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#pounditTuesday, October 26, 2021

Stories by Steve DelVecchio:

Tom Brady had great reaction to Mike Evans telling him he gave ball away

Tom Brady

Mike Evans caught one of the most important touchdown passes of Tom Brady’s career on Sunday, and he initially did not realize it. The star receiver handed the ball to a fan, and Brady was quick to needle him after it happened.

Not knowing that the touchdown was the 600th of Brady’s career, Evans handed the ball to a Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan who was wearing his No. 13 jersey. Evans told Brady that he accidentally gave the ball away. On his SiriusXM podcast Tuesday, Brady said he joked to Evans that he might accidentally forget to throw him another touchdown this season.

Fortunately, the Bucs got the ball back. The fan who ended up with it got a huge haul from the team in return, though he does have one big request that Brady has yet to acknowledge.

Believe it or not, the same thing happened to Brady when he threw the 400th touchdown pass of his career. It’s easy for teammates to lose track when you rack up that many.

Ex-Washington employees accuse NFL of covering up sexual harassment, assault

Roger Goodell

Two former Washington Football Team employees delivered a letter to NFL owners and executives on Tuesday in which they accused the league of covering up instances of sexual harassment and sexual assault for Dan Snyder’s team.

Melanie Coburn and Ana Nunez hand-delivered a letter signed by 12 former WFT employees and addressed to the members of the NFL’s social justice committee. The letter urged the NFL to make public the findings of the investigation into workplace misconduct with Washington. The former employees said they experienced firsthand the “sexist and misogynistic culture of the WFT.” The ex-employees said they believe the independent investigation was thorough but that the NFL is covering up the findings because it is “more interested in protecting wealthy owners and preserving misogynist and abusive structures than in reckoning with its culture problems.

You can read the full letter below:

The former Washington employees also said in the letter that they find it “telling” that Jon Gruden — the coach of another NFL team — is the only person who was penalized or held accountable after the league conducted its investigation. Gruden stepped down as the head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders earlier this month after private emails he exchanged with former Washington executive Bruce Allen were leaked.

Coburn, who is a former cheerleader and WFT marketer, says she is confident the emails would show “serial sexual harassment” and sexual assault if made public.

More than 650,000 emails were collected as part of the WFT investigation. Almost no one believes that the only damaging emails were the ones Gruden sent, but the league is reportedly claiming that is the case.

Congress has also urged the NFL to show more transparency with the investigation. It’s unclear what the next steps will be for the league, but virtually no one believes that Gruden was the only person with problematic emails.

Watch: James Franklin had major flubs during awkward press conference

James Franklin at a press conference

Penn State is coming off back-to-back losses after being ranked No. 2 in the nation less than two weeks ago, and there have been numerous rumors since then indicating James Franklin could leave the program. It’s fair to wonder if all that talk is taking a toll on the head coach.

Franklin was asked about the rumors linking him to USC and LSU during his Zoom conference call on Tuesday. He insisted his focus is on the Nittany Lions, but it didn’t seem that way. Why? Franklin said multiple times that he is only worried about Penn State’s upcoming game against Illinois.

The problem with that, of course, is that Penn State will face No. 5 Ohio State on Saturday night. Franklin’s team lost to Illinois last weekend in nine overtimes.

You can chalk that up to a mental lapse, but Franklin had others during the same press conference. He also said Penn State will face a big challenge this weekend on the road in “The Big House,” which is the nickname for Michigan’s stadium. Ohio State’s stadium — where Penn State will play Saturday — is nicknamed “The Horseshoe.”

Penn State fans aren’t going to be happy with that. The Nittany Lions had national championship hopes less than two weeks ago, and they now appear to be on the verge of losing their head coach. One major change Franklin made this week could indicate he is preparing to take a job in the SEC. He may insist his focus is solely on Penn State, but you can understand why some people are skeptical.

Photo: Jul 22, 2021; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions head coach James Franklin speaks to the media during Big 10 media days at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Goddin-USA TODAY Sports

DK Metcalf, Marshon Lattimore had heated battles during Saints-Seahawks game

Marshon Lattimore DK Metcalf

DK Metcalf made a huge play in the Seattle Seahawks’ loss to the New Orleans Saints on Monday night, but he was largely erased after his 84-yard touchdown in the first quarter. The star receiver found other ways to contribute, however, such as getting into Marshon Lattimore’s head.

Metcalf and Lattimore got into it on several occasions during the Saints’ 13-10 win. Metcalf appeared to start most of the skirmishes, and the strategy worked. Lattimore was flagged twice for personal fouls. Here’s a recap that shows how physical the two star players were being with one another:

The Saints focused on shutting down Metcalf after his long touchdown. He caught just one more pass for 12 yards after the big play. That may have contributed to his frustration level, or perhaps he just made it his goal to bait Lattimore into penalties.

Sean Payton did not seem thrilled with Lattimore for his role in the dust-ups. The Saints coach equated personal foul penalties with ball security.

Fortunately for Lattimore, the Saints won. They were able to overcome his personal fouls and one of the worst unnecessary roughness calls of the season.

Mike Tomlin has extremely animated response to USC rumor

Mike Tomlin

Mike Tomlin has suddenly found his name tied to the USC head coaching vacancy, but the Pittsburgh Steelers coach made it clear on Tuesday that he has no interest in the job. Very clear.

Tomlin became extremely annoyed when asked if he would consider leaving the Steelers for USC or any other college job. He called the speculation a “joke” and said there isn’t an offer in the world that would make him give it a thought.

“Hey guys, I don’t have time for that speculation. That’s a joke to me,” Tomlin said. “I’ve got one of the best jobs in all of professional sports. Why would I have any interest in coaching college football? That’ll be the last time I address it, not only today but moving forward. Never say never, but never. Anybody else got any questions about any college jobs? There’s not a booster with a big enough blank check.”

Tomlin then ended his press conference by asking if any reporters have asked Sean Payton or Andy Reid about college jobs. Of course, Tomlin wasn’t asked about USC out of nowhere. He can thank former Trojans star Carson Palmer for that.

Palmer was a guest on “The Dan Patrick Show” Monday. He said he has given input to USC about the head coaching vacancy and discussed potential candidates. Palmer mentioned Tomlin and then seemed surprised that he was the first one to publicly link the Steelers coach to the job. You can see the funny video here.

If USC thought they had a chance to land Tomlin, they can probably forget about it now. Coaches have lied about their interest in other jobs plenty of times, but Tomlin was quite convincing.

Ex-Patriot Patrick Chung arrested on domestic violence charge

Former New England Patriots defensive back Patrick Chung is once again in trouble with the law.

Chung was arrested on Monday on a charge related to domestic violence, according to court documents obtained by the Boston Globe. The 34-year-old was charged with assault and battery against a family member and vandalism following an alleged incident in Milton, Mass.

Details surrounding the incident are unclear. Chung is set to be arraigned in court on Tuesday.

In 2019, Chung was arrested in New Hampshire on felony drug charges for cocaine possession. Those charges were dropped after Chung reached an agreement for good behavior and periodic drug testing for two years. It’s unclear if his latest arrest violated the terms of his agreement.

Chung retired from the NFL prior to this season after opting out in 2020. He was drafted by the Patriots with the 34th overall pick in 2009. He spent the first four years of his career in New England before playing for the Philadelphia Eagles for one season in 2013 and then returning to the Pats.

James Franklin gearing up to leave Penn State for SEC job?

James Franklin

James Franklin has reportedly hired a new agent, and the move could signal that the Penn State coach is positioning himself to leave for a new job this offseason.

John Brice of FootballScoop.com reported on Monday that Franklin has hired Jimmy Sexton of Creative Artists Agency. He was previously represented by Trace Armstrong of Athletes First.

Sexton represents some of the biggest names in college football. He is the agent for several of the nation’s top coaches, many of whom coach in the SEC. Sexton’s client list includes Nick Saban, Lane Kiffin, Kirby Smart, Dan Mullen and Jimbo Fisher. At one point a few years ago, Sexton represented 11 of the 14 coaches in the SEC. Some of those coaches have since moved on, but his ties to the most powerful conference in college football are deep.

What does that mean for Franklin? Perhaps not a whole lot, as Sexton also represents many NFL coaches and prominent head coaches from other conferences. However, the move is noteworthy for Franklin since he is considered one of the top candidates to replace Ed Orgeron at LSU. Though, two top schools from different conferences may enter a bidding war for Franklin when the season ends.

Franklin has a buyout of roughly $4 million at Penn State. If he chooses to leave, other programs will have no problem paying that.

Penn State has lost back-to-back games after being ranked No. 2 in the country. They lost two weeks ago at No. 3 Iowa before falling in nine overtimes to Illinois on Saturday night.

Jerry Jones has hilarious take on Tom Brady milestone ball negotation

Jerry Jones

Tom Brady was fortunate that his 600th career touchdown ball was accidentally handed to a reasonable fan on Sunday. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers managed to get the important piece of memorabilia back, but Jerry Jones says the negotiation might have been a bit tougher if he were involved.

Not knowing that he had just caught the 600th touchdown of Brady’s legendary career, Mike Evans handed the ball to a Bucs fan who was wearing his jersey. The fan, Byron Kennedy, gave the ball back after speaking with a team staffer. During his Tuesday appearance on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas, Jones joked that he would have been much more difficult for the Bucs to deal with.

“I’d be hard to trade with. I’d explain to everybody that that’s like asking for my baby,” Jones said, via Jon Machota of The Athletic. “Then I’d tear-up for him a little bit (thinking) about how I’m gonna have that when I’m 90. And then after all that, then I’d take offers.”

Kennedy probably could have held out for more, but the Buccaneers are hooking him up. The team has given him a bunch of memorabilia and a whole lot more in exchange for his cooperation.

There have been estimates that the ball would be worth upwards of $500,000, but Kennedy said he felt Brady deserved to have it. He also made one special request, though it’s unclear if Brady is going to deliver. Jones apparently would have made sure of it.