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Joe Burrow: I’ve won everywhere I’ve been, want to keep winning


Pro Football Talk - NBC Sports
April 10, 2020 - 1:08 AM UTC
By Michael David Smith · Original Article
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The good news for LSU quarterback Joe Burrow is that he’s likely to be the first overall pick in the draft. The bad news is, that usually means going to a bad team.

Burrow said on Shaquille O’Neal’s podcast that a chance to win is what he wants from his NFL team.

“I just want to get drafted to a good team, good organization that is going to maximize my talents,” Burrow said, via the Cincinnati Enquirer. “I’ve won everywhere that I’ve been. I’ve never had a losing season in sports from the moment I was 5 years old. I’m not a loser. I just want to go somewhere where I can win. Teams are picking at the top for a reason. And I feel like, like I said before, I’ve won everywhere that I’ve ever been. I feel like if anybody can do it, I can do it.”

The Bengals are coming off a 2-14 season and haven’t won a playoff game since 1990, so they’re not really accustomed to winning in Cincinnati. Perhaps Burrow can be the man to change that.

Field hospital at CenturyLink Field Events Center returned to FEMA


Pro Football Talk - NBC Sports
April 9, 2020 - 10:46 PM UTC
By Curtis Crabtree · Original Article
AP

A temporary field hospital built in the Events Center connected to CenturyLink Field will be returned to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for deployment in another state facing a more dire need.

According to the Associated Press, Washington Governor Jay Inslee said the decision was made in consultation with local, state and federal officials as distancing protocols have managed to keep state hospitals from being completely overwhelmed due to coronavirus cases.

The field hospital was put in place to serve as backup for hospitals dealing with an overload of virus cases. The field hospital would have have handled patients facing other ailments as area hospitals would tend to COVID-19 patients.

“Don’t let this decision give you the impression that we are out of the woods. We have to keep our guard up and continue to stay home unless conducting essential activities to keep everyone healthy,” Inslee said in a statement. “We requested this resource before our physical distancing strategies were fully implemented and we had considerable concerns that our hospitals would be overloaded.”

Washington has a stay-at-home order in place currently through May 4 as over 9,000 cases have been confirmed in the state, nearly 4,000 in King County alone. As of Thursday night, 446 people have died from the disease in Washington.

The greater Seattle area was home to the first diagnosed cases of the novel coronavirus in the United States. The CenturyLink Events Center typically hosts Seahawks pregame activities as well as various trade shows throughout the year.

Aldon Smith details “really dark place” sleeping under a car at rock bottom


Pro Football Talk - NBC Sports
April 9, 2020 - 10:01 PM UTC
By Curtis Crabtree · Original Article
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New Dallas Cowboys pass rusher Aldon Smith detailed exactly how far his life and self-esteem had fallen since he last played in the NFL in 2016 during an interview with Jay Glazer of FOX Sports on Thursday night.

I would say 2018 was a tough year,” Smith said. “In that year, I was in a really dark place. I didn’t have a lot of value for how I thought about myself. When I was in the bad spot, it got pretty bad. I was sleeping under a car for some nights because my sickness took me there. And I had a home to sleep in. But I was in such a dark place that I didn’t see myself deserving anything other than that.”

Smith was arrested multiple times and suspended on several occasions by the NFL for substance-abuse and personal conduct policy violations. He hasn’t played in the NFL since 2015 after being suspended while with the Oakland Raiders. Smith has had multiple DUI arrests as well with the most recent coming in June of last year in Kansas. However, Glazer indicated that Smith has been sober for the nine months he’s worked with him. Smith said it was helpful to him to talk with veterans through Glazer’s Merging Veterans and Players Foundation and gave him an outlet that allowed him to progress from the depths to which he’d fallen.

“At the beginning of it I was a little hesitant to talk but the more I felt comfortable with those people, it really just became so therapeutic for me because I was able to get help for me because I was able to get help for things that I was dealing with and I was also able to help by sharing my story,” Smith saiud.

Smith said that he met new Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy at Glazer’s gym and the two connected and started to build a relationship. Additionally, former San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Tomsula is now with Dallas as well, which helped Smith feel even more comfortable with the team.

“The pieces fit,” Smith said.

Now Smith will hope that Commissioner Roger Goodell allows him to get another chance as Smith remains indefinitely suspended by the league due to his previous transgressions.

Who are the best teams in the AFC North?


Pro Football Talk - NBC Sports
April 9, 2020 - 8:31 PM UTC
By Mike Florio · Original Article
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Our division-by-division look at draft needs that also includes a division-by-division draft of the best players in each quartet of teams has made its way to the AFC North. Where there is a large concentration of great players.

Simms and I did a three-round draft, and it easily could have been a 10-round draft. That’s how many great players the AFC North has.

So check out our picks and make your own picks below and feel free to tell us where and how ours are wrong. As if you need an invitation to do that.

Here’s an invitation: Watch PFT Live tomorrow morning, from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. ET, with a re-air from 9:00 a.m. ET to 11:00 a.m. ET.

Special master recommends Saints emails remain shielded in clergy case


Pro Football Talk - NBC Sports
April 9, 2020 - 8:30 PM UTC
By Curtis Crabtree · Original Article
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Email communications between the New Orleans Saints and the Archdiocese of New Orleans should remain shielded from the public per a recommendation from special master Carolyn Gill-Jefferson in relation to a clergy sex abuse scandal.

According to Amie Just and Ramon Antonio-Vargas of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Judge Ellen Hazeur will have the ultimate say in whether the emails remain sealed or released. However, Gill-Jefferson, a retired judge, stated in her recommendation that the release of the emails would unduly “embarrass or bring public scrutiny to the Saints organization for supporting the Archdiocese.”

Attorneys representing a plaintiff that is suing the church over alleged sexual abuse from former deacon George Brignac and media organizations have sought the release of email communications between the team and church over the public relations strategy for the church in the wake of the scandal.

The plaintiffs’ lawyers have said there are 276 emails showing members of the Saints organization were advising the church on how to handle their public messaging of the scandal. The team, including owner Gayle Benson, have vehemently denied any wrongdoing saying their advice to the church was to be as open and transparent as possible. However, it’s a stance the plaintiffs’ attorneys reject saying the emails in question show otherwise.

David Carr chides Jameis Winston for training choices


Pro Football Talk - NBC Sports
April 9, 2020 - 7:18 PM UTC
By Mike Florio · Original Article
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One is a former first overall pick whose career as a starter ended after five years. The other is a former first overall pick whose career as a starter may be ending after five years, but he’s trying his best to keep that from happening.

On Thursday, they engaged in a back-and-forth on Twitter.

It started when video of a workout regimen that consisted of free-agent quarterback Jameis Winston dodging an oversized speed bag, swung in his direction by a trainer. David Carr, who works as an analyst with the NFL, called Winston out for the exercise.

“Stop paying your friends to train you,” Carr said. “Get some help. I’ve been in a lot of collapsing pockets and never once did I have defenders just flying at my head.” Carr capped his message with a crying laughter emoji.

Before Winston could respond, former NFL quarterback Danny Kanell chimed in.

This is lame criticism of Jameis,” Kanell told Carr. “He’s working his butt off to get another shot. I think he gets it too and proves a lot of his critics wrong.”

“He will get another shot,” Carr responded. “The exercise is still completely useless. Two things can be true. In fact, not saying something just insures [sic] that he continues doing it or worse, younger players copy it.”

Replied Kanell, “Half the exercises at the combine are useless too. I think the drill could add value. It’s not like it’s giving anyone bad habits!”

That’s when Jameis got involved, with a request for Carr.

“Hey bro I have nothing but love for you!” Winston said to Carr. “Reach out to help or mind your business though. I’ve been working with my personal trainer since I was 14! We built this from the bottom and we’re still building. Treat others how you want to be treated bro!”

Winston added a clip of a play capped by the former Buccaneers quarterback having the awareness to slide under a hit, demonstrating (in his view) the value of the exercise.

Regardless of whether the exercise actually helps Winston, Carr’s decision to call Winston out seems odd, and hypocritical. Carr and his brother, Derek, resent criticism of any kind, routinely blocking on social media anyone who says anything they don’t like. To the extent that current and former NFL quarterbacks are members of a fraternity, David Carr arguably should raise his concerns privately, or say nothing.

Then again, maybe David has decided to take shots at Jameis because David realizes that Winston has a higher ceiling at the quarterback position than Derek, and that maybe Raiders coach Jon Gruden and G.M. Mike Mayock will eventually figure that out.

Seven quarterbacks among the 58 prospects participating in draft broadcast


Pro Football Talk - NBC Sports
April 9, 2020 - 5:17 PM UTC
By Charean Williams · Original Article
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The NFL already announced the names of five of the 58 prospects who will participate in the draft broadcast.

The league announced the others Thursday night.

Seven quarterbacks are the headliners with LSU’s Joe Burrow, Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa, Oregon’s Justin Herbert, Utah State’s Jordan Love, Georgia’s Jake Fromm, Washington’s Jacob Eason and Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts having agreed to have cameras in their houses.

Ohio State defensive end Chase Young, Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah, Oklahoma wide receiver CeeDee Lamb, Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons and Iowa offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs also agreed to take part.

The league will kickoff its three-day virtual draft on April 23.

Here is the full list of prospects who will virtually participate in the 2020 NFL Draft:

A.J. Epenesa, Iowa DE
A.J. Terrell, Clemson CB
Andrew Thomas, Georgia OT
Antoine Winfield Jr., Minnesota S
Austin Jackson, USC OT
Brandon Aiyuk, Arizona State WR
C.J. Henderson, Florida CB
CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma WR
Cesar Ruiz, Michigan G
Chase Claypool, Notre Dame WR
Chase Young, Ohio State EDGE
Cole Kmet, Notre Dame TE
D’Andre Swift, Georgia RB
Denzel Mims, Baylor WR
Derrick Brown, Auburn DL
Ezra Cleveland, Boise State OT
Grant Delpit, LSU S
Henry Ruggs III, Alabama WR
Isaiah Simmons, Clemson LB
J.K. Dobbins, Ohio State RB
Jacob Eason, Washington QB
Jake Fromm, Georgia QB
Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma QB
Jalen Reagor, TCU WR
Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina DL
Jaylon Johnson, Utah CB
Jedrick Wills, Alabama OT
Jeffrey Okudah, Ohio State CB
Jerry Jeudy, Alabama WR
Joe Burrow, LSU QB
Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin RB
Jordan Love, Utah St. QB
Josh Jones, Houston OT
Josh Uche, Michigan LB
Julian Okwara, Notre Dame EDGE
Justin Herbert, Oregon QB
Justin Jefferson, LSU WR
Justin Madubuike, Texas A&M DT
K’Lavon Chaisson, LSU EDGE
Kenneth Murray, Oklahoma LB
Kristian Fulton, LSU CB
Laviska Shenault, Colorado WR
Lloyd Cushenberry, LSU G
Mekhi Becton, Louisville OT
Neville Gallimore, Oklahoma DT
Noah Igbinoghene, Auburn CB
Patrick Queen, LSU LB
Prince Tega Wanogho, Auburn OT
Ross Blacklock, TCU DT
Tee Higgins, Clemson WR
Terrell Lewis, Alabama EDGE
Thaddeus Moss, LSU TE
Tristan Wirfs, Iowa OT
Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama QB
Xavier McKinney, Alabama S
Yetur Gross-Matos, Penn State EDGE

UFC 249 is scrapped


Pro Football Talk - NBC Sports
April 9, 2020 - 4:54 PM UTC
By Mike Florio · Original Article
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At a time when all major sports have shuttered, the UFC and the WWE had found a way to keep going. When it comes to the UFC, the key word is “had.”

UFC president Dana White has announced that UFC 249 has been postponed, after receiving instructions to “stand down” from the “highest level you can go” at ESPN and Disney. The pressure from ESPN and Disney likely emerged after Senator Dianne Feinstein issued a statement urging the UFC to pull the plug.

“I’m concerned by reports that Ultimate Fighting Championship plans to hold a pay-per-view event in California, in defiance of the state’s shelter-in-place order,” Feinstein said. “This event would involve dozens of individuals flying to California and driving to a casino for a purpose no one can honestly claim is essential.

“I understand this event is scheduled to take place on tribal land and therefore is not subject to state law. However, at best this event ties up medical resources and sends a message that shelter-in-place orders can be flouted. At worst, participants and support staff could carry the virus back to their home communities and increase its spread.

“I call on Ultimate Fighting Championship and the Tachi-Yokut Tribe to reconsider this event and delay it until a later date. We have to be responsible and mindful of all local, state and federal public health guidelines. Going ahead with this event is not the right move.”

White surely would have ignored Feinstein without being pressured by ESPN and Disney to stop. He’s not the kind of guy who likes outsiders telling him what to do, and even though his statement acknowledging the postponement praises his relatively new broadcast partners, it’s hard not to wonder this one will fester for White — especially he’s also apparently been told to cancel all UFC events, despite his plan to hold weekly events on Gilligan’s Island.

Rams paid Brandin Cooks $40.459 million for two years


Pro Football Talk - NBC Sports
April 9, 2020 - 4:35 PM UTC
By Mike Florio · Original Article
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Add Brandin Cooks to the list of recent contracts for which Kevin Demoff would like a Mulligan.

The Rams paid way too much to running back Todd Gurley in 2018 and way too much to quarterback Jared Goff in 2019. They’ve rectified (and admitted) a third mistake on Thursday, sending receiver Brandin Cooks and a 2022 fourth-round pick to the Texans for a 2020 second-round selection.

But the mistake was still costly. Based on the breakdown posted at PFT after the Cooks deal was signed, the Rams paid Cooks more than $40.4 million for two seasons of football.

From a $7 million signing bonus to a $4 million base salary in 2018 to a $9.459 million roster bonus in 2019 to a $16 million past salary in 2019 to a $4 million roster bonus in March 2020, that’s $40.459 million for two seasons — an average of $20.22 million per year.

For that investment, the Rams got 1,204 receiving yards in 2018 but only 583 in 2019. He also suffered a concussion in 2019, his fourth since Super Bowl LII, with the Patriots.

Sean Lee providing 50,000 meals to Boys & Girls Clubs


Pro Football Talk - NBC Sports
April 9, 2020 - 4:32 PM UTC
By Charean Williams · Original Article
Getty Images

Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee announced a donation to help feed children out of school during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lee will team up with Albertsons, Tom Thumb and the Snavely Foundation in Dallas-Fort Worth to provide 50,000 meals for kids at Boys & Girls Clubs of America in North Texas, NBCDFW.com reports.

“These kids are incredible,” Lee said. “They face adversity everyday and they do it so well, but facing hunger is something they shouldn’t have to do. Helping the Boys & Girls Club to do that, that’s something we wanted to help with and we hope that others will help, too.”

Lee hopes to have an additional 10,000 meals donated through his foundation.

To donate, visit pledgeit.org.