First Call: Antonio Brown’s agent replies to Raiders GM; a Steelers TE option?
For Monday’s “First Call,” Drew Rosenhaus plows forward on behalf of Antonio Brown. Le’Veon Bell is still on the sidelines. A tight end option for the Steelers could come from Tampa. And the Pirates’ ineptitude with runners on base is amazing.
Not done yet
Sports agent Drew Rosenhaus volleyed back on what Raiders general manager Mike Mayock had to say about his client Antonio Brown.
The former Steelers wide receiver wasn’t at practice again Sunday for Oakland because he’s still mad the NFL won’t let him use the helmet he wants.
Mayock said “all avenues have been exhausted” in battling the NFL on this front, and he challenged Brown to be either “all in, or all out” and get back to practice.
But Rosenhaus told WSVN television in Miami he isn’t convinced that “all avenues” have truly been explored.
Antonio Brown's agent — @RosenhausSports — provides an update on where AB stands with the Raiders after GM Mike Mayock's comments today about Brown being "all in or all out." pic.twitter.com/VWOBfzPvwH
— 7 Sports Xtra (@7SportsXtra) August 19, 2019
According to ProFootballTalk.com, “At this point, the best (and perhaps only) alternative option would be the filing of a new grievance that challenges both the decision to expedite testing of the Schutt AiR Advantage in order to make that entire helmet model, which previously had not been prohibited by the league, a banned helmet model and the decision to not give Brown a one-year grace period to phase out of his helmet of choice.”
Leavin’ out Le’V
New York Jets fans won’t see Le’Veon Bell until the regular season starts. Coach Adam Gase said the former Steelers running back won’t play in the preseason at all.
Many teams use the third preseason game as a dress rehearsal of sorts, giving the first team players a few snaps to get ready for the regular season opener.
But Gase says that will be unnecessary in Bell’s case, and he’ll sit out this week’s game against the New Orleans Saints.
“I feel like he’s in great shape, he’s been contacting about as good as anybody on the practice field. I feel confident that he’ll be ready to go week one,” Gase said.
“He’s in a good place right now. The way he’s working in practice, the way he’s running the ball in practice, I feel really good about him when we hit the regular season.”
Bell hasn’t been hit in a real game since the Steelers lost in the playoffs to the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 2017 postseason.
The Jets open the season Sept. 8 at home against the Buffalo Bills.
Looking for a tight end?
The Steelers may be in the market for a tight end to back up Vance McDonald. Keep an eye on Tampa Bay as a trade option because Tanner Hudson is really making things complicated at tight end for the Buccaneers.
In the first two weeks of the preseason against the Steelers and the Miami Dolphins, Hudson has 13 catches for 177 yards and two touchdowns.
Some are thinking he could steal a job from backup tight end Anthony Auclair. Others are wondering if he may make Cameron Brate’s $7 million price tag expendable.
Before any of that happens, though, Hudson needs to make himself a better blocker. Head coach Bruce Arians ripped his blocking after the Miami game, saying, “He hurts himself when he gets beat on third-and-1 and we don’t make the first down. If he can learn to block he can really be an asset because he can really run and catch.”
At 6-5, 240 pounds, it may be wise to give Hudson’s blocking room to grow and perhaps deal Brate or Auclair.
How bad was it?
Perhaps no game in 2019 was more frustrating as a Pirates fan than the one on Saturday afternoon against the Chicago Cubs. They kept loading the bases and still couldn’t score en route to a 2-0 defeat.
In their 2-0 loss to the Cubs today, the Pirates had six plate appearances with the bases loaded.
Only one other team in the last 45 years has had 6+ bases-loaded PAs in a shutout loss: the Mets on April 26, 1980 (also 6). pic.twitter.com/OC9mJpNcqb
— Stats By STATS (@StatsBySTATS) August 17, 2019
That’s bad, right?
The Buccos were bad again Sunday night when it came to hitting with runners on base in a 7-1 loss to the Cubs. They stranded eight runners and were 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position.
Looking at Letang
The NHL Network ranked its top-20 defensemen. Kris Letang of the Penguins was rated 10th.
He was one spot in front of St. Louis Blues’ Alex Pietrangelo and one spot behind Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty.
The San Jose Sharks’ Brent Burns was given the top spot.
Letang’s 16 goals were fifth among defensemen. He had 56 points overall, good for ninth among NHL defensemen.