Nov 29, 2020; Denver, Colorado, USA; New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas (13) carries the ball against the Denver Broncos in the second quarter at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

News Articles

Michael Thomas, Saints approach boiling point

Will Thomas’ delay of ankle surgery until June, poor communication with the Saints during his convalescence and his frustration at recently being called out by coach Sean Payton ultimately lead to a bitter divorce?

That seems like a relatively unlikely scenario considering the star wide receiver’s skills and track record. Although the Jacksonville Jaguars and college coach Urban Meyer is a logical potential landing spot and the Saints have a need at corner that could be filled with Jaguars corner C.J. Henderson, there’s been no credible report of a deal heating up.

Just because the two are at odds doesn’t mean this relationship can’t be repaired.

Plus, there are major salary-cap reasons why it wouldn’t be prudent to move on from Thomas.

While the Saints would carry $8.9 million in dead money this year if they trade Thomas, they would have an astronomical $22.7 million in dead money in 2022.
When healthy, Thomas is a relative bargain as he’s due $64.75 million over the next four years.

At some point, it’s logical to think that Thomas will cool down, stop saying on social media that the Saints are trying to damage his reputation, clear the air with team officials, get healthy and get back to catching touchdowns.

This doesn’t seem like an irreparable situation, but it does bear watching.

Given that the Saints lack proven, impact wide receivers outside of Thomas, they’re better off working behind the scenes to find common ground with the former Ohio State star.

–‘Encouraging’ news in Indy
As grim as the Indianapolis Colts’ medical situation looked a week ago, things are starting to look up.

Colts quarterback Carson Wentz, who underwent foot surgery recently to repair a broken bone, isn’t wearing a walking boot and isn’t limping.

The Colts feel good enough about Wentz’s medical outlook that they haven’t moved to add a veteran quarterback such as the Chicago Bears’ Nick Foles, who won a Super Bowl with the Philadelphia Eagles with Indianapolis coach Frank Reich calling the plays.

While Wentz’s rehab is “very encouraging,” according to Reich, the Colts are giving rookie Sam Ehlinger, a sixth-round draft pick from the University of Texas, an extended audition. Jacob Eason hasn’t proven that he should necessarily rank ahead of Ehlinger on the depth chart while Wentz recovers. So, the competition continues while the Colts cross their fingers that Wentz will be back in time for the start of the regular season.

Meanwhile, All-Pro offensive guard Quenton Nelson is considered to be on a fast track in his recovery from foot surgery. If the Colts get both Wentz and Nelson back on the field sooner than originally expected, that could go a long way toward challenging the Tennessee Titans for the AFC South division title.

–Seahawks move on from Aldon Smith
The Seattle Seahawks cut ties with trouble-prone pass rusher Aldon Smith.

They really didn’t have a choice considering that Smith was arrested in April on a second-degree battery charge in Louisiana and his extensive history of legal problems and alcohol issues.

Because the 31-year-old is so talented, NFL teams have given him multiple changes.

As much as the Seahawks wanted to see Smith resurrect his career with them after missing four years with NFL suspensions and had him live in a sober living home, things didn’t work out.

It’s a troubling sign to see Seattle move on from Smith considering how their organization believes firmly in giving players second changes.

His legal issues aren’t resolved. He’s facing an arraignment Aug. 24 in New Orleans for allegedly choking a man until he was unconscious. Smith’s $1.1 million contract only contained $137,500 guaranteed, so this wasn’t an expensive endeavor for the Seahawks.

As for Smith, it’s reasonable to wonder if he has squandered his last NFL opportunity.

–David Irving seeks second chance
David Irving knows exactly what he’s capable of.

Irving is a stellar athlete with the skills and athleticism to torment quarterbacks.

One of the most gifted pass rushers not currently playing for an NFL team, Irving remains a free agent.

And the former Dallas Cowboys and Las Vegas Raiders defensive tackle is convinced he can be a compelling comeback story.

The 6-foot-8, 275-pound pass rusher is training diligently at Phase 1 Sports in Las Vegas under the tutelage of Mike Waters, owner and founder of the workout facility, and trainer Trippe Hale. Irving’s efforts haven’t gone unnoticed as he’s drawing interest from multiple NFL teams.

When healthy and eligible to play, Irving, 27, has proven that he’s a dynamic player capable of producing big games. Irving emphasized that he’s remaining patient and taking a humble and hungry approach toward the game.

“I want to show people who David Irving really is,” Irving said in a telephone interview. “I’m a fighter. I want to dominate, and it’s a different mindset. I love the fact that I can be a three-technique at my size and get past two 350-pound guys double-teaming me who can squat twice as much as me and I make the play. That’s what I live for.

“The workouts have been going great. Everything I’m learning, kung fu, Jiu jitsu, boxing, all of my great training at Phase 1. That’s all helping with my movement and everything that you do on a football field. I’m the leanest I’ve been since I was 19 years old and I’m feeling explosive and I’m ready for anything that comes by way. I’m ready to play and I can’t wait to play football again.”

Released by the Raiders in May, Irving emphasized that he is eligible to be immediately signed by teams after being reinstated by the NFL last October. Following his reinstatement, he was signed to Las Vegas’ practice squad and subsequently promoted to the active roster within a week of joining the Raiders. Irving’s past violations of the NFL’s substance abuse policy has triggered suspensions and hindered his availability.

“I’ve done the necessary work,” said Irving, who was indefinitely suspended in 2019 by the NFL before his reinstatement last year. “I’m compliant with all of the NFL’s policies.”

Daniel Moskowitz, Irving’s attorney who successfully represented the NFL player in the reinstatement process, affirmed that Irving is in good standing.

“Obviously, the NFL programs are confidential, so I can’t get into any specifics, but I can say that David is in the best standing he’s been in since he was a rookie with the league’s programs,” Moskowitz said. “The sky is the limit. This year, David should be able to hit the ground running. That’s of great importance to his success. I think the biggest thing is when you’ve gone through past situations like David you’re weighed down by peripheral stressors. He has remedied them. From an emotional and physical standpoint, I really think he’s in the best place he’s been in years.”

A former NFC Defensive Player of the Year for his performance against the Green Bay Packers in 2016 when he forced three fumbles, recovered one with one sack and a pass deflection in 19 defensive snaps, Irving said a major motivating force in his life is his eight-year-old daughter, Zoe.

“She’s my why,” said Irving, who played collegiately at Iowa State. “I want to be able to set my daughter up so she can have options I never had in life. Growing up in Compton, we didn’t have money for school. It was either get a scholarship or go to the Marines like my dad. Being 6-foot-8 helped and I took this route. I keep leveling up. I don’t want to put my daughter in that situation. I want my daughter to be able to choose her future. My why has changed over the years as I’ve matured.”

–By Aaron Wilson, Field Level Media

Field Level Media
Sport Writer & Editor
FLM has a North American focus while tying into regional and hyper-local resources – providing the ability to distribute compelling content through the writing of professional journalists. As the U.S. sports content provider to dozens of digital and print media publishers through strategic partnerships with the likes of Reuters and Nielsen Sports, FLM covers the nuts and bolts with a breaking news desk and game event coverage.


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