in RBIs with 51 and is leading the team in average at .291 and is fielding like Mike Schmidt and Brooks Robinson. J.T. Realmuto does not have the stats to go, but he should be a manager’s pick for his outstanding catching, handling of pitchers, and overall leadership. — Everett S.

There are a bunch who deserve the honor. Bryce Harper, of course is my #1 pick. Also Alec Bohm, Ranger Suarez, Zack Wheeler, Aaron Nola, JT Realmuto and Edmundo Sosa have all played well enough to get the nod. — Kathy T.

Without a doubt, Alec Bohm and Bryce Harper should make the team. Bohm should be a starter and Bryce should too so all Phillies fans need to vote often and stuff those ballots. Ranger should be the starting pitcher with Zack Wheeler, Aaron Nola, Jose Alvarado and Jeff Hoffman rounding out the Phillies contingent on the All-Star roster. — Mitch B.

In Episode 7 of unCovering the Birds, Inquirer beat reporter Jeff McLane delves into the healing journeys of Todd Herremans and Brent Celek, two retired Eagles coping with the aftermath of the physical and mental pain that football left behind. Listen here.

We compiled today’s newsletter using reporting from Matt Breen, David Gambacorta, Marcus Hayes, Scott Lauber, Gabriela Carroll, Jackie Spiegel, Gina Mizell, Jeff Neiburg, and Jonathan Tannenwald.

By submitting your written, visual, and/or audio contributions, you agree to The Inquirer’s Terms of Use, including the grant of rights in Section 10.

Thank you for reading. Kerith will be at the controls of Sports Daily on Wednesday. ― Jim