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Sunday, January 19, 2020

Football

Report: USC has contacted Kris Richard about defensive coordinator position

A potential homecoming could be in play for Kris Richard.

USC insider Scott Wolf reported Saturday that the Trojans have reached out to the ex-Dallas Cowboys assistant about their defensive coordinator position.

Richard, 40, attended college at USC and returned to the program after a brief NFL career to become a graduate assistant. He then followed Trojans head coach Pete Carroll to the Seattle Seahawks, eventually becoming the defensive coordinator there. For the last two seasons, Richard served as the defensive backs coach and passing game coordinator for the Cowboys.

After going 8-5 last season, USC is looking for a new defensive coordinator to replace the fired Clancy Pendergast, who had led the defense for the last four seasons. Richard drew interest for some NFL head coach openings in recent weeks as well, and the Trojans have been known to hire familiar faces.

Isaiah Simmons declares for NFL Draft

Clemson Tigers logo

Clemson star Isaiah Simmons is, as expected, turning pro.

The junior linebacker announced on Twitter Saturday that he will forego his senior season and enter April’s NFL Draft.

Simmons helped his stock soar throughout the season. He racked up 104 total tackles in 2019, with 16.5 tackles for a loss and eight sacks. He ranks as one of the top defensive players and best athletes in the draft, and could go somewhere in the top five.

While this is bad news for Clemson, it’s not unexpected. They can take solace in the fact that they got a very pleasant surprise last week and will still be among the leading contenders to win a national title even after Simmons’ departure.

Chiefs DE Frank Clark trash talks Derrick Henry: ‘He’s not hard to hit’

Frank Clark

Frank Clark is living dangerously prior to Sunday’s AFC Championship Game.

In an interview with James Palmer of NFL Network this week, the Kansas City Chiefs defensive end had smack talk for Tennessee Titans star Derrick Henry.

“He’s not hard to hit,” said Clark. “He’s just a big guy. 240, 245, 250, honestly he should be running harder at his weight and at his size. I don’t see no difficult in tackling him.

“He’s just easy to me up front because I don’t look at any running back like they can’t be tackled,” the 2019 Pro Bowl defender went on. “He’s not one of the best guys at breaking tackles to me honestly.”

Considering Henry’s postseason thus far (377 rushing yards on 5.9 yards per carry through just two games), Clark sure must like playing with fire. The last defender who had something to say about Henry wound up eating crow too, so Clark’s trash talk could easily backfire if Sunday doesn’t go well for the Chiefs.

Eric Fisher fined for Stone Cold Steve Austin beer celebration

Eric Fisher’s Stone Cold beer celebration will end up being pretty expensive.

The Kansas City Chiefs offensive lineman received a $14,037 fine for pouring two beers on himself after a touchdown last week, mimicking Stone Cold Steve Austin’s signature celebration.

Fisher will probably be okay with this one. It produced a viral moment, and his team won the game. And at the very least, it’s definitely going to count as one of the more unique things to get fined for in an NFL game, particularly on a playoff stage. Frankly, Fisher should embrace it, even if he may be best served not doing it again.

Chiefs set Big Buck Chuck up to watch AFC Championship at home

Big Buck Chuck

The Kansas City Chiefs don’t want any superstition getting in the way of their potential Super Bowl berth, so they’re setting up a notoriously unlucky fan to watch the game from the comfort of his own home.

During the Chiefs’ comeback win over the Houston Texans in the AFC Divisional round, a fan who goes by Big Buck Chuck or Bad Luck Chuck departed early, feeling he was bad luck. He went viral, and when the Chiefs did come back, he made it quite clear he would be nowhere near the AFC Championship game.

The Chiefs are well aware of Bad Luck Chuck’s plight and made sure he was taken care of so he could watch the game at home in maximum comfort.

It’s a win-win for everybody. The Chiefs won’t be harmed by Bad Luck Chuck’s presence, but he gets quite the comfortable deal at home. You can bet if the Chiefs win and make it to the Super Bowl, Chuck won’t be going anywhere near Miami, either.

Luke Kuechly considering going into coaching

Luke Kuechly

Luke Kuechly’s NFL playing days are over, but there is some reason to believe we may not have seen the last of him around the league.

According to Mike Garafolo of NFL Network, Kuechly has given preliminary thought to going into some sort of coaching or consulting role in the NFL going forward. Kuechly was regarded as a coach on the field, so this sort of thing should not be considered much of a stretch.

Kuechly will take time to consider his options, but Garafolo suggested that we could see Kuechly working in some capacity as soon as 2020.

The former Carolina Panthers linebacker walked away from the playing field earlier in the week at the age of 28. It was pretty clear he did not do so because he no longer loves the game. Judging by some of the stories we’ve heard about him, a coaching role seems like a perfect fit to continue his work in football without putting his body on the line in the same way.

Superdome police officer declines to press charges against Odell Beckham

Odell Beckham Jr Browns

Odell Beckham Jr. likely won’t be facing criminal charges for slapping a Superdome police officer on the backside after LSU’s win over Clemson in the national title game.

As first reported by Ramon Antonio Vargas and John Simerman of NOLA.com, the 48-year-old officer has signed an affidavit declining to press charges against the Cleveland Browns wide receiver. The officer had initially sought to press charges against the star wide receiver, and an arrest warrant was out for Beckham for a simple battery charge.

That warrant has not yet been withdrawn, but with the officer unwilling to press charges, it appears unlikely that Beckham will face any real legal consequences for his actions.

The officer in question was trying to get LSU players to put out their cigars in a bid to enforce the Superdome’s no smoking policy. Video of what Beckham did went viral in the aftermath of the incident, but the whole matter seemed rather silly to begin with.