The 2019 NFL season is officially upon us, but not all eyes are on Chicago as the Bears-Green Bay Packers opener looms.
The attention has instead been diverted to Oakland, where one of the offseason’s most intriguing storylines took an even more dramatic turn.
Three things that matter
Antonio Brown on his way out of Oakland already?
The saga just keeps getting stranger. The Oakland Raiders receiver seemingly resolved his helmet issue, but called his team out on Instagram after he was fined for missing mandatory team activities during the preseason. That did not go over well with Raiders general manager Mike Mayock, and ESPN reported that he and Brown “got into it” on Wednesday.
Now, Brown is facing a possible suspension and the Raiders could discipline him with the idea of trying to void the $30.125million of guaranteed money in his contract.
Mayock: AB isnt here pic.twitter.com/VFsw5Sk450
— Dieter Kurtenbach (@dieter) September 5, 2019
Cowboys won’t rush Ezekiel Elliott up to speed
The star rusher impressed when he returned to practice, and while Jason Garrett said it was “too early” to tell if Elliott will be on a pitch count in Sunday’s opener against the New York Giants, the Cowboys coach did say he will be worked back in slowly.
“You just want to have a plan and you recognise where he’s been,” Garrett told reporters. “There’s no question he’s been working out, he’s in good shape, his weight’s good, all of that. But again he hasn’t been practising against pro football players so you just work your way back into it.
“He’s an experienced guy. He’s played a lot of football for us so we just use our best judgement based on what we see, his feedback, what he says to us, how he feels, all of that. You just take it step by step.”
Elliott has averaged 25 touches per game over 40 contests in his career, so we will see if his holdout affects those numbers.
Julio Jones backtracks comments about week one availability
The Atlanta Falcons receiver began his media availability by saying everything is going great concerning contract negotiations, then insisted he “doesn’t know” if he will play on Sunday if he does not have a new contract before declaring he does want to be on the field.
Julio Jones says it’s fair to say he plans to play on Sunday: pic.twitter.com/mzDUNa8Iyf
— Kelsey Conway (@FalconsKelsey) September 5, 2019
Clearly Jones is getting frustrated, but will it affect his performance in Minnesota if he is in fact active? He hinted he is sore from the turf, so that is another factor to consider.
Two things that don’t matter
Tyler Higbee gets 4-year extension
The tight end joined quarterback Jared Goff by extending his stay in Los Angeles through the 2023 season. Financial terms were not disclosed, but the deal reportedly makes Higbee among the top-10 highest-paid tight ends.
He had 24 receptions for 292 yards and two touchdowns in 2018, and he has 60 catches for 672 yards and four scores for his career.
Patriots aren’t favourites to win Super Bowl LIV
The Kansas City Chiefs beat out the New England Patriots, as well as the New Orleans Saints, in Las Vegas as the team most likely to hoist the Lombardi Trophy this season.
Interestingly, the overhauled Cleveland Browns received the biggest number of bets overall around the country.
A lot can change over the next five months, but it is certainly an interesting start to the season.
One video you have to see
Football is back, and so are the Bud Light victory fridges. We’ll see if Cleveland fans have to wait until week three like last season to get in them.
The line for our @budlight Victory Fridges wrapped around the block (and then some)!
Thank you to everyone who stopped by B.L. & Brown’s Appliance Superstore this week! We had a blast. pic.twitter.com/XMLJTy4ptY
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) September 5, 2019
Thursday’s tweet of the day
In true centennial celebration fashion, Hall of Famer Brett Favre faced off against young gun Patrick Mahomes in a no-look throw challenge ahead of the Bears-Packers showdown to kick off the NFL’s 100th year.
— SNF on NBC (@SNFonNBC) September 5, 2019