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Ex-teammate thinks Carmelo Anthony is going to leave the Knicks

Carmelo AnthonyCarmelo Anthony is frustrated with the New York Knicks’ struggles this season, and a former teammate thinks the Knicks forward will leave the team after the season.

“I think he’s leaving. I’ve played with Melo for a long time and he knows he can’t win here. At this stage, all he wants to do is win. That’s why he’ll leave,” a former teammate told the New York Daily News in an anonymous quote.

[Related: Carmelo Anthony says Knicks are playing to lose]

Carmelo has a player option for $23.7 million next season, but the expectation is that he will opt out to sign a long-term contract. The Knicks can offer ‘Melo a lot more money than another team (over $30 million), but there have been rumors and reports the past few months saying that Melo leave. Some reports have pegged the Lakers as a team of interest for him, but more recently the Clippers have also come up.

It’s important to remember that in September ‘Melo said he wasn’t going to leave the Knicks in free agency. He said his goal was to bring a championship to the franchise, but the likelihood of that has gone down drastically since the season started. Maybe his feelings have changed since then.

H/T Eye on Basketball

Texas interested in Jim Mora

Jim MoraJim Mora has been a hot name for college football vacancies after successfully turning around the UCLA Bruins football program. He was mentioned as a candidate for the Washington Huskies vacancy — a position he previously described as his dream job — and now he’s been mentioned in connection with the Texas job.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on Thursday that Texas is interested in Mora as a possible replacement for Mack Brown.

Mora turned down Washington and agreed to a contract extension with UCLA, so you might figure that he is comfortable sticking with the Bruins. But Texas is much different from Washington and UCLA. It is a football school with a great football history and tradition. It’s one of the most prestigious coaching jobs in the country. Texas also has incredible resources and the potential to double what Mora is making at UCLA.

Unlike the Washington job, UCLA cannot even come close to matching what Texas can offer Mora. I wouldn’t even be mad at him if he left for that opportunity. But I will say that UCLA appears to be a great fit for him, and maybe it’s not in his best interest to leave a situation that’s going really well.

Chris Kluwe: Mike Priefer is a ‘bigot,’ Leslie Frazier and Rick Spielman are ‘cowards’

Chris-Kluwe-Twitter-Rant-Saints-bounty-programsIt is no secret that former Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe believes his outspoken stance against gay rights cost him a job in the NFL. Kluwe was one of the better punters in the league for several years, and he was unexpectedly replaced last year when the Vikings chose to draft a punter in the fifth round. Kluwe discussed all that and more in a lengthy piece he wrote for Deadspin.

The column, which is worth reading in its entirety, is mainly meant to expose Vikings special teams coach Mike Priefer as a bigot who was ultimately responsible for Kluwe’s termination. After Kluwe had written some articles supporting same-sex marriage in Minnesota, he recalled a time when Priefer made a shockingly homophobic remark during a special teams meeting.

“We should round up all the gays, send them to an island, and then nuke it until it glows,” Kluwe claims Priefer said.

Kluwe said that his Vikings teammates, some of whom disagreed with his stance but were always respectful, agreed that what Priefer said was “messed up.”

After Kluwe wrote to a Maryland politician and chastised him for his stance on gay marriage last September, he said then-head coach Leslie Frazier called him into his office twice to ask him to keep quiet and stop calling attention to himself. Between the first and second meetings, Kluwe said Vikings owner Zigi Wylf told him he was proud of him for speaking out. Frazier supposedly agreed — reluctantly — that he had been overruled.

[Read more...]

Bill O’Brien got tired of the ‘Joe Paterno people’ at Penn State

Bill O'BrienBill O’Brien did all that he could and then some with a Penn State program that was reeling in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal. The former New England Patriots offensive coordinator compiled a 15-9 record through two seasons with a program that was banned from postseason play and stripped of several scholarships. So why did he leave?

For starters, O’Brien enjoys coaching at the professional level. That became even more obvious about a month ago, when O’Brien vented to David Jones of PennLive.com after longtime Penn State assistant coach Ron Vanderlinden left the program. O’Brien was asked if he was worried that the departure of Vanderlinden — a Paterno hire — would be met with resistance. He unloaded with a series of powerful quotes that Jones chose not to print until this week.

“You can print this: You can print that I don’t really give a s— what the ‘Paterno people’ think about what I do with this program,” O’Brien said. “I’ve done everything I can to show respect to Coach Paterno. Everything in my power. So I could really care less about what the Paterno faction of people, or whatever you call them, think about what I do with the program. I’m tired of it.

“For any ‘Paterno person’ to have any objection to what I’m doing, it makes me wanna put my fist through this windshield right now.”

O’Brien then went off about how he had been accused of making excuses every time he reminded folks that he is doing the best he can with a program that essentially faced the death penalty.

[Read more...]

Report: Josh Freeman was repeatedly late to meetings with Vikings

Josh FreemanJosh Freeman seems to be exhibiting a pattern of flaky behavior.

Freeman was released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this season for his poor play, and reports said he was not acting like a team leader. Freeman was not voted a team captain, and he later missed the team photo. There were reports that he was deactivated for a game because he missed team meetings, was tardy, and lacked overall accountability. It looks like that pattern repeated in Minnesota.

Freeman chose to sign with the Vikings after being released in early October. He started a game in Week 7 — just two weeks after signing with the team — and put together one of the most disastrous QB outings of the year. Freeman went 20-of-53 for 190 yards and an interception in an embarrassing 23-7 loss to the New York Giants. He complained of concussion symptoms the next day and did not take another snap at quarterback the rest of the season.

On Tuesday, USA Today’s Tom Pelissero reported that Freeman was repeatedly late to meetings and frequently one of the last players to the facility. From his report:

Four people with knowledge of the situation told USA TODAY Sports that Freeman was late for numerous meetings in his roughly three months with the Vikings. A third player said Freeman often was among the last players to the facility.

Pelissero also says the decision to start Freeman at quarterback when he clearly wasn’t ready to lead the offense perplexed many players. Freeman’s agent said the reports of his client missing meetings was “false,” but it’s difficult to believe him now that we’ve heard the same story from two different teams.

There was a time when Freeman, a former 1st-round pick by the Bucs, looked like one of the better quarterbacks in the league. Now it looks like his superb 2010 season was an exception and that he will never repeat that success again. And with the type of reputation he’s earning, he probably won’t get another chance to be a starting quarterback.

Art Briles reportedly willing to interview with Texas, would accept job if offered

Art Briles Robert Griffin BaylorArt Briles is a man in demand, and it sounds like there is a possibility he could end up at Texas.

Briles, who has been the head coach at Baylor since 2008 and gone 44-31 in his Bears career, is willing to interview with the Longhorns, according to a report.

The Austin American-Statesman says Briles would be willing to interview with Texas after Baylor’s Fiesta Bowl game against UCF. They also say Briles would accept if Texas offered him the job.

Briles recently received a 10-year contract extension that runs through 2023. It reportedly will pay him $4 million next season. His buyout reportedly is at least that hefty.

Briles has also been mentioned as a potential candidate for the Washington Redskins job. Going to Washington would reunite Briles with Robert Griffin III, who won a Heisman Trophy at Baylor in 2011.

While we don’t know the extent of Texas’ interest in Briles — or if they even have any interest in him — we do know that they interviewed Louisville coach Charlie Strong. Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher and Vanderbilt’s James Franklin are also considered candidates to replace Mack Brown.

Jets won’t commit to Geno Smith as starting quarterback for 2014

Geno Smith JetsThe New York Jets won their final two games of the season to finish on a high note. Geno Smith was the team’s quarterback for almost the entire season, and the rookie led his the Jets to an 8-8 record. All things considered, the end result was not that bad. Smith’s numbers, however, left plenty to be desired.

There were a ton of growing pains for the former West Virginia star, as Smith threw just 12 touchdown passes to go along with a whopping 21 interceptions. His passer rating of 66.5 was last in the NFL. Perhaps that is why general manager John Idzik refuses to commit to Smith for 2014.

“We’re all excited about having Geno as part of the Jets but we will always look to improve every position in any manner we can and that doesn’t change going into 2014,” Idzik said Tuesday, via Seth Walder of the NY Daily News. “We’ll look at quarterbacks, yes we’ll look at quarterbacks.”

Idzik was then asked if Smith would be the starter when training camp begins next summer, and his answer was just as vague.

“We don’t look too far into the future with that,” he said. “Again, Geno started 16 games for us. You all witnessed how he did, how he finished strong. We’re very, very excited and happy that Geno is with us.”

The GM added that he believed Smith improved by “leaps and bounds” as the season progressed. If that was the case, you would think Smith would surely get another shot at leading the team to begin his sophomore season. Remember Mark Sanchez? He, too, is still under contract with the team.

“We’ll get to that in time. He is a Jet,” Idzik said of Sanchez. “We consider all our guys Jets until we make a decision or something happens that changes that. So with Mark — I met with him yesterday as well — our focus is to get him healthy, just as it has been really the entire season and then we’ll take it from there.”

Rex Ryan is returning next season and the players are thrilled about it, but the situation is still less than ideal. Teams who lack a reliable option at quarterback have a hard time winning games in the NFL. The fact that New York’s quarterback situation remains so muddled is an obstacle the team will have to address this offseason.