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#pounditWednesday, March 3, 2021


Pistons will hold Blake Griffin out while pursuing trade, buyout

Blake Griffin

The Detroit Pistons are off to an 8-19 start this year and have clearly entered a rebuilding phase, and they are not going to ask Blake Griffin to continue to be a part of it.

Pistons general manager Troy Weaver told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on Monday that Griffin and the team have agreed that the star forward will remain out of the lineup while Detroit pursues trade possibilities. If a trade can’t be worked out, it’s possible the two sides could discuss a buyout agreement.

“After extensive conversation with Blake’s representatives, it has been determined that we will begin working to facilitate a resolution regarding his future with the team that maximizes the interests of both parties,” Weaver said. “We respect all the effort Blake has put forth in Detroit and his career and will work to achieve a positive outcome for all involved.”

Griffin said in a statement to ESPN that he is “grateful” that the Pistons understand what he wants to accomplish in his career and that they are helping him work toward those goals.

Griffin is owed $36.6 million this season and $39 million in 2021-2022, so he won’t be easy to trade. The Pistons want to play some of their younger players, which is why they are reportedly open to buyout talks if they can’t find a trade partner for Griffin.

We know of at least one team that was linked to a potential Griffin trade during the offseason, so they could circle back now that the Pistons have made the six-time All-Star available.

Gus Malzahn to be named head coach at UCF

Gus Malzahn

Gus Malzahn was fired by Auburn roughly two months ago, but he has now landed another solid head coaching job.

Malzahn has agreed to a deal to become the next head coach at UCF, Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports first reported. An official announcement could come from the school as soon as Monday.

Central Florida had a head coaching vacancy after losing Josh Heupel to Tennessee last month. Heupel was poached by Tennessee, which is now led by former UCF athletic director Danny White.

New UCF athletic director Terry Mohajir made Malzahn his top target, as the two have a history together. Mohajir was the athletic director at Arkansas State when Malzahn coached there in 2012.

Malzahn went 68-35 in eight seasons at Auburn. His dismissal came as a surprise given how much money he was owed.

UCF went 6-4 last season and 28-8 overall in three seasons under Heupel.

Brad Keselowski throws some shade after Daytona 500 crash

Brad Keselowski

Don’t expect to hear an apology from Brad Keselowski over what happened at the end of the Daytona 500 on Sunday night.

Keselowski was second behind Joey Logano on the final lap of the race. He tried to make a move for the inside to pass his teammate but ended up nudging Logano. Both drivers spun out and got wrecked, which opened the door for Michael McDowell to win.

Keselowski was asked about the crash after the race and was not apologetic.

“Had a big run down the back stretch. Wanted to make the pass to win the Daytona 500,” Keselowski explained. “It ended up really bad. I don’t feel like I made a mistake, but [I] can’t drive everyone else’s car. … Had to run, made the move, it just didn’t work out.”

It’s hard to blame Keselowski for going for the win in such a significant race. He also said he did not make a mistake, but he threw shade at the other drivers for getting wrecked. This shouldn’t be surprising from Keselowski, who is known for his fights with opposing drivers.

Report: NBA wants LaMelo Ball at All-Star Weekend

LaMelo Ball

As LaMelo Ball’s star continues to rise, the league is looking to get him some exposure on one of the biggest stages of the year.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported this week that the NBA “really” wants the Charlotte Hornets rookie at All-Star Weekend. Specifically, Wojnarowski reports, the league would like Ball to compete in the Skills Challenge.

Ball, who is now starting for the Hornets, leads all rookies with averages of 14.6 points, 6.0 assists, and 1.5 steals per game. His 6.0 rebounds per game are also second only to seven-footer James Wiseman of Golden State. That is far more than most were expecting from Ball at just 19 years old, as he has helped transform Charlotte into a top-six seed in the East as well as one of the most entertaining young teams in the entire league.

Granted, Ball has had his fair share of struggles this season as well. But he is already cementing himself as a big-time box office draw, and the NBA is definitely taking notice.

Bucs GM responds to criticism from Lombardi Trophy sculptor’s daughter

Jason Licht

The daughter of the original sculptor of the Vince Lombardi Trophy was not pleased with the way Tom Brady handled the hardware during Wednesday’s victory parade, and she is calling for the Super Bowl MVP to apologize. Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht does not seem to think that is necessary.

Lorraine Grohs, whose father designed the original Lombardi Trophy, said on Friday that she was upset by Brady tossing the championship trophy from one boat to another during the Bucs’ parade. Grohs criticized Brady and said he should apologize to her, her family and football fans.

Licht responded with a GIF on Twitter telling Grohs to “lighten up.”

Brady threw the Lombardi Trophy from his boat to one with several other Bucs players on it. Fortunately, tight end Cameron Brate caught it and it did not sink to the bottom of the ocean. You can see the video here.

Most people agree with Licht that Grohs is overreacting. You can understand why she is so proud of the trophy since her father created the original design, but nothing bad happened to it. Brady was also clearly just trying to have a good time, as evidenced by how drunk he looked when he got off his boat. Demanding an apology seems a bit excessive.

Lombardi Trophy sculptor’s daughter wants apology from Tom Brady

Tom Brady Bucs

Most people thought Tom Brady’s behavior at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ victory parade was pretty funny. One person was significantly less amused.

Brady memorably tossed the Vince Lombardi Trophy from one boat to another during the parade, which you can see here. That act did not amuse Lorraine Grohs, the daughter of the original sculptor of the Vince Lombardi Trophy. She thought Brady’s trophy toss was disrespectful and thinks the quarterback owes a lot of people an apology.

“It just upset me that this trophy was disgraced and disrespected by being thrown as if it was a real football,” Grohs said, via Leslie DelasBour of FOX 4 Southwest Florida. “I have a big history of this trophy being made by my father and it’s such an honor and I know all the craftsmen that made it when my dad was there also at Tiffany’s and it takes a lot of hard work.

Grohs’ father Greg was a master silversmith at Tiffany & Co. from 1967 to 1994, and crafted the original Lombardi Trophy. Lorraine Grohs believes her family is owed an apology from Brady.

“I personally would like an apology, not just to me and my family and the other silversmiths but to the fans, all the football fans and the other team’s players,” Grohs said.

Brady might not even remember tossing the trophy given how he looked during the parade. That said, Grohs might feel relieved that the Buccaneers did try to mitigate some of the risk in terms of who handled the hardware.

Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski have done it! Treat yourself or a friend with this great Tampa Fiesta shirt. You can buy it here.

Antoine Winfield fined for mocking Tyreek Hill during Super Bowl

Antoine Winfield taunt

Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive back Antoine Winfield will be paying for his triumphant moment at the end of Super Bowl LV.

Winfield was fined $7,815 for his wave at Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill late in the game (watch here).

Flashing Hill’s trademark peace sign at him was definitely a taunt, and Winfield probably expected the fine. He also probably won’t regret it, as Hill had taunted him the same way earlier in the season. Winfield picked quite the time to get revenge.

The rookie defensive back had 94 total tackles, three sacks, and an interception in 2020. He is definitely making a name for himself, and not just because of moves like this.

Chris Doyle resigns from Jaguars after criticism of his hiring

Chris Doyle

Chris Doyle’s tenure as the Jacksonville Jaguars’ strength coach lasted as long as Bill Belichick’s reign as New York Jets head coach.

Doyle resigned on Friday from his job as the Jags’ Director of Sports Performance. Urban Meyer released a statement about the resignation and said that Doyle “did not want to be a distraction.” Meyer also said in his statement that they should have given more consideration to how Doyle’s hiring might have “affected all involved.”

The hiring of Doyle was announced on Thursday, and his resignation was tendered a day later.

The resignation came hours after the Fritz Pollard Alliance criticized the hiring.

Regardless of how good of a strength coach Doyle may be, Meyer’s decision to hire him was stupid from the start.

The spotlight is already shining brightly on Meyer over how he will adjust to the NFL from college. People have already targeted him regarding racial issues. Plus, his tenure at Ohio State ended over his handling of a coach on his staff who faced some ugly accusations. Despite all of that, one of his first moves was to try and redeem a coach who was ousted from Iowa over racism allegations.

This is the person and the time when Meyer wanted to stick his neck out for someone? Both the timing and person he chose were poor decisions.

NFL Films not releasing audio of Tyrann Mathieu-Tom Brady exchange

Tyrann Mathieu Tom Brady

NFL Films will not be releasing the audio from the exchange between Tom Brady and Tyrann Mathieu in the Super Bowl.

Mathieu and Brady traded words and taunting gestures during the Super Bowl on Sunday, though only Mathieu was penalized for it.

The day after the game, their exchange was one of the biggest stories.

Mathieu claimed on Twitter that Brady called him something he wouldn’t repeat, before later deleting the tweet. The Kansas City Chiefs safety admitted he was surprised to see Brady talk that kind of trash to him.

Mathieu saying Brady said something to him he wouldn’t repeat led some to think the worst and wonder if Brady used some sort of slur. The cancel culture mob was frothing at the mouth for any hint that Brady used a racial slur so they could take down the iconic figure at his pinnacle.

NFL Films, which captures audio for games, has the audio from the exchange but will not be releasing it, according to Pro Football Talk.

Their denial is tantamount to saying “what happens on the field stays on the field,” and it’s not the public’s business. NFL Films also knows that players and teams would not cooperate if everything the subjects said during games could potentially be used to make them look bad.

This may be disappointing for those who would love to cancel Brady, but it’s the right choice.

NFL Films does not exist to answer to gossip stories. It exists to preserve the history of the NFL and to aid in the storytelling of the league’s competitions. Releasing the audio serves neither of those missions.

Brady and Mathieu engaged in the sort of trash talk that has gone on in nearly every team sporting event for years. What they did is nothing new and nothing so remarkable that NFL Films needs to release audio.

However, what we were shown once again is that sportsmanship is not always Brady’s strongsuit. Not only did he display poor sportsmanship after many losses during the regular season, but many found his taunting of Mathieu to be distasteful. Brady himself recognized it was distasteful, which is why he apologized to Mathieu in a text message.

Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski have done it! Treat yourself or a friend with this great Tampa Fiesta shirt. You can buy it here.

Tom Brady and this star receiver reportedly want to play together

Tom Brady

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be loaded on offense next season if they simply bring back most of their key players, but is there a chance they could add another star receiver in the coming months? Tom Brady probably wouldn’t be opposed to it.

ESPN’s Jeff Darlington said on Thursday’s edition of “Get Up!” that Brady and Odell Beckham Jr. “would like to play together at some point.” He noted that Brady did not pitch Bucs general manager Jason Licht on the idea, but he and Beckham have gotten friendly over the years.

“I say this because I could see going into this offseason with Odell being in a situation where it feels like, perhaps, he is more expendable to the Browns than he was last year,” Darlington said. “Perhaps Jason Licht would take the call. But to all of these points, I’m also told they do really like where they stand with Chris Godwin, Mike Evans and Antonio Brown if they can bring him back. If something changes, though, that is the one I would be watching.”

The Bucs would probably only have room for Beckham if they did not re-sign Brown. Since Brady is the one who wanted Brown in Tampa Bay in the first place, many believe the receiver will be back next season. Brady has taken Brown under his wing since the two were briefly teammates with the New England Patriots. Brown even lived with Brady at his Florida home for a while after the Bucs first signed the seven-time Pro Bowler.

There have been rumors that the Browns could trade Beckham since almost the moment they acquired him. Now that they made a nice postseason run after he went down with an injury, they may feel they don’t need him.

The Patriots reportedly pursued Beckham when Brady was still in New England. Brady and Beckham have even had some interactions on social media that sparked rumors of them teaming up. We wouldn’t rule out the Bucs making a run at OBJ this spring.

Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski have done it! Treat yourself or a friend with this great Tampa Fiesta shirt. You can buy it here.