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Late For Work 1/30: Justin Tucker's Sick One-Handed Catch; Ray Lewis' Inspiring Pro Bowl Speech

Posted Jan 30, 2017

The Ravens kicker delivered non-stop entertainment from the Pro Bowl. The future Hall of Famer puts things into perspective. Pro Bowl players tell horrible jokes. Lewis vs. Gonzalez in ‘Lip Sync Battle.’ WR Zay Jones among standouts in Senior Bowl game.


Tucker Makes Sick OBJ-Like One-Handed TD Catch

The Ravens are in the market for a “complementary receiver.” Maybe they already have one on the roster.

How about giving kicker Justin Tucker a chance?

I kid, I kid (mostly).

During pre-game warmups of Sunday’s AFC 20-13 Pro Bowl win over the NFC, Tucker showed off his impressive hands – or I should say hand (singular) – by leaping and reeling in a high pass in the back of the end zone.

Somewhere, Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is impressed.

The Pro Bowl might be more about showmanship than gamesmanship, and Tucker delivered entertainment all week long.

On Wednesday, Tucker boomed a 75-yard field goal and subsequently doubled down on his prediction that he could nail one from 85 yards out. Then Lions kicker Matt Prater tried to one-up Tucker by hitting from 76, but he took the challenge to a whole other ridiculous level.

Tucker booted a 50-yarder through a basketball hoop that was attached to a field goal post.

That’s a ball that’s 11 inches from tip to tip making it through a hoop that’s 18 inches in diameter. From half a football field away,” wrote Deadspin’s Emma Baccellieri. “A 100 shooting percentage to go with his 97.4 field-goal percentage this season.”

This is Tucker’s world, and we’re all just living in it.

Lewis Gives Inspiring Speech Before Pro Bowl

Leave it to Ray Lewis to bring perspective to what seems like an insignificant Pro Bowl game.

The future Hall of Fame linebacker spoke to the AFC team prior to the all-star matchup, and emphasized the importance of giving maximum effort, no matter what the stakes, because somebody is always watching.

“You can never get moments back. It’s never about the individual. It’s about your moment being the hope for somebody that will never, ever have the opportunity to ever do this,” Lewis said in the video below. “That’s why every time I strapped on my pads – whether it’s Pro Bowl, practice, whatever it is – I have to give 110 percent every time. Because somebody’s watching me. That’s a fact.

“The harsh reality is pain exists everywhere we go in this world right now. Sometimes we’re the only light that people get. People who sit in hospitals with cancer, they don’t get opportunities like this, baby boys. That’s why you can’t be soft.”

Check out the full two-minute speech for yourself.

Perhaps Lewis’ speech (and the chance at a $61,000 winner’s bonus check) had an impact on the players.

The Pro Bowl is usually a high-scoring, offense-dominated game, but it became more about defense Sunday night. Both defensive units gave up little against the run and put pressure on all of the quarterbacks, with nine total sacks and 11 QB hits during the contest.

Buffalo Bills linebacker Lorenzo Alexander punctuated the defensive theme at the end of the game when he came up with an interception at the 2-yard line, and instead of sitting on it, returned it 20 yards and lateralled it to Denver Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib, who took the ball within 13 yards of the end zone.

"I was serious about that last drive," Alexander said. "You're playing fast, playing hard, having a good time, but we wanted to win. We took it very serious."

Pro Bowl Players Tell Horrible Jokes

I’ll admit it.  My three kids and I get a kick out of popsicle stick jokes.

They’re horrible. And by that, I mean horribly hilarious.

Well, the NFL brought popsicle-like jokes to the Pro Bowl, asking players to go head to head in bad joke telling to see who could hold out the longest without cracking a smile.

Ravens Pro Bowlers Eric Weddle and Kyle Juszczyk were both featured in the video, and Weddle had this zinger.

"What do you call a pig that does karate?"

"A pork chop."

That one didn’t draw a laugh, but my favorite joke sure did. It came from Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon.

“What do you call a guy with a rubber toe?”

“Roberto.”

Lewis vs. Gonzalez In Lip Sync Battle

Set your DVR, folks.

Lewis is scheduled to perform Thursday night at 10 p.m. on Spike TV’s “Lip Sync Battle,” and he’s going up against retired tight end Tony Gonzalez.

In the promotional video below, Gonzalez and Lewis got in the spirit of trash talking. Both men played in the NFL for a whopping 17 years, and Gonzalez said he’d pay Lewis back (in the form of song and dance) for a cheap shot a few years back.

“Tony, you don’t have a freaking chance against me,” Lewis said. “Do you understand that? I understand that you got on this flight and made a long trip, but man, this is going to be a loooong trip home because I came for one thing: I’m a winner. I play to win.”

WR Zay Jones Among Standouts In Senior Bowl Game

College Football 24/7 writer Chase Goodbread reviewed eight lessons learned from the Senior Bowl game, and topping his list was East Carolina wide receiver Zay Jones, who likely greatly improved his draft stock last week.         

Jones notched six receptions for 68 yards and a touchdown in the 16-15 loss for the North squad, but the two most memorable plays didn’t even make the stat sheet.

In the highlights video to the right, Jones made a spectacular leaping catch in the back of the end zone during the first quarter, but the officials ruled he didn’t get his second foot down. There is no replay at the Senior Bowl, but it may have been overturned if there was. He was denied a second incredible score because of a holding call on an offensive lineman.

The good news for Jones is that scouts won’t factor holding calls against him when stacking their draft boards.

"You talk to the (Senior Bowl) coaches that have been around him this week, they say it's like dealing with a 10-year professional," said NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah during the broadcast of the game. "When your dad is Robert Jones, who played in the NFL for a long time, it's the family business."

"(Jones) had an unbelievable half. All he did was confirm what he did all week long," added draft guru Mike Mayock. "He's a top-100 pick in this draft."

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