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Thursday, October 17, 2019


Bill Belichick responds to Demaryius Thomas ripping Patriots

Bill Belichick

Demaryius Thomas feels that Bill Belichick misled him during the veteran receiver’s brief time with the New England Patriots, but that is not the way Belichick remembers it.

Thomas unloaded on the Patriots this week and said signing with them turned out to be a “waste of time.” He said he was told his spot on the regular season roster would be safe after New England released him initially, so he stuck around and re-signed with the team. That was before Antonio Brown was cut by the Oakland Raiders, which changed things and made Thomas the odd man out.

While speaking with reporters on Thursday, Belichick acknowledged that the circumstances surrounding Thomas changed but said he “felt like I was always truthful with him.”

Thomas has been around long enough to know that the NFL is a business. It’s certainly possible — if not probable — that the Patriots had every intention of keeping him around until Brown became available. No one could have predicted that one of the best wide receivers in football would suddenly become a free agent and want to sign with New England, so the Patriots felt they could not pass up the opportunity.

If Thomas wants to, he can take pleasure in the way the Brown signing turned out for the Patriots. However, the implication that the Patriots should have kept their word no matter what is unrealistic. That’s not how professional sports work.

Demaryius Thomas rips Patriots, calls stint with team a ‘waste of time’

Demaryius Thomas

Demaryius Thomas was only with the New England Patriots for around five months, and the veteran wide receiver does not feel like he took anything away from his brief tenure with the team. In fact, Thomas considers it a “waste of time.”

Thomas was initially signed by the Patriots back in April, and he was briefly released at the beginning of September before they brought him back. He told Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News this week that he chose not to pursue other opportunities after being cut, as the Patriots assured him his regular season spot was not in doubt. He then re-signed with the team after they placed rookie receiver N’Keal Harry on injured reserve, but Thomas was traded to the New York Jets less than a week later when Antonio Brown became available.

“It was insulting, for sure,” Thomas said. “Once I got cut (on Aug. 31), I could have just come here (to the Jets) and not stayed there and re-sign. When they re-signed me, I was thinking that I was good. Two weeks later, I was gone. So, it’s like, ‘Why did I waste my time?’ Because at the end of the day, it was kind of a waste of time for me.”

Thomas’ main issue seems to be with Bill Belichick not keeping his word, as he says he enjoyed the time he spent with Tom Brady and Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. He said he was given assurances that he would have a spot on the 53-man roster on multiple occasions, but he could have “easily” just signed with the Jets had he known he’d be given the boot in favor of Brown.

“Coach (Belichick) came up to me and was like, ‘Uh, we got too many guys. We can’t get the ball around enough and we’re going to trade you to the Jets,'” Thomas recalled.

The Patriots obviously did not think very highly of Thomas, as trading him to the Jets helped Belichick accomplish a rare feat. You can understand why he would be upset with the way things unfolded, but there are always going to be circumstances you can’t account for. New England obviously felt Brown was more worthy of a roster spot at the time, so Thomas can at least take some pleasure in how that situation worked out.

5 NFL breakout players of 2019

Sometimes, NFL players come out of nowhere to have successful seasons. In other cases, one might see it coming. Either way, the NFL breeds new stars every year, and they’re not just the top draft picks or highly-touted young talents. Sometimes, guys who were on the backburner or off the radar step up and turn into quality players.

Here are five breakout players so far in the 2019 NFL season.

5. Marlon Mack, RB, Colts

All the ingredients were in place for a Mack breakout before the season, so this one doesn’t come as a huge shock. Still, he’s been particularly invaluable to the Colts after Andrew Luck’s abrupt retirement, and at times has carried the offense. He burst onto the scene with 174 yards and a touchdown in Week 1 against the Chargers, and his 132 rushing yards were instrumental as the Colts took down Kansas City. Mack is on pace to push for 1,500 rushing yards in 2019.

4. Terry McLaurin, WR, Redskins

Given the offensive struggles on Washington’s part this year, it seemed pretty unlikely that anyone would break out for them on that side of the ball. Enter McLaurin, a third-round rookie who has managed to become one of the NFL’s leading receivers in spite of inconsistent quarterback play and modest talent around him. Scary Terry had his second 100-yard receiving game of the season on Sunday, is on pace for well over 1,000 yards, and has scored in four of five games this year. Not bad for a first-year player at all.

3. Nick Chubb, RB, Browns

Chubb has quickly emerged as one of the NFL’s finest lead backs. After falling just shy of 1,000 yards as a rookie, he looks a sure bet to get there and well beyond this season as long as he doesn’t get hurt or see his workload significantly reduced by Kareem Hunt’s eventual return. Chubb’s worst game of the season has been 62 yards on 18 carries, which is perfectly respectable, and he’s one of the few Cleveland offensive cogs to actually work properly in 2019.

2. Shaq Barrett, LB, Buccaneers

Barrett signed a modest one-year deal with Tampa Bay before the season and promptly emerged as the NFL’s sack leader through six games. After never posting more than 5.5 sacks in a season, Barrett already has nine for Tampa Bay in 2019, including four in one game against the New York Giants. Barrett has turned into a quality pass rusher that teams have to gameplan for. The numbers bear that out, and life in Tampa seems to be treating him very well.

1. Gardner Minshew, QB, Jaguars

Nobody has done more to take the NFL by storm than Minshew, who wasn’t even supposed to play until Nick Foles suffered a Week 1 injury. The rookie won back-to-back starts against Tennessee and Denver, looking like a capable NFL quarterback in the process. In six games, he’s put up a respectable nine touchdowns to only two interceptions, and would actually be on pace to push for 4,000 passing yards over a full season if given the chance. He’s captivated a lot of people, and it helps that he’s really quite meme-able.

Ex-Cowboys RB Marion Barber arrested for criminal mischief

Former Dallas Cowboys running back Marion Barber was arrested on Wednesday in Denton County.

Barber was booked into county jail on two counts of criminal mischief related to a July 2018 incident. The nature of the incident is not clear.

Barber was released after posting $2,010 bond in the evening, according to the Dallas Morning News.

Barber, 36, played six seasons for the Cowboys from 2005-2010. He scored 60 touchdowns during his career and made the Pro Bowl in 2007. He last played for the Chicago Bears in 2011.

Back in 2014, Barber was arrested after flashing a gun in church.

Cardale Jones has great response to critic who questioned his career choices

Cardale Jones 12 gauge shirt

Cardale Jones had a great response to a critic who questioned his career choices.

Jones played at Ohio State from 2013-2015 and shined while leading the team to the national championship in the 2014 season as a backup after JT Barrett suffered a broken ankle. Some argued Jones should have left for the NFL after that season, where there was buzz about him being a first-round pick. Instead, Jones returned to school for 2015 and played OK while splitting time with Barrett.

Jones ended up as a fourth-round pick in 2016 and spent time with the Bills and Chargers but never threw a regular season pass. He’s now joining the XFL, which led former NFL receiver Antonio Bryant to question Jones’ career choices. Bryant argued that Jones should have left school for the NFL money, but Jones says getting his degree was a choice he made and is happy with.

That’s a great message for Jones to share. Maybe he would have had more money, but he wouldn’t have set himself up for long-term success in the league had he entered the draft after his sophomore season. And now he has his degree.

It’s ironic to see Jones advocate for college degrees especially considering the infamous tweet he sent several years ago.

Eagles player upset team missed out on Jalen Ramsey

Jalen Ramsey

At least one member of the Philadelphia Eagles was not pleased the team missed out on acquiring Jalen Ramsey.

On Tuesday, the Los Angeles Rams made news by trading Marcus Peters to the Baltimore Ravens. Later in the day it was announced the Rams had acquired Ramsey from the Jacksonville Jaguars for a collection of draft picks.

There were surely several suitors for Ramsey, who is one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL. However, it was the Rams who ended up the big winners in the Ramsey sweepstakes. That didn’t sit well with an Eagles player, who told ESPN’s Josina Anderson the team “dropped the ball” in not trading for Ramsey.

Ramsey was always going to command a steep price. It was the Rams who stepped up with an offer the Jaguars couldn’t refuse. That leaves other teams around the NFL wondering what could have been.

Watch: Brian Flores delivered nice hit on Frank Gore in college, now will coach against him

Brian Flores

Frank Gore has defied all football logic by continuing to be a useful starting running back even at age 36. He’s played so long that he’s now going up against a head coach against whom he played in college.

Gore is in his first season with the Buffalo Bills and has 333 rushing yards and two touchdowns this season. He played college ball at Miami from 2001-2004 and was limited by a knee injury during his college career. In 2003, his Miami Hurricanes faced Boston College, which had Brian Flores at linebacker. Flores is now the Dolphins’ head coach and will be game-planning against Gore for Week 7.

Flores talked on Wednesday about facing Gore in college but downplayed it. Dolphins reporter Safid Deen tracked down video from their game and showed that Flores did get a nice hit in on Gore.

Gore rushed for 74 yards and a touchdown in Miami’s win that game. Here’s where Gore beat Flores for a touchdown, and also another hit Flores made on Gore.

It’s truly wild that Gore is still playing 16 years later. Flores already ascending to the level of NFL head coach in the same time span is impressive too.