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Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Football

Antonio Brown claims he will attend NFL Combine

Antonio Brown

Antonio Brown is still trying to get back into the NFL, or so it seems.

Brown told TMZ Sports that he’ll be attending the NFL Combine in Indianapolis later this month with the hope of explaining his recent actions to teams and getting another chance in the league after his lost season in 2019.

“I’m excited and looking forward to seeing them guys,” Brown said. “I’mma be out there ready to get things back on the right page.”

Brown will need to do a lot of convincing. He’s had multiple police standoffs, made a spectacle of himself after being released on bond following battery charges, and is under NFL investigation after multiple allegations of sexual assault. All of that means that any team that signs him probably won’t have him for a while.

The wide receiver appears to be trying to mend some fences with those he fell out with. Maybe he can keep that attitude in place through the Combine, but there’s no guarantee it works out for him.

NFL issues statement in light of Myles Garrett evidence claims

Myles Garrett

The NFL took Myles Garrett’s “Outside the Lines” interview seriously enough that they’re clarifying some things about their investigation.

Garrett gave an extensive interview with the program and stated that he’d heard Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph call him a “stupid N-word,” which led to Garrett striking Rudolph with his helmet in the dying moments of Nov. 14’s Browns-Steelers game. At one point in the interview, Garrett questioned whether the NFL “wants to acknowledge” that it happened despite the league finding no evidence to support Garrett’s claims, which many saw as Garrett suggesting the NFL was covering something up.

On Saturday, the league issued a statement in response to the interview, reaffirming that no one on the field heard Rudolph use the alleged slur and explaining why no microphones would have picked it up even if he had.

Garrett waited a while to make the allegation publicly, though he reportedly did so immediately after the game in private. Rudolph has consistently denied the allegation and has been backed by his team. The NFL seems to have acted based on what evidence they had available, and the evidence simply did not back Garrett.

Bruce Arians: Jameis Winston decision unlikely before mid-March

Jameis Winston

Will Jameis Winston be the quarterback of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers next season? We still don’t know, and it may be several more weeks before we do.

Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians said there is still no decision on Winston’s future with the organization and there probably will not be until the legal tampering period of March 16-18.

“Really nothing has changed,” Arians said, via Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. “What’s Door No. 2? You know? Can we make the one we have better? All those things you go through right now.”

Arians admitted part of the issue in determining Winston’s fate is that the team still isn’t sure which quarterbacks will be available in free agency, thus making it tough to determine whether an upgrade on Winston will be available.

“You’re just sitting there waiting to see is there someone available? … Is he a better option?” Arians said. “And then, that’s the problem, you get about three days to decide. The legal tampering period. Is somebody going to get let go? What’s the trade values? It’s really monotonous right now because you don’t have any answers.”

We do know of one big-name quarterback who will definitely be available, and it has been indicated that the Buccaneers are seriously interested. Winston, meanwhile, has made some changes ahead of his free agency that could really help him on the field. Whether that’s with the Buccaneers or someone else is very much an open question.

Report: Robby Anderson likely to leave Jets in free agency

Robby Anderson

The New York Jets appear poised to lose a key piece of their offense in free agency.

Wide receiver Robby Anderson is likely to depart the team, according to Connor Hughes of The Athletic. This largely comes down to the contract he’s likely to demand on the open market. While the Jets would be happy to sign Anderson to a deal around the four years and $40 million that DeVante Parker got from the Miami Dolphins, league sources expect Anderson to get a deal around $13 to $15 million a year.

Anderson is a good young receiver who’s been stuck in a mediocre Jets offense. He does, however, have yet to get a 1,000-yard season, coming close with 941 yards in 2017. That’s not entirely Anderson’s fault, but it’s a reason the Jets will shy away from paying him like a No. 1 receiver.

The Jets are trying to build a contender this offseason, but losing a key piece like Anderson won’t help. It may be why the Jets prove hesitant to trade another key offensive player no matter what their front office says.

Mason Rudolph calls Myles Garrett’s racial slur allegation a ‘bold-faced lie’

Myles Garrett Mason Rudolph

Mason Rudolph has once again denied using a racial slur toward Myles Garrett when the two players got into an altercation this past season.

Garrett was reinstated by the NFL this week, and the Cleveland Browns star shed more light on his allegation that Rudolph set him off by calling him a racial slur. Garrett told ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” that Rudolph called him a “stupid N-word” when the two got tangled up late in Cleveland’s Week 11 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Rudolph took to Twitter on Saturday morning and called the allegation a “disgusting and reckless attempt to assassinate my character.”

Rudolph has denied using a racial slur from the start, and the Steelers have stood behind him. Head coach Mike Tomlin issued a strong statement on Saturday reiterating that he has no reason to believe Garrett’s accusation has merit.

Garrett did not say Rudolph used a racial slur until he appealed his suspension in front of the NFL, which was a week after the incident. He claims he didn’t bring it up sooner because he didn’t want it to seem like he was trying to justify his actions, which included dangerously bashing Rudolph in the head with a helmet. The NFL reportedly interviewed referees and used camera angles to investigate the claim and found no evidence that Rudolph used a racial slur.

Garrett hinted to ESPN that he believes the NFL may have covered up Rudolph’s racist language. Obviously, Rudolph has no intention of backing down from his denial, and there has been no hard evidence against him thus far.

Mike Tomlin still does not believe Mason Rudolph called Myles Garrett racial slur

Mason Rudolph

Mason Rudolph has found his name in the news once again this week after Myles Garrett shed more light on the alleged racial slur the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback hurled at him, but Mike Tomlin still is not buying it.

Tomlin issued a strong statement of support for Rudolph on Saturday morning, reiterating that he has no reason to believe the quarterback called Garrett a racial slur when the two players got into a physical confrontation last season. The Steelers coach said he interacted with many people in the Browns organization immediately after the incident, and there was no indication that Rudolph said anything racist.

Garrett was reinstated by the NFL this week, and he told ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” that that he heard Rudolph call him a “stupid N-word” when the two got tangled up in Week 11. Garrett also hinted that he believes the NFL helped cover up the incident.

Garrett did not say Rudolph used a racial slur until he appealed his suspension in front of the NFL, which was a week later. He claims he didn’t bring it up sooner because he didn’t want it to seem like he was trying to justify his actions, which included dangerously bashing Rudolph in the head with a helmet. The NFL reportedly interviewed referees and used camera angles to investigate the claim and found no evidence that Rudolph used a racial slur.

Rudolph also issued a statement on Saturday and once again vehemently denied Garrett’s allegation.

Ross Stripling was prepared to throw at Astros players over sign stealing

Ross Stripling

One interesting storyline for 2020 will be how many pitchers take justice into their own hands by throwing at Houston Astros players over their systemic sign-stealing.

That question is one that Ross Stripling grappled with. Stripling was supposed to be involved in a trade to the Los Angeles Angels, where he was highly likely to face the division rival Astros at some point during the season. The trade ultimately fell through, but not before Stripling had time to wrestle with the question of whether he’d do so, and he ultimately determined that he would if the circumstances made sense.

If Stripling is thinking it, so are many other pitchers, and we could see a significant amount of this once the regular season starts. Another Dodgers pitcher, Alex Wood, was asked on Friday about the possibility of pitchers plunking Astros hitters this season. Wood said he wouldn’t be surprised if it happened.

There is a sense among players that the Astros got away with what they did because MLB did not punish any players. Stripling and Wood may well have missed out on a World Series ring because of what the Astros were doing in 2017, so they have some added incentive to be angry, too.

The Houston Astros are confirmed cheaters and deserve an asterisk. Send that message by wearing our Houston Asterisks T-shirt! You can buy it here: