A look at Terrelle Pryor’s sudden switch from QB to wideout, the second act of former Giants running back David Wilson, and the video that may or may not show Saints linebacker Junior Galette hitting a woman with a belt
1) I think I have a hard time imagining Terrelle Pryor making it in the NFL as a wide receiver. The quarterback had been reluctant to the switch positions for years, and his sudden announcement reeks as a last-ditch effort to salvage his career after being discarded by his fourth team in five years (to be more specific, he was actually traded once and cut three times over the past 15 months). The Browns desperately need help at receiver and claimed Pryor off waivers on Monday. Though he looks the part—he’s 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds, with long arms—wideout is a nuanced position that requires more than a certain body type and blazing speed. Molding Pryor into a receiver, at age 26, will be a huge undertaking and require tremendous patience. I don’t see him lasting.
2) I think it’s hard not to root for David Wilson. We last saw the Giants running back in August, battling tears as he retired from football because of a neck injury at age 23. Last week, he was 15 pounds lighter and all smiles as he made his professional track debut at the Adidas Grand Prix. With Giants players Odell Beckham, Rueben Randall and Adrien Robinson in attendance, Wilson finished a disappointing ninth in the triple jump—though he was understandably rusty from his last competition at Virginia Tech in 2011. Good luck to Wilson as he trains for the 2016 Olympics.
3) I think the NFL is staring down a possible disciplinary issue that could set an interesting precedent. A YouTube video has come to the public’s attention (warning: graphic content) showing a man, allegedly Saints linebacker Junior Galette, hitting several people (including a woman) with a belt during a brawl on the beach. Here’s where things get murky: The video was posted in March 2013, and Galette’s attorney says he isn’t convinced his client is the man in the video. But if it is Galette, and if this video has been on the Internet for more than two years, is it too late for the NFL to punish him? Would the parameters of the new conduct policy apply? And what standard of proof would the NFL employ to proceed with a disciplinary process? The embattled linebacker is already scheduled to meet with the league this month to discuss his January arrest for domestic violence (charges were dropped). How the NFL deals with this new information will be a fascinating case study.
4) Speaking of the Saints, I think the Benson family feud is far from over. Last week a civil court judge declared team owner Tom Benson, 87, mentally fit to run his franchises (he also owns the NBA’s Pelicans). But this doesn’t mean Benson’s estranged daughter and grandchildren will end their challenge to block Benson from handing the Saints over to his wife of the past 10 years. There seem to be complicated issues regarding trusts that Benson created in Louisiana and Texas, and by all indications this messy legal battle could linger for quite some time.
5) I think the team that makes the most sense for Evan Mathis is the one that reportedly tried trading for him before this year’s draft: the Dolphins, who run an similar zone-blocking scheme in which Mathis thrived for the Eagles.
6) While we’re all fixated on Philadelphia’s third-string quarterback competition between Matt Barkley and Tim Tebow, I think the league’s best non-starter QB battle is actually on another NFC East squad: Washington. According to Mike Jones of the Washington Post, Colt McCoy and Kirk Cousins are expected to compete throughout camp for the backup spot. Considering Robert Griffin III’s track record, there are decent odds that Washington could be needings its No. 2 this season.
7) I think this is the coolest golf-related fact I learned this week: The site of next year’s U.S. Open is Oakmont Country Club in Pittsburgh; as a teenager, 49ers coach Jim Tomsula spent a summer working at Oakmont and helped build a wall behind the 18th hole.
8) I think I walked away from the pilot episode of HBO’s Ballers feeling the same as I did about Entourage: shallow, entertained and a bit uneasy. The show, which debuted on Sunday, is an unimaginative exaggeration of life as a professional football player, depicting a world in which women are disposable and motivations are one-dimensional. In the first episode we see Don Shula tell a player “you’re an a------” after he shows up just one minute late to a meeting with Dolphins brass—a scene I could see playing out in real life. However, there’s blatant misogyny: “If it drives, flies, floats, or f----, lease it!” is a line Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson delivers with sincerity. The casual abuse of painkillers and the excessive partying also portray NFL players in broad strokes as caricatures.
9) I think I understand NFL teams embracing any edge they can get, but there’s something a bit unnerving about drones being used to film practice, which the Giants, Patriots, Titans and Cowboys have done this offseason. Once again, The Onion has proven to be a progressive, impeccably sourced news outlet.
10) I think it was touching to see authentic gestures by the Panthers as their community mourns. Owner Jerry Richardson donated $10,000 to each of the nine families who lost a loved one in the Emanuel AME Church massacre, along with $10,000 for the church to memorialize the victims. Cam Newton also spent time on Monday visiting the family of a victim. If you haven’t read it already, Charlie Pierce’s essay urging us not to view such heinous acts as “unthinkable” or “unspeakable” isan important read.
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