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Joe McKnight CFL Teammates 'In Disbelief' 'He Was The Coolest Dude Ever'

12/2/2016 12:45 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

1201_joe_mcknight_Saskatchewan-RoughridersJoe McKnight's CFL teammates are "in total disbelief" he was killed in a road rage incident ... with one member of the squad telling TMZ Sports McKnight was "the coolest dude ever" and would never get violent.

We spoke to Jeff Knox -- the starting middle linebacker for the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the CFL -- who tells us the team was shaken to the core when they heard the sad news.

"We have a team group chat, no one believed it at first. I was like NO WAY this could happen to Joe, the guy never looked for any trouble, just wanted to play football and get home to his kids."

Witnesses say McKnight was actually attempting to apologize to his gunman before he was killed ... and, according to Knox, that's exactly who he was.

"He might have saw his hair and thought he was just some random hoodlum, not knowing he was a pro athlete with a family. I never met a nicer guy, we used to go at it on the field, if he ever cut me, or blocked me wrong he apologized."

Joe McKnight USC Teammates Mourn Loss 'He'll Definitely Be Missed'

12/1/2016 4:07 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

1201-joe-mcknight-jurrell-casey-GETTY-02Joe McKnight's USC family is heartbroken over the death of the running back. 

We spoke with Tennessee Titans linebacker Jurrell Casey -- who played with McKnight in 2008 and 2009 -- who tells us, "He will definitely be missed."

"I want to send my regards to his friends and family," Casey says.

"He was always a great guy and fun to be around. He's always had encouraging words. We had some great laughs. He was such a good person to talk to."

Brian Cushing also issued an emotional statement -- "Joe I'll never forget the time we had together at SC. It was unbelievable to see you grow and work your ass off from a freshman until the day you were drafted."

"We competed every day in practice only wanting the best for each other. I'm absolutely crushed to hear the news today about you being gone. I'll never forget what you accomplished and how far you came as a player and a person. RIP Joe McKnight." 

LenDale White didn't play with McKnight -- but McKnight's death is hitting him very hard.

"I'm so fu****g hurt right now. Tears jus keep flowing I love u lil bro. long live smokin Joe!!!!"

He adds, "I jus keep wishing this is a bad dream!!!"

Reggie Bush -- "RIP my brother Joe McKnight this one hurts bad."

Matt Leinart -- "News about Joe Mcknight is devastating. Just at a loss of words!"

Su'a Cravens -- "Rest In Peace to one of my all time favorite Trojans Joe McKnight ... Gone way too soon and I'll pray for your family! Sad man, just sad."

Keyshawn Johnson -- "RIP to former Trojan and NY Jet, Joe McKnight. Man this s--- has got to STOP"

Joe McKnight Ex-NFL Star Killed In Road Rage Incident

12/1/2016 2:24 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Breaking News

1201_joe_mcknight_getty_Remembering_launch_2update_graphic_red_bar2:40 PM PT -- Cops say they have detained a man they believe to be the shooter -- 54-year-old Ronald Gasser. 

Cops say McKnight did NOT have a gun at the time of the shooting. 

Emergency responders tried to administer CPR but to no avail.

update-grey-gray-barEx-NFL running back Joe McKnight was murdered in a road rage shooting in the New Orleans area ... law enforcement tells TMZ Sports

The incident occurred at 2:43 PM. Family members identified the 28-year-old at the scene. 

A witness told NOLA.com ... she saw McKnight trying to apologize to another man after some sort of traffic incident.

The witness says the man then pulled out a gun and shot McKnight -- and while standing over him screamed, "I told you not to f*** with me" ... then fired another shot into his body. 

1201_joe_mcknight_crime_scene_photosMcKnight was a high school phenom -- considered the best running back in the country.

He played college ball at USC. He was drafted by the NY Jets in 2010.

In a statement to TMZ Sports, the Jets said, "Joe McKnight was a loving father and a genuine, kind-hearted person. It is sad when life is taken in what appears to be such a senseless act of violence. Joe you will be missed."

Joe was currently playing for the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the Canadian Football League.

Roughriders president and CEO Craig Reynolds issued a statement saying, "We are saddened to hear of the tragic loss of Joe McKnight."

"Losing a member of our Rider family this way is an unthinkable occurrence. Our thoughts and prayers are with Joe’s family, teammates and coaches."

Chad Johnson Call Me Professor Stogie Lights Up Cigar During College Lecture

12/1/2016 8:57 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Breaking News

Chad Johnson was straight fire during a lecture at the University of Florida Thursday morning -- blazing up a cigar in the middle of class ... despite the fact it's a non-smoking campus!! 

The ex-NFL star was the guest speaker at a sports media class on the UF campus -- and cracked jokes about all sorts of stuff ... including his ever-changing last name.

But Chad got the most laughs when he pulled out his stogie -- and actually began to smoke it during the class!!! 

FYI, UF has touted itself as a tobacco-free campus since 2010 ... but if you think a little rule is gonna stop Ochocinco ... child, please. 

David Carr Drilled Bro On How to Avoid Sacks ... Learn From My Mistakes!

11/30/2016 10:24 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

1130-derek-carr-david-carr-GETTY-01Fact: David Carr was the most sacked rookie QB in the history of the NFL ... 76 sacks in 2002!

Fact: He was so determined to make sure his little bro, Derek Carr, didn't suffer the same fate, he personally ran him through an anti-sack clinic back in college!

We spoke with Tim DeRuyter -- Derek's old ball coach at Fresno State who says David would spend hours with the future Raiders QB ... giving him all the tips he needed to avoid eating turf at the next level.

Tim says NFL scouts were concerned that Derek could be sack-prone like David -- so David made it his mission to prove them all wrong!

Seems the clinic worked ... Derek's been killing it this season with more than 3,000 yards and 22 TDs through 11 games ... and he's only been sacked 13 times.

#ThanksBro

Greg Hardy Rolls Up His Sleeves for Cocaine Hearing

11/30/2016 9:25 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Breaking News

1130-greg-hardy-court-drug-possession-TWITTER-01Here's Greg Hardy looking blue during a court hearing in Dallas Wednesday ... where he's facing a cocaine charge stemming from a Sept. arrest. 

Nothing big happened inside the courtroom -- the hearing was kicked to Dec. 19 -- but outside, Hardy's attorneys hinted at his possible defense ... saying footage of the arrest is disturbing, according to FOX 4. 

As we previously reported, Hardy was arrested on Sept. 25 and charged with 1 count of felony possession of a controlled substance ... after cops say they found coke in his wallet. 

Hardy said the drugs weren't his ... claiming someone slipped the white stuff into his wallet as he passed it around at a party the night before. 

Antonio Gates Philip Rivers Is SOOOOO Rich ... Doesn't Need Gifts From Me!

11/30/2016 6:20 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

Antonio Gates is 3 TOUCHDOWNS AWAY from breaking Tony Gonzalez's career TD record for a tight end. So, we had to ask ... are you getting Philip Rivers a gift when you take the crown?!

The short answer -- HELL NO! 

And why not? Gates points to the "gift" the Chargers already got the QB last year -- an $84 MILLION contract extension. 

Gates says PR is like a brother to him -- and he respects the hell out of the guy -- but there's no sense in dropping a ton of cash on a guy who can buy whatever he wants. 

Miami Dolphins Stadium Brawlers Banned ... Season Tix Revoked

11/29/2016 9:33 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Breaking News

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The Miami Dolphins say they have positively identified the scumbags who attacked a family of 49ers fans at Hard Rock Stadium this weekend ... and have revoked their season tickets. 

The video of the fight went viral -- showing a gang of Dolphins fans brutally attacking various family members including a man who verbally warned that his grandchildren were with him. The men also came dangerously close to striking a child who was sleeping on a woman's shoulder. 

The Dolphins had said they launched an internal investigation into the incident -- and have taken swift action against the men involved. 

"We conducted an immediate internal review of the situation and have identified the season ticket members who were involved in the incident," a Dolphins spokesperson tells TMZ Sports.

"Their season tickets have been revoked and they have been banned from the stadium."

"We work hard to remind fans that we want this to be a safe environment and this type of behavior and conduct is not acceptable."

ATL Falcons' Desmond Trufant Teases Possible 2016 Return ... Though Highly Unlikely

11/29/2016 3:42 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

Atlanta Falcons superstar cornerback Desmond Trufant is hinting that he could return to the field THIS SEASON should the team make a deep run in the playoffs ... but it's a MAJOR long shot. 

Trufant landed in L.A. early Tuesday -- after the team placed him on injured reserve due to a bad pectoral injury. He's expected to undergo surgery either today or Wednesday. 

Here's the thing ... when we asked him if there was a shot he could come back this season, he didn't say no ... instead telling us, "We'll see."

We looked into it and technically there's a chance. Our NFL sources tell us he'd be eligible to return for the Super Bowl if the team makes it that far ... AND if the Falcons don't pull any other player off the IR before then.

However, our Falcons sources tell us it's HIGHLY UNLIKELY ... because the surgery typically sidelines players for several months and the odds of Trufant being healthy enough to play by Feb. 5 are slim.  

Still, we're told the guy has a crazy work ethic and at the very least should be back killin' it for the Falcons next season. 

Corey Dillon Bengals Need Coaching Change Too Talented to Keep Losing

11/29/2016 3:00 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

Ex-Bengals star Corey Dillon says it's time for the Bengals to move on from coach Marvin Lewis ... 'cause the roster is WAY too talented to continue comin' up short year after year.

TMZ Sports spoke with Dillon -- a 4x Pro Bowler -- about the Bengals' disappointing 3-7-1 record ... and it's clear he's ready to see a new leader on the sidelines.

"If you got talent and it's not getting processed into the playoffs and winning playoff games, you gotta start looking at your staff."

FYI -- Lewis has been Cincinnati's head coach since '03 ... but has never won a playoff game.

"I done won more playoff games in 3 years with the Patriots than he done won [in 13 with Cincinnati]."

Dillon says he's not hatin' on Lewis -- he just thinks it's time for a "fresh start."

NFL Players Showin' Off Charitable Creativity ... With Custom Cleats

11/29/2016 1:33 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF

nfl_custom_cleats_launch2

NFL stars FINALLY get a chance to rock fun cleats this weekend (without getting fined) ... as Week 13 kicks off the league's "My Cause, My Cleats" campaign.

All the players -- from Russell Wilson to Ezekiel Elliott to Kirk Cousins -- will sport customized cleats in honor of their cause or foundation of choice.

Check out the pics ... it's nice to know flexin' their creative muscle ain't gonna cost 'em for once.

Jerry Jones' Son Toughest Decision I Ever Made? ... Benching Tony Romo

11/29/2016 12:29 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Breaking News

It wasn't passing on Johnny Manziel ... it wasn't the Greg Hardy situation -- Dallas Cowboys bigwig Stephen Jones says the hardest decision he's made in the front office is benching Tony Romo

Stephen -- the Cowboys CEO and Director of Player Personnel (and also Jerry's son) -- did a video Q&A with fans moments ago ... and was asked to name the most difficult Cowboys decision he's had to make. 

Without hesitation, Stephen explained why forcing Tony to take a back seat to Dak Prescott was especially tough for him.

By the way, he did the interview with a painting of Tony Romo over his left shoulder.

Jones keeps referencing Dak's "hot hand" -- which makes it seem like he's ready to turn right back to Tony if that hand happens to cool off.

Also, interesting Stephen is taking credit for the move ... and not head coach Jason Garrett.

But we knew that already ... right?

Johnny Manziel Sued Bartender Sues You Broke My Schnoz!!!

11/28/2016 5:20 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF

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Update_Graphic_Bar

7:00 PM PT -- TMZ Sports spoke to Manziel ... who told us the allegations are "absolutely not true."

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More trouble for Johnny Manziel ... he could end up losing a new lawsuit by a nose.

The Heisman trophy winner is facing yet another lawsuit ... this time for allegedly punching a bar employee in the face and breaking his nose.

Eric Newton -- who works at a bar in Austin, TX -- claims someone in Manziel's circle overheard him sharing his opinion about the troubled QB. Whoever heard the convo told Manziel, and he allegedly came running up, got behind the bar, began cursing and punched the guy in the noggin.

According to the suit, Newton grabbed Manziel, they fell to the floor and Johnny then fled before cops arrived.

Newton is suing for the usual ... pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost wages and mental anguish. He wants between $200k and a million bucks.

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