Who is Nick Mullens?
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And then in college football, you've got a one versus three matchup down in Louisiana as albums going to travel. The death valley at night gonna top ten matchup in the SEC already going to determine one of those divisions this weekend. And yet last night, we got force-fed some of the worst football on planet earth. Now, our misfortune ends up being the gain what could be a career maker for one guy because last night. The San Francisco forty Niners dispatch the Oakland Raiders thirty four to three on Thursday night football. And while it was not a game that was inherently interesting feature a lot of defensive prowess or really anything of note. It was a game that took place between Derek Carr, Nick Mullins, which ends up being the story this one. And if you're wondering, I'm a pretty big football fan. I don't think I've ever heard of Nick Mullins before you would be correct in your assessment. Most of us had not heard of Nick Mullins before the coming days, Nick Mullins, e 2017 undrafted free agent out of southern miss. Started his day off. So he gets the news that he's going to start. Very late in the game Thursday night Friday morning. He started off his day by receiving a good luck Tech's from fellow southern miss golden eagle. Brett farve. Now, you have to imagine that was the first of many text messages for him. But the one that was going to be the most guys getting ready to make his first NFL start on a primetime game against the Oakland Raiders. And I don't care who you are underhanded free agent myself. This is a hell of a position for guy to be an career maker break kinda moment. And Nick Mullins the San Francisco forty Niners starting quarterback. Yes. You get to say that today. Nick Mullins soak it in talked about the feeling of knowing he was going to get the start last night feeling obviously knowing that you're gonna start put some more emphasis on it. I guess you could say preparation stayed pretty consistent studied the plan. Always going to be ready when my name was called, and it was called. And so just tried to do the best that I could. And the team did the best that we could you know, we played great sound football three phases. The game. Personal last Michael junior here on ESPN radio and the ESPN, man. My guy already has the stock quarterback answers down, Pat. He's been reading from the handbook he's been sitting there to Jimmy Garoppolo CJ Beathard. You've got all these guys in front of you CJ Beathard was out last night with a wrist injury. That actually gave him trouble gripping the football. Which is the reason Nick Mullins is getting the start to begin with. And he's been sitting there soaking up all of this stock very vanilla quarterback answer. Just in case. He finally got to this moment had to get up at a post game press conference. But do did it last night. Three touchdown passes in his NFL debut, weeding the forty Niners to a season high thirty four points in that route the first player in forty Niners history to throw three touchdown passes and his team debut this according to you live sports bureau and he's just a fourth quarterback ever to throw for three touchdown passes. It is first NFL game over the last twenty five seasons. Joining listen to these names the for the quarterbacks to throw for three touchdown passes in their first NFL game in the last twenty five years the last twenty five years we've seen some damn good quarterbacks. Come and go in this league the before quarterbacks three touchdown passes in their first career games in the last twenty five seasons. Mark Bolger in two thousand two Ryan Fitzpatrick in two thousand five my God and heaven Marcus mariota in two thousand fifteen to actually through four. And Nick Mullins in two thousand eighteen and this is the kind of game I made for this game ends up being a lot more about our perception of the raiders the forty Niners. Best days are ahead of them. They're young quarterback of the future is injured playing this year. So, unfortunately, we really gonna pay much attention last night ends up being more about jockeying for draft position as we go towards this spring. But for Nick Mullins, you could make a career off that what happened last night for Nick Mullins can be enough to keep him bouncing around the league for a few few more years than undrafted free agent would have otherwise. And that's the reality that kid made a lot of money last night. And you gotta be happy Vic Mullen signing bonus as undrafted free agent zero dollars zero cents. And I mean that is not under free agents. I got a few. I got a few thousand dollars signing bonus. Your some guys you'll see get ten twenty thousand dollars that are priority free agents. Nick Mullins got zero dollars and zero sense. He was not supposed to make it last night was not supposed to happen last. That was exactly what we're supposed to happen for the raiders though. This is what they've been trending towards. This is what they have been trying to do. This is what happens when you are selling off parts at rapid pace, Jon Gruden aka the value. God. Has been trying to strip this thing down and build it back up yesterday. Took an interesting turn some sitting around. And we all we have this interview the Jon Gruden did. With FOX on Wednesday and. Just listen to what Jon Gruden says. And we'll digest it together. If you haven't heard this before this is Jon Gruden doing interview with FOX from Wednesday talking about players wanting to be Oakland, Raiders, I got a cell phone just like you and everybody else I get a lot of phone calls from people that are dying to commonplace here. I'm just telling their dying to play for the raise to have salary cap space and have a chance to talk to the people that you really want to wear the silver and black the guys you really want to where the silver black and represent this team. That's exciting. First and last here on ESPN radio and the ESPN app, man. Jon Gruden seems like he's going out of his way to make sure the guys that are on this current raiders roster know that he doesn't like them. Like, we hear all this time about coaches using the media to send a message to guys you better. Hope the Jon Gruden is the exact opposite that there is some sort of other worldly show of support going on behind closed doors, but this grown man football's the NFL, you don't have to go out to coddle anybody. But at the same time, these guys are smart they see in. No, their coach came from the media understands the media for the most part and to go out there and say this and know that it's going to get back to that locker when this I can't I can't wrap my head around this and Jon Gruden we've a media guy for the last number of years put as a football player and a football coach, I should say for a long time. This is baffling that is baffling because we're gonna we heard a lot last night about this raiders team quitting on Jon Gruden and the things that come in that territory when you're losing. And when you're trending this. Way. And when the tanking word keeps getting thrown around over and over again, all of that becomes natural in a certain way for this group. But hearing this Jon Gruden it seems like he's inviting it because what does this tell every player on this team? But you're probably not in our future plans either. We've sold off the best guys on our team to remind you in a very almost patriot esque way that you don't matter in our grand plans at this point. Now quitting a whole 'nother thing Darren Woodson are ESPN NFL analysts sportscenter yesterday and said that's not what's happening with this raiders group. There say watch Vilma say Gaza quitting on because he's a professional. These guys are out there again, they're not just playing for Jon Gruden. They're playing for everyone else. That's gonna be watching them throughout the process. It's about the lack of personnel that they have going through injuries. And they don't have any dynamic players that are out there making big place for this book ball team and today, they went out there. And like they played all all these last couple years dysfunctional with the lack of personnel. And this is what happened. And I tell you what Darren is writing this. And you're always cognizant, especially the guys that make up the meat of the bell curve at his roster that you're going to likely be playing season somewhere else in any given year to begin with. And you're always thirty one other teams are going to see this. But what he said there is true at this point. And I can't speak to every player on that teams relationship with Jon Gruden again. Maybe it looks better behind closed doors. But if I'm a player hearing, these things in the media, I can tell you I'm probably not playing for Jon Gruden that much can be sure I will go out there. And like we have with all those teams you put it on the line for your family, your reputation what you're trying to do furthering your place in this league. But playing four coaches something for a lot of guys goes out the window at this level to begin with. But when you hear that vote of confidence, and I say that with the utmost sarcasm built into that font for you guys that makes it pretty easy to say. Well, I'm definitely not playing for that guy. First and last podcast backing fall out from one of the uglier situations in college football, we've seen in quite some time at the university of Maryland. More people departing this program in the groups around it in wake of firing of DJ, Dirk the decision to overturn recommendation by the board of regions and everything else that is all gone back and resulted from the death of Jordan McNair on this football team. It's first and last Michael junior here on ESPN radio and the ESPN app, and we know that yesterday we saw the firing of DJ Durkan had football coach now former head football coach of the university of Maryland wall is low the university president stepping in and going against the recommendation from the board of regents well James Brady, the chair of the Maryland, bore of regions is stepping down immediately. He announced yesterday McNair, excuse me, James Brady was part of that board that recommended reinstating DJ Durkan as the football coach despite the objection of walla's lo who's going to retire at the. The end of the year Brady released a statement with his resignation saying he respected the many people who disagreed quote there were difficult decisions. Based on information included in reports stemming from two investigations and a great deal of thought and deliberation I understand that reasonable people could come to other conclusions and even among our board some did going forward. I believe the board needs to be able to return to the important business of supporting an advancing American Maryland public university system for the benefit of its students and families and of people across the state in recent days, I become the public face of both the board and its decisions related these matters in my estimation might continued presence on the board will inhibit its ability to move, Maryland, higher education agenda forward, and I have no interest in serving as a distraction from that important work and vets probably the perfect place to stick on this because that was everyone's point of contention with this all along with DJ Durkan at the center of this. It was. Was regardless of where you fell on this. And it seemed invoice instance, almost universally people looking at this situation. Crying foul for all of the obvious reasons that this program could not move forward. I'm amazed the more I look back at it. What had to be said? It's one of two things either DJ Durkan who was now the former Maryland head football coach who is accused of running a toxic program. Although the this board of regents and the studies they conducted deemed it wasn't toxic. Even though guys were afraid to come forward and say anything about what was going on. And there for fear of repercussions. Which sounds pretty damn toxic to me all of that going on all of that going on and. To try and move forward based off of that. Now, regardless of whether you believe every word of the reports are not the stained from the outside made it impossible for DJ Durkin to continue to be at the helmet continue to be in the middle of this after all that gone on once you are tied to the horrible nature of what happened with Jordan McNair. And so the problem is now is this is just the jumping off point to move. Forward was something that James Brady said there everyone of the university trying to move forward. The problem is and Mark Schwarzer ESPN reporter was on sportscenter yesterday saying there's still plenty of tension. Leftover to deal with right now about a thousand students streamed through the campus, they were chanting Justice for Jordan. They were chanting about safety for student athletes. They were talking about accountability from the administration and the department, but they were not only agreement there was discord and there was some chaos. Some people were saying boycott the foot. Ballgames others were saying support the football team. But when you've been around this campus, and some of the people that we talked to were you know, that firing coach Turkey is not going to cure all the ills that affect this university community first and last Michael junior here on ESPN radio and the ESPN app. We're brought to you by Pennzoil synthetics taking synthetic motor oil performance to a whole new level. Make the switch to Pennzoil synthetics today, and that tension there runs deep I saw tweets from a couple of Maryland players saying it's interesting that the support comes now when I haven't seen a full stadium there since we got on campus. I it's not going to be perfect across the board because his team full of one hundred twenty plus guys with as we mentioned yesterday on golick wingo. We talked about this. I'm sure varying opinions about who they thought DJ Durkan was as a coach. Now, the one thing that seemed universally true they were all deeply saddened by the loss of their teammate. That is something as someone who not while playing. But after playing. Loss teammates and members of our support staff, and it's a difficult process to deal with and one that you have to deal with together. It's the only way through it in these situations with these guys, and if you've got fractured trust with the coach that becomes impossible. And if you're a school and a program, again, I'll go to the board of regents and the people doing these reports met with DJ Durkan met with the university athletic director met with wall was low, and they heard a presentation from DJ jerkin about how he could believe how he believed that he could move the football program through this time of turmoil into the future and help get them back to where Maryland football wants to be a place where by the way, Matt Canada portion of season seems to have been close to getting talking to Maryland fans, there was hope an optimism around the football program's product on the field for the first time in quite some time. But for DJ Dirk to stand up in front of that group, either what he said was so persuasive. A group of people could ignore the obvious logic of a situation and logic. I think it was summed up really well by Dan Levitan here that will here in a second about the reality of this program with this man attached to going forward. Either his presentation was so persuasive, or again, something that came up when we talked to Sally Jenkins yesterday the threshold for what the board needed to hear in order to keep this guy on was so low because of these circumstances that whatever they heard if it was positive enough was going to be enough. Dan Le Batard yesterday on the obvious part of this situation. Why DJ Durkin had to go? Even if that person was innocent at ten and fifteen one hundred percent innocent you have to fire him anyway, because he's job is to get recruits. And it's been torched. You can't have a dead player on your hands. A toxic culture that has been investigated and get anyone's parents to lend you their kids and their kid's bodies. Like, even if he were a same. The job. He came at the job is to get recruits. Like, you could say the job is to win. But the job is to get the crews. He can't do it as well. Get out of here. Like, you gotta go, dude. Even if you're in I'm sorry that stinks. I know we want to do all the innocent until proven guilty, and nobody cares about unfair here. You fail in your charge. First and last here on ESPN radio you failed in your charge. If you were DJ Durkan, and if you're James Brady is someone who as you said was the face of this board and everything in the response. You were that was the being the chair of that board has that responsibility. Come with it. And with the responsibility to take in all the information report and make the decision that was in the best interest of the university of Maryland. Based on the response. You got James Brady also failed in that charge. And so him having to go and carving out the people that were part of this period in Maryland's program history is the again only way it probably moves through to any place that becomes palatable for the family of Jordan McNair, first and foremost for the Maryland football team in the athlete department and everyone else that involves around it from there on out. First and last podcast if you're a smoker. Switching isn't easy. You've tried vapes. And e six they just didn't deliver the satisfaction. You expected jewel is different. It's not an e cigarette it's vapor product that actually satisfies plus Jewess simple to use. And there's no cigarette. Ash, no lingering odor as a smoker, you expect a certain nicotine experience. Right. Jill delivers give jewelry try chick. O J U L dot com slash sports. Switch and be satisfied. Yes. You can do both. Warning. This product contains nicotine nicotine is an addictive chemical. Last podcast. How many guys this morning from one? Oh, four point five ESPN in Baton Rouge down. Here. Going goes down here on the road yesterday. We were at walk on get ready for Alabama coming to LSU this weekend. One versus three in college football kind enough to let me do the show down here sticking around for the game this weekend. Jazzed about that one as bad as Thursday night. Football was last night where the forty Niners went out and absolutely rolled over the Oakland Raiders in a way that is going to invite all this conversation about the raiders quitting. My mind is really just a reminder of what the raiders are doing which is not being at all invested in winning. They got three first round picks this year to next year to five worse round picks in the next two years. Jon Gruden is clearly said now for some time. All right. I've got a ten year contract. I've got time and space to make this work. We'll get to Hugh Jackson who did not have time and space in his coming out. And being unusually candid for someone who probably still wants to coach in this league somewhere. And maybe this is part of it. Maybe in his mind, it's clearing up. A lot of the question marks around his departure. So that in the next job interview. There's no misunderstanding about where he believes. He sat where it went wrong. You Jackson who I believe I saw at first take. Today. Like, I keep reading that feeling like, it's a typo. But Hugh Jackson, the former Browns head coach believe is going to join I take today, which I am infinitely fascinated by didn't interview with Mary Kay cabinet the other day and talked about some things that we get into a little bit. But he was operating the way most coaches do where it already seemed given his record as a head coach. He was on borrowed time for Jon Gruden based on the vote of confidence. And you've been given you believe you've got a longer one way. And so it produces games like last night right now, it's time for straight talk. Brought to you by straight talk wireless. Best phones, best networks, no contracts because the rest of this weekend in the NFL is markedly more interesting like I said, I'm looking forward to the college football matchup down here. But this area the country's also playing home to one of the best NFL games. This weekend is the Los Angeles Rams come to take on the New Orleans Saints, but this weekend and this week is really been defined by the conversation around these Sunday night football matchup. Green Bay going on the road against the New England Patriots and the whole Brady. Rogers debate, we tear everyone kind of explain away Tom Brady the greatest of all time, the winning resume the Super Bowls. But here in Rogers, the best of all time, the skills we've done this before so many times over we've done that. So many times the quarterbacks actually got to way in which feels strange for the first time on this. Aaron Rodgers actually being asked about Tom Brady, and this sort of comparison in the first time, I can really remember. And all this Rogers on Brady towns at the top is game for over a decade planet high level when Ps? MBP's? He's he's been phenomenal player in this league. So he's a fun to watch younger player trying to figure out what you know what he's doing. Obviously we play a little bit different style a game. But the stuff that he does well stuff that over my career, I've tried incorporating HOGAN. I last Michael junior here on ESPN radio and the ESPN app. What I would give to know what Aaron Rodgers thinks about this behind closed doors Aaron Rodgers by all accounts isn't extremely reserved individual when it comes to what he's willing to put out into the public. You someone who guards his privacy, but behind closed doors when you talk to guys that are teammates talked to guys that have played within against him era is a hyper competitor, an alpha male on the sports field and the guy who's gonna wear you out like his teammates have talked about how openly he is bleep talking you in practice when it is you versus your team the guys that you are in the locker room with every day. Let alone what he thinks of himself amongst the other quarterbacks in the NFL playing against other teams. I would give any amount of money to hear him speak freely on that. But it's never going to happen. So this is what we're going to have to deal with now on the other side, it became just as interesting. So the debate you can have about this. I think comes down to personal preference. The people that want to ring. Counter. Always get a pick Brady. The people like myself who just are overwhelmed by the physical gifts of Aaron Rodgers. And the precision of the things he does and has done despite not always feeling like he's gotten the support that he needs there in Green Bay. I always firmly planted in the Aaron Rodgers hive Bill bell check at an interesting answer. When he was asked about Tom Brady and one that's not going to especially given the recent history of the patriots probably do him any favors in the talk of his relationship with the star quarterback. Here's Bill Belichick when asked if Brady has the edge over Rogers. The over. Played against on Brady. So I'm glad he's our quarterback. He's a great quarterback. No one a lot of games for don't believe a lot more than we've won a lot of games because I've never played against on. This is a battle of forces trying to give the most diplomatic answer possible. And what happens in the course of that? Is you give an answer a lot of people just go. You've never played against Tom Brady g to play against you see him every day. You've got a better vantage point of this guy than anyone in the history of pro football is head. Maybe I don't know universally lauding them with praise seems like a lot better answer than just focusing on. Well, I haven't played against my guy. So I can't really say way to go about it. Maybe there's other quotes involved in this. It's one soundbite. Amidst a sea of them. But man, it doesn't really help from outsiders perspective. When you hear that it sounds like more of. Oh, yeah. That's right. I forgot these to the relationship that we've heard about with these two all offseason that people have described as maybe less than fatherly. And suddenly in all of this still might not be great which is shame because this season is done. Exactly what we said it would in the off season and put all that talk. Squarely behind us when it comes to the relationship between Brady Bella CSAK in cronk hausky wanting to retire and all this stuff and doom and gloom that we heard ever since Seth wicker sham wrote that piece at the end of last year. So the there's that all of this again has been an exercise in subtlety. It's been an exercise in trying to play the appropriate game in public not only for guys that are generally not inclined to really give you anything of value. When it comes to a sound by put also guys that understand. They got a game coming up this weekend. You look at the actual game of this and air, Raj. The Green Bay Packers. Just almost put it on the undefeated, Los Angeles Rams in Los Angeles. They were a misguided time. Gumri fielding of a kickoff return away for mayor Rogers having a chance to go down and win that game and do so behind an offense that it had plenty of success against the Rams defense. Now, we know that didn't end up happening, and you don't get credit for almost wins in the NFL. But I watched that game and watch the Packers defensively on the road against one of the best. If not the best offense is in the NFL, maybe outside of what we've seen in Kansas City. And so that Green Bay Packers defense if they can check the Rams who. Not only have great players, but that great scheme and an offense. You've got Aaron Rogers. That's a team that like we said at the beginning of the season. But lost our way a little bit. That's a team that can win the Super Bowl with Aaron Rodgers at the helm if that defense plays like it did against Los Angeles Rams that team can win the Super Bowl. And we saw them expose them things in protection for the Rams that we didn't think were possible. And based on what we just saw recently from the patriots in a team that had difficulty protecting Tom Brady in their last game. It's not far fetched to think the Packers could go on the road. And do this a road environment? Does not worry them clearly. But that being said that is the nuanced version of this conversation and not the frustration that boiled over for own Steve Naismith yesterday who on first take went on to say this about Aaron Rogers and his tenure with the Packers going forward. I personally want Ameri rajas to demand. Trae from the Green Bay Packers at the end of this season. I want him out. He doesn't deserve this organization. Does not deserve Aaron Rodgers. First and last Michael junior here on ESPN radio and ESPN straight talk. Brought to you by straight talk wireless, nationwide coverage and America's largest most dependable four G LT networks, and that's been the frustration for a lot of people for a long time. And. We've constantly looked at Mike McCarthy, and what we hear is this frayed relationship between the two and the organization that had Aaron Rogers on an absolute steal of a deal at felt like the last few years because that's what happens with these quarterback deals. They reset the market, and then a few years so many other quarterbacks have gotten paid that we look at theirs and all the sudden say well based on what the cap does. And the other quarterbacks this is more affordable. And we looked at Aaron Rodgers as someone who is on a deal that allowed his team to do things that they didn't. Now, we sit here and say, you know, what they've gotten rid of Jordy Nelson his favorite weapon they've gotten rid of quarterbacks coach Aaron Rodgers really value. But now we look around and say, well, all right. Devante Adam seems to be Morphing into a true number one receiver Aaron Jones at running back free. Aaron Jones, by the way, seems like a guy that you can rebuild around in this run game. You have maybe the two best hackles and football. Maybe the guys in Kansas City, would would certainly throw an argument into that. Those guys I think improving obviously, Eric fishers guy who's gotten paid like it. But. I don't think is on the level of David Bach Yar who might be the best left tackle in football. You've got an offense of group. That's rolling. You've got a defense that you invested so many picks in on that right side for the first time in a while Green Bay seems like a place that might be finally giving Aaron Rodgers that support. Now, we it's to be determined. Whether that's going to be too little too late or not the NFC. We know is stacked full of talented teams that are getting better. Philadelphia loads up gets golden Tate at the trade deadline starting to look better. Seattle's metamorphosis, they're changed this offseason. Looks like it might finally start to be bearing fruit the entire NFC south. You can throw in there. But man, you always got a chance when you've got Aaron Rodgers and the way he's playing that knee continues to hold up and he's looked healthier in the last couple of weeks. This looks like a team that for the first time in a while might be deserving. If that's the thing, and the concept is deserving is a hilarious one. I can dispute for you. But for the first time in a while, it seems like this Green Bay Packers team might be supporting Aaron Rodgers in the way, we all looked. Thought that he deserves? And last podcast. And we got tweets coming in about a ton of different topics that we've covered so far today infinite content tweets in referencing be Maryland football program. Jane James Brady, the chair of the board of regents that recommended DJ Durkin be reinstated. He stepped down yesterday after DJ Durkan was let go the day prior and infinite content tweets in the coach knew nothing and was negligent duties, or you didn't ignored the issues either way had to go and obviously DJ Durkan. We all thought based on the findings in the report that deemed the program, not toxic despite having all the traits pointed a DJ Durkan someone that yes was at worst best negligent and at worst a catalyst for the environment. That makes all this stuff and James ratings guilty of the same thing of being charged with making a decision in the best interest of the university and failing in that charge. And when you fail that way. You've gotta go Jeremy Johnson. Tweets in. If you see f goes undefeated the season and win New Year's Eve bowl and top teams end up losing. Can you legit support their claim for back to back national champions UCF last night got taken to the wire? I don't know what the final score at a being they started pulling away at the end of the fourth quarter. But temple a team that has struggled especially out of the gate this season. But started looking better as of late took him every step of the way last night in a game that involved absolutely no defense, which is the theme. Collagen pro for last night. No last night showed me that defensively. UCF would not be able to go out and compete with the other teams involved in this UCF is very good football team. And I don't want to belittle the accomplishments of that group of young men at all, and what they've been able to do now to your straight that level of consistency. But as far as the cries for their legitimacy in college football, I'm sorry. I just don't I don't have the time for that right now and Matthew weather for tweets, and how do you feel about to marry Thomas going to that Houston offense as we said the NFL schedule this weekend is ripe with some interesting games at Houston going on the road at Denver Houston gained a lot of momentum. Watch that conversation get a little quieter this weekend because that Denver defense against a pretty good offense has managed to check some guys and can be breaking into new Marius. Thomas, your deepest deep threaten will fuller is now out for the rest of the season with that ACL this Denver team can cover this. Denver defense can give you some issues and Houston cannot run and they cannot protect and those are issues when you face. Von Miller that Houston offense is going to be humbled a bit this weekend. You can book that surprise a friend or a loved one today with the bouquet from one eight hundred flowers dot com. When you order a dozen multicolored roses for only twenty nine ninety nine you'll get another dozen plus a vase absolutely free. Go to one hundred flowers dot com slash ESPN, somebody who needs some flowers. Good Lord might be JR Smith now JR Smith has been. A sort of lovable character over the last few years with the Cleveland Cavaliers LeBron James until last year's finals. He had been the guy that we think of as the cavalier would want to celebrate with shirtless. JR Smith running around having a good time. Well, it is not all sunshine for JR Smith after LeBron James departure who yesterday came out and was very pointed in his desires talking about wanting to be traded now from the Cleveland Cavaliers are you hoping for a trade? Have you expressed that to? First and last Michael junior here on ESPN radio and ESPN app. And our Adrian wards ask reports that the NBA will consider whether Cavs guard JR Smith public acknowledgment Thursday that he wants to be traded constitutes a final offense under the terms of collective bargaining agreement. Man JR Smith God God love him. But this is the most JR Smith outcome of this event possible. I call it. A lot of the bad portions of his Cavaliers tenure Knicks JR Smith finding his way back into the light the New York Knicks JR Smith that so many people lamented and when him to Maan Shumpert were dealt on their way out to the Cavs people said, good riddance, and then had to watch them. Both get a championship ring, which I'm sure was great for everyone in New York to watch and process and take in there, but for JR Smith, it was a lot of talk about his rehabilitation of an image going from DM slider to a father and a husband and a guy who who seemed to have a little bit more together. Than the wild child. We had seen in the past. But now it's become a much different situation and one that our own stand Van Gundy talked about yesterday was sage Steele on sportscenter. Well, I think I got to come together. They've got to come together ownership and Kobe open and decide on direction and where they're going. They decided they weren't gonna play their veteran guys then Tyler Plato now they've made a coaching change. I mean, this thing is in total disarray. And you gotta decide what are you going to do with JR Smith? What are you going to do with Kyle Korver? And then are you building around Kevin love or you breaking it down starting over. I think for all of us who watch the league there's a lot of confusion. Nobody knows what they're trying to accomplish here. And they've got to be very clear on that before they go anywhere else. I last year on ESPN radio and the ESPN app. JR Smith is fifteenth years thirty three year old man making just under fifteen million dollars a year hasn't played more than twenty minutes in the game and his averaging just two and a half. Points and one rebound with two years left on his current contract. And you know, what honestly what's happened with JR? Smith is he's in a situation that stinks right now your best player just left. Your coach got fired. You're not sure about the future for the veterans on this roster. Like, STAN just mentioned there and JR is watched around the league recently as players of flexed and tried to force their way out of certain situations. And we heard about all these back channel things with Kyrie Irving. Trying to get his way out of Cleveland the other year and everything that's gone on with Jimmy Butler now and JR forgot that you gotta play the game JR came out. And just said, yeah, I don't wanna be your players are not allowed to make public requests for trades. We remember Eric Bledsoe. The guards former Suns guard was fined ten grand for tweeting. I don't wanna be here which could be open to interpretation of a lot of things JR is removed. The interpretation JR's gonna get fined for this. And it's because JR forgot that you've got to play the game. You've got a massage this a little bit JR forgot that you've got to be a little nuance. But this is sort of the lovable JR right is the one that just goes out there and acts impulsively JR that doesn't know how much time is left in finals game. That's it manifesting self in a situation. Now where JR also gets the microphone when the Brian James is there LeBron James is getting the microphone you're deferring to the best guys on that team. And for so often the structure that team dictated JR Smith wasn't going to get a lot of airtime. Besides the championship celebrations and him being shirtless and all these good things. But now that it's you and Kyle Korver an injured Kevin love JR gets the Michael little bit more and the situation is not fun anymore. This is the Cavaliers team that happened when LeBron James left the first time in JR Smith didn't think he was going to have to go back to that. Didn't think this is going to be the life that he was left with and now he wants out, and he forgot that you've got a back channel this JR Lee someone forgot to coach JR up on the exit strategy. And now he's going to get his wall. Light and a little bit in the process. It's about as on brand is humanly possible for a guy that's been a major league character in the NBA over a number of years. And last podcast. And last podcast dive here this morning from one oh four point five ESPN here in Baton Rouge sticking around this weekend to check out Alabama at LSU on Saturday night in death valley. Golick a win goes down here yesterday. We were at walk on in Baton Rouge getting ready for this one. We had a chance to talk to coach ordure on in person. You'll hear from had a chance to talk to Nick Sabin the Alabama head coach on the phone heading up to this game. And you could feel it already. We were down here on Wednesday and Thursday, and you could feel this place starting to live up Friday and Saturday certainly holding a lot more to come in there. You can tune in to college football action tomorrow as Duke battles Miami presented by Goodyear. Coverage begins at six thirty pm eastern on ESPN radio ESPN radio dot com and the ESPN app, and there's some other matchups that we can get to eventually there are some other portions of college football, and the NFL that are both going to provide some really interesting games because after last night. We desperately need it college football game. It's an interesting one last night UCF going toe to toe with temple and being able to hold them off despite a game that lacked any defense, and then of course, in the NFL the best thing that came out of Thursday night football last night, because let's be real last night Thursday night when the prime time performance, we're looking for San Francisco taking on the Oakland Raiders, they beat them thirty four to three would Nick Mullins. Yes. The Nick Molen that one that, you know, so well, the two thousand seventeen undrafted free agent from southern miss Nick Mullins went out there and was the star of the damn show throwing three touchdowns two hundred sixty two yards and getting the win in his first NFL start got a text from Brett farve to start the day. But last night was a lot more about what you did. Instead of watching the game because let's be real. We watched about as much as we had to. And then we turn that off Allie. What did you watch instead of Thursday night football last night, parent trap? It's a great pick the great see you went with the timeless classic. We appreciate. I went out on a limb. I'd never seen it was flipping channels and decided I would see what all the hype was about with paw patrol. Hear a lot about that one lived up to it. Some amazing dogs doing some amazing things in that show. So you can let us know at ESPN radio at willow junior. Fifty-seven what you did instead of Thursday night football. Because while there was a question about that. There will be no question about what you are watching Saturday night. And that is no disrespect to my all modern Notre Dame who will be taking on northwestern in Evanston at seven fifteen eastern on Saturday night. But Alabama LSU is a game that needs no introduction and for head coach or drama. We talked to yesterday on goal can win. Go really need to be a whole lot of raw going on from him. This very motivated bunch. I thought we could've played on Monday. You know, some things like that. You gotta boldly them and you'll feel the energy, but the energy within about team has been fantastic. All we let them let them go the way they want to go. I know one I have to team up when I don't have to fire my team. I haven't had to do it yet this legal problems person. Last Michael junior here on ESPN radio the ESPN app, man. I hope you got to hear the majority of our interview with coach oh yesterday because that's just a coach or John is just main pure unadulterated football. He is what happens if you were to boil football down like a metal and get it in its purest form coach is pure football ages. He doesn't turn it off. We got to talk to him before he came on set with us, and we got to talk to him a little bit after and it's the same guy and all those phases. None of that is an act. None of that. As a forced answer far as you could tell with coach, oh, this is a guy who just lives it. And for this team. That's what you would expect in a rivalry game. Like this the magnitude of this kind of game because LSU is a team that absolutely no one is giving chance they're going into Saturday night in one of the most feared environments in college football. And we talked to Greg McElroy former Alabama quarterback yesterday who mentioned that while volume wise, the stadium is loud. But there are other loud stadiums in the SEC the. Timid ation of being in an environment where the stands go straight up around you. There's a live tiger outside of the damn stadium. And a bunch of angry fans ready to come in there and tell you you know, what you've got to manage all of that leading up to this game. And in this case understanding that it's a one vs three matchup in college football. That's going to decide your playoff fates very early in the season, relative to when we get to the actual playoff now for Ed order on a company that team has been battle tested and some big environments already. Obviously, they have the loss on their resume to Florida. But they've got a win over a highly ranked Georgia team on the resume early in the season primetime matchups with the university of Miami to start the year off Auburn on the road. Obviously those teams didn't end up being as good as we thought. But those are still primetime matchups games. You've gotta get up for where the intensity just gets ratcheted up around it you heard coach order on. They don't need any introduction of that this week predicts Abe and the Alabama crimson tide. One point he made yesterday was clearly the hardest portion of their schedule is coming up now for this group. I feel like we've done some really good things this year. But house of there's things that we can do a lot better. And I think we've on play gets much better competition start Saturday, but really for the rest of the team played against or coming up next person last here on ESPN radio and the ESPN app you look at Bama schedule. Louisville Arkansas state addle miss Texas, AM, Louisiana, Lafayette, Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, like it has been a schedule that Alabama could not ever sell. The anybody is difficult Texas ain't Emma solid football team. But Alabama also give them credit has beaten. The absolute breaks off of every one of these teams in the way, you would expect when you read that schedule now down the stretch you've got at LSU this weekend. Miss homers. Mississippi State the by week against the Senate, Al and then Auburn in that. Obvious rivalry game to finish off the year with the iron bowl where anything can happen. But it's an Alabama team that has gone on operating a lot of people I will like in this as I do most things to Notre Dame where Notre Dame number four in the initial rankings. And I heard our own Chris Feliks a number of other saying this is bad news for Notre Dame. They've got the best win arguably in college football right now against Michigan. They're undefeated and they're still only checking in at number four, but their schedule is just not difficult enough to justify and there have been some close games against teams like pit that shouldn't be that close. If you're a team that wants to compete at this level the difference. Valla Bama is their strength of schedule has not been up there so far. Now, these are a bunch of good not great teams in most cases. But when Alabama goes out and dominates the way they have in that schedule. You arrays any doubt about the preparation of your team about the firepower on what they're capable of. And when we get performance at quarterback. In a place that we are not expecting it. Now Abam that's position. All the sudden we look up and say, well, we assume they've got everything else because Alabama's brand is giving them that the benefit of the doubt their past performance has given them that benefit of the doubt over such a long time period that we look and say we assume defense we assume running game. And now they've got a competent passing game. Now, they've got weapons all over the outside. Now, they can be unstoppable. So despite what has been a schedule that is lacking in a game that really jumps off the page at you. There have been performances that indicate that this team if you put them in front of him they are going to mow them down. They are just not not going to just win. But they're going to win so badly. Their starters won't play in the fourth quarter. Now yesterday, we also heard from one of the players now. My maybe one of my most underrated players in college football guy that does not get enough shine. And when you're watching this week, and I promise you Damian Harris the Alabama running back. We'll factor prominently in the outcome in one way or another that guy first game of the season last year blocked a punt in the same game that he rushed for a touchdown. Does everything the crimson tide running back? He joined herbstreet and Fitzsimmons to talk about this rivalry. And what it means to these guys should that's what the game is about you know, to absolutely dominant physical teams as she sees toughest conference in America going head to head and one of the biggest games in college football. I mean, you can't really get really put it into words. You know? It's just one of those big time games. One of those almost a rivalry a few. You know, they don't they're saying don't like us are fans on like them anytime we played so there's just a hostile environment. And you know, like you said it's one of those knockout fifteen round fights incredibly physical game. We're ready for a rivalry. If you will that is about the most understated description of what's going to happen Saturday night that exists on this earth excited for that. That's going to be some of the best of what college football has to offer us this weekend. Selfishly? I'm very excited to take it in again coming to you live from one oh four point five ESPN down. Here in Baton Rouge. Extremely appreciative of the hospitality down here. Thank you for listening to the first and last podcast. You can listen and subscribe to all ESPN podcast in the listen tab of the ESPN app. First and last.