C.J. Stroud & Amber Rose Leave Charity Softball Game Together ... Ya'll Dating?!?

C.J. Stroud had a notable passenger riding shotgun with him on Thursday night -- Amber Rose -- and it's got many wonderin' ... are the two an item?!?

The superstar quarterback and the model competed in the 2024 Cactus Jack Foundation HBCU Celebrity Softball Classic at Minute Maid Park ... and shortly after it ended, they were seen walking toward the same car together.

more than friends ???
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There were no signs of PDA as they made their way through a gaggle of photogs and fans ... but they sure didn't seem awkward around each other -- sparking dating rumors all over the internet.

Our sources tell us Rose -- who's dated Kanye West and Wiz Khalifa in the past -- is not formally seeing anyone at the moment ... and Stroud is reportedly single too -- so it's all entirely possible.

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The one potential hang-up, though ... Rose is 40 years old, and C.J. is just 22 -- but if you've ever seen him play in an NFL game, he's shown plenty of signs that he's mature beyond his years.

Neither, of course, has said anything publicly about it ... so stay tuned.

Super Bowl Champ Derrick Ward Charged With Five Felonies ... After Allegedly Robbing L.A. Businesses

Derrick Ward is now facing some serious time behind bars after his alleged robbery spree ... 'cause TMZ Sports has learned he's just been hit with FIVE felony charges in the case.

According to court records, prosecutors levied the counts against the Super Bowl champion on Wednesday -- just two days after he was arrested.

The records show all five charges against Ward were second-degree robbery.

We broke the story, the ex-New York Giants tailback was thrown in jail on Monday afternoon following allegations he used force and fear to rob establishments in the Los Angeles area, including gas stations.

Jail records show as of Thursday morning, he still has not been released from police custody.

Ward played in the NFL from 2004 to 2011 -- helping New York beat Tom Brady's undefeated Patriots in SB XLII -- and he had such a fine career, he at one point signed a $17 million contract with the Buccaneers.

He finished his NFL tenure with 2,628 rushing yards and 12 total TDs.

Texans' Dare Ogunbowale Floored By C.J. Stroud's Start ... 'It's Special, Man'


The start of C.J. Stroud's NFL career has been so impressive ... even his Houston teammate, Dare Ogunbowale, says he's having a hard time believing it.

"I'm not even going to lie," the Texans running back told TMZ Sports this week. "A little bit of it definitely surprises me just 'cause I know what it takes to be an NFL player, but I really know what it takes to be a quarterback in this league. It is not easy.

"And he's making it look easy."

Through eight games of his rookie season so far, Stroud's thrown for 2,270 yards, 14 touchdowns and just one interception. In his last game, a thrilling win over Tampa Bay, he set a rookie record with 470 passing yards.

Ogunbowale tells us it's all been incredible to watch ... explaining, "It's special, man."

"Obviously you see the talent," he added, "but the poise he has, the command he has in the huddle, the confidence he has in him and this offense, it's fun to see."

Stroud will be facing a tough test this weekend -- as he'll lead the 4-4 Texans into Cincinnati to play the red-hot Bengals.


Dare says it's obviously going to be hard a matchup ... though, sadly, he told us his duties for the game will not include kicking -- as they did against the Buccaneers last weekend.

He said he's sure his squad will have a traditional kicker for the contest ... something we're all bummed about -- considering how awesome his emergency field goal vs. the Bucs was.

NFL Legend Joe Thomas Attacked By Military Dogs!!! ... In Wild Demonstration

USAA, Official NFL Salute to Service Partner

Joe Thomas has gone from playing in front of the Dawg Pound to getting bitten by them -- the Cleveland Browns legend was viciously attacked by canines in a crazy demonstration at a military base!!

The 2023 Hall of Fame inductee and fellow ex-NFL star Whitney Mercilus hit up the Randolph Air Force Base in San Antonio in partnership with USAA ... where they got a full VIP meet and greet with the four-legged military sidekicks that are trained to locate explosives, narcotics, and personnel.

Thomas and Mercilus found out firsthand just how talented these doggos are ... 'cause they threw on some bite suits and agreed to run a 40-yard dash while being chased down by the animals.

Tech. Sergeant Hendrix warned Thomas and Mercilus before the demo ... "They are trained to bite and hold until we tell them to let go."

Despite the head's up, Thomas and Mercilus were ready to go against the dog with the strongest bite out of the bunch ... and let's just say they were doomed from the start.

The video is unreal -- Thomas barely made it a few strides before the dog launched into his back, clinging on for dear life before bringing the former offensive tackle to a complete stop.

"My heart rate was as high as I can remember, probably since I was playing football," Thomas said.

Both Thomas and Mercilus ended up being dragged to the ground by the military dog during the drill ... and thankfully, they made it out alive.

"It was awesome to see both these military working dogs and their handlers, who help protect our country," Thomas tweeted. "Thank you for your service!"

Texans' John Metchie III Kicking Cancers Ass, Could Return Wk 1 Next Season ... Says General Manager

Payne & Pendergast / Audacy

John Metchie III is inching closer to playing football again ... Texans GM Nick Caserio says the young wide receiver, diagnosed with cancer last year, could be ready to go by week 1 next season!

Caserio joined SportsRadio 610 in Houston Wednesday morning ... where he provided an update on the 22 year old, 2nd-round draft pick, who missed his entire rookie season because of Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia (APL).

"I'd say there's a chance that he'll be ready for the start of the offseason program," Caserio said. "I think there are still some things that he has to complete or go through. Quite frankly, it's amazing what he's done to this point."

"He actually looks better now than he did when we drafted him in the spring," Caserio said. "He's improved his strength, he's improved his lower body strength. His attitude has been great, even though he's been dealing with a lot of things medically."

Metchie was diagnosed with APL -- a blood cancer characterized by a marked increase in a type of white blood cells known as promyelocytes -- last July, and spent last season fighting the disease. Fortunately, doctors said APL is the "most curable form of Leukemia."

The Texans selected Metchie in the second round of the 2022 NFL draft ... after he started for Nick Saban at Alabama. Metchie compiled over 2,000 yards and 14 touchdowns in his last two seasons with the Crimson Tide.

During the NFL's "My Cause, My Cleats" initiative earlier this season, the Texans wide receivers, led by veteran Brandin Cooks, paid homage to Metchie with custom cleats that read "Metchie Strong" in honor of his fight against cancer.

While Caserio didn't give a definitive date for Metchie's return to the field, he did sound encouraged the receiver is making positive strides in the right direction.

Deshaun Watson Romantic Tribute To GF On Birthday ... 'I Love You Shorty!!!'

Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson is pouring his heart out on his girlfriend's birthday ... sending Jilly Anais an emotional tribute as she celebrates another trip around the sun.

The 3-time Pro Bowler and influencer/model have been going strong for years ... and judging by the special message he shared with his Instagram followers on Monday, they're still madly in love.

"Happy QUEEN Day Luv!!!!," Watson said on Jilly's 27th birthday. "Today is your day!!!!"

"May The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace! & Continue to bless you with many more years of happiness, love, and success!"

He continued ..."You will achieve whatever you desire my twin! 💛🤞🏾You know this shii 4ever set in stone!!!! 🔒 "

Of course, Jilly has remained by Deshaun's side as he faced accusations of sexual misconduct made by multiple massage therapists ... and was present as he returned to the football field following his 11-game suspension against his former team, the Houston Texans, in Week 13.

"I love you shorty!" Watson added. "It’s only UP from here! Take over the WORLD! 🙏🏾💯 Big Dawg Shii! 💪🏾"

Alabama QB Bryce Young Declares For NFL Draft ... Projected Top Pick

Alabama Crimson Tide star quarterback Bryce Young is going pro -- the 2021 Heisman Trophy winner just declared for the NFL Draft.

The 21-year-old announced his departure from the program on Monday ... and is expected to be a top pick come April.

"Coming here was the best decision of my life," Young said. "I'm forever grateful for the University of Alabama."

Young had a stellar three seasons with Bama ... winning a national championship in 2020 and earning 8,356 yards, 80 touchdowns and just 12 interceptions. He was also awarded the AP College Football Player of the Year in 2021.

Some experts are predicting Young will go as high as first or second overall ... with Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud being another option for the Houston Texans, who will most likely secure the worst record and top pick of the draft.

Bama star edge rusher Will Anderson -- who's also expected to be a highly-coveted prospect in the 2023 class -- also announced his decision to forego the remainder of his college career.

Running back Jahmyr Gibbs also plans to enter the draft ... which might sound like Bama has a ton of holes to fill -- but if we know anything about the program, they always reload.

Young and Co. ended their college careers on a high note ... easily defeating Kansas State in the Sugar Bowl, 45-20.

John Metchie III Texans Honor WR With Custom Cleats ... As Leukemia Battle Continues


Texans wide receivers will honor their teammate, John Metchie III, with sets of custom cleats this week ... paying tribute to the wideout as he continues his battle with leukemia.

The guys, led by star Brandin Cooks, surprised the 22-year-old with the idea on Tuesday ... showing off the special spikes that they'll don for their game against the Browns on Sunday.

The orange-themed cleats pay homage to John's signature "Karate Kid" touchdown celebration that he made famous while playing for Alabama. They also say "Metchie Strong" and "Believe" on the sides.

And, check out video that the Texans shared Tuesday, Metchie III was blown away by it all.

"We love you," Cooks said to the wideout while unveiling the cleats. "Keep inspiring us in everything that you're doing. You know we've got your back every step of the way as best we can, for sure."

Metchie III was selected in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft by the Texans ... but the team announced in July that he would miss the season following his leukemia diagnosis.

He's been seen regularly on gameday sidelines and practices throughout this year ... and is reportedly doing well in his battle.

Deshaun Watson Accusers Attending Browns Game ... 1st Time Playing Since Suspension

The boos for Deshaun Watson will be a bit louder when the Browns star takes the field in Houston Sunday ... ten of his accusers will be in the building to watch the controversial QB play his first game since his suspension ended.

Around ten women, along with their attorney, Tony Buzbee, will be inside a suite at NRG Stadium for the 1 PM eastern game, according to The Athletic ... pitting 27-year-old Watson against his old organization, the Texans, who drafted him in 2017.

“I will be there to welcome Deshaun back to Houston,” Buzbee told The Athletic, saying he'd be there with "bells and whistles on."

ESPN/Kimberley A. Martin, Baillie Burmaster

It's unclear which of the more than two dozen women who sued Watson (almost all have settled) will be attending the game.

Buzbee says he invited all of his clients, but some declined.

As for why they'd go watch him play, Buzbee wishes to send Deshaun a message ... “You think you put us behind you, but we are still here.”

Of course, Deshaun was suspended 11 games and fined $5 million this offseason after scores of female massage therapists accused him of acting improperly during sessions.

He hasn't seen NFL action since January 3, 2021.

Watson was never charged criminally.

Houston Texans Get Rid Of Your Watson Jerseys!!! ... Team Runs QB-Centered Uni Exchange Program

The Texans are giving their fans a chance to sever ties with Deshaun Watson once and for all -- announcing a jersey exchange program that will allow people to ditch their old #4 unis for other players.

Houston CEO Cal McNair announced the event Monday morning ... explaining that for just this week, Texans supporters can swap their Watson jerseys at the NRG Stadium team store for a new set of threads at a steep discount.

Houston Texans

McNair and the Texans never mention Watson by name in promoting the swap -- but they made it very apparent the whole thing stems from fans clamoring for a way to dispose of the #4 attire.

The photo the team used for the flier contains a #4 jersey. The discount on the new jersey is 44%. And, in the caption on McNair's video, one fan points out it's looking to get rid of the jersey of "one particular player."

Technically, the Texans say any player the team acquired from 2017 to 2021 is eligible for the promotion ... but check out the list of names -- it's clear Watson is the only jersey people are jumping through these hoops for.

Of course, Watson and the Texans unceremoniously parted ways earlier this year -- following allegations that the star quarterback had been sexually inappropriate with multiple female massage therapists.

He was traded in March to the Browns for a bevy of draft picks ... and was subsequently suspended months later for 11 games. He's eligible to return to the field in Week 13 -- when Cleveland plays, you guessed it, the Houston Texans.

Roger Goodell Unleashes On Deshaun Watson Calls Behavior 'Predatory'

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell didn't hold back when talking about Deshaun Watson on Tuesday ... calling the Browns' star quarterback's behavior "egregious" and "predatory."

Reporters talked to Goodell on Tuesday at a meeting to approve the sale of the Broncos ... with the commish being asked why the league is appealing Watson's six-game suspension.

Because we’ve seen the evidence,” Goodell said.

“[Judge Sue L. Robinson] was very clear about the evidence," Roger told reporters, adding ... "There were multiple violations here, and they were egregious and it was predatory behavior."

The commissioner continued ... "Those are things that we always felt were important for us to address in a way that’s responsible," the statement read.

Of course, the NFL announced Wednesday they were appealing the 6-game suspension handed down to the former Texans QB.

The NFL Players Association has been critical of the decision to appeal ... saying the league should respect the ruling. But, Goodell flat out says the appeal is their right, so they took it.

“As you know, it’s part of the CBA that two parties had the right. Either party could certainly challenge and appeal that, and that was something we thought was our right to do, as well as the NFLPA," Goodell said.

"So we decided it was the right thing to do.”

Goodell appointed former New Jersey Attorney General Peter C. Harvey last week ... who will hear the appeal.

Texans RB Darius Anderson Felony Burglary Case Dismissed


8:39 AM PT -- The Harris County District Attorney's Office tells TMZ Sports it did, in fact, drop the case due to "insufficient evidence."


"Following additional investigation, the burglary of a habitation charge against Darius Anderson has been dismissed," a DA spokesperson said. "There is insufficient evidence in this case, and as a result, we have a duty to dismiss it."

Texans running back Darius Anderson's Friday just got a whole lot better ... his felony burglary case has been dismissed -- according to his attorney, Kelly Benavides.

Benavides, in an interview with TMZ Sports, said prosecutors made the decision official on Friday morning ... "because of a lack of evidence."

As we reported, Anderson had been charged with felony burglary of a habitation last month after cops say Anderson's ex-girlfriend told them the football player broke into her Harris County, Texas home at around 7 AM on July 15.

The woman, according to police documents, told cops she had tried to keep Anderson out of her home following a dispute, but he forced his way in through the garage. Cops say the woman told them that while inside of her home, Anderson yelled at her "that he was 'going to beat her up.'" He allegedly left the residence after learning she was calling 911.

According to Benavides, Anderson was at Texans practice Friday morning when prosecutors formally dropped the case. She said she's happy the 24-year-old can now put the case behind him and concentrate on his football career.

Benavides also applauded prosecutors for "doing the right thing -- doing what justice required."

Houston head coach Lovie Smith, meanwhile, said after practice he was "glad" to see the case's disposition as well.

We've reached out to the Harris County District Attorney's Office for comment, but so far, no word back yet.

Anderson -- who initially broke into the league in 2020 after signing as an undrafted free agent with the Dallas Cowboys -- is currently fighting for a roster spot at Texans training camp.

Originally Published -- 8:20 AM PT

Deshaun Watson NFL Appealing QB's 6-Game Suspension

Deshaun Watson could be suspended for more than 6 games after all ... the NFL announced Wednesday it is appealing Monday's initial ruling.

The league had three days to decide if it would appeal Sue L. Robinson's choice to only ban Watson for six games, and after using nearly every allotted hour, The Shield revealed it will now do it.

According to a statement from the league, the appeal will either be heard by commissioner Roger Goodell or his designee. Per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Goodell or his designee will then "issue a written decision that will constitute final disposition of the dispute and is binding."

It is expected that this will mean Watson will serve a ban longer than six games.

In fact, famed business and legal analyst Andrew Brandt told "TMZ Live" on Tuesday he expected that if the league appealed the suspension, it would not only increase the ban, but would also tag on a "big fine."


As we reported, Robinson initially handed down the suspension after she ruled the 26-year-old QB had been sexually inappropriate with multiple female massage therapists.

For his part, Watson, who signed a huge contract with the Browns after being traded from the Texans this offseason, had previously denied any wrongdoing in the case.

Deshaun Watson Ban NFL In 'Really Tricky' Appeal Situation ... Andrew Brandt Says


The NFL is in a damned-if-it-does, damned-if-it-doesn't situation regarding the appeal of Deshaun Watson's suspension ... so says Andrew Brandt, who said on "TMZ Live" on Tuesday the league is now in a "really tricky" spot.

With Sue L. Robinson suspending the Cleveland Browns star six games on Monday following allegations the 26-year-old QB was sexually inappropriate with multiple female massage therapists, the NFL now has roughly one and a half more days to decide if it wants to appeal that ban.

Most think the league should -- six games, after all, feels awfully light when considering the nature, and number, of the accusations -- but Brandt told Harvey and Charles appealing to make sure Watson serves a longer punishment is no slam dunk.

As for why -- the famed business and legal analyst says the NFL might not want to undermine Robinson's decision ... seeing as the league will be working with the former judge on similar cases in the future.

"That may be why -- along with changing the focus to back on the field -- to say, 'OK, we're going to take the six games and run,'" Brandt said. "Even though the public opinion on the other side is that this is way too light."

If the NFL does ultimately decide to appeal, Brandt said he expects Watson's suspension to significantly lengthen.

"It's going to be fascinating to see if they do [appeal] or not," he said.

The league has until Wednesday to make a decision.

Texans' John Metchie III Diagnosed With Leukemia ... Likely Out For Season

John Metchie III -- one of the Houston Texans' second-round picks in the 2022 NFL Draft -- has been diagnosed with Leukemia ... and will likely miss the entire season while fighting the cancer.

The 22-year-old announced the news on Sunday ... saying doctors have thankfully described it as "the most curable form of Leukemia."

"I am currently receiving great medical care, am in good spirits and I expect to make a recovery at a later point in time," Metchie III added.

The receiver -- who played a huge role for Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide the past two years -- said he will almost certainly have to sit out his rookie season in order to recover.

"My main focus will be on my health and recovery," he said. "Thank you in advance for your support and well-wishes. I cannot wait to come back stronger than ever. God bless."

Metchie III -- who piled up 2,081 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns the last two years at Alabama -- was expected to be a key contributor for the Texans after being selected with the No. 44 overall pick in April.

Get well soon, John!!

Texans RB Darius Anderson Charged With Burglary Of Habitation ... After Alleged Altercation W/ Ex-GF


7:57 AM PT -- According to the Houston Police Dept., there was a "coding error" in the online records ... which now show Anderson's charge has been changed to felony burglary of a habitation. There is no longer any mention of rape in the records.


The new charge tracks the case's probable cause affidavit, obtained by TMZ Sports, which shows cops say Anderson's ex-girlfriend told them the football player broke into her Harris County, Texas home at around 7 AM on July 15.


In the docs, cops say the woman told them she had tried to keep Anderson out of her home, but he forced his way in through the garage, causing her to fall on the stairs. The woman told cops that she hit her shoulder and chest in the fall.


Cops, according to the documents, say the woman said she eventually ran upstairs and grabbed a gun in order to prevent Anderson from "having access to it, but she never pointed the gun at him."


Officers say in the docs the woman then told them she ran up to the third floor and locked herself in a bathroom. Anderson then allegedly yelled at her "that he was 'going to beat her up.'"


Cops say the woman told them Anderson ran off when he heard her on the phone with police.


According to the documents, the woman -- who stated she had an on-and-off relationship with Anderson for the past year but last broke up two months ago -- "has hit her in the past."


Court records show Anderson has a hearing on the matter slated for Wednesday.

A Houston Texans running back has been charged with burglary with intent to rape just days before the team kicks off its 2022 training camp ... TMZ Sports has confirmed.

Harris County court records show Darius Anderson -- a 24-year-old tailback who's a member of the Texans' practice squad -- was hit with the felony charge on July 15.

Further details surrounding the allegations against Anderson are unclear. We've reached out to law enforcement as well as Anderson's attorney for comment, but so far, no word back yet.

The Texans, meanwhile, released a statement Monday night saying they are aware of the claims against their halfback.

"We are gathering information," the team added, "and have no further comment at this time."

Anderson, who starred at TCU, initially broke into the NFL in 2020 after signing as an undrafted free agent with the Dallas Cowboys. He was waived by the team a few months later, but then signed with the Indianapolis Colts.

Following a short stint in Indy, Anderson signed to the Texans' practice squad in Dec. 2021. He has yet to play in an NFL game.

Originally Published -- 6:26 AM PT

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