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#pounditFriday, October 23, 2020

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This is why Buccaneers are signing Antonio Brown

Antonio brown

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had spent months downplaying any interest in wide receiver Antonio Brown. That changed quickly this week, and we’re getting an idea of why.

Brown has agreed to a one-year contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The wide receiver is expected to make his debut in Week 9 against the New Orleans Saints.target=”_blank”>follows reports earlier in the day suggesting an agreement was close.

Brown signing with the Bucs comes as a surprise, and not just because of how abruptly the deal came together. The door had seemed to be closed on Brown joining Tampa Bay for several reasons. First, the Buccaneers were fairly set at wide receiver, with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin operating as the primary weapons in the passing game. Perhaps more importantly, coach Bruce Arians, who coached Brown in Pittsburgh, seemed to have no interest in working with the receiver again.

So what changed? The short answer is injuries. According to ESPN’s Jenna Laine, that’s the key reason the team is citing behind the change of heart.

Evans is struggling with an ankle injury, while Godwin is just returning from a hamstring issue. No. 3 receiver Scotty Miller is also dealing with an injury. The reports that the Buccaneers had no interest in Brown were likely true, but injuries changed things. This is a team that wants to win a Super Bowl, and they can’t afford to leave Tom Brady without enough weapons.

There are certainly other reasons. Brady clearly enjoyed briefly playing with Brown in New England last year, and has reportedly been pushing the Buccaneers to sign the receiver. It’s pretty clear, though, that this was unlikely to happen had Evans and Godwin stayed totally healthy.

Antonio Brown, Bucs working towards agreement

Antonio brown

Antonio Brown’s NFL suspension is set to end soon, and he could reunite with Tom Brady on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Brown is set to visit with the Bucs on Saturday, the Houston Chronicle’s Aaron Wilson reported on Friday. Wilson said both sides are “highly motivated” to reach an agreement.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the two sides are working towards a deal, though he says the Seahawks are still in the mix.

NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reports that Tom Brady was pushing the Bucs for the move.

Brown, 32, was one of the top receivers in the NFL from 2013-2018. He spent the first part of his career with the Pittsburgh Steelers before pushing his way out last year. He got traded to the Raiders, who had enough of him and cut him. The Patriots signed him but then cut him too due to his behavior amid some serious legal issues. He was suspended this season through Week 8 as punishment from the league.

Brady was said to be upset at the time about the Patriots cutting Brown. The veteran quarterback was practicing hard with Brown and knows how good of a weapon the receiver is and wants him on his team. It’s no surprise that Brady is pushing for the signing. He even supposedly told teams in free agency that he wanted them to get Brown. And if Brown’s past behavior is any indication, he wants to team with Tom too.

Hue Jackson hints book will contain bombshell information about Browns

Hue Jackson

Hue Jackson was fired by the Cleveland Browns in 2018 after he won just three games in three-plus seasons, but the team’s struggles were not entirely his fault. Apparently we’re going to hear a lot more about that when Jackson publishes his book.

Jackson discussed his book, which will be published next year, during an appearance on ESPN 850 in Cleveland on Friday. He guaranteed it will be a best-seller. While he did not go into detail, the former head coach says he has a story to tell from his time with the Browns that people need to hear.

There was an obvious disconnect between Jackson and the Browns’ front office during Jackson’s time as head coach in Cleveland. Toward the beginning of his tenure with the team, Jackson wanted to trade for a veteran quarterback and the deal fell apart in embarrassing fashion. Then, before the Browns drafted Baker Mayfield, there was a report that they knew which player they were going to select with the top overall pick but did not tell Jackson.

Jackson has also been open about his feeling that the Browns were “disrespectful” with the manner in which they fired him.

The Browns have been a mess for quite some time, so it’s no surprise Jackson has plenty of stories to tell from his time with the franchise. While there will likely be two sides to all of them, they are sure to be entertaining.

Tom Brady has no good explanation for Nick Foles handshake snubs

Tom Brady Bucs

Tom Brady has failed to shake hands with Nick Foles twice after being beaten by him, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback has no good reason why.

Brady’s New England Patriots lost to Foles’ Philadelphia Eagles 41-33 in Super Bowl LII in early 2018. Brady did not shake Foles’ hand after that game. Foles took the high road when asked about the matter.

Then three weeks ago, Foles’ Chicago Bears beat Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20-19. Brady made a huge mental mistake at the end of the loss. He appeared to be so frustrated with himself and embarrassed that he ran off the field once again without shaking hands. Foles took it easy on Brady yet again.

Brady is used to winning, so many think he doesn’t know how to handle it when he loses.

The Buccaneers quarterback was asked about the Foles snubs and said he didn’t even think about it.

“I didn’t even think about that,” Brady said Thursday, via the Tampa Bay Times’ Rick Stroud. “I think Nick Foles is a hell of a player and a Super Bowl champ. I don’t know one reason or another why I wouldn’t do that. Sometimes I run off the field, sometimes I haven’t. Sometimes if I have a personal relationship, like I have with Drew (Brees) and Justin (Herbert) and Aaron (Rodgers) over the years…I don’t know, I don’t think it’s anything particular other than I have great admiration for Nick and I think he’s a hell of a player. They’re off to a great start.”

Foles again took the high road.

Brady is trying to be complimentary of Foles and make it clear that he doesn’t hold a personal thing against the veteran quarterback. The explanation is more likely that Brady is just so ticked off after the losses that he just runs into the tunnel. You know what that makes Brady? A poor sport. He should keep in mind that being cordial to one’s opponent after a game should come after a win or a loss and remember to do that after his defeats.

Shaq: Clippers need to trade Paul George

Paul George

Shaquille O’Neal thinks the Los Angeles Clippers need to make a big move this offseason.

Shaq was talking on his “The big podcast with Shaq” for an episode published on Wednesday. In the episode, the hosts talked about the Clippers, and that’s when Shaq shared his thoughts.

“They have to get rid of someone,” Shaq said, referring to Paul George.

“You gotta use [George] to get two good, solid players. Because I need Kawhi to be the man. I don’t want Kawhi to delegate. When Kawhi was with Toronto, he knew he was the man, everybody knew he was the man. Now you got one guy that thinks he’s the man, one guy that is the man. They got a guy coming off the bench that knows he’s the man.

“It may look good in certain games, but when you need to slow the game down and do certain things, it never works.”

The Clippers traded Danilo Gallinari, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and half a dozen draft picks to get George from the Thunder and convince Kawhi to sign with them. Leonard wanted to play with George. It’s on them to make it work, especially after they handpicked the pairing.

The Clippers already made one big move this offseason. It would be a massive shock to see them follow Shaq’s advice.

Report: Dez Bryant likely to join Ravens’ practice squad

Dez Bryant

Dez Bryant appears to be on his way back to the NFL.

According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, Bryant is expected to join the Baltimore Ravens’ practice squad if he passes a physical. The possibility of this was first reported by NFL reporter Josina Anderson.

Bryant worked out for Baltimore in the offseason, so the Ravens likely know what they’re getting already.

The 31-year-old wide receiver has not played in the NFL since 2017. The practice squad stint is likely meant to get him into game shape. The Ravens’ interest in him goes back nearly three years, and they’ve looked into signing him multiple times. It appears to be finally happening.

Once considered one of the NFL’s elite wide receivers, Bryant has 73 career touchdown catches. His best season in that regard was 2014, when he caught 16 of them.

Yannick Ngakoue traded from Vikings to Ravens

Yannick Ngakoue

Yannick Ngakoue is on the move yet again.

As first reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Minnesota Vikings have traded Ngakoue to the Baltimore Ravens. The Vikings will receive a pair of draft picks in exchange for the defensive end.

This is a surprising move for a few reasons. Ngakoue was traded to the Vikings less than two months ago for a very similar package. The Vikings gave up a second-round pick and a conditional fifth-round selection. Not long after, they get back a third and a conditional fifth. With the team sitting at 1-5, this may be the start of a selloff as they wave the white flag on 2020.

For the Ravens, the fit is obvious. Ngakoue, who already has five sacks on the season, adds even more firepower to perhaps the league’s best defense. Baltimore’s front seven already contains the likes of Calais Campbell, Brandon Williams, Matt Judon, and Derek Wolfe. They can bring overwhelming firepower at opposing quarterbacks.

Odell Beckham banned from LSU for two years over cash handout stunt

Odell Beckham Jr

Odell Beckham Jr. will not be spending any time around the LSU football program for quite a while. Beckham has been banned from the school’s facility for two years due to the stunt he pulled after the national championship game earlier this year.

Ross Dellenger and Pat Forde of Sports Illustrated reported on Wednesday that LSU has self-imposed several penalties after a lengthy investigation revealed booster payments to the father of a football player. The school is docking itself eight football scholarships over a two-year period and reducing recruiting visits, evaluations and communication. LSU has also banned Beckham from its facilities for two years after the Tigers alum was spotted handing out money to players following their win over Clemson in January’s title game.

LSU said the payments from Beckham totaled $2,000, which constitutes a Level III violation. The payments from a booster to former offensive lineman Vadal Alexander totaled $180,000, which is a Level I — the most serious — violation.

Beckham was on the field at the New Orleans Superdome celebrating with LSU when cameras saw him handing out cash to players. LSU initially claimed the money was fake but later retracted that after Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow made it clear he took real money.

Beckham was also involved in an embarrassing incident in the locker room after the game, so that may have factored into LSU’s decision.

Ryan Fitzpatrick was ‘shocked,’ heartbroken by benching

Ryan Fitzpatrick

Ryan Fitzpatrick has played well for the Miami Dolphins this season and led them to a 3-3 record, which is why many were surprised to learn this week that he will be benched for rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. The move caught Fitzpatrick off guard, too.

Fitzpatrick spoke with reporters on Wednesday about head coach Brian Flores making a QB switch during the bye week. The 37-year-old says he was “shocked” and extremely disappointed.

“I was shocked by it. It definitely caught me off guard,” Fitzpatrick said, via Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald. “It was a hard thing for me to hear (on Tuesday), just digesting the news. My heart just hurt all day.”

Fitzpatrick knew he was a placeholder for Tagovailoa in Miami, but he clearly felt he had done enough to keep the starting job for at least the remainder of 2020. Now that he has been benched again, he admits he is uncertain about what the future holds for him.

“I’ve been a starter, I’ve been benched all kinds of different ways … but this was kind of the first place other than Buffalo that I’ve been fully committed and invested,” Fitzpatrick said. “I felt it was my team.

“I basically got fired yesterday and my day today consisted of zoom meetings with the guy who fired me and sitting in a room with the guy who replaced me for four hours.”

While Fitzpatrick has said all of the right things and gone out of his way to help Tagovailoa since the offseason, he clearly did not take the news well.

Fitzpatrick was benched coming off two dominant victories. The Dolphins beat the New York Jets 24-0 on Sunday and the San Francisco 49ers 43-17 the week before that. While he has thrown seven interceptions on the season, he’s played well enough to keep Miami squarely in the hunt in the AFC East. He also helped the team put an end to the tanking talk last year with his steady play.

Flores expressed frustration over the way the Tagovailoa news got out, but it doesn’t sound like that was an issue for Fitzpatrick. He’s simply upset he lost his job, which is totally understandable given the circumstances.

Dolphins coach unhappy with way Tua Tagovailoa news leaked

Tua Tagovailoa

Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores confirmed on Wednesday that Tua Tagovailoa is taking over as the team’s starting quarterback, but Flores is not pleased about the way that information got out.

With the Dolphins having a bye this week, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on Tuesday that they will hand over the starting QB job to Tagovailoa in Week 8. Apparently that report came out before Flores had a chance to inform his players of the decision. The coach said he plans to apologize to the team that it somehow leaked.

If Flores hadn’t even told his players about switching from Ryan Fitzpatrick to Tagovailoa, it would stand to reason that not many people knew. Someone within the organization must have leaked the information to Schefter, which would obviously be enough to irritate the head coach.

In any event, Flores praised Tagovailoa for the strides he has made in practice that led to the switch. Flores also couldn’t say enough positive things about Fitzpatrick.

The Dolphins may have been planning all along to make Tagovailoa the starter following their bye week. While he only played for a brief time in Sunday’s blowout win over the New York Jets, the former Alabama star showed how much the moment meant to him with his actions after the game.

Fitzpatrick has been a steadying presence for Miami dating back to last season. He has the team 3-3 this year and squarely in the playoff hunt, which is why the switch to Tagovailoa is surprising to some. The Dolphins likely feel Tagovailoa offers a higher ceiling.

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