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Larry Brown Sports Tagline. Brown Bag it, Baby.
#pounditSunday, January 23, 2022

Stories by Larry Brown:

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.

Knicks fined over Julius Randle not talking with media

Julius Randle smiles

Julius Randle has continued to avoid the media after games, and now the New York Knicks are paying the price — literally.

The Knicks were fined $25,000 by the NBA for not making Randle available to speak with the media. Players being available to talk with the media is part of their obligations.

The Knicks lost 102-91 to the Pelicans on Thursday night. Randle went 1/9 and scored just four points.

Randle has not spoken with the media in eight of the team’s last nine games, according to reporter Marc Berman.

The last time Randle talked with the media after a game was Jan. 6 when the Knicks beat the Celtics. The Knicks have gone 3-4 in the seven games where Randle has not talked with reporters. He’s only shot over 40 percent from the field in one of those games.

Randle is having a down season compared to when he averaged 24.1 points per game on 45.6 percent shooting last season. The 27-year-old is averaging 18.8 points per game on 41.1 shooting this season.

Photo: Nov 8, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) reacts against the Philadelphia 76ers in the first half at the Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Mitchell Leff-USA TODAY Sports

Aaron Rodgers still has not spoken with his family in years?

Aaron Rodgers gets ready to throw

Aaron Rodgers was the center of a feature from ESPN’s Keith Van Valkenburg that was published on Friday morning. The article shares many of Rodgers’ thoughts on the world, the political climate, cancel culture, and other issues. The feature also included one other notable piece of information.

In his story, Van Valkenburg brings up Rodgers’ family, which is a subject that has made headlines in the past but has not been touched upon too recently.

Van Valkenburg said in his story that “Rodgers hasn’t spoken to his parents or his two brothers in several years, for reasons he has declined to disclose.”

Van Valkenburg did not make clear whether he asked Rodgers in the interview whether the quarterback has talked with his family, or whether Van Valkenburg was basing that line in the story on the most recently-available public information.

Either way, the nugget from Van Valkenburg is surprising based on a past report.

Rodgers and ex-girlfriend Danica Patrick broke up in 2020. But a report last year said Patrick was helping Rodgers get back on speaking terms with his family prior to their relationship ending. Either that report about Patrick helping Rodgers was false, or Van Valkenburg was sharing outdated information regarding Rodgers’ family.

In 2016 was when we first heard about Rodgers having issues with his family. Rodgers’ brother even opened up about the tension a few years back. Rodgers has always said he prefers to keep family matters private.

Photo: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Heated Penny Hardaway calls out media for bulls— stories

Penny Hardaway at a press conference

A heated Penny Hardaway went off on the media after his Memphis squad lost on Thursday night.

Memphis lost 70-62 to SMU to fall to 9-8 on the season and 3-4 in conference. Memphis’ record is disappointing given the recruiting success the program has had. He knows it and is preaching patience.

But one thing Hardaway will not tolerate is “stupid f—ing questions” from the media.

Hardaway was asked after Thursday’s loss whether he can still turn things around. That question set him off.

Hardaway was understandably insulted by the question. He’s a prideful coach and knows he can get the job done. And he obviously doesn’t think the reporter did their homework. If they had, they would place the season in context and recognize that DeAndre Williams, Landers Nolley II, Alex Lomax, Earl Timberlake, Emoni Bates and Jalen Duren have all missed time lately. Memphis was also starting four freshmen in the game.

But that’s the thing: some in the media, and many fans, have no patience or understanding when it comes to injuries and youth. They want results instantly and constantly. And when they don’t see results, they go after the coach. This is part of the territory that comes with the job, and Penny needs to recognize that.

If Penny can’t handle questions from the media at Memphis, how will he handle things in the NBA?

Ex-Pro Bowl QB has funny response to slight from former teammate

Matt Cassel talks with the media

Former Pro Bowl quarterback Matt Cassel had a funny response after being slighted by one of his former teammates.

A Kansas City Chiefs fan-run Twitter account randomly praised Dwayne Bowe for his big 2010 season, which included 72 catches for 1,162 yards and 15 touchdowns. They noted Bowe accomplished those stats with Matt Cassel as his quarterback.

Bowe took note of the tweet and wondered what he would have done if Patrick Mahomes were throwing to him.

“Imagine IF I Had Pat Mahomes No Offense To Matt Cassel” Bowe wrote.

Cassel took the tweet from Bowe in stride. He laughed off that he was “catching strays” and joked that Bowe owed him dinner the next time they see each other.

Cassel has a great sense of humor about it. He even threw out a “how it started vs. how it’s going” post too.

Cassel made the Pro Bowl in that 2010 season, which was his second with the Chiefs. That was his best season ever as a quarterback, and he was never able to repeat that success.

Still, you have to consider the full picture when evaluating Cassel. He was a third-string QB in college at USC behind Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart and switched positions to tight end. Then he was a 7th-round pick by the Patriots in the NFL and hardly played until Tom Brady tore his ACL in 2008. Cassel stepped in and went 10-5 as the starter and played his way into a big contract with the Chiefs.

Cassel knows he’s not Patrick Mahomes, but he should take comfort in knowing he got the most out of his talent. He made a Pro Bowl and put together two 10-5 seasons as a starter. That’s more than what a lot of other quarterbacks did in their careers.

Troy Aikman identifies the 1 big challenge of playing for Cowboys

Troy Aikman in a suit

Troy Aikman is one of the most famous Dallas Cowboys players ever. The Super Bowl-winning quarterback played for “America’s Team” from 1989-2000, winning three Super Bowls. He knows better than almost anyone what the pressures and responsibilities are that come with being a member of the Cowboys, or, in his case, the most high-profile player on the team.

Aikman believes that one of the hardest challenges of being part of the Cowboys is trying to maintain an edge of toughness, largely due to how popular they are and how well they are treated in terms of facilities.

“It’s an organization that it’s hard, I think, in order for them to keep an edge. And I think that’s important,” Aikman said on his KTCK radio show. “The facility that they practice at is amazing. It’s the nicest in the NFL. There are tours that come through constantly. You’re constantly reminded that you’re a Dallas Cowboy and you’re really popular.”

He said that Mike McCarthy has an extremely difficult task with trying to help the players maintain an edge. Aikman feels that his former coach, Jimmy Johnson, was great at that.

“I know when I was playing for Jimmy I don’t know that we ever felt like we accomplished anything, to be quite honest,” Aikman said. “The more we won, the tougher he got. There’s something to be said for that.”

That approach worked for Johnson and helped the coach become a Hall of Famer. But the toughness doesn’t necessarily sell well these days. Bill Belichick is notorious for being tough, and some players just don’t like playing for the Patriots as a result.

The Cowboys had a very good regular season at 12-5. They just blew it in the playoffs. Is that because they’re too pampered at their practice facility? Probably not.

Photo: Nov 21, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys former quarterback Troy Aikman attends the NFL game between the Houston Texans and the Indianapolis Colts at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Charles Barkley rips Lakers for scapegoating Frank Vogel, Russell Westbrook

Charles Barkley holds a microphone

Charles Barkley had some words for the Los Angeles Lakers over their handling of Frank Vogel and Russell Westbrook.

Barkley was speaking on TNT’s “NBA Tip-Off” program Thursday prior to the Suns-Mavericks game. The TNT analyst called out the Lakers because he feels they are scapegoating Frank Vogel and Russell Westbrook.

“The Lakers are such wussies. And I only said ‘wussies’ because I can’t say the word that I want to say. The way they have tried to throw Russell Westbrook and Frank Vogel under the bus is just really pissing me off,” Barkley said. “The people up top who put that trash together are running and hiding like cowards, saying ‘It’s Frank, it’s Russ.’ You put all them old geezers out there …”

Barkley went on to say that Stanley Johnson has been the Lakers’ second-best player lately behind LeBron James.

There was a report this week saying the Lakers were close to firing Vogel following a blowout loss to Denver on Saturday. Then on Wednesday night, Vogel benched Westbrook at the end of the Lakers’ loss to the Pacers.

The Lakers did a poor job building the roster for this season, and everyone saw it entering the season. Worse yet, they will have a hard time addressing their problems via the draft since they traded all their picks to New Orleans for Anthony Davis. But that’s the price they felt they had to pay, and that earned them a championship two seasons ago.

Photo: November 23, 2018; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Turner Sports sportscaster Charles Barkley before The Match: Tiger vs Phil golf match at Shadow Creek Golf Course. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Graphic of old Redskins coaching staff goes viral

A graphic of old Redskins coaches

A graphic about the old Washington Redskins coaching staff is going viral this week ahead of the divisional round of the NFL playoffs.

There are only eight teams remaining in the NFL playoffs. In the NFC, it’s the Green Bay Packers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers.

What’s notable is that except for the Bucs (coached by Bruce Arians), the three other teams have young head coaches who all used to be on the same staff together.

Yes, from 2010-2013, Kyle Shanahan (49ers), Sean McVay (Rams) and Matt LaFleur (Packers) all worked on Mike Shanahan’s staff in Washington.

That’s pretty impressive and quite the group of talented offensive minds.

As a supplement, Raheem Morris, who was the secondary coach for the 2012 and 2013 Redskins, is now the Rams’ defensive coordinator.

Mike Shanahan coached in Washington for four seasons and had a losing record in all but one season, when they went 10-6 in 2012 and made the playoffs. The team had Donovan McNabb in his final season as a full-time starter (2010); Rex Grossman (2011); and Robert Griffin III before and after the knee injury (2012, 2013) at quarterback, so that helps explain why the team didn’t have more success.

Both LaFleur and Kyle Shanahan left after Mike’s tenure as Washington’s coach ended, but McVay stayed on as Jay Gruden’s offensive coordinator the next three seasons. They had a winning record in two of those years and made the playoffs once, all with Kirk Cousins at quarterback.

There are maybe a few takeaways here, besides recognizing how stacked that offensive staff was. Even with the best coaches, you can only go so far without the best players. And (no surprise), Washington’s ownership was pretty dumb to get rid of Shanahan and that stacked group of coaches.