Three weeks before the Ravens are scheduled to open the season at home against the Browns, Baltimore is facing a major personnel crisis after a practice dust-up on Friday.
Earl Thomas, a seven-time All-Pro safety entering his second season with the Ravens, was “sent home from the facility Friday following a fight with teammate Chuck Clark,” Tom Pelissero reported on Saturday morning. Shortly after Pelissero’s report, The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec said Thomas wasn’t on the practice field. And then came this whopper from Jason LaCanfora:
“Also continue to hear [Ravens’] players have voiced strong support for DeShon Elliott as a rising safety should Earl Thomas be let go and players there also love free agent safety Tony Jefferson, who is almost all the way from 2019 season ending surgery.”
Thomas has a fully guaranteed $10-million salary for 2020, but the guarantee “evaporates if he’s suspended by the Ravens for conduct detrimental to the team,” said Mike Florio, who obtained a copy of Thomas’s contract. “Even if they can avoid the guarantee, cutting Thomas would result in a $5 million cap charge in 2020 and another $10 million in 2021. However, if the suspension sticks, the Ravens would balance out the 2021 cap hit with a $10 million credit.”
Thomas signed a four-year, $55-million deal ($32 million guaranteed) in March 2019 after spending the first nine years of his career in Seattle.
$1.3-Billion Vacuum Cleaner
The NFL is allowing teams to establish their own attendance policies this season, and several teams have already announced zero fans or limited attendance for at least their early-season home games. The Cowboys plan to allow some fans in accordance with the state of Texas’s allowance of 50% capacity...because AT&T Stadium is like a vacuum cleaner if the roof is open.
It’s unclear if Jones’s claim has any basis in scientific reality and/or if the Cowboys will fill AT&T Stadium to 50% of its capacity.
Cal received $2 million in product and $150,000 in cash from Nike in 2016–17, the final year of the Golden Bears’ long relationship with the world’s largest footwear manufacturer. One year later, Cal received a $3 million signing bonus, $4.76 million in product and $3.5 million in cash from Under Armour in the first year of a 10-year, $86-million apparel deal…that was never signed.
In late June, it was reported Under Armour wanted to end their deals with Cal and UCLA, who signed signed a 15-year, $280 million deal in 2016, and their case rests on a few key pieces, among them a third-party apparel sale of $591.68, according to Jon Wilner, who obtained a copy of Under Armour’s notice of termination sent in June:
“The first [claim] invokes force majeure (i.e, the ‘act of God’ clause) and asserts that Cal failed to fulfill contractual obligations to Under Armour because of the cessation of college sports during the coronavirus pandemic. The second claim focuses on the sale, by a third-party operator, of $591.68 of apparel from Cal’s long-gone days as a Nike client.”
Odds & Ends
The Group of Five has a path to the College Football Playoff this year … 2020 Fantasy Football Draft Kit … Burning questions after the NBA Draft Lottery … A high school AD stopped their football game to yell at fans about masks and social distancing rules … 74-year-old Vince McMahon went full YOLO to show Gronk how it’s done … NFL Training Camp news and notes … ABC is moving toward their first NFL package since 2005 … Former NBA player Gerald Wilkins arrested for allegedly punching a man and woman at an Atlanta gas station at 3 a.m. … Why the Warriors should pass on LaMelo Ball at No. 2.
Happy 78th, Bill
If you haven’t heard of Moe Berg: He was an MLB catcher (for several teams, including the White Sox and Red Sox) in the 1920s and ‘30s who spied for the U.S. government after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
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