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#pounditFriday, December 3, 2021

Football

Odell Beckham Jr in danger of missing Week 13 with injury?

Odell Beckham Jr. has been limited in practice this week with an injury, and it is one that could sideline him in Week 13.

Beckham did not practice on Thursday due to a hip injury. Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that the ailment is not considered serious, but Beckham’s status for Sunday’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars is “up in the air.”

If Beckham is less than 100 percent and would benefit from rest, it makes sense to keep him out this week. The Jaguars are 2-9 this season and have little chance of beating a hungry Rams team on the road.

Beckham has just 24 catches for 331 yards and a touchdown this season. He has battled a number of injuries in recent years, but it doesn’t sound like the latest will keep him out wrong. According to Troy Aikman, the Rams have bigger issues to address than Beckham’s health.

Photo: Jan 13, 2020; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; LSU Tigers former player Odell Beckham, Jr. in attendance before the College Football Playoff national championship game against the Clemson Tigers at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Jerry Jones may have had a little too much fun on Bourbon Street

The Dallas Cowboys played the Saints in New Orleans on Thursday night in Week 13, and it sounds like it was a fun trip for everyone, especially Jerry Jones.

The Cowboys owner traveled to watch his team play the game. He also spent some time hanging out with Cowboys fans on Bourbon Street, the popular tourist area in the heart of New Orleans.

Jones joked during a radio appearance on 105.3 The Fan that he left about 20 percent of himself back on Bourbon Street.

Jones even ran into a Cowboys reporter on Bourbon Street and joked that he would be coaching in place of Mike McCarthy, who is out due to COVID. Jones offered to buy the reporter a drink.

None of this should surprise you. Jones enjoys to have a good time. We even shared videos of him hanging out with fans on Bourbon Street in 2019.

Photo: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Eric Bieniemy trying to crack down on Chiefs’ taunting penalties

Teams across the NFL are trying to adjust to the new normal that involves much stricter standards for taunting penalties. That includes the Kansas City Chiefs, who are getting an earful about it from offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy.

Bieniemy has been consistently confronting Chiefs players about taunting flags. His message is that like it or not, things that did not used to be an issue are now being enforced. He even offered a solution to players: simply hand the football back to the officials after making a play.

“The thing that we stress to our guys (is that) this is a point of emphasis, so regardless of what you might seem to think that it’s harmless, that’s not the case anymore,” Bieniemy said, via Sam McDowell of the Kansas City Star. “We need to go back to the days of just handing the ball to the ref — get in the end zone, celebrate with your guys, and then we go on from there.”

Bieniemy has been so fixated on taunting calls that when running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire was flagged for pointing at a linebacker while crossing the goal line against Dallas, other Chiefs players intercepted the running back to send the message before Bieniemy even could.

You could certainly argue that it’s silly that taunting has to be this much of a focus. Bieniemy is simply doing what every team should, though. Teams have lost games because of nitpicky taunting flags this season. Whether you like the rule or not, Bieniemy absolutely does not want his team to find itself in that sort of situation.

Keenan Allen has great response to Justin Herbert criticism

Keenan Allen had a great response to a question about Justin Herbert.

The Los Angeles Chargers have struggled with drops this season. Both Allen and tight end Jared Cook are tied for second in the league with six drops. Austin Ekeler is tied for 11th with four drops.

Allen was asked Wednesday whether the reason for the Chargers drops is due to the high velocity of Herbert’s passes. Allen defended Herbert and said the players should be able to make catches regardless of how the quarterback throws the ball.

“He throwing the ball to you, you better catch that s***. I want the ball. Throw that motherf***** however you want to throw it,” Allen said.

You have to love his no-excuses attitude and his defense of the quarterback. That’s the attitude a receiver should have. And he can leave it to us in the media to say that yes, a quarterback needs to use touch when necessary and velocity when needed. Throwing passes at only one speed can be a problem, because different types of passes call for different types of deliveries.

Despite the drops, Allen still has 81 catches for 895 yards and two touchdowns this season.

Photo: Nov 14, 2021; Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (10) warms up before the game against the Minnesota Vikings at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Antonio Brown’s attorney responds to fake vaccine suspension

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown has been suspended for misrepresenting his vaccination status, confirming allegations made against him previously. The indication that he used a fake vaccine card certainly undermines his defenses after those allegations first went public.

Brown’s attorney Sean Burstyn released a new statement on Thursday after the NFL handed down its suspension. While the statement does not admit wrongdoing, it certainly does nothing to dispute the NFL’s findings.

Burstyn says Brown is vaccinated, which multiple reports indicate is now true. We don’t know when Brown got the vaccine, though, so it may have taken place after these allegations went public.

The claim that Brown wanted to avoid a “drawn out and distracting process” by disputing the allegations also doesn’t hold up well to scrutiny. Brown was already poised to miss at least two more games with an ankle injury. His decision to accept the suspension means he’ll largely be missing games he would not have been healthy enough to play in anyway.

Brown, along with two of his teammates, were suspended for the same violation of NFL policy. Burstyn had responded to the initial allegations with a pretty bold claim to defend his client. It’s hard to take that seriously in retrospect.

Adrian Peterson’s father upset that 1 notable team did not show interest in son

It is not quite an Odell Beckham Sr., but Nelson Peterson is not happy about recent events that transpired with his son.

Nelson, the father of former MVP Adrian Peterson, told Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press this week that he was disappointed that the Minnesota Vikings failed to show interest in Adrian.

“That’s disappointing to me,” said Nelson. “He never heard anything from the Vikings, and you go in and bring in a guy Adrian beat out in Detroit.”

Nelson is referring to running back Kerryon Johnson, whom the Vikings just brought in for a workout. Johnson was teammates with Adrian on the Lions in 2020 and lost out the starting job to him.

Adrian was one of the greatest players in Vikings history but is now 36 years old. Minnesota also has a capable backup in Alexander Mattison whom they can turn to during Dalvin Cook’s absence. Thus, it makes sense for them to work out the 24-year-old Johnson over Adrian as they are not desperate for depth. The same cannot be said of the Tennessee Titans, who briefly signed then waived Adrian after the Derrick Henry injury. Nor can it be said for the Seattle Seahawks, the team that just signed Adrian. They have struggled to replace Chris Carson, who is out for the year, due to the ineffectiveness of Alex Collins and DeeJay Dallas.

After playing for the Vikings from 2007 to 2016, Adrian already experienced an emotional return to Minnesota as an opponent. But Nelson sounds upset that there was zero interest on the Vikings’ part in actually having Adrian return to their team.

H/T ProFootballTalk

Photo: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Russell Wilson using another star athlete as inspiration amid struggles

Russell Wilson is enduring his worst professional season, as are the Seattle Seahawks. It’s the sort of adversity the quarterback is not used to, but he’s finding inspiration to overcome it in other places.

On Thursday, Wilson discussed the tools he uses to work toward overcoming the issues he and the Seahawks are currently experiencing. Unprompted, he brought up the Golden State Warriors and the resurgence they are experiencing after two down years.

“I love watching the Warriors play, for example,” Wilson said, via Adam Jude of the Seattle Times. “I think about their 2019 season. They went through some tough, tough moments there. But I also think about where they are today. I think about just how good they are and how Steph Curry kept battling in the midst of being injured or whatever it may be.”

The Warriors were the dominant franchise in the NBA from 2014 to 2019. That fell apart in the 2019-20 season, when the departure of Kevin Durant and major injuries to Curry and Klay Thompson resulted in a 15-50 record. They rebounded to finish 39-33 in 2020-21, and are now off to an 18-3 start this season. Curry has also come back from a broken bone in his hand to post two of the best seasons of his career despite turning 33 in March.

It’s easy to see how Wilson could take inspiration from that. On the other hand, there are some differences. For instance, Curry and the Warriors were and still are joined at the hip. In contrast, there are legitimate questions about Wilson’s future with the Seahawks. Plus, the Warriors’ down year was largely down to injuries, while the Seahawks have seen significant amounts of talent leave the organization on both sides of the ball. Any rebound will be down to roster improvements as much as health.

Photo: Oct 4, 2020; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) looks on after defeating the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Lamar Jackson has scathing assessment of his four-interception game

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson had one of his worst games as a professional on Sunday, and he certainly knows it.

Jackson threw four interceptions in Sunday night’s game against the Cleveland Browns, though the Ravens overcame that in a 16-10 win. That did nothing to make Jackson feel better about it, and he described how stunned he was at his own performance when watching the game film.

“Bad passes, inaccurate, underthrown passes. That’s all I seen. Bad reads,” Jackson said Wednesday, via Jamison Hensley of ESPN. “I looked like a rookie.

“No excuses. That was just a bad performance. Four interceptions. Hope that never, ever happens again. Not ever.”

Credit to Jackson for being willing and able to say publicly what everyone knows. He is simply far too talented to be having games like that. It’s also good that he didn’t just chalk the performance up to a recent illness that sounded very severe.

Jackson has thrown 12 interceptions on the season to 15 touchdowns. Even though that total is inflated by Sunday’s game, it’s not really an inspiring ratio. That’s particularly true compared to his last two seasons, as it’s only taken him ten games to set a new career-worst interception tally. He’ll need to improve that going forward for the remainder of the season.

Photo: Sep 13, 2021; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) reacts against the Las Vegas Raiders during Monday Night Football at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Antonio Brown suspended for misrepresenting vaccination status

Antonio Brown was recently accused of lying to the NFL about his vaccination status, and the league has determined that the allegations were true.

The NFL announced on Thursday that Brown and two other players — Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Mike Edwards and free agent wide receiver John Franklin III — have been suspended three games for violating COVID-19 protocols. A joint NFLPA-NFL review determined that the players misrepresented their vaccination status.

Here’s the full press release:

As the release stated, all three players accepted the punishment and will not appeal.

Brown’s former personal chef, Steven Ruiz, claimed last month that Brown purchased a fake vaccination card prior to the season and turned it in to the Bucs and NFL. Brown’s attorney quickly disputed the allegation and said the star receiver is fully vaccinated. Bucs head coach Bruce Arians was also quick to defend Brown.

A follow-up report claimed Brown offered his fake vaccine card hookup to others around the NFL.

Brown has 29 catches for 418 yards and four touchdowns this season. He has not played since Oct. 14 due to an ankle injury.

Photo: Oct 14, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown (81) against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Tom Brady reveals what could have made him retire years ago

Most people felt that Tom Brady had nothing left to prove about three or four championships ago, but the star quarterback continues to find ways to stay motivated. Had the 2007 New England Patriots completed their perfect season, that might not have been the case.

Episode 4 of the ESPN+ documentary “Man in the Arena,” which will air next week but was previewed by NESN’s Zack Cox, covers the 2007 Patriots. In the episode, Brady makes a surprising revelation about how New England’s loss in Super Bowl XLII shaped his career. Had the Patriots won and completed their 19-0 season, Brady says he may have retired a lot sooner.

“Had we won that game — I don’t know, I’m not a big hypothetical guy — but maybe the desire is a little bit different, if you’re looking at a silver lining,” Brady said. “Maybe the desire to reach that point, maybe I would have been fulfilled — not to stop playing at that time, but I don’t know. Maybe I’d play another seven or eight years, and maybe I’m fulfilled. Maybe not.”

Brady has won seven Super Bowls. His legacy is secure. Even if he wins an eighth, his career will still be viewed the same. He doesn’t need an undefeated season to be considered the greatest quarterback of all time, but it obviously bothers him that he came so close and fell four points short of completing it.

We tend to think Brady would have found other ways to stay driven and kept playing regardless of what happened in 2007. That said, Brady made a comment earlier this year that proved how much the loss in Super Bowl XLII stung him. No matter how many games or championships he wins, he clearly will never get over that one shortcoming.

Photo: Aug 28, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) jogs off the field after a game against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports