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Monday, August 19, 2019

Football

Ex-NFL star Chad Johnson offers solution to Antonio Brown’s helmet problem

Antonio Brown

Antonio Brown is still trying to find a helmet that he will be comfortable wearing after his old one was deemed unsafe by the NFL, and former wide receiver Chad Johnson has offered to cut him a deal.

When Brown took to Twitter on Tuesday to ask fans for help finding a newer version of the helmet he has always worn, Johnson made him an offer. The ex-Cincinnati Bengals star says if Brown can convince Raiders head coach Jon Gruden to let Johnson play in the slot on third downs, Johnson will give Brown his old helmet.

Neither one of those things are going to happen. The issue with Brown’s old helmet is that it is a model that was manufactured more than 10 years ago. Chances are the same is true for the helmet Johnson wore in 2010. There’s also no chance Johnson is going to play in the NFL again, as his last appearance in a game was back in 2011.

Brown has bigger problems this offseason than his helmet, but it has clearly been a major source of frustration for him. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like Johnson will be of much help to him.

Tony Romo, CBS reportedly have not had substantive new contract talks

Tony Romo CBS

Tony Romo has enjoyed great success in his first two seasons as an analyst with CBS, and it would stand to reason that network executives are going to do everything in their power to keep him for years to come. However, it does not sound like the two sides are close to a new deal.

Andrew Marchand of the New York Post reports that Romo and CBS have had “no substantive talks” regarding a new contract for the former Dallas Cowboys star. Romo is entering the final year of the first deal he signed with CBS, but CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus said he expects him to remain with the network “for a long time.” Romo would not reveal whether or not he has been discussing a new contract with his bosses.

“I Bill Belichick contract talk,” he joked, referencing how the New England Patriots coach will never discuss anything related to player or personnel contracts.

Romo currently makes around $3 million per year with CBS, but all indications have been that the network intends to do everything necessary to keep him. Romo has enjoyed instant success and fans love the way he’s able to diagnose plays before they happen. He’ll surely be coveted by every major network.

Mike Vrabel dishes on his fun trash talk with Tom Brady

Mike Vrabel

Mike Vrabel and Tom Brady traded some fun trash talk during a joint practice between their teams on Wednesday that Vrabel seems to be relishing.

Vrabel’s Tennessee Titans and Brady’s New England Patriots are set to play on Saturday in a preseason game. They held a joint practice to benefit both teams ahead of the game.

Vrabel, who was teammates with Brady on the Patriots from 2001-2008, jokingly razzed the quarterback for walking onto the field (beware: the video does include profanity).

Brady apparently gave it right back to Vrabel with some trash talk during their joint practice. Vrabel was asked about it by a reporter and shared how much he enjoyed the exchanges.

“It was fun. It brought back a lot of memories, just to be able to sit out there and they make a play and he turns around and says, ‘Mikey, you better cover that.’ It’s a lot of fun. We have a lot of respect for those guys and we can learn a lot from the way they practice and the way they operate,” Vrabel said of the Patriots.

Brady has been around so long that he and Vrabel won the 2001 Super Bowl as teammates. Vrabel embarked on a coaching career after retiring following the 2010 season, and he has ascended to a head coaching position. All the while Brady is still playing and just won another Super Bowl. That truly is remarkable.

Colin Kaepernick’s girlfriend shoots down report that he spoke with Jay-Z

Colin Kaepernick

If there was any doubt that the NFL’s new social justice partnership with Jay-Z was forged without the input of Colin Kaepernick, someone close to him is confirming it.

TMZ reported early Wednesday that Jay-Z spoke with Kaepernick before making the deal with the NFL official, but Kaepernick’s girlfriend Nessa Diab called that a “lie,” sharing excerpts from other stories that dispute TMZ’s reporting.

It’s pretty clear that Kaepernick and those close to him would’ve liked for him to weigh in on the partnership. And if there was any doubt about whether he’s been involved or approves, another player close to Kaepernick made his negative feelings clear, too.

Dion Lewis downplays comments he made last year ripping Patriots

Dion Lewis

The New England Patriots and Tennessee Titans are holding joint practices this week, and this is likely the first time Dion Lewis has seen some of his old teammates since he blasted his former team last season. As you might expect, the running back doesn’t want to dwell on those comments.

The Patriots chose not to re-sign Lewis last offseason, and he admitted he took it personally. He ripped them after the Titans beat the Patriots and said “that’s what happens when you go cheap,” but the veteran said Wednesday that it was just standard trash talk.

Lewis was a huge part of New England’s offense in the few seasons he spent with the team. He had over 1,000 yards from scrimmage and nine touchdowns in 2017, but the Patriots didn’t value him enough to pay him. They then went out and drafted Sony Michel and won the Super Bowl without Lewis, so you can understand why he doesn’t want to double-down on his criticism.

The Patriots deserved to be mocked for the way they embarrassed themselves at Tennessee last year, but ultimately they got the last laugh. There’s not a whole lot Lewis can say now.

Josh Rosen getting ‘true starter burn’ in practice

Josh Rosen Dolphins

Josh Rosen has been called out for his inconsistent performance multiple times this offseason by Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores, but the quarterback competition between him and Ryan Fitzpatrick appears to be far from settled.

Rosen has been getting most of the opportunities to play with the first team in practice this week, according to ESPN’s Cameron Wolfe.

The Dolphins traded a second-round and a fifth-round pick to acquire Rosen from the Arizona Cardinals this offseason, so it goes without saying that they want him to win the starting job over the 36-year-old Fitzpatrick. However, Flores was once again openly critical of Rosen this week and said he needs to improve his body language.

Rosen played a lot more than Fitzpatrick in Miami’s first preseason game last week, and he completed 13-of-20 passes for 191 yards with one brutal interception. Flores had some good things to say about him earlier this month, so he’s likely trying to motivate him by being hard on him in the media. Rosen has less than a month to prove if it has been working or not.

Baker Mayfield: People want to see Browns lose because the hype is real

Baker Mayfield

No NFL team has had more buzz surrounding it this offseason than the Cleveland Browns, and there will undoubtedly be people lining up to laugh at them if they fall short of their lofty expectations. To this point, Baker Mayfield feels the team has been doing a good job of handling all that.

In an interview with Zach Frydenlund of Complex this week, Mayfield was asked what it is like to go from an underdog that took everyone by surprise to a team with a target on its back. Mayfield said some people want to see the Browns fail because “the hype is too real.”

“You’ve got to believe in it and take it one week at a time. Because I wouldn’t say that everybody wants to beat us. I think in the media and everything that comes with the hype around our team right now, people want to see us lose, just because the hype is so real,” he said. “But we’ve got to go out there and take it one week at a time. We’re trying to win every week.”

Mayfield acknowledged that jumping from a team that celebrated winning a single game to one with playoff expectations can present challenges, but he’s confident the Browns are taking the right approach.

“It went from having excitement over Bud Light coolers being opened to now people waiting to see us lose so they can say, ‘Oh, they got too hyped up,'” Mayfield added. “That’s why you’ve got to have an even-keel mindset when it comes to that stuff.”

The Browns aren’t going to catch many teams by surprise this season. Mayfield proved last year that he is a viable NFL starter, and he now has one of the best wide receiver duos in football in Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry. Opponents are going to take them seriously, which can often lead to more challenges. If Mayfield tackles those challenges with the same enthusiasm he showed during a preseason coach’s challenge, the Browns will be in good hands.