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#pounditSaturday, April 10, 2021

Football

Ravens CB Davontae Harris thinks all 22 Deshaun Watson accusers are lying

Deshaun Watson

Davontae Harris on Wednesday expressed his doubts about the allegations Deshaun Watson is facing.

The Baltimore Ravens cornerback tweeted that the allegations Watson is facing are getting “questionable.” He also shared his belief that the women aren’t telling the truth. Harris said these 22 women are making it harder for — in his words — actual victims — to come forward.

22 women have filed lawsuits against Watson, alleging he sexually assaulted them. The cases follow a similar pattern of Watson reaching out to women to arrange massages and then allegedly acting inappropriately while with them.

Watson’s defense team shared statements from 18 women who backed the Houston Texans quarterback. The numbers indicate that Watson sought and/or received massages from at least 40 women over the last year or so.

Houston police are investigating at least one criminal complaint against Watson. All the other lawsuits are civil cases, where the burden of proof is lower. A woman came out publicly this week and attached her name to her accusation against Watson.

Aaron Rodgers has plan to host Jeopardy full-time while playing in NFL

Aaron Rodgers

Aaron Rodgers is campaigning for a real shot at becoming the next host of “Jeopardy!”

Rodgers filmed 10 episodes as the guest host of “Jeopardy!” The first five episodes are airing this week, and the second five are airing next week. The show is searching for a replacement for beloved longtime host Alex Trebek, who died last year.

Rodgers is 37 and won NFL MVP last year, so he has no reason to believe his football career is ending any time soon. The Green Bay Packers quarterback believes he can host Jeopardy while playing in the NFL.

“I don’t think I’d need to give up football to do it,” Rodgers said of hosting. “They film 46 days a year. I worked 187 this year in Green Bay. That gives me 178 days to do ‘Jeopardy!’ So I feel like I could fit 46 into that 178 and make it work. It would be a dream job for sure, and I’m not shy at all about saying I want the job. That’s how I went into it. I want an opportunity to be in the mix.”

Rodgers told “Good Morning Football” on Tuesday that he still loves football and does not want to give it up.

Rodgers is a longtime fan of the show and competed in a celebrity event in the past, so he has ties to it. It was generous of the show to give him a shot, and maybe they legitimately are considering him for the role.

But despite what Rodgers believes, it’s hard to imagine the timing would work for him to host while also playing for the Packers. The bigger issue probably is all the competition he will have with potential hosts, not to mention the trolls.

49ers brass to watch Justin Fields’ next workout

Justin Fields

The San Francisco 49ers are said to be targeting Mac Jones with the No. 3 overall pick in the upcoming NFL Draft. They are still doing their due diligence regardless.

NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport shared on Wednesday that Justin Fields is going to throw again for NFL teams on April 14. 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan and GM John Lynch are expected to attend this workout.

Jones had two workouts in March. The second one conflicted with Fields’ first workout. Lynch and Shanahan attended Alabama’s second Pro Day rather than Fields’ workout. San Francisco also made a big trade with the Miami Dolphins to move up in the draft a few days after Jones’ first workout.

The Niners are expected to take Jones in the draft, but they’re definitely giving Fields a look.

Dak Prescott looks sharp in video posted by trainer

Dak Prescott

Dak Prescott’s recovery from the fractured ankle he suffered last season appears to be right on schedule.

In a video posted by quarterback trainer Damian Devon, Prescott is seen practicing quick screens. Notably, he is planting firmly on his right foot, which is where he suffered the injury.

It’s a small step, but it’s nice to see Prescott throwing. It’s also good to see him putting emphasis on his right ankle without any apparent issue.

The Cowboys will be counting on Prescott to recapture his old form after the ankle injury. That’s certainly what they’ll be paying him for. They will have monitored his rehab progress closely, and this video should only serve to make them feel optimistic.

Josh Allen sums up his thoughts on the franchise tag

Josh Allen

With Josh Allen heading into the final guaranteed year of his rookie contract, both he and the Buffalo Bills know it’s time to start thinking about an extension.

While Allen’s fifth-year option is certain to be picked up, there is still uncertainty about what will happen after that. The Bills have signaled that extension talks are planned, but we don’t yet know how closely aligned the quarterback’s demands are with what the Bills might be willing to pay. That means the franchise tag could be on the table after 2022.

In an appearance on The Ringer’s “10 Questions with Kyle Brandt,” Allen had a pretty amusing response when asked what he thought about the franchise tag: “ew.”

That’s almost certainly how most quarterbacks feel about it too, but sometimes teams are left with no choice. That’s what happened to the Dallas Cowboys, but that worked out alright for Dak Prescott in the end. Still, it sounds like Allen wants to avoid that. Ultimately, it may come down to how willing he is to compromise.

These two teams reportedly had strong interest in Sam Darnold trade

Sam Darnold

The Carolina Panthers weren’t the only team that wanted to trade for Sam Darnold when the New York Jets signaled that he could be available.

According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the San Francisco 49ers and Washington Football Team both checked with the Jets about a Darnold trade prior to free agency. At that time, the Jets were not yet ready to begin discussing a Darnold trade, so both teams moved on to other options.

Washington ultimately opted to bring in veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick, while the Niners made a more massive trade to secure a quarterback instead.

Darnold instead wound up with the Panthers, which seems okay with him.

Aaron Hernandez’s alleged prison lover Kyle Kennedy arrested on warrant

A man who claims he became extremely close with Aaron Hernandez while the two were in prison together is back in jail after being arrested again this week.

Kyle Kennedy was taken into custody on Monday morning in Worcester, Mass., for an outstanding warrant, police told Radar Online.

Kennedy, 26, shared a cell with Hernandez at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Lancaster, Mass., after Hernandez was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison. Kennedy has since claimed in a documentary that he and Hernandez had an intimate relationship.

Hernandez wrote three suicide notes before he took his own life while in prison in 2017. One of the letters was supposedly written to Kennedy, who says the note never got to him but that he had a very close relationship with Hernandez.

Hernandez’s fiancee Shayanna Jenkins and his legal team have claimed the letter to Kennedy never existed. In response to the letter, Jenkins publicly addressed rumors that the former NFL tight end was gay.

Kennedy was released from prison in 2019, but he is now facing another charge.

Deshaun Watson rapidly losing sponsors amid sexual assault allegations

Deshaun Watson

Deshaun Watson may be locked into a massive contract with the Houston Texans, but the star quarterback is starting to lose a lot of other revenue streams as a result of the sexual assault allegations against him.

Nike announced on Wednesday that its endorsement deal with Watson has been suspended. It appears that set off a domino effect, as other companies are beginning to distance themselves from Watson as well. ESPN’s Sarah Barshop reports that Beats by Dre has terminated its relationship with Watson. Reliant Energy also issued a statement saying Watson will no longer be a brand ambassador for the company.

“Reliant is aware of pending civil lawsuits and a criminal investigation involving Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans quarterback,” the statement read, via Aaron Reiss of The Athletic. “Our relationship with Watson as a brand ambassador was scheduled to end this spring prior to these allegations, and there are no plans for future engagements or contracts with him. We take accusations of this nature very seriously. With respect to the legal process, we do not have any further comment on this matter.”

Watson and his legal team have repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, but the optics are getting worse by the day. The Pro Bowler has now been sued by 22 different women who accuse him of sexual misconduct during massages. Two of Watson’s alleged victims publicly revealed their identities on Tuesday. One of the women, massage therapist Ashley Solis, delivered a powerful statement in which she spoke about how Watson’s alleged misconduct has negatively impacted her career and life. You can see the video here.

The NFL confirmed on Tuesday that Watson is under league investigation. All of the lawsuits against Watson to this point have been civil in nature, but Houston police said on Friday that one criminal complaint has been filed.

Watson’s agent has publicly accused at least some of the alleged victims of lying for financial gain. The 25-year-old’s legal team also claims he was a victim of a blackmail attempt in at least one of the cases.

Bears reportedly shopping Anthony Miller in trade talks

Chicago Bears logo

The Chicago Bears are keeping Allen Robinson as the leader of their wide receiver corps this offseason, but another could still be on the move.

According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the Bears have had multiple trade discussions about wide receiver Anthony Miller, and a deal is possible.

Miller was a second-round pick for the Bears in 2018, and the 26-year-old has flashed some intriguing potential. As a rookie, he caught seven touchdown passes, and he set a career high with 656 receiving yards in 2019. His numbers dipped in 2020, however, with rookie Darnell Mooney taking away some of Miller’s targets.

Miller also did little to help himself during the Bears’ playoff loss to New Orleans. Perhaps that is a factor in the Bears’ willingness to potentially move on.

Ex-NFL WR Travis Rudolph arrested for murder

Travis Rudolph mug shot

Former NFL wide receiver Travis Rudolph has been arrested in Florida and is facing a murder charge.

The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office announced on Wednesday that Rudolph has been arrested and charged with first-degree murder with a firearm and attempted first-degree murder with a firearm. The charges came after four individuals say they were shot at by Rudolph late Tuesday night. One of the victims died, another was hospitalized and two were not injured.

Rudolph, 25, signed with the New York Giants as an undrafted free agent in 2017. He was waived and placed on the team’s practice squad before the start of the season. Rudolph was later promoted to the active roster following injuries to multiple receivers. He caught eight passes in seven games before being waived prior to the start of the 2018 season.

Rudolph was signed to the Miami Dolphins’ practice squad in October 2018, but he never played for them after suffering a torn ACL in practice.

Prior to beginning his NFL career, Rudolph was a major contributor at Florida State. He caught 153 passes for 2,311 yards and 18 total touchdowns in three seasons.