Jermichael Finley Packers Should Turn To Jordan Love Early ... If Aaron Rodgers' Struggles Continue

HIS HEART'S NOT IN IT
TMZSports.com

Jermichael Finley says if he were coaching the Packers, Aaron Rodgers would be on a short leash ... telling TMZ Sports he'd bench the MVP by Week 4 if the QB's struggles continue.

"If you don't see it," Finley said, "let's go to [Jordan] Love."

It might sound crazy -- considering Rodgers is coming off one of his best seasons EVER -- but Finley says the way Aaron played this past weekend in a blowout loss to the Saints has him very concerned.

"Aaron Rodgers looks tired," said Finley, who earlier in the week also said Rodgers looked like he had lost his "hunger."

"I bet the guy probably don't want to play football anymore," Finley added.

Finley said he'd be willing to give Rodgers the first quarter of the season to show if he still has the MVP skillset left in him ... but he made it clear, if signs aren't pointing upward by then, he'd start Jordan Love.

"You've got one of the highest-paid backup quarterbacks sitting right behind Aaron Rodgers, so you might as well utilize him and get him going for the future," Finley said.

As for if he thinks Aaron can turn it around ... Finley tells us he's rooting for the QB, but he ain't exactly optimistic it'll happen.

"I don't think [the Packers] are going to have a good year this year," Finley said.

PLUGGIN' THE POD
TMZSports.com

BTW ... Jermichael is promising to give more hot takes on the Packers all season on his new podcast, "Inside Spin With J Fin" -- saying you can catch it weekly on his social media platforms.

Brian Ortega Gunning For Max Holloway Rematch ... After Volkanovski Fight

DON'T COUNT ME OUT
TMZSports.com

Almost 3 years after badly losing to Max Holloway, Brian Ortega is back, fighting for the UFC's featherweight title against Alex Volkanovski ... and if he wins, T-City has revenge on his mind.

TMZ Sports talked to 30-year-old Ortega -- the #2 ranked 145-pounder in the UFC -- just days before he headlines UFC 266 against Volkanovski.

Brian is a slight underdog ... but most expect a very close fight. And, if he wins the strap ... Ortega knows who he wants next.

"[Fighting Max Holloway] would be ideal. I'm not trying to speak ahead, nor am I trying to get past Volkanovski, right, cause he beat Max twice," Ortega told us.

T-City continued ... "I'm not here to say I'm already celebrating. But, that would be ideal. I'm a better person, better fighter than I was when I fought him. And, watching his last fight, so is he."

"You always want that as a fighter, as a competitor, you always want that, to make that s**t square. Or to say, 'Yo dog, you legit got the best of me. Good s**t."

You may remember ... Ortega lost to Max via doctor's stoppage in the 4th round at UFC 231 in 2018. Brian, who kept coming forward despite eating an ungodly amount of punches (and breaking his hand, dislocating his thumb, among other injuries), would not quit.

Brian took almost 2 years to heal up ... but once he did, he looked fantastic in the Octagon, toying with Chan Sung Jung a.k.a. the Korean Zombie in October 2020.

Ortega admits he looks at the 1 blemish on his otherwise perfect resume (15-1) ... and it ticks him off.

"I'm competitive. I want to make s**t even. It does bother me."

Bottom line ... "Even if he f**ks me up again, or whatever. I'll fight you 100 times. I'm gonna get one."

But, first things first, Brian knows he has his hands full with Volkanovski -- who last lost in 2013 -- next Saturday in Las Vegas.

WNBA's Angel McCoughtry Down To Help Odell With ACL Recovery ... I Came Back In 4 Months!!!

I GOT THE SAUCE
TMZSports.com

WNBA star Angel McCoughtry says she's down to help Odell Beckham Jr. with his ACL recovery ... telling TMZ Sports she's willing to hook him up with the "secret sauce" to an early return.

The Las Vegas Aces baller came back from the horrific knee injury in just 4 MONTHS -- and when we asked her out in L.A. this week if she'd drop an assist to OBJ (who's still trying to make it back to the field after tearing up his knee in 2020) ... she said of course!

... under one condition.

"Tell him if he really, really want the secret, he gotta call me," AM told us. "Holla at me Odell, I'll tell you the secret! The secret sauce."

Waiting for your permission to load the Instagram Media.

She added, "There's secret sauce, but you can't give it out. Those who want it will seek it."

All kidding aside, McCoughtry says she's confident OBJ -- who tore his ACL in Week 7 of the NFL season last year -- will make it back to the Browns' lineup sooner than later.

"He knows what to do," Angel said. "He knows how to come back."

Still, Odell would be wise to put in the call ... 'cause McCoughtry is killin' it in her return from injury, telling us she's gunning to start dunking -- and winning a championship -- soon!

Joe Johnson 'Not Done' In NBA ... I'm Ready To Play!!!

ALWAYS READY
TMZSports.com

Any NBA team in need of a 7-time All-Star, look no further ... 'cause Joe Johnson tells TMZ Sports he's not ready to retire anytime soon -- and he wants to compete!!

40-year-old Johnson hasn't played in the Association since 2018, but there's no question the guy can still hoop -- he reportedly just won his second BIG3 MVP in 2021 after scoring 182 points in the regular season.

Given all his recent success in the 3-on-3 league, we had to ask if his focus is solely on Ice Cube's org. ... or if he's still got gas left in the tank to ball out in the NBA -- and he's clearly not thinking about riding off into the sunset just yet.

"No, I'm not done. We'll see what happens here ... We'll see, man. We'll see. I don't have nothing definite to tell you, to be honest with you. But, I'mma be out here to try to get things done."

JJ has had a helluva career so far -- he averaged 16 points a game since joining the league in 2001. He had a shot with the Detroit Pistons after the 2019 BIG3 season ... but was eventually waived before taking the court.

As for his incredible 2021 season, Johnson has a simple, yet perfect, reaction.

"I just love hooping."

Ex-NFL QB Colt Brennan Death Caused By Accidental OD Methamphetamine, Fentanyl Found

Colt Brennan died of an accidental drug overdose, TMZ Sports has learned ... after a toxicology report found the former NFL QB had ingested fentanyl and other dangerous substances prior to his death.

Brennan tragically died at the age of 37 in May 2021. The former University of Hawaii quarterback had been receiving treatment at a drug rehab facility in Southern California when he experienced a medical emergency. He was rushed to the hospital ... where he passed away.

Now, after completing an autopsy and tox screen, health officials tell us the death was accidental, caused by a lethal concoction of drugs (polydrug), including the dangerous and illicit substance, fentanyl.

In addition to the incredibly powerful opioid, officials also found methamphetamine, amphetamine and ethanol in his system.

It's unclear if any of the drugs were prescribed by doctors ... or if Colt took them on his own.

After starring at Hawaii, Colt was a 6th-round draft pick in 2008. He bounced around the league ... playing with Washington and Oakland, before playing ball with the CFL in Canada.

Brennan was from Newport Beach, California.

Story developing ...

Michael Irvin On Aaron Rodgers ... 'If You're Thinking About Retiring, You're Already Retired'

THINK ABOUT THE TEAM
TMZSports.com

Michael Irvin says Aaron Rodgers' Week 1 struggles can be pinned on his offseason thoughts of quitting football ... telling TMZ Sports the QB's retirement talk played a role in his bad day against the Saints.

"This game is too hard," Irvin said at Dulles International Airport on Friday. "That's why you hear people say, if you're talking about or thinking about retiring, you're already retired."

"So," Irvin continued, "Aaron was was thinking about not playing. And it showed up, man."

The good news -- at least for Packers fans -- Irvin certainly seems to believe it's all reversible ... telling us, "I expect him to play much better."

"That's not something he would be doing all the time."

Rodgers had maybe the most interesting offseason of any player in the NFL -- he feuded so hard with the Packers over his contract and personnel decisions ... he legit pondered leaving the game despite having an MVP season in 2020.

In fact, Aaron stayed away from all of Green Bay's offseason practices and workouts while disgruntled -- and instead, traveled the globe with his fiancee, Shailene Woodley, and hosted "Jeopardy!"

Irvin clearly believes all of that played a big role in his 133-yard, 2-interception day against New Orleans ... but he still thinks Rodgers will rebound soon.

"You've got to hope that he is ready," Irvin said, "because there's nothing that you can say."

Rodgers and the Packers take the field next on "Monday Night Football" against the Detroit Lions.

Pittsburgh Steelers Violent Fight At Game ... Woman Cited For Disorderly Conduct

8/22/21
STRIKES FOR SLAPS
@cal_oe / Reddit

The woman who appeared to start the violent altercation at the Steelers vs. Lions preseason game in August has been hit with a criminal citation, TMZ Sports has learned.

A spokesperson for the Pittsburgh Police Dept. tells us after launching an investigation into the Aug. 21 melee ... cops cited the woman for disorderly conduct.

Per the spokesperson, the woman will likely now have to pay a fine as a result of the ticket.

The spokesperson added that no other citations or charges have been handed out as a result of the fight ... though a probe is still ongoing.

As we previously reported, the fight happened at some point during the Steelers' win over Detroit at Heinz Field ... and, as you can see in the footage shot by a bystander, it was chaotic.

The clip shows the woman getting in the face of a man seated one row in front of her ... before she eventually slapped him.

The physical touch set the guy off -- 'cause you can see in the video, he then swung on both her and the man sitting next to her.

It's unclear what started the whole thing ... but, fortunately, other fans were able to separate the combatants before things got even worse.

BEAR DOWN
TMZSports.com

Fighting has been a real issue at NFL games this season ... 'cause just a few days ago several Rams and Bears fans got into a huge fracas in SoFi Stadium -- though it's not clear if law enforcement was involved in that case.

NFL's Everson Griffen Suffers Concussion In Car Crash After Swerving To Miss Deer

Everson Griffen will miss the Vikings' game this weekend ... after he injured himself attempting to swerve out of the way of a deer in the road on Thursday.

Minnesota head coach Mike Zimmer explained the situation to reporters Friday ... saying Griffen crashed his car while trying to avoid the animal.

DESCRIBING THE ACCIDENT
Minnesota Vikings

Zimmer said the 33-year-old pass rusher was later diagnosed with a concussion ... and is now out of action indefinitely.

"Swerved to miss a deer," Zimmer told media members of the incident. "Got in a car accident."

We've reached out to law enforcement for more information on the wreck ... but so far, no word back yet.

Griffen -- who played for Minnesota from 2010 to 2019 -- re-signed with the Vikings just a few weeks ago ... and played in the team's opener against Cincinnati last Sunday.

Griffen has 80.5 sacks in 90 starts in his career.

O.J. Simpson Blames Daniel Jones For Missed TD ... Not Darius Slayton

YOU GOT THE WRONG GUY
@TheRealOJ32 / Twitter

Giants' Darius Slayton ain't the one to blame for missing a crucial wide-open touchdown pass during Thursday night's game, according to O.J. Simpson, who says it was Daniel Jones' fault.

If you missed it, the G-Men were trying to add to their 3 point lead with 6:25 left in the game against the Washington Football Team.

The Giants QB threw a would-be TD pass to a wide-open Slayton ... but it bounced off his fingers. A TD likely would've sealed the game (though, never underestimate the Giants finding a creative way to lose) ... but they didn't score, and ultimately lost (after more mistakes), 30-29.

Fans have been goin' at Slayton for droppin' the pass ... but, Simpson straight-up says they're blaming the wrong guy.

"I heard somebody say Slayton dropped that long pass in the 4th quarter, no! This was simple," Simpson said on Friday.

"Danny Dimes totally missed a guy who was as opened as any wide receiver has ever been open in the history of football."

Simpson also called out Jones for not calling an audible when WFT's safety came up to the hole after the defense read the running play for Saquon Barkley.

"The Giants still ran the ball to that hole," Simpson said about the 3rd quarter play.

"Even the announcer said Saquon had no chance of gaining yards. The defense knew what was coming. Why Danny Dimes didn't audible out of that play, I don't know."

Simpson says if he was Barkley, he would have went off on Jones.

Not that there was a lack of chewing out Jones on the sideline ... newly signed Giants WR Kenny Golladay was seen ripping DJ in the 2nd half.

After the game, Jones said KG was just "frustrated at the situation. We're all good."

With the Giants' loss (0-2) to the WFT (1-1), Simpson says he knows who will win the division ... and it ain't the Cowboys.

"I now believe Philly is gonna win that division."

Patrick Mahomes Fires Up Crowd At Kane Brown Show ... Fans Lose Their Minds!!!

Did you know Patrick Mahomes is a great quarterback AND sick hype man?!?!

It's true -- 'cause the Kansas City Chiefs star took the stage at a Kane Brown show Thursday night ... and his antics had fans losing their minds!!!

SURPRISE GUEST
@kjoneskc

Mahomes and his fiancee, Brittany Matthews, hit up the country concert in Kansas City for a date night one day before Patrick's 26th birthday ... and at one point during the evening, the signal-caller was pulled on stage.

Waiting for your permission to load the Instagram Media.

And, it didn't take long for him to get the audience into the show ... because as soon as started pumping his arms, everyone went crazy!

The song choice, meanwhile, was perfect for Mahomes' entrance ... it was Brown and Chris Young's smash hit, "Famous Friends."

SPECIAL GUEST

The lyrics? "When I go back home I've got some famous friends, yeah, I do."

Fitting, right?!

As for the rest of the night ... Mahomes and Matthews clearly seemed to enjoy it all, taking selfies and singing along to all the songs.

Waiting for your permission to load the Instagram Media.

Mahomes, meanwhile, also got in a backstage pic with Brown at some point during the evening ... proving once again, it's REALLY good to be Patrick these days.

UFC's Valentina Shevchenko Down For Third Amanda Nunes Fight ... 'I'm Here'

MORE THAN A FIGHTER
TMZSports.com

Valentina Shevchenko -- the UFC's #2 ranked pound-for-pound female fighter -- tells TMZ Sports she is definitely down to scrap with Amanda Nunes for a third time ... in what'd be one of the biggest fights in the history of women's MMA.

We talked to the 33-year-old flyweight champion days before she's scheduled to fight Lauren Murphy at UFC 266 on September 25, and while Bullet clearly wants to continue dominating 125 pounds, she also knows another fight with the Lioness would be huge.

"I think if destiny puts this fight in front of us, most of us gonna do it. I'm kind of focused very much on my flyweight division and I just want to be better fight," Valentina says, adding, "and when [the third fight's] gonna happen, I'm here."

Of course, Shevchenko and 33-year-old Nunes previously fought twice -- in 2016 and 2017 -- in two tightly contested match-ups.

The first fight was at UFC 196 (McGregor vs. Diaz) ... where Nunes won by unanimous decision.

Valentina and Amanda rematched at UFC 215 (they were the main event) ... and Nunes again won -- this time by split decision -- in a razor close fight.

In fact, there are many people who believe Shevchenko won the second fight, and should've been crowned champ.

The 2 losses are Valentina's only defeats since late-2010. She's won 7 straight fights.

We also talked to Shevchenko about her future inside and outside the Octagon (she's got a movie coming out with Halle Berry and wants to continue acting).

But, before any movies or a trilogy fight with Nunes, VS says she's fully focused on Lauren Murphy ... and is definitely not overlooking the 38-year-old MMA fighter.

L.A. Sparks' Erica Wheeler Drops ATL Dream's Odyssey Sims ... With Nasty Crossover!!!

L.A. Sparks hooper Erica Wheeler continues to do her opponents dirty with her filthy crossover ... and Atlanta Dream guard Odyssey Sims was her latest victim, getting dropped Thursday night.

... and Wheeler did it in front of the ATL fans.

The Sparks played the Dream in College Park, GA Thursday night ... winning 74-68 in a must win to keep their playoff hopes alive.

Brittney Sykes and Nneka Ogwumike led the Sparks with a combined 32 points -- but the highlight of the game was Wheeler's nasty crossover on Sims.

The 5-foot-7 guard sent Sims flying across the court after a nasty step back and finished it off bankin' in a wide-open jumper.

And, Wheeler recently did the same thing to Sue Bird ... one of the greatest WNBA players ever!

EW broke her ankles Sunday ... sending the Seattle Storm guard to the floor, nearly smacking her head on the hardwood.

Sheesh!!

The Sparks need all the momentum they can get ... they're fighting to make playoffs -- sitting in the ninth spot -- half a game behind Washington Mystic.

L.A. needs the Mystics to lose to the New York Liberty on Friday ... or they'll fail to make the playoffs which start on Sept. 23.

NY Giants' Nick Gates Suffers Gruesome Leg Injury 'Snapped That S*** In Half'

New York Giants star Nick Gates suffered a horrific leg injury Thursday night ... and it was so bad, he said afterward that he "snapped that s*** in half."

The offensive lineman -- who had just been named a Giants captain for the season -- was attempting to block for Daniel Jones in the first quarter of NY's loss to Washington, when his leg got rolled up on from behind.

In footage of the play, you can see a WFT defender landed right on the back of his leg ... causing it to completely break.

The injury was so bad ... NFL Network did not show a replay of the play.

Gates screamed out in pain for several moments, before trainers and doctors took him off the field and into the locker room on a cart.

Nick is expected to undergo surgery in the D.C. area Friday morning ... and will almost certainly miss the rest of the season.

The good news -- if there can be such a thing with this kind of injury -- Gates was upbeat after it all, with his agent, Jonathan Perzley, saying Nick "laughed on the phone and said 'I snapped that s*** in half.'"

"He will be back," Perzley added. "It would take a lot more than a broken bone to stop that man."

Gates also posted a statement on his social media, promising to return better than ever.

"Going to be a hell of a comeback!" he said.

Get well soon, Nick.

'Waterboy' Star Peter Dante Busted for Allegedly Threatening to Kill Neighbor

Peter Dante -- you've seen him play goofy roles in just about every Adam Sandler film -- is in serious trouble after cops say he threatened to kill his neighbor over construction noise.

Law enforcement sources tell TMZ ... cops showed up at Peter's L.A. area home Wednesday morning after he allegedly went berserk on a neighbor. Cops say Peter was upset about loud noise from construction work at a neighbor's house.

Apparently, it set Peter off ... cops say the actor ended up confronting his neighbor in a big way. Officers say they were told the confrontation escalated to the point Peter threatened to kill the neighbor and harm his wife and their kids.

Our sources say after talking to everyone involved ... cops arrested Peter for making felony criminal threats. He was taken into custody but posted bail and was released.

It's not the first time Peter's been accused of making threats. As we reported ... he was arrested back in 2013 and thrown out of an L.A. hotel after allegedly making violent threats and using racial slurs.

NOVEMBER 2013

We've reached out to Peter for comment ... so far, no word back.

UFC's Ryan Spann I Sparred NBA Star Deron Williams ... And He Beat My Ass!!

THAT WAS UNEXPECTED!
TMZSports.com

UFC fighter Ryan Spann trains at the gym owned by ex-NBA star Deron Williams ... and the light heavyweight contender once sparred with the hooper -- AND GOT HIS BUTT KICKED!!

"Deron whooped my ass one day. I'm dead serious. You can call him and ask him," Spann told TMZ Sports.

Context? We talked to the 30-year-old, 6'5", 205 lb. fighter just days before he's set to face 6th ranked LHW, Anthony Smith ... and we asked the 11th ranked fighter if he ever rolled around with 6'3" Williams at their gym, Fortis MMA in Dallas.

"I was training for a fight, and coach was like, 'Deron, get in.' And, I already knew he hooped, and I knew who he was, but I never got to go with him," Ryan said, "I think it was my 2nd or my 3rd round with a fresh body, and you put Deron in, I was like, 'Oh s**t, nice, I get a round off.' Little did I know Deron used to wrestle. And, he was about 230 at the time."

FYI, Williams was a damn good wrestler as a kid. Long before he starred at Illinois, was drafted with the 3rd overall pick, or made any All-NBA teams, Deron was a state champion on the mats in Texas. He won titles as an 8 and 12 year old ('93 & '97).

So, Ryan and the 3x NBA All-Star sparred. How'd it go?!

"It wasn't until Deron was on top of me and me struggling to get up, and coach gonna look at me and say 'I've been working with him for the last couple of years. You thought you were gonna get this round off?'"

Shocking, on the surface, considering Spann is one of the most dangerous men in the world ... meanwhile DW, surely a good wrestler as a kid and great athlete in general, is a basketball player -- not a fighter.

Then it was time for a little payback ... in the form of a knuckle sandwich.

"He got me, but the next round I hit him with the right hand and he hasn't sparred me since."

So, would Deron -- who's only 37-years-old and hasn't played ball professionally since he was with the Cleveland Cavs in 2017 -- ever take a real fight??

ARE YOU CRAZY?!
TMZSports.com

Ryan says Deron was once pitched a fight with Pro Bowl defensive lineman turned UFC fighter Greg Hardy (we actually talked to Deron about this in 2018) ... but unfortunately, the scrap never came together.

But, there is 1 other guy Spann believes Williams could fight (and get a little revenge for fellow former NBA star, Nate Robinson) ... Jake Paul.

UFC's Dan Hooker Pleads For Visa ... Ahead Of UFC 266

UFC fighter Dan Hooker's fight against Nasrat Haqparast is in serious jeopardy ... with the lightweight begging for a visa to make it to Vegas for UFC 266 next Saturday.

31-year-old Hooker -- who is from Auckland, New Zealand -- sent out a public cry for help to the U.S. Embassy’s Kevin Covert on Twitter on Thursday.

FYI -- Auckland is currently experiencing widespread COVID-19 outbreaks ... which has led the government to require folks to stay home and remain in bubbles.

Hooker tweeted at Covert in hopes of getting his situation handled ASAP ... saying, "Hi Kevin, apologies for messaging on here but it’s a last resort."

"My visa is with the US embassy here in NZ as I fight next week in Las Vegas on #UFC266 Update today is it won’t be approved until next week due to lock down which will cancel my fight. Please help."

"The embassy has my passport and all the completed documentation, all I need is it to be processed and returned," he added.

"This is an absolute last resort."

Hooker is slated to fight 26-year-old Haqparast --who is 5-2 since joining the UFC in 2017 -- on September 25.

Brian Ortega vs. Alex Volkanovski and Nick Diaz vs. Robbie Lawler are also on the card.

The embassy responded to Hooker's tweet by asking him to reach out to them directly ... so it seems they may be on the case.

Here's hoping Hooker's situation gets sorted out in time for the bout.

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