THIS WEEK IN JACOB BLAKE
"NBA showing us how it's done. Time to connect with local activists to help formulate demand."
"Those who have been doing the work understand that it's about the system in place. Yes, we want justice in these cases but we also need systemic change."
-- Houston Texans wide receiver Kenny Stills signaled his solidarity for the movements born out of the NBA and WNBA following the police shooting of Jacob Blake. The NBA and WNBA stopped their playoffs and season respectively to protest the injustices facing the Black community and to discuss how they can best use their platforms for action. One of Stills' tweets was a thread of links and ways to help. (Kenny Stills via Twitter) (Kenny Stills via Twitter)
"FED UP. Ain't enough money in world to keep overlooking true issues that effect the mind body & soul of what we do. We cannot be happy for self when our communities are suffering & innocent folk are dying. since George Floyd, there have been at least 20 other police shootings."
-- Kansas City Chiefs defensive back Tyrann Mathieu brings facts to contextualize his frustration. (Tyrann Mathieu via Twitter)
"I do not have the words to meet the depths of my frustration & sadness. But, I do know that the senseless killings & shootings of Black Americans by the police and vigilantes has to stop. These are human rights violations. My children deserve better. We all deserve better."
-- New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore expresses his belief in a need for change. (Stephon Gilmore via Twitter)
"How can you hear the pain Black people are going through and dismiss it as nothing. How can you hear the pain and respond with anything other than 'I stand with you.'"
-- Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow looks much wiser than your average rookie quarterback, openly listening to the lived experiences of his teammates of color. (Joe Burrow via Twitter)
"I can't really just go and speak on behalf of the whole league, but for us, that's something that we're going to talk about within our groups, within our team. What's talked about in meetings, in players' meetings, stays in players' meetings."
"Going on with what the NBA did, I definitely commend them for doing that. The WNBA, the ladies did it, too. I want to commend them for standing up, using their platform and using their voice. But for us to say, the Giants and the NFL, that's the stuff that's part of our discussions going on. We've been given an opportunity for our leadership group and to be able to talk to the team and try to figure out things we can do to try to help."
-- New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley isn't able to speak for an entire team or organization, but had noted that sitting out of games is an option on the table.
"As far as what we're going to do and the steps we're going to take next, that's something that we're in discussion about. It's sad that we have to take the time away from football and prepare for a season that is coming up here pretty soon to talk about these things, another senseless shooting that's happened. It's sad that it has to be that way. But yeah, as far as what we're going to do next, I'm going to talk to my teammates and the leadership group and the coaches and we're going to come up with a plan."
-- Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard's quote mirrored that of Barkley's, highlighting the team dialogue aspect. (NFL.com)
THIS WEEK IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL AND COVID-19
"We followed all the protocols in here, and you just look at your numbers, and there's plenty of guys to practice. But when you practice the way we practice, which is extremely fast, and I believe very efficient ... when you start getting a few less numbers, then you change the way you practice a little bit. ... We're still going as fast as we normally do, but we've just altered the way we've practiced, but I think again, our guys have handled it really well."
-- Texas Tech coach Matt Wells announced on Tuesday that the team incurred 21 positive tests, 20 from players and one from a coach. The team continued practicing because they felt comfortable with how many players were available. (ESPN)
"I can't really say the name of the school, but I've gotten texts like: 'Look at this for the future. You have talent that can't be wasted. You can't take a year off.' Things like that."
-- Tegra Tshabola, a four-star offensive tackle and Class of 2022 Ohio State commit, has discussed schools from rival conferences reaching out with recruiting pitches that would've seemed ridiculous just a few weeks ago. (The Athletic)
"I think it's something every coach in the country is thinking about right now. What it essentially becomes is, you always have contingency plans. I'll compare like in the past, what happens if, you know, two safeties get hurt during a week, or two safeties get hurt during a game, or what? Now, it's what happens if I don't have a safety even available to play, period."
-- Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley fell victim to one of the more concerning scenarios theorized by those skeptical of a season happening this year. While the specific group was unnamed, all but one member of a position group tested positive for COVID-19. (The Athletic)
"Notre Dame really wanted to play and was willing to enter into an agreement that could lead to something down the road ... at the very least, more games every year against ACC teams. [Their] adamance about playing was the ace-in-the-hole a group, led by Clemson, needed to really push for a season and turn the tide in favor of ignoring the Big Ten.
"I mean, if Notre Dame, with their academic reputation and their national brand, was willing to go forward ... it sort of just sealed the ACC's fate."
-- An unnamed insider confirmed that the Big Ten was expecting the ACC to join them and the Pac-12 in sitting out of this season until Notre Dame's adamance to play led them to join the conference. (Sports Illustrated)
"Everybody acts like we want to play for the money. We want to play for the players. I want to play for the players. Now, is it more important than public safety? No, I don't think so. Is there a way that we can do that and keep people safe? I think a lot of people are trying to do that, and if we can do that, I think we can play. If we can't do that, then I think someone will make the decision that maybe we shouldn't play. But I don't think that we should not try."
-- Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban stands firmly in his belief that playing this season is going to be best for his players and players around college football. (Bleacher Report)
FROM THE COACHING MIND OF JOE JUDGE
"There are consequences for making mistakes."
-- New York Giants head coach Joe Judge is making immediate changes to how the Giants run their practices. The coach has made both players and coaches alike run laps for mistakes during practice. (ProFootballTalk)
"We're not going to accept penalties. So we'll find any little trick we can to teach them."
-- Judge's unorthodox training camp extended to position groups. Judge had the defensive backs tape tennis balls to their palms in order to mitigate holding penalties in pass coverage. (Dan Duggan, The Athletic via Twitter)
"I've got the strength staff downstairs right now putting bars of soap in socks and we're just going to take him out back and wail on him for a while."
-- Judge took heat from some after suggesting they may take the protection-designating red jersey off of Daniel Jones so he can introduced to contact during practices. When pressed on it, Judge upped the ante. (Art Stapleton, The Record Sports via Twitter)
THIS WEEK IN KANGOLS
"He gets cussed out like everybody else."
-- Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians isn't giving any special treatment to new quarterback Tom Brady. (SportsCenter via Twitter)
"[Gronk] is probably in New England shape right now. He's not in Florida shape. The heat's kicking his ass pretty good. It's different, man. … I don't think he's ever sweat that much in his life."
-- His new tight end acquisition isn't evading any heat either. Arians pointed out Rob Gronkowski's adaption from winter-weather football to Tampa Bay summers. (Greg Auman, The Athletic via Twitter)
"You'd have to talk to Jesus. I have no clue."
-When asked about if/when safety Justin Evans would return, Arians deferred the question to higher powers. (Greg Auman, The Athletic via Twitter)
THE PROBLEM WITH PRESEASON HIGHLIGHTS
"Diggs. Allen. Breakout duo this year? [eyeballs emoji]"
-- Bleacher Report's football-centric account, B/R Gridiron, posted this caption alongside highlights of a particularly good route from new Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs catching passes from quarterback Josh Allen.
"Thanks for showing me the routes teams work on lol"
-- Reigning Defensive Player of the Year and division rival Stephon Gilmore is thankful so many cameras are capturing other team's practices so he can sit back and study. (Stephon Gilmore via Twitter)
"It's nice because usually it's all D-line versus linebackers versus safeties and corners and everything like that, but we were able to intermingle teams. I'm with Tyson [Alualu], and we are just point-blank unstoppable."
-- Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt broke down the team's latest locker room obsession: spikeball.
"We have been playing pretty well. I think our record is like 11-1, so still the No. 1 seed. That has been fun being able to build that camaraderie with a lot of the other guys."
-- Steelers defensive end Tyson Alualu boasts about the tandem's spikeball success. The two also dominated during the team's bingo phase last year. (ESPN)
CUTTING OUT THE MIDDLE MAN
'Is DeAndre Hopkins Holding Out?'
-- John McClain of the Houston Chronicle reposted an article questioning whether Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins' absence from practice suggested he was sitting out.
"No DeAndre Hopkins is not holding out. From the source."
-- No secondary source needed. This one came directly from Hopkins himself. (DeAndre Hopkins via Twitter)
THANK YOUR LOCAL COWS
"I think dairy farmers do excellent work around this country. We need to appreciate them and the beautiful cows that are also milked and produce this delicious milk."
-- New England Patriots defensive end Chase Winovich: huge fan of milk. (Ben Volin, Boston Globe via Twitter)
"I always nutted on my gloves before games. I didn't trust anyone except my own kids to catch that ball."
-- Retired wide receiver Chad Ochocinco revealed a secret that I don't think breaks any NFL rules, but definitely breaks some hygiene and moral ones. (Chad Ochocinco via Twitter)
"I took Viagra before every game & people thought they'd stop me, if my stat line was bad i wasn't covered, the pass was just incomplete."
"NFL tests for steroids, how you gone stop me running on 3 legs every Sunday, no hat."
-- Ochocinco utilized every advantage his body gave him. (Complex)
THIS WEEK IN SOCIAL MEDIA
A UNIFIED TEAM MESSAGE
This is why Lions practice was canceled today. Entire Lions team addressing media outside the building to discuss the shooting of Jacob Blake.
"Football is not important today." -Duron Harmon pic.twitter.com/eqDIrJp9Ex
— Tori Petry (@sportstori) August 25, 2020
-- The Detroit Lions were one of several teams to cancel practice in the wake of the Jacob Blake shooting. Instead of practice, the team came together outside the building to make a unified statement to the media.
NEW CONTRACT, NEW CAR
— Cam Inman (@CamInman) August 20, 2020
-San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle signed a new contract and pulled up to work in his new vehicle: a Brinks truck.
A HEARTWARMING FOOTBALL STORY
-- Washington Football Team quarterback Alex Smith was officially cleared to play after a two-year-long road to recovery.
ASLEEP ON THE JOB
— Tennessee Titans (@Titans) August 18, 2020
-- Tennessee Titans offensive tackle Taylor Lewan caught one of the rookies asleep after a long day of training camp.