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Joe Burrow says Browns’ Odell Beckham Jr. handed out real cash to LSU players

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The money that Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. distributed on the field after LSU‘s national championship victory Monday was real, Tigers quarterback Joe Burrow said in a podcast interview released Wednesday.

“I’m not a student-athlete anymore, so I can say yeah,” Burrow said on the most recent episode of Barstool Sports’ “Pardon My Take” podcast.

Initially, an LSU spokesperson told the Baton Rouge Advocate that the money being handed out on the field by Beckham, a former LSU star, was counterfeit. On Tuesday, the school told the Louisiana newspaper that the university is looking to the matter.

School officials could not be immediately reached for comment by ESPN on Wednesday.

In a now-private Twitter video that initially went viral, Beckham was filmed handing out what appeared to be real cash to LSU players in the aftermath of the Tigers’ 42-25 victory against Clemson for the university’s first national championship since 2007.

After the game, LSU coach Ed Orgeron said he wasn’t aware of the incident.

“First I’m hearing about it,” Orgeron told reporters in New Orleans after the game.

If the money being doled out by Beckham was real, as Burrow said Tuesday, it would be a violation of NCAA bylaws. Cash is an example of impermissible benefits that are prohibited by the governing body.

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Joe Burrow says Bengals have No. 1 draft pick but he has ‘leverage’

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Potential top overall NFL draft pick Joe Burrow suggested Monday that the upcoming draft process could have more layers than simply being selected by the Cincinnati Bengals, the team with the top pick.

“I do have leverage,” the former LSU quarterback said, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, during a reception in Fort Worth in which he accepted the Davey O’Brien Award. “[The Bengals] have their process and I have my process. We haven’t even gotten to the [NFL] combine yet. There’s a lot of things that happen leading up to the draft and a lot of information gathered.”

Burrow, who won the award given to the nation’s top college quarterback, did not appear to elaborate on the specifics regarding those comments.

During various interviews throughout the day with local media in Dallas-Fort Worth, Burrow was repeatedly asked about his thoughts on playing for the Bengals, who have the first pick in the draft after finishing with the NFL’s worst record in 2019.

Burrow, who grew up less than three hours east of Cincinnati, was piqued by the idea of playing in Ohio, where his parents still reside.

“It’s an interesting [thought], you know, going back home to Ohio,” Burrow told KTCK-AM. “It would be a lot of fun. It would.”

During the buildup to next week’s scouting combine in Indianapolis, questions regarding Burrow’s willingness to play for the Bengals has been the topic of media speculation. Burrow’s mother, Robin, told the Star-Telegram on Monday that she was unaware of how that narrative originated.

“We have no idea where that comes from,” Robin Burrow told the Texas newspaper. “It’s a story out there that someone has created that doesn’t have any substance — from our perspective at least.”

However, throughout the day, Joe Burrow did not affirm his commitment to playing for Cincinnati, a franchise that hasn’t won a playoff game since 1991. In 2004, top pick Eli Manning refused to play for the San Diego Chargers and was eventually traded to the New York Giants, where he won two Super Bowls.

Burrow said being the No. 1 draft pick will be a “dream come true,” but demurred when asked if he wants to go to the city that currently holds the top overall pick.

“I’d like to play football,” Burrow said at a news conference. “So whoever takes me — I’m a ballplayer, I’m gonna play.”

The Bengals will have a chance to meet with Burrow during the combine, which starts on Sunday.

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D.J. Humphries to re-sign with Cardinals for 3 years, $45 million

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TEMPE, Ariz. — The Arizona Cardinals have stability at left tackle for the next few years.

They re-signed left tackle D.J. Humphries to a three-year deal worth up to $45 million with $29 million guaranteed. The deal, which was first reported by NFL Network, includes $30 million that will be committed during the first two years, a source confirmed to ESPN.

Humphries, who’s coming off the fifth and final season of his rookie deal, was the Cardinals’ first-round pick in 2015, going 24th overall.

He didn’t play a snap his rookie season, battling a perception by former coach Bruce Arians, who drafted Humphries, that he was immature an lazy. Humphries has battled injuries throughout his career.

This past season was his first playing all 16 games. He had played double-digit games in just one other — 2016.

Humphries made $9.63 million last year in his option season.

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Redskins TE Jordan Reed still in concussion protocol, almost 6 months after hit

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ASHBURN, Va. — Washington Redskins tight end Jordan Reed remains in the concussion protocol, nearly six months after a helmet-to-helmet hit in the third preseason game, according to coach Ron Rivera.

Rivera told The Athletic about Reed’s status at a yard sale in Charlotte, North Carolina, to benefit the Humane Society of Charlotte on Saturday. It’s long been expected that Washington would eventually cut Reed, saving $8.5 million on the salary cap. He would count $10.3 million against the cap if he remained. Reed has two years left on his contract.

Reed, 29, missed all of last season because of the concussion, his seventh documented one since he started playing college football. But his career has been marked by multiple injuries; Reed has never played more than 14 games in a season.

Reed had struggled for two seasons because of ligament damage to his big toes, but he looked good in training camp this past summer. But in the third preseason game, Reed suffered a concussion after Atlanta safety Keanu Neal delivered a helmet-to-helmet hit. Reed nearly returned in Week 2, after getting cleared by the team. But after symptoms returned, an independent neurologist did not clear him. Reed did not practice after Sept. 12 and was put on injured reserve on Oct. 14.

The Redskins made Reed the focal point of their passing attack under former coach Jay Gruden. He responded with a big season in 2015 when he played a career-high 14 games. That season, Reed caught 87 passes for 952 yards and 11 touchdowns — all personal bests.

After that season, the Redskins signed Reed to a five-year extension worth up to $46.75 million and he made his lone Pro Bowl after the 2016 season. But from 2016 to 2018, thanks to injuries, he averaged only 49 catches per season with a combined 10 touchdowns. He has 329 career receptions with 24 touchdowns.

Washington selected Reed in the third round out of Florida in the 2013 draft. He caught 45 passes in nine games as a rookie before injuries ended his season. Reed proved to be a mismatch for linebackers or safeties in particular, especially when aligned in the slot. The Redskins loved his ability to quickly win vs. a defender, making him an ideal target.

The Redskins have a definite need at tight end, with Reed likely out and Vernon Davis having retired. They visited recently with Greg Olsen.

The Redskins already have released two former starters: corner Josh Norman and receiver Paul Richardson. After those moves, the Redskins have approximately $54 million in salary-cap space.

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