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Morning links: Haloti Ngata gets brain tested; Jamaal Williams could be rookie that decides NFC North

Detroit Lions defensive tackle Haloti Ngata sits on the bench in the second half of an NFL football NFC wild card playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks, Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017, in Seattle. The Seahawks beat the Lions 26-6.
Detroit Lions defensive tackle Haloti Ngata sits on the bench in the second half of an NFL football NFC wild card playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks, Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017, in Seattle. The Seahawks beat the Lions 26-6.
Stephen Brashear, AP

Michael Rothstein of ESPN looked at the decision that former Highland High School star Haloti Ngata made to have his brain tested before returning to the football field.

Rothstein wrote, "The 33-year-old Ngata went to get cognitive and brain exams done at The Sports Neurology Clinic at the CORE Institute in Brighton, Michigan. He underwent a series of tests that spanned two weeks because he wanted to make sure his brain was still healthy before he chose to continue playing football."

After talking about where the idea originally came from, Rothstein continued, "Ngata said he had one diagnosed concussion during his 11-year career between Baltimore and Detroit. As part his most recent examination, Ngata said he had a brain scan, psychological tests and various assessments while he was working out and at rest to evaluate his levels of functionality."

Rothstein then talked about CTE and brain injuries and how it helped Ngata change the way he played the game, saying, "Knowledge about — and experience with — brain injuries was part of the reason Ngata changed the way he hits opposing players. In his younger years, Ngata has said, 'I used my head a lot more,' but as he learned different techniques, he started to move away from that."

Jamaal Williams could be the rookie to decide the division

Will Brinson of CBS Sports looked at the rookies who are capable of shifting the balance of power in each division and former BYU running back Jamaal Williams was one of the honorable mentions in the NFC North.

Of Williams, Brinson wrote, "the Packers need some balance in the running game. Ty Montgomery was fantastic last season, but if Williams can make an impact he'll give Green Bay a legitimate horse to run the ball. And if the Packers have a truly balanced offense, this division race won't be much of a race at all."

Other links

And finally...Frank Cooney of CBS Sports and NFL Draft Scout selected a draft pick from each team who would be the biggest surprise in 2017, and former Utes, J.J. Dielman, Isaac Asiata and Joe Williams all made the list.

Cooney's highest praise was for Dielman, who he called "a talented work-up blocker with quick feet."