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Thursday, June 27, 2019

Football

Baker Mayfield takes shots at Texas, Sam Ehlinger

Baker Mayfield throat

Baker Mayfield continues to make it clear where he stands in the Red River Rivalry.

The former Oklahoma Sooners quarterback spoke with Sports Talk 1400’s Ted Lehman and Tyler McComastook from his football camp in Norman on Wednesday. During the interview, he took some shots at the Texas Longhorns. He said that they’re not “back” yet despite Sam Ehlinger’s proclamation after the Sugar Bowl.

The other comment Mayfield made has to do with him playing at Lake Travis in Austin for high school, while Ehlinger played at rival Westlake, another top football program in Austin.

“Westlake is a great program, but the two best quarterbacks to come out of there are Drew Brees and Nick Foles. Sam can stay down there in Texas,” Mayfield said. “That will stir the pot. He doesn’t like me and I hope he knows I don’t like him either.”

This is new for Mayfield, who was actually complimentary of Ehlinger after Oklahoma’s win over the Longhorns in 2017. But the Cleveland Browns quarterback has been making it quite clear he is not a Texas fan.

Tom Brady appears to be working out with Josh Gordon

Tom Brady

It remains unclear if Josh Gordon will be allowed to play at all in 2019, but Tom Brady is doing his best to keep the wide receiver sharp in the event that he is able to contribute with the New England Patriots this season.

On Wednesday, Brady shared some photos and videos on Instagram that appeared to show him working out with Gordon and throwing passes to the star wide receiver.

Gordon was suspended indefinitely toward the end of last season for another violation of the NFL’s substance abuse policy, and there was initially some chatter that he could be banned for life this time. While it does not appear the league will go to those extreme measures, it would be a surprise if he was allowed to play in the first half of 2019.

It’s possible Brady and Gordon could have more information about the situation than the public, but they also could just be helping each other out. Gordon’s most recent violation sounded fairly serious, so the extent of the punishment remains to be seen. The Patriots offered Gordon a restricted free agent tender this offseason — which he signed — to keep him with the team through 2019.

Brett Favre says Instagram was hacked for comeback post

Brett Favre HOF speech

Brett Favre is not actually making an NFL comeback, contrary to one of his Instagram posts.

A post to Favre’s Instagram account on Tuesday teased an NFL comeback and had social media buzzing, but his team says the account was just hacked, according to TMZ Sports.

The posted photo showed Favre being interviewed by Terry Bradshaw after Super Bowl XXXI and said in the caption: “A true champion sticks to his or her calling. I will be coming out of retirement and making my return to play in the NFL for the 2020 season.”

The post has since been deleted.

Favre, 49, is infamous for coming out of retirement multiple times to extend his NFL career. He last played for the Vikings in 2010 when he was 41. In 2009, he led the team to a 12-4 record and the conference championship game despite being 40 years old. He played through a concussion in that game. As recently as 2015, Favre maintained that he could still play in the NFL.

A three-time NFL MVP and one-time Super Bowl champion, Favre was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2016.

Matthew Stafford reportedly played last season with broken back

Matthew Stafford

Matthew Stafford experienced a down season last year by his standards, and a significant injury may have had a lot to do with it.

Appearing on his weekly podcast with WJR’s Ken Brown, Detroit Lions writer Mike O’Hara said Stafford had a broken back last year and was playing with broken bones in his back.

“He had a broken back last year,” O’Hara said. “Broken bones in his back.”

Stafford was listed on the injury report with a back injury after taking 11 hits against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 13. The Detroit Lions quarterback played through it and did not miss a game — his eighth straight season playing in all 16 games. He faced criticism last season but tried to stay above it and did.

Stafford passed for 3,777, 21 touchdowns and 11 interceptions last season. The yards were his lowest mark since 2010 and the touchdowns were his lowest since 2012. On top of his injuries, the Lions also traded away one of his best receiving weapons.

Saints to make Michael Thomas highest-paid WR in NFL?

Michael Thomas

The New Orleans Saints confirmed this week that they have begun discussing a possible contract extension with Michael Thomas, and it sounds like they are prepared to make a massive commitment to him.

ESPN’s Dianna Russini reports that the Saints are “comfortable” making Thomas the highest-paid wide receiver in football.

If that is truly the case, it would be tough to imagine the negotiations lasting very long. Odell Beckham Jr. is currently the highest-paid receiver in football with an annual salary of $18 million. Guaranteed money is obviously the big thing with NFL contracts, but Thomas should be a happy man if the Saints are willing to give him a deal similar to Odell’s.

Thomas is entering the final season of his contract, and the Saints do not hold a fifth-year team option since he was drafted in the second round. He has gotten better and better in his first three seasons and caught a whopping 125 passes for 1,405 yards and nine touchdowns last season. Still just 26, Thomas can make an easy case that he deserves to be the top-paid player at his position.

Baker Mayfield teaches Texas kids ‘Horns Down’ gesture at football camp

Baker Mayfield throat

Baker Mayfield is getting kids everywhere hooked on the Oklahoma Sooners, even some in Texas.

Mayfield hosted a football camp last week at his former high school, Lake Travis High School outside of Austin in Texas. According to the Austin American-Statesman’s Brian Davis, Mayfield greeted the campers with a “Boomer Sooner!” and Horns Down gesture.

Mayfield began his college career at Texas Tech before transferring to Oklahoma, where he went on to become a Heisman Trophy winner and the eventual No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft. He has disliked the Longhorns for a while and said of them in an Instagram post last year, “can’t stand them.” He even went so far as to taunt a Texas signee last year.

The Horns Down hands gesture has long been viewed as a disrespectful symbol towards Texas, one the Big 12 has even cracked down on, much to the unhappiness of their opponents. Mayfield is going to keep the gesture alive in any way he can.

Is Nick Caserio eager to leave Patriots for Texans?

Nick Caserio

A brief but unusual saga saw the Houston Texans deterred in their efforts to hire New England Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio as their new general manager, but the story may be just beginning.

Ben Volin of the Boston Globe wrote Monday that all signs are pointing toward Caserio wanting to leave New England for the Houston job at some point, even if not now. He suggests that, while the Texans’ job would have been a lateral move at best, the Patriots had to file tampering charges to keep him from departing.

Volin notes that Caserio’s contract runs through the 2020 NFL Draft. After that, “every sign” points to Caserio refusing to re-sign and instead depart to become general manager of the Texans.

Houston dropped their pursuit of Caserio when the Patriots filed tampering charges, and have decided against hiring a general manager. That may well be because they know that if they wait it out, Caserio will be theirs next summer, and there’s nothing New England can do about it. It’s not guaranteed, but it certainly isn’t illogical.