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The NFL’s new kickoff formation, borrowed from the XFL, has led at least two franchises to look for a return specialist in the UFL. reports, that the Giants and the Titans have been in contact with Juwan “Sonic” Manigo of the Arlington Renegades.

Arlington signed Manigo last June, while the XFL still existed. He survived the merger and thrived as a kickoff return specialist, finishing second in the league with 954 return yards on 43 attempts. The average per return of 22.18 yards came not from the traditional kickoff formation that the UFL absorbed from the USFL.

Manigo, 26, played college football at Delaware Valley University. He spent two seasons with the LFA league in Mexico.

If the Giants or Titans sign the five-foot, seven-inch Manigo, it will undoubtedly be for his return skills. As an offensive player, he had only 32 receiving yards and -5 rushing yards in 10 games.

“Joey, do you like commercials about gladiators?”

If you do, you’re soon to be in luck.

Via Terry Lefton of Sports Business Journal, several major NFL stars recently traveled to Canada for a “gladiator-themed” Pepsi commercial. (“Drink Pepsi, you’ll feel like you’ve been stabbed impaled by a spear in the stomach”?)

The NFL players in the spot include Bills quarterback Josh Allen, Ravens running back Derrick Henry, Vikings receiver Justin Jefferson and Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, per the report.

Lefton suggests that Pepsi has some sort of arrangement with Gladiator II, which will debut later this year. The commercial comes before that, just as the 2024 season gets started.

So Pepsi is getting paid to push the sequel to Gladiator, and various NFL players are getting paid to push Pepsi as gladiators.

Whether we are not entertained by the commercial remains to be seen.

The Titans took offensive tackle JC Latham with the seventh overall pick in the 2024 NFL draft with the idea that he’d be their starting left tackle of the future. And they think that future is here now.

Latham took all the first-team reps at left tackle during Organized Team Activities and minicamp, according to Turron Davenport of ESPN, and Titans offensive coordinator Nick Holz says no one has shown a more impressive work ethic than Latham this offseason.

“JC has maybe the best energy of any person on this team,” Holz said. “His energy is infectious. He’s done a really nice job with his footwork. He’s improved and is playing under control. He’s so big and so strong.”

Titans offensive line coach Bill Callahan, one of the most experienced and respected offensive line coaches in football, has said that Latham has all the traits to be an elite left tackle in the NFL. The Titans are very excited about what their top pick is ready to do.

While many of the top free agent players settled with new teams quickly in March, wide receiver Calvin Ridley took some time before settling on a place to play.

Ridley ultimately accepted an offer from the Titans over returning to the Jaguars or signing with the Patriots and his new team has had a few months to get to know him. During an appearance on The Adam Schefter Podcast, Titans head coach Brian Callahan said that process has been overwhelmingly positive and that adding him to the roster is all the better because he left another AC South team in Jacksonville.

“I believe in everything he’s about. He’s a pro’s pro and he’s got real talent,” Callahan said. “He’s one of the better route runners I’ve ever been around. Really sudden, really fast, really explosive and, on top of it, he’s a great personality. To have him here and be able to steal him from a division rival makes it a little sweeter in that regard. I love having Calvin and I think he’s really gonna help us.”

Ridley missed much of the 2021 season because of mental health issues and he missed all of 2022 due to a gambling suspension, so he was getting his legs back under him during his season in Jacksonville. If that proves to be a stepping stone to even better things for the wideout in 2024, it will make Callahan even happier about the route Ridley took to Nashville.

The Titans are set to add a new offensive lineman to the 90-man roster.

The team announced that they have agreed to terms with Geron Christian on a contract. No terms of the deal were announced.

Christian started nine games at left tackle for the Browns last season and appeared in 10 games overall. He was a 2018 third-round pick by Washington and has spent time with the Texans, Chiefs, and Dolphins while bouncing around the league.

Those starts in Cleveland came with Bill Callahan as the Browns’ offensive line coach. Callahan is in the same position on Tennessee’s staff under his son and Titans head coach Brian Callahan, so that familiarity should help Christian’s bid for a roster spot.