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#pounditWednesday, January 27, 2021

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Super Bowl LV uniform matchup revealed for Bucs and Chiefs

Tom Brady Bucs

What color uniforms will the respective teams be wearing in the Super Bowl? We now have the answer.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs will meet in Super Bowl LV on Feb. 7. The Bucs are the home team and got to choose their uniform. They will be wearing white with pewter. The Chiefs will be wearing red.

The matchup can be visualized with what you see at the top of the graphic below:

The alternative uniform matchup would have been the Bucs in red and the Chiefs in white. The one we will get to see in the big game is much more visually pleasing.

The Chiefs wore their red jerseys in last year’s Super Bowl, and in both of their playoff victories this month. The Bucs have worn their road whites in their last two playoff wins.

Oklahoma lands Tennessee RB transfer Eric Gray

Oklahoma Sooners logo

Oklahoma has added a nice transfer to their backfield.

Running back Eric Gray announced on Twitter Wednesday that he has chosen to transfer to the Sooners. He did so with a one-word announcement that says it all: “Boomer!!!”

Gray rushed for 1,311 yards and eight touchdowns in two seasons at Tennessee. He also had 43 catches for 369 yards and three touchdowns.

Gray was among several players who decided to transfer from the Volunteers after Jeremy Pruitt was fired.

Oklahoma is losing Rhamondre Stevenson to the draft, while TJ Pledger transferred to Utah. That created an opening at running back that Gray is filling for Oklahoma.

Report: Jason Witten unlikely to return to broadcasting

Jason Witten hair

Jason Witten’s first retirement from the NFL was a prelude to a brief foray into broadcasting. It does not sound like his second retirement will follow the same blueprint.

Witten announced his retirement from the NFL on Wednesday, this time for good. It led to some questions about what the tight end will do now, given his previous stint on ESPN’s “Monday Night Football.”

According to Jon Machota of The Athletic, a resumption of Witten’s broadcasting career appears unlikely, and he is more likely to go into coaching this time.

“Witten tried his hand at TV broadcasting after his first retirement, calling games for Monday Night Football for one season,” Machota wrote. “Coaching will likely be a better fit. Look for him to start out as a position coach at the NFL level and then work his way up to one day becoming a head coach at the college or pro level.”

Machota also notes that Witten’s grandfather and brother were both high school football coaches, so there are some family connections there.

It’s unlikely that many people were hoping to hear Witten on TV again given how his first effort at broadcasting went. Coaching is probably a much better fit for him.

Najee Harris had great reason for ignoring agents’ Senior Bowl advice

Najee Harris

Alabama running back Najee Harris has little reason to do much physically at the Senior Bowl, as his agents have pointed out to him. That didn’t stop him from doing something anyway.

Harris defied his agents by doing some work at the Senior Bowl, with the stated reason being that he couldn’t just not compete.

It’s a great attitude to have, even if his agents understandably want to reign it in. Harris getting hurt at the Senior Bowl would be an enormous setback. That said, via Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk, he only did some work on the side and did not actually participate in a full workout.

Harris is an ultra-competitive guy who knows the risks — he even experienced them during the College Football Playoff. Should he have done any work? Probably not. Teams might like to hear about the drive, though.

Patriots unlikely to pursue big-name quarterbacks in offseason?

Bill Belichick

The New England Patriots have a need at quarterback, and multiple established veterans could be available for the right price during the offseason. That doesn’t necessarily mean one of them will land there, though.

NBC Sports Boston’s Tom E. Curran does not believe the Patriots will pursue a high-end veteran quarterback this offseason. Instead, he expects the team to sift through mid-tier free agents and then see how the draft unfolds.

“To me, I think they will be more of a mid-tier team that will try its luck in the draft, so meaning mid-tier free agent — a [Marcus] Mariota, a [Jacoby] Brissett, whoever they deem worth chasing and securing and then to play it in the draft,” Curran told WEEI’s “Dale & Keefe” on Wednesday. “That’s the hardest thing about this — do you force it in the first round with a Mac Jones or a Kyle Trask, who certainly don’t seem to me to be first-round quarterbacks? Or do you say, ‘we’re going to take that good linebacker and see if Trask or Jones if we take them in the second round are players we can develop, or somebody else?'”

Brissett, at the very least, spent the start of his career with the Patriots, so he knows the team. That said, this might come as disappointing news to some, given how flat the New England offense was for much of the 2020 season.

The Patriots make sense as a fit for top-tier quarterbacks, but Bill Belichick is not known for parting ways with lots of draft picks for stars. It would be an out of character move, and what Curran describes certainly sounds a lot more like the Patriots.

Jason Witten to retire as member of Cowboys

Jason Witten hair

Jason Witten spent his first season with a team other than the Dallas Cowboys this year, and it will be the only for the veteran tight end.

Witten told ESPN’s Todd Archer on Wednesday that he is retiring from the NFL. The 37-year-old plans to sign a one-day contract with the Cowboys in March when his current contract with the Las Vegas Raiders expires.

Witten finishes his career with 271 games played, which is the highest total for any tight end in NFL history. He had 1,228 catches, 13,046 yards and 74 touchdowns in his 17-year career.

Witten took a year off to work as a broadcaster for ESPN in 2018. He then returned to play for the Cowboys in 2019 before signing with the Raiders this past season. Witten had some embarrassing gaffes and was criticized quite a bit, so it’s unclear if he will venture back into that line of work.

Report: Jeremy Pruitt joining this NFL team’s coaching staff

Jeremy Pruitt

Former Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt is landing on his feet in a somewhat surprising place.

According to Bruce Feldman of FOX Sports, Pruitt is set to join the New York Jets’ coaching staff as an assistant.

It’s not clear what role Pruitt would assume on the Jets’ staff. His expertise is on the defensive side of the ball, having worked as defensive coordinator at Florida State, Georgia, and Alabama. Jeff Ulbrich has been hired to fill that role for the Jets, so the likelihood is Pruitt will serve as a defensive assistant under him.

Pruitt has no NFL coaching experience, so this definitely counts as a surprise. Clearly, new Jets head coach Robert Saleh sees something in the former Volunteers coach that he thinks will translate to the NFL level.

The good news is things like this won’t be an area of concern for Pruitt on an NFL staff.

Report: Ravens assistant David Culley has growing support for Texans head coach job

Houston Texans

The Houston Texans may be leaning toward a surprise hire in their head coach search.

According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the Texans are conducting a second interview with Baltimore Ravens assistant head coach David Culley, who has impressed the team’s brass. Rapoport’s colleague Mike Garafolo went further, saying that there is growing support for Culley within the Houston organization.

Culley wasn’t on anyone’s radar when the process started. The 65-year-old has vast NFL experience, having been an assistant in the league since 1994. A member of Andy Reid’s coaching tree, he spent over a decade as the Philadelphia Eagles’ wide receivers coach, moving to Kansas City with Reid as an assistant head coach as well.

Buffalo defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier is thought to be the other finalist for the job. It’s not clear that disgruntled quarterback Deshaun Watson would be pleased with either choice, but it also probably doesn’t even matter.

Chad Wheeler police report reveals disturbing details from arrest

Chad Wheeler

Seattle Seahawks offensive lineman Chad Wheeler was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence early Saturday morning, and the details from the police report of the incident are extremely disturbing.

Wheeler has been accused of assaulting his girlfriend at an apartment in Kent, which is a suburb of Seattle. He bonded out of the King County Jail on Tuesday after Bail was set at $400,000.

According to a police report obtained by TMZ, the victim told police that Wheeler suffers from bipolar disorder but had not been taking his medication recently. She said she has been dating Wheeler for six months and that the two never had any issues.

The victim says Wheeler “snapped into a bad place” the night of the incident and told her to bow to him, which she refused to do. She said in a 911 call that she was being “killed,” and officers could hear her screaming inside the apartment when they arrived. The woman told police Wheeler strangled her “with both his hands for some time.” She says she then ran into the bathroom, locked the door and called the police.

Police observed injuries on the victim that included fingerprints on both sides of her neck and “capillaries that had burst at the back of her throat.” Her left elbow was also swollen significantly.

The Seahawks issued a statement on Wednesday addressing the incident.

Wheeler, a backup lineman, appeared in five games for the Seahawks this season. He was undrafted out of USC in 2017 and signed with the Seahawks in the middle of the 2019 season. He is set to become a restricted free agent.

Colts owner shares his thoughts on QB situation

Jim Irsay

Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay dropped a hint about what type of quarterback he may be looking for to lead his team in 2021.

Irsay spoke to the media on Wednesday and suggested that he would ideally prefer to find an experienced quarterback who can win now, noting that he feels the rest of the team is close to being ready to compete for a Super Bowl.

Irsay and the Colts are working to replace Philip Rivers, who retired following the 2020 season.

These comments certainly suggest that Irsay will be in the market for any established quarterback that comes on the market. Rumor has it that there’s one already interested in playing for the Colts. If Irsay believes the Colts really are that close, then it makes sense to do whatever it takes to bring in what may be the missing piece at the quarterback position.