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Friday, April 28, 2017

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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.

Shoe companies walk away from deal with Lonzo Ball

Lonzo Ball

Lonzo Ball will not be getting an endorsement deal from any of the three major shoe and apparel companies.

Ball’s father LaVar said that Nike, Under Armour, and Adidas are all passing on deals, with sources for the companies confirming that to ESPN’s Darren Rovell.

While certainly unusual for these companies to avoid one of the likely top picks in the NBA Draft, LaVar Ball was demanding that the companies license his Big Baller Brand, and already presented suitors with a prototype Lonzo Ball shoe.

“We’ve said from the beginning, we aren’t looking for an endorsement deal,” LaVar said. “We’re looking for co-branding, a true partner. But they’re not ready for that because they’re not used to that model. But hey, the taxi industry wasn’t ready for Uber, either.

“Just imagine how rich Tiger (Woods), Kobe (Bryant), Serena (Williams), (Michael) Jordan and LeBron (James) would have been if they dared to do their own thing. No one owned their own brand before they turned pro. We do and I have three sons so it’s that much more valuable.”

LaVar said the next step will be speaking to the Chinese brands, and even floated the possibility of joining up with a company like Facebook to achieve his ambitions.

It was pretty clear from these comments that LaVar Ball was going to have a hard time selling his ideas to these companies. He may ultimately wind up on his own.

Report: Browns trying to trade for Kirk Cousins

Kirk Cousins

The Cleveland Browns need a quarterback badly and they apparently are looking to Washington to solve that problem.

NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reported on Thursday night that the Browns are trying to acquire Kirk Cousins in a trade.

The Browns were believed to have been targeting Mitchell Trubisky in the NFL Draft. They selected Myles Garrett with the No. 1 overall pick, while the Chicago Bears moved up a spot to take Trubisky second.

The Browns were said to be targeting Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson as backup plans in the draft at QB, but it looks like they’re trying to do even more.

Cleveland has been involved in trade talks for Jimmy Garoppolo throughout the offseason, but reports have said the Patriots won’t trade their backup QB. Maybe with all of their extra picks stashed up and their preferred QB off the board, the Browns are trying for a different Plan B.

Cousins signed a franchise tag tender and will make nearly $24 million next season. Washington is believed to have offered him a five-year contract extension this offseason.

Detroit Lions CB Darius Slay trash talks Mitchell Trubisky

Darius Slay

Mitchell Trubisky wasn’t even a member of the NFC North for a whole two minutes before being welcomed with some trash talk.

Upon learning of the Chicago Bears’ draft pick of Trubisky, Detroit Lions cornerback Darius Slay sent this tweet:

You think Slay is licking his chops to face the Bears rookie quarterback? Slay is known for speaking his mind even if if it’s done so without tact, so this tweet isn’t too surprising. But the first Bears-Lions game in Week 11 is looking like it could be fun. The only problem is with Mike Glennon entering the season as Chicago’s starter, we may have to wait to see if Slay can live up to his tweet.

Report: Richard Sherman wants to be traded to Patriots

Richard Sherman

The Seattle Seahawks have not yet closed the door on the possibility of trading Richard Sherman, and one reporter claims the All-Pro cornerback has made it clear that he wants to be traded to one team — the New England Patriots.

While discussing the situation on Wednesday night, Tom E. Curran of said he has heard playing for Bill Belichick is at the top of Sherman’s wish list.

“My understanding is he wants to be a New England Patriot,” Curran said emphatically. “He wants to leave Seattle. He has made that clear and that’s why (Seahawks GM John) Schneider can speak so freely about it.”

There has been some question about whether Sherman asked to be traded or the Seahawks started shopping him around, and Curran believes it is both.

“Richard Sherman wants to leave the Seahawks,” he added. “They’ve had it up to here with him. His tirades on the sidelines last year were a tremendous distraction.”

The Patriots would really only have room for Sherman on their roster in 2017 if they traded Malcolm Butler. That is part of what makes the talk of Sherman going to New England more intriguing, as Butler is only signed through 2017 as a restricted free agent and reportedly wants out of town now that the Patriots signed Stephon Gilmore to a five-year deal.

Still, the deal seems far-fetched. New England’s highest draft pick at the moment is No. 72 overall, and that would not be enough to pry Sherman away from Seattle. The only way the Patriots could acquire the draft capital they needed is by trading Butler or Jimmy Garoppolo, but the latter is even less probable. A swap of Butler and Sherman is highly unlikely, as is a three-team trade that would send Sherman to the Patriots, a first-round pick to Seattle and Butler elsewhere.

Given some of the things Sherman has said about Tom Brady in the past, it would certainly be a great storyline if the two became teammates. But in reality, it seems like there are far too many obstacles standing in the way.

NFL teams expecting Gareon Conley to be cleared in rape investigation?

Gareon Conley was considered a lock to be taken in the first round of the NFL Draft prior to this week, but a sexual assault allegation could send the former Ohio State star tumbling down the board. Or, perhaps it won’t.

After speaking with several NFL teams about Conley, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports came away feeling like the star cornerback could still be picked in Round 1.

There has been some speculation that Conley will slip into at least the third round, but perhaps NFL teams feel more comfortable with his situation after speaking with investigators and Conley’s legal team.

Conley, who is considered one of the top two or three defensive backs available, was accused of raping a woman at a Cleveland hotel earlier this month. You can read details from the police report here.

If team officials feel confident that Conley has been wrongly accused, they might be fine using a high pick on him. But if there is any uncertainty at all surrounding the case, we shouldn’t expect him to hear his name called on Thursday night.

Report: Scot McCloughan running scouting service, advising NFL teams

Scot McCloughan

Scot McCloughan may have gone through a messy divorce with Washington last month, but that does not mean the former general manager is giving up on doing what he does best — evaluating NFL talent.

Before he was hired to be Washington’s GM, McCloughan had a scouting service where he offered teams his opinions on NFL prospects. Mike Garafolo of NFL Network is reporting that McCloughan has gotten back to doing that.

“He had a scouting service before he became the general manager of (Washington), and according to sources, he is back running that scouting service and has advised NFL teams on his thoughts on the draft prospects eligible for the draft this year,” Garafolo said Thursday. “Now he’s not giving up (Washington’s) information, he’s only giving up his own evaluations. He is free to do that. So not only will he have an influence on Washington’s draft, but also the drafts of a few other teams in this draft this year.”

As Garafolo notes, Washington’s director of college scouting Scott Campbell admitted recently that much of the work McCloughan did with the team will still have an influence during the draft. From the sound of it, McCloughan’s opinions may help other teams, too.

Washington seemingly smeared McCloughan on his way out the door, with reports leaking that the former GM was having alcohol relapses. McCloughan has a history of drinking problems, but one of his former players said a few weeks back that alcohol is no longer an issue.

Regardless of any problems he is or isn’t having with alcohol, McCloughan is highly respected when it comes to his eye for talent.

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