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#pounditMonday, June 27, 2022

Football

Ex-NFL WR bashes hazing tradition of ‘rookie dinner’

Torrey Smith speaking

Feb 24, 2018; College Park, MD, USA; Torrey Smith a former Maryland Terrapin speaks during a press conference at XFINITY Center before the game against the Michigan Wolverines. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL has a tradition of veterans forcing rookies to pay exorbitant amounts of money at team dinners, and former wide receiver Torrey Smith wants to end the practice altogether.

On Tuesday, Smith railed against the tradition via social media. He credited former wide receiver and teammate Anquan Boldin for protecting him from the practice during Smith’s rookie season in 2011.

“Rookie dinners are BS!” Smith wrote. “I’m glad I had an OG that realized teaching me to blow money is STUPID. It does not prove you belong on a team. Shout out to @AnquanBoldin! Dudes come into the league with no financial literacy and real problems but folks think 50k dinners are cool! NAH!”

Smith’s tweet came not long after New York Jets rookie receiver Garrett Wilson’s appearance on “The Pivot Podcast.” Wilson expressed excitement about taking all of the receivers out for dinner, but the show’s hosts quickly shared why that wasn’t something to look forward to. One of the hosts, Fred Taylor, warned Wilson that his teammates could run up a tab in the $75,000 range.

For Wilson’s sake, he better hope that his bill will be closer to the $50,000 total mentioned in Smith’s tweet.

Trevor Lawrence hits back at media outlet over signing bonus claim

Trevor Lawrence celebrates

Oct 10, 2021; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) gestures after scoring a touchdown during the second half against the Tennessee Titans at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports

Trevor Lawrence would like a word with you, Barstool Sports.

On Wednesday, Barstool writer “Big Tennessee” published an article mocking Lawrence for losing the value of his NFL signing bonus money in the cryptocurrency crash.

While the value of numerous cryptocurrencies have indeed plummeted in recent weeks and months, Big Tennessee was mistaken about one pretty important detail. Big Tennessee confused Lawrence’s signing bonus with the Jacksonville Jaguars with a signing bonus the quarterack received as part of a cryptocurrency endorsement deal.

Lawrence was happy to note that correction over Twitter.

Lawrence was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. He signed a 4-year, $36.8 million deal with the Jags that included a $24.1 million signing bonus. All that money is/was being paid out in US Dollars.

We have no idea what the rest of Lawrence’s finances look like, much less how his investment/cryptocurrency portfolios are doing. But if anyone has time to wait for the financial markets to rebound, it’s a 22-year-old NFL quarterback who’s already a multi-millionaire.

Baker Mayfield reportedly still has interest from NFC team

Baker Mayfield smiles

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Few teams appear very interested in making the move for Baker Mayfield, but one notable NFC franchise is apparently still keeping an eye on the Cleveland Browns quarterback.

The Seattle Seahawks still have a “high level of interest” in Mayfield and would even be open to a possible contract extension, according to Josina Anderson of CBS Sports. However, the Seahawks are still in the process of collecting information on Mayfield, and no deal appears close.

The Seahawks had been linked to Mayfield before the draft, but things had largely gone quiet since then. Part of the issue is his contract, which is turning off one other potentially interested team.

Unless you include Drew Lock, the Seahawks do not really have a long-term answer at quarterback. Whether they move for Mayfield may depend on whether the organization believes he could ultimately be that answer.

Ray Lewis releases statement about death of Tony Siragusa

Ray Lewis in a suit

Jan 31, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Baltimore Ravens former linebacker Ray Lewis on the red carpet prior to the NFL Honors award ceremony at Symphony Hall. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Ray Lewis was among many who paid tribute to former teammate Tony Siragusa on Wednesday.

Siragusa and Lewis were teammates on the title-winning 2000 Baltimore Ravens team, and Lewis paid tribute in a statement released Wednesday. Referring to Siragusa as “like a brother,” Lewis called his former teammate the “ultimate competitor” and encouraged everyone to “hug your loved ones for Goose.”

Siragusa, a longtime defensive lineman with the Colts and Ravens, died at the age of 55 on Wednesday. His sudden death clearly came as a shock to his former teammates.

Siragusa and Lewis spent five seasons together on the Ravens. Lewis was a second-year pro when Siragua, by then a veteran, joined the organization in 1997.

Ravens legend Tony Siragusa dies at 55

Tony Siragusa broadcasting

Sep 22, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Fox sports reporter Tony Siragusa prior to the game with the Dallas Cowboys playing against the St. Louis Rams at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Longtime NFL defensive lineman Tony Siragusa is dead at age 55, according to one of his former teammates.

Former Ravens running back Jamal Lewis told TMZ Sports that Siragusa had died, adding that it was a “sad day to be a Raven.” No cause of death was available for Siragusa.

Siragusa spent 12 seasons in the NFL with the Indianapolis Colts and Baltimore Ravens. Many will remember him for his time in Baltimore, where he was part of the team’s 2000 Super Bowl win, and a key cog in the team’s elite defensive unit. Following his retirement in 2001, he spent over a decade broadcasting NFL games for FOX.

Wednesday has been a very difficult day for the Ravens organization. In addition to Siragusa’s death, the team is mourning the sudden loss of one of its current players.

Roger Goodell grilled by congressman over banning Barstool founder Dave Portnoy

Roger Goodell at the podium

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell testified on Wednesday at a congressional hearing related to the investigation into alleged workplace misconduct with the Washington Commanders. He was asked a series of questions about the inner workings of the NFL, but one inquiry seemed to really take Goodell by surprise.

Rep. Jim Jordan asked Goodell why the NFL has banned Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy from attending league events. Goodell claimed he is “not familiar with that issue,” which Jordan said he cannot believe. You can see a video of the exchange below:

Jordan prefaced the question by asking if Goodell believes in the First Amendment. He also mentioned how Portnoy interviewed former president Donald Trump at the White House, yet the NFL won’t allow Portnoy into events like the Super Bowl.

Of course, Jordan was clearly trying to go viral. That was evident when he tweeted the video and tagged Portnoy and Barstool Sports. If creating a viral moment was the goal, Jordan succeeded.

It is impossible to believe that Goodell is unaware of Portnoy’s ban. The two have a long history. Portnoy and other personalities were arrested outside NFL headquarters in 2015 for protesting Tom Brady’s Deflategate suspension. Portnoy was handcuffed and kicked out of the Super Bowl in 2019.

More recently, Portnoy was the highest bidder on a charity auction prize that was supposed to result in him being able to watch an NFL game with Goodell. The NFL blocked the meeting, to no one’s surprise.

Goodell may not understand why he was asked about Portnoy on Wednesday, but he is undoubtedly familiar with the situation.

Tyreek Hill says he received death threats over recent comments

Tyreek Hill looks ahead

May 24, 2022; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins running back Tyreek Hill (10) stretches during OTA practice at Baptist Health Training Complex. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Tyreek Hill recently started his own podcast, and the star wide receiver immediately made headlines for some surprising remarks he made about Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. According to Hill, some people were beyond irate to hear what he had to say.

On the first episode of his podcast “It Needed to Be Said” last week, Hill criticized the Chiefs for not utilizing him properly. He also said his new quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa, is a more accurate passer than Mahomes. You can see the video of the comments here.

Hill released the second episode of his podcast on Tuesday. He spoke about the reaction to his comments about Mahomes and the Chiefs. The six-time Pro Bowler said he received death threats on multiple platforms.

“Every social media account I own, I got death threats on,” Hill said, via Mark Inabinett of AL.com.

Hill implied last week that the Chiefs tried to use him as a deep threat too much. He said he has been expanding his game to run more intermediate and short routes and that Tagovailoa is a quarterback who can put the ball “right in my chest.” Hill insisted on Tuesday that he was not trying to disrespect Mahomes.

“I just feel like a lot of people overreacted for no reason,” he added. “They really didn’t see what I said. A lot of people are just acting off emotion.”

Mahomes offered his own theory on why Hill said what he said. Hill could probably live without the death threats, but all the publicity is certainly a good thing for his new media venture.

Ravens LB Jaylon Ferguson dies at 26

Jaylon Ferguson without a helmet

Oct 18, 2020; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Baltimore Ravens linebacker Jaylon Ferguson (45) walks off the field after win against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Baltimore Ravens linebacker Jaylon Ferguson has died, the team announced on Wednesday.

The Ravens said in a statement that they are “profoundly saddened” by the death of Ferguson, who was 26.

Baltimore Police said officers responded to a call at around 11:25 p.m. on Tuesday night and found Ferguson unresponsive. He was treated by paramedics at the scene but never regained consciousness and was pronounced dead. Police said there were no signs of foul play or trauma suspected. The cause of death will be determined by a medical examiner.

Ferguson had taken part in all of the Ravens’ offseason practices leading up to the 2022 season. The former Louisiana Tech star appeared to be in great shape and had lost weight, according to ESPN’s Jamison Hensley.

Ravens linebacker Patrick Queen was among those who tweeted his reaction to the tragic news.

Ferguson was selected by the Ravens in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft. He appeared to have a chip on his shoulder after he was not allowed at the NFL Scouting Combine over an incident that occurred years before.

Ferguson had 4.5 sacks and 67 total tackles in three seasons with the Ravens. He leaves behind two daughters and a son, all of who are under the age of 5.

Reporter provides injury news on Jalen Ramsey

Jalen Ramsey in pads

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Jalen Ramsey in February helped the Los Angeles Rams win their second Super Bowl, and he did so while not completely healthy.

On Tuesday, Ramsey posted a picture on Twitter with himself and his daughters. Ramsey’s left arm appeared to be in a sling. In a quote tweet, NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reported that Ramsey had undergone shoulder surgery Tuesday.

“ALL IS WELL! God is GREAT! Selfies are my hijas favorite #nationalselfieday,” Ramsey wrote.

Rapoport also revealed that Ramsey played last season with tears in both shoulders. Despite the surgery, Ramsey should be ready to go for the start of the season.

Ramsey’s injuries didn’t seem to have much of an affect on his game last season. He was a first-team All-Pro, made it to his seventh Pro Bowl, and had his best statistical season as a member of the Rams. In 16 games, Ramsey had four interceptions, 77 tackles, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. His 16 passes defended were tied for the sixth-most in the NFL.

While not one hundred percent healthy, Ramsey was in the lineup against each team’s top receiver during the postseason. In four playoff games, the 27-year-old had 13 tackles and four passes defended. The only game that Ramsey missed last season was due to COVID.

Julian Edelman shares tribute to Rob Gronkowski after retirement news

Julian Edelman pumps up the crowd

Sep 26, 2021; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; Former New England Patriots Julian Edelman is honored during halftime against the New Orleans Saints at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Rob Gronkowski announced his retirement from the NFL Tuesday, and former teammate Julian Edelman shared a creative tribute to Gronk via Instagram.

Edelman and Gronk played nine seasons together with the New England Patriots. Edelman shared a slideshow on Instagram of four photos, the first one being a Calvin and Hobbs-style picture.

In the photo, cartoon versions of Edelman and Gronk are seated in a moving wagon with Edelman steering and Gronk seated behind him. Edelman also posted two real-life photos of him and Gronk. The last image was a Calvin and Hobbs cartoon with Hobbs saying, “If good things lasted forever, would we appreciate how precious they are?”

“There will only ever be one Gronk,” Edelman wrote as a caption. “Love you bro. #FoxboroForever”

There is a chance Gronk could come out of retirement. Gronk’s agent made a prediction about a possible return for Gronk if Brady calls this season. Similarly, Edelman did not close the door on a possible NFL return as recently as mid-June.

Edelman and Gronk won three Super Bowls together in New England, and were two of Tom Brady’s favorite targets. In 11 seasons with the Patriots, Edelman caught 620 passes for 6,822 yards and 36 touchdowns. Gronk had 521 catches for 7,861 yards and 79 touchdowns.