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#pounditSunday, September 20, 2020

Headlines

Deshaun Watson agrees to mega-extension with Texans

Deshaun Watson

The Houston Texans have made the big move to lock up Deshaun Watson for the long term.

As reported by Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, Watson has signed a four-year extension worth over $160 million to keep him with Houston through 2025.

John McClain of the Houston Chronicle added that Watson’s deal comes with a $27 million signing bonus. The contract is shorter than the one Patrick Mahomes signed with Kansas City, which Watson wanted. The Texans QB will also make more than Mahomes over those four years due in part to the backloaded nature of the Mahomes contract.

Watson sets himself up very nicely here. He’ll be 30 years old when this current deal expires. That means as long as he stays healthy and keeps performing, he could have another big contract in his future.

The 24-year-old quarterback has known for a while he was set up nicely for big money. Now he has it. He threw for 3,852 yards and 26 touchdowns last season, and should have even more to come.

Mitchell Trubisky wins Bears quarterback job

Mitchell Trubisky

The Chicago Bears brought in Nick Foles this offseason with the intent of having him compete for the starting quarterback job. He did that but apparently hasn’t done enough to win the job.

Mitchell Trubisky has won the Bears’ starting quarterback job, ESPN’s Adam Schefter first reported on Friday.

The Bears infamously traded up to draft Trubisky No. 2 overall in 2017. They selected him over Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson, who have vastly outperformed him.

Wanting to push Trubisky, Chicago acquired Foles for a fourth-round pick and paid him $21 million guaranteed. Foles will now be the backup. But if Chicago thinks Trubisky can make them a playoff team, they’ll be fine with it. They still have some confidence in him despite declining his fifth-year option.

Randy Gregory conditionally reinstated by NFL

Randy Gregory

Randy Gregory is back in the NFL.

The Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman confirmed Friday that he had been conditionally reinstated by the league.

Gregory will be required to go through an acclimation period, and will be eligible to play starting in Week 7.

This could provide a significant boost to the Dallas defense. Gregory last played in 2018, when he collected six sacks for the Cowboys. He was then suspended after multiple violations of the league’s substance abuse policy. He’s still only 27, and if he’s in game shape, he could be a real contributor in 2020.

The news of Gregory’s reinstatement is abrupt and comes as a surprise. The Cowboys reportedly had not expected this to happen, but Jerry Jones sounded a more positive note earlier in the day. It appears that he knew something like this was in the pipeline.

Charles Barkley ‘disappointed’ over Steve Nash ‘white privilege’ talk

Charles Barkley

Charles Barkley shared his response on Thursday night to some of the talk that Steve Nash got the Brooklyn Nets head coaching job due to “white privilege.”

In response to Nash receiving the job despite not having head coaching experience, ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith said Nash was benefiting from privilege due to his skin color. Barkley said on TNT later in the evening that he was “disappointed” with that sort of talk.

“I was very disappointed with some of the guys on television today talking about ‘white privilege.’ They’re like, ‘this doesn’t happen to black guys.’ I’m like, ‘it happened to Doc Rivers, it happened to Jason Kidd, it happened to Derek Fisher.’ So I was really disappointed,” Barkley said.

“I think when you have a responsibility, especially when you got to talk about something serious like race, you can’t be full of crap. You have to be honest and fair. Steve Nash is a great player and a good dude. But I was so disappointed. I was like, dude, ‘black guys have done this before,'” Barkley continued.

Barkley said that just because attributing Nash’s hiring to race is problematic doesn’t mean there is not an issue of a lack of black head coaches across sports.

“Now, do we need more black coaches in the NBA? Yes. Do we need more black coaches in college football? Yes. Do we need more black coaches in pro football? Yes. But this wasn’t the right time to say it today. Good luck to Steve Nash.”

Shaquille O’Neal felt that a lot of people were overlooked for the job and “it is what it is.”

Nash has previous experience working with Kevin Durant when he was on the Golden State Warriors. His hiring was approved by Durant and Kyrie Irving. The Nets’ front office also obviously wanted to hire Nash otherwise he wouldn’t have been hired. But this is a poor example of white privilege considering numerous black players have gotten head coaching jobs without previous experience. The hiring is likely more attributable to a bias towards former players, and specifically, former star point guards.

Stephen A. Smith: Steve Nash hiring is product of ‘white privilege’

Stephen A. Smith

Stephen A. Smith took issue with the Brooklyn Nets’ hiring of Steve Nash on Thursday and says it is the product of “white privilege.”

Smith argued on ESPN’s “First Take” that other qualified black coaches being passed over for Nash, who has no previous head coaching experience, signifies the former two-time NBA MVP is benefiting from being white.

Smith agreed that Nash is uniquely qualified and a “sensational dude”, widely respected and loved by a whole bunch of people in the NBA, and that Nash “deserves it.” But that didn’t stop Smith from bringing race into the discussion.

“There’s no way around this. This is white privilege. This does not happen as a black man. No experience whatsoever on any level as a coach, and you get the Brooklyn Nets job?” Smith said.

Smith acknowledged that Nash is a great guy and may do a fantastic job, but says he has no experience. Smith also said he recognizes Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant signed off on the hiring, which was a big factor in the Nets hiring him.

Smith mentioned Ty Lue, Mark Jackson and Sam Cassell as qualified black coaches who were passed over.

Smith’s argument is problematic for a lot of reasons. His argument presumes that only white people get head coaching opportunities with NBA teams despite no previous experience. If that’s the case, what’s his explanation for Mark Jackson getting hired by the Warriors in 2011? Smith mentions Jackson as being passed over by the Nets, but Jackson got the Warriors job with no experience. Was Jackson benefiting from white privilege? What about Derek Fisher, Jason Kidd and Isiah Thomas, who all were hired as head coaches with no previous head coaching experience? Were they benefiting from white privilege too?

Maybe the NBA has a bias towards accomplished point guards as head coaches, similar to the way catchers frequently become managers in MLB, and that race has nothing to do with it. Maybe front offices believe point guards who control and lead offenses are natural fits to become head coaches when they are done playing.

And if even Smith acknowledges that Nash is qualified, and that the Nets and their top players thought he was right for the job, then what is his issue? Should they not hire someone they want to be their head coach, regardless of the color of his skin? Or is Smith just trying to make up for the recent criticism he received?

Cam Newton reportedly named Patriots starting QB for Week 1

Cam Newton

Cam Newton has reportedly beaten out Jarrett Stidham for the New England Patriots’ starting quarterback job.

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick informed his players on Thursday morning that Newton will start in Week 1, according to Jim McBride of The Boston Globe.

Newton was competing against Stidham and veteran Brian Hoyer, though Hoyer never had much of a chance to win the job. There was some belief earlier in the offseason that Stidham had the upper-hand due to his familiarity with New England’s system, but Newton has been the most impressive quarterback in training camp.

Belichick had nothing but overwhelmingly positive things to say about Newton’s work ethic recently.

From a talent standpoint, Newton was the obvious choice. He’s a former NFL MVP who is still just 31, though he is coming off foot surgery and had shoulder trouble before that. That said, the Patriots did not sign him to be a backup all season. We knew he would start at some point in 2020, but he has obviously done enough to prove he is up to the task now.

One Patriots star made it clear recently that he is looking forward to catching passes from Newton. If Newton can remain healthy, he will be on a mission to prove he is still capable of being an elite starter.

Cam Newton is now a member of the Patriots! Treat yourself or a friend with this great Cam Newton Patriots shirt. You can buy it here.

Steve Nash to be named Nets head coach

Steve Nash

Steve Nash was not mentioned as one of the candidates to land the head coaching job with the Brooklyn Nets, but he was apparently at the top of their list all along.

The Nets have reached an agreement with Nash to make him their next head coach, according to multiple reports.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that Jacque Vaughn, who was Brooklyn’s interim head coach in Orlando and drew serious consideration for the full-time position, will remain on Nash’s staff. The Nets are making Vaughn the highest-paid assistant coach in the NBA.

Nash, 46, has no real coaching experience. He worked as a consultant for the Golden State Warriors after he retired from playing in 2015, but he has not been a member of an NBA coaching staff.

Nash spent the majority of his career with the Phoenix Suns. He also played for the Lakers and Dallas Mavericks. The Hall of Famer won two NBA MVP awards and was named an All-Star eight times. He is considered one of the greatest point guards to ever play.

The Nets were said to be targeting some huge names for their head coaching job, but their interest in Nash was a well-kept secret. Nash will immediately face pressure to win with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving expected to be healthy at the start of next season.

Tom Seaver dies – Mets legend dead at 75

Tom Seaver

Legendary New York Mets pitcher Tom Seaver has died at the age of 75.

The New York Daily News shared the news on Wednesday that Seaver died on Monday from complications Lyme disease and dementia. The Baseball Hall of Fame adds that Seaver also had COVID-19.

Seaver dropped out of public life in March 2019 after being diagnosed with dementia.

“We are heartbroken to share that our beloved husband and father has passed away,” Tom’s wife Nancy Seaver and daughters Sarah and Anne said in a statement to the Baseball Hall of Fame. “We send our love out to his fans, as we mourn his loss with you.”

Seaver spent the bulk of his 20-year MLB career with the Mets. He was NL Rookie of the Year in 1967 and won three Cy Young Awards during his career. Seaver is the Mets’ all-time leader in wins and won 311 games during his career. He also racked up 3,640 strikeouts, 61 shutouts, and posted a 2.86 earned run average during his Hall of Fame career.

When he was inducted into Cooperstown in 1992, his 98.8 percent of ballots was the highest rate ever. Seaver was a 12-time All-Star, threw a no-hitter, and is part of the Mets and Reds’ Hall of Fames.

Dwayne Haskins named starting quarterback by Washington

Dwayne Haskins

Dwayne Haskins has held onto his starting quarterback job with the Washington Football Team.

Coach Ron Rivera confirmed Wednesday that Haskins will start Week 1, beating Alex Smith and Kyle Allen for the job.

This is no real surprise. Allen always looked like a longshot. Smith, on the other hand, is working his way back from a catastrophic injury. He may be a good option down the road, but camp was mostly about just getting him back on the field.

Washington is still hopeful that Haskins can be the franchise quarterback. The 23-year-old showed little last season, going 2-5 in seven starts with seven touchdowns and seven interceptions. He’ll need to start showing some improvement in 2020.

Aaron Boone responds to apparent threat from Rays manager Kevin Cash

Aaron Boone

Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash seemingly issued a threat toward the New York Yankees following a heated game on Tuesday night, and Aaron Boone did not appreciate it.

Benches cleared with two outs in the ninth inning of New York’s win over the Rays when Aroldis Chapman nearly hit Tampa infielder Mike Brosseau in the head with a 100-mph fastball. Cash was furious, and he ripped Boone and the Yankees after the game.

“It’s poor judgment, poor coaching, it’s just poor teaching what they’re doing,” Cash said. “The chirping from the dugout — somebody would have to tell me who’s hit who more, but I can assure you other than three years ago there hasn’t been one pitch thrown with intent from any of our guys, period. Somebody’s gotta be accountable. The last thing I’ll say on it is I have a whole damn stable of guys who throw 98 mph.”

The Yankees felt earlier in the season that the Rays were intentionally throwing up and in on them. Cash believed what happened on Tuesday was a response to that. Boone didn’t say much about the situation, but he condemned Cash’s “whole stable of guys who throw 98 mph” comment.

The Yankees are 3.5 games behind Tampa in the AL East following Tuesday’s win. While Boone wasn’t anywhere near as fired up as we saw him during a game against the Rays last year, the ongoing feud is worth watching.