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Long before Brian Dawkins landed a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, he was playing for Duval County’s William M. Raines High School. Now he wants Jacksonville teens to know about a free online mental health course.

The “Brian Dawkins Values Program - Owning Your Cerebral Wellness” initiative is aimed at grades 8-10.

NFL

Former Raines High School star Brian Dawkins was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, over the weekend.

Bob Self / Florida Times-Union

Tuesday on First Coast Connect we spoke with Florida Times-Union reporter John Reid on his investigation into the connection between football and concussions and what is being done to prevent and treat them (01:16).

Matthew Farina

With football season just over a month away, the Jacksonville Jaguars are starting training camp to make sure they appear to be at their best come September — and not just on the field.

Behind the scenes, team barber Eric Rivera is doing his part to give players and coaches winning looks.


AndrewAvitus / WikiMedia Commons

Sports analyst and WJCT contributor Cole Pepper discussed progress on the new Jacksonville Jaguars indoor practice facility Monday’s First Coast Connect. 

The facility is being built in Everbank Field’s south end zone and is projected to be completed by April 2017.

One of the premier facilities in America treating veterans and NFL players for traumatic brain injury and PTSD has chosen Jacksonville as its location for expansion into the Southeast.

Duval High Schools To Receive Athletic Trainers

Jul 30, 2015
Mary McIntyre / WJCT News

Several Jacksonville organizations are working together to place certified athletic trainers in Duval County high schools.

The Jacksonville Jaguars, Jacksonville University, Jacksonville Sports Medicine Program and the NFL are some of the partners behind the initiative.

Mayor Lenny Curry celebrated the new trainers at EverBank Field this morning.

“If parents know that when their kids are in high school, the athletics are safe, the more likely [they are] to encourage them to play sports,” Curry said.

Jen Welter, an athlete and sports psychologist, will become an NFL coach in what is believed to be a first. The Arizona Cardinals have hired Welter to coach the team's inside linebackers during this summer's training camp and preseason.

"I am honored to be a part of this amazing team," Welter said in a tweet Monday night. She thanked the Cardinals and head coach Bruce Arians.

Saying that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady "was aware of, and took steps to support, the actions of other team employees to deflate game footballs" below required levels, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has upheld the punishment.

In doing so, Goodell also faulted Brady for not cooperating with the investigation, citing his "destruction of potentially relevant evidence" — a reference to Brady's cellphone and SIM card, which he gave to an assistant to be destroyed, according to Goodell's findings.

At the national level, there’s a push to bump up minimum-wage rates to keep pace with today’s cost of living. Corporations like Target and Wal-Mart recently have raised their employees’ minimum wages to $9 per hour, and President Barack Obama urged Congress to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour during his 2014 State of the Union Address. And just last week Mayor Alvin Brown joined a local restaurant owner to say he supports an increase in the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.

Chris Short / Flickr

After years away from football, former Nease High School and Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow is returning to the NFL.

Philadelphia Eagles Coach Chip Kelly is adding Tebow to his team’s roster. WJCT Sports Analyst Cole Pepper says the First Coast’s favorite quarterback could face an uphill battle in the City of Brotherly Love.

“If he plays and struggles in Philadelphia, where they booed Santa Claus, I think it’s a very difficult city to not immediately play well in. There are more forgiving cities in the National Football League, to be sure,” Pepper said.

FSCJ / Facebook

He was a college football star at the University of Nebraska.

Then Jason Peter went on to become an NFL first-round draft pick, playing defensive end for the Carolina Panthers for four seasons.

Peter was also an addict, though, and it all started with painkillers to treat injuries he suffered on the field.

"I remember the first time I was given some pills, maybe four or six of them," he said on First Coast Connect. "And I liked the way they made me feel."

Keith Allison / Flickr

A new survey from the University of North Florida finds that problems with domestic abuse among the NFL's players could begin affecting the league where it hurts the most - in the wallet.

Keith Allison / Flickr

Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan issued a statement Thursday condemning former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice for domestic abuse against his fiancé. The shocking violence was recorded on an elevator video camera.

Jacksonville Jaguars

The improvements being made to EverBank Field got national press attention this week.

Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jacksonville Jaguars, Suns, Sharks, Armada, the U.S. men's national soccer team, and powerboat racing are all making waves this week. Cole Pepper told us all about it in his weekly sports wrap.

Jacksonville Jaguars

There was a record turnout this weekend at the Jacksonville Jaguars' rookie minicamp. Cole Pepper has the latest on the Jags, Sharks, Suns and Armada in his weekly sports wrap.

Jacksonville Jaguars / Facebook

It was a busy weekend with the Jacksonville Jaguars potentially scoring big in the NFL Draft and the Players Championship Tournament coming down to a dramatic final few shots. Cole Pepper joined Melissa Ross to discuss it all in his weekly local sports wrap.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Cole Pepper joined Melissa Ross with news on the upcoming NFL Draft, Jameis Winston, college sports, and a "mötley" new executive joining the Sharks "crüe" in his regular weekly sports wrap.

Cliffwildes / Wikimedia Commons

The sports world is still buzzing about the racist statements made by Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling. Cole Pepper gave his take on the story and discussed the week in local sports.

Melissa Ross / WJCT

Saying he likes to hire people who, "want to make money and make a difference," Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan attracted a packed house as he shared insights into the the future of the Jaguars, his English Premier League soccer team, and the future of business on the First Coast.

University of Florida

The Florida Gators are headed to the Final Four. With just two wins separating them from the NCAA Championship, can they go all the way?

University of Florida

The University of Florida  men's basketball team is still moving forward in the big dance. Cole Pepper joined Karen Feagins on First Coast Connect to talk March Madness and more in our weekly sports wrap.

University of Florida

It's March, and sports fans know what follows can only be madness. Cole Pepper took a look ahead at the tourney and gave an update on the Jaguars recent off-season moves in his weekly sports wrap.

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert will be traded to the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for a 6th round draft pick.

Ashlee Gaudet / Jacksonville Sharks

As the Jacksonville Sharks begin their season, the Jaguars are weighing the options as some key offensive players are about to become free agents. Cole Pepper gave us the scoop in his weekly sports wrap.

International Olympic Committee

With the 2014 Winter Olympics in the books and the UF Gators set to top the AP college hoops poll, Cole Pepper broke down the week in sports on our weekly First Coast sports wrap.

Sports Technologies LLC

The NFL season is over, but the concern over sports concussions is as alive as ever.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan and president Mark Lamping showed off some updated renderings of the pending renovations coming to EverBank Field during a pre-Super Bowl luncheon on Sunday.

Ben Liebenberg / NFL

It was a rout in New Jersey last night as the Seattle Seahawks dominated the Dever Broncos to win Super Bowl XLVIII, 43-8.

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