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Thursday, September 29, 2016

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Brandon Marshall serving as mentor for new teammate Austin Seferian-Jenkins

Austin Seferian-Jenkins

The New York Jets picked up troubled tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins on waivers Monday, and he has a new mentor in the locker room.

Wide receiver Brandon Marshall said he has been talking with and trying to help Seferian-Jenkins even before he joined the team, and was thrilled to hear that the Jets had claimed him after his release by Tampa Bay.

“We’ve been talking for a while. He’s a great talent,” Marshall said Tuesday, via ESPN’s Rich Cimini. “When I heard [Monday] we claimed him, I was like, ‘This is God-sent.’ If he needs me, I’m there. I’ve already connected him with the right people in the city if he needs them.

“Guys need second chances,” Marshall added. “When you make a mistake, it doesn’t mean you are a bad person. You need people to believe in you, and sometimes a fresh start is a good start.”

Marshall has had his own brushes with the law, including a DUI himself. He was later diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, and he wants to ensure that Seferian-Jenkins gets whatever help he might need.

“I would say this: We don’t know if those are his issues,” Marshall said. “I had a DUI before. And you live and you learn. There are a lot of people that make terrible decisions, but it doesn’t make them terrible people.”

Seferian-Jenkins’s DUI arrest was the last straw for the Buccaneers, but the Jets are willing to take a risk. Perhaps Marshall will be a steadying influence on the young tight end.

Report: Jimmy Garoppolo still dealing with shoulder pain, lack of mobility

Jimmy Garoppolo injury

The New England Patriots may be holding out hope that they can get Jimmy Garoppolo back under center for Week 4, but his body reportedly isn’t quite cooperating.

CSN New England’s Michael Giardi reported Tuesday that Garoppolo is still dealing with pain in his throwing shoulder and has yet to regain full mobility there.

The Patriots reportedly hope to have Garoppolo for Week 4. What we don’t know is how effective he will be if he even suits up. He has been practicing, but if that throwing shoulder is still stiff, it might be better to go with Jacoby Brissett, presuming he’s healthy enough to start.

Colin Kaepernick admits he needs to gain weight, eat more

Colin Kaepernick

After recently claiming he has not lost any muscle mass as a result of his decision to switch to a vegan diet, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick now admits he needs to put on a few pounds.

On Monday, 49ers head coach Chip Kelly once again mentioned that Kaepernick is not near his previous playing weight of 225 pounds in the wake of three offseason surgeries that led to less time spent in the weight room. Kaepernick is now willing to acknowledge that.

“I think it’s the fact that my weight isn’t where it was,” the 28-year-old said, via Eric Branch of The San Francisco Chronicle. “My strength is still growing, developing. But, once again, I’m always going to be prepared. Always ready to put it on the line for this team.”

As for how he plans to regain some of the weight he lost, Kaepernick has a very simple plan.

“Eat food,” he told reporters. “And a lot of it.”

The question is what kind of food. Kaepernick decided to go vegan with his girlfriend, MTV star Nessa Diab, about 10 months ago. He has said he feels more happy and healthy since cutting out animal products, but it can be extremely difficult for a professional athlete to maintain weight on a strict vegan diet.

Despite being a few pounds lighter than last season, Kaepernick insists he is ready to play.

“Whenever (Kelly) feels I’m ready to step on that field, and he’s ready to put me out there, I’ll be ready and willing,” he said.

According to a report we shared with you earlier this week, that opportunity could come sooner rather than later. Heck, even one star player from a division rival believes Kaepernick should be starting over Blaine Gabbert. Maybe a few extra servings of protein-packed beans will get Kaepernick closer to some meaningful playing time.

Auto shop says Mike Tolbert paid $3,900 bill in coins after dispute

mike-tolbert

Carolina Panthers running back Mike Tolbert had a bad experience with an auto mechanic recently, and he supposedly ended up paying his entire bill in coins to express his displeasure.

On Tuesday, Tolbert ranted in an Instagram post about how he brought his car to Motion Lab Tuning in Charlotte and was misled about both the cost of work and the time it would take to complete it. He claimed the owner still has not finished the job after more than two months and expects Tolbert to pay more money because he is “a millionaire.”

Not surprisingly, the auto shop says that isn’t the full story. In a Facebook post earlier in the week, Motion Lab Tuning wrote that Tolbert expected preferential treatment and pricing because of his status as an NFL player. The post claims the police were called in order to get Tolbert to pay, and the running back supposedly ended up settling his bill by giving the shop $3,900 in coins.

In other words, the transaction went something like this:

The only thing that would make this story better is if the mechanic claimed Cam Newton came up behind Tolbert and busted out this dance.

Obviously, we’re dealing with a classic case of “he said, she said.” But if Tolbert did pay nearly $4,000 in coins over a disagreement, those are some seriously spiteful shenanigans.

H/T Jalopnik

JJ Watt placed on IR, Texans reportedly expect him to miss rest of season

JJ Watt

The latest back injury that J.J. Watt suffered is as bad as initially feared, as the Houston Texans sent the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year to injured reserve on Tuesday.

While the league’s new IR rules allow for a team to designate one player on the list to return later in the year, reports indicate the Texans are not optimistic about Watt playing again in 2016.

Watt must now miss a minimum of eight games.

When we heard the way Watt described the initial back injury, we were surprised he was even able to get ready for Week 1 of the regular season. It goes without saying that Houston will have a major hole to fill on its defensive line. This is not the type of news the team needed after an embarrassing loss to the New England Patriots last week.

Gus Malzahn: Not calling plays anymore is ‘refreshing’

Gus Malzahn Auburn sweater vest

Gus Malzahn is embracing a new role within his football program. Rather than be a real hands-on, micro-manager type coach, the Auburn Tigers head coach says he is now trying to transition into a role of more of a CEO overseeing things.

And so far, Malzahn says he feels a lot better since making the move.

Malzahn said after Auburn beat LSU 18-13 on Saturday that he was coaching in a less angry and negative way because he was not getting frustrated from play-to-play since he was no longer calling offensive plays. These are only recent changes he’s made.

“It hit me pretty hard after the first game (against Clemson),” Malzahn said Tuesday via the Montgomery Advertiser. “That’s how we got to this point. It was very refreshing last week during practice, during preparations. I wasn’t coaching angry out there Saturday and I think that was very big. It was very refreshing for me and that’s what I’m going to do moving forward.”

Auburn dropped its season opener to Clemson, rebounded to beat Arkansas State, then lost to Texas A&M before pulling out a victory over LSU. This week, he’s taking the CEO approach again, and players have noticed that he is joking around more and feeling more relaxed.

Will Malzahn’s new attitude continue to produce success? We shall see. The Tigers will face ULM, Mississippi State, and then they’ll have a rough two-game stretch against Arkansas and Ole Miss.

Arizona OL Zach Hemmila died from combination of prescription drugs

zach-hemmila

Arizona offensive lineman Zach Hemmila died suddenly last month, and an autopsy has revealed drugs were the cause of death.

According to a report from the Pima County Sheriff’s Office that was obtained by Michael Lev of the Arizona Daily Star, two prescription medications were found in Hemmila’s body. One was oxymorphone, an opiate painkiller. The other, alprazolam, is an anxiety medication.

The report also notes that Hemmila’s lungs were “markedly congested” and that he was chewing on “several wads” of tobacco at the time of his death. The 22-year-old passed away in his sleep.

“Arizona Athletics continues to mourn the passing of Zach Hemmila,” the University of Arizona said in a statement Tuesday. “We will honor the family’s request for privacy and support them in any way we can.”

The team is honoring Hemmila with stickers on their helmets and jersey patches. The redshirt senior was expected to start at center for the Wildcats this season.

Ronnie Lott investor group pulls offer to buy Coliseum

Ronnie Lott

An investor group led by Ronnie Lott pulled its bid to buy the Coliseum after learning that Oakland’s mayor was not recommending the plan.

The San Francisco Business Times reports that the group of investors and developers, which were offering $167.3 million to buy the land on which the Coliseum sits, retracted its offer.

Their decision came after Oakland’s mayor said she would not recommend the plan go in front of the city council.

“Yesterday afternoon with overwhelming shock, we read with great dismay and disappointment that you and your administration did not recommend the proposal be forwarded to the City Council for consideration,” the attorney for Lott’s group wrote in a letter obtained by the Times.

“In your words, ‘[w]e did not recommend consideration of this offer at this time. We remain committed to a team centered development. We want the Raiders and the NFL at the center of this future site. Unfortunately, this information had to be communicated to us through the media.

“Therefore, as a result, Stadium Real Estate Partners, LLC hereby retracts and withdrawals its Letter of Intent from further consideration. We only wish the City of Oakland and Alameda County and its future endeavors the best of fortunes.”

Oakland is instead focusing on getting a new site to be the home of the Raiders.

“We did not recommend consideration of this offer at this time,” the mayor said. “We remain committed to a team-centered development. We want the Raiders and the NFL at the center of this future site.”

While Oakland is trying to get a new venue, Las Vegas is working hard to lure away the Raiders. They recently approved plans for several hundred million in public financing to help fund a new stadium.

Maria Arias is Jose Fernandez’s pregnant girlfriend

jose-fernandez

Jose Fernandez was very close to becoming a father at the time he was killed last weekend. Maria Arias, a 24-year-old whom Fernandez met through his love for fishing, is expecting a baby in February.

The Daily Mail spoke with several of Fernandez’s family members who confirmed the Miami Marlins pitcher starting dating Arias just weeks before she became pregnant in May. In a Facebook post that was shared by Arias’ father back in August, Maria and Jose were shown celebrating after a gender reveal cake informed them they were having a girl.

“He wanted to name the baby girl Penelope,” Magaly Junco, a woman who says she is married to Arias’ cousin and once lived with Maria, told the Daily Mail. “She is due in February and they were living together in his apartment in downtown Miami. They were very excited about having a baby.”

Fernandez revealed in an Instagram post five days before his death that he was expecting to become a father. There was originally speculation that the pregnant woman in the photo he shared was Carla Mendoza, a former Marlins cheerleader who dated Fernandez for three years. Fernandez is said to have called things off with Mendoza in April, shortly before he began dating Arias. Fernandez and Mendoza had discussed plans to get married prior to their split.

According to Junco, Arias met Fernandez through her sister’s husband, a professional deep sea fisherman who had become close with Jose.

Between the pregnancy and the circumstances surrounding Fernandez’s decision to take his boat out, the tragic death is nothing short of unfathomable.

Antonio Brown was told by refs to change cleats at halftime

Antonio Brown cleats

Antonio Brown says he was told by referees during Sunday’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles to change his cleats at halftime, and he did so.

Brown was wearing blue cleats for the first half of the game, just like he did during Week 1. The Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver was fined for wearing the colorful cleats in Week 1 because the shoes violate the league’s uniform policy. But the receiver broke out the cleats again for Week 3, though this time around he changed.

DK Pittsburgh Sports first reported that Brown was told to change his cleats for the second half of the game.

The cleats featured images of Brown’s children:

The All-Pro wideout can expect a fine for wearing the cleats during Week 3. At least he won’t be facing discipline for any end zone celebrations like when this happened.

Helmet smack to Pro Football Talk

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