Le’Veon Bell says he smoked marijuana before games

Divisional Round - Pittsburgh Steelers v Kansas City Chiefs
Getty Images

Former NFL running back Le’Veon Bell says he smoked marijuana before playing in games.

Bell said on the “Steel Here” podcast that he had some of his best games while under the influence of marijuana.

“Looking back on this, that’s what I did,” Bell said, via ESPN. “When I was playing football, I smoked, bro. Even before the games, I’d smoke and I’d go out there and run for 150, two [touchdowns].”

When Bell was playing, both the law and the NFL were more harsh about marijuana use than they are now, and Bell got in trouble multiple times. In 2014 he was arrested for marijuana possession in the suburbs of Pittsburgh and was later put on probation. He also reportedly missed several NFL drug tests and was repeatedly pulled off the practice field and required to submit urine tests.

That didn’t prevent him from having a good NFL career in which he was twice a first-team All-Pro during his five years with the Steelers. He later played for the Jets and then briefly for the Chiefs, Ravens and Buccaneers. He refers to himself as not officially retired, but he didn’t play in 2022 and it’s safe to say his playing days are done.

Cardinals reportedly were unhappy that DeAndre Hopkins sat out last two weeks of 2023

Arizona Cardinals v Cleveland Browns
Getty Images

As the Cardinals hand high-end receiver DeAndre Hopkins to any other team without compensation, some fans might not understand why the Cardinals would do that. Thus, it’s helpful to have a reason for terminating the contract — even if the reason is only surfacing for the first time now.

Kyle Odegard, who previously worked for the team, reports that Hopkins “upset some in the Cardinals organization by sitting out the final two games of the 2022 season even though he was healthy,” and that it might have been “a sticky situation if he remained with the team until the trade deadline.”

This assumes that Hopkins even wanted to stay with the Cardinals. He clearly didn’t, and it had nothing to do with someone possibly being pissed that he didn’t play in the final two weeks of a lost regular season.

Besides, there’s a new regime in Arizona. How many who were there then are there now? The new coaching staff and new G.M. likely wouldn’t have cared about Hopkins making a business decision when business for 2022 had been resolved.

If Hopkins could indeed have played in those final two games, the team had no problem with perpetuating his lie. Before the regular-season finale, former coach Kliff Kingsbury said Hopkins might have been able to play if the game had been meaningful, that the knee injury was “something that’s been nagging him,” and that “we’re just going to be cautious.”

Really, if Hopkins was healthy, the Cardinals put out false injury reports in the final two weeks of the season.

Here’s the reality. Star players who are banged up often sit out of meaningless late-season games, especially when they have no guarantees in their salary beyond the current season. While we’re not doubting whether one or more people within the organization might have been upset with Hopkins for not playing despite the injury, the mere fact of being upset represents another piece of evidence of the dysfunction that currently permeates the organization.

The more simple explanation could be that the Cardinals need to have a reason for cutting Hopkins other than “we don’t want to pay him nearly $20 million this year,” especially if he ends up being a major difference-maker for a new team. And so they seem to be willing to throw a pointless dart at him on the way out the door.

Offshore sports book has Tom Brady as the favorite to play QB for Raiders, if Jimmy Garoppolo doesn’t

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Las Vegas Raiders
Getty Images

Various offshore sports books will from time to time post creative and intriguing odds, mainly to attract attention and business away from the legal sports books that can be utilized in most states where sports wagering is legal.

Usually, we ignore such odds. Sometimes, we make exceptions.

One of the major offshore sports books has posted odds regarding the next quarterback to play for the Raiders, in the event Jimmy Garoppolo does not.

And the favorite is Tom Brady, at 2-1 (or +200).

Next is Brian Hoyer, who is currently on the Las Vegas roster, at 5-2. Matt Ryan, who has taken a job with CBS Sports but who has not retired, is 3-1, followed by Nick Foles at 6-1.

Raiders rookie Aidan O'Connell comes in at 7-1, along with Carson Wentz.

Andy Dalton, the presumed No. 2 in Carolina, is 10-1, followed by Teddy Bridgewater (12-1), Commanders backup Jacoby Brissett (14-1), Joe Flacco (20-1), Cam Newton (33-1), Andrew Luck (50-1), and Colin Kaepernick (100-1).

The Raiders gave Kaepernick a workout last year, the only team to do so since he became a free agent in 2017.

Garoppolo’s status has fallen into doubt after the news that he had foot surgery after signing with the team, followed by Saturday night’s report regarding the major changes made to his contract due to the lingering condition.

Brady recently agreed to buy a piece of the Raiders. If/when that transaction is approved, it will become very difficult if not impossible for Brady to play for the team. If he has any interest in doing so, he should press pause on his purchase of a portion of the team.

If the Raiders want Brady to play quarterback for them in 2023, owner Mark Davis should have no problem with waiting to sell Brady what likely will be a small chunk of the franchise.

Le’Veon Bell regrets the way his time in Pittsburgh ended: It was a little petty

Baltimore Ravens v Pittsburgh Steelers
Getty Images

Le’Veon Bell ran for 5,336 yards and 35 touchdowns and had 3,289 yards and nine touchdowns receiving in five seasons with the Steelers. But after a year-long holdout, the running back was never the same again.

He had 1,218 yards and seven touchdowns rushing and 629 yards and two touchdowns receiving with four teams from 2019-21.

Bell now admits he shouldn’t have left Pittsburgh.

“Yeah, it was a little petty, the little guarantee stuff,” Bell said Friday on the Steel Here podcast, via NFL Media. “I’m thinking like, damn, could I have really just ate it? Yeah, I probably could’ve. Probably could’ve really ate it.”

Bell played under the franchise tag in 2017, and the Steelers tagged him again in 2018. They could never reach agreement on a new deal, and Bell sat out the season.

Bell told the podcast Pittsburgh was willing to guarantee only the first year of a new deal. He wanted more.

“We kept going back and forth,” Bell said. “It literally was the guarantee. They weren’t budging off of it, and I wasn’t budging off of it. I didn’t want to leave Pittsburgh. At the end of the day, that’s where I was at. That’s where I got drafted at. Especially after going to different teams and seeing how it is. When a team has their guy, you’re their guy. I was Pittsburgh’s guy.”

Bell, 31, is retired even if he is the last to know it. He needs to focus on his boxing career.

But he would like to make up with the team that drafted him in the second round.

“I never officially retired,” Bell said. “The day when I do retire, it’s going to be with Pittsburgh. Like, I’m trying to retire with Pittsburgh. But before I do that, I might be like, ‘Hey, let me get a couple carries in the preseason so I can show you all something.’

“With the Steelers, I would do the little preseason, like alright, boom boom, but I would not do that anywhere else, because I don’t even think about playing. It literally would only be in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh is where I’ll retire, you know what I’m saying, that’s just it. Because I already been other places. It’s not Pittsburgh.”

He could sign a one-day contract with the Steelers still, but players don’t “officially” retire. A player’s retirement is the year he last played a regular-season game. Bell retired after the 2021 season. His career is finished . . . and has been for a while.

Other teams would oppose Tom Brady going from owner to player

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Las Vegas Raiders
Getty Images

As Tom Brady waits for his purchase of a percentage of the Raiders to be approved, there is a question as to whether the other owners will require him to provide a commitment that he’ll never play again. Separately, he would need a 32-0 vote of ownership to let him join the team after becoming a roster.

From a business standpoint, all teams should want Brady to play. I want him to play. He’s great for business. He generates interest in the game.

The problem, as one or more teams likely will see it if Brady ever tries to play, is that Brady’s status as an owner makes him essentially an extra member of the roster in waiting. Someone who could be signed on an emergency basis who has been attending meetings and practices and knows the offense and the systems and can get quickly up to speed.

So if Brady is approved and if a unanimous vote would be required to let him play, don’t expect the vote to be unanimous.

The concept isn’t unprecedented. In 2009, the Eagles tried to sign Matt Nagy, who was on the coaching staff at the time, to play in a preseason game. More recently, the Broncos wanted to put a couple of assistant coaches on the roster for the no-quarterback COVID game that was handled by receiver Kendall Hinton. The league said no.

Count on at least one owner saying no if Brady tries to play after his purchase is approved. Given the basic premise underlying the objection, and given that multiple other teams have had the door slammed in their faces, count on more than one objective.

Thus, if Brady is in any way thinking about playing for the Raiders this year if/when the Jimmy Garoppolo situation implodes, Brady should wait a year to buy a piece of the Raiders.

Antonio Brown didn’t play for the Albany Empire, after all


Folks who bought tickets to Saturday night’s Albany Empire game expected to see owner/receiver Antonio Brown. They didn’t.

Via WNYT-TV, Brown did not play. The official reason is that the paperwork on his physical didn’t come through in time.

That seems a little convenient, and maybe even a little untrue. How hard is it to pass a physical? He either did or he didn’t. And, as the owner of the team, he could play if he wanted to play, regardless of the results of whatever physical he did or didn’t take.

Indeed, the article posted by WNYT.com explains that the league’s commissioner said Brown can play without a physical, since he’s an owner.

Not surprisingly, the crowd for Saturday night’s game reached 4,500, two thousand more than the average home attendance.

“Stay tuned, AB’s coming,” Brown told Rodger Wyland of WNYT. “There’s proper procedures you’ve got to do to play football. You’ve got to pass the coach, the commissioner. You’ve got to be in physical condition. You can’t just pop up, so I’ve got to get my feet wet. We’ve got to get the proper equipment. We’ve got to do the right thing.”

Brown now says he’ll play next week. He last played in early January 2022, for the Buccaneers.

“I am going to be playing,” Brown told Wyland. “You didn’t lie. Everything is going to fall in place.”

Unless and until something else happens. He loses his helmet or his cleats or he pulls a muscle in pregame warmups or freezes his feet in a cryogenic chamber. (Again.)

It all feels like a scam to me. So prove me wrong, AB. Show up and play in the next home game.

While you’re at it, give everyone who bought a ticket for last night’s game a free one.

On conspiracy theories and pursuing truth

The Office - Season 7
Getty Images

The recent #PFTPM interview with Eagles G.M. Howie Roseman included an effort to shed a little more light on the Jonathan Gannon tampering situation.

I doubted I’d get anything from Roseman, but I wanted to at least try. Because I firmly believe — given the way the league dropped the news minutes before the draft began with an unprecedented decision to let the teams resolve it among themselves — that there’s so much more to this story than anyone will ever admit.

I posed two questions on the subject to Howie. First, I simply asked what he can tell me how it all came to be, how he found out about it.

“I think for me personally, obviously extremely appreciative of [Gannon] and his contributions to our football team, you know, helped us win the NFC,” Roseman said. “You know, that that was handled, as we discussed before, at the ownership level. And I think the more we look in the past, the less focused we are on the future. And so, for me, that’s over with, you know, wish him well in Arizona, and we’re moving on.”

I ignored the non-answer and asked him whether the Eagles discovered the tampering on their own, or whether the Cardinals raised a hand and said, “Oops, we screwed up”?

Roseman retreated to his talking points: “Really appreciative of [Gannon’s] contributions helping us win the NFC and that was handled at the ownership level, and I think we need to move on and, you know, the less we focus on the past the better we’ll be in the future.”

I chose not to move on. I chose to be candid about the message sent by his insistence on avoiding the subject: “Do you not realize that answers like that make people like me think there’s a hell of a lot more to this than anyone is ever gonna tell us and it was a much bigger deal than anyone ever let it on to be? Don’t you see that as a reasonable conclusion?”

Roseman then pivoted to this: “If I was making a list of top five conspiracy theorists around the National Football League, you would be — I don’t know that you would be one, I don’t want to appoint you as one — but you would definitely be top five.”

He was deflecting. I told him that. He also was making a classic ad hominem attack, where instead of addressing the argument the response focuses in some way on the person making it, usually with some sort of an insult.

It became a thing for some of the sports blogs that apparently had nothing better to write about (and that apparently prefer unanswered questions to remain unanswered), and for some Eagles fans who viewed Roseman’s refusal to address the subject as stuffing me in a locker, or however else they described it.

Some in the media act as if they hear none of the noise. Some do it not to show they’re thick skinned but to create the subtle (or not) impression that they’re above paying attention to what the fans might have to say. I pay attention to plenty of it. Sometimes, people make good points. Lurking among the periodic crap can be constructive criticism that can help me do this job a little better, or perhaps not as badly.

And, yes, the whole “conspiracy theory” thing bothered me. It bothered me primarily because, in recent years, the term has become associated with some of the most unhinged, over-the-top, detached-from-reality, cuckoo-for-Cocoa-Puffs narratives that have poisoned many minds and created much chaos in every segment of our society.

But then I thought about it. If I’m the NFL’s version of a conspiracy theorist, so be it. Someone needs to push back against the BS. I’ve been doing it for 22 years. I supposed it’s nice that Howie noticed.

Look around the NFL media landscape. Think of all the lies the league and the teams tell, on a regular basis. Look at the Jimmy Garoppolo situation. It’s now obvious (given our story from Saturday night) that the foot injury was a major issue, requiring a dramatic reworking of his contract.

But what did Garoppolo say when he was asked about the delay in the finalization of his deal, which pushed his introductory press conference to the next day?

“No worry,” Garoppolo said. “I mean, it was just honestly just talking, language, things like that. Both sides I think knew what we wanted to get done. It was very collaborative, actually. Just us coming together.”

Sure. Yep. Obviously. Honestly. And now, more than two months later, the full and honest truth comes out.

It happens consistently and repeatedly in matters regarding the NFL and its teams. People lie all the time, usually for strategic reasons. I’ve explained for years that the on-field rewards that flow from successful deception of the opponent (play-action pass, zone blitz, draw play, fake punt) applies to off-field dynamics from personnel strategies to anything and everything related to whatever a team is trying to do in an effort to win games. At times, it’s hard for people in the league to know where the line is between advancing the best interests of the team and flat-out lying.

It’s not just the teams that do it. The NFL’s position on the Saints bounty scandal of 2012 was based on misrepresentations and exaggerations and deliberate ignorance of a broader league-wide culture. The #Deflategate scandal was grossly overblown, with weird science used to work backward in an effort to cram a square peg of cheating into a round hole of reality, and then to bolster it by expunging subsequent PSI spot checks that might have proven the evidence against the Patriots was inconclusive, at best.

Then there’s the entire handling of Beth Wilkinson’s investigation of the Commanders, which the league stuffed under the nearest rug and then consistently explained — somehow with a straight face — that all of the information had to be concealed because some of the cooperating witnesses had requested that their names be left out of it. The league didn’t even want a written report from Wilkinson, because it knew Wilkinson’s report would have included a recommendation that owner Daniel Snyder be forced to sell.

The lying is constant. It’s pervasive. Some reporters accept it. Some will parrot the lies without scrutiny, making them complicit. Some will actively participate in the concealment of the truth from the audience. (I’d bet the farm that at least one major national insider knew about the Garoppolo contractual language but kept quiet about it as a favor to the player and/or his agent and/or the team.)

I realize it’s not easy for folks who have financial obligations and future aspirations to choose paths that will make it harder to pay the bills, to climb the ladder, or to maintain a spot on the top rung. Folks like Jim Trotter are rightfully championed for bravely breaking ranks and speaking truths because so few can or will.

As long as I own 100 percent of the equity of Football Talk, LCC (which despite our 14-years-and-counting deal with NBC I do), I’m in the unique position to be able to not take things at face value and to push back against whatever official story the league or a team hope will be reported and repeated. If that makes me a conspiracy theorist, then fine. I’m a conspiracy theorist.

It’s like when Andy Bernard called Dwight Schrute a Sasquatch. Dwight took it as a compliment, even if it wasn’t intended to be one.

I might as well do the same. Dwight is a Sasquatch. I’m a conspiracy theorist.

And on we go.

The Jimmy Garoppolo injury makes the Tom Brady angle more viable

Atlanta Falcons v New England Patriots
Getty Images

Tom Brady is retired. Unless he isn’t.

We know Brady is buying a slice of the Raiders, pending approval of the league at large. We also now know that Jimmy Garoppolo might never play for the Raiders, given a foot injury from 2022 that sparked a massive overhaul of his Vegas contract — including the entire elimination of his $11.25 million signing bonus.

The contractual language, which we uncovered on Saturday, demonstrates the very real possibility that Garoppolo will never play for the Raiders. It came to light this week that he had foot surgery after signing with the team. And while all involved are pushing a “serenity now” narrative, it could be wise to prepare for insanity later.

Really, how does that potential trail of complete nuttiness not lead straight back to Brady? The other options are Brian Hoyer, Aidan O'Connell, and Chase Garbers.

As reported on Saturday by Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Brady might have to agree to never play again in order to secure approval from the NFL’s other owners. Also, if Brady becomes an owner and wants to play, he apparently will be required to get unanimous approval from the other owners to do so — which frankly makes no sense.

What makes less sense is that the Raiders have pinned their hopes to a mediocre quarterback with a messed-up foot. It makes a little more sense if Brady is lurking as the break-glass emergency option.

The Jimmy Garoppolo news puts the Davante Adams comments in a different light

Michael Rubin's 2023 Fanatics Super Bowl Party
Getty Images

Saturday night’s stunning news about the impact of Raiders quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo‘s lingering foot injury on his contract presents good news and bad news for the team.

The good news is that the Raiders are protected, to the point that they might never have to pay him a cent if the foot injury prevents him from playing.The bad news is that if Garoppolo can’t play quarterback for the Raiders, who will?

The absence of a clear and obvious Plan B (Brian Hoyer is the current veteran backup, and Aidan O'Connell was selected in the draft) given the tenuous status of Plan A puts the recent comments from receiver Davante Adams in a different light.

“[The front office] think this is the best bet for us right now to put us in a position to be urgent,” Adams told TheRinger.com. “We don’t see eye-to-eye on what we think is best for us right now. . . . I’m going to have to buy into this and try to be as optimistic as possible. It’s not what I expected to happen, but it’s something that’s the reality now.”

This really is quite the reality for the Raiders. The concerns regarding the foot sufficiently freaked the team out to get them to strip the deal of its $11.25 million signing bonus and move it all to 2023 base salary that might not ever be paid. And while it’s great to have financial protections, it’s hard to say that the Raiders have any real football protections.

Some will say that the Raiders must not be all that concerned about Garoppolo, or they would have had a better backup. The contract says otherwise. The contract says it’s a serious concern. So serious that the Raiders weren’t comfortable paying him anything until the foot injury recovers to the team’s satisfaction.

The fans currently might not be feeling much satisfaction regarding the overall quarterback strategy, and everyone might have a better understanding of why Adams said the things regarding his own lack of satisfaction with the team.

Here he is, one of the best receivers in the NFL, and he has to hope that Garoppolo’s foot injury — which was bad enough to get the Raiders to dramatically re-work his contract — will sufficiently heal to ensure that Adams isn’t catching balls this year from an aging journeyman or the eighth quarterback taken in the 2023 draft.

Who wouldn’t be a little pissed off about that situation?

Brian Flores wants Vikings’ defense to develop an identity as aggressive but not reckless

Pittsburgh Steelers v Miami Dolphins
Getty Images

In his first few months as the Vikings’ defensive coordinator, Brian Flores has been at work explaining to his players what kind of identity he wants his defense to have.

“I think building an identity is a big part of playing defense,” Flores said, via the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “I try to impart that to our players. That happens over time. Every time we step on the practice field, it’s ‘What is our identity? What are people going to say about us? What do we want it to look like?’”

So what does Flores want that defense to look like?

“I think they understand my nature as far as wanting to be aggressive but not reckless,” Flores said.

Flores indicated that he has liked what he has seen from players during Organized Team Activities, but he also indicated that as long as practices are non-contact, the Vikings’ defensive identity can’t be established.

“It’s hard to do that in this setting because so much of the game is physical,” Flores said. “We’re kind of forecasting based on what we’ve seen. That’s part of it too. We have to forecast. The final decisions of what we’re going to be are going to be made down the road.”

Although Flores has had a number of defensive assistant jobs and spent three years as head coach of the Dolphins, this is the first time he has been a defensive coordinator. He’ll be establishing his own identity as a coordinator just as the defense establishes its identity.

Jimmy Garoppolo’s contract includes waiver over foot injury

Las Vegas Raiders Introduce Jimmy Garoppolo
Getty Images

Remember when Jimmy Garoppolo‘s contract took some time to get resolved and they sent the reporters who were gathered for a press conference home.

The story was there’s nothing to see here. As is often the case, the truth is that there was. (But, of course, anyone who ever points out that dynamic gets labeled a “conspiracy theorist.”)

PFT has obtained Garoppolo’s contract. It contains a critical final clause — Addendum G — that addresses the foot injury Garoppolo suffered during the 2022 season, and for which he had surgery after signing with the Raiders.

Addendum G is a waiver and release. In the first paragraph, the waiver acknowledges that, without it, Garoppolo would not pass the team’s physical “because of a preexisting medal and middle cuneiform and a fracture of the base of the second metatarsal in the Player’s left foot and that the Club would not enter into an NFL Player Contract with Player.” It’s the injury he suffered during the 2022 regular season, opening the door for Brock Purdy to play.

In the second paragraph, Garoppolo expressly acknowledges and waives the risk of further injury, including potential “permanent disability” by continuing his career. “Player also understands that such condition has decreased his ability to play professional football,” the waiver states, “and that continuing to play professional football may result in deterioration, aggravation, or re-injury of the existing conditions rendering Player physically unable to perform the services that would be required of Player by an NFL Player Contract.”

In the third paragraph, Garoppolo expressly assumes all risks of continuing to play, despite the condition.

In the fourth paragraph, Garoppolo waives all claims against the Raiders, the league, and anyone else who could be responsible for anything related to the condition.

In the fifth paragraph, Garoppolo agrees that any disputes regarding whether any injury involves the conditions specified in the waiver “shall be resolved in the discretion of Club’s physician,” while also preserving the player’s ability to seek a second opinion.

The contract preserves the team’s ability to terminate the agreement with no further obligation, “for any reason related to the Waiver and Release attached as Addendum G.” The waiver becomes null and void if at any time during the 2023 season, Garoppolo passes a physical exam, is active for at least one regular-season game, and does not suffer re-injury to his left foot in the manner described in Addendum G.

As originally negotiated, Garoppolo had an $11.25 million signing bonus and a base salary of $11.25 million for 2023. The foot injury resulted in the Raiders removing the signing bonus, with the full $22.5 million becoming base salary in 2023.

He won’t get any of it until he passes a physical. In the interim, the Raiders can cut him “for any reason related” to Addendum G.

The elimination of the signing bonus and the presence of Addendum G explains the delay in getting the deal done. And it underscores the possibility that Garoppolo might never play for the Raiders — and he might never get paid a penny by them.

Buying a portion of the Raiders will complicate Tom Brady’s path back to the field

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Las Vegas Raiders
Getty Images

Tom Brady has agreed to purchase a piece of the Raiders. The deal must now be approved by at least 24 of 32 owners.

With Raiders quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo recovering once again from yet another surgery, some are wondering whether Brady could eventually play for the team he’s poised to partially own.

An unnamed source has floated to Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal the possibility the owners requiring a commitment from Brady that he’s done playing, before they agree to approve his purchase of a minority share of the team. Even without that, a return to game action by Brady would require all 32 owners to consent. Otherwise, Brady would have to sell his piece of the team before playing.

Looking at the situation broadly, any/every owner should want Brady to play. It’s good for ratings, and thus it’s good for business.

Competitively, teams perhaps wouldn’t want to contend with Brady. But the Raiders aren’t stacked. They’d have a hard time being highly competitive even with the soon-to-be-46-year-old. Any other that would refuse to let Brady play would look like a heel.

If Brady wants to play for the team he partially owns, why not let him do it? Playing for a different team would be a problem. Playing for the Raiders should be no big deal.

Michael Gallup “feeling springy” again more than a year after his ACL injury

Dallas Cowboys v Minnesota Vikings
Getty Images

Michael Gallup returned to the lineup last season nine months after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. He wasn’t himself.

He caught only 34 passes for 424 yards and four touchdowns in 2022.

Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott said earlier this week that Gallup is back to himself.

Gallup had 1,107 yards and averaged 16.8 yards per catch in 2019. He followed with 843 yards in 2020.

He expects to return to form this season, his sixth in Dallas.

“I’m very confident I’ll be that guy, for sure,” Gallup said, via Todd Archer of ESPN. “Very confident. It just feels different. It’s kind of like in the air. I ain’t going to lie to you. I’m smiling every time I walk in that facility.”

Gallup said he feels “springy again” at organized team activities.

He was “thinking too much” last season, with his knee still bothering him.

“It was definitely frustrating, just on my part,” Gallup said of last season. “Nothing to do with the team or anything like that, but just me coming back. I mean that was tough. I never had a big injury like that. It was different. I had to work a little bit harder. I had to do some things that I’ve never had to do. I could normally just walk out on the field and play. Couldn’t do that.”

Gallup should benefit from the addition of Brandin Cooks, and Mike McCarthy’s play calling. McCarthy called Gallup “very important” to the Cowboys offense.

Shaquille O’Neal wants to face Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce in two on two

AFC Championship - Cincinnati Bengals v Kansas City Chiefs
Getty Images

Two days after Shaquille O’Neal was served with two lawsuits seeking payment from him for two different alleged crypto scams, Shaq was in sufficiently good humor to push the best player in football for a two-on-two basketball contest.

Via Pete Grathoff of the Kansas City Star, Shaq challenged Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes to a game of two-on-two hoops. O’Neal would be partnered with Kenny Smith, and Mahomes would play with teammate Travis Kelce.

The exchange happened during a TNT interview with Mahomes to promote The Match golf event.

It started after Mahomes explained that the ankle he injured against the Jaguars in the postseason is healing well.

“I’ve actually been working on my jump shot, too,” Mahomes said. “So I’m going to have to show you all that at some point.”

“I see what you did,” Shaq replied. “You told us about your jump shot. So that means you and Travis are challenging me and Kenny.”

Said Mahomes, “Free throws only.” Which is hilarious, since Shaq has horrible form and accuracy when it comes to shooting from the foul line.

Shaq insisted on two-on-two. “Why not?” he said. “You’re working on your jump shot.”

“You’re not moving very well, so I might have a chance,” Mahomes said.

“Actually, I did get a new hip,” Shaq replied.

That was when Charles Barkley made a not-so-subtle fat joke about Shaq (calling it “two-and-a-half-on-two”), Shaq made a far-less-subtle fat joke about Barkley (“I know your fat ass didn’t just call me one-and-a-half”) and that was the end of it.

Hopefully, it’ll happen. It could be far more entertaining than watching The Match, especially when Tom Brady decided last year to make fat jokes about the clearly non-fat Josh Allen.

Report: Only Chiefs, Bills had “substantive” trade talks for DeAndre Hopkins

New Orleans Saints v Arizona Cardinals
Getty Images

It appears that the Cardinals’ plan from the get-go was to try to trade receiver DeAndre Hopkins and, if no trade could be had, to cut him before June 1.

Efforts were indeed made to trade Hopkins, and two of the teams in which Hopkins expressed interest spoke to Arizona.

Via Albert Breer of SI.com, the Chiefs and Bills were the only teams that had “substantive” discussions with the Cardinals about a trade.

The Hopkins contract was an issue for both teams. Per Breer, the Chiefs were making progress. Once the Ravens paid Odell Beckham Jr. $15 million guaranteed on a one-year deal, the Hopkins talks imploded.

Now, both teams (along with any other) can pursue Hopkins, without having to give anything up in trade. But the OBJ contract might still be an issue — along with, as explained earlier today, his current representation.