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Wednesday, July 8, 2020

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Jadeveon Clowney more likely to end up back with Seahawks?

Jadeveon Clowney

Are the Seattle Seahawks the likely landing spot for Jadeveon Clowney in 2020? One reporter believes so.

Seattle Times Seahawks reporter Bob Condotta answered fan questions for a mailbag column he published on Tuesday. The first question he addressed had to do with whether Clowney would return to the team.

Condotta noted that the Cleveland Browns guaranteed the salary for Olivier Vernon, which likely takes them out of the running for Clowney. The Browns reportedly have had the highest offer for Clowney.

Condotta figures that the odds are “likely increasing he plays another year in Seattle with every other option that falls through.”

The thinking is that Clowney might feel comfortable returning to the team he played for last season and reentering free agency after the year. On Monday, a report said an AFC team had interest in signing Clowney, but it’s unclear whether that is feasible.

Clowney had 31 tackles, three sacks, four forced fumbles and an interception in 13 games last season for Seattle.

Saints WR Michael Thomas takes issue with league’s salary escrow proposal

Michael Thomas

New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas was among the players who took issue with the NFL’s salary escrow proposal.

On Tuesday, NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero reported that the NFL proposed to have 35 percent of player salaries be held in escrow during the 2020 NFL season to help manage costs.

The NFLPA reportedly told the league to effectively “kick rocks” in response, saying such a proposal would have to be collectively bargained.

To give you an idea about league finances, the NFL generated about $16 billion in revenue in 2018. According to terms of the league’s Collective Bargaining Agreement with the players, owners receive around 52 percent of football revenue, while the players receive around 48 percent.

Revenue will almost certainly drop if there is limited to no fan attendance in 2020, and it will likely drop if the season is shortened or unable to be completed in any way. A drop in football revenue would affect the players and owners, as the salary cap would accordingly be lowered.

The owners are looking for the players to work with them on the matter, but Thomas does not like the proposal.

Here is what he wrote in response on Twitter, saying it “has to be a joke.”

Eagles defensive back Darius Slay expressed issues with the proposal, saying they should get more money for playing amid the coronavirus.

This is similar to the issues MLB and the MLBPA had; the owners wanted some help from the players given the economic conditions, while the players did not want to take a pay cut. The NBA and NBPA agreed to a plan where the players would have 25 percent of their salaries withheld after May 1 to help owners meet expenses amid conditions of zero revenue. The aims of the league to resume the season later this month should allow players to recoup money that was withheld.

Mike Golic still under contract with ESPN despite no longer having radio show

Mike Golic Notre Dame

ESPN Radio now has a new programming lineup, one that does not include Mike Golic as a host for the first time since 2000.

Golic and Trey Wingo hosted a show called “Golic & Wingo” that began in November 2017. The show is not part of the network’s new programming schedule.

Golic remains under contract with ESPN despite no longer hosting a radio show for them. His future assignments are to-be-determined.

Golic, 57, received some tributes for his run as an ESPN Radio host. He began with ESPN Radio in October 1998.

Golic’s son, Mike Golic Jr., will remain with the network as a host in the afternoon along with Chiney Ogwumike.

Look: LSU shows off new championship rings from unbeaten season

LSU rings

The 2019 LSU Tigers completed one of the most impressive seasons in college football history, and now they have the rings to commemorate it.

LSU shared photos and a video on social media Tuesday of the three rings members of the team received for their accomplishments. Players received rings for winning the SEC Championship, a College Football Playoff-provided ring for winning the CFP, and a national championship ring provided by LSU.

Here is what the rings look like on the fingers of quarterback Myles Brennan:

Here are some details on the rings (via LSU’s website).

SEC Championship ring

Yellow gold and sixteen purple stones adorn the face for LSU’s 16 conference championships, and the scores of all eight conference wins in 2019 line the interior of the ring. One side features the score of the championship game in Atlanta and the text “Geaux Tigers.” The other features the owner’s name and position with another signature phrase: “One Team. One Heartbeat.”

College Football Playoff champion ring

The CFP ball logo is gold, but LSU got a bonus: they asked for purple stones to surround the CFP logo and were granted their request. Purple is one of LSU’s primary colors.

LSU provided national champion ring

– Features white-gold LSU stones on top of a yellow-gold rendering of the national championship trophy. Combined with the purple stones behind the trophy, it showcases all three official school colors: purple, gold, and white.

– Four stones for the four national championship programs in modern history line the edges of the top.

– One side features a rendering of Tiger Stadium.

– The state of Louisiana is on the other side of the ring.

– Inside of the ring is the engraved text “LSU standard of performance”, which is a message used by Coach Ed Orgeron.

LSU went a perfect 15-0 last season. Seven of their 15 wins came against an opponent ranked in the top 10 at the time of their game, including a win at then-No. 2 Alabama. Due to their strenuous schedule, I believe the 2019 LSU team is the most accomplished team in college football history.

DeSean Jackson shares second apology for anti-Semitic messages

DeSean Jackson shared a second apology on social media Tuesday for the anti-Semitic messages he has been spreading via Instagram.

Jackson came to attention after sharing anti-Semitic messages on his Instagram page the past few days. The Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver may have been inspired to share the anti-Semitic messages while studying the preaching of Louis Farrakhan, who is the leader of the Nation of Islam, which is recognized as a hate group due in part to its anti-Semitic messages.

Jackson’s first apology seemed more casual than his second apology.

In his second apology, Jackson apologized directly to the Jewish community, the Eagles, the team’s owner, GM, and head coach, and the fans.

Some of Jackson’s posts and his first apology all seem to point to the receiver not even recognizing he was spreading anti-Semitic messages. The original passage he shared was incorrectly attributed to Adolf Hitler and accused Jewish people of blackmailing and extorting America as a plan for world domination. In his first apology, Jackson did not even seem to recognize that the passage he quoted was not even written nor said by Hitler.

Jackson’s second apology came after there were some questions about whether the Eagles could use it as a reason to get out of his contract. The 33-year-old was limited to just nine catches for 159 yards and two touchdowns last season because of a core muscle injury that eventually required surgery. He is entering the second season of a three-year deal with Philly.

Report: Pau Gasol in advanced talks to return to Spain

Pau Gasol’s professional basketball career may be ending right where it began.

Spanish outlet La Resistencia del Palau reported on Tuesday that the six-time NBA All-Star is advanced negotiations to return to FC Barcelona, the team that he started his pro career with back in 1998. The report adds that the deal is not complete but could be imminent.

Gasol, who just turned 40 years old, is a native of Spain and has represented them on the international stage for many years. He was born in Barcelona and played for FC Barcelona from 1998 to 2001 before being drafted into the NBA.

Also a two-time NBA champion, Gasol last played for the Milwaukee Bucks in 2019 before briefly signing with the Portland Trail Blazers and being waived without making a single appearance for them because of a foot injury. He had hinted at a possible return to another one of his former teams, but a Barcelona homecoming would arguably be the most fitting final career stop for Gasol.

H/T Sportando

DeAndre Hopkins tweets hilarious dig at former team Texans

DeAndre Hopkins and the Houston Texans had a messy break-up, and the star receiver showed no mercy to his former team on social media this week.

Hopkins tweeted his reaction Tuesday to Kansas City Chiefs star Patrick Mahomes’ historic new contract by saying that there were 24 reasons why Mahomes deserved it and zero doubts that he would win more Super Bowls.

It didn’t take long for Twitter to realize that Hopkins was referencing the 24-0 lead that the Texans infamously blew to Mahomes and the Chiefs during the divisional round of this year’s AFC playoffs.

Hopkins, who had been with the Texans for his entire NFL career, was shockingly traded to the Arizona Cardinals earlier this offseason. The move sparked rumors about a poor relationship with head coach Bill O’Brien.

The four-time All-Pro will get a fresh start in an up-and-coming Cardinals offense led by star quarterback Kyler Murray, but it seems that Hopkins couldn’t resist getting in one final parting shot at his old club.

Mike D’Antoni takes funny shot at Rockets over their defense

Mike D'Antoni

Mike D’Antoni has always been known as more of an offensive mind than a defensive one, and he is happy to have fun at his own expense over that much.

Speaking with reporters on Tuesday, the Houston Rockets head coach was asked about how he will be able to coach while observing social distancing.

“Well, that’s how we guard anyway,” he joked, per ESPN’s Tim MacMahon.

Whether it be in Denver, Phoenix, New York, Los Angeles, or now Houston, D’Antoni’s teams have regularly been among the league’s best in pace and overall offense while usually topping out as average on defense. This season, the Rockets are second in offensive efficiency and 14th in defensive efficiency.

As for the Orlando bubble, new coaching practices may indeed have to be implemented in order to maintain proper distancing. D’Antoni, who falls in the high-risk category at age 69, is also considering other changes to his coaching plan from a more strategy-based standpoint.

Brock Holt afraid his MLB career would be over if he opted out of season

Milwaukee Brewers logo

Several professional athletes have decided to opt out of the 2020 season due to concerns or commitments involving their families, and Brock Holt could have done the same with a baby on the way. The MLB veteran doesn’t feel he has that luxury, however.

Holt, who signed with the Milwaukee Brewers this offseason after spending the last seven seasons with the Boston Red Sox, said Tuesday that he has not considered opting out of 2020 even with a pregnant wife at home. If he did, Holt says he would be concerned he wouldn’t have a job in 2021.

“I’m not in a position to opt out of a season,” Holt told reporters, via Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “I feel like if I didn’t play this year, my baseball career would be over. If I didn’t play, it would be hard for me to find a job next year.”

MLB players are allowed to opt out of the 2020 season without losing their pro-rated salaries if they are deemed “high-risk.” Players who are not considered high-risk are also free to opt out, but they would lose their salaries and not accrue a season of service time, meaning Holt would be a free agent after the season if he sat out.

“If I was in a different situation contractually, it’s definitely something I would have considered with my wife being pregnant,” Holt added. “If I had a contract with enough years or enough money to sit out a year, not play and not have to worry about not having a job next year, I think opting out would have been an easier decision considering the situation me and my family are in right now. Based on the situation I’m in, it was never really an option.”

Holt signed a one-year deal with the Brewers worth $2.5 million, so he is set to make less than $1 million this year with a prorated salary. Milwaukee holds a club option of $5 million for him for next season. The utility man hit .297 in 87 games for the Red Sox last year and is a career .271 hitter.

While Holt has made nearly $10 million thus far in his career, we know at least one player who opted out that has far less to concern himself with financially.

Report: Cam Newton understands Patriots are holding open QB competition

Cam Newton

The New England Patriots can probably provide Cam Newton with a better opportunity to start in Week 1 than any other NFL team would have, but it is not a guarantee that he will earn the job. The former MVP apparently understood that from the start.

Tom E. Curran of NBC Sports Boston reports that the Patriots have no concerns about the shoulder injury and fractured foot that hampered Newton the last two seasons. Newton has also already been studying New England’s playbook, and the team is confident he will master it. However, Bill Belichick has every intention of holding an open quarterback competition for the Week 1 starting job, and he has not hid that from Newton.

There are two other quarterbacks on the Patriots roster that could conceivably start in Week 1. Jarrett Stidham might be the most obvious choice outside of Newton, as New England used a fourth-round pick on the former Auburn star last year and he has already spent a year in the team’s offense. However, if both Newton and Stidham fail to impress, veteran Brian Hoyer could also enter the mix. Hoyer has plenty of starting experience and is in his third stint with the Patriots.

According to Curran, Newton understands that it will be difficult for him to get up to speed in a shortened offseason and would not demand a trade or release if he doesn’t win the Week 1 starting job. Even if he doesn’t start in Week 1, it is viewed as “inevitable” that Newton will start for the Patriots at some point in 2020 as long as he’s healthy.

Newton’s contract with the Patriots could be worth as little as the NFL minimum if he does not meet incentives, but he has already made it clear that he is not concerned about the money this season. The goal for the 31-year-old is to prove he can stay healthy and play at a high level again. If Stidham or Hoyer beats him out this summer, Newton’s opportunity should still come at a later date.