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Monday, January 21, 2019


Marcus Smart fined, not suspended for DeAndre’ Bembry confrontation

Marcus Smart

Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart avoided a suspension for going after Atlanta’s DeAndre’ Bembry during Saturday night’s game.

Smart will not miss any time over the on-court scuffle, but was hit with a fairly hefty $35,000 fine as a result of his actions.

Smart had already been ejected for receiving his second technical foul of the game when he went after Bembry and had to be hauled off the court. Smart didn’t appear to throw any punches or actually succeed in his efforts to start a major physical altercation, which is likely what saved him from a suspension and ensured that he would only pay a significant fine for his actions.

Eagles players blast unflattering report about ‘selfish’ Carson Wentz

Carson Wentz

A bombshell report that was released on Monday paints Carson Wentz as a player who is more worried about doing things his own way than trying to win games, but several Philadelphia Eagles have spoken out in defense of their quarterback.

Joseph Santoliquito of Philly Voice spoke with several Eagles players and team sources who used words like “selfish” and “egotistical” to describe Wentz. The sources, all of who chose to remain anonymous, made it seem like the Eagles enjoyed more success with Nick Foles under center this season and last because Foles runs the offense the team wants rather than only looking out for himself.

Not long after the report was published, numerous Eagles players took to Twitter to tear it down.

Santoliquito didn’t specify if the players he spoke with were current or former Eagles, so it’s hard to say where the criticism is coming from. It would not be a surprise if Foles’ success has led to an awkward quarterback dynamic in Philly, but it sounds like that problem will be taken care of this offseason.

Whether there is truth behind the report or not, the Eagles still consider Wentz the future of their franchise. The immediate support from his teammates reflects that.

Saints’ Michael Thomas embraces obscure rule that would overturn Rams’ win

Michael Thomas

The New Orleans Saints are having a hard time accepting the results of Sunday’s NFC Championship game in light of the bad call that cost the team a trip to the Super Bowl. One player is feeling so robbed, in fact, that he’s embracing an obscure league rule that would allow the result to be overturned.

ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio pointed out that Rule 17, Section 2, Article 1 of the NFL rulebook allows commissioner Roger Goodell to take “corrective measures” if an event happens in a game that is so “extraordinarily unfair” that it impacts the result. Article 3 of the same rule allows Goodell to either reverse the outcome or replay the game from the point of the extraordinary event. That means that, in theory, Goodell could order the NFC Championship replayed from the point of Rams defender Nickell Robey-Coleman’s uncalled pass interference.

Clearly, Saints receiver Michael Thomas was reading that story, because he was calling for Goodell to exercise that power early Monday morning.

To be clear, the chances of Goodell taking this action are non-existent for a whole variety of reasons. What will happen instead is a public acknowledgement of the bad call and the NFL will move on to focus on the Super Bowl, even if the city of New Orleans won’t.

Bombshell report says Carson Wentz’s teammates view him as ‘selfish’

Carson Wentz

The Philadelphia Eagles once again seemed to come to life when Nick Foles took over for an injured Carson Wentz this season, and a bombshell report that was published on Monday makes it seem like that was hardly a coincidence.

Joseph Santoliquito of Philly Voice spoke with several Eagles players and team sources about the dynamic within the organization, and he was left with the impression that Wentz is not “universally loved” the way Foles is. In fact, some of the sources — all of who chose to remain anonymous — described Wentz as a “selfish” and “egotistical” player who needs to hold himself more accountable.

The entire report is worth reading, but the basis is that Wentz wants to run the Eagles’ offense the way he believes it should be run, and new offensive coordinator Mike Groh was not able to rein him in this season the way now-Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich could the two seasons prior.

“He’s had his a– kissed his whole life, and sometimes acts like he’s won 10 Super Bowls, when he hasn’t played in, let alone won, a playoff game yet,” one source told Santoliquito. “Everyone around him wants good things for him. He did more thinking on the field than he did playing (in 2018). You don’t have to be a brain surgeon or a football expert to see how differently this team plays and reacts with one guy as opposed to the other.”

Wentz apparently had a tendency to complicate Philly’s offense and zero in on tight end Zach Ertz, whereas Foles spreads the ball around more and runs the plays the way the coaching staff intends them to be run. The players and sources who spoke with Philly Voice also felt Wentz rushed back from his injury and played at less than full strength because he was “so hell-bent on getting back after Foles led the Eagles to the Super Bowl.”

There’s a lot more to the report, but essentially it sounds like Wentz has frustrated some teammates by not being a team player. Perhaps the former Pro Bowler won’t feel the need to press as much if the Eagles’ offseason plan for Foles comes to fruition. Either way, the storyline is worth monitoring.

Tom Brady, Chris Hogan ridiculed doubters after win over Chiefs

Tom Brady

Tom Brady seems to be enjoying his current run with the New England Patriots more than many of his other great seasons with the team, and that was once again evident in a conversation that was captured between him and a veteran teammate on Sunday.

After the Patriots pulled off a thrilling overtime win over the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game, cameras caught a great exchange between Brady and Chris Hogan. It began with Hogan sarcastically telling Brady he’s “too old.”

This has clearly become a theme for this year’s edition of the Patriots. They were 3-5 on the road this season and showed more weakness than past Brady-led teams, and more than a few people thought their season would come to a fitting end in Kansas City. Instead, they’re celebrating their ninth trip to the Super Bowl under Brady and Bill Belichick.

It was obvious with the comment Brady made after the Patriots dominated the Los Angeles Chargers that the 41-year-old quarterback is more motivated by his naysayers than ever. His brief conversation with Hogan was another reflection of that.

New Orleans newspaper takes aim at refs for robbing Saints of win

Rams Saints pass interference

It is going to take the New Orleans Saints and their fans a very long time to get over the way the officials robbed them of a Super Bowl appearance on Sunday, and no one understands that better than members of the local media.

On Monday morning, The Times-Picayune pulled no punches while blasting the NFL for handing the Los Angeles Rams a win in the NFC Championship Game. Here’s a look at the newspaper’s front page:

By now you have probably seen the play. The officials missed a blatant pass interference call in addition to helmet-to-helmet contact on a play that should have set the Saints up with 1st-and-goal and a chance to bleed most of the clock out before kicking a game-winning field goal. The NFL immediately admitted to Saints head coach Sean Payton that a flag should have been thrown, and there has been talk of the league issuing a public apology.

No matter what theory Rams players have about why they won the game, it’s hard to argue that the Saints weren’t cheated. Missed calls are a part of the game, but rarely do we ever see one as egregious and impactful as the one that ended the Saints’ season.

Todd Gurley says he deserved to be benched in NFC Championship

Todd Gurley

The Los Angeles Rams were able to find a way to beat the New Orleans Saints on Sunday despite Todd Gurley contributing almost nothing, and the star running back is not surprised he ended up in the doghouse.

After the Rams punched their ticket to the Super Bowl with a 26-23 win in overtime, Gurley was asked about taking a back seat to CJ Anderson. He had no issue with it.

Gurley finished with just 10 yards on four carries, though he did score a touchdown. He got just one touch the entire second half, which was a six-yard carry early in the fourth quarter. Anderson ran for 44 yards on 16 carries, so it’s not as if he shredded the Rams.

We know that Gurley battled an injury toward the end of the regular season, and it’s fair to wonder if that is still a factor even if the Rams insist it wasn’t. Given how good the New England Patriots have looked on offense over the past two games, LA will likely need a lot more from Gurley in the Super Bowl.

Report: Manny Pacquiao’s Los Angeles home robbed while he was in Las Vegas

Manny Pacquiao may have enjoyed the sweet taste of victory on Saturday night, but his mood was dampened by some bad news.

According to ABS-CBN’s Steve Angeles, Pacquiao’s Los Angeles home was robbed while the fighter was in Las Vegas.

Pacquiao has a home in LA, which is where he often spends time training with Freddie Roach before fights. He was in Los Angeles to train and make media appearances before heading to Las Vegas ahead of his bout with Adrien Broner.

It’s unclear whether the robbery was targeted, but he wouldn’t be the first athlete in Los Angeles to be robbed recently.

Tom Brady waited outside Chiefs’ locker room to talk with Patrick Mahomes

Tom Brady

Tom Brady made a special effort to seek out Patrick Mahomes after the New England Patriots defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 37-31 in overtime of the AFC Championship Game on Sunday.

According to ESPN’s Jeff Darlington, Brady went over to the Chiefs’ locker room and asked a security guard if he could see Mahomes. Darlington says Brady was taken into a room to speak with Mahomes.

We’re guessing the conversation went something like: “Nice try, kid, but I’m still the G.O.A.T.”

Or not.

Brady was probably paying his respect to Mahomes and telling him not to get discouraged and that he has many Super Bowls in his future once Brady retires. Mahomes already has shown a great attitude despite the loss.

Patrick Mahomes sends message to Chiefs fans after elimination

Patrick Mahomes

Patrick Mahomes sent a classy message to Chiefs fans not long after Kansas City was eliminated by the New England Patriots 37-31 in overtime of the AFC Championship Game on Sunday night.

Mahomes posted a “thank you” note to Chiefs fans on Twitter and promised they would “be back.”

Despite the loss, Mahomes finished the game with strong stats. He went 16/31 for 295 yards and three touchdowns. When the Patriots took the lead in the fourth quarter, Mahomes always answered back. The only thing that held him back was losing a coin toss in overtime.