Here are the latest NFL tidbits & rumors. Enjoy the read.
Here are the latest NFL tidbits & rumors. Enjoy the read.
Josh McDaniels has let Jay Cutler know he wants to talk, but so far Cutler has responded only by text. Each day Cutler holds out closes the window in corresponding increments on his return. The diss: McJaygate figures to last no longer than Day 57, which would bring the Broncos to the NFL draft. If the Broncos trade Cutler, they will do so by draft day. If his protest continues until then and he isn't traded, the Broncos will have decided to treat him as a "holdout," although in official terms, his first mandatory report date isn't until June 12. The gut: While several teams continue to communicate their interest in Cutler, the Broncos have not responded. They remain intent on bringing Cutler back.
A plea deal is being seriously considered in the gun possession case against Plaxico Burress, the New York Giants' wide receiver, and it appears likely that any agreement would require him to serve at least some time behind bars, a law enforcement official said on Sunday. The details had not been finalized, and it remained unclear whether an arrangement would be reached by Tuesday, when Mr. Burress is scheduled to appear in Manhattan Criminal Court.
Michael Vick's plan to climb out of bankruptcy partly depends on the suspended star suiting up again for the NFL after he gets out of prison. The embattled Atlanta Falcons quarterback is hoping to earn as much as $10 million a year or more, according to court filings in his bankruptcy case. Under the plan he submitted to the court, Vick would keep the first $750,000 of his annual income over the next five years. After that, a percentage would go to his creditors based on a sliding scale. Gil Brandt, a senior analyst for NFL.com, predicted Roger Goodell would give Vick another chance to play, possibly after sanctioning him again. But he said Vick, who holds the NFL single-season record for rushing yards by a quarterback, would stand a better chance of making a team at a different position such as running back.
The Patriots are scheduled to host safeties Patrick Chung (Oregon), William Moore (Missouri) and Louis Delmas (Western Michigan) on pre-draft visits at Gillette Stadium, according to league sources. NFL teams are allowed up to 30 pre-draft visits with out-of-town prospects at their facility. The purpose of the visits can vary -- from genuine interest, to a smokescreen, to a final medical check. Sometimes, the coaches might want to put the players up on the board or watch game film, asking them to dissect Xs and Os. It's quite possible that a visit ends up ruling a player out of a team's plans (e.g. the player doesn't show the football acumen needed for a specific scheme). From this view, the visits are helpful to chart, but also important to keep in perspective. The Patriots, for example, did not host Logan Mankins on a pre-draft visit prior to drafting him in the first round in 2005. On the flip side, the team did host linebacker Jerod Mayo last year.
The offseason conditioning program for the Bengals begins Monday at Paul Brown Stadium, which means we're close to answering everyone's favorite question - will Chad Ocho Cinco be there? The short answer, at the moment, is we don't know. "I plan on everyone to be here until I hear that they're not," Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said. "Now, there are some guys in weddings or classes who won't be here the first week but will the second, and vice versa. We should be at 90 percent or better in terms of attendance." If Ocho Cinco adheres to his word, he should be at PBS on Monday. During Super Bowl week, the wide receiver said he would participate in all offseason activities, which would be a complete change from last year. Ocho Cinco did not show up until minicamp in June after demanding to be traded for much of the offseason.
Clearly, Rex Ryan didn't want Favre, despite saying just the opposite last week. Ryan was hired on Jan. 19. Favre retired on Feb. 11. Not once did Ryan reach out to Favre and try to persuade him to play, claiming he didn't feel it was appropriate. If Ryan wanted Favre, he would have called him or shown up on his doorstep in Hattiesburg. The first time they spoke is when Favre called to say he was done.
The 49ers, coming off a 7-9 season, know they have an uphill climb this season. In more ways than one. Among the changes Mike Singletary has made in his first year as permanent head coach is the creation of a steep hill adjacent from the team's practice field. Singletary plans to have his players work out on the hill when it's completed in a few weeks. Singletary explained that he used to train on a hill in Houston with other NFL players such as Charlie Joiner, Darrell Green, and Earl Campbell. "I was very fortunate to be part of that group," Singletary said. "It was a tough workout. All of those guys that worked out on that hill had a long career." Singletary calls the hill "Pain." What was before a small slope is now a hill with 2,500 tons of dirt. From top to bottom is 45-50 feet. Players naturally had questions when they arrived at the practice field and saw the hill in the works.
It wouldn't be surprising if the Vikings, who are without fourth- and sixth-round picks in next month's NFL draft, try to slide down by trading their No. 22 overall pick for more picks. That's because they still might be able to fill their most glaring needs in the draft -- offensive tackle and a possession wide receiver -- later in the first round. If they can find a trade partner, they probably could satisfy both positions near the end of the first round. There is a decent chance that offensive tackle Eben Britton of Arizona will be available, as well as wide receivers Hakeem Nicks of North Carolina and Kenny Britt of Rutgers. It's virtually certain one of the three will be available near the end of the first round. The Vikings even could trade out of the first round and still get a decent offensive tackle and receiver, assuming they would get a second-round pick in return. They also would have their own second-round pick.
Jason Taylor could, in fact, return to the Dolphins one year after being traded, if that is what he really wanted. Before expanding on that point, let me update a matter that would cloud this picture were it still threatening like a South Florida thunderstorm: Taylor and Bill Parcells do not hate each other. If you are still back in that Dolphins conference room a year ago, when Parcells ignored Taylor, causing the player to storm off angrily and send his agent and friends into vitriol-laced frenzies, you are caught in yesterday's news. Today, Parcells and Taylor have an amicable relationship. They shared time and conversation at Grand Oaks last year after the trade that sent Taylor to the Washington Redskins. There is, at the moment, no ill will in the relationship. That, of course, doesn't ensure a renewed connection between the Dolphins and (still) their best player of the past decade. But it means the connection is at least possible.
Tom Coughlin has been leaving messages all over the Giants' locker room, even on players stools, reminding them of the disappointing end to last season. "Work ethic must exceed the expectation level," is one of them. Asked if his players make the connection, Coughlin said, "They get it. I'm in there spelling it out for them."
Jerry Jones removed the duct tape from the only NFL head coach under a gag order this week and let him speak during the owners' meeting. The removal of duct tape was necessary because head coaches must talk if they attend, per league rules. Still, it was a bad idea. All Phillips did is remind everyone why Jerry should've already hired Mike Shanahan. After the most sensitive coach in franchise history spent some time whining about all of the meanies in the local media, he actually said it usually takes four years to find out whether a coach is any good. Talk to enough players since the season ended, and they'll tell you they're disappointed Phillips declined to address the players after the debacle in Philadelphia. He also lost the respect of some players when he let former defensive coordinator Brian Stewart, the only coach he brought with him from San Diego, take the brunt of the criticism for a string of poor defensive performances and stripped him of his play-calling duties after six games. Later, Phillips took credit for the team's defensive resurgence before its December meltdown. Just so you know, Stewart viewed Phillips as a mentor and father figure. That's not how you treat family. And it's certainly not how you display loyalty.
Running back Larry Johnson's future in Kansas City could be determined by the outcome of his grievance hearing with the Chiefs on Wednesday. At issue is $3.75 million of guaranteed money Johnson is due from the Chiefs in the contract extension he signed in August 2007. Generally, NFL salaries are not guaranteed, but Johnson's contract calls for payments of $3.5 million this year and $250,000 in 2010 that the Chiefs must pay regardless of whether he plays for them. The Chiefs claim the one-game suspension he received from the NFL last year for violating the league's personal-conduct policy is a breach of his contract and frees them from having to pay the guaranteed money.
Jeff George, 41, hasn't thrown a pass in an NFL game in almost eight years, and he hasn't been on an NFL roster since 2004. Yet George insists he could have led the Vikings to their first Lombardi Trophy by now, citing the team's superstar, running back Adrian Peterson, and star-studded defense. "There's no doubt about it," George said in an interview with the Pioneer Press on Friday afternoon. "Because of the type of defensive personnel they have, and when you have an Adrian Peterson ... you line him up with a veteran quarterback, who knows where to go with the ball, it's an unstoppable combination." In a story posted earlier Friday, George told Yahoo.com that, if he were playing for the Vikings, "I guarantee I'd be wearing a ring right now."
Since the Bucs cut linebacker legend Derrick Brooks, Joe has beat the drum that Bucs general manager Mark Dominik made a terrible mistake, should swallow his pride and re-sign Brooks. Joe has learned through multiple sources today that very well may happen. Problem is, Brooks won't be donning a Bucs uniform. Through Joe's sources, one of which is a highly placed academic source at Florida State where Brooks serves on the board of trustees of his alma mater, it has been revealed that shortly after the Bucs cut Brooks the Glazer Boys called Brooks in for a private meeting and offered him a front office position. The specific position that was offered to Brooks is unclear, but a job offer was made to Brooks. One source was inclined to believe the offer was partially motivated by damage control. Rather than take the offer, Brooks informed the Glazer Boys he wanted to exhaust all options as a player before he announced his retirement and became a Bucs employee.