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#pounditWednesday, January 19, 2022

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Jim Irsay goes viral after sharing old weightlifting video

Jim Irsay went viral on Tuesday night after sharing a video clip from a past weightlifting competition in which he participated.

Irsay, 62, is the owner of the Indianapolis Colts. He was a walk-on linebacker at SMU in college, and he was a competitive weightlifter.

In the clip he shared, Irsay claimed he weighed 307 pounds at the time and was squatting 525 pounds.

That is impressive!

Irsay now looks nothing like he did in the video. If you told me that was an NFL owner in the video and asked me to guess which one, I would have been stumped.

A really cool article from the LA Times’ archives in 1987 talks about Irsay’s weightlifting history. He and his wife were both competitive weightlifters/bodybuilders. Maybe that clip helped him bring back the memories.

Mick Cronin sounds off on UCLA’s ludicrous COVID policies

UCLA head coach Mick Cronin sounded off on Tuesday about his school’s ludicrous COVID policies with an indirect jab.

UCLA is among three schools in the Pac-12 that have self-imposed harsh restrictions regarding fan attendance at athletic events. The Bruins, along with USC and Stanford, are currently limiting fan attendance at sporting events to limited family members.

Cronin has been the coach of UCLA’s men’s basketball team since 2019. He wants to know why the Los Angeles Rams could have 80,000 fans in attendance for their playoff game on Monday night, while UCLA is not allowing fans. Both teams play in the city and their game venues are located 13 miles apart.

Cronin made his point as artfully as possible, saying it’s demoralizing to the players not to have fans.

The truth is the school’s policy makes no sense. What justification is there for UCLA and USC to exclude fans when the very city in which they play is allowing sporting events of 80,000 fans? Obviously the city isn’t concerned about one sporting event being a “superspreader” and straining the healthcare system. So what explanation do USC and UCLA have for their self-imposed restrictions?

Of course, UCLA is the same school that thought it would be fine to cancel on a bowl game just hours before kickoff. None of their policies or reasoning makes sense.

Maybe Cronin raising the point will get the school to reconsider.

Photo: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Carlos Correa switches agents to Scott Boras

Carlos Correa is making business moves even while MLB players are locked out.

Correa has changed his representation and hired Scott Boras to serve as his agent.

Correa was among the shortstops available in a stacked free agent class at his position. Corey Seager and Javy Baez already signed deals before the lockout, while Marcus Semien did as well (Semien can also play second base). Seager received a $325 million deal; Semien received $175 million; and Baez received $140 million.

Former GM Jim Bowden thinks that Correa may have come to the conclusion that he made the wrong decision when he didn’t sign before the lockout and that Boras may have provided him with better guidance.

Correa was previously represented by William Morris Endeavor, which is traditionally a talent agency. They just purchased some minor league teams, which could be a conflict of interest with the MLB Players Association.

Correa batted .279 with 26 home runs and an .851 OPS last season. He has played for the Astros his entire career.

Photo: Mar 2, 2019; Clearwater, FL, USA; Bryce Harper agent Scott Boras speaks as they formally introduce right fielder Bryce Harper (3) as a Philadelphia Phillie at Spectrum Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Tate Martell reportedly retiring from football

One of the most disappointing college football careers is finally coming to a close.

Joe Arrigo of Franchise Sports Media in Las Vegas reported on Tuesday that Martell has retired from football. Arrigo says Martell is focused on business and has some big things in store.

The retirement ends a highly disappointing career.

Martell entered the college football world as a heavily-hyped player since high school. His family moved from the San Diego area to Las Vegas so he could play for national powerhouse Bishop Gorman. Martell went 45-0 as Bishop Gorman’s quarterback and won the Gatorade National Player of the Year award.

Martell was featured on the “QB1” TV show and received tremendous attention as a recruit. He committed to Washington as a 14-year-old, then Texas A&M, and he ultimately switched to Ohio State, where he signed and played to start his career.

As a freshman at Ohio State in 2018, Martell saw the most action of his career. Urban Meyer used Martell in some red-zone situations, and the young quarterback passed for 269 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed for 128 yards and two touchdowns.

Martell later transferred to Miami, where he rushed for seven yards and passed for seven yards over three games in two seasons. He also underwent a position switch to wide receiver. Martell ultimately transferred to UNLV, but he only appeared in two games last season.

The harsh reality is that few players entered college with more hype and exited with less production than Martell. His tendency to change schools and change commitments that was exhibited in high school continued in college, where he transferred twice.

H/T The Spun
Photo: Jul 11, 2017; Marina del Rey, CA, USA; Football player of the year Tate Martell of Bishop Gorman High (Nev.) during the Gatorade National Athlete of the Year Awards at the Ritz-Carlton. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Dak Prescott apologizes for comments about referees

Dak Prescott issued an apology on Tuesday for his comments about NFL officials.

Prescott initially admonished Dallas Cowboys fans for throwing debris onto the field at AT&T Stadium after the team’s playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday. Upon being informed that the fans were throwing things at the refs, who had hurried off the field, Prescott changed his tune and complimented the fans.

On Tuesday, the NBA’s referees tweeted their disappointment with Prescott and asked the NFL to step in.

A few hours later, Prescott apologized via Twitter.

“I deeply regret the comments I made regarding the officials after the game on Sunday,” Prescott wrote. “I was caught up in the emotion of a disappointing loss and my words were uncalled for and unfair.

“I hold the NFL Officials in the highest regard and have always respected their professionalism and the difficulty of their jobs.

“The safety of everyone who attends a game or participates on the field of a sporting event is a very serious matter. That was a mistake on my behalf, and I am sorry.”

Not only is Prescott wrong to applaud the fans for throwing things at the refs, but he also was directing his anger at the wrong place. The Cowboys being unable to get off a spike at the end of the game was not because the refs were bad at their job, but because Dallas did their jobs poorly. They should not have called a risky play with only 14 seconds left. And Prescott should have got down earlier and handed the ball to the ref earlier.

Photo: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Is Kurt Rambis undermining Frank Vogel on Lakers?

Among the headwinds facing Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel right now may be the influence of executive Kurt Rambis.

Dan Woike of the LA Times examined the dynamics between Vogel and Lakers management in a feature this week. Woike reported that Rambis, who is the Lakers’ senior basketball advisor, personally attended the team’s pregame coaches meeting on Monday for the first time all season. Rambis had previously only done so virtually, Woike adds. The report also says that Rambis advocated for the Lakers to use larger lineups with Dwight Howard and DeAndre Jordan during the meeting.

Woike’s feature touches on many of the other issues affecting the Lakers right now, and you can read it in full here.

The Lakers were coming off one of their worst losses of the season Saturday, getting routed by the Denver Nuggets 133-96. They responded on Monday though with an excellent win over a tough Utah Jazz team. Howard started at center and played 22 minutes. Jordan did not play at all though.

Vogel has largely gone away from lineups that feature traditional centers, instead using LeBron James at the 5 for extended minutes. Howard has not played more than 23 minutes in a game since November, and Jordan (who had an incident with Vogel earlier this season) has only played 20 total minutes for the team since Dec. 23.

As for Rambis, he is a Lakers great who won four championships as part of the team’s “Showtime” era in the 1980s. He has also become one of the most influential voices in the team’s front office since returning to the Lakers in 2018. Rambis has even been described as the Lakers’ “shadow president.”

But Rambis was an unsuccessful head coach in the NBA, compiling an awful 72-173 (.294) record across three teams. One of the criticisms of Rambis as a coach was that he failed to evolve as the league did. Now his push for the Lakers to go old-school and use bigger lineups seems to directly contradict and undermine Vogel’s approach. That is worrisome, especially with the rumors that Vogel’s job may be in imminent danger.

Rambis and wife Linda are powerful figures in the Lakers’ front office. They even reportedly took the lead on some major decisions for the team before. On top of making sure that the Lakers win games, Vogel may now have to contend with the influence of Rambis on his day-to-day game plan as well.

Photo: Jan 25, 2018; Denver, CO, USA; New York Knicks associate head coach Kurt Rambis in the second quarter against the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Video: Kyrie Irving had profane response to heckler in his old city Cleveland

Kyrie Irving received a less-than-warm welcome from the local fans as he returned to Cleveland this week.

The Brooklyn Nets guard was in town to face the Cavaliers on Monday night, a game that Irving was eligible to play in since it was a road contest. A video from the game went viral of Irving’s profane response to a courtside fan who was heckling him.

“Got y’all a championship and motherf—ers still ungrateful,” Irving said.

Here is the video, which was posted by Instagram user _willswish (but obviously beware of the bad language).

Irving ended up going for 27 points, seven rebounds, and nine assists on the evening, but the Cavaliers won 114-107. Cleveland is now just one game behind Brooklyn in the Eastern Conference standings.

The seven-time All-Star Irving was drafted No. 1 overall by the Cavs in 2011 and played his first six career seasons with them. He indeed played a major role in the franchise’s only NBA championship to date in 2016, hitting the series-winning shot in Game 7 of the Finals that year.

Granted, there are plenty who will argue that LeBron James, not Irving, was most responsible for the 2016 title. Irving probably cannot expect a hero’s welcome back either with the shots that he took at Cleveland after leaving.

Photo: Feb 1, 2020; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) during the second half against the Washington Wizards at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Ex-Rams QB jabs Kurt Warner over bad playoff pick

There was some former Ram-on-former Ram quarterback crime on Tuesday.

Kurt Warner played quarterback for the St. Louis Rams and Arizona Cardinals during his career, taking both teams to the Super Bowl. He is currently an analyst for NFL Network and picked the Cardinals to beat the Rams in Monday’s NFC Wild Card game.

The Cardinals, of course, came nowhere near close to winning the game, and got run out of the building 34-11 by the Rams.

Jim Everett, who quarterbacked the Rams from 1986-1993, jabbed Warner over the Cardinals pick.

Everett later clarified that there were no hard feelings between him and Warner and that it was all in fun.

Warner explained his pick of the Cardinals to another Twitter user. Warner seemed to indicate he was taking Arizona to make for good TV.

Whether or not Warner legitimately thought the Cardinals would win the game, his prediction turned out to be terrible. Arizona could not have looked less competitive than they did. Even more confounding was Kliff Kingsbury’s postgame quote.

Photo: Oct 28, 2018; London, United Kingdom; NFL Network analyst and Arizona Cardinals former quarterback Kurt Warner seen on the sidelines of the NFL International Series game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Archie Manning had interesting comment about playing at Alabama

Archie Manning had a very interesting comment on Tuesday while presenting an award.

Archie presented the “Manning Award” to Alabama quarterback Bryce Young. The award goes to the best college quarterback in the country, as determined by the Sugar Bowl Committee.

While presenting the award to Young, Archie noted that playing at Alabama as Young does gives one the opportunity to play in big games.

Why is that notable? Because it has some ties to Arch Manning.

Arch is Archie’s grandson and the No. 1 recruit in the 2023 recruiting class. Arch is believed to be considering Alabama, along with four other schools. If Archie has emphasized the point to Arch about playing in big games, then that may have stuck in Arch’s head and could influence his college decision.

Another influence could be Arch’s family heritage. Arch’s father Cooper, grandfather Archie and uncle Eli all played at Ole Miss. Arch could ultimately choose to go play for the Rebels to keep the family tradition alive.

Photo: Jul 16, 2019; Birmingham, AL, USA; Archie Manning speaks during the SEC Legends panel featuring Herschel Walker and Manning and Steve Spurrier discussing 150 years of college football with the media at the Hyatt Regency-Birmingham. Mandatory Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Sixers turned down big Ben Simmons trade offer from East team

The Philadelphia 76ers are swinging for the fences as they try to trade Ben Simmons, and it turns out they may not even be willing to settle for a triple.

Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer reported on Tuesday that the Sixers rebuffed a big trade offer that they got for Simmons from the Detroit Pistons. The offer was Jerami Grant, Saddiq Bey, Kelly Olynyk, and a first-round pick.

Fischer says the package was met with little enthusiasm from the Sixers, who are said to be looking for an All-Star-caliber partner for Joel Embiid.

On paper, that is a very competitive offer for a player like Simmons, who is far from a truly elite player and whom everybody knows wants to be traded. Grant is a 20-point-per-game scorer who hits threes and plays great defense. Bey is one of Detroit’s best young talents at 22 years old and made the All-Rookie First Team last year. Olynyk is a solid veteran big who can space the floor and anchor a second unit offensively. Throw in a first-round pick on top of it, and that makes for an objectively excellent package for Simmons.

The Sixers are stubborn though, and a recent report detailed the unrealistic expectations they appear to have for a Simmons trade. The Simmons drama has already bled over into 2022. If not even an offer like the Detroit one can get the Sixers to budge, the saga might just last into 2023 as well.

Photo: Jan 30, 2020; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons (25) talks to fans before a game against the Atlanta Hawks at State Farm Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports