J.J. Watt received an awesome gift from the coolest 7-year-old on the planet ... and TMZ Sports has learned little Anthony Tarantelli can expect something in the mail from #99 real soon.
Tarantelli captured the hearts of every sports fan when he sent Watt an autographed jersey (not the other way around) and included a letter saying he was "the most feared rusher in my league this year."
Anthony's dad Joe tells TMZ it took a little luck to get the delivery to Watt. Joe says he posted about it on Facebook ... and a friend came forward saying he knew Watt's agent.
Lauren Tarantelli, Anthony's mom, tells TMZ Sports ... J.J. reached out to Anthony after getting the package and sent along a video message ... in which he said Anthony can "expect something in the mail."
Mama Tarantelli -- who was a college tennis player herself -- says Anthony's love of J.J. came about all on his own (his dad's a Bills fan) and that he's so feared in his league ... he once had the referee tell him to go easy.
Perhaps NFL refs should try that approach with J.J.
'Selling Poison On That High Horse'
9/16/2014 3:07 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Arian Foster is GOING OFF on Anheuser-Busch for daring to criticize the league's handling of the domestic violence crisis -- saying the beer giant is, "Selling poison on that high horse."
The Houston Texans running back's blood was clearly boiling when he read AB's statement ... which said it was "not yet satisfied with the league's handling of behaviors that so clearly go against our own company culture and moral code."
Foster's response -- "Lol ok, alcohol company."
"Selling poison on that high horse," he wrote ... adding, "Domestic violence and alcohol damn near synonymous."
Foster was challenged on Twitter, with someone saying, "Finally a BIG time company taking a public stance AGAINST and you rip them? Huh?"
His response? "You need a company to tell you dv is wrong?"
"Everybody is just riding the media wave. There has been tons of dv cases throughout the years where was all this support then? Its political."
"Anytime it's starts to tinkering with their bottom line, then they act. Now they're concerned."
PRAISED FOR MOVIE DEBUT
'They Weren't Gonna Hire Him If He Couldn't Act'
3/26/2014 4:14 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Houston Texans running back Arian Foster just completed his FIRST role in a major Hollywood movie -- and it went so well, his co-stars say he might have a serious future in acting.
The movie is "Draft Day" -- about an NFL GM who's gunning to land the #1 draft pick -- and it's packed with huge actors like Kevin Costner, Jennifer Garner and Diddy.
Foster plays a potential draft pick ... and according to his co-star Wade Williams, he CRUSHED IT.
"Arian was very natural and enthusiastic," Wade says ... "[the producers] weren't gonna hire him if he couldn't act."
Wade knows what he's talking about -- he's been in a ton of movies and TV shows, including "Prison Break," where he starred as the main guard.
"He's a very talented actor. After the NFL he definitely could be a sportscaster or even act full-time."
As for Arian's role, Wade says it's nothing to sneeze at -- "It's not the lead, but it's a nice part."
Williams says in the end, he was very impressed -- "He was really into it. He went for it ... and he couldn't be more handsome, that rat bastard!"
Ed Reed [Update]
Burglar Jacks $50,000 In Cash
from NFL Star's Car
2/13/2014 7:14 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
NFL superstar Ed Reed was jacked to the tune of $50,000 ... when burglars allegedly followed him out of a Houston bank and stole a big bag of cash from his car.
According to the police report, obtained by TMZ Sports, the former Houston Texans star says he pulled the money out of a Bank of America ... and went to ANOTHER bank.
While Reed was in the second bank, he claims someone smashed the side window of his grey 2006 Audi and jacked the loot, which was in a bag.
It all went down around 2:00 PM -- in broad daylight.
Cops say they believe Reed was followed from the first bank to the second bank. Officials are now on the hunt for the suspects.
We're told cops are hoping bank surveillance video captured an image of the cash thief.
We reached out to Ed's rep -- so far, no word back.
Chiefs QB Alex Smith
Still Getting Screwed in SF
Takes Massive Real Estate Loss
2/7/2014 11:45 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Chiefs QB Alex Smith is so desperate to put his 8 years in San Fran behind him ... he just slashed a cool $300K off the asking price on his CA mansion, TMZ Sports has learned.
Smith originally listed the 5,650 sq ft, Los Gatos home for $3.25 mil -- after getting traded to the Chiefs last year ... but now he's settling on $2.95 mil in a last ditch effort to unload the place.
The 4 bedroom, 4 bath crib includes a massive 1,200 sq ft master bedroom ... and sits on a shaded hilltop an hour south of soon-to-be demolished Candlestick Park.
Here's what's inside -- high vaulted ceilings, hardwood floors, and huge windows with amazing views. What's NOT inside? A Lombardi Trophy, cause y'know ...
Fun Fact: Our friends at Realtor.com tell us there are now two CA homes on the market owned by former No. 1 picks. Ex-Texans star David Carr is also trying to unload his Bakersfield mansion for $2.8 mil.
Texans' Coach Gary Kubiak
'Alert, Coherent & In Good Spirits'
11/4/2013 9:02 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Houston Texans' head coach Gary Kubiak remains in a Houston hospital after collapsing on the field at halftime yesterday ... team officials say he's being monitored by doctors .... but he's "alert, coherent and in good spirits."
Kubiak had to be carried off the field on a stretcher ... after he fell to the ground complaining of dizziness during the Texans-Colts game. Team officials say he didn't have a heart attack and never lost consciousness.
Team doctors treated Kubiak on the field before he was taken by ambulance to the hospital. A statement from the Texans' front office says he was admitted overnight and will be watched by doctors for the next 24 hours to try to figure out why he collapsed.
Texans GM Rick Smith said, “There have been so many people throughout the city and across the country that have reached out to express their love and support and we are thankful for everyone’s thoughts and prayers."
Please Stop Burning Matt Schaub Jerseys
10/2/2013 12:10 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
The Houston Texans are taking steps to stop more fans from lighting their Matt Schaub jerseys on fire outside of their stadium -- but it ain't to protect the QB's feelings.
TMZ spoke with a member of the Texans organization who tells us ... the team decided it needed to take action after watching a viral YouTube video which featured a bunch of fans flaming up a #8 jersey in the stadium parking lot after the team lost to the Seahawks last weekend.
We're told the team is making a concerted effort to "do a better job monitoring the people who tailgate" because jersey fires are a direct violation of the stadium's open flame policy.
The team should also do a better job monitoring Schaub ... 'cause if he didn't throw so many damn pick 6s (3 in the last 3 games), they probably wouldn't have had this problem to begin with.
Severe NFL Violence
Dolphins' Incognito Won't Press Charges in
8/20/2013 10:30 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
11:20 AM PT Richie Incognito is a seriously forgiving dude ... telling us, "Football is an intense game. I've been there. Emotions run high. People lose their cool ... thank God no one got hurt."
No blood no foul in the case of the violent helmet swinging incident between Houston Texans Antonio Smith and Miami Dolphins Richie Incognito -- because Incognito is willing to let it slide ... TMZ has learned.
Sources close to the Dolphins offensive lineman tell us he has no plans to press criminal charges for the vicious altercation during Saturday's preseason game.
The video, first aired on FOX Sports 1, is ugly – while the players were grappling, Smith ripped off Incognito's helmet and swung it HARD right at his noggin.
We're told Incognito's totally fine, so at worst it was probably a grazing shot -- but considering NFL helmets weigh as much as 6 pounds of hard plastic -- Smith could've done some serious damage.
Houston police and the Harris County Sheriff tell us they would only take action against Smith ... if Incognito filed a complaint.
Smith's not off the hook with the NFL, which could suspend him. A league spokesman says the case is "under review.”
Houston Texans Players
Teaming Up to Help
Senior Citizens Vote
11/6/2012 7:00 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Several Houston Texans players -- past and present -- are banding together today to make sure their local senior citizens don't get screwed out of their right to vote ... TMZ has learned.
Former Texans offensive lineman Chester Pitts has organized a group of his gigantic NFL friends to help shuttle seniors in the Houston area to their local polling place.
We're told Pitts has rented several 15-passenger vans ... and will be joined by several current Texans linemen including Duane Brown (DT), Antoine Caldwell (C), Chris Myers (C) ... along with safety Danieal Manning.
Some of Chester's former Houston teammates are also expected to help out ... including Moran Norris, Travis Johnson and Charlie Anderson.
"I'm a firm believer that everyone has their own voice and has the right to be heard," Pitts tells TMZ.
"Having the chance to vote is one of the greatest privileges we have as Americans, that we have the right to vote and our vote does count. And that's why I really feel like if there's anything I can do to help, whichever way they happen to vote, I should do it."
Two Huge NFL Stars
Vouch for Ankle Doctor
10/17/2012 12:30 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Derek Jeter made the RIGHT MOVE by trusting his busted ankle to Dr. Robert Anderson ... so says two NFL superstars who tell TMZ Anderson was able to bring them back from some MAJOR foot injuries.
We spoke with Houston Texans QB Matt Schaub ... who went under Anderson's knife over the summer to repair Lisfranc injury (displaced bones) in his right foot.
Schaub tells us ... "Jeter is in great hands ... Dr. Anderson is the best in the business at what he does."
In fact, Schaub says Anderson exceeded his expectations when it came to recovery time -- "Everything was on schedule, and even ahead of schedule."
Schaub also had some words of wisdom for DJ -- "[Jeter] should follow all procedures that he's told and don't worry about anything ... [he] will be even better after the procedure than he was before going in.”
New York Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw says he also owes his career to Dr. Anderson -- telling TMZ the doc was able to treat him for multiple foot injuries ... and he hasn't lost a step.
"I had the greatest experience ... his staff around him is top of the line ... but to have the best doctor in the world, it's even more comforting."
So far, the extent of Jeter's ankle injury is unclear -- but he's scheduled to undergo surgery Saturday in Charlotte, NC.