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Monday, March 30, 2020

Football

Tom Brady’s father defends Bill Belichick for moving on from QB

Tom Brady

Tom Brady Sr. predicted years ago that the relationship between his son and the New England Patriots would end “badly,” but the elder Brady considers what happened this offseason to be more of an amicable separation.

In a recent appearance on the “Raising Fame: Sports Edition” podcast with Stephen Curry’s parents Dell and Sonya, Brady Sr. says he doesn’t like to use the word “divorce” to describe what happened with his son and the Patriots. He instead called it a “separation” and spoke about how much respect Brady Jr. has for Bill Belichick.

“I don’t know that it’s a divorce. Twenty years together is a long time. I can’t tell you the hundreds of times Tommy has said, ‘Bill [Belichick] is the best coach in football,’” Brady Sr. said, as transcribed by Nicole Yang of Boston.com. “Tommy sings Bill’s praises. Divorce sounds a little bit harsh.”

If you put the pieces together, it seems obvious that Brady wanted to return to the Patriots but was not shown enough appreciation by Belichick. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers gave Brady a two-year, $50 million deal that is fully guaranteed, while New England wanted to keep going year-to-year with the four-time Super Bowl MVP. Some viewed that as a sign of disrespect, and Brady certainly may have felt that way about it. However, Brady Sr. defended Belichick for doing what the coach thinks is best for the future of the Patriots.

“Bill’s got a lot of responsibilities to keep the Patriots on track,” Brady Sr. said. “That is a bigger responsibility than keeping Tommy under the hood. Both of them are mature individuals. I really respect Bill’s decision and respect Tommy’s decision as well. It’s OK to take different paths. You don’t have to stay joined at the hip.”

Again, Brady Sr. said nearly five years ago that the relationship between Brady and Belichick would not end well. If that meant Brady Sr. believed his son would finish his career elsewhere, he was right. However, it’s possible that the split ends up being beneficial for both sides.

Brady joked not all that long ago that he has banned his father from speaking with the media, but the quarterback should have no problem with his dad’s latest remarks. Even though Robert Kraft came awfully close to blaming Brady for the end of the TB12 era in New England, Brady and his family are clearly taking the high road.

Tom Brady is now a member of the Bucs! Show your support and treat yourself or a friend with this great Tom Brady Bucs shirt! In Tom We Trust! You can buy it here.

Quinton Dunbar trolls Redskins over Ronald Darby signing

Redskins logo

The Washington Redskins traded starting cornerback Quinton Dunbar to the Seattle Seahawks last week, and they quickly replaced him by signing Ronald Darby on Sunday. Dunbar found that move laughable, and he made his feelings known on social media.

After it was reported that Washington had signed Darby to a one-year, $4 million deal, Dunbar mocked his former team in an Instagram comment that read, “Great signing but I wasn’t worth the extra mill.” Dunbar then insisted he is happy to be with the Seahawks but criticized the Redskins for being an “organization that lies and makes excuses.”

Dunbar has a base salary of $3.25 million in 2020. He asked the Redskins earlier this offseason to trade or release him if they weren’t willing to rework his contract, and the implication from his comment on Sunday is that he was seeking around $5 million per year.

Dunbar had just four interceptions last year despite missing five games with a hamstring injury. He has been Washington’s most consistent cornerback when healthy, but he is certainly not the only player to have serious issues with the team’s front office.

If the Redskins did sign Darby for just $1 million less per year than Dunbar was seeking, it’s possible they simply feel Darby is a better fit for their scheme under new defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio.

Chris Godwin says Jameis Winston ‘got more of the blame than he deserved’

One of Jameis Winston’s favorite targets last season is coming to the defense of the exiled quarterback.

In an interview this week on “The Boardroom” with Rosalyn Gold-Onwude, Tampa Bay Bucs receiver Chris Godwin discussed Winston’s struggles in 2019.

“There have been times where maybe he held onto the ball too long and there will be like a strip-sack,” said Godwin. “Or there was a bad read on his part and he threw it to the wrong guy. But on the other side, there have been times where receivers have ran the wrong route. I’ve been guilty of either running the wrong route or just being in a different spot than he thought I was going to be, and then you get an interception, you get a turnover.”

“It’s not just him, it’s the collective,” the 2019 Pro Bowler continued. “And I think that people that are really entrenched in football understand that … I definitely think he got more of the blame than he deserved. I think he’s a really, really talented quarterback. Obviously there are some things he does that you can’t teach. There are some plays that he made that just weren’t smart plays. But a lot of the interceptions and the mistakes that he made, I would say at least half of them were because of a bad read on somebody else’s part. And the great thing about him is he’s not gonna go out there, he’s not gonna throw anybody under the bus. He’s gonna own up to it, he’s gonna take it, he’s gonna be a leader, and like I said, there’s respect to that.”

Winston, who led the NFL in both passing yards and interceptions last season, was a popular target of criticism for his errant play en route to a 7-9 finish for the Bucs. Through it all though, Godwin himself managed to have a career year catching passes from Winston, pulling down 86 of them for 1,331 yards and nine touchdowns.

With Tom Brady arriving in Tampa Bay, Winston is now the odd man out and will almost certainly have to find a new home as a free agent. But at least Godwin’s parting take on Winston was more sympathetic than Bruce Arians’.

Bruce Arians was disheartened by Jameis Winston’s ‘regression’

Jameis Winston

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ dreams came true when Tom Brady chose to sign with them in free agency. Not only did that decision give them a future Hall of Famer, but it also closed the book on Jameis Winston’s Bucs career — for now.

Winston, whom the team selected No. 1 overall in 2015, is a free agent and still on the market. He led the NFL in passing yards last season (5,109) but threw for 33 touchdowns and 30 interceptions.

The interceptions and bad play by Winston at the end of the season soured Bucs head coach Bruce Arians on the young quarterback.

“For Jameis, for me, it was the regression in the last two ballgames with the interceptions. It was disheartening because he made progress, then he regressed,” Arians said in an interview with Tiki and Tierney on CBS Sports Radio/CBS Sports Network last week.

Arians told Tiki and Tierney that he thinks Winston would be best served as a backup quarterback next season.

“Get him somewhere as a backup for now,” Arians suggested for Winston. Somewhere he can sit and learn the system. Somewhere either with an older guy he can take over next year or compete with a young guy now.”

Many available spots around the NFL have filled up, leaving many to believe Winston won’t have a starting job next season, which Arians thinks is best. Don’t expect Winston to swap teams with Brady though and join the Patriots, because that reportedly is not happening.

Coronavirus creates major challenges for executives ahead of NFL, NBA Draft

Roger Goodell booed

We already know that the NFL Draft will look a lot different this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, and the NBA Draft may end up in a similar situation. Beyond how it looks, though, the people making draft decisions are going to have to lean on different scouting strategies this year.

NFL pro days have been canceled, and teams have essentially halted all travel for team employees. That means that, aside from their NFL Combine interactions, teams are going to be relying on tape to scout players. As executives have explained to Tom Pelissero, this could lead to significant issues.

NBA teams also fear that in-person interviews and workouts will be scrubbed by similar travel restrictions. NBA scouts and executives are at even more of a disadvantage, as the cancellation of postseason tournaments deprived them of chances to see top prospects in pressure environments against top competition.

One executive told Bleacher Report’s Ric Bucher that it will be a draft heavy on scouting, and it would “expose” GMs who had not seriously put in the legwork during the season.

“This is a basketball person’s draft, based on actual basketball play,” the executive said. “The high-ranking decision-makers who have been working all year aren’t going to miss a beat. It’s going to expose the GMs who were flying around with their teams staying in Four Seasons rather than going [to scout] in Dayton, Ohio, and staying at the Courtyard Marriott. If there are no more data points coming in, they’re screwed.”

There is already speculation that one prospect could be hurt by the complications that could come with the process. Executives in both leagues are dealing with similar problems, and it will be a massive challenge for them to deal with as the pandemic continues.

Jimmy Johnson avoids Jerry Jones response to Ring of Honor question

Jimmy Johnson won two Super Bowl titles with the Dallas Cowboys, but his infamously bad relationship with owner Jerry Jones has kept him out of the team’s Ring of Honor.

Johnson will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this year, but Ring of Honor recognition does not seem to be coming. On Sunday, a fan asked him how he would feel if Jones inducted the former coach into the Ring of Honor, and Johnson’s answer spoke volumes.

Perhaps Johnson misread the question and thought he was being asked about his Hall of Fame induction, but we’re guessing Johnson responded exactly as he intended to.

In short, Johnson’s Hall of Fame induction means a lot to him, as we’ve already seen. The Ring of Honor does not. Jones does not like Johnson, and the feeling seems to be mutual, and it’s best left at that.

Eric Ebron shows off incredible social distancing golf cart

Golf is one of the leisure activities people can still safely take part in while practicing responsible social distancing, and Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Eric Ebron seems to have figured out the perfect way to play a round.

On Sunday, Ebron shared a photo on social media of his awesome “social distancing” golf cart. It’s basically a mix between a golf cart and a motorcycle.

Many golf courses have closed around the United States, as certain regions have prohibited all non-essential business from remaining open during the coronavirus outbreak. However, other courses are currently open with strict rules in place for players keeping their distance from one another. Ebron should have no issue with that.