Deflategate 2.0: Steelers' Mason Rudolph accused of using deflated football in preseason game vs. Eagles

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Deflategate 2.0: Steelers' Mason Rudolph accused of using deflated football in preseason game vs. Eagles

Just hours after the Eagles' first preseason game, we were blessed with the dumbest NFL storyline of the year.

Deflategate is back, this time without the fun of Tom Brady being owned by Roger Goodell and the NFL.

In the third quarter of Thursday's Eagles-Steelers preseason game, WIP's Howard Eskin reported that Steelers rookie quarterback Mason Rudolph was using a vastly deflated ball.

In a preseason game.

Whether intentional or not, the ball will be sent back to Wilson, the manufacturer, for review, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

NFL vice president of football communications Michael Signora told Rapoport that "all footballs were in compliance with NFL rules following the pregame inspection process & all proper procedures were followed. In the 3Q, a football that was found to be defective was removed from play, will be sent back to Wilson for review.”

The Steelers went on to beat the Eagles, 31-14, with Rudolph leading the Steelers to three field goal drives in the second half. Rudolph, the Steelers' third-round pick, finished 7 of 12 for 101 yards.

After a lengthy back-and-forth court battle, Brady was suspended for four games to start the 2016 season for his role in the original Deflategate case and subsequent non-compliance with the league's investigation. Brady was accused of using deflated footballs during the Patriots' AFC Championship Game win over the Colts in 2015.

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Nemanja Bjelica spurns Sixers, reportedly talking deal with Kings

Nemanja Bjelica spurns Sixers, reportedly talking deal with Kings

What exactly is going on with the Sixers?

After missing out on LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard and any and all superstar free agents this summer, even their bench, fill-out-the-roster type of guys are dodging the Sixers like a plague.

The latest being forward Nemanja Bjelica, who was in Philly (but not really) for just a bit longer than Eagle-for-a-second Frank Gore.

Bjelica, 30, reportedly agreed to a deal with the Sixers on July 5, providing a boost off the bench and an upgrade over Ersan Ilyasova. 

That was all grand until Tuesday, when news broke that Bjelica had spurned the Sixers and was going back to Europe, a source confirmed to NBC Sports Philadelphia's John Clark.

But in the greatest (or lamest) twist in a strange and sad offseason for the Sixers, Bjelica is now looking to stay in the NBA and is working toward a deal with the Sacramento Kings, according to a report by Yahoo! Sports' Shams Charania. That can't be right. No one would willingly sign with the Kings.

Bjelica posted career bests in points (6.1) and three-point percentage (41.5) last season. While he would have been a nice bench addition, it's not the end of the world. But it sure isn't a great look that the Sixers were toyed with and lost out to a lowly team like the Kings. 

After the Bryan Colangelo debacle and the star-hunting strikeout, we're officially at the "Player X would rather sign with the Kings" stage of the offseason.

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Spurs trade Kawhi Leonard to Raptors for package including DeMar DeRozan

Spurs trade Kawhi Leonard to Raptors for package including DeMar DeRozan

The Raptors are going for it all.

Toronto has struck a deal with the Spurs for Kawhi Leonard.

The move was first reported by ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

So another whiff in Brett Brown and the Sixers' star-hunting search ... for now.

Let's check in on how the trade is working out for both sides so far.

*Cue dumpster fire gif*

That seems about right.

Leonard has made his desire to play in a big market known — it would seem preferably Los Angeles — for a while now. And, uh, Toronto is not exactly a basketball mecca. 

So, for now — things can change — it seems unlikely Leonard would sign an extension in Toronto and would elect to test free agency next summer as an unrestricted free agent. 

Keep in mind this is the same man who played just nine games in 2017-18 and sat out the Spurs' first-round playoff loss — whether because of mysterious injury or spite.

So we'll possibly see Leonard for the whole star-hunting thing again next summer.

The full trade: The Spurs receive DeMar DeRozan, Jacob Poeltl and a top-20 protected 2019 first-round pick while Leonard and Danny Green head to Toronto. And after one year, that first-rounder becomes two seconds. Meh.

It's a solid move for the Raptors — if they can get Leonard motivated or healthy. The East is wide open with LeBron James' departure and the Raptors are hoping to fill that void.

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