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On Newsstands Friday: ESPN The Magazine’s Playing Through Pain Issue

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To download cover: http://bit.ly/2e20K7x

ON THE COVER: In a feature titled “Dak to the Future,” Ian O’Connor casts a spotlight on rookie QB Dak Prescott as the new face of America’s Team. 

DON’T MISS: Eugene Monroe Has a Football Problem: The ex-Baltimore Raven turned to cannabis as an alternative to opioids for treating pain. His reasons were both professional and personal. A few months ago, he made a public appeal to the NFL to take marijuana off its list of banned substances. He was later released by the Ravens and subsequently retired from football. This is the story of Eugene Monroe’s journey from passionate football player to committed advocate and entrepreneur, the story of his evolution as a man in pain who felt he had to take control of his body and his future to “learn who I am.” Marijuana has become for Monroe a way of easing his pain and of treating his addiction to football. It has become a cause he believes in and a business he invests in. His experience and his insights, informed by his mother’s own battle with drug use, raise critical questions about pain and the ways in which it is treated, questions that speak to where the game and its players are headed in the months to come. By Tom Junod (http://es.pn/2eUuCSw)

Issue highlights and features: 

WHO YOU CALLING SLOPPY?

NFL ratings are down in 2016, and everybody is looking for an explanation. One theory bandied about: ugly football. The quality of the game being played in the NFL right now simply isn’t very good, the argument goes, and that starts with disappointing performances at quarterback. Is QB play in decline? In short – no. In fact, the evidence says quarterbacks are actually as good as they’ve ever been. Really. And contrary to popular narrative, the position hasn’t gotten easier to play. By Bill Barnwell

Additional info:  Take Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill: In his 2015 season, widely regarded as a disappointment, Tannehill completed 61.9 percent of passes with a 2.0 percent interception rate, ranking 21st and 15th in the league, respectively. Those same numbers in 1985? They’d rank first and second.

When Teddy Went Down

Teddy Bridgewater’s wrecked knee—an injury so gruesome that teammates were said to have thrown up—is the biggest injury story of the NFL season so far. We go inside the injury with a play-by-play of that day in camp, assess Bridgewater’s chances for a full recovery and examine the next-man-up brutality of the NFL and what rehab entails. By Tim Keown (http://es.pn/2edzONH)

No Pain, No Game

A former NFL receiver’s first-person account of his injuries and the variety of drugs and medical procedures he needed to get back onto the field. A deeper look into what really ails the NFL: pain. By Nate Jackson (http://es.pn/2dZ4qqU)

Cannabis Confidential

We talked to 226 players across the NFL about pot use. In collaboration with NFL Nation (http://es.pn/2fv6RT6)

Sunday to Sunday: A Pain Diary

A photo-driven journal that shows what New York Giants running back Rashad Jennings does when he gets home to prepare for the pain of being at work. A photographer and writer spent the week with Jennings to catalog how he prepares his body for another round of punishment. By Anthony Olivieri

Additional issue highlights and features:

Forward: Robert Gagno is a young man on the autistic spectrum who has become one of the top pinball players in the world. This is his story about competing at the annual Pinburgh tournament and his triumphs in and out of competitive pinball. By Chris Koentges

NBA: How to bond post-Kobe? There’s no better way than with paintball, the activity of choice for many young Lakers, so Sam Alipour set up a Hang Time with Lakers players, including Jordan Clarkson and D’Angelo Russell, to play it. By Sam Alipour

NASCAR: Tony Stewart is retiring as a sure-fire NASCAR Hall of Famer despite a career marred by controversy. How will he be remembered? By Ryan McGee

College Football: An interview with Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett. By Sam Khan Jr.

Esports: A member of The Mag’s staff attends TwitchCon, the world’s biggest live-streaming convention, where 35,000 fans gathered for three days to meet their favorite gamers, check out the latest tech and watch celebrities like Shaq and Snoop Dogg battle to (virtual) death. This is what we overheard. By Elaine Teng

The Truth: Columnist Howard Bryant discusses how the Dallas Cowboys are relevant again and how it’s good for the NFL.

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