The Journal Gazette
Friday, January 17, 2020 1:00 am


New Orleans plans to arrest Beckham

Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS – A misdemeanor simple battery warrant has been issued for Cleveland Browns wide receiver and former LSU star Odell Beckham Jr., police in New Orleans said Thursday.

The warrant comes as video posted on social media appears to show Beckham swatting a security officer's buttocks during LSU's locker room victory celebration after Monday night's college national championship game in the Superdome.

“We are aware of the incident and have been in touch with Odell and his representatives on the matter,” the Browns said in a statement. “They are cooperating with authorities to appropriately address the situation.''

LSU players were seen smoking cigars – forbidden in the Superdome – in pictures from the Monday night celebration. Authorities reportedly warned them they could face arrest.

In a 27-second video available on Twitter, a security officer is seen standing over an LSU player sitting on a locker room bench. The officer appears to be searching around the bench and pointing to the floor. He can be heard talking about a “burn mark” just before Beckham approaches him from behind and appears to swat his backside.

The arrest warrant follows another postgame controversy involving Beckham.

LSU has acknowledged contacting officials from the NCAA and Southeastern Conference about Beckham apparently handing out cash to Tigers players on the field after the national championship game.

Browns turn to hiring new GM

The Browns, who hired Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski as head coach, have accelerated the search for a general manager. They will interview New England Patriots director of college scouting Monti Ossenfort, a person familiar with the meeting told The Associated Press.

Cleveland will also meet today with Philadelphia Eagles vice president of football operations Andrew Berry. The Browns also intend to interview Vikings vice president of player personnel/assistant general manager George Paton.

Referee chosen for Super Bowl

Two people familiar with the assignment tell the Associated Press that Bill Vinovich was chosen to work this year's Super Bowl because he had the highest rating among referees.

The selection of Vinovich has met with some disfavor from players and fans, noting that he was the referee in last year's NFC championship game marred by an egregious missed pass interference call on the Rams that helped them get to the Super Bowl.

Troubled receiver loses agent

Drew Rosenhaus is breaking up with Antonio Brown. The agent conditionally cut ties with his client Thursday, according to ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter.

The move came after Brown's dispute with the mother of some of his children went viral. In a video Brown posted to Instagram, he can be heard yelling profanities at the woman and police who responded to the scene of the disturbance at his Florida residence, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Executive award to 49ers GM

San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch won the Pro Football Writers of America Executive of the Year award.

Lynch was honored for his role in helping transform the 49ers from a four-win season in 2018 to a 13-3 record this past season. San Francisco earned the top seed in the NFC for the first time since 1997 and is playing Green Bay in the NFC championship game Sunday.

The Niners are just the sixth team to make the conference title game in the Super Bowl era a year after winning four or fewer games. Their nine-game improvement was the best in franchise history.

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