Ryan Fitzpatrick Laughs Off 'Worst Text' To Alex Smith ... Felt Like An A-Hole!!!

NFL QB Ryan Fitzpatrick had a real palm-to-the-face moment after Alex Smith's life-threatening leg injury ... admitting he sent the guy a SUPER embarrassing text that he's calling "one of my biggest regrets to date."

So ... what could Fitzy have *possibly* said that was so bad?? Well, here's the Washington Football Team signal caller's take on the incident.

"When Alex broke his leg in that game a few years ago, I had what I thought was a similar injury," Fitzpatrick told Chris Long's "Green Light" podcast. ... citing the fractured tibia he suffered in 2014.

"So the single worst text I've ever sent out, I sent it to Alex. I said, 'Hey, Alex, just want to let you know they'll fix you right up, you'll be good as new! I'm out here and I don't feel any pain from my injury 3 years later!'"

HURTS TO THINK ABOUT IT
@ChalkNetwork - Green Light Podcast/Getty

Fitz says he "felt good" about sending the positive vibes his buddy's way ... but of course, Smith's injury was actually WAY worse.

After all, the guy had 17 surgeries, could've lost part of his leg and battled a flesh-eating bacteria. Yeah ... it was no cakewalk.

Despite the confusion, Fitzpatrick says Smith couldn't have been nicer in his response.

"(Alex) said 'Well ... mine might be a little more complicated.' And 17 surgeries later, and the story of what he had to overcome, I felt like the biggest a**hole!"

But, the 2 guys are able to laugh it off now ... especially since Smith was able to make a miraculous comeback and return to the field.

Fitz also had high praise for his fellow Class of 2005 quarterback ... and congratulated Smith on his retirement.

Jameis Winston Vows Rise To Greatness ... After Going From #1 Pick To NFL Laughingstock

BE ABOUT THAT BUSINESS
@nolegameday

Here's a refreshingly candid moment from Jameis Winston ... the Saints QB admitted to kids he went from top NFL prospect to league laughingstock -- but he's now vowing to work his ass off to change that.

The 27-year-old was helping out at Kenny Shaw's football camp in Orlando, FL on Saturday when he delivered the speech ... and it was a very cool, self-aware moment from the former #1 overall pick.

Winston, in addressing dozens of campers, said, "I went from being the #1 draft pick to being everybody laugh at me."

Jameis, of course, is not wrong ... the guy has been mocked for issue after issue after issue during and after his rise to national fame at Florida State.

There was the crab leg incident. The "f*** her right in the p****" debacle. There was the incredibly awkward "Eat A W" celebration. And, who can forget his quirky training methods??

But, Jameis told the young footballers he's doing everything in his power to change all of that and be the heir to Drew Brees' throne in New Orleans.

"Guess what?" Jameis said. "I'm about that business. I'm outworking everybody at my position."

Winston had to pause, 'cause Dallas Cowboys star QB Dak Prescott was standing right next to him helping out at the camp -- but he continued nonetheless!!

"I know Dak right there," he said as Prescott smiled. "But, I'm doing things every single day. Committing to the dream."

Winston then encouraged the kids to believe in themselves and always approach the game with a little kid's perspective ... because he says that's how he's going about his business now.

Music to Sean Payton's ears, we're sure!

Joe Burrow Gnarly ACL Surgery Scar Shown ... During Bengals' Jersey Reveal

Joe Burrow showed off his ACL surgery scar during the Bengals' jersey reveal sesh this week ... and the thing is massive AND gnarly.

The former Heisman Trophy winner shredded his knee during a game on Nov. 22 ... and he required a surgical procedure to fix multiple tears in the leg just days later.

Burrow's recovery has gone well -- his parents just said earlier this month the 24-year-old is still on track to start next season for Cincy -- but it's clear, the damage done to his knee was significant.

Check out the Bengals' photo of the QB's left leg ... you can see surgeons had to open him up from the top of the knee cap all the way down to the start of his shin to fix the issues.

The wound -- which appears to be at least half a foot long -- is still purple, red and fresh ... about 4 months after it was made.

For his part, Burrow hasn't spoken much publicly about his rehab process ... but he's been spotted out in the public recently, moving his knee fine and putting pressure on it while walking and sitting.

The Bengals kick off their season next September ... here's to hoping 5 more months is all Burrow needs to be ready for his sophomore campaign.

Sam Darnold Mourns Former USC Teammate ... Chris Brown Was 'Greatest Dude EVER'

NFL star Sam Darnold was crushed to learn his former USC teammate Chris Brown died over the weekend ... saying Monday the 24-year-old O-lineman was the "greatest dude EVER."

Brown passed away Sunday, according to Trojans football head coach Clay Helton ... who said he was "heartbroken" to relay the news to the SC community.

Darnold -- who was teammates with Brown for his entire USC career -- spoke out on the tragedy on his social media page Monday ... sharing three photos, and clearly reeling from the news.

"Still can't believe this," Darnold said. "Rest easy brotha."

Brown arrived on SC's campus in 2014, 1 year before Darnold enrolled at the school. The O-lineman went on to block for the star QB for two seasons in 2016 and 2017, before Sam eventually bolted for the NFL.

The two were clearly close, Darnold's pictures showed the guys shared more than a few laughs together.

A cause of death for Brown has not yet been revealed.

RIP.

NFL's Alex Smith I'm Retiring 2.5 Years After Life-Threatening Leg Injury

NFL star Alex Smith -- who beat the odds and returned to the field after a catastrophic leg injury in 2018 -- is retiring from football, the QB announced Monday.

36-year-old Smith gave an emotional farewell to the sport just minutes ago ... saying he's ready for a new challenge after making his improbable comeback.

"Two years ago I was stuck in a wheelchair, staring down at my mangled leg, wondering if I'd ever be able to go on a walk with my wife again, or play games with my kids in the yard," the 2020 Comeback Player of the Year said.

Waiting for your permission to load the Instagram Media.

Smith credits getting a football back in his hand for his miraculous recovery ... adding, "I don't know what it was but all of a sudden I felt stronger, more driven and what once seemed impossible began to come into focus."

"I want to say thank you for believing in me and thank you for helping me believe in myself and the impossible," he added. "Because even though I have plenty of snaps left in me, after 16 years of giving this game everything I’ve got, I can’t wait to see what else is possible."

Smith says he will now spend time with his wife and kids ... and enjoy making up the time he's missed with them over the past 16 years.

Smith -- a superstar QB out of the University of Utah -- was the #1 overall pick to the San Francisco 49ers in 2005, where he played for 8 seasons.

He was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs in 2013 ... earning Pro Bowl honors 3 times in 5 seasons, and posting the league's best passer rating in 2017.

Smith joined the Washington Football Team in 2018 and was having a solid season before suffering a gruesome leg injury against the Houston Texans in Week 10.

After battling a flesh-eating bacteria and 17 operations, Smith worked nonstop to make his return to the field in 2020, appearing in 8 games for Washington.

"I was a skinny no-name recruit who wasn't supposed to play in college, let alone go to New York as a Heisman finalist or be the first one to have his name called on draft night," Smith added.

"So everyone out there, whether you're a part of Niners Nation, the Chiefs Kingdom or the Burgundy and Gold, I thank you. To all the men I had a privilege of standing with and playing alongside, thank you."

Former Univ. Of Houston LB Accused Of Violent Murder ... Allegedly Shot Ex-H.S. Teammates

Zamar Kirven -- a former starting LB for the Univ. of Houston football team -- has been accused of murdering his ex-H.S. teammates in a violent shooting Sunday.

The McLennan County Sheriff's Office said Kirven opened fire on 2 men, who may have been asleep at the time, at around 2 A.M. in Mart, Texas.

Officials did NOT release a motive for the alleged attack ... but they did say Kirven grew up with the men and even played high school football with them.

"He gunned those people down in cold blood," Sheriff Parnell McNamara told TMZ Sports of the alleged incident. "There was not a fight."

21-year-old Kirven was arrested and booked on a capital murder charge. Jail records show he's still in custody.

Kirven -- a 6'3", 205-pound athlete -- was a star at Mart H.S. and eventually earned a full-ride scholarship to play for the Cougars after his senior season in 2018.

Kirven played in 9 games in his true freshman season ... and went on to start 5 games in his sophomore season in 2019.

He had reportedly been booted from the team in 2020 over a violation of team rules.

Tom Brady Injured Knee Feels 'Pretty Good' ... But Not Ready For Practice Yet

The G.O.A.T.’s knee is continuing to mend ... Tom Brady says his injured leg is feeling “pretty good” a couple months after surgery, though he added he’s not quite close to 100% yet.

The 7-time Super Bowl champ broke it down for reporters at Bruce Arians’ charity event Sunday, explaining rehab on his injured knee is going well, but he likely wouldn’t be able to practice for Tampa if official workouts began this week.

"I feel pretty good, and I push myself pretty hard," The 43-year-old said. "I feel pretty good. I don't know if I could go this week, but we'll see how things play out.”

It’s unclear when Brady initially injured his knee, but multiple reports have indicated he dealt with the ailment through the Bucs’ run to the Super Bowl in 2020.

Brady had surgery to repair the issue just days after the title game victory over the Chiefs ... and, despite clearly not being full-go yet, he seemed confident Sunday it'd be healthy by the start of the 2021 season.

"It's a long time between now and the beginning of the season,” Brady said, "and just be smart about all these different things that we have to do and fulfill; but we all take a lot of pride in being ready to go, and I'm sure we will be."

Tampa -- which is slated to begin official, mandatory team workouts in just a few weeks -- will kick off its '21 season in September.

Jeremy Piven Goes To Bat For Edelman ... He's A 1st-Ballot Hall Of Famer!!!

LOOK AT THE STATS
TMZSports.com

"He's got 3 Super Bowl rings. He has 36 touchdowns. He's 5-foot-9. He's Jewish!"

Jeremy Piven says all of that -- and more -- are the reasons he's certain Julian Edelman is a Hall of Famer ... telling TMZ Sports the Patriots legend should be in Canton on the 1st ballot!

"He runs a 4.3 [40-yard dash], he played quarterback in high school," Piven told us out in L.A. this week. "I mean, I look in the mirror and I see Julian Edelman. I don't see me, and then I wake up and I see me and then it's pathetic."

"I celebrate him with the power of Christ. He's amazing! Put him in the Hall of Fame!"

The debate is now raging in the football world after Edelman officially retired from the game last Monday ... with people in both corners of the argument adamant they're right.

On one hand, you have guys like Rob Gronkowski, who still ain't so sure Edelman's gonna get the nod ... despite playing with the guy forever in New England.

NOT DONE YET
BACKGRID

On the other hand, you have dudes like Piven who are all in.

As for if Edelman truly deserves the bronze bust ... his regular season stats are solid -- 620 catches for 6,822 receiving yards and 36 TDs -- but not spectacular.

His postseason resume, though, certainly is. Julian's got 3 title rings, a Super Bowl MVP award and he's second all-time to Jerry Rice in total playoff receptions.

"He was one of Tom Brady's favorite targets," Piven added. "That's not a participation trophy. He ran great routes, he hustled. You look at his highlights and look at his stats."

"Even Belichick's coming out and saying the variable with Julian Edelman is he shows up at the big moments."

Five years until we find out the answer to the debate ... until then, we're loving the discussion!

Aaron Donald Video from Nightclub Fight Shows NFL Star Pulling Mob Off Alleged Attacker

BREAKING UP THE FIGHT
TMZSports.com

8:52 AM PT -- TMZ Sports has obtained footage from the surveillance video which appears to show Donald pulling people off of Spriggs after the alleged bottle attack.

Aaron Donald's lawyer claims the NFL superstar was the target of a bottle attack outside of a nightclub ... and he's got video to prove it.

Donald's attorney, Casey White, claims the assault allegations levied against the L.A. Rams superstar are provably false based on surveillance video they've obtained along with multiple witnesses.

As we previously reported, DeVincent Spriggs filed a police report against Donald -- claiming Aaron beat the daylights out of him outside the Boom Boom Room nightclub in the early hours of April 11.

But, Casey White appeared on 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh on Friday morning and says the surveillance video proves Spriggs is 100% full of crap.

DONALD'S SIDE
The Fan Morning Show, 93.7

White says the two were at a party together at a residence above the nightclub when Spriggs bumped into Donald -- elbowing him in the back.

White says there was a minor conflict which resulted in Spriggs being kicked out of the party.

But, Spriggs allegedly waited for Donald in an alley outside -- that's when he tried to attack with a bottle.

"Mr. Spriggs starts walking toward Aaron and he's yelling and he's drunk and he's aggressive," White says.

"And, Aaron sees something in his right hand and first he thinks it's a gun."

"But, it's actually a bottle, a long liquor bottle. In fact, [Spriggs] swings with his right hand, Aaron ducks. The bottle grazes the top of Aaron's head ... he has a lump on his head from the bottle."

At that point, White says people in the area -- including Aaron's brother -- raced in to help Aaron and some people began beating Spriggs savagely.

Aaron was restrained during the beating, White says -- but eventually freed himself and actually began ripping people off of Spriggs.

"He actually saved Mr. Spriggs from further injury,” White said ... "It’s fantastic, from a defense attorney’s perspective, to be honest with you."

White says Spriggs was badly injured -- but insists the guy only has himself to blame.

White also claims he received an email from police saying investigators do not have any video evidence showing Donald assaulted Spriggs -- the implication being Donald will NOT be charged with a crime.

White also suggested he would be releasing footage soon to show everyone Donald did nothing wrong.

Originally Published -- 8:08 AM PT

Washington's NFL Team Floats 'Demon Cats' As Potential New Nickname

The NFC East could come down to the Dallas Cowboys vs. the Washington Demon Cats in 2022???

It's true ... 'cause the Washington Football Team is now putting out feelers to fans regarding potential new monikers, and one of the squad names it's floating includes the "Demon Cats."

It's unclear why -- D.C. has never been known for its demons or its cats -- but it's one of at least 30 names WFT officials sent out to season ticket holders to evaluate this week.

Some of the others that don't make a whole lot of sense? Aces, Belters, Brigade and Rising.

There were some pretty cool ones, though ... WFT -- which ditched its old team name due to its racist ties last year -- also asked fans to weigh in on names like Redtails, Red Hogs and Washington DC Football Club (DCFC).

The list was NOT meant to be a new team name vote, according to WFT execs ... but rather a way for the org. to get a feel for what names were important to its fan base.

WFT officials have said they'd like to have a new nickname in place for 2022. And, they've reiterated multiple times they could just stick with WFT.

Here's the rest of some of the reported monikers WFT fans got a peek at this week:

Aces
Ambassadors
Anchors
Archers
Armada
Aviators
Beacons
Belters
Brigade
Commanders
Defenders
Demon Cats
First City Football Club (FCFC)
Griffins
Guardians
Icons
Majors
Monarchs
Pilots
Presidents
Razorbacks
Redtails
Redwolves
Red Hogs
Renegades
Riders
Rising
Royals
Rubies
Swifts
Warriors
Washington DC Football Club (DCFC)
Wayfarers
Wild Hogs
32FC (W32)

See any leaders in the clubhouse there???

Jim McMahon Craps All Over Chicago Bears I Don't Care About Them Anymore

He's the punky QB known as McMahon ... and good lord, does he HATE the Chicago Bears.

Of course, Jim McMahon is a Chicago legend -- famous for leading his 1985 Bears team over the Patriots in Super Bowl XX. Remember the Super Bowl shuffle?!

But now, the 61-year-old could care less about his former franchise ... ripping the organization during an appearance this week on the "Fat Mike Chicago Sports Show."

First, McMahon pointed out Chicago hasn't had a decent starting QB if forever -- and noted, "I think it’s where quarterbacks go to die."

Ouch.

When asked about how the Bears should approach the 2021 NFL Draft -- McMahon cut even deeper.

"I don’t know, don’t watch them, don’t care. I wouldn’t know what they need or who they’re thinking of drafting."

Ouch again.

And, to add salt to the wound, McMahon PRAISED the Bears' longtime rival Green Bay Packers, where he ended his NFL career.

"It was the best team, or the best organization, that I’ve played for of the 7 teams I’ve played for," McMahon said ... adding, "By far, from top to bottom ... it was great people."

McMahon spent 7 seasons in Chicago including that special 1985 championship run -- but left for San Diego in 1989 and bounced around several teams after that before calling it quits after the 1996 season.

He reunited with several Bears legends at Soldier Field back in 2016 -- but it seems he doesn't have a strong relationship with the franchise anymore.

After his football career wrapped up, McMahon was diagnosed with early-onset dementia -- and has spoken with reporters about his battles with depression and memory loss.

Britt Reid Car Crash Injured 5-Year-Old Out Of Hospital ... But Still Ailing

The 5-year-old girl who was badly injured in the Britt Reid car crash in February is now out of the hospital ... but her family says she still has a long road to full recovery.

Ariel Young suffered catastrophic injuries after Reid -- a former K.C. Chiefs assistant coach and Andy Reid's son -- allegedly slammed his pickup truck into the back of a vehicle she was in on Feb. 4 in Kansas City.

Investigators say Young's brain was hurt badly ... adding she suffered a skull fracture and subdural hematomas, among other ailments, as well.

Young had been in the hospital since the accident trying to recover ... but her family said Tuesday she was taken home this week.

"Ariel is at home recovering," the family said in a statement, "we hope that her being in a familiar place will help her remember things."

"She is doing physical therapy but as of right now she still cannot walk, talk or eat like a normal 5 year old. Thank you everyone for your continued support."

35-year-old Britt was charged with one count of felony DWI on Monday over the wreck ... after officials say he had .113 BAC when measured around 2 hours after the crash.

Investigators also said Britt was going 83.9 MPH in a 65 MPH just seconds before the collision.

Britt surrendered to authorities and took a mug shot shortly after prosecutors announced the charge on Monday.

If convicted, Britt is facing up to 7 years behind bars.

L.A. Rams' Aaron Donald NFL Superstar Accused of Assault Alleged Victim Hospitalized for Broken Bones, Bad Cuts

8:54 AM PT -- We just spoke with attorney Todd Hollis who spelled out the allegations against Donald -- saying it all started when Spriggs accidentally bumped into Donald inside of a nightclub.

Hollis says both parties were asked to leave the club -- and Donald got aggressive with Spriggs outside ... ultimately attacking the guy.

Hollis says he has submitted a "formalized statement" to cops -- and told us his client is seeking a criminal investigation into Donald.

As for the injuries from the alleged incident, Hollis says Spriggs suffered various lacerations that required 16 stitches -- as well as a broken eye socket, broken nose and a serious injury to his arm. He also suffered a concussion and "severe trauma," Hollis says.

Hollis also says Spriggs was taken to the hospital "immediately after the attack."

8:47 AM PT -- The L.A. Rams are "aware of the reports regarding Aaron Donald," according to a statement from a team rep.

"We are collecting more information and will have no further comment at this time."

Huge news out of Pittsburgh ... where a man claims he was assaulted over the weekend by NFL superstar Aaron Donald.

The accuser is DeVincent Spriggs, who claims the L.A. Rams defensive tackle struck him in the face in the early morning hours of April 11, according to Spriggs' attorney, Todd Hollis.

Hollis released a photo of Spriggs' alleged injuries -- which shows a badly damaged right eye. We're told the attorney is currently en route to a police station to file a report against Donald.

Hollis told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette the incident took place at an after-hours club -- and claims Spriggs suffered a concussion in addition to other injuries

We're reaching out to Donald's camp -- as well as the L.A. Rams -- and we'll let you know as soon as we hear back.

Aaron Donald is widely regarded as one of the top -- if not THE top defensive player in the NFL.

He was named the league's Defensive Player of the Year in 2017, 2018 and 2020 -- and has been selected to the Pro Bowl all 7 years he's been in the NFL.

In 2018, Donald signed a 6-year contract extension with the Rams worth up to $135 MILLION with $87 million guaranteed.

Donald was a 1st-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft -- following a stellar career at the University of Pittsburgh, where he won the Bronko Nagurski Trophy for being the best defensive player in the country.

29-year-old Donald was born and raised in Pittsburgh -- though it's unclear if he knew the accuser before the alleged attack.

Originally published -- 8:34 AM PT

Aaron Rodgers Clowns 'Jeopardy! Contestants ... For Missing Packers Answer

We'll take "Questions you don't want to get wrong when Aaron Rodgers is hosting for $400, Aaron!"

Three contestants on "Jeopardy!" were straight-up clowned by Aaron Rodgers after NONE of them correctly answered a clue about the Green Bay Packers ... and it was all hilarious!

Just minutes into the show -- which Rodgers is still celeb hosting this week -- one contestant picked a $400 clue that said this ... "In the 1960s these midwesterners earned 5 NFL Championship trophies."

The answer is obvious, it's the organization that pays Rodgers -- the Packers! But, none of the 3 contestants knew it -- and none even tried to buzz in with a guess!

That left Rodgers dumbfounded ... with the QB throwing his hands up in the air and saying, "Green Bay Packers????"

Rodgers playfully added, "Dennis, go again. I guess."

The next question was about the Boston Celtics ... and after contestant Erick got that one right, Aaron quipped, "Oh! You know that one, huh? OK."

The whole thing was super funny ... and it's starting to beg the question, could Rodgers seriously take over full-time for the late, great Alex Trebek?

Dude's got a pretty good day job in the NFL ... but there's no denying he's killin' it as a host!!

Cops: Ex-NFL Star Al Toon Daughter Shot And Killed In Apparent Murder-Suicide

The daughter of former NY Jets superstar Al Toon was shot and killed in an apparent murder-suicide over the weekend ... this according to cops.

The Scottsdale PD in Arizona says at around 5 PM on Sunday, officers responded to a call of a shooting at a residence in east Scottsdale.

Cops say when they arrived, they saw 28-year-old Molly Elizabeth Lillard -- Toon's daughter -- suffering from multiple gunshot wounds.

Officials say officers immediately got her help and rushed her to the hospital, but she tragically died due to the injuries.

The Scottsdale PD says it quickly learned Lillard's husband, 36-year-old Royce Dale Lillard III, was the apparent gunman ... and claim he went back into the residence after shooting Molly.

Officials say officers attempted to make contact with Royce for several hours at the home ... but could not get him to answer.

At around 10:45 PM, roughly 5 hours after responding to the scene, cops say SWAT stormed to the residence and found Royce dead with "what is believed to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound."

Cops did not release a potential motive for it all ... but say a preliminary investigation revealed, "all indications are that this was a murder-suicide."

Officials added the couple's 8-month-old baby was present at the time of the shooting. They say the child was not injured and is now being taken care of by family members.

Toon's daughter was a superstar high school volleyball player who went on to play at the Univ. of Michigan.

57-year-old Toon, meanwhile, earned 3 Pro Bowl selections and 1 All-Pro with the Jets after the team picked him in the 1st round of the 1985 NFL Draft.

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