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Saturday, February 24, 2018

Stories by Steve DelVecchio:

Calais Campbell has great reaction to old scouting report from college

Calais Campbell

Calais Campbell had a career year with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2017, so there is no better time than now for the star defensive end to dig up old scouting reports that said negative things about him.

On Friday, a scout from Bleacher Report shared an old Pro Football Weekly scouting report on Campbell from when he was coming out of Miami. While he was ranked the No. 5 overall defensive end, there were still plenty of concerns about him ranging from his inability to step up against superior competition to his “lazy” style of play.

That doesn’t really sound like the Campbell who recorded 14.5 sacks and three forced fumbles this year while anchoring one of the best defensive lines in football. Here are Campbell’s thoughts:

Campbell spent the first nine seasons of his career with the Arizona Cardinals, and he has seemingly gotten better with age. Jacksonville presented him with the perfect situation, and the 31-year-old rewarded the Jags by becoming one of the best free agent signings of the 2017 season. If ever there were a time for Campbell to brag, it’s now.

Scott Frost planning to use Tom Osborne as resource at Nebraska

Scott Frost

Scott Frost is looking to bring a new attitude to Nebraska, and he is hoping the man who presided over the most successful run in Cornhuskers football history can help him accomplish that goal.

As he tries to erase the leftover stench from Nebraska’s 4-8 season last year, Frost says he plans to lean on Nebraska coaching legend Tom Osborne for advice.

“Coach was in here this morning and I’m going to lean on him for wisdom and advice,” Frost told Tom Shatel of Omaha World-Herald on Thursday. “We’ve got to be careful with how we use (Osborne) because there are rules against someone who has been with the university helping coach on certain things. Any possible way we can use him I will. He’s been up in the office quite a bit here. I’m thrilled that he’s coming in. He looks happy that he’s able to come in and there are people in the offices that he’s comfortable being around. Makes me happy for Coach.”

Osborne won three national championships with Nebraska in the 1990s, and Frost was the starting quarterback for the 1997 title team. He helped the Cornhuskers beat a Peyton Manning-led Tennessee team in convincing fashion. Osborne was the head coach at Nebraska from 1973-1997, and he later returned in 2007 to serve as the school’s athletic director for seven years.

Frost said he is confident Nebraska will give him the time needed to return the football program to its glory days.

“That’s honestly one of the reasons why our coaching staff decided this was the best opportunity,” he said. “We knew that we would have unanimous support here with the state of the football program as it was, with our familiarity with the state, this is one of the few places where they would be patient with us and let us build it the right way.”

Reports during the 2017 season indicated that Osborne was one of the people who helped convince Frost to leave the successful UCF program he had built to return to his alma mater. It’s really no surprise the head coach considers Osborne something of a mentor.

H/T Land of 10

Malcolm Brogdon’s mother denies having dinner with agent at Ritz Carlton

Malcolm Brogdon

Milwaukee Bucks point guard Malcolm Brogdon was one of several players named in a bombshell report about the FBI’s investigation into college basketball, but the former Virginia star’s mother is denying that she is guilty of what the documents allege.

Much of the FBI’s probe centers on expense reports and balance sheets from the ASM Sports agency, which appear to show that high school and collegiate players were given loans and took impermissible benefits. While Brodgon’s involvement isn’t in the same ballpark as the $73,500 loan Dallas Mavericks guard Dennis Smith Jr. received before and/or during his playing time at North Carolina State, Brodgon’s mother was mentioned in the documents.

According to one of ASM’s expense sheets, Brogdon’s mother, Jann Adams, had a meal with agent Christian Dawkins at a Ritz Carlton in Virginia on March 14, 2016 — three days before the Cavaliers faced Hampton in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The bill totaled $64.16, but Adams told Sam Blum of The Daily Progress on Friday that she remembers nothing about the alleged meeting.

“I don’t remember having dinner with any agent,” she said. “And I don’t honestly remember ever going to Ritz Carlton for dinner.”

Brogdon, who was named the NBA Rookie of the Year last year, played four years at Virginia and had his No. 15 jersey retired by the school this season. He’s one of many players who is having his eligibility now called into question because of alleged dealings with agents, but Adams said neither she nor her son are guilty of anything.

“I don’t believe that I’ve ever done anything like that,” Adams added. “I have been very, very careful to ensure that Malcolm, nor I, nor his brothers ever did anything that was in violation of NCAA rules in respect to Malcolm and the program.

“I’ve been adamant that we’ve never been involved in anything like taking money from any program, any basketball program, any agent, none of that happened with Malcolm.”

Adams said it’s possible that she had a “polite conversation” with an agent on the phone at some point, but she insisted she does not even recall who Dawkins is.

Several top programs and players — some of whom are still in college — were named in the Yahoo Sports report on Friday. It remains unclear if or when those programs will be sanctioned by the NCAA.

Report: Chiefs, Rams agree to trade for Marcus Peters

The reports about the Kansas City Chiefs shopping cornerback Marcus Peters in trade talks were apparently accurate.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Chiefs have agreed to trade Peters to the Los Angeles Rams and could finalize the deal as early as Friday.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network says the Rams are sending a package of draft picks to Kansas City.

Peters, the No. 18 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, has recorded 19 interceptions in his first three NFL seasons. He’s set to count just over $3 million against the cap in 2018 and the Chiefs have a $9.5 million club option for him in 2019, so it’s somewhat surprising that they are dealing him.

While Peters is considered a solid cover corner, the Chiefs ranked near the bottom of the NFL in defense last season. The former Washington star was also involved in an unfortunate incident where he was so upset about a penalty that he threw a flag into the stands. It’s possible that played a role in Kansas City’s decision, but they are likely just looking to shake things up on defense with how poor their secondary played in 2017.

Matt Barnes, ex-wife Gloria Govan get into ugly spat after birthday wish

Matt Barnes

Matt Barnes and his ex-wife Gloria Govan have had some very public disputes in recent years, which is why it was somewhat surprising to see Barnes wish her a happy birthday this week. Unfortunately, the good vibes quickly took an ugly turn.

Govan, who has twin sons with Barnes, celebrated a birthday on Thursday. Barnes tried to put the former couple’s differences aside by complimenting her and saying the two are “still on the same team.”

“Wanna wish the mother of my children a very Happy Birthday! Hope this day is everything you hoped for and more,” Barnes wrote in an Instagram post. “Although things have been rocky to say the least the last 4yrs I hope that for the sake of our two beautiful baby boys we can come together & co parent them to the best of our abilities! No more games or bulls—. They need both of our love & support equally! We lead different lives now but we still on the same team. Anyways cheers to your day!! Peace Love & Happiness.”

To say Govan did not appreciate the sentiment would be an understatement. She replied by reminding Barnes that she’ll see him in court next week, which inspired the former NBA forward to instantly change his tune.

If you’re familiar with the backstory, that seems more like it. The relationship between Barnes and Govan really soured back in 2015 when Govan and Barnes’ former teammate Derek Fisher got into a physical confrontation. Fisher and Govan have been dating basically since Govan separated from Barnes, and Barnes has even heard nasty chants from fans about it during games. That’s probably the last time he’ll wish the mother of his children a happy birthday.

Report: Martellus Bennett wants to keep playing, could return to Patriots

Martellus Bennett

Martellus Bennett returned to the Patriots last season under bizarre circumstances after a brief stint in Green Bay, and he has since said that he will likely retire. Has the tight end had a change over heart over the past several months?

According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, Bennett is planning to play in 2018. He is still under contract with New England at the moment, and Rapoport wonders if the Patriots could choose to keep him.

Bennett will turn 31 next month, so he could conceivably have at least another good season in him if he’s healthy. He dealt with hamstring and shoulder injuries during his short time with the Packers in 2017, the latter of which eventually sent him to injured reserve.

The Packers waived Bennett in November and said he failed to disclose a shoulder injury. Bennett’s agent then supposedly dissuaded teams from picking up his client off waivers because of his shoulder, though the tight end changed his mind once the Patriots showed interest and decided to sign with them. Bennett was ripped by several of his former teammates in Green Bay after he rejoined the Pats.

Should he decide to return, perhaps the Patriots will restructure Bennett’s contract to spread the money out. They can never have enough offensive weapons, and Bennett played a huge role en route to a Super Bowl title two years ago when Rob Gronkowski went down with a back injury.

Steelers will reportedly listen to trade offers for Martavis Bryant

Martavis Bryant

It was only four months ago that Martavis Bryant had decided he wanted nothing to do with the Pittsburgh Steelers and demanded that they trade him. Despite all that, Bryant remained on the roster and could be back again in 2018.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that the Steelers are not actively shopping Bryant in trade talks, but they are willing to listen to offers.

“At this point, the Steelers are not shopping him but it sounds like they are listening to potential deals for him,” Rapoport said. “It remains to be seen whether or not they would actually go through with it. He’s a productive player, but he’s been outspoken in the past about wanting to be traded. They’re expected to have some conversations (at the Scouting Combine).”

Bryant is a talented player who is under contract for just over $700,000 in 2018. It’s always beneficial to have players who contribute on the field count practically nothing toward the salary cap, so the Steelers likely have no problem keeping Bryant for another year. While he created some tension with the team last season when he criticized rookie receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster in an Instagram comment, Bryant said last month that he wants to remain in Pittsburgh.

Report: Seahawks want to sign Earl Thomas to extension

Earl Thomas

There has been a lot of talk about the Seattle Seahawks potentially dismantling the defense that was once considered the best in football, but that may be a tad premature.

Earl Thomas is one member of the original “Legion of Boom” who is entering the final year of his contract, and some wonder if Seattle could look to trade him. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the Seahawks would rather extend Thomas than deal him.

“My understanding is it’s much more likely they get a new deal done with him rather than trade him,” Rapoport said. “Unless, of course, they got back a huge allotment of draft picks, in which case they’d probably consider it.”

The past year or so has been somewhat of a roller coaster with Thomas. He broke his leg during the 2016 season and hinted toward the end of the year that he was considering retirement. Those thoughts appear to be completely behind him now, as he more recently indicated that he could hold out for a new contract this offseason.

Thomas will make a salary of $8.5 million in 2018 and count $10.4 million against the cap. He’s still just 28 and one of the best safeties in football, so he should have no problem landing another big contract either with the Seahawks or elsewhere next offseason. If you remember, it seemed like Thomas expressed interest in joining a different team a few months back.

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