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#pounditThursday, February 2, 2023

Stories by Larry Brown:

Jason, Jeff Capel upset with North Carolina after perceived slight

Oct 12, 2022; Charlotte, North Carolina, US; Pittsburgh coach Jeff Capel during the ACC Tip Off media day in Charlotte, NC. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Brothers Jason and Jeff Capel are upset with North Carolina over what they feel was a slight from the Tar Heels towards Jason on Wednesday.

Pitt beat UNC 65-64 on Wednesday night in Chapel Hill. The Panthers are coached by Jeff Capel, a former Duke player, who is in his fifth season at Pitt. Jason, who is Jeff’s younger brother, played at North Carolina from 1998-2002. Jason is an assistant coach on Jeff’s Pitt staff.

Ahead of the game, North Carolina tweeted a graphic on social media to promote that evening’s contest. The graphic contained an image of Tar Heels bench player Creigton Lebo sticking out his tongue.

Lebo is a junior guard who rarely plays. He also wears jersey No. 25, which was Jason’s number when he played at North Carolina.

The Capel brothers felt North Carolina’s choice to use a graphic featuring Lebo and the number 25 was a slight towards Jason ahead of the game.

Pitt won a narrow contest on two free throws by Jamarius Burton with three seconds left. Apparently Jason traded some words with Tar Heels fans after the game. The former North Carolina player also got heated outside the Pitt locker room after the game.

“Y’all gonna disrespect me? All I did for this program? Y’all gonna boo me? I held this s— together when Matt Doherty tore it apart. F— that s—,” Jason Capel said, according to reporter Mitchell Northam (censored by LBS for profanity).

Jeff Capel addressed the situation in his postgame press conference. He said they both felt the Tar Heels’ social media team was trolling Jason with the post. He also said that Jason’s relationship with North Carolina became “complicated” after Jason wore Oklahoma gear to support Jeff’s team when the Sooners faced the Tar Heels in the Elite Eight of the 2009 NCAA Tournament.

Pitt is now 16-7 following the win. They’re enjoying their best season under Capel.

Kyle Lowry having issues with the Heat?

Oct 4, 2021; Miami, Florida, USA; Miami Heat guard Kyle Lowry (7) warms up prior to the game against the Atlanta Hawks at FTX Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Is Kyle Lowry a potential trade candidate ahead of the NBA’s trade deadline? One analyst thinks the Miami Heat should consider a trade.

Kendrick Perkins was speaking on ESPN ahead of the network’s coverage of the Atlanta Hawks-Phoenix Suns game on Wednesday. The former big man said that Lowry and the Heat are “not seeing eye-to-eye.” He then suggested the Los Angeles Clippers as a potential landing spot for the veteran guard.

Perkins is known for speaking loosely, so it’s unclear whether he was sharing inside information regarding Lowry, or if he was making an allusion to past reports. In October, Lowry appeared to express a complaint about his role in the Heat’s offense.

The 36-year-old guard is averaging 12.2 points, 4.4 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game this season for Miami. Lowry is making $28.3 million this season and under contract to make $29.6 million next season. He is one of the bigger names involved in trade rumors, along with Mike Conley and a Raptors player.

The Heat are 29-23 this season.

Nets players respond to beatdown loss to Celtics

Apr 25, 2022; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) reacts during the second quarter of game four of the first round of the 2022 NBA playoffs against the Boston Celtics at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Brooklyn Nets were no match for the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night and recognized that.

Boston outscored Brooklyn by 30 in the first quarter and did not let up in a 139-96 win. The Celtics went to the NBA Finals last season and have the best record in the East for now, so they continue to prove they are the top team in the conference.

Kyrie Irving recognized that and acknowledged the Celtics came out ready to mow them down.

“It’s clear they want to win the championship and they’re not wasting any time in the regular season. We were just one of those teams in the way, and we just can’t be one of those teams in the way. We’ve got to be one of those teams that stands up to them,” Irving said after the game, via the New York Post’s Brian Lewis.

Nets guard Nic Claxton said this was a game for the team to flush and move past.

“Honestly, for me it’s just one of the games you flush out. If we play them 10 more times we don’t get beat by this much. We’ll see them again. You just take it on the chin. There’s nothing you can do about it. It happened. We got our a– kicked, just keep moving on,” Claxton said via Nick Friedell.

The teams have met three times this season and Boston has won all three. None of the games have been such one-sided contests though like this one.

The Nets have gone 4-7 since Kevin Durant last played on January 8.

Bengals assistant emerging as candidate for Colts, Cardinals

A Cincinnati Bengals assistant coach is emerging as a candidate for the head coach positions of the Indianapolis Colts and Arizona Cardinals.

Bengals offensive coordinator Brian Callahan interviewed with the Colts on Wednesday for the second time. He is one of seven candidates to receive a second interview with Indianapolis.

In addition to talking with the Colts on Wednesday, Callahan is scheduled to talk with the Cardinals on Thursday.

Callahan, 38, has been the offensive coordinator for the Bengals since 2019, which is when Zac Taylor was hired as their head coach. The Bengals have been seventh in the league in points the last two regular seasons, both when Joe Burrow was healthy. Taylor calls the plays for the offense.

Callahan is the son of former Raiders and Nebraska coach Bill Callahan. He began his NFL career as an assistant for the 2010 Denver Broncos. He remained with the Broncos through 2015 before being hired by the Lions and then the Raiders. The 38-year-old reportedly received an endorsement from a Colts legend.

Callahan was a walk-on at UCLA and briefly lived on the same dorm floor as the writer of this article.

Is Jeff Saturday a serious candidate for Colts head coach job?

Indianapolis Colts interim head coach Jeff Saturday walks the sideline Monday, Nov. 28, 2022, during a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Photo Credit: Jenna Watson/IndyStar / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Indianapolis Colts are still searching for a new head coach, and Jeff Saturday is one of the candidates who received a second interview. The other candidates the Colts are interviewing a second time include: Broncos defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero, Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris, Packers special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia, Giants defensive coordinator Wink Martindale, Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen and Bengals offensive coordinator Brian Callahan.

The Colts are going through a long list of candidates, and it’s fair to wonder whether Saturday is a serious option. He served as their interim head coach during the regular season and went 1-7. There has been talk that Saturday is a serious candidate for the job in 2023.

However, one Colts reporter does not think Saturday is such a strong candidate.

The Athletic’s Zak Keefer said in a story published on Wednesday that he does not get the sense that Saturday is a front-runner for the position. He added that a hire of Saturday does not seem likely.

Saturday did not have any coaching experience at the college or pro level prior to being named the Colts’ interim head coach. Team owner Jim Irsay has denied that Saturday was hired as part of a tanking plan, though you could have fooled us.

We’ll have a much better idea come May whether Irsay has lost his mind or knew what he was doing all along. If the Colts end up taking a quarterback No. 4 overall (or higher) and hiring an offensive-oriented coach, then maybe we’ll see that Irsay had a plan. If Saturday gets hired, well …

Vikings’ search for new defensive coordinator has slowed for good reason

Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell speaks with the media.

The Minnesota Vikings are looking for a new defensive coordinator, but their search has slowed down for a good reason.

ESPN’s Kevin Seifert reported on Wednesday that the team is still waiting on the future of Ejiro Evero before moving forward. Seifert notes that Evero is a candidate for the Indianapolis Colts and Arizona Cardinals head coach positions.

The Vikings have interviewed four candidates for the position: Ryan Nielsen, Sean Desai, Mike Pettine and Brian Flores.

Nielsen has already accepted the defensive coordinator job with the Atlanta Falcons. Flores is a head coach candidate for the Arizona Cardinals. That leaves Desai and Pettine waiting.

Evero just spent the season as the Denver Broncos’ defensive coordinator. He has been a hot candidate for several head coach and defensive coordinator jobs.

The Vikings might end up waiting another few weeks before making a decision considering the Cardinals and Colts could wait until after the Super Bowl before making an announcement.

Tom Brady addresses his future as a broadcaster

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

Many people thought that Tom Brady was going to keep playing in 2023 and were therefore surprised by his Wednesday announcement that he is retiring. Perhaps had everyone listened to what Brady said on his most recent podcast about broadcasting, they wouldn’t have been so surprised.

Brady spoke about broadcasting during the Monday episode of his “Let’s Go Podcast.” He sounded genuinely enthusiastic about the next chapter of his career.

“There’s so much to learn, there’s so much to teach, you know, it’s ever evolving,” Brady told guest Stephen A. Smith. “Believe me, as much as you think I’m willing to teach people, I’m really looking to learn. I’m really looking to learn from all the people that I get to talk to. I get an opportunity to be in a job in the future where I get to travel around and learn from all the other people that I’ve looked up to and admired and different organizations and different people. So it’s exciting for me too. I feel like the opportunity to do that is something that I’m really looking forward to whenever that time comes.”

That’s a really interesting comment from Brady.

The quarterback signed a reported $375 million broadcasting deal with FOX last year. But as of months ago, Joe Buck said there were people at FOX who were truly doubting whether Brady would ever go into broadcasting.

Between his comments on Monday and retirement on Wednesday, those at FOX who were optimistic about having Brady work for the network have to be pretty pumped up.

Micah Parsons addresses his controversial tweet to rival player

Nov 7, 2021; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons (11) before the game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Denver Broncos at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Micah Parsons on Tuesday addressed a tweet he sent to a rival player that drew attention.

Parsons’ Dallas Cowboys lost in the NFC Divisional Round of the playoffs 19-12 to the San Francisco 49ers. Being eliminated from the postseason hasn’t stopped Parsons from remaining a fan of the other players and teams involved in the playoffs.

During the NFC Championship Game on Sunday, Parsons tweeted praise for Philadelphia Eagles left tackle Lane Johnson, who was playing despite a significant injury.

“I dot (sic) think people realize what lane Johnson is doing rn! Freaking heroic! One of my favorites players in this league!” Parsons tweeted.

Johnson is playing through a torn core muscle and has put off surgery. Though they play on rival teams, Parsons was trying to recognize the Eagles lineman.

But it didn’t end there.

After Johnson acknowledged the compliment via Twitter, Parsons sent a second tweet.

“Love you big bro! Keep going! Not many like you! Definitely not playing like you healthy or with a torn groin! Go win a bowl for our division!” Parsons wrote.

Parsons’ tweet was complimentary up until he told Johnson to go win the Super Bowl for the division.

It might have already been tough for Cowboys fans to see one of their players being so complimentary and chummy with a divisional rival, but that last sentence crossed a line for many.

Teams and their fans typically hate the other teams in their division. That’s especially true of the NFC East, where the teams have historic rivalries going back decades. They don’t root for each other to win championships; their fans hate the rival teams.

Barstool Sports took note and made a headline out of the tweet, though their headline was hyperbolic.

Parsons responded and said Barstool was “sick” and miserable over the tweet.

Look, it’s bad enough for Parsons to be chummy with an opponent via Twitter. But it’s straight up silly and disrespectful to Cowboys fans to not understand why wishing the Eagles well and hoping they win a Super Bowl publicly is a problem. This shows that Parsons has more allegiance to his fellow players than to his fans/current team. If that is the case, Parsons is better off keeping that to himself, or just sharing his compliments to Johnson privately.

NASCAR outlaws 1 controversial move

Mar 20, 2022; Hampton, Georgia, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Ross Chastain during the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

NASCAR is outlawing the controversial move made by Ross Chastain last year that drew widespread attention.

Chastain was looking to catapult himself into contention for the Championship 4 and running out of options at the Xfinity 500 at Martinsville. He ended up pulling a video game move on the final lap and drove into the wall, hugging it so that it propelled him ahead of Denny Hamlin (video here).

The maneuver worked, and best of all for Chastain, race officials declined to penalize him.

Next time he or someone else tries something similar, they won’t be so lucky.

NASCAR’s Vice President of Competition Elton Sawyer said Tuesday that the organization will penalize a driver who attempts something similar on the grounds that it jeopardizes the safety of competitors and fans. Sawyer made clear that rules existed last year under which Chastain could have been penalized. Officials are in agreement that they will exercise those rules in the future.

“This is not new language,” he said. “Basically if there’s an act that we feel that’s compromising the safety of our competitors, officials, spectators, we’re going to take that seriously. We will penalize for that act going forward. Basically it would be a lap or time penalty at the end of the race. That move at Martinsville would be a penalty in 2023.”

Chastain may have to figure out new moves for the future, which probably won’t be too hard for him.

49ers player shared conspiracy theory after loss to Eagles

Sep 23, 2018; Kansas City, MO, USA; San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan watches play on the sidelines during the first half against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers suffered some bad luck in their 31-7 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Championship Game on Sunday, but they were also beaten pretty soundly.

Quarterback Brock Purdy suffered a serious elbow injury on the team’s first possession of the game. After backup Josh Johnson suffered a concussion on the team’s first possession of the second half, Purdy had to re-enter the game despite hardly being able to throw the ball.

Though Philly beat San Francisco easily after Purdy suffered the injury, an unnamed 49ers player saw things differently.

The San Francisco Chronicle’s Mike Silver published a story on Sunday after the game. He quoted an anonymous 49ers player who felt like the fix was in from the NFL.

“It felt like once Purdy got hurt, someone at the league called down and said, ‘Make sure the Eagles get to the Super Bowl, and not them,'” an anonymous 49ers player told Silver.

That’s the kind of quote we would expect to see from maybe a Bengals player after all the close calls in that game. That’s not what you expect to see after a 31-7 game.

Quarterback or not, the Eagles’ offense rushed for 148 yards and 4 touchdowns. Their defense caused three fumbles.

Sure, it might have been a much different game had Purdy not been hurt. But to suggest some sort of fix was in after Purdy got hurt sounds ignorant. No, it’s just that the 49ers on a 4th-string QB can’t stand up to the No. 1 team in the conference. It’s not any more complicated than that.