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Monday, July 13, 2020

Football

Cam Heyward defends opponent Quenton Nelson in face of criticism

Cam Heyward

Cam Heyward sent a fantastic Twitter response to a post that denigrated one of his gridiron opponents.

ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler compiled a list of the top 10 interior linemen in the NFL. He promoted the list via Twitter with an inflammatory quote about Indianapolis Colts lineman Quenton Nelson. One NFL defensive assistant coach said their opinion of Nelson changed after seeing what Heyward did to him.

Heyward saw the tweet and stood up for Nelson in defense. He said that him having a good game against Nelson doesn’t devalue Nelson’s talent.

That’s a tremendous response from Heyward, who is a great player and wants to recognize Nelson’s excellence as well.

Here are some of the clips of Heyward getting the best of Nelson during Pittsburgh’s 26-24 win over Indianapolis in November last year.

Nelson was the No. 6 overall draft pick in 2018 out of Notre Dame and has been an All-Pro player in both of his seasons. Heyward was a first-round pick in 2011 and has made the Pro Bowl in three straight years and was All-Pro in 2017 and 2019.

Bottom line? They’re both great players, like Heyward said, and that point should not be lost just because Heyward got the best of Nelson in last year’s matchup.

Redskins to announce on Monday the removal of their nickname

Redskins logo

The Washington Redskins are moving into a new era for the team.

Washington is expected to announce on Monday that they will no longer go by the “Redskins” nickname, Sports Business Journal’s Ben Fischer reported on Sunday.

The team’s new nickname is not expected to be announced yet because trademarks are pending. The pending status of the trademarks seems to confirm our belief about what their next nickname will be.

The Redskins have resisted calls over the years to change their team name. However, pressure intensified in recent weeks from business partners and retailers, leading the team to prepare for a formal switch that many believed was long overdue.

The team originated as the Boston Braves in 1932, was named the Boston Redskins in 1933, and has kept that nickname ever since moving to Washington in 1937.

Report: Cowboys ‘not close’ to multi-year contract extension with Dak Prescott

Dak Prescott

It is looking increasingly likely that Dak Prescott will be playing out the 2020 season on the franchise tag for the Dallas Cowboys.

According to Calvin Watkins of the Dallas Morning News, the Cowboys are “not close” to a multi-year deal with Prescott, and time is running out before the July 15 deadline to agree one.

The two sides have appeared stuck for weeks. Prescott has reportedly sought a shorter deal than the Cowboys want to give him, as he wants to take advantage of potential rises in the salary cap. In addition, Patrick Mahomes’ mega-extension may have given Prescott some reason to push for more money.

It was reported this week that this scenario was becoming increasingly likely, but the Cowboys are relaxed about the situation. If nothing gets done by Wednesday, Prescott will be playing under the tag.

Redskins reportedly fire two long-term executives in abrupt shakeup

Dan Snyder

The Washington Redskins continue to make big organizational changes during the offseason, and that even includes personnel.

According to Ben Standig and Rhiannon Walker of The Athletic, Director of Pro Personnel Alex Santos and Assistant Director of Pro Personnel Richard Mann II were both fired by Washington over the weekend. Santos had been with the organization since 2006, and Mann since 2010.

There had been rumors about Santos’ job security after owner Dan Snyder gave coach Ron Rivera significant organizational power, but Santos was at Rivera’s introductory press conference as well as the Senior Bowl.

The timing of the changes is unusual, as it’s rather late in the offseason for something like this to happen. The pro personnel department is an important one for an NFL team, and it’s strange that Washington would make significant changes to it in mid-July.

Even bigger changes appear to be coming to the organization in the days to come.

Jim McMahon golfs barefoot, once drank 11 Bloody Marys during tournament

Jim McMahon had one of the most eccentric personalities of any player in NFL history, and the former Chicago Bears quarterback is still marching to the beat of his own drum.

McMahon has played in a number of celebrity golf tournaments over the years, and those who have seen him on the course know he prefers to play barefoot. With the weather cooperating at the annual American Century Championship over the weekend, McMahon once again went with no shoes. He drained a nice putt during the final round on Sunday.

McMahon has never missed an American Century Championship in the 31 years the event has been held. His best finish was in 1992 when he came in 14th. As you might imagine, he has some great stories from all the years he played in the tournament, including when he says he drank 11 bloody marys during a round in his 10th year at the event. McMahon told Colt Knost and Drew Stoltz on the “Subpar” podcast recently that he threw up late in the round but managed to shoot a 72 after firing an 88 while stone sober the day before. McMahon says he started heaving when playing partner Vinny Del Negro was taking too long to hit his tee shot on the 16th hole. The interview is worth a listen.

Considering he basically came up with his own version of the BYU honor code, we’re not really surprised by anything McMahon does. If he ever wins the American Century Championship, it’s probably safe to assume he enjoyed a few cocktails along the way.

Dwayne Haskins working with Terrell Owens ahead of training camp

Dwayne Haskins

Washington quarterback Dwayne Haskins is clearly committed to improving ahead of his second season, and he’s got some pretty big-name connections to make that happen.

Haskins’ personal photographer posted a picture of the quarterback working with Hall of Fame receiver Terrell Owens with training camp just around the corner.

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Not a bad connection to make, and it makes plenty of sense for a quarterback to pick the brain of one of the game’s all-time great receivers to try to better serve the needs of his own pass catchers.

Haskins had a somewhat underwhelming rookie season, tossing seven touchdowns and seven interceptions in nine appearances. He’s definitely been working very hard this offseason to ensure that year two is significantly better.

Terrelle Pryor wants to keep playing, says Patriots have shown interest

Terrelle Pryor

Terrelle Pryor did not appear in an NFL game last season and had a major scare when he was stabbed earlier this year, but the former Ohio State star is not giving up on his playing career.

Pryor told TMZ on Saturday that he wants to play football this season. He says his reps have been in contact with five teams, including the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers.

“Those two are very intriguing, especially with Cam (Newton) — I’ve been a big fan of him throughout the years. … And obviously Big Ben (Roethlisberger), that’s my hometown city, Pittsburgh,” Pryor said. “Those are the two teams I really want to play for.”

Pryor spoke about how injuries have held him back and pointed out that he was off to a productive start with the New York Jets in 2018 prior to tearing his groin.

“I can still play. I can still make plays and dominate, I know that,” he said. “They gotta see that I can stay healthy. That’s the only thing that’s really held me back.”

This offseason has been a complicated one for players like Pryor, as teams are not really allowed to host players for workouts because of the pandemic. That means Pryor has no real way of showing he is healthy, which was the same concern many teams had about Newton.

Pryor was stabbed by a woman in November who was later charged with attempted homicide and aggravated assault. The 31-year-old had to undergo surgery but has since fully recovered.

Pryor was with the Jacksonville Jaguars last season but was released in September and won an injury settlement. If he is, in fact, healthy, he may get an invitation to training camp on a league minimum salary.