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Eric Wood blames ESPN for Michael Sam not signing with team after release from Rams

eric-woodFrom the time Michael Sam was released by the St. Louis Rams on Saturday as part of their final cuts, speculation began about what would be next for last year’s SEC Defensive Player of the Year.

Sam recorded 11 tackles and three sacks during the preseason, including this memorable one of Johnny Manziel. Despite showing perhaps more than some expected, Sam didn’t make the Rams’ 53-man roster.

After clearing waivers, Sam is now a free agent. However, the seventh round has yet to receive any offers. Why is up for debate. Buffalo Bills offensive lineman Eric Wood has a theory and it involves the network that reported on Sam’s showering habits.

Certainly ESPN isn’t the only culprit of the massive amount of coverage Michael Sam has received since being drafted, but the point made by Wood is a valid one. Any team that signs Sam will obviously not only be signing a defensive player, but the first openly gay player drafted into the NFL.

It would be premature to say Michael Sam’s professional football career is over after just beginning. The Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League have reached out to him, although they have yet to hear back. Whether it’s the Alouettes or someone else, the next team Michael Sam suits up for should be prepared to deal with the media attention that comes with it, fair or not.

Jimmy Johnson: Jerry Jones comes across as a rich A-hole

Jerry-Jones-Jimmy-JohnsonThere is no love lost between Jimmy Johnson and Jerry Jones. The two were teammates at Arkansas, where the won a national championship together in 1964, before rekindling their winning ways with back-to-back Dallas Cowboys Super Bowl championships in 1992 and 1993. It was all downhill from there.

As Jones reminded us in a lengthy feature that was written by ESPN’s Don Van Natta Jr., his relationship with Johnson soured 20 years ago. Despite Johnson’s success with the team, Jones said he has no plans of inducting him into the Cowboys Ring of Honor.

“Disloyalty … I couldn’t handle the disloyalty,” Jones told Van Natta Jr. “Whether it was right or not, by every measurement you can go, I had paid so many times a higher price to get to be there than he had paid, it was unbelievable.

“There was just an undermining that went on. It’s subtle. It’s smart. I lost my tolerance of having an associate, a friend, not be loyal. I’ve been told, ‘That’s trite. You should be bigger than that.’ I mean, really, am I so dumb that I don’t know you don’t fire a coach after y’all just won two straight Super Bowls?”

Johnson remembers it quite differently. The legendary coach says Jones brought him in with an understanding that Jerruh would handle the business side of things and Jimmy would handle football. When rumblings of the Cowboys being a dynasty started, Jones wanted more credit.

“When I went to the Cowboys, Jerry told me he’d handle the marketing and money and I’d handle the football and we’d make history,” Johnson said in a statement included in the feature. “That changed after the first Super Bowl. I appreciate the opportunity he gave me and I’m proud of what we were able to accomplish.”

After reading all the things Jones said about him in the piece, Johnson sounded a bit less appreciative.

“(The feature was) about like I expected,” Johnson told Bob West of the Port Arthur News in an email. “Jerry comes across like a rich a–hole.”

Both men are getting old. Johnson and Jones are 71. Give the success they enjoyed together, you would think one or both of them might express a willingness to bury the hatchet now that they have entered the twilight years of life. Jerruh’s recent comments make it seem like there is little to no chance of that ever happening.

H/T Dallas Morning News

Stephen Hill’s agent blames Mark Sanchez, Tim Tebow for Hill’s release

Stephen-HillThe New York Jets released wide receiver Stephen Hill on Saturday. Hill, a former star at Georgia Tech, has been a disappointment since the Jets drafted him with the 43rd overall pick in 2012. But as far as the 23-year-old’s agent is concerned, Rex Ryan and company set Hill up to fail.

After Hill was cut, his agent Alan Herman criticized the Jets for not putting his client in a position to succeed.

“I’m disappointed in Idzik and Rex with the way the whole thing went down there,” Herman told Jim Corbett of USA TODAY Sports. “Two years in that kind of situation is disheartening.

“He didn’t have a chance that first year with that whole Tim Tebow-Mark Sanchez fiasco. … His second year, Geno Smith was learning how to play quarterback. So they never threw the ball deep because they wanted to simplify things for Geno.”

Hill ran a 4.36 in the 40-yard dash at the 2012 NFL Combine and was at one point an extremely promising young talent. While he hasn’t exactly played with Tom Brady or Peyton Manning, Hill has had some brutal drops in big situations. His progress has also been hampered by knee injuries.

We all know the Tebow experiment was a disaster and Sanchez was below-average at best. However, there are plenty of wide receivers across the NFL (Larry Fitzgerald, Josh Gordon, Andre Johnson, etc.) that have carved out impressive careers with poor quarterback play. That’s a pretty lame excuse from Hill’s agent, who anticipates his client will be scooped up quickly.

“I would think the Browns would put in a claim,” Herman said. “(Coach Mike) Pettine knows him and they need receivers and Stephen can stretch the field.”

Are the Browns really the best team for Hill? What if the whole Hoyer-Manziel thing becomes a circus? At least his agent will have someone to blame.

Michael Sam released by Rams

Michael Sam money gesture

The St. Louis Rams released Michael Sam as part of their final roster cuts on Saturday afternoon, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

While it had long been reported that Sam was on the roster bubble, his fate with the Rams will come as a surprise to people who watched the former Missouri star throughout the preseason. There were times when Sam did a great job of pressuring the quarterback, registering two sacks, two QB hits and four QB hurries on 133 preseason snaps.

Sam is slightly undersized for a defensive end and it not exactly a freak athlete, but many felt he had showed enough to earn a spot on the Rams roster. The fact that he does not play on special teams made it a tougher decision for the Rams. St. Louis will likely try to keep him on board as a practice player, but don’t be surprised if Sam finds a home elsewhere.

More Michael Sam coverage:
Video: ESPN reports on Michael Sam’s showering habits
Chris Long: Everyone but ESPN is over Michael Sam being gay
Video: Michael Sam sacks Johnny Manziel, flashes money sign

Giants fan has ‘Eli’s Brother’ on back of Peyton Manning jersey

Giants-fan-Eli's-brother-jersey

Has Eli Manning won more Super Bowls than his older brother Peyton Manning? Yes, yes he has. Is the younger Manning a better quarterback? Well, no, no he isn’t. Don’t tell that to the New York Giants fan you see in the photo above.

As Twitter user @ev0lemi pointed out, Some guy who was at the Giants’ final preseason game on Thursday night had a Denver Broncos jersey with Peyton’s number on it but “Eli’s Brother” on the back.

My first instinct was to bash this guy, but then I realized one important thing — he was also wearing a New York Mets hat. That kind of says it all.

H/T Next Impulse Sports

Bills fan buys hat at team store with epic manifacturer error

Patriots Bills hat

If there’s one place where you should be able to trust the gear you buy, it’s at an official team store. There’s no knock-off stuff there. You won’t find any of that unauthorized, non-authentic junk there. But, occasionally, you will find mistakes. Every clothing store has an item or two with a manufacturer error. And nothing tops the error one fan saw with a hat he purchased at a preseason game on Thursday.

A reader sent in a photo to Busted Coverage of a hat he says he purchased at the Bills’ team store Thursday night. As you can see, the front of the cap features a Bills logo. But … hey, what the heck is that on the back? What the eff is a Patriots logo doing on the back of a Bills hat?

I don’t know how the fan feels about it, but I would cherish that hat. That hat should be placed in a glass case and go on exhibit. It’s like a double-headed snake or something. When do you ever see something like that? Maybe this guy can sell it to the Gronkowski parents to wear to a game in case one of their sons joins the Bills. That’s about the only true use for it.

H/T Busted Coverage

Mike Pettine won’t rule out giving Johnny Manziel snaps against Steelers

Johnny-ManzielBrian Hoyer and Johnny Manziel both played in the Cleveland Browns’ final preseason tuneup against the Chicago Bears on Thursday night, and nothing happened that would make head coach Mike Pettine regret naming Hoyer the team’s starting quarterback. Manziel was once again inaccurate on many of his throws, completing just 6-of-17 passes for 83 yards and a touchdown. Hoyer was 6-of-8 for 68 yards in limited action.

Manziel did rush four times for 55 yards, which kept reporters wondering if he will play at all against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 1. Pettine wouldn’t rule it out.

“It’s something we’ll discuss,” he said after the game, via Cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot. “I don’t know if that’s necessarily something just because of tonight. We’ll have discussions on how we want to game plan and how we want to use those guys. I think one of the reasons that Brian (Hoyer) and the first team did look better tonight is because we didn’t mix the reps and he got all the reps with the No. 1s. A big part of tonight was getting those guys playing together and getting that cohesion.”

Talk about sending mixed signals. If Pettine was so impressed with the way Hoyer gelled with the first-string offense, he should commit to one quarterback and not have Hoyer worrying about being able to establish a rhythm in the regular season opener. But Pettine couldn’t seem to close the door on Johnny Football, noting that he likes the contrast in styles between Hoyer and Manziel.

“I do because it’s worked in this system before where (offensive coordinator) Kyle (Shanahan) has had dropback passers and then a talent like (Robert Griffin III),” Pettine added. “I think it’s a very similar situation where he can bounce back and forth between the two styles and play to the strengths of the guy that he has in there.”

To his credit, Hoyer said he would be fine with Manziel getting some snaps against Pittsburgh if it helps the team win. In all likelihood, Pettine simply doesn’t want to tip his hand. He wants the Steelers to have to prepare for Hoyer and Manziel, though it’s not like they have to plan for Peyton Manning and Michael Vick.

Given how shaky Manziel has looked and the fact that the game is on the road, I’d be shocked if he played at all against the Steelers.

H/T Around the League