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Saturday, August 24, 2019

Football

Patrick Chung indicted on cocaine possession charge

New England Patriots safety Patrick Chung was indicted on a cocaine possession charge this week.

Chung was indicted by a grand jury on Aug. 8 and is scheduled to appear in a New Hampshire court next Wednesday to be arraigned, as first reported by Michael Mortensen of The Laconia Daily Sun. The 32-year-old was not arrested, but the indictment states that he “did possess or have under his control a quantity of the controlled substance cocaine.”

Chung owns a home in Meredith, NH, on Lake Winnipesaukee, which is a popular destination for vacationers in the northeast. Many athletes, celebrities, and wealthy people own homes on the massive lake.

Chung is an important part of the Patriots’ defense. The three-time Super Bowl champion is in his second stint with the team and has played with New England for nine seasons. He also found himself in legal trouble earlier this year when he was sued by a Los Angeles Rams employee who said he lost his job over some trash talk.

Amari Cooper says he will play through foot injury if it lingers

Amari Cooper free throw

Amari Cooper has been battling the type of injury that tends to linger and is prone to being aggravated, but the Dallas Cowboys wide receiver has no concerns about it affecting his availability for Week 1.

Cooper has been out since the second week of training camp with plantar fasciitis in his left foot, and he is not going to play at all during the preseason. The hope is that he will be 100 percent healed by Week 1, but Cooper told reporters on Wednesday that he will play through the injury if not.

“I mean I played with a lot of foot injuries,” Cooper said, per Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “So I’m pretty good at playing with foot injuries. But I don’t think I’m going to have to play with it.”

Cooper has just over two weeks to heal, as the Cowboys open the season against the New York Giants on Sept. 8. He insists he will not miss the game either way, as he has played through plantar fasciitis in the past and been effective.

“I’m not worried about it at all because I know if it does linger, it doesn’t matter,” Cooper said. “I had 1,000 yards when I played on plantar fasciitis before — my rookie year. So I’m not really worried.”

Obviously, the Cowboys would prefer if it did not come to that. They already have some serious question marks with their offensive core heading into Week 1, so having a healthy No. 1 receiver will be fairly important.

Poll shows Tom Brady is the player fans most want to tailgate with

Tom Brady

Tom Brady has gone from relatively unknown sixth-round draft pick to one of the most powerful celebrity athletes in the world over the past two decades, but apparently he is still someone fans feel like they can relate to.

A recent poll that was conducted by Turo asked football fans several questions about tailgating, and one of them was to name the star NFL player they would most enjoy having at their tailgate. You may be surprised to hear that Brady led the way with a whopping 42 percent of the vote.

Aaron Rodgers came in second with 19 percent, so it’s possible fans viewed the voting as more of an NFL popularity contest rather than who they actually think would be the most fun at a tailgate. Although, Rob Gronkowski came in third with 18.7 percent of the vote, and we know how much he loves to party.

Brady may seem like a yuppie guy with his supermodel wife and lavish lifestyle, but keep in mind this is the same four-time Super Bowl MVP who once encouraged Patriots fans to get nice and lubed up before a big game. He also has incredible beer chugging skills that he has showcased on a few occasions, so perhaps he is deserving of the No. 1 spot.

Cardinals OL Justin Pugh responds to criticism from Lamarcus Joyner, Rex Ryan

Rex Ryan

The Arizona Cardinals have an entirely new look on offense this year under first-year head coach Kliff Kingsbury, and some people around the NFL have been openly skeptical about the chances it has of succeeding. Veteran offensive lineman Justin Pugh does not seem too concerned.

Oakland Raiders cornerback Lamarcus Joyner called Arizona’s up-tempo offense “pretty boy football” during his team’s preseason game against the Cardinals last week. Pugh joked that he didn’t mind the remark because “we’ve got some good-looking guys, man.” Joyner sacked Kyler Murray during the game, but Pugh didn’t think that was anything to feel proud of.

“If you want to troll, you better make sure you come correct, because I will correct you,” Pugh said, via Shane Dale of ABC 15 in Arizona. “It’s easy to talk smack when it’s third and 17 and you’re a (defensive back) and you know things are going to happen in your favor. I would love to see those same things be said when it’s third and (short) and we can run right at them. But when you don’t put yourself in a good situation to succeed, obviously people are going to have negative comments.”

Rex Ryan has been another critic of the Cardinals during the preseason, calling their offense boring and predicting that they will “get whipped” in Week 1. Pugh isn’t sweating that, either.

“I think we’ve seen through Rex Ryan’s career, he always says things to grab your attention,” Pugh said. “He’s on TV now. You have to say things to kind of get people riled up, so I get that. … That’s something that is part of this league — guys are going to talk. And if you don’t have success, guys are going to keep talking, so we’ve got to go out there and we’ve got to shut them up.”

The results for Murray have been mixed in the preseason, and he was called for a couple of controversial penalties that he may have to watch out for. Still, a lot of people believe he and Kingsbury are a perfect fit for each other. There will be some growing pains, but it’s too early to judge whether or not Kingsbury’s air raid offense will work at the NFL level.

Cardinals, Michael Crabtree reportedly close to reaching deal

Michael Crabtree

Michael Crabtree long seemed destined to end up with the Arizona Cardinals, and it seems like that may come to fruition.

Crabtree and the Cardinals are closing in on a contract, NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reported on Wednesday night.

Crabtree worked out for the Cardinals on August 5, but the two sides did not reach a deal.

So what has changed since?

Rookie fourth-round pick Hakeem Butler has a finger injury that has taken him out for the preseason and could result in him landing on injured reserve, according to a report. Additionally, Arizona released Kevin White, a 2015 first-round pick by the Bears who still has not scored a touchdown in his NFL career.

The Cardinals have a new coach in Kliff Kingsbury who likes to run the Air Raid offense, which often involves four wide receiver sets. Therefore they will need plenty of capable receivers, making Crabtree an intriguing signing.

Crabtree, who turns 32 in September, was released by the Baltimore Ravens in February after spending just one season with the team. He had 54 catches for 607 yards and three touchdowns last season.

Report: Lions re-sign Damon Harrison to one-year extension

Damon Harrison

The Detroit Lions have locked down Damon Harrison for another year.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the defensive lineman has signed a one-year extension with the Lions worth $11 million. It will guarantee him $12 million in total over the next two years.

Harrison was acquired last October from the New York Giants and quickly became a key part of the Lions’ formidable run defense, adding 3.5 sacks in 10 games. He had been seeking a new contract and even skipped minicamp in search of one. It took a while, but ultimately, they have found a short-term agreement.

Matt Nagy responds to controversy over Bears’ kicker search

The Chicago Bears faced controversy on Wednesday after several anonymous kickers who tried out for the team’s kicking position criticized the franchise over its search for a new kicker.

Sports Illustrated’s Kalyn Kahler quoted several Bears tryout kickers who were critical of the process. They suggested that coach Matt Nagy was obsessed with Cody Parkey’s 43-yard miss that cost the team a playoff game and even made kickers watch video of it before they tried out. They also said there was a negative mood from the organization. They criticized kicking consultant Jamie Kohl for both his “alpha” demeanor and for favoring those who had kicked at one of his camps.

Nagy defended the organization from those critics when asked about them Wednesday.

“I understand — we brought in a lot of kickers that came in here,” Nagy said, via Jeff Dickerson of ESPN. “To me, I look at it as a positive, in the fact that we said we’re going to turn over every stone to find whoever’s out there. We felt like we, at that point in time, when we brought in a bunch of kickers, we’re going to test them all out and see what they can do.

“And then, within that time frame, we also put in some situations with the Augusta silence early on to see how they could handle it. Is it exactly the perfect science? I don’t know that, maybe not … I just really like how we’re going through this thing. [Bears general manager] Ryan [Pace] and I talk about no regrets, right?”

We got a glimpse of Nagy’s obsessiveness when he made tryout kickers replicate Parkey’s 43-yard attempt in front of the entire team, with poor results. It sounds like there were some legitimate gripes about the process that aren’t a great look for the Bears coach.