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Leah Still shines as flower girl in Devon Still and Asha Joyce’s dream wedding

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Houston Texans defensive end Devon Still is finally married to long-time girlfriend Asha Joyce! The two exchanged vows in a heart-warming and emotional ceremony at the New York Public Library in front of 180 guests, according to The Knot, the website that helped plan the wedding.

Still and Joyce’s nuptials were the Knot’s 2016 “The Knot Dream Wedding” which meant it was THE wedding of the year with details voted on by readers. Not only did Still and Joyce get the perfect day, but fans were able to follow along on social media with live wedding coverage, including live Facebook videos, which is pretty cool if you’re a sentimental fool like me.

Now, every wedding day is pretty emotional, but the couple made sure to include Still’s daughter, Leah, throughout the ceremony. Sports fans know Leah for her brave battle with Stage 4 neuroblastoma (she’s been cancer free for a year). Her public battle with the disease and Devon Still’s devotion to his daughter melted hearts across America (let’s not forget the moving speech he gave on her behalf for the Jimmy V award) and she proved this weekend that she still has the ability to make grown men and women shed a tear. Happy tears this time.

First, we have her toast at the wedding’s reception.

A toast from baby girl #stillinlove2016 #theknotdreamwedding

A post shared by Devon Still (@stillinthegame) on

Then this father-daughter dance (make note they had their own Snapchat geotag).

#stillinlove2016 #theknotdreamwedding

A post shared by Devon Still (@stillinthegame) on

And the kicker, this sweet, sweet photo of an emotional Leah as flower girl.

The emotion in the room last night was real Photo Cred: @joelinny

A post shared by Devon Still (@stillinthegame) on

And this happier one, because she’s adorable.

Everyday I'm thankful Photo Cred: @joelinny

A post shared by Devon Still (@stillinthegame) on

It’s pretty hard for a bride to be shown up on her wedding day, but Asha had some tough competition.

It looks like they had a ton of fun though.

If you want to see more of the dream wedding just Instagram search #StillinLove2016 and #theKnotDreamWedding. You’ll be blown away.

NBC Sports’ Josh Norris attempts the combine

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The lengths I go to entertain you.

Since I attempt to evaluate these prospects’ athleticism, my friends at NBC Sports thought it was only fair if I went through the same circuit of drills and tests as the future NFL players.

So what did I learn? I learned that I am no longer an in shape 18-year-old. I learned how important flexibility is for every single drill. I can’t even touch my toes, which does not help with the broad jump or turning the corner on a three cone. And I’m jealous of the rest these prospects get between their attempts.

For more of Josh’s drills, check out the full lineup here

T.O. controversy underscores need for Hall of Fame transparency

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I started down the T.O. Hall of Fame time out rabbit hole a week ago due primarily to concerns regarding a lack of transparency in the selection process. After a week of arguments, counterarguments, and a few condescending comments from voters who resent being questioned or criticized by people who don’t know the inner working of the process, I’m back to where I started.

Those who criticize the process indeed don’t know the inner workings of the process because the process is kept completely secret. And the T.O. case proves that the time has arrived for transparency.

As Peter King of TheMMQB.com pointed out earlier this week, those who voted against Owens largely have slipped into hiding.

The fact that Owens didn’t make it from the final 15 to the final 10 suggests that the nays are more plentiful than necessary to transform him from one of the final five into a Hall of Famer. Don’t underestimate, however, the possibility that the voters collectively realized that enough of them would never get behind Owens on the final ballot (where it takes only 10 to put the kibosh on Canton) to make pushing Owens to the final 10 or the final five an exercise in futility.

It ultimately may be only 10 people who are anti-T.O. Maybe there aren’t that many; maybe the handful was loud enough and zealous enough that they managed to convince enough of their peers to think that pushing Owens through to the final five would set the stage for an ugly filibuster at best or a complete waste of time (and a spot that could have gone to someone else) at worst.

The only obvious “no” votes currently known (by me) are Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News (he wrote a column about it), Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (ditto), Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Fouts (he made his case against Owens in a radio interview), and Dan Pompei of Bleacher Report (his Twitter account makes his position clear). All of the “no” votes should be known, and those who have kept quiet while the process has been challenged generally and a small handful of their colleagues have been attacked specifically should speak up.

Even if all the “no” votes were known, we still won’t know everything that needs to be known. Those voters who have chosen to disclose their position on Owens refuse to disclose the identity of other Hall of Famers, players, and/or coaches who have privately said that Owens doesn’t belong. Setting aside the question of whether these non-voters should have so much sway over the process, the refusal to name them makes the process even harder to accept.

It’s one thing to gather facts anonymously. Gathering opinions anonymously allows for those anonymous opinions to be tainted by personal animus. Also, it makes objective assessment of the basis for the opinions impossible, allowing for all sorts of subjective factors to be twisted and warped — and for the voters to abdicate their responsibility to assess the candidate to the whispers of those who, given the benefit of secrecy, are far more likely to yield to the temptation of human factors.

The broader concern is this: When evaluating a player based on what he did on a 100-by-53-yard patch of grass or FieldTurf or green cement, it’s easy to assess the opinions of the voters and to develop opinions on the accuracy of the outcome of the votes. When things that happened from the sideline to the parking lot become relevant to the process, it becomes impossible to know what is being considered, why it’s being considered, which others have made it through despite similar concerns, and whether those standards will be applied to future candidates.

There can be no consistency without transparency, and with no transparency it’s impossible for those who view Owens as a knee-jerk Hall of Famer to understand his omission for a second straight year. The voters who oppose Owens can either sneer at those of us who think they got it wrong or they can heed the criticisms, lobby for meaningful change, and bring a different approach to the process in 2018.

If it’s the former, there will be more sneering at those of us who think they got it wrong, both as to Owens and as to others who seem to pass the Hall of Fame eyeball test but can’t get in.