Darnold’s gift, time for the old college try for NC’s ACC squads and mullets
Ok. As the famous/infamous ESPN NFL coverage meme went, "Come on man.”
If Sam Darnold lands the starting gig with the Panthers, becomes the QB2s or gets traded to another NFL roster this year (and judging by the practice snaps Carolina Panthers something like that will happen), he should keep Washington Commanders Antonio Gibson on his thank you list for his next position.
Gibson, who has been the RB1 for the name-swapping Washington franchise, now known as the Commanders, had an inopportune fumble in the team’s preseason loss to the Panthers in the first quarter that led to a Sam Darnold touchdown pass in his only appearance in the game. This is after Gibson led the league in lost fumbles for running backs in the NFL last season with six losing four. He was immediately replaced with third-round pick Brian Robinson from a “little college” from Alabama that is coached by some guy named “Nick Saban.” Oh, and BTW, Gibson is a converted wide receiver/kick returner who spent the week in the doghouse up in D.C.
My point, Gibson’s fumble led to the only “starting QB TD” in the famous/infamous Mayfield-Darnold QB Battle. Just so you can update your scorecard, Mayfield got the start. Here was the stat line comparison:
Mayfield: 4-7 passing for 47 yards and a 76.5 QBR
Darnold: 2-3 passing for 16 yards, 1 TD and a 119.4 QBR
By the way, coach Matt Rhule says he’s in no hurry to name the starting QB.
In other Panther news, their week of joint practices with the New England Patriots have been, let’s say very “spirited.” Two melees, including one in which a female fan was struck when a scrum spilled into the spectator section, nearly put an end to Wednesday's practice session, which took place a day after two fights led to the ejection of five players from the Panthers and Patriots' first joint practice.
The teams meet in a preseason game on Friday night.
Watson reaches suspension deal
Deshaun Watson, the Cleveland Browns quarterback who has been charged with sexual assault and misconduct of a number of women, will miss 11 regular-season games, the NFL confirmed on Thursday.
Initially, a six-week punishment had been imposed following a protracted arbitration procedure between the NFL and its players' union. However, after receiving a barrage of complaints that the penalty was too small, the NFL appealed the ruling in an effort to obtain a harsher suspension.
Watson must also complete a behavioral treatment program and pay a $5 million fine, which will be used to create a fund to benefit non-profit groups working to prevent sexual assault and assist survivors across the United States.
The NFL and the Cleveland Browns will each donate $1 million to the foundation.
Watson has been charged with sexual misconduct by dozens of women while receiving massage therapy. He was involved in 24 lawsuits in total, and all but one of them have now been resolved.
A new HQ for Charlotte FC
The expansion Major League Soccer franchise Charlotte FC announced on Wednesday that Charlotte, North Carolina, will serve as the club's permanent training location and administrative hub.
The location, located at 8600 McAlpine Park Drive, where the team has trained this season, will be refurbished to feature a privately funded 52,000+ square foot facility with four fields — three made of natural grass and one made of artificial turf. Charlotte FC as well as its MLS NEXT Pro and Academy teams will call it home. The location currently has two fields.
Hornets announce 2022-23 regular-season schedule
The Charlotte Hornets will play their first home game against the New Orleans Pelicans at 7 p.m. on Oct. 21 at Spectrum Center after beginning the 2022–23 regular season with a trip to San Antonio to play the Spurs.
Highlights of the Hornets' home schedule include an early matchup with Stephen Curry and the defending NBA Champion Golden State Warriors on Oct. 29, a visit from LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers on Jan. 2 and a contest against Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks on Dec. 3. The defending Eastern Conference Champion Boston Celtics will visit Charlotte for consecutive games on Jan. 14, and Jan. 16, with the latter being a 1 p.m. tipoff on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
North Carolina schools gear up for ACC play
Associated Press beat writer Aaron Beard made the rounds along Tobacco Road this week as he profiled the upcoming football campaigns of Duke, Wake Forest, North Carolina and NC State. Each program has some interesting challenges ahead of them.
- UNC must figure out who will replace Sam Howell at QB.
- Wake Forest wasn’t expecting to have issues at QB, but an unexpected non-football medical condition has sidelined Sam Hartman, leaving the 22-ranked Demon Deacons and coach Dave Clawson scrambling.
- Duke finds itself in a transitional phase as first-time head coach Mike Elko tries to figure out how to get the Blue Devils back to being bowl eligible.
- NC State comes into the season ranked No. 13 in the AP poll — but coach Dave Doeren has ACC title hopes. Hopes that would end a four-decade drought for the Wolfpack.
The absurdity of sports: business in the front — party in the back
OK. Growing your hair really isn’t a sport, but as I reported last week, neither is an Excel spreadsheet competition (and that was televised on ESPN2). So, as we watch HBO Max and Netflix kill all of their content, I ask you, why am I not seeing stuff like this on TV?
Online voting for the Kids' Division of USA Mullet Championship is now taking place, and two contenders are from North Carolina.
The kids and teens category finalists were chosen earlier this week, and before voting ends on Friday, internet voters will decide who receives the dubious distinction of champion mullet-head. The tournament reportedly expanded from a regional event in Michigan in 2020 to a national extravaganza of showy and dubious taste. Participants this year are embracing the entire gamut of the infamous haircut, from patriotic emotions with an American flag shorn into the more elegant Mozart-esque flowing curly locks style.
According to CBS, "all of the donations are going to the Michigan Wig Foundation for kids," which contestants pay $10 to enter. Each winner of the first-place prize receives a massive $2,500 award.
Other sports headlines:
- Lawyers for basketball star Brittney Griner appeal her Russian prison sentence
- Serena Williams' new focus could help diversify the venture capital game
- Panthers win their first preseason game, Wake Forest's QB is out indefinitely and Bubba Wallace is staying with 23XI
- How Georgia reduced heat-related high school football deaths
Thanks for reading. Until the next Time Out For Sports Overtime.