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Social media tiff ensues between former NFL players over Mark Ingram suspension

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The big story in the “Big Easy” from Tuesday was that former Saints #1 pick and Pro Bowl running back Mark Ingram has been suspended by the NFL for violation of PED policy.

Ingram, who rushed for a career high 1,200 yards and scored 12 touchdowns, as the Saints won the NFC South in 2017, will be forced to sit the first four games of the 2018 season. This includes their home opener with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the Superdome on September 9th.

Then, as news leaked of the suspension in the afternoon, a “dust up” on social media ensued between a former Saint and a former Buccaneer, who went head to head against each other on the field in the early to mid-2000’s.

First, Dulymus “Deuce” McAllister, a former very popular New Orleans running back for his entire eight year career (’01-08), predictably came to Ingram’s defense:

McAllister is referring to his own four game suspension by the NFL that happened in the final month of the final year of his career in 2008. More on that, shortly.

Well, former #1 pick of the Jets in 2000 and Bucs tight end (’05-’07) Anthony Becht, who played thirteen total years in the NFL, sounded off too about Ingram being caught for banned substance:

And that’s when, something that rarely happens (at least publicly on social media) ensued: the players started arguing.

McAllister “slapped” at his former NFC South rival:

And Becht, who’s a now a game analyst on ESPN for College Football, as well as working on Bucs radio pre and post game coverage in Tampa, “slapped back:”

Becht is correct and is quoting from the NFL policies on PED’s, which clearly spell out that the player is ultimately responsible for what they take, regardless if it used to not have a banned substance in it or not. If you take it, you are responsible. Becht further gave insight on another aspect of the policy that you can take your supplements and enhancers to a team for them/the NFL to test, but ultimately that’s not a guarantee that you won’t test positive, either.

Back to McAllister. He does have a different view point because in December 2008, he and his teammates Charles Grant and the late Will Smith, all three were given their four game suspensions for taking the same weight loss drug that had banned substance.

Later in 2009, two Minnesota Vikings, Kevin and Pat Williams, who are not related, also tested positive for the same weight loss drug. Those players argued for themselves, and for the Saints players, etc. that the NFL had approved the drug and further in the Vikings case, that the NFL knew that later tests showed the banned substance, but didn’t tell the NFLPA or the players to stay away from it in the future.

And they went to Federal Court in Minnesota.

The Williams’ case made it’s way through the Minnesota courts, where they won twice, but the NFL appealed to the state Supreme Court and finally in 2011 (three seasons later) won, when that court refused to hear the appeal. They basically agreed that the NFL could suspend the players for the positive test, no matter the circumstance of how the players got or took the banned substance.

Again, back to McAllister, he never played again in the NFL after being banned in December of 2008. He is now retired and doing some radio work with the Saints broadcasts and some local television as an analyst, too.

And, ultimately, in his and the others’ case, the NFL was vindicated that player’s are responsible, for what they take, which was Becht’s point Tuesday on social media.

As of Wednesday morning, McAllister and Becht had “ceased fire” on Twitter.

That could always change.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Hall of Fame WR Randy mentoring Bucs QB Jameis Winston in Tampa

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Controversy has followed Jameis Winston throughout his college and NFL careers and now, former controversial NFL star receiver turned ESPN analyst Randy Moss, is trying to help.

As you probably know by now, the Bucs QB is suspended for the first three games this season by the NFL for violation of the personal conduct policy after he inappropriately touched a female Uber driver in Arizona in 2016. It’s the latest in a long line of personal missteps and problems that have dogged Winston off the field, since his days at Florida State.

Meanwhile, Moss, who will be enshrined at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, OH, later this month, has been in Tampa recently working with and apparently trying to help mentor Winston.

Tampa TV station, Fox 13 and reporter Kevin O’Donnell, got exclusive comments from Moss on helping Winston on Tuesday:

“He’s doing things right,” Moss told the station.  “It’s a bump in the road…Man, just continue to fight. It happens…. What he did was wrong. You know. I’m not saying right or wrong. There was a woman involved. So, I’m not going to get into all of that. What he did was wrong. He know (sic) it was wrong. So, I think it’s up to him as a man to understand what he did wrong….to live and learn from it and let it go.”

Moss had early controversies and arrests in his own college career, as he was denied entry at Notre Dame and later kicked off the FSU football team while red-shirting for arrests and probation violations that led him to being back behind bars.

He later thrived at Marshall University, was a Heisman Trophy Finalist, a first round pick by the Vikings and had a 14 year career as one of the most explosive NFL receivers of all time. Moss, who caught for 1,000 or more yards in 10 NFL seasons and is second all time with 156 TD receptions, was voted into the Hall of Fame (above) in his first time on the ballot back in January.

Winston was shown by the station running sprints and making throws to some other prospective NFL receivers at the workout Tuesday, but refused to talk on camera. He has not spoken publicly, since the NFL suspended him two weeks ago. He told the station he will talk at Bucs training camp later in July.

As for Moss, he further said Tuesday that he’s trying to give Winston and other young players advice from his own experiences and failures off the field.

“One of the things that I always told my people: ‘Don’t be scared or shy to tell me no, because I check my pride in at the door….I’ll thank you later, you know, when I’m not behind bars, or when I’m still on a football team.” Moss continued, “A lot of these guys don’t realize that they’re being watched under a microscope and they don’t realize it until it happens to them and they’re out of  job.”

At this point, the fourth year Bucs QB Winston, has to realize that he is on the verge of being out of a job in Tampa. That’s if he doesn’t respond well from the suspension by staying out of trouble and performing well on the field.

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New Bucs DE Jason Pierre Paul still great reminder of July 4th safety

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Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

The Buccaneers are excited to see what former USF and New York Giants star Jason Pierre-Paul can do on the field in Tampa Bay this fall. After being acquired in a trade with the G-men in March, Pierre Paul hopes to energize an almost non-existent Bucs pass rush from last year.

One thing is for sure, as much as he’s known for being a star on the field, Pierre Paul has become a reminder of “what not to do” and specifically fireworks safety on July 4th.

It was three years ago Wednesday night that Pierre Paul’s decision to celebrate and ignite amateur hand-held fireworks in South Florida led to a horrific and potentially, career threatening right hand injury.

But, out of what could have been football tragedy involving his  hand, Pierre-Paul has made a comeback and is now a national PSA symbol for firework safety.

The beginning of Pierre Paul’s football story is the Deerfield Beach, as a native of Hatian immigrant parents playing  as a Juco star in both California and Kansas. Then, he was brought back to Florida, by coach Jim Leavitt and staff, as USF’s dominant pass rusher in 2009. That year he attained All Big East honors with 6.5 sacks and 16.5 tackles for loss for the Bulls.

This fast tracked Pierre Paul to the NFL after only one season in Tampa and he was drafted 15th overall by the Giants in the 2010 NFL Draft.

After a rookie year with 4.5 sacks, he burst on the pro scene in season two with 16.5 sacks for the G-men leading to a Pro Bowl selection and was part of the New York Superbowl victory over the Patriots that February.

Pierre-Paul continued to be regarded as the Giants most consistent pass rushing threat and had another double digit sack season with 12.5 in 2014.

Then came the off season of 2015, where he chose not to sign his one year Franchise Player free agent tender (the Giants still had his exclusive rights) seeking a longer term deal. And, he remained unsigned as of July 4th that year.

That night in 2015 he loaded up a van with handheld amateur fireworks and with friends and neighbors began shooting them off until one obviously malfunctioned and mangled his right hand. Pierre-Paul was hospitalized and eventually had multiple surgeries on the hand and his right index finger amputated.

The Giants stood by him, when they could have dumped him for non-football injury, and he eventually made his way back onto the field in November of 2015. Signing a “pro rated” week to week one year deal, his debut came as New York traveled to Raymond James Stadium (Pierre-Paul’s USF home for a season) and he played with a padded “club” protecting his right hand against the Bucs.

He would play in eight total games that season with one sack and then, as further proof of the Giants being in his corner, they re-signed him on a one year $10 million deal for 2016. Pierre-Paul then worked a year ago with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission on a July 4th fireworks safety video:

The gnarly image and video of Pierre-Pauls right hand is obviously the deterrent the agency is looking for with the PSA campaign about safety. He played 2016 with a special padded glove to protect the hand/fingers registering another seven sacks before being placed on I.R. with a sports hernia.

Finally, and happiest of all financial endings after the fireworks disaster, Pierre-Paul inked a four year $62 million deal with $40 million guaranteed in March of last year to stay, so he thought, in New York.

Alas, the Giants had a nightmare of a 2017 season that finished at 3-13. Pierre-Paul had a solid season with 8.5 sacks and 68 total tackles despite the dismal team finish.
Then, Bucs GM Jason Licht swung the deal for Pierre-Paul and Tampa Bay agreed to assume his $12.1 million dollar salary for 2018.

So, while it all worked out in the end, obviously, the Jason Pierre-Paul July 4th fireworks mess could have had a much different ending all the way around for he, the Giants and now, the Bucs.

It’s a reminder to stay safe Wednesday night. Leave the handheld fireworks to someone else.

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What are Buccaneers options with QB Jameis Winston?

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Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been a tumultuous past few days for the Buccaneers organization, as they now know that they will be without QB Jameis Winston for the first three games of the year for his NFL suspension.

There has been a lot of speculation as to what the franchise will do in the short and long term.

Here are their options:

Cut Winston now

If the Glazers, who own the team, choose to make a statement to their organization, the fans and the NFL in general, one would think it will come quickly.

First, the financial hit is not that significant, as Winston is scheduled to make $3.8 million in actual salary and the “dead cap” hit from the remainder of his signing bonus being applied is $4.9 million.

So, it’s not as if there are large ramifications ($10-15 million) for his release.

If you are wondering if the Glazers have done something like this before? The answer is yes.

In 2013, they allowed coach Greg Schiano to not only bench but outright release QB Josh Freeman during the season, while they still owed him $6 million guaranteed for remainder of the season.

Allow Winston to come back to play after the suspension

This is most likely the short term plan. Yes, Winston will be a distraction during training camp and the preseason, but ultimately the Bucs best chance to win 7, 8 or more games is with Winston at the controls.

And if the Glazers have to pay Winston the actual $3.8 million in salary, the strong argument is have him “play for it” or earn the money.

The risk is that the Bucs could be on the hook for the fifth year guarantee of his rookie contract. If Winston were to be injured, and unable to pass a physical in March, the Bucs would have no choice, because his $20.9 million option year would then be guaranteed.

Release Winston after the season before the March deadline to guarantee his 2019 salary

This scenario also makes sense for the owners, especially if Winston plays poorly after the suspension. At that point, no one would fault them for not wanting to guarantee the almost $21 million for  2019.

Further, if they have decided now, that they won’t be paying Winston a mega deal in the future, then he’s living on “borrowed time” for 2018. To that end, if the Bucs season is bad and Winston is not playing well, there very easily could bench him to avoid the injury guaranteeing his deal (the Redskins did this with RGIII a couple of years ago).

Play Winston-he succeeds, puts the past behind him and gets long term deal later

This is obviously the biggest “long shot” of all the scenarios, but it’s still possible that Winston could play well, or even exceptionally well. And if he’s not injured, then the Bucs could take the almost $21 million risk for 2019 and work towards a long term deal.

Again, the Glazers with GM Jason Licht have short and long term options.

And, if they are deleting Winston, you have to think that happens, shortly.

Otherwise, it’s one of the other options above.

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