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#pounditTuesday, September 27, 2022

Stories by Grey Papke:

AJ Brown makes big claim about trying to play two sports

Tennessee Titans wide receiver A.J. Brown (11) warms up before the game against the Chicago Bears at Nissan Stadium Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020 in Nashville, Tenn. Credit: George Walker IV / Tennessean.com via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver AJ Brown is clearly thriving in his NFL career, but he had legitimately bigger ambitions earlier this year.

Brown was one of a handful of NFL players that pitched their services as MLB was enduring a lockout. Brown posted a video of himself taking some swings in the batting cage and tagged the San Diego Padres in the post, the team that actually drafted him in the 18th round of the 2016 MLB Draft. Brown had also alluded to playing both sports professionally in a tweet from January.

In a new interview, Brown said he was completely serious about playing both sports, and that he even spoke with the Padres about doing so. However, the organization ultimately nixed the plan, as Brown was unwilling to give up his NFL career.

“I was dead serious,” Brown told Martin Frank of the Delaware News Journal. “(The Padres) had reached out to me. They were about to invite me to spring training. They were just waiting on an answer from me.

“They were telling me if I’m (still) going to play football, then I can’t play baseball. I can’t just play around with (baseball). So it kind of killed my chances for the moment.”

Brown did leave the door open to playing baseball once he is done playing football. Unless the 25-year-old wide receiver plans to end his NFL career in his prime, however, that is a long way off.

For now, Brown has little reason to be dissatisfied with his NFL career. The contract issues he had with the Tennessee Titans are a thing of the past, and he has already tallied 224 receiving yards on 15 catches through just two weeks with the Eagles. No use messing with a good thing.

Video: Matt Campbell calls timeout to berate referee

Iowa State coach Matt Campbell was so furious with a targeting call on Saturday that he burned a timeout just to let the referee know about it.

Campbell was fuming over the officiating in the first half of Saturday’s game against Baylor. The Cyclones were hit with a controversial targeting ejection on their first defensive series, and things did not get better. Campbell finally blew his top after his team was penalized for a block below the waist on this play.

Campbell had had enough. He was so furious with the officials that he actually called timeout just to have more time to berate them.

Campbell’s anger seemed justified, but it’s not often that you see a coach go that berserk. Fortunately, it was the first half, so he probably didn’t need that timeout as much as he might have in the second.

The Iowa State coach is certainly known for having a short fuse with referees sometimes. This might be one of his better tantrums, though.

CJ McCollum agrees to contract extension with Pelicans

Apr 5, 2022; Sacramento, California, USA; New Orleans Pelicans guard CJ McCollum (3) warms up before the game against the Sacramento Kings at Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

CJ McCollum has not played for the New Orleans Pelicans for very long, but he is clearly comfortable enough with his experience to extend his stay.

McCollum agreed to a two-year, $64 million contract extension with the Pelicans, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. When added to his existing contract, the deal ties McCollum to the Pelicans through the 2025-26 season.

The Pelicans acquired McCollum from the Portland Trail Blazers last season, and the guard seemed to flourish after the trade. In 26 games with New Orleans, the 31-year-old averaged 24.3 points and 5.8 assists per game. His arrival was a key factor in the Pelicans’ first playoff appearance since 2018.

New Orleans will be looking forward to a full season with McCollum in the fold. Combine that with what we’re hearing about Zion Williamson and the Pelicans certainly have a chance to be a threat in the West in 2022-23.

Report: Daniel Snyder losing support among NFL owners

Sep 9, 2018; Glendale, AZ, USA; Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder prior to the game against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

A new report suggests that Washington Commanders owner Daniel Snyder could be losing support among his fellow NFL owners, and efforts may be increasing to oust him from his position.

Owners are growing increasingly frustrated by the various controversies that continue to engulf Snyder and the Commanders, according to Mark Maske, Nicki Jhabvala and Liz Clarke of the Washington Post. Multiple owners anonymously said that consideration may need to be given toward pushing Snyder to sell the team voluntarily, or perhaps even forcibly ousting him.

“He needs to sell,” one owner said. “Some of us need to go to him and tell him that he needs to sell.”

The report suggests that sentiments toward Snyder have significantly shifted in recent months within ownership circles. Removal had been suggested as an option back in May, but at that time there did not appear to be a strong desire to mount a serious, concerted effort to do so. The support of 24 of the league’s 32 owners would be required in order to oust Snyder.

The Commanders and Snyder have faced a number of allegations in recent years, including an NFL investigation that heavily criticized the organization’s workplace culture. More recently, Snyder has faced allegations of financial impropriety, which triggered a congressional investigation. Those allegations have been vehemently denied by the organization.

Tom Brady had unusual way of revealing his finger injury

Sep 9, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) reacts after defeating the Dallas Cowboys at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Reper-USA TODAY Sports

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady popped up on Friday’s injury report due to a finger injury, though it is not expected to keep him from playing Sunday. In fact, Brady’s injury reveal method might get more attention than the injury itself.

Brady initially revealed the injury in a video sent exclusively to paying members of his fan club, according to Greg Auman of The Athletic. In a video sent earlier in the week, Brady held up his bandaged finger, saying he wanted to do “something special” for paid members and telling them he was giving them “injury information.”

One social media user had shared a screenshot from an exclusive Brady video earlier on Friday, with the quarterback’s right ring finger visibly bandaged.

The Buccaneers did add Brady to the injury report Friday, though the team made clear he will play Sunday. Still, if Brady has been working with a bandaged hand all week, the NFL probably will not be happy he did not appear on the injury report sooner. The league also won’t be thrilled with Brady’s method of reveal, especially since it was granted to a subset of paying customers before the general public was made aware.

On the other hand, Brady clearly isn’t hurting all that much, and probably did not see the information as a big deal since there was never any doubt he would play. After all, he even participated in a full week of practice, which was an unexpected reversal of a previous decision.

Legendary DB has high praise for George Pickens catch

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver George Pickens’ catch Thursday against the Cleveland Browns was certainly the play of the night, and an early contender for play of the season. However, one former NFL star is willing to go a step further than that.

Longtime defensive back Darrelle Revis voiced his opinion on social media Friday that Pickens’ first quarter one-handed grab is the best catch of all time.

Revis made his name shadowing wide receivers, so he knows a great grab when he sees one. Still, this is remarkably high praise. It’s debatable whether Pickens’ grab is even better than the famous Odell Beckham Jr. grab in 2014, which arguably had a higher degree of difficulty for being so close to the sideline.

Still, Revis’ opinion has to count for something. If he thinks it ranks among the best ever, Pickens can certainly hang his hat on that praise.

Report: Orioles take step toward potential sale

Apr 6, 2019; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles executive Louis Angelos attends the pregame ceremony for Frank Robinson before the start of the game between the Baltimore Orioles and the New York Yankees at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Orioles’ messy ownership situation does not appear close to a resolution, but a new report suggests that there has been interesting movement regarding the situation.

Orioles ownership enlisted Goldman Sachs to assess the prospects for selling the team, according to Daniel Kaplan of The Athletic. However, there is no certainty that the Angelos family will actually put the team up for sale; they are simply evaluating options.

One complicating factor is the ongoing legal battle within the Angelos family.

Owner Peter Angelos’ two sons have been engaged in a dispute over who should be in control of the organization, with Louis Angelos suing his brother John and mother Georgia in a bid to force a sale.

The Orioles appear to be a team on the rise, having put together a surprising 78-71 record in 2022. Fans will have to hope that the legal drama off the field does not negatively impact the team’s prospects on it.

Cardinals minor leaguer has embarrassing home run trot on flyout

A St. Louis Cardinals minor leaguer had a pretty embarrassing moment Thursday night on what he thought was a long home run.

Infielder Delvin Perez, playing for the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds, hit a long fly ball to left field during Thursday’s game against the Gwinnett Stripers. While it looked like a clear home run off the bat, a strong wind blowing in knocked the ball down and turned it into a fairly routine flyout.

Unfortunately, Perez did not notice that last part. He flipped his bat, put his head down, and went into his home run trot. It wasn’t until he rounded third base that he noticed he didn’t actually have a home run.

Perez can take solace in the fact that this even happens to established Major Leaguers. That probably doesn’t make it any less embarrassing. At least the ball was caught instead of getting down for a hit, which might have resulted in an even more embarrassing single.

Unfortunately for Perez, he doesn’t get many opportunities to celebrate home runs. He has just 11 in six minor league seasons, though five of them have come in 2022.

49ers get great injury news about star player

Jan 28, 2020; Miami, Florida, USA; San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle at Super Bowl LIV press conference at Hyatt Regency Miami/James L. Knight Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers have been hit with a lot of injuries to start the season, but they will get one key piece back on the field for Week 3.

The 49ers did not list tight end George Kittle on Friday’s injury report, and coach Kyle Shanahan confirmed that Kittle would make his season debut Sunday with no restrictions.

Kittle has yet to play in 2022 due to a groin injury that has lingered for the first two weeks. The 49ers struggled on offense in Week 1 partly due to his absence, though things improved in Week 2 against the Minnesota Vikings.

Over the offseason, Kittle was quite enthusiastic about playing with Trey Lance for the first time with Lance as a full-time starter. Lance suffered a season-ending ankle injury in Week 2, so Kittle will be teaming up again with Jimmy Garoppolo, which has been a successful relationship dating back to Kittle’s rookie year of 2017.

Barry Bonds hopes Giants sign 1 slugger

Jul 8, 2017; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants former outfielder Barry Bonds looks on prior to a game against the Miami Marlins at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge is performing home run feats that have not really been seen since Barry Bonds was playing for the San Francisco Giants. Bonds is certainly taking notice of Judge, and he wants the slugger to follow in his own footsteps.

Bonds said he is rooting for Judge, and that he wants to see the Yankees star come to the Giants as a free agent this offseason.

“I hope he signs here,” Bonds told Barry M. Bloom of Sportico. “Can it happen? I don’t know. It depends on what the Yankee payroll is. But we would love to have him, I’ll tell you that.”

Bonds is a special assistant for the Giants, though he has no formal role in player acquisition. However, the franchise could certainly deploy him to recruit Judge. Playing for the Giants may already be intriguing for Judge, who grew up in the Bay Area and was a childhood fan of the team. In fact, a report from earlier in the season suggested that the Yankees view the Giants as the biggest threat to sign Judge away this winter.

Judge enters play Friday with 60 home runs on the season. The 30-year-old will be a free agent this winter, and whichever team signs him will have to hand out a huge contract to land him.