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Sunday, April 21, 2019

Football

NFL teams reportedly concerned about Bryce Love’s knee

Bryce Love

There was once a time when Bryce Love was considered one of the most explosive players in college football, but injuries slowed the running back last season and he suffered a torn ACL in Stanford’s final regular season game. As you might expect, that has been a concern for NFL teams leading up to the draft.

Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reported on Friday that Love’s surgically repaired knee “remains very stiff,” and teams are wondering how long it will take him to regain his old form — assuming he ever does.

Pelissero notes that the condition Love is dealing with is one teams have seen before, and it is not out of the question that he will need to have another surgery.

Love had a breakout season as a junior at Stanford when he rushed for 2,118 yards and 19 touchdowns, but he was held to just 739 yards and six touchdowns in 10 games last year while hobbled by an ankle injury for much of the season. Once considered a Heisman Trophy candidate, he is now projected to go somewhere in the middle rounds of the draft.

Jalen Ramsey’s agent defends CB’s absence from voluntary workouts

Jalen Ramsey’s agent came to his defense Friday after the Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback was called out by team president Tom Coughlin for his absence from voluntary workouts.

While Coughlin did not mention Ramsey by name, the cornerback was one of two Jaguars players absent from the voluntary offseason conditioning program, and the team president made it very clear that he was not at all happy with his absence. This is despite the fact that Ramsey’s father runs a training facility in Nashville, which is where Ramsey spent last season working out.

Ramsey’s agent David Mulugheta made quite clear on Twitter on Friday that the workouts were voluntary, and Ramsey is doing what he needs to do.

It’s another instance of Coughlin’s notoriously old-school mentality clashing with reality. While teams would certainly prefer that all players show up for all offseason programs, the workouts are voluntary for a reason. Ramsey appears to be doing the work he needs to do elsewhere, as his agent notes, and Coughlin just looks bad calling this out publicly.

Marquise Brown could reportedly be first WR taken in draft

Former Oklahoma wide receiver Marquise Brown was unable to showcase his skills in front of teams at the NFL Scouting Combine earlier this offseason, but it does not appear that has done anything to hurt his stock heading into the draft.

Brown underwent foot surgery toward the end of the college football season, and his recovery has reportedly gone as well as could be expected. With no clear-cut top wide receiver in the draft this year, Ian Rapoport of NFL Media said Friday that Brown is in the mix to be the top player taken at the position.

While that says a lot about how teams view the receiver position this year, it is also a great sign that Brown’s foot injury is not expected to slow him at all. He left the Big 12 Championship Game in tears after hurting his foot, though he still managed to play in the College Football Playoff.

Most draft analysts have Brown falling into the second round with DK Metcalf and fellow Ole Miss receiver AJ Brown possibly going in the first, and we know Metcalf has arguably the most impressive physical makeup of any player in the draft. It would be tough to envision Brown going ahead of him, but the first round is clearly in play for the man they call Hollywood.

Mike Mayock’s daughter responds to report that Raiders don’t trust own scouts

Mike Mayock

The Oakland Raiders are reportedly taking every precaution necessary to protect their plans heading into the NFL Draft next week, but general manager Mike Mayock’s daughter wants to make sure no one within the organization takes it personally.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reported on Friday that Mayock and Raiders head coach Jon Gruden sent their own scouts home for the weekend and are not expected to let them return to the draft room before the big event. While some took that to mean they don’t trust their own scouting department, Mayock’s daughter Leigh insists that is not the case.

This is the second time Leigh Mayock has shared that same story. Around the time of the NFL Scouting Combine earlier this offseason, she said Mike didn’t even trust her with his draft binder.

Apparently the practice is not as over the top as people think. Former Dallas Cowboys executive Gil Brandt, who now works as an analyst for NFL.com, says he and his co-workers used to take similar precautions around draft time.

There have been a lot of rumors floating around about what the Raiders might do in Mayock’s first draft with the team, and there’s no way to avoid that. However, anyone who is actually inside the draft room would have access to some sensitive information. I guess you can never be too careful, even if it means risking the possibility of peeing on your draft binder.

Masseuses in Robert Kraft case claim prosecutors illegally leaked video

Robert Kraft

Robert Kraft’s legal team has been working to prevent an alleged video of the New England Patriots owner engaging in sexual activity at a day spa from being released to the public, but it sounds like they are losing the battle.

TMZ reports that the two women who run the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Fla., Hua Zhang and Lei Wang, have filed court documents seeking emergency action to prevent footage that was taken of Kraft and workers at the spa from being released. The documents state that the video is currently being shopped to various media outlets, and the only “logical conclusion” is that it was leaked by someone working for either the Jupiter Police Department or Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office.

Attorneys for Zhang and Wang are asking a judge to hold the law enforcement groups in criminal contempt, as they say the release of the footage would “egregiously jeopardize their rights to a fair trial.”

Kraft has claimed the footage was illegally obtained by investigators, while prosecutors are reportedly planning to release it and believe the public has a right to view it. A judge is expected to rule on whether or not the footage can be released in the near future.

Kraft is facing two charges of solicitation of prostitution, and the 77-year-old has already rejected a plea deal that would have seen the charges dropped. While the case seems to have taken a significant turn from where it began, prosectors remain confident that they have enough evidence against Kraft and the other individuals involved.

Josh Rosen likely to wind up with one of these three teams?

Josh Rosen

The Josh Rosen sweepstakes could be down to three teams if and when the Arizona Cardinals decide to part ways with him, and all three have starting quarterbacks in place for 2019 and potentially beyond.

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk said on WEEI’s “Mut & Callahan Show” Friday morning that Rosen is most likely to end up with either the New England Patriots, Los Angeles Chargers or New York Giants.

While it would be easy to envision a scenario where Rosen takes Manning’s job, it likely would not happen until midway through the season. His chances of starting in New England or Los Angeles in 2019 without an injury are nil, as Philip Rivers is coming off one of his best seasons as a pro and Tom Brady is, well, Tom Brady.

Rosen is still just 22 and struggled at times as the Cardinals’ starter last season, so it makes sense that a team like the Patriots or Chargers might want him to learn behind a future Hall of Fame quarterback for a while. Of course, Rosen is only going to be traded if Arizona takes Kyler Murray with the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, and there have been some recent indications that that may not be a lock.

Johnny Manziel confirms he wants to play in XFL

Johnny Manziel CFL

Johnny Manziel has maintained that his ultimate goal is still to play in the NFL again, and the former Heisman Trophy winner is willing to prove himself on any football field in order to get there.

Manziel, who spent a very brief time in the Alliance of American Football before the league went under, has been mentioned as a possible target for XFL teams. He was asked by TMZ this week about potentially playing in Vince McMahon’s league when it kicks off next year, and he made it clear he is open to it.

“Any football opportunity,” Manziel said. “That’s all it is, man. Ball 24/7.”

Oliver Luck, the CEO and commissioner of the XFL, told “The Ken Carmen Show with Anthony Lima” earlier this week that he is open to Manziel playing in the league.

“As long as he fits our profile, and our sort of behavioral standards, and quite honestly, a bigger challenge – as long as our eight head coaches think he’s one of the quarterbacks that can make us better, and we’ve got some guys that know quarterbacks fairly well, whether it’s Bob Stoops or Pep Hamilton, Jim Zorn – we’re going to rely heavily on our coaches to say, yes, these are the guys that will make our league better,” Luck said, via Shalise Manza Young of Yahoo Sports.

“If Manziel is in that group, I’m sure he might have that opportunity, but it really all depends on him, and we haven’t had any contact with him.”

McMahon has said players who have been convicted of crimes won’t be allowed to play in the XFL. While Manziel has had numerous off-field issues over the years, the charges that stemmed from him allegedly assaulting his girlfriend in 2016 were dropped after he reached a plea deal with prosecutors.

Manziel recently opened up once again about all the mistakes he has made, and he seems to be pretty good at talking people into giving him opportunities. If the XFL is hungry for star power, it could certainly do a lot worse than Johnny Football.