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#pounditSaturday, June 25, 2022

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Browns’ plan revealed if Deshaun Watson is suspended

Deshaun Watson on the practice field

Jun 14, 2022; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) runs a play during minicamp at CrossCountry Mortgage Campus. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The future of Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson remains very much uncertain. And the same can be said for his fellow quarterback, Baker Mayfield.

That leaves the Browns in an unexpected position. They were certain their quarterback woes would come to an end with the acquisition of Watson, but it’s only ended up muddying the waters further. And as the NFL deliberates on a potential suspension for Watson, Cleveland is busy creating contingency plans.

Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network reports that the Browns will plug Jacoby Brissett in as their starter should Watson be suspended.

Brissett has emerged as the fallback option due to the team’s deteriorated relationship with Mayfield, who skipped minicamp and openly wants to be moved.

“I have no regrets of my time in Cleveland, of what I tried to give to that place,” Mayfield told the “Ya Never Know” podcast in April. “The respect thing is all going to be a personal opinion. I feel disrespected, 100%. I was told one thing, and they completely did another.

“That’s what I’m in the middle of right now. And you know what, I got my taste of it because I’ve had four different head coaches in four years. 2021 was miserable — bunch of different coordinators. I’m just looking for stabilization right now.”

The 29-year-old Brissett was a third-round pick of the New England Patriots in the 2016 NFL draft. He was traded to the Colts in 2017 and spent four seasons in Indianapolis before donning a Miami Dolphins uniform last year.

In 60 career games (37 starts), Brissett has completed 60.2% of his passes for 7,742 yards, 36 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. He’s also rushed the ball 178 times for 653 yards and 13 additional touchdowns.

Peyton Manning shares advice for nephew Arch after Texas commitment

Peyton Manning in a suit

Dec 15, 2018; Denver, CO, USA; Former Denver Broncos player Peyton Manning before the game against the Cleveland Browns at Broncos Stadium at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Arch Manning announced this week that he has committed to the University of Texas, but he will not arrive on campus until 2023. In the meantime, one of his uncles is urging him to focus on finishing what he started.

Peyton Manning was asked on Friday at the Manning Passing Academy if he has any advice for Arch and other top recruits. He spoke about not letting the future become a distraction.

“I just encouraged him to kind of concentrate on the task at hand — be a senior, finish out your eduction, get your high school diploma and try to have the best senior year you can,” Peyton said. “There’s no doubt it can become a distraction if you let it, but it’s not fair to your teammates and coaches if you’re not all-in and focused on the team. I think the fact that he made this decision in June was smart.”

Both Peyton and his brother Eli, Arch’s other uncle, mentioned how recruiting was much different when they were coming out of high school. Social media did not exist, and the process started much later. They say that is why it is so important for players like Arch to make sure they don’t get too far ahead of themselves.

Arch already made one big change in his life before committing to Texas. The good news is he could not possibly have a more experienced group of quarterbacks in his inner circle. He will have plenty of help navigating the rest of his high school career and beyond.

Arch Manning made 1 big change before announcing commitment

Arch Manning running

Quarterback Arch Manning 16 runs the ball as Newman takes on Lafayette Christian Academy in the LHSAA Div III semi finals. Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021. Arch Manning Lca Vs Newman Football

Arch Manning announced on Thursday that he has committed to Texas, and the way he shared the news signaled a big change for him.

Manning announced on Twitter that he will play for the Longhorns in 2023. The tweet was his first ever and remained his only as of Friday morning.

That is fairly significant, as Manning had stayed off of social media prior to that. His family wanted him to focus more on school and sports and avoid the distractions that come along with platforms like Twitter.

Part of the reason Manning probably stayed off of Twitter was to avoid being recruited there, both by programs and fans. He may not have wanted to listen to rabid college football fans trying to influence his decision. Though, Manning’s high school coach made it seem like Texas was winning the Manning sweepstakes either way.

Peyton Manning, one of Arch’s uncles, joined Instagram this year but still is not on Twitter. Arch may be trying to emulate the great Manning quarterbacks who came before him, so we would not expect him to be very active on social media.

Report reveals how unlikely Orlando Magic’s pick of Paolo Banchero was

Paolo Banchero holds a ball

Nov 12, 2021; Durham, North Carolina, USA; Duke Blue Devils forward Paolo Banchero (5) looks to pass during the second half against the Army Black Knights at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Orlando Magic pulled a bait-and-switch at the top of the NBA Draft, and they apparently showed a serious level of commitment to the ruse.

Shams Charania of The Athetic reports that the Magic did not have a formal workout or meeting with top prospect Paolo Banchero during the predraft process (though he did informally meet with them at the Draft Combine). Nevertheless, the Magic went on to pick Banchero No. 1 overall.

The former Duke star Banchero indeed sounded pretty stunned during his post-announcement interview with ESPN that he went with the top pick.

“I don’t even know what to say,” said Banchero. “I can’t believe what just happened, honestly. I never would’ve thought that this would happen. I wanted to be in the NBA, but I didn’t know I would be here. I really, honestly didn’t. This is unbelievable, and I can’t speak right now.”

Even earlier in the day on Thursday, it was being reported that the Magic were leaning towards a different player with the top overall pick. But an enormous overnight betting odds shift in favor of Banchero going No. 1 proved in hindsight to be a sign that something was up.

The 19-year-old Banchero now joins an ascendant Orlando team where he should get a chance to start right away next to fellow ex-Duke star Wendell Carter Jr. in the frontcourt. At least Banchero had the foresight of showing up to the NBA Draft dressed like a No. 1 overall pick.

DeAndre Hopkins reveals what triggered failed PED test

DeAndre Hopkins without a helmet

Oct 24, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (10) against the Houston Texans at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

DeAndre Hopkins will miss the first six games of the 2022 NFL season after he violated the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy. Hopkins has maintained that he did not knowingly take a banned substance, and he says there is proof of that.

Hopkins spoke with reporters about his suspension before JaVale McGee’s charity softball game in Phoenix on Wednesday. He revealed that the substance he tested positive for is called ostarine. Hopkins says there was so little of it in his body that it proves something he took was contaminated with the banned substance.

“It wasn’t on me. I’m pretty much a naturopathic person. What it was is it’s called ostarine,” Hopkins said, via Jake Anderson of Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. “There was 0.1 percent found in my system. If you know what that is, you know it’s contamination — not something directly taken.

“I don’t take any supplements, I’ve never taken supplements. I barely take vitamins. So for something like that to happen to me, obviously I was shocked but my team and I, we’re still trying to figure out what’s going on.”

That is consistent with what Hopkins’ brand manager said after the suspension was announced in May. He said everyone who works with Hopkins was stunned by the failed PED test.

Hopkins, 30, had a rough season last year. He battled injuries and caught 42 passes for 572 yards and eight touchdowns in 10 games. Hopkins had missed just one game in his entire career prior to that.

Did Avalanche have too many men on ice for winning goal in Game 4?

The amount of Avs players on the ice

The Colorado Avalanche picked up a huge win over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday, but it did not come without controversy.

Nazem Kadri scored the winning goal in overtime to give his team a 3-2 victory and huge 3-1 lead in the series. But the Lightning do not think the goal should have counted.

Lightning coach Jon Cooper could barely speak with the media after the game because he was so upset.

Cooper did not elaborate on what issue he took with the goal. But many surmised that Tampa Bay thought the Avs had too many players on the ice when Kadri’s goal was scored.

Even an official scoresheet handed out to the media listed seven players on the ice for Colorado on Kadri’s goal.

More people would have sympathy for the Lightning over their complaint if they hadn’t beaten the Islanders last year with the exact same thing.

Ravens legend Tony Siragusa dies at 55

Tony Siragusa broadcasting

Sep 22, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Fox sports reporter Tony Siragusa prior to the game with the Dallas Cowboys playing against the St. Louis Rams at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Longtime NFL defensive lineman Tony Siragusa is dead at age 55, according to one of his former teammates.

Former Ravens running back Jamal Lewis told TMZ Sports that Siragusa had died, adding that it was a “sad day to be a Raven.” No cause of death was available for Siragusa.

Siragusa spent 12 seasons in the NFL with the Indianapolis Colts and Baltimore Ravens. Many will remember him for his time in Baltimore, where he was part of the team’s 2000 Super Bowl win, and a key cog in the team’s elite defensive unit. Following his retirement in 2001, he spent over a decade broadcasting NFL games for FOX.

Wednesday has been a very difficult day for the Ravens organization. In addition to Siragusa’s death, the team is mourning the sudden loss of one of its current players.

Ravens LB Jaylon Ferguson dies at 26

Jaylon Ferguson without a helmet

Oct 18, 2020; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Baltimore Ravens linebacker Jaylon Ferguson (45) walks off the field after win against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Baltimore Ravens linebacker Jaylon Ferguson has died, the team announced on Wednesday.

The Ravens said in a statement that they are “profoundly saddened” by the death of Ferguson, who was 26.

Baltimore Police said officers responded to a call at around 11:25 p.m. on Tuesday night and found Ferguson unresponsive. He was treated by paramedics at the scene but never regained consciousness and was pronounced dead. Police said there were no signs of foul play or trauma suspected. The cause of death will be determined by a medical examiner.

Ferguson had taken part in all of the Ravens’ offseason practices leading up to the 2022 season. The former Louisiana Tech star appeared to be in great shape and had lost weight, according to ESPN’s Jamison Hensley.

Ravens linebacker Patrick Queen was among those who tweeted his reaction to the tragic news.

Ferguson was selected by the Ravens in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft. He appeared to have a chip on his shoulder after he was not allowed at the NFL Scouting Combine over an incident that occurred years before.

Ferguson had 4.5 sacks and 67 total tackles in three seasons with the Ravens. He leaves behind two daughters and a son, all of who are under the age of 5.

Tom Brady reacts to Rob Gronkowski comeback prediction

Tom Brady throws a pass

Dec 26, 2021; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) warms up before the game at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Tom Brady had a funny response to the prediction from Rob Gronkowski’s agent about what it could take for the tight end to come out of retirement.

Drew Rosenhaus, who represents Gronk, said he wouldn’t be surprised if the 33-year-old returns to the NFL in the future. He predicted that, if Brady called Gronk during the season about a possible return, Gronk would be interested.

On Tuesday, Brady responded via social media to Rosenhaus’ prediction. Brady tweeted out a photo of a person making a phone call.

While Brady may just be having some fun with his tweet, Gronk has retired and un-retired before. He left the game in 2018 after nine seasons with the New England Patriots. Gronk then joined Brady and the Buccaneers in 2020 after sitting out the 2019 season.

It would be difficult to blame Brady if he reached out to Gronk about coming back to the Buccaneers during the season. The two won four Super Bowls together, and Gronk proved to be one of Brady’s favorite targets during their time together. Of Gronk’s 92 career touchdown catches, 90 were thrown by Brady. Last season, the five-time Pro Bowler had 55 receptions for 802 yards and six touchdowns in 12 games. In 28 games with the Buccaneers in two seasons, Gronk had 13 touchdowns and 1,425 yards on 100 catches.

Gronk is still capable of playing at a high level. Only time will tell if he has a similar itch to return to the field like Brady did after Brady’s brief retirement this offseason.

Major development announced in Deshaun Watson scandal

Deshaun Watson on the practice field

Jun 14, 2022; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) runs a play during minicamp at CrossCountry Mortgage Campus. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Two dozen women have filed sexual assault lawsuits against Deshaun Watson, and the Cleveland Browns star has now reached settlements with the majority of them.

Tony Buzbee, the attorney who represents all of the massage therapists who have sued Watson, revealed on Tuesday that 20 of 24 alleged victims have settled with the quarterback. Buzbee emphasized that Ashley Solis, the first woman who came forward with allegations against Watson, has not agreed to a settlement.

Buzbee said the terms of the settlements will not be disclosed. The accusers likely signed nondisclosure agreements in exchange for receiving money from Watson.

Solis was the first massage therapist to go public with a claim against Watson. She accused Watson of intentionally touching her with his penis during a session on March 30, 2020. Solis said last year and during her deposition that Watson’s actions caused her to feel frightened and cry. Watson admitted during his recent deposition in the case that his massage session with Solis ended with her crying and that he later apologized via text message.

The NFL is said to be nearing the end of its investigation into the claims against Watson. A recent report indicated the 26-year-old could be facing a lengthy suspension.