Monthly Archives: September 2016

Steelers WR Antonio Brown switched cleats after ref’s warning

The NFL was ready to sideline Antonio Brown for the second half of Sunday’s 34-3 loss to Philadelphia if he didn’t take off his baby-blue cleats emblazoned with the faces of his children, the Steelers receiver confirmed on his weekly radio show on WDVE.

John Clayton, senior NFL writer: New Orleans over San Diego. The Chargers are taking a lot of injury hits, and they might be vulnerable to the Saints’ offense. Plus, this is Drew Brees’ return to San Diego, the team that drafted him.

Mike Sando, senior NFL writer: The Jets were brutal at Kansas City, but they could knock off the Seahawks. Todd Bowles knows Seattle well and has defended the Seahawks successfully in the past. The Jets’ defensive line matches up favorably, and with Russell Wilson less than 100 percent, Seattle could be vulnerable.

“The fact that we were winning kind of blew it under the rug, so to speak. Now that we’re 1-2 it feels like we just can’t get into a rhythm of winning. A lot of things have been magnified, from the protection, to the errant throws, to everybody’s responsibility.’’

Inconsistency has been the story of Carolina’s – and Newton’s – first three games. The Panthers have surrendered 12 sacks, seven more than they did in the first three games a year ago. They have committed eight turnovers, six more than a year ago.

“It’s ridiculous that I even had to go through that,” Tolbert said on Wednesday. “Y’all know me. I talk trash. I like to talk trash. So if you want to take it there, we can.”

Tolbert added that he initially tried to pay the shop with a personal check, but the owner wouldn’t accept it.

“So what kind of respectable establishment won’t take a check?” Tolbert said. “They said they won’t take my check, it wasn’t going to clear the bank. I was like, ‘Whew! You’re throwing shots. So I’ve got one for you.’

“The owner expected me to pay more because I’m ‘a millionaire’ !!! Charlotte beware they are crooks to the fullest extent!!!” Tolbert wrote on Instagram.

Seahawks lose draft pick for violating offseason rules

The Seattle Seahawks were once again penalized for violating NFL-NFL Players Association rules that prohibit excessive contact in all offseason workouts.

On Monday the NFL announced the team will be fined $400,000 and will forfeit its first week of 2017 organized team activities (three OTA days). Seattle will also forfeit its fifth-round selection in the 2017 draft. Coach Pete Carroll will be fined $200,000.

The NFL and NFLPA independently reviewed the Seahawks’ June 6 on-field practice video and agreed the team violated the “no-live-contact” rule of the collective bargaining agreement. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll shed some light on the violation, telling reporters Monday the penalties were related to two helmet-less players who “banged heads” and got injured during OTAs.

“There’s no comfortable way to change anything,” Jenkins said last week. “So if somebody gets upset, it’s probably because they’re not listening. That’s why I think if you look at guys around the league and all the guys that have been protesting or demonstrating, if you listen, the message has been the same across the board no matter what they decide to do. And I thought I was very clear when I said it’s not an anti-police thing — in fact, the police are a key part of the solution in this issue across the nation. It has nothing to do with the military or the flag itself. We understand that people will get upset, and that’s part of it — that’s what makes you guys put these cameras in my face, and that’s what keeps this conversation going. Sometimes you’ve got to rock the boat to get a little bit of change.

“The end goal is to get some real change. And I know somebody kneeling or doing something is not just going to create change. But when you look at the issue, a lot of it is systematic, and if you want to change a system, that comes with lawmakers, elected officials, things of that sort. And so that’s really just drawing attention to it, so your community pushes those things to the forefront, especially when you talk about elections and selecting presidents and who is going to do what. And when you start to talk about the changes that you want, you force those people in those positions to listen.”

Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliott says focus now entirely on football

FRISCO, Texas — One day after the Columbus (Ohio) City Attorney’s Office decided not to pursue charges against him stemming from allegations of domestic violence toward a former girlfriend, Dallas Cowboys rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott admitted he’s learned an important lesson.

“I’m a target,” Elliott said Wednesday in his first public comments. “That’s what I’ve realized from all of this, and I have to conduct myself that way, so I cannot have any distractions so I can just focus on ball.”

In July, Tiffany Thompson filed two police reports claiming Elliott abused her and struck her “several times … leaving bruises on her arms.” The former Ohio State star, however, told police that he never touched Thompson in “a harmful manner,” saying she suffered the bruises during a bar fight.

“I know you’re stressed out, if you need me, call me. Just do everything you can to pass your drug test tomorrow. You’ll be okay. I’m here for you,” the woman’s text read.

When Mingo was acquired by the Patriots on Aug. 25, Belichick explained how Mingo’s former team, the Browns, had been in Tampa, Florida, for joint practices with the Buccaneers. Mingo, according to Belichick, flew directly from Tampa to Charlotte, North Carolina, to meet the Patriots without ever returning to Cleveland.

When the Patriots returned home, players had an off day, but Mingo “spent the whole day in the facility with the coaches going through material to get caught up.”

“He’s shown a lot of commitment to try to pick up the new information and try to understand what we’re doing, watching the films of games we played to understand the techniques and how we’re playing things and all that,” Belichick continued. “He worked really hard, took a lot of plays in practice to get somewhat comfortable with what we’re doing. It’s obviously going to be a work in progress here, it’s only been a week, but he’s smart, he learns well, and he works hard. So check all those boxes.”

The hard work produced some notable results Thursday, as Mingo played 56 snaps (tied for third highest on defense) and was all over the field while playing against the Giants’ backups. His athleticism and ability to close ground quickly was impressive as he played on defense and special teams.

Mingo (6-foot-4, 240 pounds) had reason to smile after, saying, “It’s a new team. These guys want to see what I can do. I want to see what I can do in this defense.”

All signs point to Blaine Gabbert claiming 49ers’ starting QB job

SAN DIEGO — What was supposed to be one of the most hotly contested quarterback competitions of the preseason instead turned into what seems more like a delayed coronation. From the first day of this training camp, San Francisco 49ers coach Chip Kelly made it known that he wanted to split the work between Blaine Gabbert and Colin Kaepernick right down the middle, giving both an equal opportunity to win the starting quarterback job.

Last season, Yeldon quietly ranked ninth among running backs in fantasy points during the 12 weeks he was active. He struggled to rack up touchdowns (three), but was effective as a rusher and was on pace for 48 receptions, which would’ve ranked 10th at the position. Yes, Chris Ivory is a threat for carries and goal-line work, but Yeldon very well could be the better player at this point in their careers. Especially if you spent a lot of cash on wide receivers, Yeldon is a terrific upside target at running back.

Newton revealed his latest project this week during an interview with WCCB-TV anchor Morgan Fogarty. He said the truck, which contains an image of him doing his iconic Superman pose on one side, was painted by California-based artist Mark Paul Deren.

It will be called “Smokn’ Aces,’’ a play on Newton’s nickname, Ace Boogie.

The menu, naturally, will include fish since Newton is a pescatarian. It also will have chicken.

The plan is to debut the truck for Carolina’s Sept. 18 home opener against the San Francisco 49ers.

The truck will be parked in the Goodyear Arts lot by the Duke Energy Building, where Deren painted it.

Newton told Fogarty the truck will be there Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, with all of the proceeds from the first week going toward a program for at-risk individuals in Charlotte.

Newton also said he won’t be inside the truck; he’ll be outside eating.

“I wanted to be closer to the people,’’ Newton said.

“As a competitor you know you’re disappointed things went the way that they did,’’ Sanchez said after Tuesday’s practice. “But at the same time you understand there’s an emotional side to it, a competitor’s side, but there’s also a teammate. And me, enjoying my time here and really respecting this organization, respecting Trevor as a friend, and as a player, and as a teammate, the most important thing to do is move forward and help this team.’’