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#pounditFriday, September 18, 2020

Football

Dak Prescott, brother Tad respond to Skip Bayless depression criticism

Dak Prescott

Dak Prescott and his brother Tad responded on Thursday to criticism from Skip Bayless about the Dallas Cowboys quarterback going public about his battles with depression.

Prescott revealed in an interview published on Wednesday that he dealt with depression related to COVID-19 quarantines. Bayless, a TV host on FS1, said that Prescott revealing his depression was a competitive disadvantage.

Dak responded on Thursday and said that being open about his issues is an example of good leadership.

“No, I think that is a fake leader. Being a real leader is about being genuine and being real,” Prescott said, via David Helman. “As I said, if I wouldn’t have talked about those things to the people I did, I wouldn’t have realized my friends and a lot more people go through them. And they are as common as they are.

“I don’t think for one second — leaders or not — I don’t care how big a person you are, if you are not mentally healthy and you are not thinking the right way, then you are not going to be able to lead people the right way. Before I even lead I have to make sure my mind is in the right place to do that and lead people to where they want to be. I think that is important – to be vulnerable, to be genuine and to be transparent. That goes a long way when you are a leader and your voice is being heard by so many and you can inspire.”

Dak’s brother Tad also wrote about the matter on Twitter and thanked people for their support.

Bayless was criticized widely throughout social media for his comments. You can watch and read what he said here.

Skip Bayless ripped over Dak Prescott depression comments

Skip Bayless

FS1 TV host Skip Bayless was criticized throughout social media on Thursday over his comments about Dak Prescott’s depression reveal.

Prescott talked about his brother’s suicide in an interview that was published on Wednesday. The Dallas Cowboys quarterback also shared that he was depressed early in the quarantine period related to the coronavirus.

On his “Undisputed” show with co-host Shannon Sharpe, Bayless said he had no sympathy for Prescott revealing that he dealt with depression. Bayless fully realized he was opening himself up for significant criticism with his comments and even prefaced that.

“I’m going to ask our audience to feel free to condemn me if you choose as cold-blooded and insensitive on this issue. I have deep compassion for clinical depression. But when it comes to quarterback of an NFL team, it’s the ultimate leadership position in sports. You’re commanding a lot of young men … and some older men. They’re all looking at you to be their CEO. Because of all that, I don’t have sympathy for him going public with ‘I got depressed. I suffered depression early in COVID to the point that I couldn’t even go work out.’ Look, he’s the quarterback of America’s Team,” Bayless said.

Bayless believes it was a competitive disadvantage for Prescott to reveal his depression battles publicly because he believes opposing players could use it against the quarterback.

Bayless was taken apart on social media by critics for being unsympathetic towards those dealing with depression.

Bayless’ entire shtick is to say outrageous things and get attention for them. He gets paid millions of dollars to do this.

Do you think he feels badly about his comments? Not at all. This was planned out. He even issued a caveat before sharing his opinion. This is exactly why some of his colleagues despise him and find him so unprofessional. This is nothing new for the host.

Larry Fitzgerald says he would retire if Cardinals won Super Bowl

Larry Fitzgerald

Larry Fitzgerald is set to begin his 17th season with the Arizona Cardinals, and the star receiver has made it clear his sole focus is chasing a championship.

Fitzgerald is one of the greatest wide receivers to ever play in the NFL, but he will likely feel that his resume is incomplete if he does not win a Super Bowl. When asked on Thursday about capturing a title, Fitzgerald said he would definitely retire if the Cardinals won the Super Bowl this year.

“That would definitely validate me,” he said, per ESPN’s Josh Weinfuss. “You wouldn’t see me around here anymore if that happened.”

Fitzgerald is only signed through this season, but the Cardinals will likely continue to sign him to one-year deals for as long as he wants to play.

While he recently turned 37, Fitzgerald hasn’t missed a game since 2014. He caught 75 passes for 804 yards and four touchdowns with rookie Kyler Murray under center last year. Fitzgerald needs 171 more catches to match Rice’s 1,549, so he could possibly get there if he plays another two or three seasons. He’s also second behind Rice in receiving yards with 17,083 compared to Rice’s 22,895, but Fitzgerald seems unlikely to catch Rice in that category.

There are few players in the NFL more deserving of a Super Bowl than Fitzgerald.

Deion Sanders defends Odell Beckham Jr. against wild rumor

Deion Sanders

Everyone seems to want to weigh in on the wild rumor that is floating around about Odell Beckham Jr. this week, but NFL legend Deion Sanders says he spoke with OBJ directly about it. Not surprisingly, the Cleveland Browns star says the entire story was made up.

An Instagram model known as Slim Danger went on the “No Jumper” podcast this week and claimed she had an unusual sexual encounter with Beckham. She says Beckham likes when women defecate on him, which of course sent the internet into a frenzy.

Deion Sanders of Barstool Sports said Thursday that he spoke with OBJ directly. Sanders is “110 percent” convinced the rumor is false.

“My problem is why — if somebody comes out with some bulljunk on you — are we gonna believe them when we actually have the relationship with you? Shouldn’t we believe you instead of them?” Sanders asked. “Now, if they had said it the other way around, that Odell doo-doo’ed on them, I might have said, ‘Eh, you got a point there.’ But, no, I can’t see that one.”

Sanders also complimented Beckham for the way he has handled the unexpected attention.

“He’s at the point now, and I’m so proud of him, where he’s matured past the point of caring about foolishness like that,” Sanders said. “A couple years ago it would have had him all flustered. Now he’s like, ‘Eh, it’s part of the game.'”

Whether it’s true or not, Beckham seems to be laughing the rumor off. He appeared to issue a subtle response on Instagram, and ” rel=”noopener” target=”_blank”>his girlfriend even got in on the fun. OBJ has bigger things to worry about with a few days to go until the start of the 2020 season.

Tom Brady’s first start with Bucs will snap incredible Las Vegas streak

Tom Brady

Tom Brady will start his first ever NFL game without Bill Belichick as his coach on Sunday. For the first time in nearly five years, Las Vegas oddsmakers are anticipating that Brady will not emerge victorious.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are 3.5-point underdogs for their opener against the New Orleans Saints. As ESPN’s Adam Schefter noted, that marks the first time in 74 regular-season starts that Brady’s team has not been favored.

The Bucs should be favored in plenty of games this season, but Brady will almost certainly find the underdog role to be a refreshing change of pace. He feeds off of others doubting his abilities, and there are plenty of people doing just that now that he is 43 and trying to master a new system.

Brady will have his work cut out for him in his Tampa debut. Drew Brees finds himself in a similar situation from an age standpoint, and the Saints quarterback offered a great quote about that this week. NFL fans couldn’t ask for a much better Week 1 matchup.

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.

Report: No NFL players expected to sit out Week 1 in protest

Roger Goodell

NFL players are expected to protest in a variety of ways prior to their Week 1 games, and there was talk at one point that some players may even sit out to make a statement. It does not sound like that will happen, however.

Jim Trotter of NFL Media said last month that he was told by “a few prominent black players” that they were considering sitting out Week 1 as a form of protest. In his latest article on Thursday, Trotter said the likelihood of that actually happening “appears remote.”

According to Trotter, NFL players feel the league and its team owners have been making an actual effort to support them with their effort to promote social justice. Unlike two years ago when owners voted unanimously to prohibit kneeling during the national anthem, owners now say they will support such protests.

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has been very outspoken against national anthem protests in recent years. He has hinted that he will support players who kneel this year while also making it clear that he is concerned about how fans will view the protests.

A record number of NFL players are expected to kneel during the national anthem in the first week of the season.

Zach Ertz opens up about ‘frustrating’ contract talks with Eagles

Zach Ertz

Contract negotiations between Zach Ertz and the Philadelphia Eagles broke down recently, and the star tight end is not hiding the fact that he is irritated with the way things have gone.

Ertz told reporters on Thursday that his contract talks with the Eagles have been “frustrating.” He said he wants to remain in Philly but isn’t sure if the team feels the same way.

It’s understandable that Ertz wants a new deal after seeing how much money George Kittle and Travis Kelce got from their respective teams. However, Ertz still has two years remaining on the five-year, $42.5 million deal he signed with the Eagles back in 2016. Even if they want to keep him, there is no real rush to get an extension done.

Ertz and the Eagles appeared to be headed toward a new deal prior to the start of the season, but talks hit a snag when the team reportedly reduced its offer.

Ertz has only has one season with 1,000-plus yards receiving, but he has averaged well over 800 yards every year since 2015. Unlike the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs, the Eagles have another productive young tight end on their roster in Dallas Goedert. The 25-year-old caught 58 passes for 607 yards and five touchdowns last season. His emergence is likely one of the main reasons Philly wants to slow-play negotiations with Ertz.

Report: Clay Matthews turned down Broncos, open to playing

Clay Matthews

The Denver Broncos are searching for pass-rush help after Von Miller went down with an unfortunate injury this week, and Clay Matthews is one player they contacted. The veteran linebacker is not interested, however.

Matthews turned down an inquiry from the Broncos this week, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. While there have been some questions about whether the 34-year-old wants to play in 2020, he is reportedly open to it for the right offer. Denver’s offer apparently did not meet his expectations.

Matthews spent last season with the Los Angeles Rams. He recorded eight sacks, which was his highest total since 2014. While his best years are behind him, he would provide quality pass-rush depth for any team that signed him.

We know of at least one other team that expressed interest in Matthews this offseason, but it’s unclear what type of money or situation he is looking for.

Odell Beckham Jr’s girlfriend Lauren Wood gets in on funny rumor

Odell Beckham Jr

Odell Beckham Jr. has seen his name all over headlines for an unexpected reason heading into Week 1, but the star wide receiver is taking it in stride. So is his girlfriend.

An Instagram model known as Slim Danger went on the “No Jumper” podcast this week and claimed she had an unusual sexual encounter with Beckham. She says Beckham likes when women defecate on him, which of course sent the internet into a frenzy. Beckham appeared to issue a response on Instagram when he shared a post about remaining focused “no matter what shxts thrown my way.”

Beckham’s girlfriend, Lauren Wood, also got in on the fun. She and Beckham had a funny exchange, which was captured by Egotastic Sports:

This isn’t the first time a rumor that started online has raised a bunch of questions for OBJ. He’s used to being a hot topic in the gossip world, and it’s nice to see his girlfriend taking it in stride as well.

Drew Brees has great quote entering Saints’ season

Drew Brees

Drew Brees offered a great quote entering the start of the 2020 NFL season.

Brees is 41 and could be ready to retire after the season. He hinted at this possibility with a quote delivered to reporters on Wednesday.

“At this time, I’m on borrowed time. I’ve got nothing to lose. I’m turning it loose,” Brees said, via The Athletic’s Katherine Terrell.

Those sure sound like the words of a man ready to wing it on his way out.

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton hinted at this earlier in the offseason, though he later corrected himself.

Brees already has his job picked out for after retirement. It would make sense for him to go out swinging in his final year.

Brees’ Saints will stack up against Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 1 on Sunday.