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NFL reportedly exploring major change to Pro Bowl

The NFL has explored numerous ways to make the Pro Bowl more interesting over the years, but none of them seem to work. After the 2022 edition of the game once again failed to generate excitement, the NFL may be ready to make a major change. Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that NFL executives... Read More

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Tom Brady has savage trash talk about Tyreek Hill, Davante Adams trades

Tom Brady fired up during a game

Dec 5, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) reacts on the field prior to the game against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Tom Brady takes trash talk ahead of “The Match” so seriously that even his own teammate is not safe.

Brady and Aaron Rodgers are preparing to take on Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen in this year’s installment of Capital One’s “The Match,” which will be held on June 1. In a promo that was released on Tuesday, Brady took shots at Rodgers and Mahomes over their favorite wide receivers being traded this offseason.

That’s cold, Tom. We’re not surprised Brady brought up the Tyreek Hill trade, but did he really have to remind his own partner about Davante Adams leaving Green Bay? Brady should probably refrain from making similar remarks during the main event.

Brady played against Rodgers in “The Match” last year and roasted him leading up to the event. If you thought that would stop now that the two are teammates, you were wrong.

Zach LaVine dropping notable hint about his free agency?

Zach LaVine warming up

Feb 9, 2020; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine (8) warms up before action against the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

It may be time to bring out the magnifying glass and the deerstalker hat when it comes to Zach LaVine’s free agency.

TMZ caught up with the Chicago Bulls star LaVine in Los Angeles this week. When asked if he had a message for Los Angeles Lakers fans amid the recent rumors linking him to the Lakers, LaVine seemed to have a telling comment.

“I’ve always been a big fan,” said LaVine of the Lakers.

The story appears to check out for LaVine, who will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. He lives in Los Angeles, played his college ball at UCLA, and is a client of Klutch Sports, the same agency that represents Lakers stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis. LaVine had also told reporters before he was drafted in 2014 that he was “always” a Lakers fan growing up.

Granted, the Lakers will have several financial hurdles to overcome in order to land the multi-time All-Star LaVine, a max contract-caliber player. They already have $129.5 million committed next season to James, Davis, and Russell Westbrook and don’t have a first-round pick to offer in a possible sign-and-trade until 2027.

But if LaVine really wants to come to the Lakers, they still have potential ways to make it happen (likely requiring shedding Westbrook’s contract plus moving Talen Horton-Tucker). In fact, one prominent basketball figure has already predicted that LaVine will be wearing the purple and gold next year.

Al Michaels will still have big role with NBC’s NFL coverage

Al Michaels on the field

Aug 26, 2018; Arlington, TX, USA; Network television commentator Al Michaels before the game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Arizona Cardinals at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Al Michaels has accepted a new job as the play-by-play voice of Amazon’s “Thursday Night Football” this upcoming season, but that does not mean the broadcasting legend is finished at NBC.

NBC announced on Tuesday that Michaels will move to an emeritus role with the network. He will call one NFL playoff game for “Sunday Night Football” in 2022 while also appearing on Olympic coverage.

There will be three NFL playoff games broadcast on NBC in total. The network’s new top NFL duo of Mike Tirico and Cris Collinsworth will call one while Michaels and another analyst will call the other.

Many people were disappointed that Michaels landed with Amazon rather than a network TV station. Though, the 77-year-old is reportedly getting a massive raise at his new job.

Michaels has one of the most recognizable voices in sports broadcasting history. Keeping him in an emeritus role is smart business for NBC.

Suns, coach Monty Williams on same page about Deandre Ayton?

Deandre Ayton looks ahead

Jan 3, 2020; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) against the New York Knicks at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Deandre Ayton is set to become a restricted free agent this offseason, which means the Phoenix Suns will have an opportunity to match any contract offer he receives. It does not sound like they are prepared to fight very hard to keep the former first overall pick.

Ayton’s agent, Bill Duffy, told SiriusXM NBA Radio on Monday that the reports about Ayton wanting a max contract extension last offseason were accurate. Duffy indicated that Ayton’s camp is confident the 23-year-old will receive max offers from other teams this summer, even if the Suns are unwilling to match.

According to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, there is a sense around the NBA that the Suns do not want to pay more than $30 million per year for Ayton or any other center. Head coach Monty Williams is unlikely to attempt to change their mind, either. Sources told Fischer that Williams has “griped about Ayton’s waning focus” and is not the biggest fan of the former Arizona star.

That is hardly a surprise, especially after the way Phoenix’s season ended. Ayton played just 17 minutes in the Suns’ Game 7 loss to the Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference semifinals. Williams said the reason for that was “internal” and not related to injury. There were reports that Ayton and Williams had a confrontation during the game.

Ayton averaged 17.2 points and 10.2 rebounds per game during the regular season. He will almost certainly find a team to give him max money. That may be the best outcome for both him and the Suns.

Ryan Tannehill addresses reaction to his Malik Willis comments

Ryan Tannehill at the Pro Bowl

Jan 23, 2020; Kissimmee, Florida, USA; Tennessee Titans qaurterback Ryan Tannehill (17) reacts during AFC practice at ESPN Wide World of Sports. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Tannehill faced some criticism a few weeks ago over some comments he made about the Tennessee Titans drafting Malik Willis. As you might expect, the veteran quarterback says the remarks were completely blown out of proportion.

Tannehill drew attention after he said it is not going to be his job to mentor Willis. What he meant was that he will be competing for a starting job with the rookie. Some people thought Tannehill’s way of saying he is going to refuse to help Willis, which he says is not the case. Tannehill was asked about the situation on Tuesday.

“I meant no disrespect to Malik or anything close to that,” Tannehill said. “We’ve been in constant communication since he was drafted. … I’m really just kind of disappointed in how things got spun and twisted a little bit. I pride myself on being a great teammate. I have my whole career.”

Tannehill went on to say that he reached out to Willis immediately after all the negative headlines surfaced.

“As soon as it blew up I reached out to him and said, ‘Hey, I’m gonna be a great teammate to you. I’m gonna support you. They’re making this out to (be something it’s not),'” Tannehill said. “He was great with it the whole time. … Things were great between us from the beginning and continue to be great.”

Reasonable people knew Tannehill was not trying to say he is going to be a jerk to Willis. Rather, the 33-year-old knows he needs to focus on doing everything he can to improve so the former Liberty star does not take his job.

There is a middle ground between being a bad teammate and a full-time mentor. Willis indicated that he understands that when he was asked about the so-called controversy.

Ravens sign former All-Pro cornerback

John Harbaugh looking on

Dec 8, 2019; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh jogs on the field prior to the game against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Ravens have added a reliable piece to their secondary.

The Ravens announced on Tuesday that they have signed veteran cornerback Kyle Fuller to a one-year deal.

Fuller, 30, is a two-time Pro Bowler and former All-Pro. He spent the first seven years of his career with the Chicago Bears before playing a lone season for the Denver Broncos in 2021.

The Ravens had their cornerback depth tested last year when Marcus Peters went down with a torn ACL prior to the start of the season. Marlon Humphrey then suffered a torn pectoral muscle in December. Both are expected to be ready for the start of 2022, but those injuries likely inspired Baltimore to make bolstering their secondary a priority this offseason. They have done that by signing Fuller and safeties Marcus Williams and Kyle Hamilton.

Fuller was one of the better free agents remaining. He recorded 51 tackles last season and has missed just one game in his entire NFL career. He should fit in nicely in Baltimore.

Report: Teams making 1 demand in Russell Westbrook trade talks

Russell Westbrook warms up

Oct 6, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook prior to the preseason game against the Phoenix Suns at Footprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers want to trade Russell Westbrook this offseason, but that does not mean they are going to facilitate a deal by any means necessary.

Westbrook was not the player the Lakers hoped he would be when they acquired him in a blockbuster trade with the Washington Wizards. His shooting was erratic for much of the year, which resulted in him being benched multiple times by former head coach Frank Vogel. Because Westbrook was such a poor fit, teams that have interest in the star point guard are trying to get the Lakers to include a sweetener in any potential trade. L.A. may not be willing to do that.

According to Jovan Buha of The Athletic, teams that are interested in Westbrook have told the Lakers they will only trade for him if they also get at least one first-round pick in return. The Lakers have said they are not going to agree to a deal like that.

Westbrook has a $47 million player option for next season. He will turn 34 in November. Teams are operating under the assumption that the Lakers are desperate to get rid of him, which makes sense. However, a recent report claimed the Lakers are not totally opposed to bringing Westbrook back. Buha says all of that talk is more than just posturing, as some within the franchise believe Westbrook could benefit from a new coach and better supporting cast.

The Lakers reportedly have one standing offer for Westbrook, but they have not pulled the trigger. It seems like they are willing to be patient, at the very least.

NFL reportedly exploring major change to Pro Bowl

Roger Goodell at the podium

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL has explored numerous ways to make the Pro Bowl more interesting over the years, but none of them seem to work. After the 2022 edition of the game once again failed to generate excitement, the NFL may be ready to make a major change.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that NFL executives are discussing ways to improve the Pro Bowl. One idea that has been proposed is to eliminate the traditional game altogether in favor of something more entertaining. A flag football game is one possible solution.

If you follow LBS, you know that we proposed the flag football idea during the last Pro Bowl. There is no real contact in the game anyway, so why bother making players wear full pads?

The biggest issue with the Pro Bowl is that everything looks like a regular NFL game until the ball is snapped. The formations are the same and the players are dressed the same. Once the ball is in play, you realize you are watching something entirely different from an NFL game.

A 7-on-7 flag football tournament might be more interesting. There are 88 players in the Pro Bowl, so those players could be separated into different teams for a mini-tournament.

Obviously, the NFL knows it has to do something. The current Pro Bowl format simply is not cutting it.

CeeDee Lamb sued by trading card company

CeeDee Lamb celebrates a catch

Oct 17, 2021; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; Dallas Cowboys wide receiver CeeDee Lamb (88) makes the catch and runs the ball for the game winning touchdown in overtime at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas Cowboys star CeeDee Lamb is being sued by a trading card company.

According to a lawsuit that was obtained by Mike Fisher of Cowboys Country, trading card company Leaf Trading Cards is suing Lamb for an alleged breach of contract. The firm claims the wide receiver failed to honor a written agreement to autograph cards, which led to orders being left unfulfilled.

Leaf CEO Brian Gray issued a statement on Twitter after the lawsuit was filed.

Lamb appears to have signed some of the cards, but Leaf claims he did not fulfill his obligations. The company is seeking damages and attorney fees.

Lamb is in his third year with the Cowboys. He is expected to be their clear No. 1 wide receiver after they traded Amari Cooper to the Cleveland Browns. Lamb had 79 catches for 1,102 yards and six touchdowns last season.

NFL insider offers prediction about Deebo Samuel situation

Deebo Samuel warms up before a game

Sep 26, 2021; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel (19) warms up before the game against the Green Bay Packers at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Deebo Samuel has made it clear in a variety of ways that he is unhappy with the San Francisco 49ers, but at least one NFL insider believes the issues between the two sides can be resolved.

Ian Rapoport discussed the Samuel situation during his Monday appearance on “The Pat McAfee Show.” The NFL network reporter said there is “work that has to get done,” but he believes it is still possible that the 49ers will sign Samuel to a contract extension this offseason.

“I think they can get it settled,” Rapoport said. “I don’t believe it is settled right now. There’s a lot of work that has to be done. … Remember, he basically told them, ‘Don’t offer me a contract. I’m not going to take it. I want to be traded.’ There is some work that has to get done.”

When Samuel went public with his trade request last month, Rapoport reported that the star wide receiver’s discontent was about more than just money. Samuel apparently was not pleased with how he was used in San Francisco’s offense last season, despite his incredible production. Rapoport does not think that will be a deal-breaker.

“Kyle Shanahan is very charismatic and also very good at making sure football players are good at their jobs. He’s a great play designer, and he has helped Deebo Samuel become the dynamic weapon he has been,” the insider added. “So, I think they can get it worked out, but they are not there yet.”

The 49ers could have traded Samuel during the draft for at least one first-round pick and then some. They showed they are committed to keeping him by not entertaining offers. Samuel may have hinted recently that he is open to remaining in San Francisco. It remains to be seen if the Niners are willing to pay him before they have to.

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