CAN'T BREAK STEEL
"We spent a lot of group time talking about the ongoing issues, talking about the platform they have and how to best utilize it, how to do so thoughtfully. Our position is simple. We're going to support our players and their willingness to partake in this, whether it's statements or actions. You guys know my feelings, I've stated it in the past: statements are good, but impact is better, especially."
-- Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin will stand by his players and their statements on the current climate, hoping to instill long-term chapnge with regards to racial injustice in America. (Brooke Pryor, ESPN via Twitter)
THE STORY BEHIND THE NUMBER
"My big cousin from South Carolina did 10 years in jail for $600 worth of drugs, let that sink in. That's the real reason I wear number 10."
-- Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Deandre Hopkins explained the meaning behind his jersey number, 10. (Deandre Hopkins via Twitter)
THERE'S NO 'OUT-PLAYING' A VIRUS
"We can't figure out how to fit the virus into football, we have to figure out how we're going to fit football into the virus. … This is a badass virus."
-- NFLPA media director Thom Mayer discussed the difficulties the NFL faces orchestrating a return amidst COVID-19 while on a call with agents, adding a quote that really puts it all into layman's terms. (Zack Rosenblatt, NJ Advance Media via Twitter)
"We're gonna social distance, but we play football? It's really hard for me to understand all this. I don't get it. I really don't."
-- Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay expresses his confusion over the idea that the NFL can somehow abide by social distancing rules while still playing a contact sport. (Ben Fischer, Sports Business Journal via Twitter)
SAME MECHANICS, DIFFERENT BALL
"Simple as I can put it: I just wanna compete, man. I've had my trials and tribulations with the NFL, had success, and had that roller coaster ride. I'm sitting here at 25, I feel like I've got a lot left in the tank."
-- Former NFL quarterback Christian Hackenberg has potentially closed the chapter on his football career in order to pursue pitching in the major leagues. (John Clark, NBCSports Philadelphia via Twitter)
LOOSE LIPS SINK SHIPS … AND PLAYOFF HOPES
"We get a lot of slack for that, obviously, and I get a lot of it too because I was like the 'OG' of the crew at the time … but it was eight days away from the game, man. We had a full week of practice. Nothing we did on that Sunday was going to affect what we were going to do that next Sunday. And it was a day off. We weren't breaking any rules. The only person to blame here is [R&B artist] Trey Songz for posting the photo."
-- Former New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz reflects on the infamous boat picture that circulated prior to the team's 2017 wild-card game against the Green Bay Packers. Cruz eventually sticks the blame on musician Trey Songz, who originally posted the photo to social media. (Complex Sports via Twitter)
THE PRICE OF FOOTBALL
"If I can remember my grandkids' names, then I didn't play the game right."
-- This quote was Washington linebacker Ryan Anderson's way of trying to illustrate how hard he hopes to play every game. However, the passionate-yet-grim hypothetical job may do a better job of highlighting the toll football can take on a player's well-being. (Sporting News via Twitter)
FOOTBALL CHANGES LIVES
"Grew up tryna figure out why God put us through so much heartache. He knew I was a soldier. He knew I was solid to the bone. That's the only reason I ever took it this far. Somebody tell my momma I became a millionaire today. Somebody tell her that her prayers were answered. Imma go down a legend for everything I went through and still made it here for this."
-- One of the newest members of the 49ers, rookie defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw, posted this inspirational message to accompany the signing of his rookie contract. Kinlaw's mother moved his family to the U.S. from Trinidad & Tobago, with Kinlaw and his family struggling through stretches of homelessness along the way. (The Checkdown via Instagram)
"We killed it during the offseason in a way I couldn't envision it going as well as it did. It went great, and we accomplished a lot, and we're smarter than we've ever been. The transition we make now will be huge. Who would have thought that we could come out of the offseason and say that this was an extraordinary offseason -- learning and teaching and concepts, and then all of the social stuff and personal stuff we dealt with has been so challenging, but necessary. Hopefully, we're really going to make a turn here that's extraordinary. There's so much happening, even though we've been sitting at home! It's just amazing."
-- In one of the most irregular offseasons in recent memory, Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll seems thrilled with his team's growth during this time. (USAToday)
"He doesn't see himself as the MVP; he sees himself as the fifth quarterback taken in his draft class."
-- Joshua Harris, longtime quarterback coach for Lamar Jackson of the Baltimore Ravens, claims the reigning MVP still sees himself as the player taken 32nd overall in the 2018 NFL draft. (B/R Gridiron via Twitter)
NEW SHERRIFF IN TOWN
"The way (Brady) runs our workouts is like a practice. Instead of just telling us 'run a dig' or something like that, he's telling us the full play call. He's doing his cadence as if we were in a game. He's making adjustments, doing the hots and sights. With a guy like him, it's really easy."
-- Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Dare Ogunbowale describes his first workouts with new quarterback Tom Brady. Brady recently received criticism for continuing these Bucs workouts in the face of NFLPA discouraging private workouts amongst players during COVID-19. (The Zach Gelb Show)
SOMETIMES, YOU JUST GOTTA BALL
"Just caught my landscaping crew having a full-on basketball game at the crib"
-- Los Angeles Chargers cornerback Chris Harris expected to come home to a mowed lawn and some manicured hedges, instead witnessing a full pickup basketball game break out amongst his landscaping crew. (Chris Harris via Twitter)
NO ONE-TRICK PONIES IN INDY
"I've thrown twice with a few guys and it's like I go 'Man, it didn't feel like it was just two times.' It really doesn't."
-- Indianapolis Colts quarterback Philip Rivers already feels right at home with his new receiver corps. Rivers went into further detail, explaining that the Colts' receivers are taught to run routes similarly to how wideouts are taught by the Chargers. Couple that with experience in the offense, and it's like Rivers barely left the West Coast. (Indianapolis Colts via Twitter)
A NEW(TON) ERA IN NEW ENGLAND
"Couldn't be happier for [Cam Newton]! Pariots are getting a stud!!"
-- Seattle Seahawks tight end and longtime teammate Greg Olsen congratulates quarterback Cam Newton on finding a landing spot with the New England Patriots.
"We all saw it comin…AFC issues now. Healthy Newton is a PROBLEM!"
-- New Orleans Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan seems a little relieved that the 2015 MVP is someone the Saints and the rest of the NFC no longer have to worry about.
"Soo happy for Cam! Everyone is about to witness a comeback season like no other!"
-- Former Carolina Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart sets high expectations for the 31-year-old Newton, who has battled a series of injuries since 2018. (Adam Schefter, ESPN via Twitter)
THIS MONTH IN SOCIAL MEDIA
SONG OF THE SUMMER?
Here you go! pic.twitter.com/LUSlcXDOoM
— Gary Patterson (@TCUCoachP) June 13, 2020
-- The most feel-good country bop of the summer comes courtesy of none other than … TCU head coach Gary Patterson??
'HEY KID, CAN YOU SPOT ME?'
-- Denver Broncos linebacker Alexander Johnson needed a workout partner during quarantine, so he invited his neighbor over to help him train.
THE MOST COMPELLING WHODUNNIT SINCE KNIVES OUT
— whitesoxdave (@barstoolWSD) June 29, 2020
Day 4 of the chicken killer on the loose!#BearsNation who is ready for tonight?
(Via Jay Cutler's Instagram) pic.twitter.com/FP8aji1O3C)
— Bears Nation (@BearsNationCHI) June 28, 2020
— FanSided (@FanSided) June 28, 2020
Alright boys and girls. Tree stand and night goggles SZN IS BACK ... again at the Jay Cutler residence. The saga continues. pic.twitter.com/cYhcqjwrOh)
— Cody (@codelmendo) July 1, 2020
Ok. Long night. Had a pretty good storm come through. All is well and happy to report it was a raccoon. Which fits the evidence. Chicken heads were ripped off and bodies were left in the chicken yard. Gruesome stuff but reality of the situation. Ladies are now safe and sound. We can all sleep well for a few nights. Unfortunately I'm sure this raccoon has some family members. @christensenarms will be contacting the winner via email. Congrats on your winnings. While this saga is sadly ending, I'm sure there will be more. Stay tuned...)
-- Over the course of TWENTY-TWO Instagram posts, former Denver Broncos/Chicago Bears/Miami Dolphins quarterback Jay Cutler tried to answer one simple question: who (or what) is killing all his chickens? While the answer may be a little underwhelming to some, the journey Jay took to uncover it was worth every post. Cutler went to extreme lengths in order to track down this killer: he brought in a rooster from another farm to play security, installed cameras in his coop, hosted a contest to brainstorm some possible suspects, and even equipped himself with night-vision goggles.
-- Denver Broncos wide receiver KJ Hamler reenacted one of the classic commercials that came out of NFL.com's "Pick Me" campaign. For reference (or for a quick nostalgia trip), here's a small collection of the ads: