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Report: Johnny Manziel losing job more about behavior and less about football

Johnny Manziel OVO DrakeThe Cleveland Browns named Brian Hoyer their starting quarterback over Johnny Manziel on Wednesday, and many are wondering why head coach Mike Pettine did not wait until the all-important third preseason game to make his decision. If Pettine was choosing a starter based solely on on-field performance, he probably would have.

According to Mary Kay Cabot of The Cleveland Plain Dealer, Manziel has been slowly blowing his shot at the starting job since the Browns drafted him.

People love to chalk Manziel’s behavior up to the fact that he is a 21-year-old kid who is still learning. While that may be true, it doesn’t mean the Browns have overlooked his party-boy antics. Pettine even admitted that he spoke to Manziel about the photo that showed the former Texas A&M star rolling up a bill in front of a bathroom mirror.

By completing just 6-of-17 passes against the Washington Redskins on Monday night, Manziel probably made Pettine’s job easy. He made it even easier when he flipped off the Redskins sideline. Hoyer has completed 8-of-20 pass attempts and has a passer rating of 57.9 through two preseason games, so you really think this is about football? Manziel needs to prove he can grow up before Pettine will hand him the reins.

Bryan Cox started having sex when he was 10 (Video)

Bryan Cox has been the breakout star of this year’s edition of HBO “Hard Knocks.”

The Atlanta Falcons defensive line coach is still the exact same wild man he was during his 12-year playing career as a linebacker for the Dolphins, Bears and Jets most notably. He has no filter, and that led to one of the greatest lines of the show.

Cox was using the projector to show family photos during a team meeting, and he showed a picture of his 30-year-old daughter. Cox is 46, which means he was 15 or 16 when she was conceived. The old age of his daughter led one curious player to ask how old Cox is. That’s when we got the line of the century.

“I told you I started f—ing when I was 10.”

If that shocks you, let me remind you that this was what Cox infamously did prior to a game in Buffalo in ’93:

Bryan Cox

Helmet smack to With Leather

Johnny Manziel flips the bird at Redskins (GIF)

GIF: Johnny Middle Finger on Twitpic

ESPN cameras love to follow Johnny Manziel all over the field, but maybe he just taught them a lesson that they need to give him a little space.

Manziel was caught flipping the bird at the Redskins bench after throwing an incomplete pass on second down during the third quarter of Monday’s preseason game between the Browns and Skins.

We have no idea if anything prompted the gesture — was there some crap talking? some dirty play? We have no idea. But we do know this kid is brazen and doesn’t give a crap. Here’s what he said about it:

“I get words exchanged with me throughout the entirety of the game, game after game … I need to be smarter than that.”

His coach Mike Pettine didn’t like the gesture.

“That does not sit well … it’s disappointing,” said Pettine.

When you hear later this week that Manziel has been fined for a gesture, you’ll know why.

Johnny Manziel flips the bird

They don’t call him Johnny F*ucking Football for nothing.

GIF via @cjzero

John Calipari: I wouldn’t have gone to Cavs even for LeBron James

John CalipariA little over two months ago, a report surfaced that indicated John Calipari was in “deep discussions” with the Cleveland Cavaliers before he finalized a new contract extension with Kentucky. That was before LeBron James shocked the world by announcing he was heading home to Cleveland.

In hindsight, Calipari was probably using the Cavs and any other NBA team as leverage to get more money from Kentucky. But what if he knew that taking a job in the NBA would mean getting a chance to coach the greatest player on the planet? Would Calipari have left the Wildcats for King James?

“No. No. I don’t think so. Because he and I have a great relationship (with LeBron), but it’s not based on me coaching him,” Calipari told Kyle Tucker of The Courier-Journal. “We’ve got a relationship. I’ve known him for years and years. We’ve always been friends. But it was never based on that. I’ve said that. I’ve had a chance to coach Derrick Rose, John Wall and DeMarcus (Cousins), Anthony Davis and Michael (Kidd-Gilchrist). And I’m leaving names off, but I’ve coached some of the best players in basketball, and it is a thrill. There’s nothing better than that. Especially when those guys are all good guys.

“Well, LeBron is also that kind of player and that kind of person. But again, leaving guys who made decisions based on what’s right for their career was something I couldn’t have gotten by anyway.”

Once the Harrison twins — Aaron and Andrew — decided to stay at Kentucky along with Alex Poythress, Willie Cauley-Stein, Marcus Lee and Dakari Johnson, Calipari said there is no way he was going to leave. Kentucky gave him a $52.1 million extension through 2021 just to be sure.

“They came back because it was good for them and their careers and they knew they needed more developing and coachingm” Calipari explained. “That was by me. That’s what they wanted. So that made it a tough deal to say, ‘I’m just going to leave these guys here.’ With who? It may be somebody I don’t know that wouldn’t do the things for them that they needed to do.”

Somehow, I find that hard to believe. The potential to make $8 million per season as an NBA head coach and president of basketball operations while coaching the best player in the league probably would have intrigued Calipari more than the thought of inheriting a rebuilding project. He’s only human, after all.

Jay-Z to blame for Kevin Durant quitting Team USA?

Kevin Durant Jay-Z

Kevin Durant pulled out of Team USA two weeks ago much to the shock of USA Basketball coaches, players and executives. Durant cited mental and physical fatigue as his reason for quitting the team during the middle of training camp, only weeks away from the start of the 2014 FIBA World Cup.

“After going through training camp with USAB, I realized I could not fulfill my responsibilities to the team from both a time and energy standpoint,” Durant said in a statement. “I need to take a step back and take some time away, both mentally and physically in order to prepare for the upcoming NBA season.”

Though many took Durant for his word — and he certainly has earned the benefit of the doubt — there has been a lot of skepticism about KD’s reason for quitting the team.

USA Basketball director Jerry Colangelo said Durant pulled out because of contractual obligations, but he later issued one of those “clarifications.”

We speculated that Durant pulled out because he’s concerned with his next big shoe/apparel endorsement contract. It sounds like that is the case.

In a long, rambling, and at times incoherent opinion piece, Chris Sheridan says Jay-Z, who is the man behind Durant’s new agency Roc Nation Sports, is to blame for KD withdrawing from the team.

Though Sheridan never explicitly states what Jay-Z did, he says Durant’s agent is behind the surprising decision.

And what I have discovered in talking to members of the U.S. federation over the past two days is this: Durant and his agency, Roc Nation, are more interested in cashing in on his MVP award and his expiring Nike deal than they are in having Durant keep his word to the people who were with him in 2010 in Turkey at the World Championship and in 2012 in London at the Olympics.

Sheridan points out that since signing with Jay-Z, Durant has ended many of his previous business relationships. He ended his endorsement deal with Gatorade in favor of Sparkling Ice. He is now shopping around shoe/apparel companies even though he’s been with Nike since entering the NBA.

The implication is that Durant/Jay-Z/Roc Nation are more concerned with setting up his business deals than having him participate with Team USA.

For instance, Durant spent the day at Under Armour’s headquarters on Wednesday. UA is a Maryland-based company and reportedly was preparing a monster offer for the reigning NBA MVP. Sheridan also says adidas is preparing a big offer for Durant and that the Thunder forward re-signing with Nike is still a possibility.

Sheridan mentions that Durant may not have wanted to spend several weeks around Nike people (Nike sponsors USA Basketball) while he is shopping for a new deal.

Overall, it comes across as though Sheridan has more inside information on the subject than he can share, but he feels strongly enough to write a very opinionated piece on the matter.

The bottom line is this: participation on USA Basketball is voluntary. Durant is well within his right not to play for the team. He just handled the timing of his leave very poorly.

ESPN screws up big time with Kevin Ward Jr. funeral tweet

ESPN sent an extremely unfortunate tweet from their NASCAR account on Thursday afternoon. Funeral services for the late Kevin Ward Jr. were held on Thursday in upstate New York, where more than 700 mourners flooded South Lewis Senior High School to pay their respects. Here is the tweet NASCAR on ESPN sent and quickly deleted, courtesy of Deadspin:

ESPN-Kevin-Ward-Jr-tweet

We’re all human and we all make mistakes, but that is a pretty drastic one. A typo with the name would be bad enough given the sensitive nature of the subject, but the photo of Stewart made it really brutal. Realizing that plenty of people had seen the tweet, ESPN later issued an apology:

Again, everyone makes mistakes. Some are just more cringe-worthy than others.

NFL considering harsher penalties for domestic violence

Roger Goodell

The NFL has been roundly criticized for letting Ray Rice off with just a 2-game suspension despite the domestic violence he allegedly committed against his wife, and they appear to be ready to respond.

The Washington Post’s Mark Maske says the league is considering harsher penalties for those who have committed domestic violence. The penalty would be a 4-6 game suspension for a first-time offender and possibly a one-year ban for a second offense.

These are penalties that are currently being considered and have not been put into effect. The NFLPA has not been included in these discussions yet, Maske reports.

Though Rice pleaded not guilty to the alleged domestic violence, video showing him dragging his unconscious fiancee out of an elevator in Atlantic City sparked public outrage. Even if we don’t have the complete picture of what happened between Rice and his wife, the appearance was that the NFL did not take domestic violence as serious as it should. When guys are being suspended four games for taking Molly while on vacation, domestic violence suspensions should not be for half the amount of games.