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#pounditFriday, September 30, 2022

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Look: Chargers TE tried to get subbed out before pick-six

Gerald Everett calls for a sub

The biggest play in Thursday night’s game between the Los Angeles Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs was an interception at the goal line that was returned 99 yards for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter. Had Chargers tight end Gerald Everett’s request for a substitute been granted, the result may have been different.

Everett was the intended receiver on the pick-six, which came with the game tied 17-17. The veteran looked like he gave up on the play. Replays showed that Everett motioned to be taken off the field before the play, but the Chargers went with the no-huddle offense.

You can see the sequence below:

Everett caught back-to-back passes of 7 yards and 26 yards from Justin Herbert before the interception. It is unclear if he was injured or just needed a breather.

Kansas City went on to win 27-24. The pick-six led to a massive momentum shift and was probably the difference in the game. Chiefs defensive back Jaylen Watson deserves credit for anticipating the route and jumping in front of the pass, but it sure seemed like Everett was totally out of gas.

Chargers coach shares update on Justin Herbert’s injury status

Justin Herbert with a helmet on

Los Angeles Chargers head coach Brandon Staley shared an update on the status of quarterback Justin Herbert after Thursday night’s 27-24 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Herbert missed a play late in the fourth quarter after taking a shot to the ribs from Mike Danna.

Herbert came back into the game quickly, though the Chargers punted on that possession. Herbert remained in the game thereafter and played through pain. He was able to lead a touchdown drive to make it a 3-point game with just over a minute left. He even made this great throw on 4th-and-1 despite his pain.

Herbert did not speak with the media after the game, and the Chargers only said he had a rib injury.

Staley’s update about Herbert’s status was encouraging. He said the Chargers quarterback was “OK” and that the injury was not expected to be an issue moving forward.

That’s what Chargers fans needed to hear.

Herbert had his second consecutive 3-touchdown game, though this one did not result in a win. He does have a new injury condition though that he will have to manage for the future.

Sean Payton critical of Aaron Rodgers for attitude toward teammates

Aaron Rodgers looks frustrated on the sideline

Aaron Rodgers was openly frustrated about some of the play from his teammates during the Green Bay Packers’ loss to the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, and Sean Payton does not think the reigning MVP handled himself the right way.

On Green Bay’s first offensive play of the game against Minnesota, Rodgers unleashed a deep pass to a wide-open Christian Watson. The rookie receiver would have walked into the end zone if he caught the pass. Instead, he let it go right through his hands. Rodgers did not exactly give his teammate a “keep your head up.”

After Green Bay’s 23-7 loss, Rodgers began his press conference by saying “games usually come down to a few plays here and there.”

Payton was a guest on the “NFL Rhodes Show” podcast with Lindsay Rhodes this week. He was asked about Rodgers’ attitude toward his teammates, and the former New Orleans Saints coach did not hold back.

“It drives me crazy. Here’s the thing: I didn’t think he played well,” Payton said. “I don’t think Aaron played well. … After the game we go to the interview in the locker room and the very first question posed to Aaron was about bouncing back and he referenced the first play of the game, a dropped pass from a rookie. And I thought, ‘Come on.’ I like Aaron Rodgers but I didn’t like what I saw.”

Rodgers completed 22-of-34 passes for 195 yards, no touchdowns and an interception. He was visibly upset on the sideline late in the first half.

Those who followed the Packers during training camp probably could have seen this coming. Rodgers publicly vented about his wide receivers a month ago.

Like many great quarterbacks, Rodgers expects perfection. He is not going to get that from rookies like Watson. The 38-year-old is clearly having some trouble adjusting to life without Davante Adams, but it is noteworthy that a great coach like Payton thinks Rodgers handled himself poorly in Week 1.

Roger Federer announces when he will retire

Roger Federer at a tournament

Jul 7, 2021; London, United Kingdom; Roger Federer (SUI) seen playing Hubert Hurkacz (POL) in the quarter finals at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club. Mandatory Credit: Peter van den Berg-USA TODAY Sports

One of the greatest tennis players of all time will soon call it a career.

Roger Federer announced on Thursday that the Laver Cup next week will be his final ATP event. The 41-year-old shared a video on social media reflecting on his career. He spoke about listening to his body in the wake of the recent injuries he has had and surgeries he has undergone.

You can see the full video below:

Federer said he will continue to play tennis but “not in Grand Slams or on the tour.” That means he finishes his career with 20 Grand Slam titles, which places him third all time behind Rafael Nadal (22) and Novak Djokovic (21). All three will compete together for team Europe — along with Andy Murray — at the Laver Cup in London.

Federer hinted that the end was near after he underwent a third knee surgery last year. He had come back from previous surgeries and returned to peak form, but he said it has gotten more difficult the older he gets.

Aaron Rodgers has brutal comment about 1 Packers WR

Aaron Rodgers smiles

August 12, 2022; Santa Clara, California, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) smiles before the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers continues to sound quite down on his set of wide receivers.

The Packers struggled on offense in Sunday’s loss to the Minnesota Vikings, with Rodgers demonstrating little faith in most of his young wide receivers. Among that group is second-year receiver Amari Rodgers, who has handled kick return duties for Green Bay but has virtually no role in the offense.

On Wednesday, the quarterback was asked if Rodgers might be in line for an increased role in the offense. The response was quite chilly, to say the least.

Rodgers doesn’t even try for a diplomatic answer here. His bluntness might be admirable, but this has to be pretty demoralizing to hear.

To be fair, Rodgers did target rookies Romeo Doubs and Christian Watson a combined nine times in Week 1, so it is not as if the quarterback froze the rookies out of the offense. The full faith does not seem to be there, though, and we have known it for a while. It might not be getting any better, either.

Report: LIV Golf turned down by tech giant for being ‘too toxic’

Greg Norman looking ahead

June 10, 2022; St. Albans, UK; LIV golf chief executive Greg Norman looks on during the second round of the inaugural LIV golf invitational golf tournament at the Centurion Club. Mandatory Credit: Paul Childs-Action Images/Reuters via USA TODAY Sports

LIV Golf is looking for a broadcast partner in the United States, and at least one tech giant has reportedly turned down the opportunity to work with the Saudi-backed golf league.

According to Dan Rapaport of Barstool Sports, Apple TV has declined an offer to broadcast LIV events due to LIV being “too toxic.” Rapaport speculates that LIV may try to work out a deal with FOX, as several other major networks already have partnerships with the PGA Tour.

LIV has now held several events and still does not have a media rights deal in place in the U.S. Front Office Sports reported last month that LIV has held discussions with “anybody and everybody” in the major network and streaming worlds. They are believed to be seeking somewhere in the neighborhood of $500 million for an exclusive media rights deal. Thus far, LIV tournaments have only been available via streaming on YouTube, DAZN and Facebook.

Over the past several months, LIV has poached both top golfers and top media personalities from the golf world. One popular analyst left NBC and the Golf Channel back in July to take a job with LIV, and he offered a simple explanation for the move.

Broncos coach makes big admission about Monday night loss

Nathaniel Hackett in sunglasses

Aug 20, 2022; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Denver Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett enters the field before a pre-season game against the Buffalo Bills at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Nathaniel Hackett on Tuesday made a big admission about his Denver Broncos’ 17-16 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Monday night.

The Broncos lost after Brandon McManus missed a 64-yard field goal attempt with just under 20 seconds remaining in the game. The team’s entire end-of-game decision-making was questionable.

After a passing play on third down ended with around a minute left, Denver had a 4th-and-5 with all three timeouts left. Rather than take a timeout to think things over, the team let the clock go down to 20 seconds left before stopping the game.

Then, Hackett sent McManus out to attempt a 64-yard kick rather than let his offense go for it. We were baffled by the decision.

A day later, Hackett said they “definitely should have gone for it.”

If he truly feels it was a bad decision, he’s probably helping himself by admitting the error. Not only does it make him look less stupid because he at least recognizes the mistake, but he’s also now publicly reinstilling confidence in his offense and quarterback. That counts for a lot.

The reasoning is simple: the chances of the offense converting a 4th-and-5 is higher than McManus making a 64-yard kick. Had that been a field goal under 60 yards, it would have been more reasonable to try the field goal. But at 64 yards, it’s unreasonable to expect your kicker to make it. You only attempt that kick if you’re desperate, like in 4th-and-20. At 4th-and-5, you go for it.

Tom Brady addresses infamous rumor about his training camp hiatus

Tom Brady puts up his hand

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

If Tom Brady left the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during training camp to film for the upcoming season of “The Masked Singer,” he would be contractually obligated to keep quiet about it. But if you are willing to take the star quarterback at his word, you can now feel confident that we are not going to see him on the reality TV show.

In the latest episode of his “Let’s Go” podcast with Jim Gray and Larry Fitzgerald, Brady was asked point-blank by Gray if he was was involved with “The Masked Singer.” The 45-year-old laughed it off and issued a firm denial.

“I don’t know where they get all these things,” Brady said. “They’ve gotta talk about something. It wasn’t me. I wasn’t masked and I’m not a singer. It wouldn’t really fit my profile. I’m basically good at one thing, which is throwing passes. Other than that, I’m basically worthless.”

Brady questioned where the theory came from, but those who have followed the rumor know that it originated on Reddit. The Reddit user who presented the theory actually made a very compelling argument, even if it was somewhat unrealistic.

This is not the first time Brady has addressed the reality TV rumor, but it can probably be put to rest now.

Jerry Jones shares surprising update on Dak Prescott

Jerry Jones at a press conference

Jul 26, 2022; Oxnard, CA, USA; Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones at training camp press conference at the River Ridge Fields. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott underwent surgery this week after he suffered a fractured thumb, but team owner Jerry Jones is expecting him back a lot sooner than initially reported.

Jones said during his Tuesday appearance on 105.3 The Fan that the Cowboys will not place Prescott on injured reserve. If they did, Prescott would not be eligible to play the next four games. Jones says Prescott has a realistic chance of returning before that.

Jones has a history of being overly optimistic when it comes to injuries, but in this case he must not be the only one who feels that way. If he were, the Cowboys would place Prescott on injured reserve and free up a roster spot for at least the next month.

A report on Monday claimed Prescott would miss 6-8 weeks. It would make more sense for the Cowboys to rush Prescott back late in the season, but they must be expecting a very quick recovery.

Prescott suffered the thumb injury when Bucs linebacker Shaq Barrett hit Prescott’s hand as the quarterback was throwing a pass in the fourth quarter of Sunday night’s 19-3 loss. He initially stayed in the game but struggled to get zip on his throws. His hand was then hit again on the same drive and he exited the game.

Cooper Rush is expected to start for the Cowboys in Week 2. There has been talk of them trading for a veteran quarterback, but there will be no need for that if they truly expect Prescott to return by Week 5.

Nathaniel Hackett makes baffling decision at end of loss to Seahawks

Nathaniel Hackett in sunglasses

Aug 20, 2022; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Denver Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett enters the field before a pre-season game against the Buffalo Bills at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

What was Nathaniel Hackett thinking? That is all one could ask while watching the end of the Denver Broncos’ 17-16 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on “Monday Night Football.”

The Broncos were down 17-16 and got the ball back with 4:02 left after forcing a Seattle 3-and-out late in the game. They started at their 22 and moved the ball to near midfield. Denver found themselves in a 3rd-and-14 from their 45 with 1:11 left, and Russell Wilson checked a pass down to Javonte Williams, who gained nine yards.

Denver then had a 4th-and-5 with about a minute left, all three timeouts, and the clock ticking. Denver let the clock get down to 20 seconds left and took a timeout.

Here’s the really baffling part: with his team down by one and a 4th-and-5 with two timeouts and 20 seconds left, Hackett chose to attempt a 64-yard field goal with Brandon McManus rather than have the offense try to convert.

Hackett really thought McManus had a better chance of making an extremely long field goal, in Seattle, than his offense did of converting that fourth down.

That’s tough to swallow.

Wilson wanted out of Seattle because he felt Pete Carroll didn’t trust him. Now his new head coach didn’t trust him to convert a 4th-and-5 with the game on the line.

How can Wilson be OK with that?