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Happy Friday sports fans, it’s Chris Bengel with you once again. We have arrived at another weekend of football and whatever other sports tickle your fancy.

I’ve found myself watching more Indianapolis Colts games than I ever thought I would. That’s because the Philadelphia Eagles could own the Colts’ first round pick if quarterback Carson Wentz reaches certain milestones. Wentz has to play 70 percent of the offensive snaps this season if the Colts don’t make the playoffs and 75 percent if they do.

Considering that the Eagles also own the Miami Dolphins‘ first round pick along with their own, it would be a huge deal or them if Wentz hits those milestones.

We have more on Thursday’s NFL action and many other items below, but first (for the second straight morning!) we have breaking news to cover up top: The Cleveland Browns plan to release three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. Both sides have agreed upon a financial settlement, which will make it easier for another team to claim him.

OK, now let’s dive into the other news.


📰 What you need to know

1. Carson Wentz throws three touchdowns as Colts rout Jets 🏈

The New York Jets were the talk of the NFL on Sunday after upsetting the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 8 behind a stellar performance from quarterback Mike White in his first start of the year. Well, the honeymoon phase is over. The signal caller suffered an arm injury in the first half and the Indianapolis Colts were able to cruise to a 45-30 win over the Jets on Thursday night.

The story behind the score is that the Colts’ offense was firing on all cylinders and the Jets defense had no answers:

  • Quarterback Carson Wentz led the way for the Colts as he completed 22-of-30 passes for 272 yards and three touchdowns on the night
  • The Colts also had a spectacular performance on the ground with star running back Jonathan Taylor running for 172 yards and two touchdowns
  • Indianapolis ended up recording 532 yards of total offense

After getting off to a 1-4 start, the Colts have won three of their last four games and are attempting to climb back into the playoff race. Wentz has been playing well and the Colts finally have gotten Taylor going after a rough start to the season.

If the Colts can stay an offensive juggernaut, it’s not crazy to think that they could vie for a Wild Card spot in the postseason.

For more on Thursday’s matchup, check out what our CBS Sports NFL scribes had to say about the action.

2. Explaining the Jack Eichel vs. Buffalo Sabres saga 🏒

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Entering the 2021-22 NHL season, one of the biggest storylines was where star center Jack Eichel would end up getting traded to. That question was answered on Thursday as the Vegas Golden Knights acquired Eichel and a conditional draft pick in exchange for center Peyton Krebs, winger Alex Tech, a 2022 first round pick and a 2023 third round pick.

Back in March, Eichel suffered a neck injury and was eventually ruled out for the remainder of the season. That’s when this saga started taking turns. Eichel became frustrated with the Sabres after they refused to allow him to have the type of procedure that he wanted, an artificial disk replacement procedure. The team wouldn’t give their consent.

The two sides were at odds, and it all was resolved yesterday when Eichel was traded. CBS Sports NHL scribe Wajih AlBaroudi put together a full timeline of how the Eichel saga unfolded:

  • March 7 – Eichel injures neck: “He was originally slated to miss 7-10 days, a timeline that quickly proved to be unrealistic. The Sabres lost their seventh consecutive game that night and eventually lost 18 straight.”
  • April 14 – Sabres rule Eichel out for the season
  • May 10 – Eichel reevaluated: “Eichel’s reevaluation determined he still needed surgery, but the player and team disagreed over which one. Buffalo requested Eichel undergo fusion surgery while Eichel wanted an artificial disk replacement procedure. The NHL’s collective bargaining agreement gives teams final authority over their players’ injury recoveries, and the Sabres used that power to decline Eichel’s desired surgery. Eichel decried his team’s decision shortly after.”
  • Sept. 23 – Eichel fails physical, is stripped of Sabres captaincy
  • Nov. 4 – Eichel traded to Golden Knights

Eichel figures to miss multiple months because he will finally have the procedure done now that the Sabres are out of the picture. However, the Golden Knights could get the star forward back for a Stanley Cup Playoff run…

3. Aaron Rodgers could be subject to punishment due to violation of COVID-19 protocols 🏈

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USATSI

Aaron Rodgers has been ruled out of Sunday’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs. This is because Rodgers has COVID-19 and is unvaccinated, so he has to be out for at least 10 days. Now that it is public knowledge that Rodgers isn’t vaccinated, it’s becoming clear he may have committed multiple COVID-19 violations.

The NFL does have the right to fine the Packers or even take away draft picks as a result. It wouldn’t be the first time the league has reprimanded teams on this topic: 

  • During the 2020 season, the Las Vegas Raiders and New Orleans Saints committed COVID-19 violations and were penalized
  • The Saints were fined $700,000 and also lost a sixth round draft pick
  • The Raiders were fined $800,000 and docked a sixth round pick. However, the pick ended up being reinstated after the Raiders appealed the decision.

If Rodgers is found to have committed violations of COVID-19 protocols, he could be fined $14,650 for a first offense. If he committed multiple violations, he could be fined one game check. Players can also be suspended for up to four games for conduct detrimental to the team.

CBS Sports NFL scribe John Breech detailed how Rodgers has likely been violating COVID-19 protocols this season:

  • Breech: “Since Rodgers isn’t vaccinated, he’s supposed to be wearing a mask during indoor press conferences … Rodgers has made it a habit of going maskless during his interview, including when he informed the media that he was ‘immunized’ back in August.”

4. NBA investigating Suns owner Robert Sarver for claims of racism and misogyny 🏀

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USATSI

Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver, who is white, has allegedly used the N-word on several occasions, made misogynistic comments in team meetings and has also berated coaches at times, according to a bombshell report from Thursday.

After ESPN published the report, the NBA announced that they would be launching an investigation into Sarver.

  • The NBA’s statement on the report: “The allegations contained in today’s ESPN article are extremely serious, and we have directed the Wachtell Lipton law firm to commence a comprehensive investigation. The NBA and WNBA remain committed to providing a respectful and inclusive workplace for all employees. Once the investigation is completed, its findings will provide the basis for any league action.”

This story really does speak for itself. Here are some quotes and claims involved in the report.

  • Sarver repeatedly said the N-word in the coaches room after a loss against the Golden State Warriors in 2016, complaining that Draymond Green, who is Black, said it during the game. Then-coach Earl Watson told him, “You can’t f—ing say that” 
  • At least six Suns employees described Sarver saying the N-word aloud when repeating something a Black player had said 
  • In telling a Suns employee that he wanted to hire Lindsey Hunter, who is Black, instead of Dan Majerle, who is white, as coach in 2013, Sarver said, “These [N-words] need a [N-word],” according to an executive who heard the conversation
  • As the Suns tried to sign LaMarcus Aldridge in 2015, they knew that he would like to play near his children in Texas. Sarver said then that they needed to get Phoenix-area strippers pregnant with NBA-player children so the team could have an edge in recruiting.

📝 Odds & Ends

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📺 What to watch this weekend

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Friday

🏀 Knicks vs. Bucks, 7:30 p.m. | MIL -4.5 | TV: ESPN

🏒 Rangers vs. Oilers, 9:30 p.m. | EDM -130 | TV: NHL.TV

🏈 Utah vs. Stanford, 10:30 p.m. | UTAH -9 | TV: FS1

Saturday

🏈 Missouri vs. No. 1 Georgia, 12 p.m. | UGA -39 | TV: ESPN

🏈 No. 13 Auburn vs. No. 14 Texas A&M, 3:30 p.m. | A&M -4.5 | TV: CBS

🏈 LSU vs. No. 2 Alabama, 7:30 p.m. | ALA -28.5 | TV: ESPN

Sunday

🏈 Browns vs. Bengals, 1 p.m. | CIN -2.5 | TV: CBS

🏈 Packers vs. Chiefs, 4:25 p.m. | KC -7.5 | TV: FOX

🏈 Titans vs. Rams, 8:20 p.m. | LAR -7.5 | TV: NBC


🏅 Best thing I saw on the internet

Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards may be my new favorite NBA player. In a video on the NBA’s official Twitter account, Edwards revealed that he can’t stand crunchy peanut butter and never has even tried it. Edwards said that he believes that creamy peanut butter spreads better on bread for sandwiches. 

In my book, Edwards is spot on. I’ve always been a fan of creamy peanut butter and, much like Edwards, I’ve never even tried crunchy peanut butter. Peanut butter is supposed to be smooth and creamy, not crunchy. There’s nothing better than creamy peanut butter spread on a sandwich. I’m with Edwards.