Baker Mayfield Claimed By Rams ... After Panthers' Release

Baker Mayfield is headed to Hollywood ... the L.A. Rams have claimed the quarterback -- after he was released from Carolina on Monday.

L.A. confirmed the move with a cheeky tweet -- showing a picture of a baker, a calendar flipped to the month of May, and a field.

The roster decision, of course, is not a surprising one ... starter Matthew Stafford is on injured reserve -- and backup John Wolford is dealing with a neck injury.

Mayfield will now try to revive his career in the City of Angels ... after his short-lived tenure with the Panthers ended disastrously. The former No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 draft finished with a 1-5 record in six starts under center -- throwing six interceptions to just six touchdowns.

Things got so bad, Mayfield was eventually benched in favor of P.J. Walker and Sam Darnold.

Unclear if the Rams have plans to start Mayfield any time in the near future -- for now, Bryce Perkins appears to be the QB1 heading into their Thursday matchup with the Raiders.

Odell Beckham Mavs Fans Help Cowboys ... Shower Star With Chants At Game

The entire city of Dallas has now apparently joined the Cowboys in recruiting Odell Beckham Jr. -- as thousands of Mavericks fans showered him with love at the NBA game on Monday.

Beckham got into Texas earlier in the day to visit the Cowboys as he continues to try to figure out where his next football destination will be ... and as part of Dallas' pitch to sign him, Micah Parsons and Trevon Diggs took him to see Luka Doncic and the Mavs against the Suns in the evening.

Beckham seemed to be having a great time with the two Dallas stars -- laughing with the duo in courtside seats all night long.

And, at one point during the game, he became the star of the show -- for at least a few moments -- as the arena broke out a loud "O-B-J" chant.

Beckham seemed to love it all -- though when he was peppered with questions from reporters at the game about the Cowboys' chances ... he wouldn't reveal much, jokingly saying, "I plead the fifth."

The star free agent wideout is reportedly down to the Cowboys, Bills and Giants -- and is expected to make a signing in the next couple days.

Dallas officials, meanwhile, have said repeatedly they REALLY want Odell ... with Stephen Jones calling him Monday "our priority."

So, did Monday help nudge the 'Boys to first place? Seems we'll all know shortly!

Rob Gronkowski Who Said I'm Retired?!?! ... Nails FGs w/ Mojo Muhtadi

STILL GOT IT
TMZSports.com

Gronk is BACK on the football field!!!

Recently retired NFL superstar Rob Gronkowski will have Tampa Bay Buccaneer fans drooling over the idea of a comeback ... after the tight end was spotted on the gridiron in Orlando over the weekend.

It's a clip that will have folks wondering if the 4-time Super Bowl champ has the itch to return to his day job ... considering he's still in incredible shape.

But, don't expect the 33-year-old to pull a Tom Brady and return to the league just yet ... 'cause he wasn't running routes and catching passes -- he was lining up for some field goals with his buddy/TMZ Sports TV show co-host Mojo Muhtadi.

GRONKIN THE YOUTH
TMZSports.com

The guys were at Camping World Stadium to check out a Pop Warner football game ... and we're told Gronk decided to hop on the gridiron and show off his boot.

Gronk's no Justin Tucker, but it doesn't matter -- he was still able to get the pigskin between the pipes for a successful attempt.

Gronk also had some fun talking to some of the kids at the game ... even joining their huddle for a cute moment.

Forget about it, football fans -- the dude's retired. That is, unless he wants to try becoming a kicker??

CeeDee Lamb Fan Spits On Cowboys Supporters ... In Altercation At Game

FANATICAL FANS
TMZSports.com

A verbal confrontation took a wet turn at the Cowboys vs. Colts game during Sunday Night Football ... when a fan in a CeeDee Lamb jersey spit on two Dallas supporters -- and TMZ Sports has the video.

The incident went down at the end of the Cowboys' 54-19 blowout win over Indianapolis at AT&T Stadium ... when a woman started arguing with a couple.

It's unclear what sparked the altercation ... but it got so heated, the fan in the Lamb jersey hocked a loogie in the couple's faces before walking up the stairs. Apparently, Dallas' big victory wasn't enough to calm both sides.

The fan made quite the exit -- making a "kiss my ass" motion as she left the area. No word on whether security got involved.

The couple surprisingly didn't freak out over the spitting ... they simply cheered as the woman walked away.

As for the action on the field, Dak Prescott and Co. turned the game into a cakewalk... with  CeeDee, Tony Pollard and Zeke Elliott playing well in the win.

It's not the first time a Lamb fan has gotten into an altercation in the stands -- as we previously reported, a dude wearing a #88 jersey clocked an Eagles fan back in January.

We've reached out to the Cowboys for comment.

Baker Mayfield Released ... After Five Months W/ Carolina

Baker Mayfield is looking for a new home once again -- the Carolina Panthers just announced they are parting ways with the former #1 overall pick.

Mayfield won the starting gig after getting traded to Carolina in July ... but went just 1-5 under center in 2022.

Baker -- the top pick in the 2018 NFL Draft -- played in just 7 total games before getting the boot on Monday ... throwing for 1,313 yards with six touchdowns and six interceptions.

The move comes after PJ Walker moved into the backup role behind Sam Darnold.

It was supposed to be a fresh start for Mayfield, who requested a trade after the Cleveland Browns pursued Deshaun Watson.

Mayfield has played in 67 total games in his career ... and has a 30-35 overall record. He's thrown 98 touchdowns and 62 interceptions.

The timing is perfect for the San Francisco 49ers, who are in desperate need of a quarterback after Jimmy Garoppolo went down with a foot injury, leaving Mr. Irrelevant Brock Purdy as the lone healthy QB on the roster.

Perhaps Mayfield won't be jobless for long.

Metro Boomin Launches 'Single Moms Are Superheroes' At NFL Falcons Game!!!

Metro Boomin has poignantly tied the theme of his new album to the recent loss of his mother -- inviting dozens of single moms to an NFL game ... with on-field access!!!

The record producer organized an awesome initiative Sunday for the Steelers' game against the Atlanta Falcons, who were hosting at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. MB -- who's originally from the area -- had some guests attend on his behalf ... a lot of them, in fact.

FIELD OF DREAMS
TMZ.com

You see ... Metro bought tickets for 26 mothers from around the country as well as their children -- which made for a mini family parade through the tunnel and onto the main stage pre-kickoff.

Not just that, but the group here also got to stand next to the Falcons players for the national anthem ... so, better than a front-row seat. They were the main attraction! Metro himself did not attend -- our sources tell us he wanted the mama bears to have the spotlight.

SUPER SINGLE MOMS
Manila Nine Three (Reuben Chapman)

It was a pretty awesome moment, to say the least ... and the reason Metro did it, we're told, was two-pronged -- one, he wanted to honor his own late mother, who tragically died.

At the same time, Metro wanted to recognize single moms for the heroes they are ... which ties into his latest project, "HEROES & VILLAINS," which is out now.

We're told this effort -- which Metro calls "Single Moms Are Superheroes," in partnership with the Steve and Marjorie Harvey Foundation -- is a way to help these ladies amid struggles they might face as solo parents. With this nonprofit he's established, they can now get more assistance than they might otherwise receive.

Very cool, indeed. Enjoy the game!

Deshaun Watson Booed In First Browns Start ... Since Suspension

Deshaun Watson just stepped foot on an NFL field for the first time in 700 days ... and the Houston Texans fans made their displeasure known -- letting the boo birds fly as he made his Cleveland Browns debut.

The 27-year-old quarterback is returning from an 11-game suspension for violating the league's personal conduct policy ... after dozens of massage therapists made sexual misconduct allegations against him.

POOR RECEPTION
@JamesPalmerTV

Watson faced a hostile crowd as he made his Browns debut on Sunday ... with his former team's supporters heckling him as he lined up under center.

As we previously reported, attorney Tony Buzbee -- who repped almost every woman who accused Watson of sexual misconduct -- announced at least 10 of his clients would be in attendance for the game.

Watson's family was also at NRG Stadium to support ... with everyone wearing #4 jerseys in the stands.

Deshaun had a smile on his face prior to the Browns' first offensive drive ... but the television broadcast showed many fans were not happy to see him.

There may be a bit of rust for Watson, who hasn't played since 2020 -- the Browns ended up going 3-and-out in their first possession.

12/01/22
FOOTBALL ONLY
NFL Network

Watson was asked earlier this week about the potential response he'd receive in his first game back ... but he claimed his only focus was on his job as a leader of the team.

Ex-NFL Star Earl Thomas House Fire Ruled Accidental

Officials say there was no funny business involved in the fire that took Earl Thomas' Texas home earlier this year ... telling TMZ Sports they formally ruled the cause of the blaze to be accidental.

Thomas' home in Orange caught fire back in August ... and after firefighters extinguished the flames, the property was deemed a "total loss."

The Texas State Fire Marshal's Office launched an investigation into the fire shortly afterward ... and told us this week they found it was all likely caused by a lightning strike -- and nothing more.

Officials noted at the time of the blaze that it was the largest residential fire in terms of monetary damage in the history of Orange.

As we reported, Thomas and several family members were home at the time of the incident ... but, thankfully, they all got out safely and everyone was left unharmed.

Thomas -- who won a Super Bowl with the Seahawks in his legendary NFL career -- played his college ball at the University of Texas ... some 275 miles west of Orange.

'SNL' Alum Taran Killam Travis Kelce Would Kill It As Host ... 'He's Hilarious!!!'

CLOWNIN' AROUND
TMZSports.com

Travis Kelce better prep his monologue ... 'cause "Saturday Night Live" alum Taran Killam tells TMZ Sports the NFL superstar would be the perfect pick to host the comedy sketch show!!

"Travis Kelce is one of the funniest, coolest dudes and a legend," Killam said at LAX.

"It's just not fair to be that strong, fast, good, charismatic, handsome and hilarious. I hate him. He's coming for my job," he joked (or is he?)

Killam knows about both comedy and football -- he actually has an Amazon Prime show, "The NFL Pile On," where he puts a funny twist on the sport's biggest stories of the week.

Killam has spent a ton of time at 30 Rock -- he was on "SNL" from 2010-2016 ... and had several memorable sketches during his stint.

Killam even thinks Kelce could take his talents to acting if he really wanted ... and says if "SNL" were to come calling, he'd thrive as the celebrity host for an episode.

"I'd love to see Travis Kelce host," Killam said, swallowing his pride as a Rams fan. "I think he'd kill it."

Someone get Lorne Michaels on the phone!!

Drew Brees Lightning Victims Org. Blasts QB ... 'Disgusting' Commercial

Drew Brees' recent commercial has left lightning strike victims enraged ... with a major organization ripping the NFL superstar's "inappropriate" and "disgusting" stunt.

The New Orleans legend went viral on Friday after he faked getting struck by lightning as part of a promotion with PointsBet USA ... duping some people into believing he was actually injured -- if not worse.

Lightning Strike and Electric Shock Survivors International -- an organization that has members in 13 countries that helps those impacted by similar accidents -- got wind of Brees' commercial ... and they tell TMZ Sports they're not happy.

"The recent Drew Brees lightning commercial is an inappropriate, disgusting method of promoting gambling or any TV commercial campaign," a statement from LSESSI says.

"This is a deadly injury, and it is disappointing to see the continual ridicule of lightning and electrical injury survivors in comical light in which it is presented for commercial gain and profit."

THE SHOCKING REVEAL

The org. says it did not find any humor in the ad ... considering many survivors are forever impacted after an accident, and it affects their loved ones as well.

"To poke fun at these folks and make this injury trivial is unacceptable, and what example does it set for our children to learn?"

There's more -- "As a survivor, this is very disturbing, the thoughtlessness on the part of the participants who are trying to profit from tragedy is remarkable. Much progress through hard work and education has been made over the last twenty years to lower the lightning/electrical deaths and risk of injury through education and informed knowledge of the dangers."

The org. believes Brees' ad "just set us back 20 years."

"There are many groups working to educate the public and help survivors, this commercial nullifies all their work and encourages unsafe practices to the general public. And all for gambling ... Lightning Bets? How ignorant can you possibly be?"

Brees has yet to address the backlash.

Greg Knapp Jets Honoring Late Coach ... Custom AF1s For Vikings Game

Awesome gesture from the New York Jets' coaches ... several assistants on the roster will be wearing custom Air Force 1s this weekend against the Vikings -- to honor the late Greg Knapp.

The feet heat will feature a depiction of Knapp, who coached in the NFL for nearly three decades before he was tragically killed in a bicycle accident last July, in a headset, with his nickname, "Knapper," written on it as well.

The shoes will also have a website link to Knapp's foundation -- an org. set up following the coach's death to try to stop people from driving distracted.

Mike Jordan, the cleat artist who designed the kicks, tells TMZ Sports ... the Jets were the ones who initially tapped him for the task earlier this year -- and he was pumped to take on the job.

And, he said he was thrilled with how they ultimately turned out.

CUSTOMS FOR A CAUSE
TMZSports.com

Jordan also designed several other custom cleats for Jets stars for this weekend's "My Cause, My Cleats" game ... including ones for Sauce Gardner, who will wear American Cancer Society-themed spikes.

Wide receiver Garrett Wilson also copped Jordan cleats representing the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) ... while cornerback DJ Reed got a pair for multiple sclerosis, something his father died from in September.

"To help these guys support these charities and organizations that are close to them for one reason or another, like DJ Reed whose father passed away due to MS, is special," Jordan said.

Jordan -- who's been crafting cleats for 6 years -- says he spent a ton of hours on all of the custom shoes for Week 13 ... but at the end of the day, it was all worth it.

"It's a great event to be a part of and I'm really fortunate to do what I do with the Jets."

Lamar Jackson Apologizes For Vulgar Tweet ... 'I Was Bitter'

NOBODY LIKES LOSING
Baltimore Ravens

Lamar Jackson says he's sorry for sending a vulgar tweet following the Ravens' emotional 28-27 loss to the Jaguars last Sunday ... admitting on Friday he was just "bitter" about the L.

"I apologize if I hurt feelings out there," Jackson said when addressing reporters for the first time since pressing send on the tweet.

Jackson initially fired off the obscene response minutes after Baltimore's defeat ... after a Twitter user said the Ravens should not sign the QB to a lengthy -- and lucrative -- new contract.

"Boy STFU y'all be cappin too much on this app mf never smelt a football field," he said ... before ending the tweet with, "never did s*** but eat a d***."

Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said he spoke to Jackson over it all on Monday ... and called it "out of character for him."

OUT OF CHARACTER
Baltimore Ravens

Jackson said he deleted the tweet, which remained on his page for about 3 hours, after his girlfriend encouraged him to take it down.

She "was like, I think you should delete it," LJ said. "I'm like, 'All right 'cause I don't know if I hurt somebody's feelings,' so I did. That's just what it was. That's why I deleted it."

Jackson said he hasn't reached out to the fan since the incident, but explained there's no bad blood between him and the individual.

"What I take from this experience ... don't say nothing on Twitter," Jackson said. "Don't say what I said 'cause it's kids watching. Don't need the kids saying that but just watch what you say."

"Just try to stay off Twitter if anything if something like that happens again."

Commanders' Brian Robinson Gets 'End Gun Violence' Cleats ... Months After Being Shot

Brian Robinson knows the perils of gun violence better than almost anyone, and he wants to put a spotlight on the senseless killing ... the Commanders star will rock a sweet pair of custom cleats, with a very important message, this week against the Giants.

The 23-year-old running back, who was shot multiple times in August, copped his new spikes for the NFL's "My Cause, My Cleats" -- an initiative where players bring awareness to organizations and nonprofits during Week 13.

TMZ Sports has learned Robinson reached out to artist Joe Castro to shine a light on the incident where he was shot twice during an attempted robbery.

8/28/22
SEATED IN SHOCK
TMZSports.com

A 17-year-old boy was arrested for his alleged role in the shooting.

Castro -- whose client list includes NFL stars like Jaire Alexander and DeSean Jackson -- tells us he and Robinson decided to go with a gun control theme.

The tan and orange Nike spikes feature two guns held up in the air with text reading "End Gun Violence".

Castro says it took 2 hours to design ... and he actually made two pairs. One for filming and one for the Commanders-Giants game.

Of course, the rookie RB made his return to the field (and NFL debut) in Week 5 ... and since then, he's scored 2 touchdowns, rushing for over 400 yards.

Drew Brees Not Struck By Lightning, Doing Fine ... Despite Scary Video

UPDATE

8:15 AM PT -- New video, obtained by TMZ Sports, shows the whole thing was, in fact, staged ... with Drew Brees revealing it was all an effort to make people aware of the gambling platform's "free lightning bets."

UPDATE
THE SHOCKING REVEAL
UPDATE

In the new footage, Brees explained the situation ... before joking again about being struck by lightning.

No, Drew Brees was not struck by lightning despite a scary video that appeared to show he was ... the NFL legend said Friday a bolt never touched him, and he's doing fine.

Brees relayed the message in a text to ESPN Saints reporter Katherine Terrell ... just hours after footage surfaced seemingly showing the ex-New Orleans quarterback in danger.

In the clip, which was apparently shot while Brees was filming a commercial for the sports gambling platform PointsBet in Catatumbo -- an area in Venezuela known for its consistent thunderstorm activity -- you can see a lightning bolt making a beeline for Brees' back.

The footage shows the bolt cracked onto the ground, sending the 43-year-old former football player and others scurrying away from the scene in a hurry.

It's unclear if it was all fake, staged or edited ... PointsBet refused to confirm or deny the situation in a statement released Friday morning.

"We are aware of the media coverage regarding PointsBet brand ambassador Drew Brees," the org. said.

"We are in communication with Brees' team and will continue to monitor events throughout the coming hours. At this stage we will not be making any further comment."

Brees, meanwhile, had tweeted earlier this week that he was "excited to be flying to a top-secret location later this week to shoot the new promotional video for @PointsBetUSA."

We've reached out to reps for Brees for comment, but so far, no word back yet.

Originally Published -- 7:46 AM PT

Jay-Z Hits Pats Game With Kraft ... Future NFL Owner Practice?!?

Jay-Z got a taste of what NFL ownership would be like on Thursday night -- sitting alongside Robert Kraft in the New England honcho's suite for the Patriots' 'TNF' game ... while rubbin' elbows with star players after the contest as well.

HOV hit Gillette Stadium for the Bills' dominant 24-10 win over the Pats from start to finish -- with cameras capturing him chillin' with Kraft for the entirety of the night.

Unclear what Bob and Jay talked about -- but seems safe to say the potential of the rapper eventually owning the Commanders came up.

As we reported, Jay-Z has been very interested in putting in a bid for Daniel Snyder's Washington team ... taking a secret dinner with billionaire Jeff Bezos in L.A. last month to talk about the logistics of it all.

It's unknown yet if Snyder has any interest in selling to the two titans ... but at least two star Buffalo players made it clear they'd welcome Jay to NFL fields with open arms.

Josh Allen and Gabe Davis were both spotted showing big love to Jay-Z in a stadium tunnel following their win. And, afterward, Allen joked with media members about being kind of starstruck over it all, saying, "I'm not sure he knew exactly who I was.''

Come on, Josh -- future NFL owners (maybe?!?) know all the big names!

'Orange Is The New Black' Actor Brad William Henke Dead at 56

Brad William Henke, a former NFL player who later got into acting and appeared in "Orange Is The New Black," has died ... TMZ has confirmed.

Brad died in his sleep Tuesday, according to sources connected to his family. The cause of death is unclear.

Brad's most famous for playing one of the prison guards in 'OITNB' -- and he's in the scene where one of the show's main characters, Poussey Washington, is killed off -- one of the biggest scenes in the entire series.

He also had roles in TV shows like "Justified" and "Lost" ... appearing in movies including "Pacific Rim" and "World Trade Center."

Brad started acting after retiring from the NFL in 1994, hanging up his cleats due to ankle injuries. He played his college ball at the University of Arizona before being drafted in 1989 by the New York Giants.

A defensive lineman, Brad also played for the Denver Broncos and got on the field in Super Bowl XXIV against the San Francisco 49ers.

Brad first got into Hollywood by acting in commercials, then he started landing TV guest spots on series like "ER," "Arli$$," "Nash Bridges," "Silk Stalkings" and "Chicago Hope."

With over 100 acting credits to his name, Brad also appeared in "CSI," "Judging Amy," "Crossing Jordan" and "Dexter" ... among many others.

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THE LAST TIME WE SAW HIM
TMZ.com

His manager, Matt DelPiano, tells us, "Brad was an incredibly kind man of joyous energy. A very talented actor, he loved being a part of this community….and we loved him back. Our thoughts are with his wife and family.”

Brad was 56.

RIP

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