ESPN radio host and former NFL wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson has strong feelings about his former coach Jon Gruden, who resigned as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders on Monday night after the New York Times unearthed more racist, misogynistic, and anti-gay emails he sent to former Washington general manager Bruce Allen and other executives.
Johnson, who was coached by Gruden in 2002 and 2003 when both were with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, shared his opinion about Gruden on his ESPN radio show “Keyshawn, JWill & Max” and he let his feelings fly.
“I didn’t know that Jon would say things like that and put them in an email. He’s just always been a fraud to me. … From day one, he’s been a used car salesman. And people bought it because he inherited a championship team built by Tony Dungy and Rich McKay, and he came in there with a little bit of different energy than we had with Tony, and it kind of kicked us over the top to get our world championship — which I am grateful for. But at the same time I also saw through who he was through that journey of getting a championship.”
Johnson then recalled the on-field ceremony after the Buccaneers won the Super Bowl, and how he remembers Gruden physically taking the trophy from general manager Rich McKay while he was trying to lift it up. McKay left the Bucs in the middle of the next season, and according to Johnson, it’s because “he didn’t want to deal with all the shenanigans” that were going on with Gruden.
Johnson: Gruden talked behind people’s backs for years
Johnson wasn’t done yet. He had even more to say about Gruden on ESPN’s “First Take,” focusing on Gruden “talking behind people’s backs” as Buccaneers head coach
“Then I finally said ‘This dude is a fraud. Y’all don’t seem to understand. He’s selling you on something and you’re buying it.’ He’s been doing that for years,” Johnson said.
Johnson said that he found out about Gruden’s behind-the-back comments from assistant coaches who spoke to players on the side but wouldn’t say anything publicly because they might lose their jobs.
He maintained that he’ll always be grateful that Gruden came to the Buccaneers and led them to the franchise’s first-ever Super Bowl victory. But he’s not surprised that “this kind of behavior would come out about coach Gruden.”
“I always tried to tell people ‘Man, that dude’s a bad guy. Y’all don’t seem to get it.’ Because he gets on television, and he has the smile on his face and everybody likes him because he won a championship.”
Johnson’s feelings about Gruden were so strong that when he and former Bucs general manager Bruce Allen called him after he retired in 2007 to try and get him to come back for another championship run, he didn’t even consider it, choosing to stay with ESPN.
Astros' Garcia to start Game 6 of ALCS against Red Sox – Sportsnet.ca
Garcia started Game 2 and gave up a grand slam in the first inning before leaving with no outs in the second because of discomfort in his right knee. Manager Dusty Baker announced Thursday that Garcia would get the ball for Game 6 and said the Astros are confident the problem is behind Garcia and he’ll be 100% healthy for Friday’s start.
The Astros fell behind 2-1 in the series after two big wins by the Red Sox. But they rode their powerful offence to consecutive victories in the last two games to take the series lead and move within a win of advancing to the World Series for the second time in three seasons.
The Astros won the championship in 2017, a crown tainted by the team’s sign-stealing scandal, before losing to the Washington Nationals in seven games in the 2019 World Series.
The Red Sox previously announced that Nathan Eovaldi would start Game 6. Eovaldi got the win in a solid Game 2 start but was charged with the loss in Game 4 after giving up the go-ahead runs after coming in with the game tied in the ninth.
The Astros got eight terrific innings from Framber Valdez in a 9-1 win in Game 5. The performance gave Houston’s taxed bullpen a much-needed break after relievers pitched 29 1/3 innings combined through the first four games.
Baker said Jake Odorizzi would be available for long relief Friday if needed. Odorizzi threw 82 pitches in four innings in Game 2 after taking over following the injury to Garcia.
Baker also said rookie center fielder Jake Meyers, who hasn’t played this series after injuring his shoulder in the final game of the ALDS, probably wouldn’t return to the lineup in this series. He said Meyers could pinch-run or pinch-hit but isn’t ready to return to the field. Fellow rookies Chas McCormick and rookie Jose Siri have filled in at center against the Red Sox.
Houston is without ace Lance McCullers Jr. for this series because of a flexor pronator muscle strain in his right arm. Baker said Thursday that McCullers still hasn’t resumed throwing, so it’s unclear if he would be available to return if the Astros were to advance.
If necessary, Game 7 would be Saturday night in Houston.
NFL Prop Picks For Browns vs. Broncos: Bet This Donovan Peoples-Jones Over/Under On Thursday Night Football – The Action Network
Jason Miller/Getty Images. Pictured: Donovan Peoples-Jones #11 of the Cleveland Browns celebrates after a touchdown
Sean Koerner, our Director of Predictive Analytics, is highlighting his favorite player prop for every primetime game throughout the 2021 season. He has a 428-326-6 (56%) all-time record on NFL bets he’s tracked in the Action app.
Broncos-Browns Prop Bet
Donovan Peoples-Jones Under 2.5 Receptions
Editor’s Note: Now that Odell Beckham Jr. is officially active, Browns player props are off the board at most books.
Peoples-Jones has been on fire over the past two weeks, posting lines of 5/70/0 & 4/101/2 against the Chargers and Cardinals, respectively. However, I believe it’s time to “sell high” on him as he’s due for some regression.
He’s caught a ridiculous 86.7% of his targets this season despite seeing an aDot of 15.7. Players with an aDot that high typically average a catch rate in the 57-60% range.
There are a few other reasons why my projections are lower for him compared to the market:
- Case Keenum is starting in place of Baker Mayfield tonight. Peoples-Jones has shown great chemistry with Mayfield over the past couple of games. The QB change seems like a setback for him.
- Weather could be a factor tonight. Steady winds of approximately 20 mph are expected with the possibility of some occasional rain. That would (in theory) negatively impact a high-aDot player like Peoples-Jones.
- Jarvis Landry is making his return from IR. He should be Keenum’s main target tonight, while the TE group should also see an increase in target share after a season-low five targets as a group last week. I also expect RB/WR Demetric Felton to have an expanded role tonight and he has been heavily targeted (37.5% of routes run) when on the field this season.
I’m projecting DPJ for 2.3 receptions tonight with a median projection of 31.5 receiving yards (market is currently at 38.5) — I’d give this under about a 60% chance of hitting. He’s the type of player who could clear his yardage prop on a couple of deep catches, so the safer play here is to take the under for his receptions, especially since we are getting + money. I would bet this down to -105.
Pick: Donovan Peoples-Jones Under 2.5 Receptions (+115) at BetMGM
Canadiens fans welcome Kotkaniemi back to Montreal with boos, vulgar chant – Yahoo Canada Sports
The Carolina Hurricanes were in Montreal on Thursday night to face the Canadiens at the Bell Centre, marking the return of Jesperi Kotkaniemi, who was at the centre of petty off-season drama after signing an offer sheet with the Canes.
In true hockey fashion, the Bell Centre crowd greeted the 21-year-old with boos and taunting chants.
The Canadiens acknowledged the former third-overall pick by displaying him on the jumbotron, which in turn sparked another wave of disapproval from the near-sellout crowd.
It was Kotkaniemi who got the last laugh, though, tipping in a goal in the third period for his first point with the Hurricanes — much to the delight of Hockey Twitter. Carolina ended up walking away with the 4-1 victory, keeping Montreal winless on the season.
The native of Pori, Finland appeared in 171 games for the Habs over three seasons, scoring 22 goals and notching 40 assists. He also registered 12 points in 29 playoff games, including five goals in Montreal’s run to the Stanley Cup Final last season.
Carolina tendered an offer sheet to Kotkaniemi in late August, offering a one-year contract at $6.1 million. Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin chose not to match, and Montreal received a first- and third-round pick as compensation.
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