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#pounditTuesday, May 11, 2021

Stories by Steve DelVecchio:

Here is how Saints reportedly tried to draft Mac Jones

Mac Jones

Mac Jones fell a lot further in the draft than many experts expected him to, and the New Orleans Saints were among the teams that were excited to see the former Alabama star tumble down the board. Had the New England Patriots not taken Jones at 15th overall, the Saints were reportedly waiting to pounce.

Jeff Howe of The Athletic reports that the Saints began calling teams about trading up from No. 28 once Jones began slipping down the board. They believed they had a chance to land Jones after the Carolina Panthers passed on him at No. 8.

The Saints had trouble finding a team that was willing to move all the way back to No. 28, according to Howe. They did, however, make progress toward a trade with the Arizona Cardinals that would have allowed them to jump up to 16th overall, but the Patriots took Jones at No. 15.

New Orleans will now enter the season with Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill competing for the starting quarterback job. Head coach Sean Payton has done nothing but praise both players, but this is not the first we heard about him wanting to take a quarterback in the first round.

Jones may have been drafted later than he had hoped, but he seems thrilled with where he ended up. For evidence of that, just look at the message he delivered to Roger Goodell on stage.

Aaron Rodgers discouraged free agents from signing with Packers?

Aaron Rodgers

Aaron Rodgers has been unhappy with the Packers dating at least back to last year’s NFL Draft. It was around that time that he reportedly began to question his future in Green Bay, and he may have expressed that doubt to players who were thinking about signing with the team.

Mike Garafolo of NFL Network reported on Wednesday that Rodgers has been telling free agents he does not expect to remain with the Packers. He apparently began delivering that message when speaking with some of his peers a year ago.

“What I’m told from multiple sources is that Aaron Rodgers was telling prospective free agents, basically, ‘Before you make any decisions — I’m probably not gonna be here,'” Garafolo said. “He was telling them, I’m told, all the way to the beginning of last season. That was in the months after the team had drafted Jordan Love.”

Garafolo questioned whether free agents took Rodgers seriously, as longtime Packers offensive lineman David Bakhtiari even signed an extension with the team during that timeframe. Rodgers and Bakhtiari are close friends, so that could be an indication that Bakhtiari wasn’t concerned about Rodgers leaving Green Bay.

Still, that is noteworthy. There has been talk this offseason that Rodgers hindered Green Bay’s chances of signing free agents because he refused to restructure his contract. Perhaps Rodgers was telling those same free agents that they should look elsewhere if their goal was to team up with him.

While it’s hard to imagine the Packers trading Rodgers, the situation seems like it is getting uglier by the day. Between what Rodgers reportedly told prospective free agents and the way he mocked Packers GM Brian Gutekunst, it seems like the 37-year-old has already made up his mind.

Video: Charles Barkley has finally fixed his golf swing

Charles Barkley golf swing

Charles Barkley used to have one of the worst golf swings imaginable, but the Hall of Famer has finally managed to work out the kinks.

Barkley took part in the Regions Tradition charity golf tournament in Hoover, Ala., on Wednesday. Everyone was expecting to see the same old clunky swing for which Barkley has been ruthlessly mocked in the past, but the 58-year-old shocked the world on the first tee.

Barkley’s first drive wasn’t just luck, either. He has an entirely new swing, and it’s buttery smooth.

Barkley used to have an insane hitch in his swing where he would literally stop in the middle of it before making contact with the ball. You can see what it looked like below:

Now that his golf game seems to be ironed out, perhaps Barkley can work on his baseball swing. That swing, which you can see here, is almost as bad as his old golf swing was.

Brett Favre reveals what Aaron Rodgers told him in text message

Brett Favre

It is hard to imagine anyone having a better understanding of what Aaron Rodgers is going through than Brett Favre, and the Hall of Famer said he has spoken with his former teammate about the situation in Green Bay.

Favre spoke with the “Wilde & Tausch” show on 100.5 ESPN Madison on Wednesday morning about the drama surrounding Rodgers and the Packers. Favre said the difference between Rodgers’ situation and Favre’s situation in 2008 was that Green Bay was willing to trade Favre. The 51-year-old also shared a recent text message exchange he had with Rodgers in which he joked that the reigning NFL MVP might wind up with the New Orleans Saints.

Even if the Packers do give in and trade Rodgers, they are reportedly unwilling to send him to an NFC team. That could be why Rodgers does not envision himself playing for the Saints.

Favre was also asked if he believes Rodgers and the Packers can work through their differences. He said he doesn’t believe Rodgers will return to Green Bay this season.

Rodgers is upset that the Packers traded up in the first round to draft quarterback Jordan Love last year. Favre, of course, was upset when Green Bay wanted to replace him with Rodgers. The two may have had their differences years ago, but their relationship seems to have improved. They certainly have plenty in common.

Favre said a few months ago that he did not buy the talk of Rodgers leaving the Packers, but the circumstances were a lot different then. At this point, it sounds like there is only one move the Packers can make that would begin to satisfy Rodgers.

Photo: Arnie Papp/Flickr via CC-by-SA 2.0

Report: Aaron Rodgers mocked Packers GM by comparing him to Jerry Krause

Aaron Rodgers

Aaron Rodgers does not approve of the job Brian Gutekunst has done as general manager of the Green Bay Packers, and that is apparently something the star quarterback has expressed privately to his teammates.

Sources told Bob McGinn of The Athletic that Rodgers has mocked Gutekunst in group chats with his teammates by referring to the GM as Jerry Krause, who was the GM of the Chicago Bulls when they won six NBA titles.

Krause has widely been blamed for breaking up the Bulls dynasty. He butted heads with Michael Jordan over personnel moves and alienated Phil Jackson. Some of the issues with Krause were highlighted in “The Last Dance” documentary series last year, though Krause is not alive to share his side of the story.

McGinn added that the Packers are aware of the way Rodgers feels about Gutekunst but are “taking the high road.” Team officials continue to insist that they are committed to working things out with Rodgers.

Rodgers obviously blames Gutekunst for Green Bay’s decision to select quarterback Jordan Love in the first round of last year’s draft. One report claimed Rodgers will not return to the Packers unless Gutekunst is fired. Gutekunst has since addressed the report with a response you can read here.

Damian Lillard upset Blazers are only NBA team without fans

Damian Lillard

The Portland Trail Blazers have lost their last six home games, and Damian Lillard seems to be getting fed up with playing in an empty arena.

The Blazers are the only team in the NBA that have not hosted any fans this season. They were planning to allow a limited capacity crowd, but Oregon Governor Kate Brown nixed that idea after several counties in the state saw an increase in COVID-19 cases. Lillard took to Twitter on Tuesday to express frustration over that.

“So we gone be the only damn team in the whole league with no fans,” the star point guard wrote.

You can understand why Lillard is getting impatient. The Blazers are fighting for a postseason spot, and they could certainly use a boost from some fans at the Moda Center. They are currently the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference, which means they could have to host a play-in game with a playoff spot on the line.

The Blazers are facing some serious organizational uncertainty with the playoffs looming. Major changes could be coming if they don’t make a deep playoff run, and fans are anxious to help them do just that.

Report: Terry Stotts expected to be fired by Blazers

Terry Stotts

The Portland Trail Blazers have won four of their last five games and are just one game out of a guaranteed playoff spot in the Western Conference, but it does not sound like head coach Terry Stotts is going to be able to save his job.

Shams Charania and Sam Amick of The Athletic reported on Wednesday that Stotts’ time with Portland is “increasingly expected to come to an end” following the season. Stotts can likely only change the outcome if the Blazers make a deep postseason run.

The Blazers entered Wednesday with a record of 36-29, which is good for 7th in the Western Conference. The 7th-place team will host a play-in game against the No. 8 seed with a chance to advance to the playoffs. Even if the 7th-place team loses, they would still get a chance to face the winner of the No. 9 vs. No. 10 game for the final spot in the playoff field.

Stotts, 63, has been with Portland since 2012. The Blazers have Jusuf Nurkic, CJ McCollum, and Damian Lillard all back from injury now, but they continue to be plagued by inconsistent play.

The Blazers will likely focus on a big name to replace Stotts if they do move on from the coach, according to The Athletic. Jason Kidd and Chauncey Billups are among the potential candidates.

Stotts has one season left on his contract, but he has been on the hot seat for quite some time.

Photo: Morgankevinj/Wikimedia via CC-by-S.A. 3.0

Floyd Mayweather Jr. shares why his sons will not be boxing

Floyd Mayweather

Floyd Mayweather Jr. followed in his father’s and uncle’s footsteps when he decided to dedicate his life to boxing, but he does not think either of his two sons will be doing the same.

Mayweather has two sons, 21-year-old Koraun and 20-year-old Zion. The undefeated legend was asked during an appearance on the “Million Dollaz Worth of Game” podcast this week if he would allow his kids to get into boxing. Floyd said they don’t want to, anyway, and gave a very specific reason.

“My two boys like to smoke weed, so I know they ain’t going to box,” Mayweather said, via Sha Be Allah of The Source.

Mayweather added that his sons are old enough to make their own decisions, but he obviously doesn’t envision them getting into the ring anytime soon. If they were as interested in boxing as their father, they would have started working at it by now.

Koraun said years ago that he finds boxing “boring,” so it’s no surprise he hasn’t gotten into the sport.

“I find (boxing) boring,” Koraun told USA Today when he was 14. “It is just like how people sit in the ring and fight for 12 rounds and it gets boring after a while. Sometimes they run.”

Although, things have changed since Koraun made that comment. That was at the same time he was ripping his father for allegedly beating his mother and not admitting to it. The two seem to have a much better relationship now.

Mayweather’s kids will probably always be taken care of financially, so they certainly don’t have to box for a living.