I never made gumbo before getting to New Orleans. I took a couple of cracks at it and it started eventually turning out OK. I’m not going to enter any gumbo competitions, but I’m proud of it. I just love all of the ingredients coming together as one in the bowl. It’s delicious. However, if you have a fave recipe please send it along because I’m just really throwing a couple (New Orleans-approved) recipes together and hoping for the best. I’ll perfect it eventually.

Anyway, here are a few of the most recent sports ingredients that are bubbling up to the surface.

God bless Sean Payton who keeps the Crescent City and the NFL world at large on their toes.  To say Payton’s potential signing of Jameis Winston was out of left field would be an understatement. It was left of the left of left field and still a field over. As negotiations continue (as of Sunday night) with the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback, the city of New Orleans is having a major fit about welcoming Winston into the fold.

It’s one of those deals that it is easy to see from both sides, to a degree. Yes, I think Jameis Winston does add value to the club, especially at a bargain rate. Will he become a better quarterback under Payton? I think that is a hard no. The guy is five years into his career and he has a big time turnover problem. However, he’s still young and can make some plays. I think the biggest problem is off field. I understand that pros are pros and switch teams all the time but this is a bit of a stretch. This guy was really the only face of the Tampa Bay organization and did his best to try to become enemy number one of the New Orleans Saints. The only reason he wasn’t, was because Tampa Bay was, well, Tampa Bay. Point being, it’s not crazy to think that there are more than a few New Orleans Saints that just straight up do not like this guy. I assure you the first time Marshon Lattimore and Winston meet as teammates it will be more awkward than that Thanksgiving when your uncle got deep into his spritzers and started working blue.

Speaking of awkward moves, could that NFL Draft have been any worse? The entire nation was salivating at the prospect to watch what, in actuality, is a pretty boring event. But this year would be different because, well, this year has been quite different.

We were all ready for some players getting picked to our favorite teams and watching a bunch of highlights of men smashing into one another at high velocity. What did we get? A weird Roger Goodell desperately trying to act like a human being, instead of the bloodless robot that he is, and seemingly story after story after story of kids unfortunate circumstances. The NFL shoved these storylines down our throats at a freakish rate and completely overstepped in cases like wide receiver Tee Higgins and his mother. I’m not going to go into it because I have class but I assure you the NFL does not. It’s honestly the most heartless league in the world and I truly wish an upstart league, like the recently deceased XFL or last year’s AAFL, would dethrone it.

Speaking of heartless, how does the NFL even fathom playing a game without vaccines in place for the Coronavirus? How does a company tiptoe around the fact that they will put players, and players’ families, in jeopardy, by making them report to a workplace that is unsafe? I don’t want to hear about players’ temperatures getting monitored or any other baloney that the league will start selling you very shortly. The fact is, if players get on the field before a vaccine is in place they are walking into a boneheaded situation that could end in disaster. It’s a game, folks. It can wait.

Whenever the NFL plays again it will be exciting to see the new Saints’ draft class. That loud bang you heard on Thursday night wasn’t a pumping station exploding it was Twitter reacting to the Saints not picking a linebacker in the first round. Instead, the Black and Gold opted to draft Michigan center Cesar Ruiz to improve their offensive line in these last years of Drew Brees. It was a pretty savvy move, as the team had its collective hat handed to it by a few defenses last year but it would have been a disaster if the Saints didn’t get a linebacker.

Thankfully, the draft gods were shining down upon New Orleans and the Saints traded up to get Zach Braun, a gifted linebacker out of Wisconsin and the last of the top tier linebackers in this draft. Braun is solid all around and can line up in a few different positions. More importantly, he’s just one of those players who is always around the ball and will only improve playing under fellow “see the ball, get the ball” guys like Demario Davis and Craig Robertson.

What’s the latest on Major League Baseball playing? Who knows because I don’t watch it and, to be honest, teams playing in front of empty stadiums will have the same feel as most of the league’s games anyway. On the flip side, if the league played an abbreviated schedule, perhaps 81 games, I would definitely get interested. It’s still long but not the ridiculous 162 game format they’re currently under.

I get it. You’re sitting around wondering what to do with your hands. Do yourself a favor and download Jeff Pearlman’s, “Football For A Buck,” a hilarious book about the early ‘80s United States Football League. The USFL would only last three years but there are seemingly hundreds of funny anecdotes in the book. If you love football or the growing pains of businesses trying to get started you’ll enjoy it. If not, at least send it to your favorite New Orleans Breakers’ fan.