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Friday, September 20, 2019

Featured Stories

Do the Patriots owe Antonio Brown signing bonus money after releasing him?

Antonio Brown was released by the New England Patriots on Friday afternoon as the team decided he was no longer worth the trouble of carrying on their roster. The move instantly left many wondering how much money the team owes him.

When Brown officially signed with the Patriots on Monday, Sept. 9, he received a one-year deal worth up to $15 million and with $10 million supposedly guaranteed. The structure of the deal included:

– $1 million base salary
– $500,000 roster bonus
– $9 million signing bonus spread into two installments
– $4.5 million in incentives ($1.5 million for each of last year’s stats he surpassed – receptions, yards and touchdowns)

Brown’s Patriots career lasted just one game. He was officially signed by the team on Monday, Sept. 9 and was released by them 11 days later on Friday, Sept. 20.

As of now, he stands to have collected two weekly checks for his 11 days with the team. His first signing bonus payment of $5 million was not due until Monday. The Patriots can void the deal citing Brown’s conduct that was detrimental to the team.

According to Spotrac, Brown made just under $154,000 in his 11 days with the team and leaves behind dead cap hits of $5.5 million in 2019 and $4.5 million for 2020 due to his signing bonus being spread out. The money is likely to be credited back to the team.

The Patriots structured the deal so that they would not be financially hamstrung if things did not work out. After harassing text messages Brown sent to a second accuser were publicized, the team likely decided they’d had enough.

Report: Kansas basketball facing allegations of major NCAA violations

Bill Self

The Kansas Jayhawks’ basketball program is reportedly set to be hit with a notice of allegations detailing major NCAA rules violations.

According to Jesse Newell and Steve Vockrodt of the Kansas City Star, the imminent notice will allege “multiple major violations” in the men’s basketball program. It is not clear what the nature of the violations will be, and no one within the Kansas athletic department is commenting at this time.

The Jayhawks have been linked to a pay-for-play recruiting scheme that has been the subject of a highly-publicized FBI investigation. If the NCAA alleges level 1 violations, Kansas would be subject to the most severe punishments, including postseason bans and a loss of scholarships.

The Kansas program has been one of the sport’s most successful for over a decade. They won at least a share of the Big 12 regular season title for 14 consecutive seasons from 2005 to 2018. During that span, they appeared in three Final Fours and won a championship in 2008.

During the initial round of charges, former Adidas representative Jim Gatto said he had made payments to former Kansas players. Things got even murkier when the NCAA controversially suspended sophomore Silvio de Sousa, whose guardian allegedly took payments from an agent and a Kansas booster. How aware coach Bill Self and his assistants were of these alleged payments is unclear. Either way, it looks like the NCAA is prepared to come down hard on Kansas.

Calvin Johnson says Lions once made him change story about suffering concussion

Calvin Johnson sad

Calvin Johnson has openly criticized the Detroit Lions on more than one occasion since he made the shocking decision to retire from the NFL at age 30 three years ago, but the latest revelation he made about his time with the franchise may be the most damning.

In a lengthy interview with Michael Rosenberg of The MMQB, Johnson criticized NFL teams for only caring about their “product” and not the welfare of players. He spoke about the rampant opioid abuse across the league, and he also recalled a time when he suffered a concussion and the Lions made him lie about it.

Johnson said he suffered so many concussions playing football that he got used to them and could recognize the signs, which included “seeing stars” and having impaired vision. He says he sustained one in a game against the Minnesota Vikings back in 2012, but the Lions were unhappy that he spoke about it publicly.

“I knew I was concussed because I blacked out. I wasn’t seeing straight,” Johnson said. “And they wanted me to change my story.”

Johnson sat out six offensive plays in the 2012 game after taking a big hit from then-Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway. He returned the next offensive series. Johnson confirmed after the game that he had suffered a concussion and said he also suffered nerve damage and was having trouble gripping a football. The Lions released a statement saying neither assessment was accurate.

“In response to the various reports (Thursday) regarding Calvin Johnson and injuries, we reiterate that Calvin did not suffer a concussion at any time this season,” the team said at the time. “With respect to the Minnesota game on Sept. 30, Calvin sustained a hit that resulted in him being removed from the game and evaluated pursuant to the appropriate concussion protocol by our team doctors.

“He also was subsequently examined the following day and was found to have no concussion. Additionally, Calvin did not suffer any nerve damage. He sustained what is referred to as a stinger Sept. 30 and was able to finish the game.”

Johnson initially declined comment when reporters sought clarification, but he later released a statement of his own through the team.

“I would like to clarify some of my comments from yesterday. I am aware that I did not suffer a concussion in our game against the Vikings earlier this year,” the statement read. “I misused the terms ‘nerve damage’ and ‘concussion.’ I have not suffered any nerve damage nor have I received any treatment for nerve damage. I did suffer a stringer in the game against Minnesota and also have experienced the kind of wear and tear that most NFL players are dealing with at this point in the season.”

The statement read like it was given from someone who was called to the principal’s office, and Johnson said that’s basically what happened. He said he played through concussions many times because that’s what you have to do to earn “Employee of the Month,” as Rosenberg termed it.

Johnson has had a very public dispute with the Lions over his signing bonus, but it’s clear the hostility he feels toward the organization has to do with more than just money. If the Lions forced him to cover up a concussion to make themselves look better, you can understand why he’d be bitter about that.

Gardner Minshew once tried to break his own hand to get medical redshirt

Gardner Minshew may not be the most talented quarterback in football, but there is no one in the NFL willing to go to greater lengths to achieve their goals than the Jacksonville Jaguars rookie.

Minshew was a guest on the “Pardon My Take” podcast this week, and hosts Big Cat and PFT Commenter asked him to tell a story that most encompasses what a “football guy” he is. The former Washington State star recalled the time he had just enrolled at East Carolina from junior college and was so desperate to redshirt his first year that he tried to smash his own hand with a hammer.

Minshew said he had two senior quarterbacks ahead of him in his first year at ECU, and one was moved to running back in the fourth game of the season when the starter got knocked out with concussion. That left Minshew to play about a half, but the starter returned the following week. Minshew’s only hope at that point to save a year of eligibility was to be granted a medical redshirt. We’ll let him take it from here.

“I get an idea. I go home and I grab a bottle of Jack Daniel’s and I grab a hammer,” Minshew said. “I go in my room and take a pull of Jack Daniel’s, put my hand down on the table and BOOM, BOOM, BOOM. I can tell it’s not broken, so I take a pull and one, two, three do it again. Still nothing. I’m just shaking but I knew it still wasn’t broken. One more time, another three hits was all I could take. I couldn’t break my own hand.”

All Minshew was left with was a swollen hand for a few weeks, which he said he he told his coaches was the result of slamming it in a car door.

In case you were still questioning whether Minshew was anything more than just a fantastic mustache guy, there’s your answer. If he’s willing to pulverize his own fingers for an extra year of college ball, you know he is laying it on the line every week for the Jags.

Tip va Cordog

Report: Jaguars owner ‘loves’ Jalen Ramsey, would pay him top dollar

Jalen Ramsey

There is a growing belief that Jalen Ramsey may have played his last game with the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday night, but one very influential person within the organization would prefer not to see the star cornerback leave. That person would be the owner.

Jaguars owner Shad Khan would rather sign Ramsey to a long-term extension than trade him, Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reported on Friday. Khan supposedly “loves” Ramsey and would be willing to make him the highest-paid cornerback in football, but the relationship between Ramsey and other members of the organization could be damaged beyond repair.

Rapoport later added that Ramsey’s issues are more with executive vice president of football operations Tom Coughlin than head coach Doug Marrone.

“This is not about Marrone,” Rapoport said. “It’s about management — Tom Coughlin and others. That is a situation that doesn’t seem like it can be handled and fixed, but we simply don’t know.”

Coughlin was given total control over personnel decisions when he was hired by the Jaguars, so he will likely have the final say over whether Ramsey stays or goes. Even if Ramsey’s primary issue is with Coughlin, it doesn’t seem like his relationship with Marrone is all that strong. Ramsey shoved the coach during last week’s game and the two had to be separated during a sideline altercation, which speaks for itself. Ramsey also had a blunt assessment of Marrone’s job security when the Jags were struggling last year.

The Jaguars have placed a high asking price on Ramsey, but there will likely be teams willing to pay it. He seems destined to be traded, even if Khan is a big fan.

Tulane beats Houston with incredible fake kneeldown play in final minute

Tulane trick play

Tulane beat Houston 38-31 on Thursday night thanks to one of the most creative playcalls you will see.

The Houston Cougars had kicked a field goal with 21 seconds left to tie the game and thought for sure they were going to overtime and that their job was done. Not so fast.

Tulane returned the ensuing kickoff to their 29, and just when you thought they would kneel out the clock and go to OT, the Green Wave pulled off the greatest fake ever. Take a look at this gorgeous play:

The Annexation of Puerto Rico run to perfection!

Tulane gained 18 yards to the 47 and had three seconds left. Then they did this:


Houston has to be kicking itself over the collapse. Meanwhile, Tulane just made our list of favorite trick plays ever. Well done, fellas.

Tom Brady blasts NFL over ‘ridiculous penalties’ in Jaguars-Titans game

Tom Brady

Tom Brady may benefit from the protections the league gives to NFL quarterbacks, but he does not appear to be a fan of all the penalty calls referees are making.

Brady complained on Twitter Thursday night about all the penalties in the Tennessee Titans-Jacksonville Jaguars game.

He then said he was turning off the game because of all the “ridiculous penalties” in the game.

22 minutes into the contest, seven offensive holding penalties alone had been called. Nobody wants to see that. The most egregious call was a roughing the passer penalty called on Kamalei Correa for his hit on Gardner Minshew:

Analyst Troy Aikman didn’t like the call and said so on the air. Neither did Kurt Warner.

We’ve got news for the NFL: NOBODY watches the games to see penalty calls. Holding calls were an emphasis in the preseason, and unfortunately that trend has spilled into the regular season. Nobody wants to watch that. Maybe Tom Brady saying it will produce a change.