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Friday, May 24, 2019

Football

Olivier Vernon defends Odell Beckham as ‘great teammate’

Odell Beckham

Odell Beckham Jr. has gained a reputation as a difficult teammate with a selfish streak in his time with the New York Giants, but one fellow player who knows him well thinks that’s nonsense.

Olivier Vernon, who, like Beckham, moved to the Cleveland Browns this offseason after spending time with the Giants, thinks anyone who doesn’t know Beckham personally should stop speculating about what he’s like behind closed doors.

Beckham’s conduct has come under the microscope again ever since Giants GM Dave Gettleman hinted that he was part of a “culture problem” in the organization. Vernon, who had been there since 2016, clearly doesn’t agree.

Jets chairman explains reason behind Mike Maccagnan firing

Jets logo

The New York Jets made the somewhat surprising decision to fire general manager Mike Maccagnan midway through their offseason, after free agency and the NFL Draft, and ownership explained why on Wednesday.

Jets chairman Christopher Johnson said that, as his involvement in organizational matters increased, he was unhappy with how the front office was handling things, and admitted that the “synergy” between Maccagnan and coach Adam Gase was not what he wanted.

Johnson denied that this was the result of Gase winning a power struggle against Maccagnan — but added that Gase will have a say in the team’s next GM.

The timing is still odd, and when you hear reports that Gase and Maccagnan disagreed on certain key decisions, you do get the impression that Gase is holding all the cards here. The fact that he’ll have input on the new GM — and may retain power over the 53-man roster — only further solidifies that belief.

Kareem Hunt confident he will not ‘mess up’ second chance

Kareem Hunt

Kareem Hunt is quite confident that the Cleveland Browns won’t regret giving him a second chance.

Hunt, released by the Kansas City Chiefs over video that showed him shoving and kicking a woman, has the support of Browns coach Freddie Kitchens, and made clear Wednesday that he does not intend to let Cleveland down.

Hunt will have to wait half a season to prove himself. His return will prove controversial, but the Browns have decided, for better or worse, that Hunt is worth the risk.

Report: NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah under consideration for job with Jets

Jets logo

The NFL Network draft analyst job may be becoming a fast track to NFL front offices.

According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the New York Jets are considering hiring NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah for a front office job.

There’s no clear indication that this is explicitly for the now-vacant GM job, but “prominent” suggests that Jeremiah would have real power in the organization. It comes on the heels of Mike Mayock vacating the same position with the network to take over the OAkland Raiders, though it’s still too early to say how that one will work out for both sides.

Report: Patriots expected to bring back LB Jamie Collins

The trade that sent linebacker Jamie Collins to the Cleveland Browns back in 2016 was one of the more surprising ones of the Bill Belichick era, but the New England Patriots coach apparently still likes Collins enough to have him on the roster.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that the Patriots are getting close to a deal to bring Collins back.

Collins signed a four-year, $50 million contract with the Browns after the 2016 season, and they released him back in March. The 29-year-old recorded 104 tackles and four sacks, but he also missed plenty of tackles and was often out out of position.

The Patriots always look at players based on the value they can provide, and Belichick probably knew Collins was about to sign a big contract back in 2016 and wanted to get something for him before he left in free agency. There were also rumblings at the time that Collins was not focused enough and had ended up in Belichick’s doghouse. Despite all that, New England has a need at linebacker and Collins could be a cheap addition who is familiar with the system.

Report: Adam Gase was ‘absolutely’ against Jets signing Le’Veon Bell

Adam Gase eyes

The New York Jets made a major change within their front office on Wednesday when they announced the firing of general manager Mike Maccagnan, and the decision sounds like it had a lot to do with the relationship between the GM and head coach Adam Gase.

Gase, who has been named the interim GM in New York, reportedly disagreed with some of the moves Maccagnan made in free agency. More specifically, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News was told that Gase was emphatic about not wanting to spend huge money on Le’Veon Bell.

Bell signed a four-year, $52.5 million deal with the Jets that includes $35 million guaranteed. Ian Rapoport of NFL Media heard from sources that Gase likes Bell as a player but was against spending that much, and the coach felt similarly about linebacker CJ Mosley’s five-year, $85 million contract.

While the Jets appear to have done well in the draft last month, Maccagnan has been on the hot seat for quite some time. The Jets must feel he has underperformed since he was named GM in 2015, and they are choosing Gase over him. Gase seems like he is trying to change the culture a bit with the Jets, and they are obviously willing to give him more control.

Sean Payton wastes no time recruiting Zion Williamson to Saints

Sean Payton

Like LeBron James, Zion Williamson is the type of freak athlete who could probably excel at just about any sport he tried to play. He certainly has the body type to match up with opponents on the football field, and New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton has taken note of that.

When the Pelicans landed the top spot in the NBA Draft Lottery Tuesday night, it seemed like only a matter of time before someone began recruiting Williamson to play two sports in New Orleans. Payton got in on the fun on Wednesday.

Williamson is listed at 6-foot-7, 285 pounds. For comparison, Rob Gronkowski is 6-foot-6 and weighed about 265 pounds when he was playing for the New England Patriots. There is obviously a lot more to excelling at a professional sport than physical makeup, but you get the point.

If you remember, one former Saints player said years ago that he believes LeBron would break records in the New Orleans offense. Payton was in charge of that offense then and still is now. What do you say, Zion?