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#pounditSunday, January 23, 2022

Stories by Larry Brown:

Tom Brady admits referees let him get away with 1 thing

Tom Brady ready to pass

Tom Brady is fighting the perception that he receives favorable calls from the referees, but he does admit he receives some preferential treatment from them.

Brady spoke on his weekly “Let’s Go!” show with Jim Gray. Brady and Gray disputed the notion that Brady receives favorable penalty calls. Brady specifically does not think he gets a lot of roughing the passer calls.

However, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers star quarterback does think the officials let him get away with trash talk.

“I do know that [the officials] probably let me get away with a lot of unsportsmanlike conducts — talking smack to the other team and talking smack to the refs — when I don’t think I get the right call,” Brady said.

“I’m kind of a pain in their a– if you don’t already know that,” Brady admitted.

Maybe Brady doesn’t get favorable calls, but he does get favorable no calls, which is very valuable and does give his team an advantage.

For all intents and purposes, yes, Tom, you do receive favorable treatment from the refs. Let’s not even try to downplay that.

H/T NY Post
Photo: Jan 16, 2022; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) drops back to pass in the first half against the Philadelphia Eagles in a NFC Wild Card playoff football game at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Report: June Jones, Hawaii at odds over 1 issue

June Jones on the sidelines

Hawaii and June Jones were working on a potential reunion, but there is one issue, according to a report.

The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman reported early on Friday that Jones was “close” to becoming Hawaii’s next head coach.

However, Feldman later said that Jones had turned down the job. Hawaii athletic director David Matlin reportedly said the two sides could not come to an agreement on a deal.

So, what was their issue? According to what Jones’ agent Leigh Steinberg told Pete Thamel, Hawaii wanted a succession plan in place for Jones if he were to take the job. The Rainbows were also reportedly only offering Jones a very short-term deal.

It sounds like Hawaii would eventually want Timmy Chang to take over as head coach, but Jones doesn’t want any staff hires forced upon him.

Jones said on Twitter that “no coach in their right mind would accept” the offer he received.

Chang, 40, was a rock star quarterback at Hawaii from 2000-2004. Jones was Chang’s head coach for all five seasons. Chang’s first coaching job was as a graduate assistant under Jones at SMU in 2012 and 2013. Chang coached under Jay Norvell at Nevada from 2017-2021 and has followed Norvell to Colorado State as his wide receivers coach.

As Thamel said, Jones doesn’t have any issues with Chang, but the 68-year-old probably doesn’t want to have someone on his staff the athletic department is waiting to make his replacement.

Jones had a successful run as Hawaii’s head coach from 1999-2007 before leaving for SMU. He coached in the CFL for two seasons in 2017 and 2018. He was 5-0 in the XFL in 2020 before the league shut down.

Hawaii is looking for a new coach after Todd Graham was forced out.

If Jones doesn’t take the job, that might be for the best, since reunions don’t often produce great results.

Photo: Feb 8, 2020; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Roughnecks head coach June Jones reacts after a play during the second quarter against the Los Angeles Wildcats in a XFL football game at TDECU Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Surprising candidate left ‘strong impression’ on Texans

Jonathan Gannon at a press conference

The Houston Texans are among the NFL teams looking for a new head coach, and a surprising name left an impression on them, according to a report.

Former Houston Chronicle Texans reporter Aaron Wilson reported Friday that Jonathan Gannon left a “strong impression” on the Texans after interviewing with them. Wilson further says Gannon interviewed well with the Denver Broncos and Minnesota Vikings too.

Gannon, 39, just completed his first season as the Philadelphia Eagles’ defensive coordinator. He was a defensive backs coach with the Indianapolis Colts and Minnesota Vikings before being hired as Philly’s DC.

The Eagles went 9-8 this season and were 18th in the league in points allowed and 10th in yards allowed.

The Texans have also interviewed Josh McCown, Hines Ward, Joe Lombardi and Brian Flores for their job. They like McCown but reportedly have one hangup with hiring him.

NFL no longer treating unvaccinated players differently for testing

Roger Goodell at a press conference

The NFL initially had major rule differences for vaccinated and unvaccinated players, but they are eliminating one of those significant differences.

According to NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero, the NFL is no longer distinguishing between vaccinated and unvaccinated players when it comes to testing for COVID. Previously, unvaccinated players were tested daily while vaccinated players only were tested when they were symptomatic. Now there will only be testing when someone has symptoms, regardless of whether they have been vaccinated against COVID.

The NFL has completely shifted to only testing players for COVID if they are sick.

This policy change in part helps explain why positive COVID tests have not seemed to affect the NFL playoffs so far. Additionally, several players have already recovered from COVID recently and are not tested for 90 days after having COVID.

Between the two factors, the NFL is unlikely to see a significant number of positive COVID tests in the near future.

The NFL is not the only league that is shifting towards testing only those who are symptomatic; the NHL is doing the same.

Photo: Apr 29, 2021; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announces the final pick of the 2021 NFL Draft for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at First Energy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Raiders’ Nate Hobbs cited for reckless driving 2 weeks after DUI arrest

Nate Hobbs on the field

Things are not going great for Nate Hobbs.

The Las Vegas Raiders cornerback was cited by Nevada State Highway Patrol on Sunday for reckless driving. Hobbs was driving 110 mph on freeway 215, according to the 8 News Now report.

The citation for reckless driving comes two weeks after Hobbs was arrested on suspicion of DUI. Hobbs was found by police passed out in his car near The Cromwell hotel. The young cornerback failed field sobriety tests.

Hobbs, 22, had 74 tackles, a sack and an interception in 16 games this season. He was a fifth-round pick in last year’s draft out of Illinois.

Photo: Sep 13, 2021; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Las Vegas Raiders cornerback Nate Hobbs (39) against the Baltimore Ravens during Monday Night Football at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Pelicans teammates had awesome gesture for rookie Jose Alvarado

Jose Alvarado with a headset on

Some of Jose Alvarado’s teammates really took care of him over the last week.

Alvarado is a New York native, and his New Orleans Pelicans played in the boroughs over the last week. Alvarado had family nearby that wanted to watch him play. That’s when his teammates stepped up and took care of him.

Pelicans announcer Joel Meyers shared that Josh Hart took care of tickets for Alvarado’s family for the Jan. 15 game at Brooklyn. Teammate Brandon Ingram took care of the tickets for Alvarado’s family for the team’s Jan. 20 game at the Knicks, according to Meyers.

That’s pretty nice.

Alvarado is an undrafted rookie out of Georgia Tech and has played in 18 games this season. He’s seen increased action this month and scored a career-high 7 points in front of his family against the Nets. He topped that with 13 points in 19 minutes against the Knicks, while helping his Pelicans win in Madison Square Garden.

For a kid who played high school ball in Queens, playing well at MSG was a huge deal. Alvarado said on Twitter and in his postgame interview that it was a dream come true.

Russell Westbrook finally speaks about his benching

Russell Westbrook warming up

Russell Westbrook was infamously benched at the end of the Los Angeles Lakers’ 111-104 loss to the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night. He was upset and did not speak with the media after the game, though the Lakers are now saying it was their decision not to have him speak.

But Westbrook has finally addressed his benching and admitted he was both surprised and disappointed.

“Surprised, yes. I was disappointed I didn’t go back in, but I’m more disappointed that we lost the damn game,” Westbrook told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Westbrook also gave plenty of good teammate-type quotes to Woj. He said he is committed to the Lakers, willing to do what they need, and overall looking to help the team. He also pointed to some injury/health issues the team has had as a big reason for their struggles and inconsistency.

Westbrook had a very professional attitude about his benching, at least in his comments to Woj. Lakers coach Frank Vogel, who is on the hot seat, gave a more blunt explanation regarding his reason for the benching.

Photo: 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

USC lands big running back transfer in Travis Dye

Travis Dye talks

Lincoln Riley is collecting transfers and recruits at USC.

Travis Dye, a former Oregon running back, has transferred to USC, the Trojans announced on Friday.

Dye took over as Oregon’s running back after CJ Verdell got hurt. He rushed for 1,271 yards and 16 touchdowns. Dye also had 46 catches for 402 yards and two touchdowns.

Dye is a graduate transfer, and his exit could signal Verdell is returning and that he did not want to share time.

This is USC’s second transfer in two days, as they also secured a transfer from former Stanford running back Austin Jones. The Trojans were looking for running back help after Keaontay Ingram declared for the NFL Draft.