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#pounditThursday, February 2, 2023

Stories by Dan Benton:

Colorado recruit says new staff not honoring his commitment

Deion Sanders smiling

Dec 4, 2022; Boulder, CO, USA; Colorado Buffaloes head coach Deion Sanders speaks during a press conference at the Arrow Touchdown Club. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

When Deion Sanders arrived on scene at Colorado, his first order of business was to deliver a ruthless message to his players. He pulled no punches and advised players to enter the transfer portal.

“It ain’t gonna be no more of a mess that these wonderful fans, the student body and some of your parents have put up with for probably two decades now,” Sanders said. “I’m coming. And when I get here, it’s gonna be changed.

“So I want y’all to get ready. Go ahead and jump in that (transfer) portal and do whatever you’re gonna do, because the more of you that jump in the more room you make.”

Sanders’ harsh approach wasn’t limited in scope. In addition to the players already in-house, Deion had a few bits of bad news for some of the team’s commits.

Edge rusher Carson Mott, a three-star recruit from Simi Valley, California, revealed on Tuesday that Sanders pulled his scholarship offer.

“Just spoke to the new Colorado staff and was informed they would not be honoring my commitment,” Mott tweeted. “I am officially re-opening my recruitment.”

Mott had previously made his commitment to Colorado on June 13. He was heavily recruited at the time and had offers from Fresno State, Nevada, UNLV and a handful of other schools.

The 6-foot-5 Mott should have little trouble finding another offer, but having his scholarship pulled is further proof that Sanders is going to do things his way whether feelings are hurt or not.

Randy Moss explains why he wore sunglasses in infamous Heisman photo

Randy Moss on set

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

In 1997, the Heisman Trophy finalists were in a class all their own. To this day, the group has no peers. It included three Hall of Famers — Randy Moss, Peyton Manning and Charles Woodson — and one of the most controversial draft picks in NFL history, Ryan Leaf.

Prior to the Heisman presentation, the group of four posed for what became an iconic photo. From left to right stood Woodson, Manning, Moss and Leaf.

The eccentric Moss stood out in the photo, largely because of his decision to wear a pair of Oakley sunglasses. At the time, many speculated that perhaps he was inhibited and attempting to hide it. But that wasn’t the case at all. In fact, it was quite the opposite.

While appearing on Monday night’s ManningCast, Moss explained the decision to shield his eyes.

“I was just so nervous being on that stage with those guys,” Moss said. “(It) was the biggest platform I had ever been on up to that point. I was just nervous. So being able to find those glasses on the street from a vendor… I wore them and got in trouble (with) my Mom coming down the elevator.”

Moss likened it to Adam’s Sandler’s film, “Big Daddy.” In that movie, Julian, played by Dylan Sprouse, has to wear glasses in order to relieve himself. He tells Sandler’s character, Sonny, that he’s “hiding.”

“That’s what I felt from those Oakleys. I was just so nervous from the glitz and the glamour; the celebrities that were there. So I had those glasses on,” Moss said. “Didn’t (understand) the magnitude behind it.”

Moss also revealed that the Oakleys were not genuine — they were knock-offs.

“I had to find something,” he said with a laugh.

It didn’t take long for Moss to shed his fears once he entered the NFL. Pretty soon, he soaked up the spotlight and began to put on shows for millions across the world.

Deion Sanders adds familiar names to his Colorado staff

Deion Sanders smiling

Dec 4, 2022; Boulder, CO, USA; Colorado Buffaloes head coach Deion Sanders speaks during a press conference at the Arrow Touchdown Club. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Deion Sanders was hired as Colorado’s next head coach over the weekend, and he’s wasted no time putting together a staff.

With an emphasis on knowledge and experience, Sanders has targeted several former college head coaches. Among them are Tim Brewster and Willie Taggart, reports ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg.

The 62-year-old Brewster spent four seasons as head coach at Minnesota. He compiled an overall record of 15-30 and led his team to two bowl games (0-2). He was fired midway through the 2010 season.

In addition to his time at Minnesota, Brewster has served as a position coach at Mississippi State, Texas A&M, Florida State and Florida. He also spent time in the NFL with the San Diego Chargers and Denver Broncos.

Taggart (46), meanwhile, has a wealth of experience. He’s served as head coach at Western Kentucky, South Florida, Oregon, Florida State and Florida Atlantic. His career record is 71-80 and he’s coached his teams to five bowl games, although he departed for a different job prior to three of those. Taggart is 0-2 in the others.

It’s unclear what roles Brewster and Taggart will fill, but they are good gets for Sanders.

Tom Brady’s F-bombs captured by ESPN cameras

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

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers trailed the New Orleans Saints, 16-3, with just over 3:00 remaining on Monday night. That’s when Tom Brady, arguably the greatest of all-time, did his thing.

Brady connected with tight end Cade Otton to cap off a 10-play, 91-yard drive. The score brought the Bucs within 16-10 and a quick three-and-out put the ball back in Brady’s hands.

We’ve all seen this story before and it played out similarly.

The Bucs’ offense engineered an 11-play, 63-yard drive that concluded with a six-yard touchdown pass from Brady to running back Rachaad White.

The 17-16 victory improved Tampa Bay’s record to 6-6 and kept them very much alive in the NFC Playoff hunt. It also energized the always vocal Tom Brady, who just happened to pass the ESPN cameras on his way into the locker-room. And they once again caught Brady dropping F-bombs on live television.

Below video is not safe for work (NSFW).

F-bombs roll off Brady’s lips naturally. After all, that is his “go-to word.”

“I wish I did have a better mouth out there at times. But there’s nothing that quite expresses the way I feel like that word. It is [a great word], especially in the heat of the moment. No I don’t say it at home, of course not. It’s pretty well filtered at the house,” Brady told WEEI in 2014.

Brady has been caught dropping F-bombs countless times throughout his career. It’s come during post-game press conferences, on the sideline and even on the field during disagreements with officials. It genuinely is his go-to.

Odell Beckham Jr. hints at possible deal with Cowboys

Odell Beckham Jr with his mouth open

Jan 13, 2020; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; LSU Tigers former player Odell Beckham, Jr. in attendance before the College Football Playoff national championship game against the Clemson Tigers at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Odell Beckham Jr. free agency tour continued on Monday night at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.

Beckham was on hand, flanked by an entire Dallas Cowboys contingent, to watch the Dallas Mavericks take down the Phoenix Suns, 130-111. It was the final leg of his journey and Jerry Jones made sure to end his pitch with a bang.

Did it work? Beckham chimed in on that.

Beckham previously visited the New York Giants and Buffalo Bills and has no more meetings scheduled. He will now take a few days to talk things over with his family before making a final decision. But make no mistake about it, the Cowboys have been favorites throughout this process and remain favorites as of Tuesday morning.

However, there are some lingering concerns with Beckham. He refused to work out for any of the three teams and at least one NFC executive has cast doubt on his health. The talented wide receiver is coming off of his second torn ACL in 16 months and is just 10 months removed from his last surgery.

Beckham, who is seeking a long-term deal, could command as much as $20 million per season. And you better believes Jones is willing to spend that.

Myles Garrett shares what refs told him about why he’s not getting holding calls

Myles Garrett sitting on the bench

Sep 22, 2022; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett (95) on the bench during a break in the action against the Pittsburgh Steelers at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Browns edge rusher Myles Garrett has been held a ton this season. He is routinely dragged to the ground and it’s hard to dispute for anyone who actually watches Browns games.

The constant holding has become an area of annoyance for Garrett, who has begun voicing his displeasure to the referees.

But Garrett shouldn’t expect anything to change. During a Week 12 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he griped to head official Tra Blake and was told the calls were not going to come his way.

And why not, you might ask? Because, Blake said, Garrett is fighting through them.

If what Garrett says is true, it’s an odd stance by the referees. They are essentially telling Garrett he’s so good at his job that they’re allowing offensive linemen to cheat. Either that or they’re telling him to do more flopping in an attempt to draw more attention to the infractions.

Oddly enough, this isn’t unique to Garrett. There are several other pass rushers around the NFL who have expressed a similar frustration this season.

Despite the holding, Garrett is still producing at a high level. He’s recorded 33 hurries, 15 QB hits and 10.0 sacks in 10 games played. He’s also the highest-graded edge rusher in the league (92.4), based on Pro Football Focus’ metrics.

Missouri reportedly did not want to play rival in bowl game

Missouri sports logo

The Liberty Bowl or The Sugar Bowl could have seen another iteration of The Border War between Missouri and Kansas this month, but the Tigers apparently had other ideas.

Brett McMurphy of The Action Network reports that although the Jayhawks were open to playing Missouri once again, the Tigers quickly rejected the notion. As a result, Missouri could be moved to the Gasparilla Bowl.

“A 6-6 team dictating who they don’t want to play in a bowl?” an industry source said. “What a world. What a world.”

Missouri and Kansas had a long-standing rivalry dating back to 1907, but the two teams stopped playing after the 2011 season when the Tigers left for the SEC. However, in 2020, the two programs agreed to resume their rivalry and scheduled four games beginning in 2025.

Why Missouri refused to play Kansas this postseason is unclear.

Programs are permitted to submit their bowl preferences. However, that usually requires a universal agreement from the conferences, bowls and schools themselves. It’s also not unusual for schools to request not playing specific opponents in the postseason, McMurphy adds.

Official bowl pairings will be announced on Sunday following Saturday’s slate of conference championship games.

Meanwhile, Missouri will continue to lead their all-time series against Kansas, 57–54–9. At least until 2025.

Wake Forest QB reveals his big plans for his broken ribs

Sam Hartman points to the stands

Wake Forest Demon Deacons quarterback Sam Hartman (10) gets ready to celebrate during the fourth quarter Friday, Dec. 31, 2021 at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville. The Wake Forest Demon Deacons and the Rutgers Scarlet Knights faced each other in the 2021 TaxSlayer Gator Bowl. Wake Forest defeated Rutgers 38-10. [Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union]

Everyone has a little something weird in the back of their refrigerator, but Wake Forest quarterback Sam Hartman has taken that to a new level.

Hartman missed the first week of the season due to a non-football medical issue. It was later disclosed that the fifth-year senior was recovering from a blood clot attributed to a condition known as Paget-Schroetter syndrome.

“After our diagnosis on August 9, we first did a procedure to remove the blood clot. Secondly, we performed surgery to eliminate the pressure on the vein and then dilated the vein,” Hartman’s surgeon said in a statement at the time.

As part of the two procedures, Hartman also had one of his ribs removed. And by now, we’re sure you can see where this is going.

Hartman revealed on Friday that he still has his rib, but it’s now in Tupperware in the back of his refrigerator. And he intends to keep it. Not only that, he intends to wear it.

Hartman shaving his beard doesn’t deserve to be compared to his rib necklace. That is next level weird and awesome all at the same time.

After returning in Week 2 against Vanderbilt, Hartman led Wake to a 6-5 record. He completed 63% of his passes for 3,421 yards, 35 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Expectations are that he’ll soon declare for the 2023 NFL draft and wouldn’t it be incredible if he took the stage in April wearing his own rib around his neck?

NFL likely to flex Sunday Night Football in Week 15, too?

Bill Belichick during a game

Nov 18, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick walks on the field before a game against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL announced this past Tuesday that it was making several changes to its Week 14 lineup.

A game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Denver Broncos, which was originally scheduled for Sunday Night Football, was moved to the 4:05 p.m. ET slot on CBS. It was replaced in primetime by a game between the Miami Dolphins and Los Angeles Chargers.

For the Chargers, it was the second time this season they were flexed into the Sunday night spot. The NFL previously moved a Week 11 game against the Chiefs into primetime.

But the NFL doesn’t appear to be finished. It’s anticipated that several Week 15 games will also be moved around.

A game between the New England Patriots and Las Vegas Raiders doesn’t have much national appeal at this point, so a change makes sense. The problem facing the NFL is that several Week 15 games are also slated to be played that Saturday.

While a game between the New York Giants and Washington Commanders, who are both in the NFC Playoff hunt, fits the mold, early expectations are that they’ll play on Saturday. That may also come in primetime, USA TODAY’s Art Stapleton said on his recent “All In Podcast.”

That leaves the league with a quality matchup between the Dolphins and Bills, but that would also mean back-to-back Sunday night games for Miami. A less intriguing option would be Chargers-Tennessee Titans but, again, that would mean Los Angeles gets flexed into primetime for the third time this year.

The NFL has until Tuesday, December 6 to make these decisions and announce any changes.

Nick Bosa says surprising factor could influence his free agency decision

Nick Bosa on the field

December 21, 2019; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa (97) during the second quarter against the Los Angeles Rams at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa is in the fourth year of his five-year rookie contract, but is already thinking ahead to free agency. It’s not the money that’s got Bosa putting the cart before the horse, however. It’s his health.

There have been growing calls across the league for team’s to do away with artificial turf and you can now add Bosa to that list. He recently told The Athletic that a choice between turf and natural grass could very heavily influence his future free agency decision.

“Oh, a hundred percent,” Bosa said. “Yeah, a hundred percent, for sure. It’s usually the older guys who know more about it. Or guys who have dealt with injuries from it. Because when you’re young and in high school and college, you think it’s fast and fun and it looks good. And then you realize after a few years, it’s like, whew, I’ll do anything to get on some grass.”

Owners of stadiums with synthetic turf have been reluctant to change the surfaces, but the recent outcry has been difficult to ignore. New York Giants co-owner John Mara is among those finally listening to his players and plans to meet with them to discuss a new surface this offseason.

MetLife Stadium has committed to a change in 2023, but have not committed to natural grass.

Levi’s Stadium, home to the 49ers, already has a Tifway II Bermuda Grass field, so that will give San Francisco a head start on potentially keeping Bosa once he does hit free agency.