Ya know what excellent entertainment is? When former players get together with some cocktails and a platform to talk shop about their playing days. LeSean McCoy had some candid things to say about the Antonio Brown situation and his time in Tampa Bay last year. You can check that out and a bevy of other things going on around the league before we get into the fun this weekend in this edition of Around the NFL.
Former Players Spill the Tea
Former Broncos linebacker D.J. Williams spills the tea on former head coach and current New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels on an episode of the I AM ATHLETE podcast. Also, former Philadelphia Eagles, Kansas City Chiefs, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back LeSean McCoy shed some personal insight on the Antonio Brown dynamic and demise in Tampa Bay.
"We started 6-0." – "We lose to San Francisco, our film guy got caught filming their practice."
"WE WAS CHEATING!"pic.twitter.com/Y1V7QgH21r
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) January 12, 2022
There’s a lot to unpack in these videos, from the X’s and O’s breakdowns to the insight to Antonio Brown’s demise in Tampa Bay from former teammate LeSean McCoy, and I’ll let you form your own opinions. Still, it’s definitely worth the watch this afternoon.
Went on the Outs in Indy?
Remember the Carson Wentz to Chicago rumors last offseason? Ah, good times. Wentz went to Indy in exchange for a third-round pick and a conditional second-round pick, and the Bears ended up landing Justin Fields, so everything worked out for Chicago for the time being, but as for how Indianapolis feels… well, not so great if you ask GM, Chris Ballard.
Ballard on Carson Wentz: “At the time, we felt it was the right decision…I’m not going to make a comment on who is going to be here next year and who is not.”
Says there was good and bad from Wentz this past year.
— Kevin Bowen (@KBowen1070) January 13, 2022
Ballard was non-committal on the future of the quarterback position for next season when asked about Wentz, but his “at the time, we felt it was the right decision” comments make it feel like Indy has buyer remorse and considering all options moving forward.
If we’re being honest, we all saw this coming, which is precisely why I was happy that the Bears didn’t trade for him the last offseason. Aside from one MVP-caliber season, Wentz has been an above-average game manager in Philly and Indy. He’s not an elite quarterback in this league and has had trouble even staying on the field. As for what the Colts will do under center in 2022, I’d imagine they’ll be stuck with Wentz, but if I’m Chris Ballard, I’m undoubtedly drafting a quarterback this year.
Big Ben’s Last Stand?
Ben Roethlisberger had some fun with the media on Wednesday regarding what might be his final NFL game when the Pittsburgh Steelers visit Arrowhead to take on the Kansas City Chiefs in this weekend’s AFC Super Wild Card Weekend.
"We don’t have a chance, so let’s just go in and have fun."
—Ben Roethlisberger on the Steelers' playoff game vs. the Chiefs
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 12, 2022
Roethlisberger and the Steelers are 12.5-point underdogs for Sunday’s matchup with Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. Roethlisberger is probably right in his thinking that there isn’t much chance that the Steelers live to see the AFC Divisional Round. But it’s cool to see the veteran quarterback is just looking to go out having some fun in what will likely be his final game. And hey, at least he gets to do it in the playoffs.
Eric Weddle is… Back?
This one caught me by surprise, mostly because I feel like Eric Weddle has been retired for like five years. He’s only been retired for two years, but this one was still way out of left field.
— NFL (@NFL) January 12, 2022
Weddle retired in February 2020 after he played one season with the Rams in 2019, making 108 tackles for Los Angeles. Injuries at the safety position, including leading tackler Jordan Fuller (who is out for the playoffs with a right ankle injury) and fellow starting safety Taylor Rapp (confusion), prompted the Rams to sign Weddle to the practice squad to provide them with some depth behind their reserves at the safety position.
Weddle spent 11 seasons with the Chargers and Ravens before his lone season with the Rams in 2019. As for how the 37-year-old safety can come out of retirement on a whim to possibly play in the playoffs, Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury joked about Weddle’s likely dietary and exercise habits:
“He must be living a lot healthier lifestyle than I was after I retired,” Kingsbury said. “He was a fantastic player a couple of years ago. All-Pro, Pro Bowl, is one of the smartest defensive players anybody ever speaks about. If anybody can do it, there’s no doubt he can.”
Whether or not Weddle suits up for the Rams on gameday remains to be seen, but it’s a fun story nonetheless.
The Extra Point(s)
• We know who Hub Arkush is (or isn’t) voting for when it comes to the NFL’s MVP Award, but what say you?
• JuJu Smith-Schuster returned to practice today for the first time since he was shut down on October 16 with a shoulder injury. Smith-Schuster had appeared in just five games this year and battled through injury before being officially shut down. He caught 15 of 28 targets for 129 yards through five weeks.
Steelers’ WR JuJu Smith-Schuster returned to practice today after being placed on the Reserve/Injured List on Oct. 16 with a shoulder injury. Steelers have a 21-day window to activate him to the 53-man roster, or he remains on the Reserve/Injured List.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 13, 2022
• Las Vegas Raiders tight end Darren Waller, a recovering alcoholic, opened up about the struggles of staying sober this season while missing games:
• Uh, yeah, ya think?
Antonio Brown is rethinking his exit.
— B/R Gridiron (@brgridiron) January 12, 2022
• Julian Edelman’s father doesn’t see a Patriots-Buccaneers Super Bowl in the cards 😂 :
• The replies:
Tell us why your team didn't make the playoffs
…in five words or less ⏬ pic.twitter.com/QU10Vr3X7d
— B/R Gridiron (@brgridiron) January 10, 2022
• B/R’s latest episode of Gridiron Heights features Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase as the Bengals make their first playoff appearance since 2015:
“Make like me in the preseason: Drop 'em.” 🤠
Ja'Marr Chase and Joe Burrow star in a #GridironHeights playoff western
— B/R Gridiron (@brgridiron) January 12, 2022
• Aaron Rodgers thinks it’s overdue that Nathaniel Hackett is getting some consideration for head coaching gigs. Rodgers called Hackett a great coach and a fantastic teacher on his Tuesday appearance of the Pat McAfee Show.
"We gotta great coaching staff on both sides of the ball & I think this is a little overdue for Nathaniel Hackett.. he is a great coach & a fantastic teacher"@AaronRodgers12 on the Packers coaching staff getting interviewed for head coaching jobs #PatMcAfeeShowLIVE pic.twitter.com/r5884KipGX
— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) January 11, 2022
• I’m not a fan, but you can form your own opinion:
— Bleacher Nation Bears (@BN_Bears) January 13, 2022