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#pounditSaturday, September 25, 2021

Football

Colts could have surprising starting quarterback on Sunday

Brett Hundley

The Indianapolis Colts could have a surprising starting quarterback in Week 3 on Sunday.

The Colts are set to visit the Tennessee Titans on Sunday for a divisional game. Starting quarterback Carson Wentz is dealing with injuries to both ankles and has not practiced this week.

Jacob Eason, a fourth-round pick in 2020, is the team’s backup quarterback. However, the former Washington Huskies quarterback looked overmatched when he replaced Wentz against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 2. Eason went 2/5 or 25 yards and an interception.

The Colts will likely promote Brett Hundley from the practice squad to the active roster. They even gave him the majority of the first-team reps on Wednesday, according to NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero.

Pelissero’s colleague Ian Rapoport said on “The Pat McAfee Show” Thursday that there is not much optimism surrounding Wentz’s chances of playing. Rapoport says “there’s a decent chance it’s Brett Hundley” who starts.

Hundley making the jump from practice squad to Sunday starter would be a surprise. But it might be the right move for the Colts.

It sounds like Wentz will not be well enough to play. Hundley, 28, has appeared in 18 career NFL games. He made nine starts for the Packers in 2017 in place of the injured Aaron Rodgers.

Though Hundley only has nine touchdowns compared to 12 interceptions in his career, he would likely make the Colts more competitive than Eason.

Randall Cobb shares funny story about preseason prep with Aaron Rodgers

Randall Cobb

Aaron Rodgers went out of his way to push the Green Bay Packers to bring wide receiver Randall Cobb back to the team. Once they did, the quarterback was apparently so excited about getting down to business that Cobb had to tell him to pump the brakes.

Cobb revealed Thursday that he had briefly lived with Rodgers in Green Bay during camp while his family was making the move back to Wisconsin. In Cobb’s retelling, the pair spent lots of time watching the Olympics and studying the offensive playbook. In fact, the playbook work was so intense, Cobb had to tell Rodgers to dial it back a bit.

Rodgers certainly doesn’t sound like a guy who had checked out of the Packers mentally by the time Cobb arrived. Rodgers certainly felt the team proved that on Monday night.

Cobb hasn’t been heavily involved in the offense so far, catching four passes for 58 yards in the team’s first two games. Based on this and what Rodgers was saying about him during training camp, it certainly doesn’t seem to have anything to do with a lack of familiarity with the playbook.

Von Miller credits key change for return to form in 2021

Von Miller

After a down year in 2019 and a lost season in 2020, Von Miller is looking more like himself in 2021. He thinks there’s one key thing he’s done that has helped with that.

Miller said he no longer reads articles and media expectations anymore. The Denver Broncos pass-rusher admitted he used to, and it could get him down at times, and no longer doing so has helped.

When Miller was at his best, social media and news likely wasn’t an issue. After collecting just eight sacks in 2019, however, the criticism began to mount, and it seems to have taken a mental toll on Miller. A season-ending ankle injury cost him all of 2020, but gave him time to regroup.

There was chatter that the Broncos might be done with Miller at the end of last year. Now he has three sacks in two games, and the 32-year-old looks to be back in form.

Olivia Culpo has tribute to ‘hot boyfriend’ Christian McCaffrey

Olivia Culpo Christian McCaffrey

Olivia Culpo showed her appreciation for Christian McCaffrey via Instagram on Wednesday.

Culpo is a model and active on social media. She regularly posts to her Instagram Stories, which is where she paid tribute to him. Culpo posted a photo of the Carolina Panthers running back and captioned it “hot boyfriend appreciation story.”

That’s pretty nice.

Culpo, 29, is a beauty queen and won Miss Rhode Island, Miss USA and later Miss Universe. She is familiar to sports fans for all the relationships she has had with athletes.

In 2012, Culpo was seen hanging out with Ryan Lochte. In 2015, she dated Tim Tebow until reportedly dumping him. Next she was on-and-off with former New England Patriots receiver Danny Amendola.

Since about 2019, Culpo has dated McCaffrey. They have been together at least two years, and Culpo is very clearly “hot” for the Panthers star.

Myles Jack reveals how far NFL has gone on taunting crackdown

Myles Jack

The NFL’s new emphasis on taunting doesn’t just apply during games. It turns out there is retroactive punishment being handed down, too.

Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Myles Jack said Thursday that he had received a $20,000 fine for too much trash talk during Week 1 against the Houston Texans. Jack’s response? He doesn’t plan to say anything to anyone for the rest of the year.

The NFL has made no secret of the fact that it wants to crack down on taunting in 2021. So far the league has backed that up, much to the frustration of players. The penalties are unpopular with many fans as well, and fining players after the fact isn’t likely to change that.

You can see an example of what’s getting flagged now by clicking here. Most would agree that penalizing this is over the top, but the league simply won’t be moved.

Nick Sirianni plays up Cowboys rivalry with latest shirt choice

Nick Sirianni

Philadelphia Eagles coach Nick Sirianni clearly enjoys sending messages through his shirt choices, and fans should be especially pleased with his latest.

Sirianni appeared for his media availability Thursday wearing a “Beat Dallas” shirt ahead of the Eagles’ matchup with the Dallas Cowboys on Monday night. Sirianni compared the Eagles-Cowboys rivalry to a college one, and did nothing to downplay its importance.

Taking a rival like the Cowboys seriously is a good way for Sirianni to get Eagles fans on his side. Of course, there’s no doubt he’d be up for the game either way judging by how much he values competitiveness.

This marks the second consecutive week Sirianni has made an interesting shirt choice for his press conference. Maybe this will become some sort of theme for him.

Bears fans have great way of showing appreciation for Andy Dalton

Andy Dalton

Chicago Bears fans are excited to get their first real look at rookie Justin Fields, but that does not mean they want to kick veteran quarterback Andy Dalton while he is down.

Dalton will miss Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Browns after he suffered a knee injury in Week 3. Fields will make his first NFL start as a result. After head coach Matt Nagy made the news official on Wednesday, a group of Bears fans started a movement on Reddit to encourage donations to Dalton’s official charity.

“Let’s Donate $14 each to thank Andy for giving us his all!” the original Reddit post said.

The call was answered. Dalton’s wife Jordan told Daniel Greenberg that she and Andy have been overwhelmed by the donations.

Bears fans have been clamoring for months for the team to start Fields. The majority of them are thrilled that they get to see the rookie make his first NFL start on Sunday, but you have to give them credit for trying to keep it classy in the wake of Dalton’s knee injury.

This isn’t the first time fans have flooded Dalton’s charity with donations. Though, the previous coordinated effort came amid much different circumstances.

Julian Edelman has hilarious take on Tom Brady’s return to Foxboro

Julian Edelman

Julian Edelman is very close friends with Tom Brady. He is also a New England Patriots legend who, unlike Brady, spent his entire career with the organization. So where does that leave Edelman for the big showdown on Oct. 3?

The Patriots announced this week that Edelman will be honored in a special halftime ceremony during Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Saints. The retired wide receiver spoke with the media on Thursday about that and some other topics, including where his loyalty will lay when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers visit the Patriots in less than two weeks. Edelman provided a hilarious analogy.

“It’s definitely gonna be weird,” Edelman said, via NFL Network’s Michael Giardi. “It’s like going to a family barbecue or a basketball event and you’re the step kid, or you’re like the kid who has divorced parents and your mom and dad are there and you don’t know how to react. Are they going to fight? Are they not going to fight?”

Edelman didn’t really commit to a rooting interest, but he said he hopes Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski and everyone else play well and stay healthy. He also said he’s hoping for a high-scoring game and will be pulling for rookie Mac Jones.

There will definitely be mixed emotions for Edelman during the Bucs-Pats game. He has, by all indications, maintained close relationships with both Brady and Bill Belichick. He just has a very strange way of showing it sometimes.

The Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski Tampa party continues! Treat yourself or a friend with this great Tampa Fiesta shirt. You can buy it here.

Photo: Jeffrey Beall/Wikimedia via CC-by-SA 3.0

Lamar Jackson misses practice due to injury he suffered on flip celebration

Lamar Jackson

Lamar Jackson is dealing with an injury heading into the Baltimore Ravens’ Week 3 game against the Detroit Lions, and the former NFL MVP has admitted that the wound was self-inflicted.

Jackson did not practice on Thursday because of a hip injury. He admitted the day before that he was “kind of sore” after flipping into the end zone on an easy touchdown run in Sunday night’s thrilling win over the Kansas City Chiefs.

Jackson joked that he didn’t want to tell Harbaugh about he injury out of fear he might be scolded for flipping. Harbaugh shared his thoughts on the flip earlier in the week.

You can see the play below:

It doesn’t sound like Jackson is at any risk of missing Sunday’s game, but he probably won’t be flipping into the end zone anymore. We’ve seen some serious celebration injuries over the years, and Jackson would hate to be added to that list.

UPDATE: The Ravens’ official injury report said Jackson missed practice with an illness.

Kyle Shanahan, Matt LaFleur’s brother had tense exchange about Aaron Rodgers?

Kyle Shanahan

The San Francisco 49ers understandably did their due diligence this past offseason after Aaron Rodgers asked the Green Bay Packers for a trade. While the two coaches have denied it, the inquiry may have resulted in some tension between Kyle Shanahan and Matt LaFleur.

LaFleur and Shanahan have long had a close relationship. On Wednesday, LaFleur was asked if that friendship was impacted by the Niners trying to pry Rodgers away from the Packers several months ago. LaFleur insisted it is not an issue.

“Kyle’s a great friend of mine,” LaFleur said. “I haven’t talked to him in a while. It’s just part of the business, I hold no ill will towards him. … He’s got a responsibility to everybody in that organization if he’s got an opportunity. I don’t hold that against him. That will have no affect on our relationship.”

That doesn’t mean the situation wasn’t awkward. According to NFL Network’s Michael Silver, Shanahan became upset over an exchange he had with LaFleur’s brother, New York Jets offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur, minutes before the start of the NFL Draft. Mike LaFleur reportedly needled Shanahan about his Rodgers trade inquiry, and Shanahan did not take kindly to it.

Here’s how the exchange was described to Silver:

Rodgers is from Northern California. There had been rumblings that the 49ers were his top choice when he demanded a trade, so Mike LaFleur (and his brother) may have felt Shanahan and the Niners were toeing the tampering line.

For what it’s worth, Shanahan told “The Rich Eisen Show” after the draft that all he did was call Matt LaFleur and ask if there was any truth to the reports that Rodgers wanted out. LaFleur made it clear that Rodgers was not available, and Shanahan says that was the end of it.

Had it not been for LaFleur stepping in, Rodgers may have ended up playing elsewhere. LaFleur can’t possibly blame Shanahan for seeing if there was an opportunity to acquire one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. But even if the two coaches understood one another, there still may have been some moments of tension while all the drama was unfolding.