THIS MONTH IN J.J. WATT
Twitter User: "You wanna sign somewhere or nah?"
J.J. Watt: "I scroll through DoorDash for like an hour before I pick a restaurant man... You're gonna have to give me a second to choose a new team and city."
—Former Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt had the Internet whipped up into a frenzy during his first-ever stint in free agency. Watt, however, took his courting period slowly. (J.J. Watt via Twitter)
"Let's finish what we started…"
—Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins was part of the team-led effort to recruit his former Houston teammate to Arizona. This was the caption to a photo of Hopkins and Watt hugging in a photoshopped Cardinals uniform. (DeAndre Hopkins via Instagram)
"If you come here' I'll be your personal chef! Monday and Wednesdays are free!"
—Arizona Cardinals defensive end Chandler Jones made a tantalizing offer to Watt in order to lure him to Arizona. (The Checkdown via Twitter)
"I don't want to get into details, but as you know, if there's an opportunity that makes sense on both the football side and the business side, we will certainly take a swing. It's certainly fun to see your players get involved. Obviously, Hop's a guy that I've got a great deal of respect for and not just as a player, but obviously the addition of him has certainly improved our recruiting game."
—Arizona Cardinals general manager Steve Keim addressed the player-led recruitment of Watt to Arizona, playing coy regarding the possibility of any potential deal in the works. (AZCentral)
"I don't own a bike. Stop."
—Sleuthing and speculation surrounding Watt's potential landing spot came to a head on March 1, when several outlets reported that a Peloton account linked to Watt had changed its bio to "SB56…GB…CLE…BUF." Watt diffused any notion that he does cardio; he followed up this quote by tweeting a photo of himself lifting weights in an Arizona Cardinals shirt. The post was captioned "source: me." (J.J. Watt via Twitter)
"The longer I looked at it, the more it just, signs kept pointing back down here. There's a lot of exciting things about what's happening down here in Arizona. I've always said you have to have a quarterback in this league to have a chance, and there's a young, extremely talented quarterback here who can do big things and is going from Year 2 to Year 3 and can take an even bigger jump to continue to grow and progress and be even better. Then you've got DeAndre Hopkins who's one of the best wide receivers in the league, I'm obviously very familiar with.
"You've got a defensive scheme that's led by Vance Joseph, who I was with my first three years down in Houston under Wade Philips. And Vance runs a similar scheme to Wade, which is a scheme I'm very familiar with and very comfortable with and excited to play in. You got guys like Chandler Jones and Budda Baker and guys all over that defense that are really young and exciting guys ready to get after it and ready to fly around and make some plays. I'm just very excited to be here and I'm also not going to lie to you, it doesn't hurt when it's 65 degrees and sunny outside when I woke up this morning. It's pretty nice."
—Watt's lengthy explanation behind his motivation to sign with Arizona for two years and up to $31 million. (NFL.com)
"I'm here because I believe in you."
—The text Watt allegedly sent to Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray upon signing with the team. (ProFootballTalk)
NEW TEAM, NEW NUMBER
"I spoke to him and he was just seeing how locked in I was to 11. And I told him that I was locked in, and he was like, 'That's cool, bro, 'cause I'm probably gonna switch anyway.' So it went really well and he's just a cool guy. He didn't try to press me or anything like that. He asked me very respectfully."
"I am No. 11, I don't think there's any deal that is gonna be done."
—Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. had some great initial conversations with newly acquired quarterback Carson Wentz. One awkward conversation the two were forced to have surrounded the jersey number 11, which Pittman currently wears and Wentz wore in Philadelphia. (TMZ)
SPORTS MEDIA HAS REACHED ITS LOGICAL CONCLUSION
"Almost 100%, Em and I just saw a UFO drop straight out of the sky on our way home from dinner... we stopped and looked at each other and asked if either of us saw it... Very bright ball of light going straight down out of the sky towards Lake Travis. Anybody else witness this?"
—Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield took to Twitter to report a potential close encounter with a UFO near Lake Travis, Texas. (Baker Mayfield via Twitter)
"Last night on Twitter, Baker Mayfield saw a UFO … to that, I would say I would prefer, of all the qualities of a franchise quarterback—I want to know your arm, are you good pre-snap, are you mobile—the ability to see UFOs in the offseason is nowhere near my top 10 qualifications. Joe Montana, Troy Aikman, Terry Bradshaw, and Tom Brady have never seen aliens. I would prefer my guys don't talk about it. In fairness, Aaron Rodgers also admits he's seen a UFO and he did win a Super Bowl."
—Fox Sports' Colin Cowherd, who has gone back and forth with Mayfield in the past, dedicated a minor segment to Mayfield's UFO Tweet and how it translates to on-field play.
"How do you know I've never seen aliens Colin?"
—Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady chimed in via Twitter, simultaneously piling onto Cowherd's segment and adding a touch of mystery to the whole exchange. (Tom Brady via Twitter)
THE STRESS OF A JOB SEARCH
"It would be like if I told somebody, 'You are qualified for this job. And this is what the other people at that job are making. But you can't make that.' Nobody in America would even do that. You see people go from job to job on an everyday basis in America. They get a job, they fill out another resume because, now, they have the experience. They go from company to company to company, at the same time, increasing their salaries. But for players, when you get in that situation where you're even up for a contract, it's almost a lose-lose between the fans and—for a lot of players, not just myself—even the organization and teammates. The narrative of the story is so muddied up for no reason at all, when players just want what their value is."
—Chicago Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson vents his frustrations over the current state of his impending free agency and the chance he could receive the franchise tag. (Go Long with Tyler Dunne)
"We love Allen Robinson. He's a great player for us. We want to keep our good players. And Allen is a good player for us."
—Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Pace on pursuing Robinson in free agency. Pace reported that no "firm decision" had been made yet regarding the receiver, whether he be signed via franchise tag, transition tag, or a long-term deal. (Chicago Sun-Times)
GIVING 'COMEBACK PLAYER' A WHOLE NEW MEANING
"They didn't see it, didn't want me there, didn't want me to be a part of it, didn't want me to be on the team, the roster, didn't want to give me a chance. Mind you, it was a whole new regime, they came in; I'm like the leftovers and I'm hurt and I'm this liability. Heck no, they didn't want me there. At that point, as you can imagine, everything I'd been through, I couldn't have cared less about all that. Whether you like it or not, I'm giving this a go at this point."
—Washington Football Team quarterback Alex Smith overcame incredible odds on his road of recovery to make it back to the NFL. His comeback, however, threw a wrench into the team's plans leading up to the season. (GQ)
CAMPBELL'S EXTRA CHUNKY
"I said this to Chris (Spielman) the other day, I was like, 'I love the fact we're only known as meatheads.' I'm a meathead? I have limited brain capacity? I like (that people think) that. I'm good with that, you know what I mean? I have zero problem with it."
—Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell has enjoyed the new persona people have thrust upon him since his introductory press conference. (MLive)
SPEAKING FROM EXPERIENCE
"Extremely serious, he's extremely serious. At the end of the day. Deshaun is a great man. A servant leader. Even now when people are trying to crucify him and talk bad on his name, he's still out there doing things for the community in Houston. So he's a great man. He's a professional. He's going to still do things that are positive in the community and probably still help his teammates out. But I highly doubt he'll ever suit up in a Texans uniform again. He's very serious. I will say he's very serious. This is his legacy here, I mean, he should be serious."
—Los Angeles Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey weighed in on quarterback Deshaun Watson's situation with the Houston Texans, assuring that Watson is very serious about leaving. Ramsey was in a similar position to Watson while forcing himself out of Jacksonville. The two also share an agent. (NFL.com)
IF YOU LOVE A YOUNG QUARTERBACK, SET THEM FREE
"What I think is important to make sure that I at least want to mention is the amount of good things and really great leadership that he provided since I got here as a head coach. There has been a Super Bowl appearance, there has been a conference championship win, there have been two division titles, there have been three playoff wins that he was an intricate part of, there have been three playoff appearances. So what I'd rather focus on are the things that I think he did a great job of. Establishing himself in this league, the way he handled himself consistently day in and day out. All I can do is be appreciative of that. That's what I would say about Jared."
—Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay looks back on fond memories with quarterback Jared Goff, who was sent as part of a package to Detroit in exchange for quarterback Matthew Stafford. (NFL.com)
THE ULTIMATE FREE-AGENCY BARGAINING CHIP
"I've been thinking about [playing next season]. I really have. It's tougher than I thought it would be, making a decision. But it's been so good. I'm like the rabbit's foot, whatever team I go to next, you're probably in a Super Bowl."
—Who said running backs don't matter? Running back LeSean McCoy, still pondering whether he will continue playing next year, is hopeful about a potential role as "good luck charm" after winning two Super Bowls on two different teams in back-to-back seasons. (NFL.com)
YOU CAN DO IT!
"True story … the movie The Waterboy convinced me to try out for my middle school football team. Ended up in the NFL. So thank you for everything."
—Former offensive guard Rich Ohrnberger credits what would eventually become an NFL career entirely to one man: Bobby Boucher. (ESPN via Instagram)
THIS WEEK IN SOCIAL MEDIA
ALVIN KAMARA: MOUNTAIN MAN
"Ok so I been breathing Montana air for a few hours … and I juhh wanna say. I bought a house. I live in Montana now. Leave me alone."
—New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara has fled the Louisiana swamps to explore Montana, and it doesn't seem like he's coming back. (Alvin Kamara via Twitter)
Alvin Kamara was finding his way on the snowboard before wiping out 😅
— ESPN. (@espn) March 2, 2021
—Kamara scares potential fantasy owners across the country as he shreds the slopes in Montana.
On this date in 1983, the winningest quarterback in Super Bowl history checked into a Louisiana hospital using an assumed name. pic.twitter.com/Yr3ujc0fHC
— Quirky Research. (@QuirkyResearch) March 3, 2021
—A 1983 newspaper headline recently resurfaced from a story detailing a secretive elbow surgery underwent by Hall of Fame quarterback Terry Bradshaw. In order to avoid attention, Bradshaw checked into the Louisiana hospital under a pseudonym: Thomas Brady.
"Tom Brady! How lucky am I? There's no question he and I are linked at the hip—same initials, same number. I had hair back then. I was a sex symbol. I had it all going then."
—Bradshaw's comments on the rediscovered story. (The Athletic)
ALL YOU NEED IS A TWITTER ACCOUNT AND SOME IMAGINATION
—J.J. Watt's free agency featured a particularly high level of Internet sleuthing, with Twitter users deciphering innocuous tweets in order to find Watt's potential landing spot.
'I'M JOHNNY KNOXVILLE, AND THESE ARE OFFSEASON WORKOUTS'
—Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster has taken an unorthodox approach to his offseason training regiment.