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#pounditSaturday, September 25, 2021

Football

Packers trainer Bryan Engel went to great lengths to locate Aaron Jones’ necklace

Aaron Jones

The saga of Aaron Jones’ missing necklace pendant has a happy ending. He can thank Bryan Engel for going to great lengths to help out.

Jones scored four touchdowns in his Green Bay Packers’ win on Monday night. He lost a special piece of jewelry on one of the touchdowns.

Jones’ father died of COVID-19 complications in April. The Packers running back had a mini football pendant made and put his father’s ashes in the pendant. He wore it on the field but lost it.

Engel, better known as “Flea,” stayed out at Lambeau Field until nearly 2 a.m. to locate the missing pendant.

Engel’s efforts paid off as he was able to finally find the pendant. Jones said he was “forever grateful” to Engel for the find.

It’s a happy story all around. Next, Jones needs to repeat his four-touchdown day.

Did Matt LaFleur block Packers from trading Aaron Rodgers?

Matt LaFleur

Did Matt LaFleur block the Green Bay Packers from trading Aaron Rodgers during the offseason? That is something one reporter believes.

Rodgers is playing for the Packers this season after an offseason filled with drama. Rodgers was upset with the team and reportedly wanted a trade.

One report in April claimed that the Packers told Rodgers they would trade him during the offseason. However, Green Bay stood firm and declined to deal the reigning MVP. The Packers allegedly reneging on this supposed agreement may have triggered Rodgers’ offseason of annoyance.

So what prevented the Packers from dealing Rodgers? Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio says LaFleur stepped in when he heard about the possible trade and told the Packers they couldn’t do it. He apparently told them that Jordan Love was not ready to take over.

“If what I’ve heard and what others have heard is true, the Packers had promised [Rodgers] that they would trade him after 2020. Apparently Matt LaFleur caught wind of it and said, ‘wait a minute, wait a minute. Jordan Love’s not ready. We can’t do this,'” Florio claimed while appearing as a guest on Rich Eisen’s show.

That is very interesting.

When the Packers traded up to select Love in 2020, a rumor said that LaFleur wanted to send a message to Rodgers. That message was well-received, because it could have inspired Rodgers to play at an MVP level.

But it doesn’t take much to figure why the Packers wouldn’t have wanted to trade Rodgers in the offseason. With the way the guy played last year, you would have had to be crazy to have gotten rid of him, regardless of Love’s development.

RG3 answers whether he is interested in NFL return

Robert Griffin III

Robert Griffin III has been working as an analyst with ESPN this season. He has entered the world of television, but he is still 31 and has interest in playing.

Griffin was a guest on Adam Schefter’s podcast on ESPN and was asked by the host whether he would have interest in returning to the NFL.

Griffin said that he received interest in the offseason and that his conversations with teams have continued.

“Yes it has come close. And throughout the offseason, it was getting closer and closer and closer,” Griffin said.

“The teams that were interested are still interested … but something has to happen. And I’m realistic about that. And I understand that.”

When Griffin says “something” has to happen, he’s talking about injuries. There have already been some injuries, such as to Tyrod Taylor and Ryan Fitzpatrick. But those may not have been the teams that he was previously in talks with.

RG3 believes it’s between him and Cam Newton when it comes to accomplished quarterbacks who are available. He also says that teams called him this week.

Even though Griffin works on TV and enjoys it, he still wants to play.

“I want to play. I’m 31,” Griffin said.

Griffin was drafted in 2012 by Washington, which made a blockbuster trade to move up and select him. He was a Pro Bowler as a rookie but then suffered a knee injury, shied away from running, and was never the same. He spent the last three seasons in Baltimore. He went 8/14 for 42 yards and two interceptions last season.

Griffin also said he would be open to a return to Washington if they were interested in having him.

Lions coach offers troubling response to Jamie Collins effort questions

Dan Campbell

Jamie Collins has moments where he looks like one of the best linebackers in football, and there are others where the veteran looks totally lost or disinterested. There have been questions about his effort level this season, and Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell is not exactly defending his player.

Campbell was asked by a reporter on Tuesday if the criticisms of Collins are warranted. He said Collins plays “a little bit different.” He also said Collins doesn’t match the intensity of fellow Lions linebacker Alex Anzalone.

Campbell also said there are “things that Jamie does well that we have to continue to use.” That isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement.

Those who have followed Collins’ career know this has been his story for years. The New England Patriots made a surprising decision to trade him years ago when he was a key part of their defense. There were reports then about how Collins’ attitude didn’t match up with his talent, and many accused the Patriots of smearing him on his way out the door.

Campbell seems to have no interest in pushing the narrative in another direction, which says a lot.

Collins had 101 total tackles, three forced fumbles and a sack in 14 games with the Lions last year. He has 10 total tackles through two games this season.

Video: Superdome roof was on fire, burning for a while

Superdome roof fire

A frightening scene unfolded in downtown New Orleans on Tuesday, as the roof of the Caesar’s Superdome caught on fire.

Numerous videos and photos on social media showed black smoke and flames coming from a section of the roof of the Superdome. Fire and emergency crews were shown arriving at the scene in some of the clips. You can see some of the different angles below:

Fortunately, the fire was quickly extinguished. An executive for the company that manages the Superdome told Jeff Duncan of the Times-Picayune that the fire began when workers were pressure washing the roof. A damage assessment is underway, but the integrity of the building was not compromised.

New Orleans is still being rebuilt in the wake of Hurricane Ida last month, so you hate to see another setback. The Saints have not practiced at their facility in weeks and are scheduled to return to the Superdome in Week 4. We’ve already shown you some incredible examples of the damage that was caused by the storm.

Ben Roethlisberger dealing with injury ahead of Week 3

Ben Roethlisberger

Ben Roethlisberger suffered an injury during last week’s game against the Las Vegas Raiders, and it is apparently one that could impact his performance going forward.

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin told reporters on Monday that Roethlisberger is dealing with an injury to his left pectoral muscle. While Big Ben is expected to play against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, Tomlin admitted that the quarterback could be at less than 100 percent health.

Roethlisberger was hit 10 times in Pittsburgh’s loss to the Raiders. The Steelers have a lot of new players on their offensive line this season, and the unit has clearly experienced some growing pains. Tomlin said he will not make any changes, however.

Roethlisberger went 27/40 for 296 yards, a touchdown and an interception in Week 2. He issued an apology to Steelers fans for his performance. It’s unclear at what point during the game he suffered the pec injury, but it may have been a factor.

Did refs botch game-changing call in 49ers-Eagles game?

Trey Sermon hit

San Francisco 49ers running back Trey Sermon fumbled his first ever NFL rushing attempt on Sunday, but officials ruled that the Philadelphia Eagles committed a personal foul on the play. That negated a crucial turnover, and there has been extensive debate over whether the right call was made.

Sermon fumbled near midfield with the Niners leading 17-3 and roughly five minutes remaining in the game. There was a flag on the play, however, as Eagles safety K’Von Wallace was called for a helmet-to-helmet hit on the ball carrier. Wallace definitely hit Sermon in the head, but many felt the contact was totally unavoidable. If you watch the replay, it looks like Wallace was going in for a low tackle when Sermon was hit by another Eagle.

Here are a couple of angles of the hit:

The initial hit from Anthony Harris was clean. He hit Sermon in the shoulder area with his forearm, which caused Sermon to fall forward. You can even see in slow motion that the hit from Harris led to Wallace making contact with Sermon’s head. A lot of people feel the officials should know the difference and penalize (or not) accordingly.

San Francisco ended up winning the game 17-11. The Sermon turnover could have served as a huge momentum shift if it was not negated. Had there been no flag, Bart Scott might look a lot differently today.

H/T SpinMax

Jerry Jones critical of special teams blunder that Cowboys coach defended

Jerry Jones

The Dallas Cowboys committed a brutal special teams mistake on Sunday that they are fortunate did not cost them a win, and one member of the coaching staff has since defended the decision that led to the blunder. Jerry Jones views the play differently.

The Cowboys had 4th-and-20 on their 46-yard line late in the first half of their game against the Los Angeles Chargers. They should have gotten the ball back with a chance to build on their 14-11 lead, but they instead roughed the punter. On Monday, special teams coach John Fassel said he was giving Cowboys fans what they wanted by trying to block the punt.

“I think Cowboys fans aren’t the play-it-safe type. So I was going to give them what they wanted, come after their a– on the punt rush,” Fassel said, per ESPN’s Todd Archer. “So I hope they’re happy with it. We came after him.”

Fans certainly were not pleased with the result. Neither was Jones, who made it clear on Tuesday that he disagreed with the play call.

The Cowboys won 20-17 on a last-second field goal from Greg Zuerlein, so all is forgiven. They also benefitted from a brutal call that went against the Chargers late in the second half. Had they lost, the roughing the kicker penalty would have been a much bigger topic of conversation.

Aaron Rodgers has message for critics after bounce-back win

Aaron Rodgers

The Green Bay Packers were pathetic in their loss to the New Orleans Saints in Week 1, but they proved they are still a contender with their dominant win over the Detroit Lions on Monday night. The performance must have felt particularly good for Aaron Rodgers, and he did not exactly take the high road when addressing his critics.

With Rodgers having missed a significant portion of the offseason, there was a lot of talk after Week 1 about him not being committed to winning anymore. He responded to that following Green Bay’s 35-17 win.

“I think we maybe tried to show that we cared a little bit more tonight … I just think people like to say a lot of bulls–t, and it’s nice to come back in here after a game like that,” Rodgers said, via Mark Maske of the Washington Post.

Rodgers was an extremely efficient 22/27 with 255 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions against Detroit. He was just 15/28 with 133 yards, no touchdowns and two picks in the 38-3 loss to New Orleans last week.

The Packers trailed 17-14 earlier in the third quarter, which led to some premature rumblings about them beginning the season 0-2. Rodgers then threw a beautiful touchdown pass and celebrated accordingly (video here). Green Bay never looked back after that.

This may wind up being Rodgers’ last year in Green Bay, but it would be an exaggeration to say he doesn’t care about winning. The 38-year-old clearly wants to add a second championship to his resume.

Donovan McNabb’s daughter announces college commitment decision

Donovan McNabb

Donovan McNabb’s daughter Lexi inherited her mother’s and father’s athletic genes, and the University of Buffalo is set to reap the benefits.

Lexi McNabb, a guard at Seton Catholic High School in Chandler, Ariz., announced on Monday that she has accepted a scholarship offer to play basketball at Buffalo. She made an official visit to the school over the weekend with her family, according to Rachel Lenzi of The Buffalo News.

Donovan also shared the news on social media:

“Happy to announce that my baby girl @lex.m5 has committed to @ubathletics. Proud father and great staff. We’re back in Upstate NY. Let’s Go,” McNabb wrote.

Raquel Nurse McNabb, Lexi’s mother and McNabb’s wife, was also a star athlete. She played point guard at Syracuse from 1994-1998, which was around the same time Donovan was the quarterback for the Orange.

Lexi averaged 13.4 points, 2.7 rebounds, 2.3 steals and 2.8 assists in 21 games during the 2020-21 season. She helped Seton Catholic win back-to-back Class 4A championships in Arizona.