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Friday, September 20, 2019


Evander Holyfield’s son to make pro boxing debut in November

Evander Holyfield is widely considered to be one of the greatest boxers to ever live, and one of his sons is hoping to carry on the tradition when he makes his professional fighting debut later this year.

At a news conference for the Sergey Kovalev-Canelo Alvarez fight on Wednesday evening, Main Events promoter Kathy Duva announced that 21-year-old Evan Holyfield will make his pro boxing debut on the undercard of a Nov. 2 event that will be shown on the streaming service DAZN. As Dan Rafael of ESPN notes, Main Events recently signed Evan and is the same promotion company that represented Evander throughout much of his career.

Evander, of course, was a cruiserweight and heavyweight. He remains the only boxer in history to win the undisputed championship in two weight classes. Evan currently fights as a middleweight.

Another one of Evander’s sons, Elijah, played football at Georgia and was in training camp with the Carolina Panthers this summer, though he did not make the regular season roster.

As you can see, the Holyfield family is loaded with athletes. Evan will have the tough task of having to live up to the enormous expectations his father created, which will not be easy. Hopefully he’s able to enjoy a successful career.

Eagles cancel practice with several key players battling injuries

Doug Pederson

The Philadelphia Eagles could be the most banged up team in football after two weeks of the regular season, and head coach Doug Pederson feels his players need all the rest they can get to recover for Sunday’s game against the Detroit Lions.

On Wednesday, the Eagles decided to cancel practice in favor of a walkthrough. That is incredibly rare for an NFL team on the Wednesday before a Sunday game. Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer said he can’t ever remember it happening for the team this early in the season, though they did hold walkthroughs in favor of practices on a couple of Wednesdays late last year.

Monday night’s game in Atlanta was basically a blood bath for the Eagles. Starting wide receivers Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson both left early with injuries (a calf injury for the former and hamstring injury for the latter), though neither is believed to be serious. Carson Wentz, Sidney Jones, Nelson Agholor, and Jason Kelce all had to go into the injury tent to be checked for concussions, but all were cleared. The most significant injury could be to defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan.

Jernigan is expected to miss 4-6 weeks. The veteran started on Monday in place of Malik Jackson, who suffered a season-ending foot injury in Week 1.

Several other players are dealing with minor injuries, so you get the point. Pederson is sacrificing preparation in the name of preservation. With how many players he has seen go down in two weeks, it’s hard to blame him.

Mike Leach points out how poorly NFL scouts did with Gardner Minshew

Mike Leach

Gardner Minshew playing well as a rookie in the NFL is very much a feather in the cap of Mike Leach.

Leach has long run a highly successful passing system in college, first at Texas Tech and now at Washington State. The knock on his quarterbacks was that they were taking advantage of the system and unable to succeed in the pros. Minshew looking so good early on, especially as a sixth-round pick, reflects well upon Leach and the Air Raid system. Leach also thinks the questions NFL scouts had about Minshew before the draft were ridiculous.

In a May interview with NFL Network, Leach talked about the questions he received from scouts, which made him wonder whether they even watched the quarterback. FOX’s announcing team of Troy Aikman and Joe Buck referenced the interview during Thursday night’s Jaguars-Titans game.

“The funny thing is people would call me about him – ‘how’s his arm?’ Well his arm’s good,” Leach said.

“‘Is he accurate?’ And I’m wondering if they’re real scouts when they start asking me if he’s accurate.

“‘How strong is his arm?’ And again, it’s running through my mind, ‘did you really watch any film?’

“He’s got great pocket presence. That’s probably what he does best. He doesn’t take negative plays. But then they’d say, ‘how tall is he?’ They’re all set for that. I’d say, ‘well, he’s exactly as tall as the all-time leading passer in the history of the NFL, which is Drew Brees.’ And then there’s this long, long, long pause. Just really long, because scouts have the ability to scrutinize and perceive life at a much higher level than you or I and mere mortals can.”

Leach’s point is that the people who are the gatekeepers of which quarterbacks should play in the NFL don’t know what they’re doing. Some are focused on the wrong things, like a player’s height, and also not doing their homework and preparation before asking about a player.

We’re starting to see more and more just how much these long-held beliefs about what constitutes an NFL quarterback — they must be a minimum height and have played in a certain style of college offense — is being shattered. Shorter quarterbacks like Brees and Russell Wilson have succeeded, paving the way for Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray. And we even have a guy some wanted to put at running back or wide receiver looking great. Maybe the way quarterbacks are evaluated by NFL teams needs to be reexamined.

Bill Belichick seemingly admits rivalry with Jets has cooled off

Bill Belichick

There is no love lost between the Patriots and the Jets, and much of that has to do with Bill Belichick spending just one day as the head coach in New York before resigning to build a dynasty in New England. However, it’s hard to maintain a fierce rivalry when only one team does all the winning.

When the Patriots traded Demaryius Thomas to the Jets last week, it marked the first time that Belichick ever made a trade with his former team. On Tuesday, Belichick admitted that there was a time period when the deal would have never been possible.

Prior to the Thomas trade, the Jets were the only team in the NFL with which Belichick had never executed a trade. That is hardly a coincidence, as division rivals rarely make trades and the relationship between Belichick and the Jets was as poor as possible at one point. That is apparently no longer the case, even if the two sides still don’t like each other.

Belichick surprised some people earlier this year when he cracked a joke about his remarkably brief tenure as head coach of the Jets, and the Thomas trade is another indication that the rivalry is not as heated as it once was. The Jets only beating the Patriots two times since 2010 probably has a lot to do with that.

Pete Carroll does not think college players need to be paid

Pete Carroll gum woo

Pete Carroll has always been viewed as a players’ coach, that’s why some may have found his thoughts on college athletes being paid to be surprising.

California has recently passed a bill (SB 206) that would allow college athletes to profit off their image or likeness. Whether college athletes should be paid has been a topic of debate for years, and now California is moving forward to make a change.

Carroll, who from 2001-2009 was wildly successful as USC’s head football coach and now coaches the Seattle Seahawks, said Wednesday he does not think the college athletes need to be paid.

Carroll is correct: student-athletes get a much better deal than most people who are complaining realize. They get free education to schools like USC, that otherwise would cost perhaps a quarter-million dollars to attend (and where parents pay hundreds of thousands in potential bribes). They get books, athletic clothing, gear, food, and housing paid for. They even get monetary stipends. Sure, they may struggle with expenses, but that is standard for college students who are spending most of their hours studying and attending classes rather than working; it’s not limited to athletes.

While I do believe college athletes should be allowed to capitalize on their fame through such potential deals, I think that revenue should be put into escrow accounts until two years after an athlete last played for a team or two years after their freshman class has graduated, whichever comes later. There still needs to be some protections against these young people squandering their money and being influenced by it while in school. I also would not allow these athletes to be represented by agents in negotiating these deals but would rather run things through the school. Agents working to force NBA and NFL players out of contracts is already a major headache in pro sports. Can you imagine what would happen in college sports too if you allow agents to start getting involved with these players?

Like Mike Leach and others have said, there will be a lot of unintended consequences. Maybe the gap between competitive and non-competitive teams will widen due to these pay opportunities. Maybe college sports — which many view as a more pure option to the money-focused pro sports — will be ruined. We may eventually see the consequences if this law gets enacted across the country.

DeSean Jackson reportedly likely to miss two weeks with abdominal strain

DeSean Jackson Eagles

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson looks set to be sidelined for two weeks with an abdominal strain.

According to Tim McManus of ESPN, Jackson is likely to miss games against the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers. He could return Oct. 6 against the New York Jets.

The Eagles are not helped by the timing of this injury. They have a short week after the Lions game, as they travel to Green Bay for Thursday night. That quick turnaround could cost fellow receiver Alshon Jeffery the second game as well, severely testing the team’s offensive depth.

Jackson was walking with a limp after Sunday night’s loss. It’s a shame, as he was showing a real connection with QB Carson Wentz following a 154 yard, two touchdown performance in Week 1.

Jalen Ramsey reportedly expects to be traded before Week 4

Jalen Ramsey

Jalen Ramsey will be on the field with the Jacksonville Jaguars when they take on the Tennessee Titans on Thursday night, but it sounds like the star cornerback expects that to be his last game with the team.

Ramsey believes he will be traded prior to Week 4, ESPN’s Josina Anderson reports. At least six teams have already made “substantive inquiries” about Ramsey, and almost every team in the league has called the Jags about him.

The Jaguars are reportedly looking for two first-round picks in any potential trade involving Ramsey, and they shouldn’t have much trouble getting that. He’s an All-Pro cornerback in the prime of his career, and we have seen more than one star player — Frank Clark and Laremy Tunsil, for example — fetch multiple high-round picks in trades recently.

Ramsey said earlier in the week that he does not want to become a distraction to his teammates, but he essentially confirmed that he wants out of Jacksonville. He may only have one game remaining with the Jags.