Golden Tate’s P.R. strategy sidesteps cheating stigma

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Giants receiver Golden Tate may indeed have been telling the truth when he explained that he began taking a fertility drug, that he realized in a matter of days that the drug is a banned substance under the PED policy, and that in the interim he was randomly tested under the PED policy. Like Tate, nearly every player who gets caught violating the PED policy has a plausible (or at least semi-plausible) excuse that softens the stigma of using PEDs for cheating.

Indeed, apart from receiver Julian Edelman (who didn’t bother to offer an excuse at all), every player who ever has tested positive for PEDs has had an explanation that didn’t involve using Performance Enhancing Drugs to actually enhance performance. Most often, the player took a supplement that unbeknownst to him contained PEDs. On other occasions, it was a fertility treatment.


Gronk to announce, well, something on August 27

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Some think Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski inevitably will return to football. On August 27, he’ll be making an announcement of some sort, but undoubtedly not an announcement that he’ll return to football.

At an invitation-only event held in New York City, Gronk will unveil his “next chapter.” Given that both the email and an accompanying graphic use the term “chapter,” there’s a chance Gronkowski has authored (or at least co-authored) another book.

Which reminds me of his last book, It’s Good to be Gronk. Appearing on PFT Live as part of the radio tour for the new release in 2015, Gronk was eventually given a chance to tell people why they should buy the book.

“That’s a good question,” Gronk said. “I don’t know.”

For now, we don’t know what he’ll be announcing on August 27. But the email announcing the


Aaron Rodgers, Packers starters will play “a quarter or so” on Thursday

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The Packers travel to Baltimore for their second preseason game on Thursday night. And the folks who show up at M&T Bank Stadium will get to see quarterback Aaron Rodgers play.

Via Rob Demovsky of, coach Matt LaFleur told reporters on Tuesday that Rodgers and the rest of the starters will play “a quarter or so” against the Ravens.

Since 2014, Rodgers has appeared in one or two preseason games each year. In 2018, he threw four passes in a Week Two game at Pittsburgh. In 2017, he played in two preseason games, with 13 passes thrown. In 2016, he appeared in one exhibition contest, throwing nine passes.

In 2015, Rodgers played in the first two preseason games, throwing a stunning 19 times in the first game and five in the second. The year before, it was 13 passes in Week


NFL hires Jay-Z’s Roc Nation to lead music and entertainment endeavors

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The NFL is expanding its footprint in the music business, in a surprising way.

Via Jason Reid of, the league has hired Jay Z’s Roc Nation to “lead the league’s endeavors in music and entertainment.”

Roc Nation, which represents players like Todd Gurley and Saquon Barkley, will advise the NFL on the selection of the Super Bowl musical acts. The company also will be involved in the production and promotion of new music by the league.

And that’s where this gets intriguing from a business standpoint. The NFL is essentially partnering with Jay-Z to produce music, expanding the league’s footprint well beyond football.

It actually makes sense. With the biggest musical platform in the world coming between the second and third quarter of every annual NFL championship game, it’s one thing to squeeze the selected acts for a slice of the boost they experience. It’s


Will Antonio Brown find a suitable Schutt AiR Advantage?

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The ultimate reality show now brings us the ultimate scanvenger hunt.

And it remains to be seen whether Raiders receiver Antonio Brown will find a suitable Schutt AiR Advantage.

Beyond the obvious fact that the helmet needs to fit Brown, it also needs to be less than 10 years old and in sufficiently good shape to be properly certified for use in 2019. It’s unknown how many helmets fit those parameters.

A source in the helmet industry who requested anonymity advises PFT that the Schutt AiR Advantage officially came off the line after the 2009 season. It’s possible, the source explained, that “maybe a couple thousand” additional helmets were made after 2009 for certain specific college and professional teams. Schutt retained none in its warehouses.

The date of the helmet’s manufacture is stamped inside the shell of each helmet. If/when Brown finds


Looking at the best left-handed quarterbacks of all time

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It’s International Left-Handers Day. Which for a pair of left-handers who co-host PFT Live made it a very important day.

Even though the right-handers who rule the world relegated our one day of the year to August 13.

We commemorated the occasion by drafting the all-time best left-handed NFL quarterbacks. Chris Simms did not make the list. Six others did.

Check out the video. Did we miss anyone? Or, I should say, was anyone left out?


Does Andrew Luck have a durability problem?

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Andrew Luck is a giant of a man. When healthy, he’s a great quarterback. As he approaches his 30th birthday, however, a fair question has arisen regarding the first overall pick in the 2012 draft.

Does Luck has a durability issue?

After three seasons of starting 16 games per year, Luck has ping-ponged between making it through all or most of full season and missing more than half of it. In 2015, he played only seven games. In 2016, he started 15 games. In 2017, he didn’t play at all. In 2018, he played every game — and he played incredibly well.

This year, it’s looking less and less likely that he’ll be ready for Week One. With a calf strain now becoming a “little bone issue” (which doesn’t sound so little, especially when coming from a man with a history of


Making sense of the latest Dak Prescott reports

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On Monday, the Dak Prescott negotiations eclipsed the Ezekiel Elliott talks, even though Prescott is in camp and Elliott isn’t.

Prescott’s negotiations took center stage because, whereas there are no numbers published regarding Elliott’s negotiations, NFL Media (wholly owned by the NFL and thus partially owned by the Cowboys) reported that Prescott has rejected $30 million per year and wants $40 million per year.

The last half of that report was, frankly, #fakenews. PFT and others (including ESPN’s Chris Mortensen) reported that Prescott has never asked for $40 million per year.

So why did that get reported? Assuming the Cowboys leaked the figure to the media company it partially owns, it looks like the Cowboys may be trying to make Prescott look greedy and unreasonable, a risky move that could diminish Prescott in the eyes of the fans of America’s Team. It


Washington refuses to trade Trent Williams

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Bruce Allen continues to do Bruce Allen things.

With the relationship between Washington and left tackle Trent Williams fractured, the Washington team president continues to believe that the passage of time will somehow unfracture the relationship, resulting in Williams walking through the door, reporting for duty, and playing for the team.

Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that Washington has told multiple teams that Williams will not be traded. Teams repeatedly have inquired, per Schefter, and teams repeatedly have been rebuffed.

Washington reportedly believes that training-camp fines in the amount of $40,000 per day will result in Williams eventually caving. But Williams isn’t flinching, either; with no intention to ever return to the team (and no game checks from which to withhold the fine amounts), he believes the team will have no way to recover the $40,000 per day.

Signed through 2020, the


Antonio Brown has a potential helmet loophole

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Raiders receiver Antonio Brown has a potential helmet loophole, if he chooses to try to use it.

Brown can’t use his preferred helmet — a Schutt AiR Advantage — in 2019, because that specific helmet is more than 10 years old. However, because the NFL has not affirmatively banned from use the Schutt AiR Advantage, Brown apparently could use one that is less than 10 years old, if he can find one.

A PFT reader communicated directly with the NOCSAE on this subject, and Executive Director/General Counsel Michael Oliver has confirmed to PFT via email that, indeed, the NOCSAE continues to recertify Schutt AiR Advantage helmets that are less than 10 years old.

The NFL did not directly address the question of whether Brown would be permitted to use a Schutt AiR Advantage that is less than 10 years old. In response