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Friday, April 28, 2017

Stories by Larry Brown:

Steve Smith has harsh words about Brock Osweiler

Steve Smith

The fire that burned inside Steve Smith during his playing career has not disappeared now that he’s retired.

Smith is now an analyst for NFL Network and spewed some hot fire when talking about Brock Osweiler on Friday.

It started with former GM Charley Casserly saying he didn’t think the players available on Day 2 of the NFL Draft were better than Osweiler. That’s when Smith interjected:

“Anybody’s better than Brock Osweiler. … They gave him to the Goodwill, and the Goodwill’s trying to get rid of him,” Smith said.

That of course was a reference to the Texans dumping Osweiler on the Browns, who are also reportedly thinking of dumping the QB.

You get the sense that people wouldn’t have such negative things to say about Osweiler had the Texans not signed him to an outrageous 4-year, $72 million contract last offseason based on how little he’d done in his career. Contracts like that immediately change the perception of a player.

Reuben Foster hung up phone on Saints when 49ers called him

Reuben Foster

Reuben Foster told a story for the ages during his introductory press conference on Friday.

Foster was picked No. 31 overall in the NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers, who traded up with the Seahawks in order to get the linebacker. But they almost didn’t get him.

According to Foster, he was on the phone with the New Orleans Saints, who were picking at No. 32 and about to take him, when the 49ers called to draft him:

The Saints instead settled for offensive tackle Ryan Ramczyk at No. 32. They did draft Marshon Lattimore with the No. 11 pick, so it wasn’t all bad news for New Orleans’ defense, but you can bet they wanted Foster.

Now if Foster goes on to become a major success, you can bet Saints fans will be crying over this story for a long time. And this certainly is a much better draft-day phone story than another we’ve heard.

CFL fines head coach for meeting with Johnny Manziel rep

Johnny Manziel hair

There is some fallout in the Johnny Manziel CFL case.

Back in February, around the same time that Manziel was revving up his efforts regarding an NFL comeback, a site covering the Canadian Football League reported that Manziel worked out for the Saskatchewan Roughriders. That would have constituted a violation because another team in the league holds Manziel’s rights.

The CFL investigated the report and did not find evidence that Manziel worked out for the team. But they did fine the team’s coach/GM, Chris Jones, $5,000 for meeting with Manziel’s publicist.

At the time the news was reported, Manziel refuted the report and said he did not work out for the team. Jones also said that did not happen and he threatened legal action against the website responsible for the report.

Outside of a meeting with this NFL head coach, there has not been much news on the Manziel comeback front. He has not played in the league since the 2015 season.

Dalvin Cook reportedly dropped out of first-round due to character issues

Dalvin Cook drop

Dalvin Cook has been ranked by many as one of the best running backs in the draft, but he did not go on Day 1.

Two running backs were picked — Leonard Fournette by the Jags at No. 4 overall, and Christian McCaffrey — who can play multiple positions, went No. 8. Cook is probably next up on most peoples’ draft boards.

Why did he drop out of the first round? NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport says it was due to character concerns surrounding the former Florida State rusher.

Many of Cook’s problems date back to middle school. The Monday Morning Quarterback’s Robert Klemko had a lengthy piece on Cook’s background. The report says he was arrested when he was 14 and 15, the first for robbery and the second for having or firing a weapon.

Then in college at FSU, Cook was charged for a BB gun incident; cited for mistreating puppies; and he was named in an assault case for allegedly brandishing a weapon at a neighbor.

That’s a lengthy rap sheet for an athlete being considered by NFL teams. But there’s no denying the talent Cook possesses. He rushed for at least 1,000 yards in all three of his seasons at FSU, scoring 20 touchdowns both as a sophomore and junior. He rushed for an average of 74 yards per carry as a sophomore.

Some team is going to take him, likely in the second round, and they will find out whether he stays out of trouble off the field once he gets into the pros.

Broncos make great Garett Bolles ‘Lion King’ mashup

Garett Bolles

The Denver Broncos put together a great mashup video they released on social media Friday to honor their first-round pick

Garett Bolles, whom they selected at No. 20 overall in the draft, recently welcomed a new baby son into his family. Bolles brought his son Kingston with him to the draft. He had the 4-month-old on the red carpet and when he got picked.

At one point, the Utah product held up baby Kingston like the famous scene from the “Lion King.” That led to this Broncos masterpiece:

Jets still shopping Sheldon Richardson in trade talks

Sheldon Richardson

The New York Jets reportedly are looking to trade defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson.

NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport says the Jets have been making calls about Richardson trying to trade him, but they’re still seeking a return for him.

The Jets have been shopping Richardson for a while, dating back to last season. As of last November, they reportedly were seeking a first-round pick in return for the talented defensive lineman. More recent reports said a 4th-round pick was about as much as they could expect to get for him.

Richardson, a former first-round pick, is set to make $8 million in the final year of his contract with the Jets. But his play slipped somewhat last season, and he reportedly was a locker room problem. Teams shouldn’t be in a rush to give up much for him.

Tom Savage was first player to welcome Deshaun Watson to Texans

Tom Savage

Credit Tom Savage for at least being magnanimous before the Houston Texans’ quarterback competition begins.

Deshaun Watson revealed during his introductory press conference on Friday that Savage is the first Texans player he heard from upon being drafted by the team.

The Texans traded up to the Cleveland Browns’ No. 12 spot in order to take the former Clemson QB. He will immediately step in and compete with Savage for the starting job. Savage started two games for the Texans last season and was promoted to starter after Brock Osweiler was traded to the Browns. Now another trade with Cleveland has resulted in some more changes at the quarterback position for the Texans.

Tony Allen wants to return to Grizzlies

Tony Allen

Tony Allen will be a free agent this summer, but he is looking forward to a return to the Memphis Grizzlies.

The Grizzlies guard said at his exit interview Friday that he is “confident” he will return to Memphis.

“I can’t see myself being nowhere else,” Allen told reporters during his exit interview. “This is where my heart is. This is pretty much were I laid the foundation down. I want it to continue. … I’m pretty sure we’ll come to an agreement. I’m confident.”

Allen also indicated he might be willing to give a hometown discount to Memphis.

Allen has been with the Grizzlies since 2010 and made a good home there. He has been named to five All-NBA defensive teams, and his Grizzlies have made the playoffs each season he has been there. Why leave when he has a good thing going there? Zach Randolph is also a free agent and says he wants to be back, though he also said he’s looking forward to testing the free agency process.

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