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Giants accuse Steelers of deflating footballs in their Week 13 matchup

Giants accuse Steelers of deflating footballs in their Week 13 matchup

By Jason Dobkin

DeflateGate was arguably the most annoying NFL story in recent history. The story surrounding Tom Brady and the Patriots dragged for what felt like a decade.

And just when we thought it was all over, it could be back again with a new team. The New York Giants suspect the Pittsburgh Steelers may have deflated footballs in their Week 13 matchup.

Jay Glazer of FOX Sports said the Giants got suspicious and tested two of the balls after the Steelers forced a couple of turnovers. They found them to be deflated, so they sent them into the NFL and are waiting for a response. The Steelers denied doing anything wrong.

This could turn out to be nothing (please, please, please let it be nothing). But if the NFL ends up actually investigating this, one would hope it goes a lot smoother.

MORE: Redskins bring former starting center back to active roster

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Austin Hooper on free agency: 'It really came down to Cleveland and Washington'

Austin Hooper on free agency: 'It really came down to Cleveland and Washington'

Austin Hooper signed the richest contract ever for a tight end last week when he agreed to a four-year deal with the Browns worth $42 million, and that includes $23 million guaranteed. 

With a giant hole at the tight end position and plenty of cash to spend, multiple reports suggested the Redskins would be aggressive in their pursuit of Hooper. And it sounds like they were. 

"It really came down to Cleveland and Washington," Hooper said. "At the end, I chose to be a Brown."

Hooper's comments came during an interview with SiriusXM NFL Radio and the talented tight end explained that he thought highly of Washington but just liked the situation in Cleveland better. Much of that was the chance to play with quarterback Baker Mayfield.

"It's too exciting of an opportunity to pass up," Hooper said of playing with the Browns. On Mayfield specifically, Hooper cited "how hungry he is to win that’s something that really jumped out to me."

Mayfield is well known for his on-field intensity and fiery attitude, but despite lofty expectations and a talented roster, 2019 was largely a mess in Cleveland. The Browns went 6-10 and Mayfield completed fewer than 60 percent of his passes with 22 touchdowns against 21 interceptions. That's an ugly ratio. This offseason Cleveland overhauled their coaching staff and front office, and the team still has Mayfield, Odell Beckham, Jarvis Landry and now Hooper. 

Despite choosing to play for the Browns, Hooper still complimented Washington and QB Dwayne Haskins.

"Redskins were definitely a team that had shown interest I would say," Hooper said. "Definitely a solid organization with another talented young quarterback so that was going to be my next landing spot."

Once Hooper signed in Cleveland the Redskins decided to shop in the bargain rack at tight end, signing Richard Rodgers and Logan Thomas. Rodgers has the higher profile after playing with Aaron Rodgers for four seasons in Green Bay, but has been hurt the last two years. Thomas, a college quarterback at Virginia Tech, played 16 games last year and made 16 catches. 

For Redskins fans that expected major activity in free agency, it must be disappointing to hear that Washington got close for Hooper but couldn't close the deal. The team also got close with Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper before he re-signed with Dallas. 

In pro football, close just isn't good enough. 

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Kyle Allen was 'surprised' by trade to Redskins but thrilled to reunite with Ron Rivera

Kyle Allen was 'surprised' by trade to Redskins but thrilled to reunite with Ron Rivera

Kyle Allen was in his car on Monday, driving home from a workout when his phone started to ring.

The 24-year-old quarterback answered, and just moments later, found out he had been traded from the Carolina Panthers to the Washington Redskins. Allen, who started 12 games for Carolina a season ago, was not expecting the move at all, despite seeing the Panthers sign quarterbacks Teddy Bridgewater and P.J. Walker in free agency.

"It's a shock. I wasn't expecting it," Allen told Redskins Nation. "I signed a contract with Carolina two weeks ago. But I know contracts don't really mean anything."

Over the 24 hours that followed after the trade, Allen started to process it all. He quickly realized how much sense the move made, and the situation he would be walking into in Redskins Park was something he was plenty familiar with.

Allen reunited with head coach Ron Rivera and offensive coordinator Scott Turner, who were both in Carolina the past two seasons. With the NFL offseason full of uncertainty due to the coronavirus pandemic, Allen has a ton of familiarity with Turner's offensive system. Although Rivera told a radio interview on Wednesday that the team plans to enter training camp with second-year passer Dwayne Haskins as the starter, Allen was brought in to compete with him, too.

"I got to think about it a lot the past 24 hours, and I'm excited to be back with coach Rivera and coach Turner," Allen said.  "The more I sat down and thought about it after the call, the more it makes complete sense. I think the continuity of the system, being with them before, the coaches, the need for that spot on the team, I think it's perfect. The more I think about it, the more I get excited about it."

The third-year passer has had plenty of twists and turns during his football career. As a true freshman at Texas A&M, Allen started 10 games for the school. But as a sophomore, the passer was forced to split time with another talented quarterback, current Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray. Allen transferred to Houston following the 2015 season (Murray would transfer as well), and was forced to sit out a year due to NCAA transfer rules. Allen started just four games for Houston in 2017 before being benched. Unhappy with his situation, Allen forewent his final year of eligibility and declared for the 2018 Draft.

Unsurprisingly, Allen went undrafted. But it was Rivera who gave him a chance to compete, bringing him into Carolina as an undrafted free agent. After injuries to both Cam Newton and Taylor Heinicke, Allen made his first career start in December of 2018, leading the Panthers to victory. After another Newton injury early last season, Allen emerged as the team's starter. Just a year and a half after going undrafted, Allen started 12 games for Rivera's club.

Once again back with Rivera, Allen could not be happier.

"It's awesome. It's incredible to play for Ron Rivera," Allen said. "I've told a lot of people, he's my favorite head coach I've ever played for, and I've played for my fair share."

Allen then went into detail about his respect for the Redskins head coach, and how Rivera gave him an opportunity when no one else did.

"He's always there for you. He's a player's coach," Allen said. "Wins or losses, he was always at my locker after the game, talking me through it, helping me through it. He always had that confidence in me, he always believed in me, and he gave me such a great opportunity. I was undrafted two years ago, and he saw something in me. Even after they cut me, he brought me back and gave me the opportunity to make a name for myself. Can't ask for anything more from him, he's been an incredible coach every time I've been with him."

Coincidentally, Allen's final game working with Rivera was against the Redskins, a Washington victory this past December. Rivera was let go by Carolina two days later. Now, they're back together.

"I'm not too fond of that memory, to be honest with you," Allen joked. "I'm glad I'm on the other side now."

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