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#pounditFriday, June 24, 2022

Football

Former LB has interesting preference in Tom Brady-Peyton Manning debate

Peyton Manning in a suit

Dec 15, 2018; Denver, CO, USA; Former Denver Broncos player Peyton Manning before the game against the Cleveland Browns at Broncos Stadium at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

No defense would want to face prime Tom Brady or Peyton Manning, but an interesting question is which of the two a defense would fear more.

Former Pro Bowl linebacker Bart Scott revealed his choice on Thursday’s edition of ESPN Radio’s “Bart & Hahn.” Scott said he would rather face Brady, as Manning’s constant changes at the line of scrimmage give Scott “a different set of anxiety.”

“I’d much rather go against Tom Brady every day of the week than go against Peyton Manning. I believe that’s how everybody feels,” Scott said. “Peyton Manning gives you a different set of anxiety. With Tom Brady, it was more about Bill Belichick, the entire team, the execution, them having the gameplan. Peyton Manning literally, ‘yellow’ meant something in the first quarter, it means something totally different in the second quarter. … You feel like you got to go take an SAT test.”

Manning’s audibles and on-the-fly changes were the stuff of legend during his playing career. Other teams tried to decode his cadences and hand signals, but few ever succeeded consistently. Based on Scott’s explanation, it’s easy to see why Manning’s efforts consistently worked so well.

Kareem Hunt addresses his future with Browns

Kareem Hunt in his Browns uniform

May 25, 2022; Berea, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns running back Kareem Hunt (27) walks off the field during organized team activities at CrossCountry Mortgage Campus. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Kareem Hunt is sounding off on his long-term future with the Cleveland Browns, and he is quite eager to stay right where he is.

Hunt is entering the final season of his contract with the Browns. Heindicated this week that he wants to remain with the organization. However, he said the ball is in the Browns’ court when it comes to getting some sort of agreement done.

“Right now I’m just taking it day-by-day,” Hunt told Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com. “I’m going to see what they want to do with me. Hopefully I can be here long-term, but we’ll see what God has planned for me.”

Hunt has been valuable insurance behind Nick Chubb since the Browns added him in 2019. His most productive season came in 2020, when he tallied 841 rushing yards and 11 total touchdowns.

Hunt’s eagerness to commit comes as the Browns transition away from Baker Mayfield at quarterback. That should make Hunt’s dad happy, at least.

Ex-teammate shares Tom Brady’s brutal rookie hazing method

Tom Brady after a game

Sep 9, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) reacts after defeating the Dallas Cowboys at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Reper-USA TODAY Sports

One popular method of NFL rookie hazing is the team dinner, in which players go out for a meal worth thousands of dollars and stick the rookies with the bill. Tom Brady has apparently made an art form out of this.

New York Jets rookie Garrett Wilson appeared on “The Pivot Podcast” and was warned about the dinner by former NFL players Fred Taylor, Ryan Clark, and Channing Crowder. Taylor, who spent 2009 and 2010 with Brady on the New England Patriots, shared a pretty brutal anecdote about how Brady used to run up the bill during those dinners.

“When I was in New England, the entire team went out on the rookies,” Taylor said. “All I know is that bill comes back like 50, 60 thousand, because Tom would come in there and buy a three, four, five thousand dollar bottle of wine, take one sip, quit it, and say goodnight.”

This sort of rookie hazing is always tough on the pocketbook, but Brady takes it to a new level here. That’s a pretty cold move.

Brady is no stranger to keeping rookies in line. If this story is any indication, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ rookie class might be in for a rude awakening.

Brian Urlacher shares which NFL QB was the toughest to face

Brian Urlacher

Chicago Bears legend Brian Urlacher faced a lot of tough opponents during his storied 13-year career, but one stood out above the rest.

During an appearance on The Pat McAfee Show earlier this week, Urlacher was asked about the quarterbacks he’s played and which presented the toughest challenge. Without hesitation, he named Chicago’s primary rival: Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

“We couldn’t beat those [expletive],” Urlacher said. “We beat them like one time in 2010. You can put whatever receivers you want there, I don’t care who he is, he’ll make them better.”

And what separated Rodgers from the other quarterbacks Urlacher has faced? It’s a laundry list.

“Got a great arm, very accurate, smart,” Urlacher said. “It’s like Tom [Brady] and Peyton, [Manning] — they know all know exactly what your doing before the ball is even snapped there’s no key to that, they all know what’s going on. He threw four picks last year, how do you do that in 16-17 games?”

“It’s amazing how good of a position he puts his team in because he doesn’t turn the ball over. The guy is unbelievable at putting the ball on the money … You’re just not gonna fool him.”

Rodgers is 22-5 against the Bears throughout his career — the most wins he has against any NFL franchise. His 61 touchdown passes are also the most against any NFL team.

Report: 1 team still showing interest in Baker Mayfield trade

Baker Mayfield stands on the sideline

Nov 21, 2021; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) walks off the field after the Browns beat the Detroit Lions at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Browns saga involving Baker Mayfield and Deshaun Watson continues. And it shows no signs of slowing down any time soon.

As the NFL reportedly considers a one-year suspension for Watson, stemming from several dozen accusations of sexual assault, Mayfield remains determined to be traded. He was excused from the team’s mandatory minicamp and a reconciliation seems highly unlikely at this point.

The problem? Mayfield’s trade value appears minimal. However, at least one team remains somewhat interested in a potential pairing: The Carolina Panthers.

The Panthers have kept a close eye on Mayfield throughout this offseason and were reportedly urgent to acquire him at one point. Of course, that has yet to come to fruition despite the persistent smoke.

Mayfield, the first overall selection in the 2018 NFL Draft, has largely failed to live up to expectations. He’s posted a 29-30 record over four seasons and is rumored to have lost the locker-room following Odell Beckham Jr.’s departure last season.

Giants LB has amazing explanation for his failed PED test

New York Giants logo

The NFL announced on Friday that New York Giants linebacker Justin Hilliard had been suspended two games for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs.

“Justin Hilliard of the New York Giants has been suspended without pay for the first two games of the 2022 regular season for violating the NFL Policy on Performance-Enhancing Substances,” an NFL spokesman said in a release.

“Hilliard is eligible to participate in all preseason practices and games. He will be allowed to return to the Giants’ active roster on Monday, Sept. 19, following the team’s Week 2 game vs. Carolina.”

Shortly after word of the suspension reached social media, Hilliard appeared on Twitter with the typical post-suspension explanation. He blamed the failed test on a pill mix-up.

The 25-year-old Hilliard originally signed with the San Francisco 49ers as an undrafted free agent out of Ohio State in 2021. He was waived as a part of final cuts and promptly claimed by the Giants.

Hilliard appeared in just two games for the Giants before being placed on IR in October with an ankle injury.

Eagles star called out 1 Celtics player over Game 6 performance

DeVonta Smith warming up

Nov 7, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeVonta Smith warms up before action against the Los Angeles Chargers at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Boston Celtics guard Jayson Tatum had a forgettable NBA Finals Game 6 performance in Boston’s 103-90 loss to the Golden State Warriors, and Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeVonta Smith took notice.

Following Thursday’s game, which saw the Warriors win their first title since 2018, Smith tweeted out a harsh critique of Tatum.

“JT ain’t got no dog in him mane…” Smith wrote.

Smith’s tweet went viral shortly after he sent it. The second-year receiver took to Twitter again on Thursday to say that fans were looking too much into his comment about Tatum.

“Y’all digging too deep i love JT but championship on the line we gotta show up !” Smith wrote.

Smith knows a thing or two about winning championships, having won two national titles during his time at Alabama.

Tatum played well for a majority of the NBA Finals, but he struggled with Boston facing elimination in Game 6. After scoring 12 points in Game 1, the 24-year-old had 28 points in Game 2; 26 in Game 3; 23 in Game 4; and 27 in Game 5. In Game 6, Tatum scored just 13 points and was 6-of-18 from the field. The three-time All-Star scored just two points in the fourth quarter.

Tatum finished the 2022 playoffs averaging 25.6 points and shooting 42.6 percent from the field in 24 games.

Peyton Manning wears very appropriate hat while attending College World Series

Peyton Manning in an Omaha hat

Peyton Manning attended Friday night’s College World Series game between Texas and Notre Dame, and he was wearing a very appropriate hat.

The Hall of Fame quarterback was wearing a hat that said “Omaha” on it.

The hat was fitting for several reasons.

First off, Manning became known for yelling out “Omaha” during games as an audible signal. Secondly, Manning named his television production company “Omaha Productions.” Lastly, the College World Series is held in Omaha, Neb.

While his hat was pretty straightforward and an excellent choice, his attendance at the game led to questions.

Why was Manning at a Texas-Notre Dame game? Was there some sort of alternate meaning related to his nephew’s recruitment? Or was he just there to catch a game at a fun venue? Longhorns fans can keep dreaming.

Michael Thomas gives hint about his rehab in Instagram video?

Mike Thomas holding a ball

Dec 22, 2019; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas (13) breaks the record for receptions in a season with this touchdown reception during the second half against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Thomas did not play at all in 2021 due to a foot injury. New Orleans Saints head coach Dennis Allen said last month that he expects the star wide receiver to be cleared at some point this offseason, and Thomas may have dropped a hint on Friday that he is getting closer.

Thomas shared a video on his Instagram story that showed him doing one-legged box jumps on his left leg. The 29-year-old has undergone two surgeries on his left foot, so that seems significant.

Allen said the plan was for Thomas to be ready for training camp, which is still more than a month away.

Thomas and the Saints had a disagreement last offseason over how Thomas should handle his foot injury. He reportedly blew the team off after doctors suggested he undergo surgery. That may have delayed his recovery time, and he ultimately sat out the entire season.

Thomas had more than 1,000 yards receiving in each of his first four NFL seasons. He had a whopping 149 catches for 1,725 yards and 9 touchdowns in 2019 before the injury issues popped up.

Report: NFL aiming for lengthy Deshaun Watson suspension

Deshaun Watson on the practice field

Jun 14, 2022; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) runs a play during minicamp at CrossCountry Mortgage Campus. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL is nearing the end of its investigation into the sexual assault allegations against Deshaun Watson, and the Cleveland Browns star could be on the verge of being hit with a lengthy suspension.

Multiple people familiar with the Watson investigation told Mark Maske of the Washington Post on Friday that the NFL is seeking a “significant” suspension for Watson. The belief is that Watson could be suspended for a full season for violating the league’s personal conduct policy.

One person that Maske spoke with cautioned that it is difficult to predict a precise length of the ban but said “significant would be the proper term.” The NFL will present the findings of its investigation to former U.S. district judge Sue. L. Robinson, who was jointly appointed by the NFL and NFL Players Association as the disciplinary officer under the latest collective bargaining agreement.

The NFL is hoping to wrap up the disciplinary process — including a potential appeal from Watson — before the start of training camp. The Browns open camp on July 27.

Watson is facing 24 sexual assault lawsuits from massage therapists who claim they worked with him. More could be filed in the coming days and weeks.

A recent report claimed Watson had a total of at least 66 different massage therapists over a 17-month span. The quarterback was asked about that during a press conference at minicamp this week.

The Browns signed Watson to a fully guaranteed $230 million extension after they acquired him in a trade with the Houston Texans this offseason. The contract may be structured in a way that protects Watson against a lengthy suspension.