The lighter side of sports: June Jones says Johnny Manziel can be the greatest, Herm Edwards goes off the rails, Victor Oladipo does pushups, and Shawn Lemon trolls

By: Andrew Bucholtz

Thursday, December 7, 2017

The lighter side of sports: June Jones says Johnny Manziel can be the greatest, Herm Edwards goes off the rails, and Victor Oladipo does pushups before an interview

Here’s another look at funny stories from around the world of sports, from the Hamilton Tiger-Cats to the Arizona State Sun Devils.

June Jones says Johnny Manziel “would be the best player to ever play up here.”: Despite a dismal recent coaching record, a lack of recent Canadian Football League experience, and stepping into a horrible situation when he took over as head coach of the then-0-8 Tiger-Cats, Jones (seen above with Hamilton quarterback Jeremiah Masoli) actually did an excellent job in that role, leading the team to a 6-4 mark over the remainder of the year. That led to him being named the full-time head coach earlier this week, and that certainly seems deserved at this point. However, one of Jones’ first offseason media appearances didn’t go as well. Jones spoke to Davis Sanchez and James Cybulski on CFL.ca’s The Waggle podcast to talk about Johnny Manziel (who tried to get into the CFL in September and was told he’d have to wait until 2018 and meet conditions prescribed by the CFL), and made some extravagant comments:

“I think [Manziel] would be the best player to ever play up here,” Jones told The Waggle. “He can throw it and he can run it like nobody has ever been able to do.”

As I wrote back in September, Manziel certainly has some CFL promise. The former Heisman Trophy winner was terrific in college at Texas A&M, and his 68.9 per cent completion rate in particular stands out above many other big-name NCAA quarterbacks who have tried to make it in the CFL without success. He also just turned 25, so he’s younger than many other prospects who have tried and failed. However, his last few years have been dismal; he hasn’t played since 2015, his completion percentage fell to 57.0 per cent with the Cleveland Browns, and he eventually got cut by them, one of the league’s worst franchises.

Manziel’s off-field issues have included domestic violence accusations, alleged drugs and alcohol abuse, missing scheduled team-check ins and more. Now, if he stops causing off-field trouble, he could potentially make it to the CFL, and he does have an impressive skillset. That might even lead to him getting a starting look long ahead of your typical rookie quarterback. But there’s a long way to go from there to even keep a starting job, to say nothing of being a competent quarterback or an all-star, much less the best ever. And suggesting that Manziel “would be the best player to ever play up here” and “can throw it and run it like nobody has ever been able to do” demonstrates a ridiculous lack of knowledge of Canadian quarterbacks, from Damon Allen to Warren Moon to Doug Flutie. But this led to a lot of funny Twitter jokes about Jones, and rightly so.

Herm Edwards’ press conference gets off track: Last week, we touched on how crazy it seemed for Arizona State to hire ESPN NFL analyst Herm Edwards, who hadn’t been a coach at any level since 2008 and whose entire college coaching experience was a three-year stint as San Jose State’s DB coach from 1987-89. In his bizarre introductory press conference, Edwards didn’t exactly do a lot to instill confidence. First, consider the convoluted train metaphor:

What about the societal importance of huddles?

Or his agent talking about “the scoreboard of life”?

Or his surprise at a question from a reporter from 247 Sports’ Devils Digest (Arizona State’s mascot is the Sun Devils)?

That’s just high-quality entertainment all around. But not necessarily a way to win football games.

Victor Oladipo does pushups before an interview: Indiana Pacers’ guard Victor Oladipo led the team with 27 points (including a crucial late three) and added eight rebounds in a comeback win over the Chicago Bulls Wednesday night. But, before his on-camera post-game interview, he dropped and did 10 pushups thanks to missing a late free throw:

Now that’s commitment.

Shawn Lemon trolls Bo Levi Mitchell with an attempted Grey Cup FaceTime:

Toronto Argonauts’ defensive end Shawn Lemon is known for his social media trash talk, and boy, did he take that to a new level this week, using his time hanging out with the Grey Cup to attempt to FaceTime Calgary quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell (who the Argonauts beat in that Grey Cup game).

Troll game on point. Oh, and speaking of the Argonauts, we should note this Love Boat parody made for them by CFL video coordinator Mark Urban:

Nicely done. Now that’s really the lighter side of sports.