The NFL is reportedly investigating two off-field incidents involving New York Giants safety Jabrill Peppers.
According to Scott Noll of WEWS in Cleveland, the NFL has reached out to the Cleveland Police Department seeking information on two incidents that happened earlier this year when Peppers was a member of the Browns. A handgun belonging to Peppers was stolen from his vehicle on Jan. 29. A week later, a possible suspect in the theft was found beaten and eventually died from her injuries. A 26-year-old man was arrested in that case and charged with murder and felonious assault.
EXCLUSIVE: 5 On Your Side Investigators have confirmed the @NFL has requested information from Cleveland Police concerning two incidents earlier this year and former Browns safety Jabrill Peppers' role in them. DEVELOPING. @WEWS pic.twitter.com/1QFQZlezVM
— Scott Noll (@ScottNoll_News) March 26, 2019
According to WEWS, the NFL reached out to the police for information on the theft of the gun, as well as documentation indicating that Peppers is not a suspect in the homicide investigation. The Cleveland Police further clarified the report, calling it “misleading” and indicating that Peppers was not a suspect in any way.
— Cleveland Police (@CLEpolice) March 26, 2019
Essentially, the NFL appears to have been made aware of these two incidents and sought to clarify that Peppers was not involved in wrong-doing either time. It does not appear that Peppers has any cause for worry here, nor do the New York Giants, who acquired Peppers in the Odell Beckham trade earlier this month.
- Jabrill Peppers
Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin has watched as a conference rival picked up one of his former stars, and he has some thoughts on it.
On Tuesday, Tomlin offered a reaction to Le’Veon Bell joining the New York Jets that some will see as funny and others will interpret as shade. Let’s just say Tomlin took notice of Bell’s paycheck.
Good quote from Mike Tomlin when asked about Le'Veon Bell elevating the Jets offense: 'I would hope so, you guys are paying him enough.'
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) March 26, 2019
Bell, of course, is getting paid that much because the Steelers wouldn’t go that far, at least in terms of guaranteed money. Tomlin certainly doesn’t seem to have a problem with the fact that they didn’t, nor does he sound all that envious of the fact that the Jets are the ones paying him the big money now.
The NFL made a significant rule change in the name of player safety on Tuesday, but that wasn’t good news to one prominent player.
The league announced that owners had voted to outlaw blindside blocks, citing a statistic stating that one-third of all concussions on punts were caused by that action.
To expand protection of the player being blocked, @NFL owners voted to eliminate blindside blocks. One-third of all concussions on punts were caused by blindside blocks. With the rule change, any forcible contact by the blocker with his head, shoulder or forearm is prohibited. pic.twitter.com/abA2cENnXe
— NFL Football Operations (@NFLFootballOps) March 26, 2019
New York Jets safety Jalen Adams, however, decried the rule change as “soft as hell.”
Soft as hell. Let’s Bring out the flags! https://t.co/AvgSiwE4zr
— Jamal Adams (@TheAdamsEra) March 26, 2019
In the past, Adams has been pretty flippant about the long-term damage football can cause, and ultimately, he’s probably not alone. In that sense, his take on this isn’t a huge surprise.
- Jamal Adams
Shareef O’Neal underwent successful heart surgery back in December, and doctors have officially cleared the UCLA freshman to resume basketball activity just over three months later.
O’Neal shared the good news on social media Tuesday and thanked everyone for their support during his recovery.
I wanna thank the people who stuck with me throughout this all… this was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to overcome … I couldn’t have done it without the support I got from all of you
— Shareef O’Neal (@SSJreef) March 26, 2019
O’Neal, the son of basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal, took a medical redshirt season after an electrical problem was discovered in his heart during a routine check in the fall. The surgery was expected to fix the problem and allow him to play at full strength in the future, and it sounds like he will be ready to play his sophomore year at UCLA.
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- College Basketball
- Shareef O'Neal
Robert Kraft issued an apology over the weekend for his alleged involvement in a sex traffic sting in Florida, but the New England Patriots owner is choosing not to admit guilt from a legal standpoint.
On Tuesday, Kraft waived an upcoming arraignment that was scheduled for later this week and officially entered a not guilty plea. He had previously pleaded not guilty to two charges of solicitation of prostitution and requested a non-jury trial, but the 77-year-old is now asking for a trial by jury.
From Palm Beach County court records: Robert Kraft waives his arraignment, pleads not guilty to all charges, and requests a jury trial. pic.twitter.com/nMhKztCodd
— Phil Perry (@PhilAPerry) March 26, 2019
Kraft denied engaging in any illegal activity after an arrest warrant was first issued for him in the case, despite authorities saying they have clear video evidence of him engaging in sex acts at a day spa in Jupiter, Fla. Prosecutors recently offered him a plea deal that would have required him to admit guilt in exchange for having the charges dropped, but Kraft and the other defendants in the case turned it down.
While his reputation has already taken a hit, the charges against Kraft came as part of an investigation into sex trafficking. All indications at this point have been that he had nothing to do with that aspect of the case, so it appears he is counting on his powerful legal team to fight the charges and win.
- Robert Kraft
Conor McGregor announced this week that he is retiring from mixed martial arts, and you have to wonder if part of the reason for that is so he can deal with some major legal trouble he is facing in his personal life.
According to a report from Tariq Panja of the New York Times, police in Ireland are investigating McGregor after a woman accused him of sexually assaulting her back in December. McGregor was arrested in January but was questioned and released without being charged with a crime. The investigation is ongoing.
The alleged victim in the case told police McGregor assaulted her at the Beacon Hotel in Dublin. McGregor is reportedly an occasional guest at the hotel and often books the penthouse suite. His most recent visit was in December. Laws in Ireland prohibit media outlets from identifying individuals accused of rape unless they have been charged, which is why McGregor has not yet been formally named. A spokesperson for Ireland’s police service would not confirm that McGregor is under investigation.
McGregor is no stranger to legal trouble, and he was most recently arrested after being accused of smacking a cell phone out of the hand of a fan who tried to take a photo with him. The former UFC champion also recently completed the probation for his bus attack at a UFC event last year.
- Conor McGregor
The Arizona Cardinals have done their best to convince everyone that they have no idea what they are going to do with the top overall pick in next month’s draft, but make no mistake about it — Kliff Kingsbury still loves Kyler Murray.
Kingsbury was asked about Murray at the NFL coaches breakfast on Tuesday, he had nothing but good things to say about the Heisman Trophy winner. The new Cardinals coach went as far as to call Murray “one of the better dual threat players to ever play.”
Cardinals’ HC Kliff Kingsbury on what he likes about Kyler Murray: “I mean, I guess it's more what don't you like? When you watch him play, I mean he can run it, he can throw it, he's a competitor….He's one of the better dual threat players to ever play.”
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 26, 2019
The Cardinals hiring Kingsbury as their head coach was one of the reasons Murray’s draft stock rose so suddenly. Back when he was still with Texas Tech and was preparing his team to face Murray and Oklahoma, Kingsbury said he would take Murray with the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft if he could. He now can, assuming the front office is on board.
Arizona’s brass has said everything is on the table for them with the top pick, but there are plenty of people who are convinced they are taking Murray.
Kyle Hendricks has continued the trend of starting pitchers inking new deals with their teams before they hit free agency, as the right-hander agreed to a new four-year contract with the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic has the details of the new deal, which is worth a maximum value of around $90 million.
Breakdown on Hendricks, per source.
2024: $16M vesting option or $1.5M buyout.
Option vests based on Cy finish in 2020. NOT a club option.
Deal also includes $3M per season in Cy escalators. Can max out at $79.8M.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) March 26, 2019
The Cubs reached an agreement with Hendricks on the same day that Jacob deGrom signed a massive new contract with the New York Mets. Chris Sale also got an extension from the Boston Red Sox last week.
Hendricks has a career ERA of 3.07. The 29-year-old went 14-11 with a 3.44 ERA in 33 starts last season and has been incredibly reliable for the Cubs since he came into the majors in 2014.
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Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown have raised a lot of questions about whether or not Ben Roethlisberger is respected among his Pittsburgh Steelers teammates, and you can add Bruce Arians to the growing list of people who believe the quarterback is a great leader.
Arians, who served as an offensive assistant in Pittsburgh from 2004-2011, was asked about Roethlisberger’s leadership traits at the NFL coaches breakfast on Tuesday. He had no problem throwing support behind Big Ben.
Bruce Arians on Ben Roethlisberger’s leadership: “Guys have to have thicker skin, man. He’s the leader. He’s the guy. Early in his career everybody said, ‘hey, you’re not vocal enough.’ But you had Jerome Bettis and Alan Faneca and you didn’t have to be. It’s his team.“ pic.twitter.com/i0XkdOM9Yo
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) March 26, 2019
Bell said in a recent interview that Roethlisberger “was a factor” in his wanting to leave Pittsburgh, and Brown made it clear this offseason that he felt the same way. However, Arians is not the only person who has seen Roethlisberger’s work first-hand and disagrees.
Multiple players who either play with or have played with Roethlisberger have come forward and said he is a good teammate and leader. Whether to believe them or some disgruntled superstars who are no longer with the Steelers is a matter of opinion.
Bill Belichick often appears as though he would rather be undergoing a root canal than answering mundane questions from the media about his football team, so it’s safe to assume the annual NFL coaches breakfast is not his favorite event. On Tuesday, the future Hall of Famer all but confirmed that.
One of the first people Belichick greeted at the breakfast was Brian Flores, a former assistant of his who is now the head coach of the Miami Dolphins. The exchange between the two was very brief, but Belichick managed to get his point across.
“This is the fun part,” Bill Belichick says while greeting Brian Flores during the NFL’s coaches’ breakfast on Tuesday in Phoenix. pic.twitter.com/25lhCTfs2E
— Safid Deen (@Safid_Deen) March 26, 2019
Flores was part of Belichick’s staff in New England for about 15 years, so he’s very familiar with the coach’s sarcasm. That was one of very few smiles we saw from Belichick, who appeared just as annoyed with the media on Tuesday as we have seen him in the past following tough losses. When asked about Rob Gronkowski’s retirement, Belichick said he has already addressed it and is not going to comment on talk that the star tight end could potentially return midseason.
Belichick was asked about the possibility of Gronkowski returning at midseason: "Not dealing in hypothetical questions."
— Doug Kyed (@DougKyed) March 26, 2019
Pressed for more of his thoughts on the offseason thus far, Belichick basically told reporters to take a chill pill.
Bill Belichick pitching a very complete performance during his meeting with the media at the owner's meetings.
Belichick: "Hypothetical questions. I don't really know the answer to any of those."
More Belichick: "It's March. We'll see how it goes."
— Henry McKenna (@McKennAnalysis) March 26, 2019
Belichick may have just won his sixth title with the Patriots, but he clearly hasn’t lost his edge. He’ll occasionally open up with a funny joke here and there, but the coaches breakfast in March is apparently not the place for that.