31 Greatest NCAAF Players in PNW history: No.22 - Brandin Cooks

31 Greatest NCAAF Players in PNW history: No.22 - Brandin Cooks

Oregon State has a long list of great receivers that have worn the orange and black; Mike Hass, Sammie Stroughter, James Rodgers, Chad Johnson, Markus Wheaton, and T.J. Houshmandzadeh just to name a few. But the greatest of them all was Brandin Cooks.

Cooks played for the Beavers from 2011-2013 and was the favorite target of Sean Mannion (the most prolific passer in Oregon State history). Cooks is second all-time in career receptions (226), third in career receiving yards (3,272), and first in career receiving touchdowns (24) at Oregon State.

His 128 receptions in 2013 are the most ever in a single season at OSU. That season he also had 1,730 yards receiving, which is also an OSU single-season record. And to think, he had another year of eligibility left when he decided to go pro.

Cooks was selected by the New Orleans Saints in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft, and he spent three seasons in New Orleans before being traded to the New England Patriots. He spent just one season with the Patriots before being traded again, this time to the Los Angeles Rams where he was reunited with Mannion.

In his NFL career Cooks has 280 receptions for 3,943 yards and 27 touchdowns. On July 17 the Rams signed Cooks to a five-year, $81 million extension.

Steelers: That wasn't a catch -- in football or baseball

Steelers: That wasn't a catch -- in football or baseball

There is a lot of angst over that ruling in the Pittsburgh-New England game Sunday -- the one that disallowed a touchdown catch by Jesse James of the Steelers.

And I may be the only person around who has no problem with the NFL rule that if you're going to the ground as you make a catch, you must hold onto the ball during your fall. Whether you're in the end zone or not. Most people think that when you're crossing the goal line with the ball in control, it should be a TD -- whether you're a receiver or a runner.

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I disagree. I think there must be a standard for deciding whether a pass is caught or not. Touchdown or not. Just catch the ball and don't worry about trying to reach the ball over the goal line. Just catch it.

I had no dog in the hunt Sunday, didn't care which team won. But I will say I'm predisposed to accepting the NFL rule because it's so similar to the rules of baseball about catching a fly ball. If you catch a fly and fall down, run into a wall or bang into another player, you must hold onto the ball:

A catch is the act of a fielder in getting secure possession in his hand or glove of a ball in flight and firmly holding it; providing he does not use his cap, protector, pocket or any other part of his uniform in getting possession. It is not a catch, however, if simultaneously or immediately following his contact with the ball, he collides with a player, or with a wall, or if he falls down, and as a result of such collision or falling, drops the ball.

'It's pretty much the same rule. You can catch a ball and have it securely in your glove, but if you run into a wall or are diving, you better hold onto the ball all the way through the process.This whole process is a product of instant replay, of course. Without it, you'd never be able to see the ball hit the ground.And when it comes to replay, you have to take the good with the bad. And live with it.I'

LeGarrette Blount leaves Patriots for Eagles and $2.8 million

LeGarrette Blount leaves Patriots for Eagles and $2.8 million

Former Oregon running back LeGarrette Blount has signed a one-year, $2.8 million contract with the Philadelphia Eagles, continuing what has been a seven-year career, and marking the second time he has left New England. 

Blount, who had his best season last year with 1,161 yards and 18 touchdowns, appears to simply be chasing the money in this case. The Patriots reportedly offered Blount $2.1 million to return to New England. The Eagles' offer guarantees Blount $1.25 million and carries $1.55 million in incentives. 

"LeGarrette Blount is a tough, physical runner who has enjoyed a great deal of success in New England and we are excited about adding him to this football team," Howie Roseman, Eagles executive vice president of football operations, said in a statement. 

Philadelphia released running back Ryan Mathews, opening the door for Blount to become its starter. 

Blount, who has rushed for 5,122 yards and 49 touchdowns over his career, is heading to his fourth team. He began his career in 2010 with 1,007 yards rushing as a rookie with Tampa Bay. In 2012, he lost the starting job to Doug Martin and signed with New England in 2013 when it reached the AFC title game. 

Blount in 2014 signed with Pittsburgh but the Steelers released him during the middle of the season for repeated selfish behavior, including leaving a game before it had ended. 

That turn of events worked out well for Blount, who was scooped up by New England for a second go around that led to the Patriots defeating Seattle in Super Bowl XLIX. Blount earned his second Super Bowl ring after the Patriots won 34-28 over Atlanta in February's Super Bowl LI. 

Blount could be a big part of the Eagles' attempts to upgrade their offense around quarterback Carson Wentz, who began last season well before tailing off over the final 10 games of the season. 

The Eagles have already signed wide receiver Alshon Jefferey (Chicago) and Torrey Smith (San Francisco) to upgrade Wentz' targets. 

The battering ram that is Blount should help the Eagles' running game. However, Blount has primarily thrived under the coaching of New England's Bill Belichick and while sharing the backfield with Tom Brady. 



Patriots could receive comp pick for Blount after issuing May 9 tender

Patriots could receive comp pick for Blount after issuing May 9 tender

UPDATE: The Patriots extended LeGarrette Blount the rarely-used May 9 tender, which is worth 110 percent of what he made in 2016 ($1.1 million). The tender allows the Blount to count toward New England's 2018 compensatory-pick formula should he sign with another club. If he does not sign with another club before July 22, the Patriots will have exclusive negotiating rights with Blount from July 22 through the Tuesday after Week 10 of the regular season. Per Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald, Blount has no plans to sign the tender at the moment.

It's time to talk compensatory picks. Again, I know. 

These things are the source of a whole lot of confusion for many because the way in which the league determines who gets compensatory picks, how many, and in what rounds is based upon a secret formula. 

That's right. Like the special sauce on your Big Mac.

What we do know about the formula, though, is that it's based on free agents lost and free agents signed by a given team in a given year. The level of those free agents -- which factors in salary, playing time and postseason honors -- is also taken into account.

Picks are then awarded to teams who have lost more (or better) free agents than they acquired. 


And THAT's why you probably shouldn't bet big $ on sports events

And THAT's why you probably shouldn't bet big $ on sports events

I cannot remember being more certain of a Super Bowl winner than I was last week. I just KNEW that Atlanta would beat New England. They had a better team, played in a better conference and should have been the favorite but for all the sentiment about the coach and quarterback for the Patriots.

And if I had it to predict all over again, I'd say the same thing. But I'd hope the Atlanta coaching staff would come to its senses late in the game. Come on, guys -- a first down at the New England 22 with about four minutes to play and you pass? You pass?

I didn't get it at the time. Just run the ball three times, get the ball in the middle of the field for your kicker -- who is one of the best in the business -- run the clock down and boot a field goal that would have sealed the game for you. That's all they had to do.

But no, what followed was a disaster. A franchise-changing disaster. By the time the Falcons were finished with that series they'd taken themselves out of field-goal position, Tom Brady was the greatest quaarterback of all time and Atlanta was a bettor's nightmare.

The Falcons were getting three points. A steal. And I would have lost a fortune.

Except that I've seen these things happen so many times before that I don't bet on sports events -- other than an occasional dinner wager or five bucks here and there. You can have these things figured out ahead of time and then somebody does something stupid or there's a power failure on the field or maybe a garbage-time cheap score destroys your point-spread cushion.

No matter how certain you are about a game's outcome, my advice is be careful. Stupid stuff happens.