Skip to main content
Larry Brown Sports Tagline. Brown Bag it, Baby.
#pounditThursday, January 21, 2021

Blog

New Lions coach Dan Campbell has epic intro press conference

Dan Campbell

Dan Campbell has yet to coach a game or hold a practice with the Detroit Lions, but we can already say with confidence that he will be the most intense head coach in football next season.

Campbell was officially introduced as the new head coach of the Lions on Thursday. The highlight of the press conference was when he spoke about the losing that has gone on in Detroit for years now. The former NFL tight end said he can’t guarantee wins, but he can promise his players are going to “bite a kneecap off” after they get knocked down.

You can see some of the fiery speech below, but beware that it contains a curse word:

Now we know why the Lions were impressed with Campbell.

Campbell was an assistant head coach and tight ends coach for the New Orleans Saints prior to taking the Detroit job. He was with the Miami Dolphins from 2010-2015 before that and served as their interim coach in 2015 after Joe Philbin was fired.

Those who have heard this absolutely legendary story about Campbell probably were not surprised by his press conference on Thursday. If nothing else, the guy is going to be a quote machine.

Report: Hue Jackson interviewed for Steelers OC job

Hue Jackson

The Pittsburgh Steelers are searching for a new offensive coordinator after not renewing Randy Fichtner’s contract, and Hue Jackson is a candidate for the job.

Jackson interviewed with the Steelers for their OC position earlier this week, according to ESPN’s Dianna Russini.

Jackson was fired as the head coach of the Cleveland Browns in 2018 after he went 3-36-1 in three seasons with the team. He then worked as an assistant on Marvin Lewis’ staff with the Cincinnati Bengals before Lewis was fired.

While his head coaching record is rough, Jackson made a name for himself as a respected offensive coordinator. He should wind up back in that role for an NFL team eventually.

Dwayne Haskins to visit with Steelers

Dwayne Haskins

Dwayne Haskins saw his brief tenure with Washington come to an unceremonious end last month, but the former first-round pick is generating interest from other teams.

Haskins has already visited with the Carolina Panthers, and Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that he is scheduled to meet with the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday.

Ben Roethlisberger is expected to return in 2021, so the Steelers would be interested in Haskins as a backup. The same will likely be true of at least a handful of other teams.

Haskins was waived by Washington after being benched for poor play multiple times. The former Ohio State star was also fined by the team twice for violating COVID-19 protocols and stripped of his captainship for one of his off-field blunders.

Though he is 23 and has undeniable talent, it sounds like Haskins had some serious work ethic issues during his brief time in Washington. He would have to prove to any interested teams that he has learned from his mistakes. If Haskins can do that, there’s certainly plenty of time to revive his career.

Bill Belichick’s girlfriend makes IG private after Tom Brady comment

Bill Belichick Linda Holliday

Bill Belichick’s longtime girlfriend Linda Holliday found her name in the headlines earlier this week for something she said about Tom Brady, and the backlash has inspired her to make a big social media change.

One of Holliday’s Instagram followers left a comment on her post on Monday criticizing Belichick for letting Brady leave the New England Patriots. Holliday, who has been with Belichick for years, got defensive. She decided to reply and point out that Brady got a ton of help from his defense in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ win over the New Orleans Saints. You can see the exchange below:

“Tom didn’t score last night … not once! Defense won that game,” Holliday wrote. “Were you even watching? OTOH – I’m happy for Tom’s career! Why can’t you be?”

Brady had 199 yards passing, two passing touchdowns and a rushing touchdown against the Saints. The Buccaneers forced four turnovers, however, and those turnovers led to 21 points. Holliday later clarified that she was referring to that.

“I simply meant he scored with the help of his defense. Why all the fuss people?!? Stop the nonsense!” she wrote, according to TMZ. “Can we all just stop and be happy for Tom for a minute instead of beating me up?!?”

All of the back-and-forth eventually became too overwhelming for Holliday. She later announced that she was making her Instagram page private and explained why.

“I am exhausted by the number of trolls and cruel people who have hammered my social media accounts recently,” Holliday wrote, via TMZ. “I’m not ’embarrassed’ by anything that I’ve said. In fact, several news outlets understood what I meant about defensive TD’s and validated it. BUT, I am tired of trolls!! I’m not sure when it became ok to verbally abuse and harass people on social media. I look forward to staying connected with my personal friends.”

Holliday and Belichick have been together for a long time. Linda has always been extremely supportive of Bill, and you need look no further than some of her past wardrobe choices for proof of that. Unfortunately, the reaction to her comments about Brady was hardly a surprise.

Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski have teamed up yet again! Treat yourself or a friend with this great Tampa Fiesta shirt. You can buy it here.

Here’s how much Bills Mafia has raised for Lamar Jackson’s favorite charity

Lamar Jackson

Buffalo Bills fans decided to start donating to Lamar Jackson’s favorite charity after the Baltimore Ravens star left last week’s playoff game with an injury, and they have not stopped.

Following their team’s 17-3 win over the Ravens, Bills fans — better known as Bills Mafia — launched a campaign on social media to flood Jackson’s favorite charity with donations. The charity, Blessings in a Backpack, provides free food for children to eat on the weekends. As of Wednesday, nearly $450,000 had been donated on Jackson’s behalf.

Jackson issued a statement through Blessings in a Backpack thanking Bills Mafia.

Bills fans may be best known for their wild tailgate antics, but this is not the first time they have turned their unrivaled passion into a fundraising effort. They did the same earlier this year to honor Josh Allen’s late grandmother, and the quarterback was at a loss for words. They also donated to Andy Dalton’s charity after Dalton helped Buffalo get into the postseason a few years ago.

Bills Mafia is clearly about more than just jumping through flaming tables, and Jackson is grateful for that.

5 best NFL free agent signings of the 2020 season

Tom Brady Bucs

During free agency, every single signing is up for debate and scrutiny. No one is entirely sure how each addition will work out. More often than not, there are some very real surprises. That doesn’t necessarily mean they are good or bad, just that they’re ultimately eye-opening.

Looking back on the 2020 offseason, who made some of the best free agent signing? Here’s a look at five of the best signings from the 2020 offseason.

5. Robby Anderson, WR, Carolina Panthers

What a career resurgence for Robby Anderson. After being stuck in the mud for four seasons with the New York Jets, many believed Anderson had hit his professional ceiling and would be nothing more than a complementary receiver. The Panthers saw something more in him, and credit to head coach Matt Rhule, who certainly got the most out of Anderson. In his first season in Carolina, Anderson led the team with 136 targets and 95 receptions. He closed out the year with 1,096 yards and three touchdowns. While his production numbers were second to fellow receiver DJ Moore, there’s no denying Anderson has taken over as WR1 in Carolina and is just getting started.

4. Blake Martinez, LB, New York Giants

Since the retirement of Antonio Pierce following the 2009 season, the Giants have struggled to find an impact middle linebacker who can stop the run and drop into coverage without being a complete liability. That spot had been a persistent weakness until this season. The arrival of Blake Martinez signaled a significant change in East Rutherford, both on the field and in the locker room. Voted defensive captain by his teammates, Martinez finished the season with 151 tackles (third in NFL), six QB hits, three sacks, five passes defensed and one interception. He was snubbed for the Pro Bowl but did receive an All-Pro vote.

3. Tom Brady, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

How could this list possibly exist without the inclusion of the great one himself, Mr. Tom Brady? Love him or hate him, there’s no denying that Brady is among the best to ever play the game. His presence in Tampa Bay has turned that franchise around. Yes, the Buccaneers brought in head coach Bruce Arians and then surrounded Brady with a ridiculous level of talent, but that’s only served to highlight the level at which Brady plays — even at 43 years of age. Some thought he was finished after his split with New England, but Brady responded with 4,633 yards, 40 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 16 games this season. The 40 touchdown passes were the second-most of his career, and the 4,633 passing yards were his most since 2015. The achievements are remarkable when you think about it.

2. James Bradberry, CB, New York Giants

For all the criticism Giants GM Dave Gettleman receives, it’s rather telling to see two of his free agent signings on this list. However, there’s no denying that both are deserved. Like Martinez, Bradberry joined the Giants and immediately established himself as a hard-working leader who brought much to the table both on and off the field. In the locker room, he worked closely with a very young and inexperienced cornerback group, while he completely dominated on the field. Bradberry’s 18 passes defensed were second in the NFL. His 79.8 PFF grade was second on the Giants and seventh overall at his position. Unsurprisingly, Bradberry’s play earned him Pro Bowl recognition.

1. Philip Rivers, QB, Indianapolis Colts

It was strange to see Philip Rivers in another uniform, but 2020 was a strange year, and the NFL regular season reflected that. At the age of 39, Rivers had one of his best seasons to date, completing 68 percent of his passes for 4,169 yards, 24 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. It was also just the second time since 2009 that Rivers led his team to double-digit wins. Though the Colts were bounced out of the playoffs in the Wild Card round, it was through no fault of Rivers. If this season does end up being his last, there’s no reason for Rivers to hang his head. He gave the Colts every last thing he had in the tank and helped revitalize a franchise that had been teetering.

Arizona State fans troll rival Arizona with billboard

Herm Edwards

Arizona State fans trolled rival Arizona with a billboard reminder of the lopsided result in the Territorial Cup last season.

Some ASU fans put up a billboard between Phoenix and Tucson to remind Arizona about the dominant 70-7 win the Sun Devils enjoyed in December. The billboard features two badges with devil horns and tails that say “70-7”. The message on the board says “No Pity for the Kitty.”

The billboard was paid for by VIP members of the Sun Devil Source community.

The billboard was also revenge for Arizona putting up billboards around Phoenix, not too far from ASU’s campus in Tempe, to promote their hire of Kevin Sumlin.

The rivalry game was so one-sided that it cost Kevin Sumlin his job.

Arizona has a new coach, but ASU fans are going to continue enjoying the big win all offseason-long.

Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr via CC-BY-SA 2.0

Mets did not allow Edwin Diaz to pitch in Puerto Rican league

Edwin Diaz

The New York Mets did not give Edwin Diaz permission to pitch in the Puerto Rican league as he was hoping.

The 26-year-old relief pitcher told MLB.com’s Nathalie Alonso in December that he was hoping to pitch for the Criollos de Caguas of the Roberto Clemente Professional Baseball League this year. The Criollos have played four games this season, and Diaz did not appear in any of the games. That’s because he was not given permission by the Mets to play, a PR official told MLB.com’s Nathalie Alonso.

Between the COVID-19 pandemic and short 2020 MLB season, it’s understandable why the Mets may have denied Diaz’s request.

The team acquired Diaz in a Dec. 2018 trade with the Mariners that also involved Robinson Cano. The deal was among Brodie Van Wagenen’s first during his brief stint on the job. Diaz was abysmal in his first season with the Mets, but he settled in nicely last season. Diaz went 2-1 with a 1.75 ERA and had 50 strikeouts in 25.2 innings pitched.

Did Patrick Mahomes actually suffer a concussion?

Patrick Mahomes

Patrick Mahomes exited Sunday’s AFC Divisional Round playoff game against the Cleveland Browns with an injury suffered in the third quarter and was placed in concussion protocol. After the MVP quarterback was downgraded to “out” for the remainder of the game after being evaluated for a concussion, there was a wide assumption that the Kansas City Chiefs star had suffered a concussion. But now there are many signals calling into question whether or not Mahomes actually suffered a concussion against Cleveland.

For starters, it originally appeared as if Mahomes hit his head on the infamous rushing play in the third quarter. However, different angles showed that he did not hit his head against the Arrowhead Stadium turf. Instead, it appears that Mahomes may have been choked out on the play, which is something Jay Glazer reported on Sunday night.

Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said after the win that Mahomes passed all concussion tests. He added that Mahomes would have returned to the game in the old days, suggesting that it was the concussion protocol that kept Mahomes out.

Remember, players can be placed in concussion protocol for different reasons, and being in the protocol does not necessarily mean a player has been concussed. NFL reporter Ian Rapoport made this point on Wednesday.

A report on Monday said that Mahomes actually suffered a neck injury and not a concussion.

Factor in that Mahomes has no symptoms and was able to take all the snaps in practice on Wednesday, and that leads to further questions about whether there was a concussion. Former Chargers team doctor David Chao also does not believe Mahomes was concussed.

Even if Mahomes was not concussed, he did suffer a toe/foot injury in the game, and that could affect him in Sunday’s AFC Championship Game against the Bills.

QB1 star Tate Martell sends Twitter message as tease for next season

Tate Martell

Tate Martell finally tweeted this week after being silent on the social media service for months.

Martell opted out of the 2020 college football season in September after being suspended by Miami. Though he retweeted some messages, this was the first time he sent one in months.

Martell seemed to explain his mentality.

Now that Martell has presumably gotten his “mind right,” it seems like he may be ready for the 2021 college football season.

Inside the U reported last week that Martell intends to return to the Hurricanes’ program.

Martell wasn’t around the program last season and even missed some time the season before.

Martell switched to wide receiver at Miami but has also tried to play some quarterback. The team has D’Eriq King, who is recovering from a torn ACL. N’Kosi Perry, Tyler Van Dyke, Peyton Matocha and Ryan Rizk are some of the other quarterbacks they have, though Perry has considered a transfer.

Martell was the Gatorade National Player of the Year out of high school in 2016 and originally played at Ohio State. He is known for being featured on the Netflix show “QB1: Beyond the Lights.”