Ex-NFL star linebacker Isiah Robertson killed in car crash in Texas

Former two-time All-Pro linebacker Isiah “Butch” Robertson, who helped lead the Los Angeles Rams to six straight NFC West titles in the 1970s, has died at age 69 after a limousine he was driving skidded on a rain-slicked curve on a dark, rural East Texas highway and was hit by two other vehicles. Robertson, of Garland, … Continue reading “Ex-NFL star linebacker Isiah Robertson killed in car crash in Texas”

Former two-time All-Pro linebacker Isiah “Butch” Robertson, who helped lead the Los Angeles Rams to six straight NFC West titles in the 1970s, has died at age 69 after a limousine he was driving skidded on a rain-slicked curve on a dark, rural East Texas highway and was hit by two other vehicles.

Robertson, of Garland, Texas, was driving the limo on Texas Route 198 about 50 miles southeast of Dallas at the time of the crash, the Texas Department of Public Safety said. The limousine Robertson was driving entered the curve at an unsafe speed for the rainy conditions.

It veered off the road and skidded sideways before coming to a stop partially on the road. A pickup truck following behind hit the limo, knocking the limo into the southbound lane where it was slammed by an oncoming car.

Earlier in the evening, Robertson was at the Grand Prairie High School to give a speech at a banquet for the football team, the Los Angeles Times reported. He was taken to UT Health-Athens, where he died. The truck driver was treated for minor injuries and discharged. The other car driver was unhurt. The crash was being investigated.

COWBOYS STAR EZEKIEL ELLIOTT BLASTS NFL AFTER FINE FOR POST-TD DONATION TO SALVATION ARMY

Robertson was drafted by the Rams from Southern University in the first round of the 1971 NFL draft. He remained with the team through 1978 before playing for the Buffalo Bills from 1979 to 1982. He was named his first-team All-Pro in 1973 and 1976 and was chosen for the Pro Bowl in his rookie 1971 season, as well as 1973-77. The Rams had success when Robertson was on the team, winning six straight NFC West titles from 1973 to 1978.

Isiah Robertson played for the Los Angeles Rams from 1971 to 1978. (AP)

Robertson told the Los Angeles Times in 2007 that he struggled with a crack cocaine addiction during his last year in the NFL. He said the addiction caused him to lose his 14 homes, business and cars. He said he got sober after he was nearly killed in a beating. He said he was sober since 1988 and started the House of Isaiah to help men with drug and substance abuse issues.

WASHINGTON REDSKINS QB ALEX SMITH SUFFERING FROM COMPLICATIONS AFTER SURGERY ON BROKEN LEG, REPORTS SAY

In a statement, the Rams said: "We are deeply saddened by the loss of one of our Legends, Isiah Robertson. He will be remembered not only for the great player he was, helping our team achieve multiple division championships in the '70s, but also by the work he did helping others through the House of Isaiah recovery center he founded in Texas."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Kathleen Joyce is a breaking/trending news producer for FoxNews.com. You can follow her at @Kathleen_Joyce8 on Twitter.

Cowboys star Ezekiel Elliott blasts NFL after fine for post-TD donation to Salvation Army

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott fired back at the NFL after being fined more than $13,000 for dropping a $21 donation into a Salvation Army kettle after scoring a touchdown during the team’s Thanksgiving Day victory over the Washington Redskins.

The league deemed Elliott’s touchdown celebration unsportsmanlike and docked him $13,369, the Dallas Morning News reported.

"I mean, I didn't really expect a fine,'' Elliott told reporters Wednesday. "Really don't care about the fine. It's all for a good cause. "We're trying to bring awareness to the Salvation Army. If the NFL doesn't like that, then, that's on them. I'll pay their little fine.''

Elliott said he plans to appeal the fine, which he called ridiculous.

"A lot of things they do define ridiculous,'' Elliott said of the NFL. "But I mean, that's not really any of my business, not really anything I can change so I'm just going to keep being focused on this season, keep being focused on leading this team and focused on going out there and winning ballgames.''

Later in the game, following a touchdown by Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott, Elliott picked up his teammate and dropped him in the Salvation Army bucket. Both later donated $21,000 each to the group.

Money collected from fines goes to programs for former players, the paper reported.

Green Bay Packers drop head coach Mike McCarthy after third straight loss

The Green Bay Packers announced Sunday that they had fired head coach Mike McCarthy, hours after the team lost at home to the Arizona Cardinals.

“The 2018 season has not lived up to the expectations and standards of the Green Bay Packers," team president and CEO Mark Murphy said in a statement. "As a result, I made the difficult decision to relieve Mike McCarthy of his role as head coach, effective immediately."

Offensive coordinator Joe Philbin was named the Packers interim head coach. Murphy said the process of hiring the storied franchise's next head coach would begin immediately.

Sunday's 20-17 loss to the Cardinals — who entered the game with a 2-9 record — dropped the Packers to 4-7-1 and dealt a crippling blow to the team's chances of making the playoffs. It was the first time Green Bay had lost to the Cardinals at home since 1949, when the Cardinals franchise was based in Chicago.

McCarthy was in his 13th season as Green Bay head coach, making him the third-longest tenured coach in the league at the time of his dismissal — trailing only Marvin Lewis of the Cincinnati Bengals and Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots.

During his tenure, the Packers won their fourth Super Bowl championship following the 2010 season. But recent years had seen the team undergo extended struggles and an increasing reliance on star quarterback Aaron Rodgers, with whom McCarthy seemed to have a strained relationship.

In 2016, the Packers started 4-6 but won eight straight games to get to the NFC title game, losing to the Atlanta Falcons. Green Bay finished 7-9 and missed the playoffs in 2017, when Rodgers missed extensive time with a broken collarbone.

FORMER KANSAS CITY CHIEFS RUNNING BACK ADMITS TO LYING ABOUT ASSAULT, GIVES BIZARRE DEFENSE

McCarthy shook up his coaching staff, including bringing Philbin back as offensive coordinator and hiring Mike Pettine to replace Dom Capers as defensive coordinator. Different problems emerged.

This year, Rodgers hurt his left knee in the season opener, though he is feeling better now. Receivers Randall Cobb and Geronimo Allison have missed time with injuries. The same issues kept popping up for the offense, most glaringly, empty third downs and a lack of explosive plays.

Rodgers was asked after the game — but before McCarthy's firing was announced — how much blame offensive players should get if the Packers made a coaching change after the season.

FINAL 4 COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF TEAMS CHOSEN

"Yeah, a lot probably. We haven't played very well," Rodgers said. "We all take part in the disappointments and the failures that we've had this season. We've had a number of opportunities. It's not like we're getting blown out in a bunch of games. We're in games."

McCarthy recorded a 125-77-2 regular season record with the Packers and went 10-8 in the postseason. The Packers made the playoffs in nine of his 12 full seasons, including eight consecutive seasons between 2009 and 2016.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

‘Thursday Night Football’ ratings hit all-time high for Fox and NFL

It's a touchdown! Thursday night was a big win for the Dallas Cowboys and Fox's "Thursday Night Football" franchise.

On Thursday, the New Orleans Saints vs. Dallas Cowboys matchup not only marked the end of the Saints' 10-game winning streak but an all-time rating hight for the NFL and Fox.

While the Cowboys celebrated playoff contention, according to Deadline, "Thursday Night Football" is now the leading weeknight football host for NFL viewing, gaining it's highest ratings ever and beating out the other network competition.

Deadline reported that the Cowboys-Saints head-to-head gained 28 percent more views than Thanksgiving's primetime game on NBC, where the Saints defeated the Atlanta Falcons 31-17.

Ratings for "TNF" are also said to be 4 percent over where they were this time in the season last year.

“TNF” made its debut on Fox back in August with Sunday's mainstays Michael Strahan, Terry Bradshaw and Howie Long hosting the coverage.

"I am looking forward to expanding FOX's presence with the NFL and bringing the viewers a great evening of Thursday Night Football,” Strahan said when the show was announced.

Fox has aired NFL games on Sundays for the past 24 seasons.

"As one of the leaders in sports television and a recognized innovator of NFL game broadcasts for many years, we're excited to be extending our partnership with Fox Sports, one of our most trusted and valued partners, to include ‘Thursday Night Football,’" NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said when the deal was announced.

"TNF" coverage will continue on December 6 with the Jacksonville Jaguars playing the Tennessee Titans.

Fox News' Brian Flood contributed to this report. 

You can find Morgan M. Evans on Twitter @themizfactor.

‘SpongeBob SquarePants’ fans start petition to get ‘Sweet Victory’ sung at Super Bowl halftime

Fans of the children’s television show “SpongeBob SquarePants” are calling on Super Bowl organizers to have the song “Sweet Victory” sung during the game’s halftime show.

The petition, which had garnered more than 31,000 signatures on Change.org as of Friday, comes in the wake of show creator Stephen Hillenburg death's earlier this week after a battle with ALS.

“As some of you may or may not know, Stephen Hillenburg—the creator of Spongebob Sqaurepants—has passed away recently,” the petition read. “As a tribute to his legacy, his contributions to a generation of children, and to truly showcase the greatness of this song, we call for Sweet Victory to be performed at the Halftime Show.”

SpongeBob’s rendition of “Sweet Victory” was performed on the episode “Band Geeks,” which aired in the show’s second season in 2001. The cartoon sponge and his bandmates sang it at halftime of the fictional bubble bowl. David Glen Eisley, who originally sang the song, voiced SpongeBob during the musical performance.

The Super Bowl will take place on Feb. 3 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. Maroon 5 is reportedly slated to be in the halftime show.

Fox News’ Sasha Savitsky and Tyler McCarthy contributed to this report.

Ryan Gaydos is an editor for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter @RyanGaydos.

Former NFL player tackling Seven Summits in turnaround from lowest point of his life

A former NFL player used one of the lowest points of his life to propel him forward into doing something no other football player has ever done – climb the Seven Summits.

Mark Pattison, 56, played three seasons in the NFL with the Los Angeles Raiders, Los Angeles Rams and New Orleans Saints, but football didn’t appear to be in his DNA. According to Houston's KHOU-TV, Pattison went on to found a gaming company, a digital media company and a retail company.

It wasn’t until 2011 when things started to get tough for Pattison.

In that year, he and his wife of 24 years split up. Soon after, his father passed away from a stroke. Pattison said it was years before he was able to turn it around and turned to nature to help him.

“My mind was always like, ‘How did I get here?” Pattison told KHOU. “Finally after a couple of years, I was just like … I’m stuck. And you can’t move forward to do anything unless you get unstuck.”

Pattison then embarked on a journey to become the first player to climb the Seven Ssummits. They include Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa; Mount Elbus in Europe; Mount Kosciusko in Australia; Aconcagua in South America; Denali (formerly Mount McKinley) in North America; Mount Vinson in Antartica; and Mount Everest in Asia.

“It’s not about the summit, it’s about the journey,” Pattison said.

Since 2013, he’s completed five of the seven summits. He plans on completing the final summit, Everest, in 2020, according to KHOU-TV.

Ryan Gaydos is an editor for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter @RyanGaydos.

‘Fortnite’ partners with the NFL to bring team jerseys, gliders, more

"Fortnite" gamers will be able to represent their favorite NFL teams as they face off in online combat.

Video game developer Epic Games and the NFL announced Monday that team outfits would be available for purchase from the Battle Royale Item Shop starting Friday at 7 p.m. ET. You'll also be able to add a number to the outfit you pick.

“We see the popularity of 'Fortnite' every day at the NFL as many of our players are passionate about this game,” Brian Rolapp, Chief Media and Business Officer at the NFL, said in a press release. “This partnership represents a great opportunity for millions of NFL fans who are 'Fortnite' players to express their fandom inside the game while at the same time exposing our brand to countless others.”

'Fortnite' will also have NFL-themed gliders, emotes and resource harvesting tools. Gamers will also have the chance to choose a 'Fortnite' jersey and a referee uniform.

“We have so many football fans at Epic and we know a lot of the game's fans share that same enthusiasm,” Mark Rein, co-founder of Epic Games, said in the release. “Allowing our players to represent their favorite teams in the game was too cool of an opportunity for us to pass up, and we couldn't be happier with how they turned out!”

'Fortnite' previously added branded outfits to the game’s shop, but it’s the first time it has developed a partnership of this kind with other companies, according to Engadget.

Gamers will be able to buy the items using V-bucks, an in-game currency. 'Fortnite' boasts 125 million players around the world.

Ryan Gaydos is an editor for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter @RyanGaydos.

‘Fortnite’ gamers use newly released NFL skins to create controversial players

The NFL and Epic Games partnered last week to bring team skins to one of the most popular video games in the world, “Fortnite.”

The game allows players who purchase the jersey items to choose a number to put on the back. However, some gamers appeared to have turned it around on the partners and have been using the new skins to court controversy.

Some players decided to use the skins to make their avatars look like a few controversial NFL figures, according to Yahoo Sports.

A few gamers who created the avatar of Colin Kaepernick took a picture of it taking a knee in the game. The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback sparked controversy in 2016 when he kneeled during the national anthem to protest perceived racial and social injustice in the U.S.

Another player created Aaron Hernandez, the former New England Patriots tight end who was found guilty of murder before committing suicide in prison.

A Jason Pierre-Paul character was also created in the game. The character was featured with a bag of fireworks wrapped around his back. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive lineman is infamously known for blowing off some of his fingers during a July 4, 2015 fireworks incident when he was playing for the New York Giants.

Among the aforementioned three avatars, someone created an O.J. Simpson character. A Twitter account named @The_Speck24 appeared to make the Simpson player and wrote in a tweet, “OJ Simpson skin so I can murder these opponents and try to get away with the W!”

It’s unclear whether Epic Games would create a system to limit players from creating certain avatars.

A request for comment from Epic Games wasn’t immediately returned to Fox News.

Ryan Gaydos is an editor for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter @RyanGaydos.

Drone expert, Homeland Security agree airborne threats are ‘outpacing’ US defenses

A former elite drone pilot for U.S. special operations tells Fox News that the government is "just not ready" to defend against the threat of over-the-counter drones being weaponized to carry-out attacks like the one recently in Venezuela.

And while President Trump may have just signed a bill that could help bolster our defenses, the leaders of both the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI recently told lawmakers that the U.S. is already behind on the issue, and that a domestic attack using the kind of drones available to everyday consumers may be inevitable.

"Emerging threats are outpacing our defenses," Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen told the Senate committee on homeland security and government affairs on October 10, pointing to unmanned aerial systems (otherwise known as 'drones') as a "prime example."

"Unfortunately, outdated laws have prevented us from setting up the sophisticated countermeasures we need to protect significant national events, federal facilities, and other potential targets from an airborne menace," Nielsen added. What's more, she told lawmakers, DHS didn't even have the clear legal authority to neutralize potentially dangerous drones determined to be a threat until recently, or to even test what she called "the crucial countermeasures we need in real-world environments where the risks exist."

DHS was finally given that authority on October 5 when President Trump signed into law the new FAA Reauthorization bill. The legislation not only tackles issues like the amount of leg room on commercial flights, it also grants DHS the authority to monitor, track, seize, exercise control of, confiscate, or even destroy any drone it deems a threat to what they define as a "covered facility or asset."

That definition refers to any location identified as "high-risk and a potential target for unlawful unmanned aircraft activity," language that is considered overly broad by a variety of drone and civil rights activists.

Even with that new authority, FBI Director Christopher Wray told senators that "the FBI assesses that, given their retail availability, lack of verified identification requirement to procure, general ease of use, and prior use overseas, [drones] will be used to facilitate an attack in the United States against a vulnerable target, such as a mass gathering." A DHS threat warning updated in August 2018 reiterated the government's concerns that drones "may be capable of transporting contraband, chemical, or other explosive/weaponized payloads."

Brett Velicovich, a former special operations drone pilot who now advises private and government officials all the way up to the White House on how to defend against this type of threat, adds that even with the new authority granted by the president there isn't a whole lot the government can do. "The technology that exists now isn't capable of successfully taking down drones at the rate it needs to be, so [the bill] won't matter, but it's a good beginning." DHS did not respond to a request for comment on this assessment.

Brett Velicovich, a former special operations drone pilot, says the U.S. is unprepared to deal with the growing threat of commercially available drones being weaponized by bad actors.

Velicovich says the alleged assassination attempt on Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro over the summer, in which two drones loaded with explosives detonated amid a military parade, was apparently carried out with the kind of technology available to everyday consumers. It was just last year that CENTCOM officials told Fox News U.S. and Iraqi soldiers were dealing with upwards of 30 encounters a week with non-military drones that had been weaponized by ISIS.

That, Velicovich argues, is the essence of the problem.

"The same stuff that's available to consumers is the kind of tech I wished I would've had in the military," Velicovich says. "In the course of simple development, [drone manufacturers] are creating things that defeat these millions of dollars of equipment that the government uses to help combat the problem, so it's a constant back-and-forth between government agencies that see the threat, and these manufacturers just trying to make money," he added.

Fox News was able to confirm that some of the best-selling consumer/commercial drones – which are widely available in stores and on the internet – are indeed capable of carrying enough weight to deliver payloads that could do serious damage.

The National Football League (NFL) is an organization that has first-hand experience with this issue, and the organization's president of security notes it could have been much worse.

Cathy Lanier, the senior vice president of security for the NFL & the former District of Columbia police chief, told lawmakers on September 13 about a particularly disturbing incident during which a drone not only penetrated stadium airspace, it also dropped leaflets all over a San Francisco 49ers crowd.

"We're all very fortunate that the drone… dropped just leaflets," Lanier warned.

Defending against the threat of weaponized drones is a problem that has produced a myriad of solutions, some more realistic than others. In this photo, a French army falconer works with a golden eagle as part of a military training for combat against drones in Mont-de-Marsan French Air Force base, Southwestern France, February 10, 2017. (REUTERS/Regis Duvignau, File)

Velicovich participated in a gathering organized by Interpol over the summer on this very issue, advising law enforcement from around the world on what he calls an immediate threat. He says it's heartening to see people finally waking up to a threat he's been warning about for some time, even if he believes some of their methods are questionable.

"I've seen everything, in France they're training bald eagles to go take down drones and in Thailand, police have drones with 10-20 foot nets," Velicovich says, "but these drones nowadays are so fast that things like nets are a joke."

In the end, Velicovich still thinks that drones are a force for good, and that they aren't going away anytime soon.

"You have to do it both ways. You have to talk about the dangers of it, but at the same time the benefits of drones well outweigh the risks," he says. "We'll see the day where there's a drone for every household."

Reuben Foster claimed by Redskins after 49ers drop him amid domestic violence case

Former San Francisco 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster was claimed off waivers by the Washington Redskins on Tuesday, two days after the 49ers released him following a domestic violence arrest.

Redskins senior vice president of player personnel Doug Williams said in a statement posted to Twitter that the team "fully understand[s] the severity of the recent allegations made against Reuben," and that the accusations, if true, "are nothing our organization would ever condone."

"Let me be clear, Reuben will have to go through numerous steps including the full legal process, an investigation and potential discipline from the NFL, as well as meetings with counselors associated with the team before he will ever have the opportunity to wear the burgundy and gold as a player," Williams wrote.

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS RELEASING LINEBACKER REUBEN FOSTER AFTER DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ARREST

The Redskins official added that current players on the team "were overwhelmingly supportive of us taking this chance," and that while "nothing is promised to Reuben, we are hopeful being around so many of his former teammates and friends will eventually provide him with the best possible environment to succeed both personally and professionally."

Foster was arrested in Tampa, Fla on Saturday — hours before the 49ers were to play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers — and charged with one count of first-degree misdemeanor domestic violence.

Reuben Foster, 24, was arrested on Saturday and charged with one count of first-degree misdemeanor domestic violence.  (Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office)

A spokesperson for the Tampa Police Department said a woman told authorities that Foster slapped her phone out of her hand, pushed her in the chest area and slapped her with an open hand on the right side of her face. Officers purportedly observed a 1-inch scratch on the accuser's left collarbone.

Officers, according to the spokesperson, learned that Foster had lived with the woman in the past and had been involved in an on-and-off relationship with her over the past three years. Police later confirmed the woman was Elissa Ennis, who had accused Foster of hitting her in February but later recanted the allegations.

FLASHBACK: 49ERS PLAYER REUBEN FOSTER ACCUSED OF ATTACKING GIRLFRIEND, RUPTURING HER EARDRUM

San Francisco general manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan claimed they had a zero-tolerance policy this season with Foster.

"We can promise you guys, if there's someone who ever hits their significant other, girlfriends, some person like that, that person is not going to be on our team," Shanahan said in April. "I feel strongly about that. I know John does. I know our ownership does. That's how we feel about it."

The NFL put Foster on the Commissioner Exempt list following his arrest on Sunday, and he can't practice or attend games while the league continues to review his situation. It was not immediately clear if or when Foster would report to the team's facility, where he is allowed to be for meetings, individual workouts, therapy and rehabilitation and other non-football activities.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Nicole Darrah covers breaking and trending news for FoxNews.com. Follow her on Twitter @nicoledarrah.