For The Love of The Game: Bleacher Roundup

By Ron Johnson

Even with the new NFL season on the horizon, there are still plenty of other sports leagues that are garnering for attention. There are even some that are trying their hardest to turn a loss to a win. And then there’s the migraine headache known as Sage Steele. 

And you thought the Pac-12 Implosion was bad…

Jets Embrace Rodgers’ Generous Donation

I still don’t agree with everything Aaron Rodgers has done in the second half of his career, but when he chooses to shoot his shot, rarely does he miss. He is like Carmelo Hayes…only he is nothing like Carmelo Hayes. However, after it was revealed that he took a massive pay cut to help the Jets start signing top-tier talent, the Jets chose to show their appreciation by securing the services of a former NFC North rival. 

After getting cut loose by the Vikings, Dalvin Cook has found his way to New York. He now joins Allen Lazard and Rodgers on a Jets squad looking to start their winning ways immediately. Cook’s deal is for a year and worth $8.6 million, which should only scratch the surface of what the team plans to do to show that they are indeed in the conversation of staking claim to the AFC East.

From Jerry’s World to Casa De Belichick

If there is one thing that is for sure about the Cowboys…it is that nothing is for sure. Over the years, we have seen the likes of Amari Cooper and Ben DiNucci find success away from the ominous star, we will see how that works in reference to another former Cowboy star. And yes, it is the one that fans were hoping would don the star once more. Too bad Bill Belichick didn’t get that memo.

As reported a few days ago, former Dallas Cowboy Ezekiel Elliot is joining the New England Patriots on a one-year deal that could be worth up to $6 million with incentives. The Patriots were a team that desperately needed a ground game, even during the final stretch of the Brady Era. With a two quarterback system in place, and a healthier Zeke on the field, the Patriots are also eyeing a chance to contest for the AFC East along with the Jets. As for Zeke, he will have a chance to say ‘No Hard Feelings’ to his former boss on October 1st when the Pats travel to Big D to face those very same Cowboys.

Is it time to write a Eulogy for the Pac-Something??

The last few weeks we have asked the question, and as the weeks pass by, the story is becoming somewhat a broken record. What started with a pair of powerhouses in USC and Oregon has now turned into a Dumpster Fire Sale for the once proud Pac-12 Conference. At the time of our writing last week, only four teams remained in the conference. Now there appears to be only two because ACC members have made it official by voting on a proposal that would add Stanford and Cal to its lineup.

With no true financial backing, the only two remaining out of the conference are two state teams (Oregon State and Washington State), but with the loss of Cal and Stanford, will the Mountain West invite still hold water, or will it crumble just like the conference it is trying to save?

So it’s now wrong to call out teams’ struggles?

I could not bring myself to wrapping my head around the insanity surrounding the Baltimore Orioles’ suspension of play-by-play broadcaster Kevin Brown. Personally, I have called out my own hometown teams (Blues, Cardinals) and even the LA Rams for their misfortunes over the last few years. But despite them fixing their mishap, what the Orioles did originally was just plain dumb.

Last month, Brown acknowledged the struggles of the franchise in recent seasons and was swiftly suspended. Now keep in mind: Brown did not insult or criticize the team, management or anyone else. He just pointed out what we all already knew and were thinking and saying. In games against the Tampa Bay Rays, the Orioles have not been very good. In fact, it had been six years since the O’s had won a series in Tampa Bay’s ballpark. Now I have heard the comments made by Brown that day, and one would think as a controversial sportswriter and podcaster, I would find fault in his comments. 

I found none.

This is one the Orioles cannot sweep under the rug as this is not the first time that a play-by-play guy has gone off the rails. While some have gone way off the rails, others haven’t even treaded the line. Brown was penalized for stating the obvious, as I will right now: In recent series with the Rays, the Orioles have sucked. That isn’t an insult…it’s just a fact of life. Simply put: The Orioles are in the driver’s seat of the AL East heading into September, and this is not the time to turn into divas. Do better Baltimore. Do better.

The Death of a Razorback

In rare fashion, you will not see me bring much somber moments to an article. However, this is one section I refused to make a full cover piece. That was done out of respect for the man and his family. The man I am referring to is Alex Collins.

On Sunday night, while we were all talking about Zeke and Dalvin, a pair teams were receiving some tragic news of their own. As reported on Yahoo and confirmed by the Seahawks and Ravens on Monday, Collins, former running back for both teams, died when his motorcycle collided with the rear of an SUV in Lauderdale Lakes, Florida. The fifth-round draft pick out of Arkansas bounced between the Seahawks (the team who drafted him) and the Ravens (where he spent two seasons). While his career was not Barry Sanders-worthy, his impact on all four teams involved was. Following his career with the Razorbacks, he was drafted by Seattle, then signed by Baltimore before returning to Seattle and finishing his career off with the USFL’s Memphis Showboats.

On behalf of all of us at Bleacher Brothers, our thoughts, prayers and condolences are with the Collins Family in this hour of need.

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