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Derek Carr has gotten everything he expected from Jon Gruden, and more

From the moment it became obvious that Jon Gruden possibly would return to the Raiders as the team’s head coach, concerns emerged regarding whether the Chucky persona would make quarterback Derek Carr crumble.

In fairness to Gruden, he seems to realize that he can’t be a raving lunatic and get the most out of his players. He has surely grown and matured in the nine years since he left coaching, and he surely has learned plenty while working week after week in the broadcast booth.

Still, if the Raiders start losing and if Carr isn’t playing as well as Gruden wants him to play, it will be interesting to see whether Carr is still gushing about Gruden.

Had the Falcons hung on to win Super Bowl LI, and had the Patriots not completed the most improbable comeback in Super Bowl history, who would have been named the game’s most valuable player?

More than likely it would have been QB Matt Ryan, the 2016 NFL MVP who posted a 144.1 passer rating in Atlanta’s loss to New England. But what about second-year defensive tackle Grady Jarrett? He tied a Super Bowl record with three sacks on Tom Brady, including two when the Pats were inside the red zone early in the fourth quarter, forcing a field goal.

A lot has happened since that night, when 348 seconds into his team’s duel with Ole Miss, one Rebel (linebacker DeMarquis Gates) went low, another (end Breeland Speaks) went high and Fitzgerald’s right foot stayed planted in the Scott Field turf, crushed beneath his 230 pounds. Evidence of the ghastly injury is available in dozens of places on YouTube. The three most popular videos have a combined 300,000 views.

Fitzgerald’s injury was an omen of change in Starkville. Mississippi State lost the Egg Bowl to an Ole Miss team with nothing but bragging rights to play for, and three days later, Dan Mullen, the man who found, recruited and tutored this overlooked prep quarterback from Georgia, accepted the Florida job, ending a nine-season run at Mississippi State.

Saints DL Mitchell Loewen helps save man whose car fell four stories from garage

Saints defensive lineman Mitchell Loewen was just expecting to have lunch with his wife and son in New Orleans on Sunday, but the day took a turn.

Loewen heard what sounded like a bomb or an earthquake and discovered it was actually an SUV that fell four stories from a parking garage before landing upside down on the street. Loewen saw that the driver was trapped inside and rallied others to help.

So be advised, agents and teams. Your effort to work out a long-term deal must allow for enough time to get these various things done before that multi-year carriage becomes a one-year pumpkin.

Gronkowski, 29, is scheduled to make $8.75 million this season, only fourth among tight ends behind Jimmy Graham ($13 million), Greg Olsen ($12.35 million) and Trey Burton ($11.3 million). He has outplayed the eight-year, $54 million extension he signed with the Patriots in 2012.

Dye, the third and final Duck defender to make this year’s Top 100, was Oregon’s leading tackler in 2016 and ’17 and brings a 20-game start streak into his junior season. The 6’4, 221-pounder showed off the open-field speed that makes him such a terror in pursuit on a 93-yard fumble return for a touchdown in the Las Vegas Bowl, and if the Ducks make noise in the Pac-12 North, he should be in line for serious conference defensive player of the year consideration.

Sills’s remarkable transformation from an elite quarterback recruit headed to a Pac-12 program to a go-to wide receiver in a Big 12 offense should generate more headlines this season than it did in 2017, when he tied Memphis’s Anthony Miller with a nation-leading 18 touchdown receptions to go along with 980 receiving yards. With a bona fide Heisman Trophy contender in Will Grier back at quarterback and another dangerous pass catcher in Gary Jennings lining up alongside him, Sills could become one of the leading faces of a Mountaineers squad that looks capable of pushing Oklahoma at the top of the Big 12.