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#pounditMonday, August 3, 2020

Football

Mitchell Trubisky working with QB guru Jeff Christensen to improve mechanics

With his long-term future as a Chicago Bear in serious doubt, Mitchell Trubisky has turned to a quarterback guru to try to get his career back on track.

Trubisky said Friday he has been working with highly-regarded quarterback coach Jeff Christensen in a bid to improve his footwork and mechanics going forward.

Christensen is one of the foremost quarterback gurus around. He has worked with both Jimmy Garoppolo and Patrick Mahomes, who started against each other in Super Bowl LIV. Trubisky will be desperately hoping for success like that.

Trubisky is competing with newly-acquired veteran Nick Foles for Chicago’s starting job. For now, the former first-overall pick may have an edge over Foles, though it’s not necessarily down to anything he’s done so far.

Report: Antonio Brown could be pursued by these two teams

Now that Antonio Brown knows where he stands with the NFL, teams may start to really consider signing him.

According to Jeff Darlington of ESPN, two teams — the Baltimore Ravens and Seattle Seahawks — remain worth watching as potential suitors for Brown.

Both franchises have been consistently linked to Brown before. The Ravens’ MVP quarterback has made no secret of his hope that the team signs Brown, and the two have even worked out together over the offseason.

Other reports indicate that it’s the Seahawks that Brown would prefer to go to. He hasn’t received anything concrete from them or any other team, but now that the NFL has handed down an 8-game suspension, that might change. The interest in him certainly doesn’t appear to have waned.

Antonio Brown won’t appeal 8-game suspension

Antonio Brown has accepted his 8-game suspension from the NFL and has no plans to appeal.

As first reported by Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, Brown has no plans to try to get his suspension reduced or overturned, and could theoretically return for the second half of the season as a result.

As noted, this suspension only covers Brown’s offseason legal issues. A separate investigation into sexual assault allegations against the wide receiver is ongoing, and could cause him to miss more time.

It’s been slightly over a year since Brown essentially demanded the NFL take action against him so he would know where he stood. Now he does, and he can at least think about a theoretical return to the league this season.

Bill Belichick explains Subway ad, expects players to heckle him

Bill Belichick surprised some people earlier this month when he was spotted becoming the latest spokesperson for Subway, but the New England Patriots coach had a very good reason for agreeing to the ad spot.

Belichick told reporters on Friday that he shot the Subway commercial to help raise money for his charity, The Bill Belichick Foundation. He said the ad was a good way to raise funds during a time when it has become more difficult, likely referencing the fact that functions and other typical charity gatherings cannot be held at the moment.

Even though Belichick was filmed scoffing down a foot-long sub for a great cause, he said he still expects his players to ruthlessly mock him over it.

Belichick is viewed as a no-nonsense coach who takes part in very few endorsement opportunities, which is we saw so many puzzled reactions when the video of him filming the Subway commercial emerged. It makes more sense that he was doing it to raise money for charity.

Pac-12 football season will reportedly begin more than three weeks later

The Pac-12 announced recently that it will be playing a conference-only football schedule this year, and reports initially indicated the season will start at some point in the middle of September. That may not be a realistic timeline, however.

Pac-12 officials held a virtual conference on Friday to discuss their revised fall schedule, and Bruce Feldman of The Athletic reports that they decided the season will begin later than Sept. 19.

The first weekend of play for the Pac-12 was originally supposed to be Aug. 29, so that means the start of the season could be pushed back a month or more. By eliminating non-conference games, the Pac-12 and other conferences will have shorter schedules. That gives schools more flexibility to start the season later or postpone games if need be.

All ideas appear to be on the table at the moment, and one major conference has reportedly informed schools that there may not be football in the fall. There has been talk about football season beginning for colleges in the spring, and that could still be an option for some conferences.

Report: George Kittle has ‘significant disconnect’ with 49ers in contract talks

The San Francisco 49ers have a vital need to keep George Kittle happy, and it sounds like there’s a bit of a problem with that right now.

According to Mike Silver of NFL Network, there is a “significant disconnect” in contract talks between the 49ers and Kittle’s camp. While the Niners are willing to reset the tight end market for Kittle, the player’s camp views him as more than simply a tight end and wants to see him paid accordingly.

Silver even wonders if Kittle would consider opting out of the NFL season if the 49ers do not give him what he wants, though that is more speculative than anything else.

As it stands, Kittle would play the 2020 season on a $2.1 million salary. That’s nowhere near fair market value for a player with back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons who can dominate a game like few others can.

Cleveland’s Austin Hooper is currently the highest-paid tight end in the NFL, and is due to make $11.5 million this year. The 49ers are clearly willing to beat that for Kittle, but he has a different position in mind in terms of setting his market value that would get him paid much more.

Antonio Brown suspended 8 games by NFL

Antonio Brown has been highly critical of the NFL for dragging out its investigation into his conduct violations, but the star receiver finally received an answer from the league on Friday.

Brown has been suspended for eight games for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy. Robert Klemko of the Washington Post was the first to report the news.

While Klemko said Brown will be suspended beginning when he signs with a team, the 8-game ban will reportedly begin in Week 1 even if Brown remains a free agent.

Several teams have expressed interest in Brown, but the belief has been that no team would sign him until the league announced the severity of his punishment. We will now see if that is truly the case.

Lamar Jackson said this week that he is hoping the Baltimore Ravens sign Brown, and head coach John Harbaugh did not rule it out. Harbaugh referenced the NFL’s investigation and said he did not think Brown was currently available.

Brown has gotten himself into trouble with the law and the NFL for different reasons. He is still awaiting word from the league on a possible suspension following an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct from two different women. Since those allegations came to light, Brown was charged with burglary with battery after he and his trainer, Glenn Holt, allegedly attacked a moving truck driver. Brown recently pleaded no contest to a charge in that incident and avoided jail time.

If all of that weren’t enough to give NFL teams pause, Brown also streamed a live video on Instagram back in January that showed him berating police officers in front of his children.

Brown, 32, spent very brief periods with the Oakland Raiders and New England Patriots last season. The seven-time Pro Bowler should still be capable of playing at an elite level, as he caught 104 passes for 1,297 yards and 15 touchdowns with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2018.