SCOTT SLANT: NFL opt-outs create ops

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Wednesday, July 29, 2020.

Most veterans are reporting to NFL training camps, but some are not—and that has an impact on at least a couple of rookies out of Boise State. NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Tuesday Philadelphia wideout Marquise Goodwin plans to opt out for the 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns. The Eagles had acquired Goodwin in a draft day trade with San Francisco in an effort to inject more speed into the wide receiver position. That’s also a reason Philly drafted John Hightower out of Boise State in the fifth round three months ago. In his two years as a Bronco, Hightower displayed explosive speed and a knack for making tough catches. By osmosis, Goodwin’s decision benefits Hightower.

Hightower’s chances are better than those of David Moa in Minnesota, since Hightower was a draft pick and Moa was not. But the door has cracked a bit wider for Moa, as prized Vikings offseason signee Michael Pierce has also opted out due to the effect his asthma may have on coronavirus transmission. Pierce, a nose tackle, was scooped up as a free agent from the Baltimore Ravens during the offseason. Moa, at one time considered an early entry into the NFL Draft, had to battle back from an injury that cost him virtually all of the 2018 season in order to get his shot as an undrafted free agent. This is Moa’s first summer somewhere other than Boise since 2013, as he was a Bronco for six years.

NOBODY WANTS THIS ‘PUP’

Dallas needs to get Tyrone Crawford back on the defensive line, but it’s not going to happen quite yet. Crawford has been placed on the Cowboys’ Active/Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list for the start of training camp. The former Boise State standout has been rehabbing double-hip surgery related to bursitis problems that date back a year and a half. Crawford played only four games for Dallas last season before going on the shelf. The Cowboys, however, do hope to have him back in time for padded practices, which are slated to begin in mid-August. Crawford has 23 sacks in 96 games for Dallas since being drafted in the third round in 2012.

CONSTANTINE ON THE MOVE YET AGAIN

Jake Constantine announced at the end of May that he’d play his final college football season at Towson in Maryland. But the one-time Boise State quarterback has pulled a “not-so-fast-my-friend.” Constantine tweeted Tuesday that he is instead headed for Washington State to play one year under former Hawaii coach Nick Rolovich. There’s little risk to this possible reward for the Cougars, as Constantine will be a walk-on. Counting Towson, this will be his fifth stop since graduating from high school. After Boise State, Constantine transferred to Ventura College—then to Weber State, where he started most of the past two seasons and helped the Wildcats to two Big Sky championships.

HAWKS TO THE MAJORS: RARE IN THE ROCKIES ERA

The Boise Hawks are basically four steps away from the majors (depending on how you count). A lot of Boise alums completed the journey during the team’s Chicago Cubs era—witness the 21 former Hawks who came up with the Cubs and are still on big league rosters. Conversely, in the five seasons of Colorado Rockies affiliation, only three ex-Hawks have made the majors outside of a few rehab assignments, shortstop Garrett Hampson of the Rockies and righthander Rico Garcia of the San Francisco Giants. And here’s a good stat. Recently uprooted Boise State baseball coach Gary Van Tol managed the Hawks in 2013 and 2014, and his teams included current Cubs Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber, Willson Contreras and Albert Almora, Jr.

THEY WERE INDEED SOMETHING SPECIAL

One by one, players are transferring out of the now-defunct Boise State baseball program. The other day we received another painful reminder of the strong base Van Tol was building—and swimming and diving coach Christine Maible had already built. Boise State student-athletes combined for a department-record and conference-leading 123 Spring Academic All-Mountain West honors, encompassing all Mountain West-sponsored winter and spring sports. And 46 of them came from the baseball and swimming and diving teams.

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July 29, 2000, 20 years ago today: The best player of the Boise Junior College era, Dave Wilcox, joins two other San Francisco 49ers greats, Joe Montana and Ronnie Lott, as new inductees into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Born in Ontario and raised in Vale, Wilcox played for Lyle Smith at BJC in 1961 and 1962 before moving on to Oregon. He was a star linebacker for the 49ers for 11 seasons. Wilcox’s son, Justin, was Boise State’s defensive coordinator from 2006-09 (and is now the head coach at Cal). Also inducted that day were former Raiders defensive end Howie Long and Steelers owner Dan Rooney.

(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 FM KTIK. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)

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