JuJu Smith-Schuster and Jackson Mahomes was a collab no one wanted but was seemingly forced upon us when Smith-Schuster signed a one-year deal with the Kansas City Chiefs. Fans braced themselves for the inevitable onslaught of TikToks featuring the pair shimmying on top of memorials and/or midfield logos.
The fear of experiencing these videos driven into fans wasn’t because of Smith-Schuster. After all, Smith-Schuster had claimed he was done with pre-game dances after the Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin talked to him following the team’s loss to Cincinnati on December 21. It was driven by the fear that Jackson Mahomes would get Smith-Schuster back into posting those disrespectful TikToks. Jackson is known for being unpleasant when in public, but his presence on TikTok (and his brother’s fame) have given him a sense of entitlement that could turn JuJu back to the dark side.
Yet, after a week with Smith-Schuster in K.C., nothing has come from the two of them. The most we’ve gotten is Smith-Schuster dancing in his new jersey.
What is this? Where are the cringy thirst traps with Jackson? Where are the trendy dances? This isn’t what I signed up for! I demand to see the material that I thought would happen so that I can make fun of it on the internet! Well, according to Smith-Schuster himself, we won’t be getting any of that content anytime soon.
During an Instagram live with NFL Network’s Taylor Bisciotti, when asked whether or not he’d be making TikToks with Jackson Mahomes this year, Smith-Schuster said, “Nah. That is not happening.”
The world collectively rejoiced at hearing this.
JuJu continued, “Do I see myself doing that here? I’m here to work…I came here to win.”
That’s exactly what Smith-Schuster is going to need to do if he wants to bounce back after an injury-marred 2021 campaign. Ever since Smith-Schuster took over the No. 1 receiver role in Pittsburgh, he hasn’t lived up to his stellar 2017 and 2018 seasons. Many skeptics believe this is evidence that Smith-Schuster cannot succeed as an offense’s top option in the passing attack. Well, here’s Smith-Schuster’s chance to prove them wrong. With Tyreek Hill out of the picture, Smith-Schuster is the only proven wide receiver in that Chiefs’ locker room. While it’s likely that K.C. will address the position during the upcoming draft with either of their first-round selections, JuJu will still be the veteran presence in that wide receiver room. It’ll be up to him to fill the void that Hill left, and if he’s working out as much as he claims, then I have no doubt he’ll be able to thrive with Patrick Mahomes as his quarterback.
As long as most of the dances Smith-Schuster does with a member of the Mahomes family are with Patrick after the two connect for a touchdown, I’m sure Chiefs fans will welcome him into Arrowhead with open arms.
Kawhi Leonard’s return puts the Clippers back in the Western Conference hunt
It’d been nearly 16 months since LA Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard played an NBA game before Tuesday night’s preseason win over the Portland Trail Blazers. Leonard finished with 11 points in 16 minutes but, more importantly, looked to be fully recovered from the torn ACL he suffered in game four of the 2021 Western Conference semifinals against the Utah Jazz.
Last season the Clippers hung around through the first two months of the season with Paul George leading the way until he went down with an injury in late December. Paul missed over three months before returning at the end of March, but the damage had been done. The Clippers fell from the top five when George was healthy down into the play-in tournament, where they were eliminated, missing the playoffs just one year removed from the franchise’s first WCF appearance.
That’s all behind them now, because Leonard and George are back and healthy, making the Clippers a favorite in the West this year. Stacked up against the rest of the West, this LA team has the tools and depth to make a run at the Warriors’ western conference crown.
Of course, everything is predicated on Leonard’s ability to stay on the floor and be available in the postseason. Based on that notion, the Clippers have more than enough depth to compete with the best teams in the NBA. Over the last two years, head coach Tyronn Lue has proved that he’s more than a product of LeBron James. Lue can coach and has been labeled by many as the best coach in the league at adjusting.
LA should be able to go deep into their lineup, with 10 players receiving significant minutes on a given night. Having that depth should also help preserve Leonard and George through the long 82-game season.
In the backcourt alone, minutes will be tight with a six-guard rotation. Besides George, the Clippers have Reggie Jackson, Norman Powell, Terance Mann, Luke Kennard, and the newest addition John Wall as players that will battle for minutes on the floor. Leonard, Ivica Zubac, Marcus Morris Sr., Nicolas Batum, and Robert Covington comprise the Clippers’ frontcourt and should all see significant minutes, depending on the matchup. And many of these players can play multiple positions.
The road to winning in the NBA is rough, but those teams with depth are usually among the last left standing in the end. Sure, this league is about stars, but those stars also need to be surrounded by pieces that fit their game and what they do best on the court. The Clippers still don’t have a true starting point guard, as Jackson is more of a combo guard, but as we’ve seen in the past, he can certainly get the job done in big moments when called upon.
But again, none of this matters without Leonard on the court when it matters. Depth is fantastic — we just saw the Warriors and Celtics meet in the Finals possessing two of the deeper rosters in the association. Hopefully, there won’t be a need for too much load management in Clipperland this year, and Leonard can play at least 65 games. That’s a feat he hasn’t accomplished since he was in San Antonio.
Again, the main goal is to keep Leonard and PG-13 healthy enough to make a run in the playoffs. This is what the Clippers should be focused on heading into the 2022-23 campaign. You get to play a lot of bad teams through the course of an NBA season. These Clippers are good enough to beat most teams in this league. Against the top four or five teams in the NBA is where stars and depth will be most important. If the Clippers can get through the season primarily healthy, there isn’t any reason they can’t be right back in the WCF.
David Moyes ‘extremely relieved’ with West Ham’s win over Wolves after seeing Bruno Lage sacked
The Hammers picked up only their second Premier League victory of the season to move out of the relegation zone and are now looking to kick on when they face Anderlecht in the Europa Conference League tomorrow night.
Moyes has watched his side crawl out of the blocks in the League following a summer of significant overhaul, with eight new signings to bed in.
One report in the build-up to to the Wolves clash had suggested early pressure was beginning to build on the Hammers boss to arrest the alarming slump, but it was Lage who paid the price for his own team’s poor start as he was sacked by the Midlands club on Sunday.
“[I was] extremely relieved,” Moyes said. “Look what happened to the manager at Wolves, which was really unfortunate, and there was very little between our positions in the league.
“I’m not saying there’s no difference between my position at West Ham and his at Wolves, but certainly our league positions weren’t much different.
“But I think that’s what we’re seeing in football at the moment. An awful lot of changes. I don’t know what goes on behind closed doors at other clubs.
“At our club I’ve had great support from the owners, and everybody behind it. We think we’re trying to build something. Trying to make West Ham a consistent team in the Premier League. That isn’t an easy thing to do, but we’re trying to make a good fist of it.”
While the Hammers are only now showing signs of clicking into gear on the domestic front, in Europe, they have made a fine start with two wins from two group stage matches so far.
Victory in Belgium tomorrow would see Moyes’ side take a significant step towards sealing qualification for the knockout stage after Christmas and doing so early could afford the Scot the luxury of a dead-rubber amid the fixture pileup later in the campaign. Moyes, however, is taking nothing for granted.
“I wouldn’t in any way disrespect Anderlecht at all,” he added. “We’re away from home in Europe. It’s an incredibly difficult thing to do to come away and get results. Anderlecht are a proud club. They’ll see the chance of beating us and getting ahead of us in the group.
“But we’re going to play each other twice very quickly, and at the moment both us and Anderlecht look like the team with the most points. That could change. But [this week] is important. We’d like to win the group if we could. But, as I said last year, if we qualify and we’ve got European football after Christmas, that will be a real bonus for us once again.”
British Boxing Board of Control says Conor Benn and Chris Eubank Jnr cannot go ahead after failed drug test | Boxing News
The British Boxing Board of Control has said the fight between Conor Benn and Chris Eubank Jnr cannot go ahead after Benn failed a drugs test.
Promoters Matchroom Boxing and Wasserman Boxing released a joint statement on Wednesday saying Saturday’s fight at the O2 in London would go ahead despite the fact Benn returned an “adverse analytical finding” for traces of a fertility drug.
But a statement from the board said: “On the evening of 4th October 2022, the Board of the British Boxing Board of Control Limited resolved that the contest between Chris Eubank Jnr. and Conor Benn scheduled to take place on 8th October 2022 is prohibited as it is not in the interests of Boxing. That was communicated to the Boxers and Promoters involved on the morning of 5th October 2022”
It remains unclear whether the fight will take place on Saturday.
A joint statement from Matchroom and Wasserman had earlier said: “We have been made aware that a random anti-doping test for Conor Benn conducted by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association returned an adverse analytical finding for trace amounts of a fertility drug. The B sample has yet to be tested, meaning that no rule violation has been confirmed. Indeed, Mr Benn has not been charged with any rule violation, he is not suspended, and he remains free to fight.
“Mr. Benn has since passed a doping control test conducted by the UK Anti-Doping Agency, the anti-doping authority to which the British Board of Boxing Control has delegated its doping control testing for the bout. Mr Benn has passed all doping control tests conducted by UKAD.
“Both fighters have taken medical and legal advice, are aware of all relevant information, and wish to proceed with the bout this Saturday.”
Sky Sports News has contacted the British Boxing Board of Control.
Former two-weight world champion Carl Frampton criticised the decision to allow Benn to fight. He wrote on Twitter: “Boxing does itself no favours. There should be no grey areas. If you fail a test you’re banned and in my opinion you should be banned for life.”
The pair are due to face off almost 30 years since their fathers, Nigel Benn and Chris Eubank Sr, met in the rematch of their iconic rivalry
Eubank Jr has agreed to fight Benn at a catch weight of 157lbs, three pounds lighter than his last fight against Liam Williams in Cardiff earlier this year. The decision recently prompted father Eubank Jr to encourage people to boycott the fight amid concerns over safety.
Fight week media commitments were due to start on Wednesday with the two fighters set to take part in a live workout at a venue in central London.
The media workout was set to begin at 2pm with Benn predicted to enter the ring at 3.25pm and Eubank Jr to follow him 10 minutes later.
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