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Sunday, February 17, 2019

Football

Antonio Brown found guilty in reckless driving case

Antonio Brown

Antonio Brown has had a number of issues off the field over the past year, and one of them was when he was cited for driving in excess of 100 mph back in November. The star wide receiver has now admitted guilt in that incident, at least in the eyes of the court.

WPXI reports that Brown did not show up to his trial related to the speeding citation on Tuesday, and he was found guilty. His attorney left the courtroom without providing a statement.

Brown was cited for reckless driving, which carries a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail, a $200 fine and a six-month license suspension. Police were on the lookout for a suspect of a possible bank robbery nearby in Ross Township, Penn., when they saw Brown speed by in his black Porsche. The posted speed limit on the road was 45 mph, so he was traveling more than twice that. According to court documents obtained by Greg Pickel of PennLive.com, Brown has already paid more than $400 in fines.

The Steelers are openly fielding trade offers for Brown after he went AWOL on the team during the final week of the season, and the speeding incident was not the only off-field issue he had. He was also accused of nearly killing a toddler in a reckless fit of rage at his apartment complex over the offseason. More recently, Brown had to defend himself against allegations that he assaulted the mother of one of his children.

Report: Potential first-round pick Jeffery Simmons suffers torn ACL

Mississippi State logo

Mississippi State defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons was expected to be one of the first players selected in the NFL Draft this year, but an untimely knee injury has probably changed that.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen report that Simmons suffered a torn ACL recently while training. That means he will likely be unavailable for a large portion of the 2019 NFL season.

In addition to the injury, Simmons was one of the players who was not invited to the NFL Scouting Combine later this month due to some off-field issues. Between that and the knee injury, his stock could plummet.

Simmons recorded 62 total tackles, two sacks and 18 tackles for loss during his junior season at Mississippi State. If he slips way down the draft board, he could wind up being a value pick for some team.

Kyler Murray chooses same NFL agent as coach who might draft him

Kyler Murray

Kyler Murray announced on Monday that he is fully committed to pursuing a career in football, so the next logical step was to hire an NFL agent. The Heisman Trophy winner has done just that, and people are already speculating over whether it could be a hint about his future.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that Murray has hired Erik Burkhardt. Burkhardt happens to be the same agent who represents new Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury.

Burkhardt has represented plenty of other NFL players, so that could be — and probably is — a coincidence. He also repped Johnny Manziel when the former NFL quarterback was drafted by the Cleveland Browns.

The Cardinals have the top overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft, and an interview Kingsbury gave back in October made it seem like he might want Murray at that spot. While some scouts view Murray as a second- or third-round pick, there’s better reason to believe he will be taken in the first. No. 1 overall may be a bit unrealistic, especially with the Cardinals having drafted Josh Rosen last year. However, that was before Kingsbury was the man in charge. Nothing would be a surprise at this point.

Demaryius Thomas to be released by Texans

Demaryius Thomas

Demaryius Thomas was improving by the week with the Houston Texans before he suffered a torn Achilles that ended his 2018 season, and it sounds like the six games he played with the team will be his only six.

James Palmer of NFL Network reports that the Texans are expected to release Thomas on Tuesday.

As Palmer noted, Thomas has already suffered a torn Achilles during his NFL career. He had a remarkably fast recovery the first time, but the road could be tougher now given that he is 31 years old.

Thomas finished the 2018 season with 677 yards and five touchdowns. It was the second consecutive season he failed to eclipse the 1,000-yard receiving mark after doing so the previous five years. The Texans will save $14 million against the salary cap in 2019 by moving on from Thomas.

Report: Kyler Murray ‘too small’ for Giants

Kyler Murray

Kyler Murray is a candidate to go in the first round of the NFL Draft, though at least one QB-needy team may not want him.

SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano reported on Monday that a New York Giants team source told him Murray is “probably a little too small” for them. The Giants, set to pick No. 6, are in need of a franchise QB and may favor Ohio State product Dwayne Haskins.

Additionally, Vacchiano points out that Giants coach Pat Shurmur has expressed his fondness for tall quarterbacks in the past, even admitting last year that he fancies tall QBs.

Murray is listed as 5-foot-10 by Oklahoma, though there is a belief he may be shorter than that. There have always been concerns among NFL teams about short quarterbacks and their ability to see over the linemen. On top of that, Murray has a small frame and may struggle with durability against the large, hard-hitting NFL defenders.

Though Murray may not be what the Giants — or other teams — want in their franchise quarterback, there will be at least one team that sees him as a dynamic game-changer and takes him in the first round. The success of Drew Brees, Russell Wilson and Baker Mayfield has helped show that smaller quarterbacks can succeed in the league. Additionally, the new NFL rules emphasizing the protection of quarterbacks somewhat mitigate the size issue.

A’s reportedly will continue to pursue Kyler Murray despite football decision

Kyler Murray

Kyler Murray’s statement released on Monday will not stop the Oakland A’s from continuing to pursue the two-sport star.

Murray announced on Monday that he is committing fully to a future playing football. He is expected to attend the NFL Combine to be evaluated ahead of the draft.

Though Murray — a likely first-round pick — is declaring his choice to pursue football, the A’s will not be deterred.

The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal says Oakland remains motivated to continue trying to get Murray to play baseball. He says the team always told Murray that they are open to him attending the draft and combine to gather as much information as possible. Rosenthal also points out that the A’s can offer Murray a big league contract and top whatever financial offer an NFL team gives him.

Oakland will not receive a compensation pick even if Murray chooses another sport because the Heisman Trophy winner already signed his minor league deal, and compensation picks only go to teams unable to sign their first-round pick. The A’s may be motivated to continue pursuing Murray, but absent a pro football career that fizzles out, it does not seem like Kyler will be switching sports.

Bill Belichick has updated his boat name to ‘VIII Rings’

Bill Belichick

It’s a tradition unlike any other.

Bill Belichick has updated the name of his boat to reflect his most recent Super Bowl win. An extra Roman numeral was added to his boat’s name, making it “VIII Rings.”

Belichick has won eight Super Bowls as a coach — six as a head coach with the New England Patriots, and two more as a defensive coordinator for the New York Giants. If he adds on another, things will get more tricky with the paint job. Rather than simply add another I, he’ll have to re-do the whole thing and make it IX. I’m sure Belichick would only be too happy to make that change.