Late For Work 6/2: ‘Today’ Show Highlights Lewis Helping Boy From Hudson River Tragedy

Plus Flacco’s ranking among AFC North QBs and supplemental draft planned for July, if …

Posted by Sarah Ellison on Thursday, June 2nd, 2011 at 9:09 am | Categories: Late For Work, Sarah Ellison

‘Today’ Show Highlights Lewis Helping Boy From Hudson River Tragedy

Last month, I wrote about Ray Lewis reaching out to a 10-year-old New York boy who escaped from the van his mother drove into the Hudson River, drowning herself and three of her children.

La’Shaun Armstrong was rescued by a passing driver after he lowered a power window and swam out of the sinking vehicle.

Armstrong pleaded with rescuers who arrived on the scene, “Help my mommy! Help my mommy! She’s in the water.” But, they weren’t able to get to her or his siblings in time.

Yesterday, NBC’s “Today” show devoted a segment to Lewis and the other NFL stars who are providing both emotional and financial support to the young boy.

“Many stories that you hear day in and day out, but that one grabbed me,” Lewis said on the show. “He grabbed me, from afar. First words out of my mouth were, ‘I need him.’

“I looked at him and I told him, ‘I’m here for you, man. I can’t replace what you’ve lost. But I can tell you that I’m here to go forward with you.’”

The two created a strong bond as the star linebacker took Armstrong bowling and held a fundraiser for him last month at the Grand Hyatt hotel. The event was sponsored by the United Athletes Foundation, of which Lewis is the vice chairman.

Young Armstrong said of their relationship: “When I first met Ray Lewis, I was shocked. It was so cool. He’s like a brother to me, like an older brother to me.”

In addition to the fundraiser, Lewis personally donated $10,000 to a fund created for Armstrong’s education and counseling. The Ray Lewis Foundation is also accepting donations for those interested in helping Armstrong.

Lewis’ vision for the young boy extends beyond financial support, however.

Asked what his hope for Armstrong is for the future, Lewis replied: “To achieve much more than what his situation offered.”

AFC North Quarterback Rankings

ESPN’s James Walker put together his rankings of five AFC North quarterbacks – yes, five. He included Bengals rookie Andy Dalton, who could potentially become the starter in Cincinnati this year, depending on what happens with Carson Palmer’s “trade me or I’ll retire” ultimatum.

Walkers’ rankings: 1) The Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger 2) Ravens’ Joe Flacco 3) Bengals’ Palmer, 4) Browns’ Colt McCoy and 5) Bengals’ Dalton.

It comes as no surprise that Roethlisberger tops the list, especially considering he is only quarterback on it the list that has been to the Super Bowl three times, winning two rings.

Flacco officially moved ahead of Palmer, however. Walker believes the nine-year veteran “is now on the downside of his career” while Flacco is on his way up.

“Flacco continues to improve but has yet to develop into the dominant quarterback the Ravens are waiting for,” wrote Walker. “Flacco has all the physical tools to make it happen, which is why the Ravens remain optimistic. Year 4 will be huge for Flacco to take the next step, which is to play consistently well in the playoffs.”

Supplemental Draft Still Planned For July, If …

Even if the lockout continues, perhaps the Ravens can add another player to their roster this summer.

There could be another Jared Gaither out there for the taking in the NFL Supplemental Draft, which the league still plans on having in mid-to-late July – well, that is, if somebody applies.

According to NFL Insider Adam Schefter’s sources, there haven’t been any applicants yet, but analysts speculate a few top players from
Ohio State may decide to apply in the wake of Jim Tressel’s resignation.

The supplemental draft is intended for players who weren’t able to file their application before the deadline for the April NFL Draft. If a supplemental draft does indeed occur this summer, teams can submit future picks for players of their liking and if their bid is the highest, they receive the player but have to give up a corresponding pick in the next draft.

In 2007, the Ravens got an eventual starting left tackle in Jared Gaither for a fifth-round supplemental pick the following season.

Quick Hits

  • John Eisenberg says an Armageddon date – the point that the labor lockout forces missed games and pay checks – is the only real deadline that will get owners and players back to the negotiation table, for real. Settle in because that date, says the columnist, is still months away. []
  • Ant_Allen: People keep sayin i have a disadvantage cuz I dont have a playbook. Guess what my teammates do and plz believe i been stud[y]ing.. [Twitter]
  • Jets General Manager Mike Tannenbaum said he agreed to do HBO’s ‘Hard Knocks’ because fellow GM Ozzie Newsome said it made his team better. So why are everyone and their dogs turning down the television network this year? Pat Kirwan says there may be competitive disadvantages for teams who allow cameras behind closed doors. []
  • NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and a small group of owners gathered in a Chicago suburb for a “secret” meeting to discuss the league’s labor situation yesterday. [ESPN]
  • Jacksonville Jaguars coaches are the latest to question the NFL Coaches Association’s court brief, with Head Coach Jack Del Rio saying his staff had no knowledge of it before news broke of its existence. [ESPN]


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