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#pounditTuesday, October 19, 2021

Football

Lamar Jackson shares in interview John Harbaugh’s message to him

Lamar Jackson

John Harbaugh has been inspiring Lamar Jackson at points this season, including on Monday night.

The Baltimore Ravens pulled off a stunning comeback in their 31-25 overtime win over the Indianapolis Colts on “Monday Night Football.” They were down 22-3 in the third quarter, but that’s when things began.

The Ravens scored touchdowns on their next four consecutive possessions, first to tie the game and then to win it in OT. They blocked a kick and benefited from a missed field goal before the end of regulation in the win.

Jackson was asked after the game what Harbaugh said to him ahead of the winning touchdown pass to Hollywood Brown. Jackson repeated the message, though he did censor what Harbaugh said.

“Coach said ‘let’s get this b—-,'” Jackson said.

That did the trick.

The comeback was stunning. Jackson threw four touchdowns in the span of a quarter and a half (two to Brown and two to Mark Andrews). His final numbers were incredible: 37/43 for 442 yards and the 4 TDs. And the offensive outburst happened quickly.

Colts head coach Frank Reich probably can’t be too mad considering he was responsible for two of the greatest football comebacks ever and has typically been on the other end of such games.

Between this and what he did in the Chiefs game, Harbaugh sure has a way of firing up Jackson.

Michael Sam sends first tweet since inclusion in Jon Gruden email

Michael Sam smiles

Michael Sam on Monday night sent his first tweet since being included in Jon Gruden’s offensive emails.

Personal emails Gruden sent to then-Washington Football Team executive Bruce Allen were uncovered as part of the NFL’s investigation into the franchise’s workplace. One email comment Gruden made about DeMaurice Smith leaked on Friday. Then on Monday, more emails leaked that led Gruden to resign from his position as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders.

One of Gruden’s offensive emails reportedly said that the coach was annoyed the NFL forced the Rams to draft “queers,” which is a reference to the team taking Michael Sam with a 7th-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.

Right after the New York Times’ story containing Gruden’s leaked emails was published, someone tweeted Sam to thank him for being a role model.

Sam wrote back with an emoji showing gratitude.

It seems like Sam is taking the high road for now and recognizing that he served as a role model and inspiration for some.

Sam ended up being cut by the Rams and never played in an NFL game. But him being openly gay helped pave the way for current Raiders DL Carl Nassib to eventually come out publicly over the offseason.

Now 31, Sam, a former SEC Defensive Player of the Year, ended his football career in 2015. A report published in 2016 offered an explanation for why the Rams drafted Sam.

Photo: Feb 28, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Michael Sam sits courtside to watch the Dallas Mavericks play against the Minnesota Timberwolves at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Jon Gruden resigns as head coach of Raiders

Jon Gruden in a Raiders hat

Jon Gruden’s tenure as the head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders has ended.

Gruden met with team owner Mark Davis on Monday night, according to a report. He ended up informing his coaching staff that he was resigning as head coach.

“I have resigned as Head Coach of the Las Vegas Raiders. I love the Raiders and do not want to be a distraction. Thank you to all the players, coaches, staff, and fans of Raider Nation. I’m sorry, I never meant to hurt anyone,” Gruden said in a statement.

Rich Bisaccia, who was previously the Raiders’ assistant head coach and special teams coordinator, is now the team’s interim head coach.

Gruden’s second tenure as head coach of the Raiders ends in disappointing fashion. The first time around, he left after four seasons and went to Tampa Bay and won a Super Bowl, beating his former team. This time around, he didn’t even post a winning record before losing his job.

Gruden resigned after private emails he sent to former Washington Football Team president Bruce Allen and others from 2011-2018 were uncovered as part of the NFL’s investigation into Washington’s workplace. A summary of the NFL’s findings reportedly were sent to Roger Goodell last week.

The first email to leak concerned Gruden’s comments about DeMaurice Smith. That story made headlines on Friday and was just the first of many damaging emails for the coach.

On Monday night, the New York Times revealed more contents of emails sent by Gruden to Allen and others. The emails included a gay slur and much more.

The 58-year-old was in the middle of his 15th season as an NFL head coach. He had to be lured away from his broadcasting duties at ESPN by the Raiders with a 10-year, $100 million contract. Now one has to wonder whether he will ever coach in the NFL or broadcast their games again.

Photo: Sep 19, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden takes the field before the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Jon Gruden emails revealed: He used gay slur and more

Jon Gruden smiles

Old emails Jon Gruden sent to former Washington Football Team executive Bruce Allen (and others) have been publicly exposed, and they are proving to be problematic for the Las Vegas Raiders head coach.

The emails Gruden sent came from the 2011-2018 time period. The emails were uncovered during the NFL’s investigation into the Washington Football Team regarding the franchise’s workplace environment. According to the New York Times, the league completed its investigation and sent commissioner Roger Goodell a summary of findings last week.

One email where Gruden remarked about NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith have Michelin tire lips made headlines on Friday. The email was described as Gruden using a racist trope against Smith, though the coach disputed that and said he was calling Smith a liar.

On Monday night, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the NFL sent more “damaging” emails sent by Gruden to the Raiders for them to review. The New York Times later revealed the contents of the emails.

According to the New York Times, Gruden used problematic language regarding gay people.

From the Times’ story:

In the emails, Gruden called the league’s commissioner, Roger Goodell, a “faggot” and a “clueless anti football pussy” and said that Goodell should not have pressured Jeff Fisher, then the coach of the Rams, to draft “queers,” a reference to Michael Sam, a gay player chosen by the team in 2014.

There is more.

The Times says “Gruden exchanged emails with Allen and other men that included photos of women wearing only bikini bottoms, including one photo of two Washington team cheerleaders.”

Gruden also was critical of Eric Reid for kneeling for the national anthem and called out Goodell with disparaging language, the report says. You can read the entire story here.

Gruden is in his second stint as head coach of the Raiders. His team is currently 3-2. The 58-year-old won a Super Bowl as head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2002 season.

Photo: Aug 18, 2021; Thousand Oaks, CA, USA; Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden during a joint practice against the Los Angeles Rams. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

NFL has ‘damaging’ emails from Jon Gruden?

Jon Gruden

Jon Gruden is under fire for the comment he said about DeMaurice Smith in a 2011 email. He also had some negative things to say about Roger Goodell over email.

However, more problematic messages he sent to former Washington Football Team executive Bruce Allen have emerged. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, these emails are “damaging” and were sent to the Las Vegas Raiders.

“The NFL sent the Raiders additional emails, on top of the one that surfaced last week, on top of the ones that Chris Mortensen reported on ‘Sunday Countdown.’ These are more emails. And the NFL has sent them to the Raiders and presumably to Raiders owner Mark Davis to read over. The NFL initially said that it finds these emails objectionable and abhorrent. And now it’s saying it’s waiting to see what the Raiders do before they make any comment or take any action,” Schefter reported during ‘Monday Night Countdown.’

“The one thing we can say right now safely is, for those who thought that this issue might just go away, it certainly doesn’t seem like that’s the case. Because these are additional emails. And my sense is, my sense is, these are damaging emails. So if we already have some of the emails that we’ve heard about in which there were racial remarks that were offensive to people that were made, and there were disparaging remarks about the commissioner … now there are more emails with more disturbing things said, and we’re going to see what comes out of that.

“I think the league is monitoring the situation and waiting to see how Mark Davis handles this.”

As Schefter said, the NFL is waiting to see how Davis handles the matter before acting further.

Gruden is in his second stint as head coach of the Raiders. His team has improved each season since he’s been there and is currently 3-2.

Trey Lance suffered notable knee injury in first NFL start

Trey Lance

The San Francisco 49ers are having a very hard time keeping their quarterbacks healthy.

Rookie quarterback Trey Lance said Monday he suffered a sprained left knee during Sunday’s loss to the Arizona Cardinals. Lance said the injury didn’t impact him during the game, but he began to feel it after he went to bed Sunday night.

For the time being, the 49ers appear to be down two quarterbacks, as Jimmy Garoppolo is also recovering from an injury. The good news is the team has its bye this week, so both Garoppolo and Lance will have two weeks to recover. If both are healthy, it’s pretty clear who will get the starting nod.

Lance had a shaky starting debut Sunday, going 15-for-29 for 192 yards with an interception. He did add 89 rushing yards on 16 carries as well.

ESPN’s Steve Young has harsh comment for Chiefs after loss

Steve Young

Steve Young offered a harsh comment about the Kansas City Chiefs following the team’s loss to the Buffalo Bills on Sunday night.

Young, who is one of the analysts on ESPN’s “Monday Night Countdown,” was talking about the Bills-Chiefs game prior to Monday night’s Colts-Ravens contest. Young said that the Chiefs had lost their “alpha dog” status in the AFC.

“Everyone knows that in the NFL, they know the alpha dog. And the Chiefs were the alpha dog in the AFC. I felt it changed yesterday,” Young said. “The defense of the Bills, the scar tissue of the Bills, Josh Allen … it just felt like they’ve traded places. And the alpha dog in the AFC yesterday changed to the Bills.”

Young was challenged by Booger McFarland, who questioned whether a game in early October could flip things. He disagreed and said it’s on the Bills to prove it in the postseason.

The Chiefs beat the Bills twice last season. One of the victories came on the road in the regular season, and the other came at home in the AFC Championship Game. Buffalo getting the win was a big deal on Sunday night.

Even more worrisome for Chiefs fans was Andy Reid’s quote after the loss.

Kansas City is 2-3 this season. The Bills are tied for the best record in the AFC at 4-1.

Cowboys voice safety concerns after Ezekiel Elliott incident

Ezekiel Elliott lands on pylon

The Dallas Cowboys plan to file a complaint after running back Ezekiel Elliott had an injury scare from landing on a camera pylon during Sunday’s game.

Elliott appeared to hurt his back when he landed on a camera pylon positioned on the sideline during Sunday’s win over the New York Giants. He was shaken up for a moment, but remained in the game and showed no ill effects.

Still, the Cowboys don’t want a more serious injury to result from a similar situation in the future. Coach Mike McCarthy made clear the team thought the pylon was allowed too close to the field, and indicated the team would speak to the NFL or FOX about it.

You can see the play that had Elliott shaken up, as well as the pylon in question, in this video.

The problem is it’s not entirely clear where the pylon should go. While the Cowboys are understandably upset, it’s already away from the field in a place where it usually doesn’t interfere with anyone.

Field conditions can definitely lead to injuries, and we’ve seen it over and over again. We’ll see if the NFL has any response to this situation.

Rex Ryan has very harsh criticism for Mac Jones

Rex Ryan

Former New York Jets coach Rex Ryan is very clearly not a believer in Mac Jones.

Ryan delivered a scathing critique of the New England Patriots rookie, dismissing Jones as a “peashooter” and comparing him unfavorably to Danny Wuerffel.

Patriots critics certainly got a lot of ammo Sunday as the team struggled and needed a late comeback to defeat the Houston Texans. How much of that actually falls on Jones is debatable. He went 23-for-30 with a touchdown, but also threw an interception and tallied a modest 231 passing yards.

Ryan is certainly one of those critics. His former position as Jets coach meant he had a regular rivalry with the Patriots, and it’s pretty clear he still doesn’t think too highly of them. It was just last year, after all, that he happily made a bold prediction about the team’s future. Maybe that’s coloring his opinion here, though to be fair, Ryan has not shied away from delivering very harsh critiques to other players.

Saquon Barkley gets positive news on ankle injury

Saquon Barkley

Saquon Barkley left the New York Giants’ game against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday with an ankle injury that looked quite serious, but the star running back might be back sooner rather than later.

Giants head coach Joe Judge told reporters on Monday that the team got “better news than it could’ve been” after Barkley underwent tests on his ankle. While Judge would not put a timetable on Barkley’s return, reports have indicated that the 24-year-old may only miss two or three weeks.

The Giants could play it safe with Barkley, as he spent all offseason rehabbing from a torn ACL he suffered last year. However, he has proven he is a fast healer.

Barkley’s ankle looked badly swollen on the sideline, but this is not his first ankle injury. He also had one in 2019, and initial reports indicated he could miss up to two months. He sat out just three weeks, so it would be unwise to doubt him this time.