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#pounditSaturday, August 8, 2020

Football

Report: George Kittle has ‘significant disconnect’ with 49ers in contract talks

The San Francisco 49ers have a vital need to keep George Kittle happy, and it sounds like there’s a bit of a problem with that right now.

According to Mike Silver of NFL Network, there is a “significant disconnect” in contract talks between the 49ers and Kittle’s camp. While the Niners are willing to reset the tight end market for Kittle, the player’s camp views him as more than simply a tight end and wants to see him paid accordingly.

Silver even wonders if Kittle would consider opting out of the NFL season if the 49ers do not give him what he wants, though that is more speculative than anything else.

As it stands, Kittle would play the 2020 season on a $2.1 million salary. That’s nowhere near fair market value for a player with back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons who can dominate a game like few others can.

Cleveland’s Austin Hooper is currently the highest-paid tight end in the NFL, and is due to make $11.5 million this year. The 49ers are clearly willing to beat that for Kittle, but he has a different position in mind in terms of setting his market value that would get him paid much more.

Antonio Brown suspended 8 games by NFL

Antonio Brown has been highly critical of the NFL for dragging out its investigation into his conduct violations, but the star receiver finally received an answer from the league on Friday.

Brown has been suspended for eight games for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy. Robert Klemko of the Washington Post was the first to report the news.

While Klemko said Brown will be suspended beginning when he signs with a team, the 8-game ban will reportedly begin in Week 1 even if Brown remains a free agent.

Several teams have expressed interest in Brown, but the belief has been that no team would sign him until the league announced the severity of his punishment. We will now see if that is truly the case.

Lamar Jackson said this week that he is hoping the Baltimore Ravens sign Brown, and head coach John Harbaugh did not rule it out. Harbaugh referenced the NFL’s investigation and said he did not think Brown was currently available.

Brown has gotten himself into trouble with the law and the NFL for different reasons. He is still awaiting word from the league on a possible suspension following an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct from two different women. Since those allegations came to light, Brown was charged with burglary with battery after he and his trainer, Glenn Holt, allegedly attacked a moving truck driver. Brown recently pleaded no contest to a charge in that incident and avoided jail time.

If all of that weren’t enough to give NFL teams pause, Brown also streamed a live video on Instagram back in January that showed him berating police officers in front of his children.

Brown, 32, spent very brief periods with the Oakland Raiders and New England Patriots last season. The seven-time Pro Bowler should still be capable of playing at an elite level, as he caught 104 passes for 1,297 yards and 15 touchdowns with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2018.

Dak Prescott, girlfriend Natalie Buffett appear to go public with relationship

Dak Prescott may not have landed the long-term deal he was hoping for this offseason, but things appear to be going just fine for the Dallas Cowboys quarterback.

While Prescott has largely kept his personal life under wraps, it has been rumored for months now that he is dating a model named Natalie Buffett. It appears we now have confirmation of that — at least as far as the Instagram detectives are concerned.

Prescott celebrated his 27th birthday on Wednesday, and Buffett shared a photo of the two on Instagram and wished Dak a happy birthday. Prescott then replied, “My girl!!! Thank you.” A screenshot of the post was captured by EgotasticSports.com.

When Prescott was criticized for hosting a social gathering at his house amid the coronavirus pandemic back in April, there was a report that he was having a dinner party for a friend named Natalie. That was likely Buffett.

Prescott has been rumored to have a number of different girlfriends since he was a star at Mississippi State, but we can only remember him publicly acknowledging one of the relationships.

The Cowboys did not sign Prescott to a long-term deal prior to the deadline for franchise tagged players earlier this month. The quarterback will now play out the 2020 season on a one-year, $31 million deal, though the two sides may have been extremely close to an agreement when the deadline passed.

Patriots’ Patrick Chung explains why he opted out of season

Patrick Chung is one of the most well-known players to opt out of the 2020 NFL season, and the New England Patriots defensive back was willing to explain how he came to the decision.

In an appearance on “CBS This Morning” this week, Chung said there were a number of personal factors that led to him opting out. Among them are that he has a son with asthma and another child on the way.

Chung’s reasons are similar to those a lot of his peers have given. His teammate, Patriots starting linebacker Dont’a Hightower, just had a baby in July.

The Patriots have had multiple starters opt out due to the coronavirus, and they are obviously beginning a new era without Tom Brady. They’re going to face more challenges than most teams this season, though Cam Newton seems to be ready to tackle them.

Chung was drafted by the Patriots with the 34th overall pick in 2009. He spent the first four years of his career in New England before playing for the Philadelphia Eagles for one season in 2013, and he has been back with the Patriots since. The safety has been a Bill Belichick favorite despite having some off-field issues.

New ‘Monday Night Football’ crew reportedly revealed

ESPN is reportedly going back to a three-man crew for “Monday Night Football” this season, and the trio is expected to be led by Steve Levy.

James Andrew Miller reported on Friday that ESPN has decided on Levy as its play-by-play man with Louis Riddick and Brian Griese to serve as color commentators.

As Miller noted, ESPN will reportedly have its top college football duo of Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbsreit call the second “Monday Night Football” game in Week 1. The network holds two games for the opening week of the season. Things could also still change if the college football season is postponed or canceled.

Levy currently calls college football for ESPN, and it’s possible he and former “Monday Night Football” play-by-play man Joe Tessitore could swap places. Tessitore previously called college games for the network before being moved to NFL broadcasts.

ESPN has been focused solely on internal candidates since a slew of former NFL quarterbacks turned down their massive offers. There has been talk that Herbstreit could call both college and “Monday Night Football” games, but that seems unlikely. In the rare event that the college season is canceled or moved to the spring, Herbstreit and Fowler may serve as fill-ins for “Monday Night Football” just for this season.

Joe Burrow’s dad has hilarious comment about son’s new contract

Joe Burrow is officially a rich man, as the former LSU star signed his rookie deal with the Cincinnati Bengals this week. Burrow is now so wealthy, in fact, that he can finally afford his own place.

Burrow’s father, Jimmy Burrow, discussed Joe’s four-year, $36 million contract during an appearance on WNXX-FM 104.5’s “Off the Bench” on Wednesday morning. The elder Burrow joked that his son can finally move out of his basement now.

“We finally got him outta our basement,” Jimmy Burrow said, via The Advocate.

The entire contract is fully guaranteed and included a $23.9 million signing bonus, so Burrow should be able to buy himself and his parents a new house. Jimmy admitted that the Burrow family got a bit nervous during the contract negotiation process and is “glad to get that part behind (them).”

“It was a process. There was language that needed to be ironed out. As a parent, you get a little nervous when it isn’t a done deal,” Jimmy admitted.

With Burrow’s contract finally wrapped up, the Bengals must now focus on building a contending team around him. He may only have one of his best receivers for a year, though the team could still find a way to work that situation out.

Mike Golic campaigned to do ‘Monday Night Football,’ made awesome badges

Mike Golic

Before Mike Golic became one half of the famous “Mike & Mike” show two decades ago, he wanted a job working in the broadcast booth for ESPN’s “Monday Night Football.” He and his family wanted it so badly, in fact, that they made campaign badges and everything.

With Golic hosting his last radio show on Friday, one of his colleagues at ESPN shared a photo on Twitter of what looked like a political campaign button featuring Golic’s face. The badge was from 2000 and said “I Like Mike!” on it. Golic’s wife, Christine, revealed that the family had the buttons made up to campaign for Mike to land a job with “Monday Night Football.”

Golic never became a part of the “MNF” crew, but he went on to co-host a successful radio show with Mike Greenberg from 2000-2017. He has worked alongside Trey Wingo since, and the two hosted the final installment of their show on Friday morning.

Golic, 57, remains under contract with ESPN. He opened up about the cancellation of his show this week and indicated he was unhappy with the way it was handled.