Some more NFL tidbits & rumors. Enjoy:
The Dallas Cowboys are shopping outside linebacker Greg Ellis, multiple sources told FanHouse on Thursday. Ellis is one of the most trusted defenders the team has, but it would like to push 2007 first-round pick Anthony Spencer into a starting role. Dallas is serious about a potential move because on Thursday, the final day of this week's organized team activities, the team sent Ellis home, not allowing him to practice. The Cowboys did this last year during some OTAs, and coach Wade Phillips said then it was to not wear Ellis down. He turns 34 in August. This week the team held a team meeting with several of its veterans including Tony Romo, Jason Witten, DeMarcus Ware and Marcus Spears. Ellis, who is tied with left tackle Flozell Adams with the longest tenure on the team, was not invited to the meeting by the coaches. Ellis took that as a sign he might not be wanted.
Former Patriots receiver Donte' Stallworth could avoid a lengthy prison sentence even if he is found to have been impaired when the car he was driving struck and killed a pedestrian in Miami March 14, according to a report on Yahoo! Sports. Stallworth, whose arraignment yesterday on DUI manslaughter was delayed until next month, has not yet entered a plea to charges he was driving drunk when he struck and killed Mario Reyes in the early morning hours of March 14. Tests showed Stallworth's blood-alcohol level was .126, well above Florida's .08 limit. Yahoo! Sports, citing two NFL sources and a pair of Florida attorneys, said Stallworth's prison sentence may be as little as two or three months rather than the possibility of up to 15 years. There is also the possibility Stallworth, who is under contract with the Browns, could play this season. According to Florida's DUI manslaughter law, there are exceptions under what is called "causation" of an accident. In short, someone who is driving drunk and causes an accident is not necessarily responsible if the other party did something to contribute to the accident. In this case, Reyes allegedly was jaywalking when he was hit. If Reyes was jaywalking, it could be argued he contributed to the accident. In addition, Stallworth claimed to have flashed his lights and honked his horn at Reyes, which is being interpreted by Stallworth's side as a way of warning Reyes.
While all the attention has been focused on Josh Cribbs' absence, yet another veteran has decided to skip the first full-team camp of the Mangini Era.In addition to Donte Stallworth and Josh Cribbs, veteran kicker Phil Dawson was missing from the minicamp practice that was open to the media this morning. The press met with Eric Mangini prior to the practice and were unaware that Dawson was not in camp. There are some reports that Dawson is unhappy with his contract and might be the reason he was not present.
He won't offer his first word of analysis until a Cardinals-Steelers exhibition game Aug. 13, but already the inclination is to agree that ESPN's choice of Jon Gruden as a replacement for Tony Kornheiser on "Monday Night Football" telecasts is a shrewd one - for this year, anyway. But there could be an eventual downside for ESPN. Gruden, who was fired last season after the Buccaneers lost their final four games to miss the playoffs, sounded like a man taking a one-year sabbatical rather than someone making a career change. Once, when asked about the length of his contract, he said, "I'm a short-term, goal-oriented person." At another point he said, "I dearly miss coaching." If he returns to the sideline after just one season in the booth, ESPN would be in the awkward position of making a major alteration to the broadcast team for the third time since "Monday Night Football" moved to the network in 2006.
The verbal salvos from Carson Palmer about Chad Ochocinco's absence from the Bengals this offseason have intensified. On Sirius NFL Radio on Tuesday, Palmer issued his strongest criticism yet about the absence of the ninth-year wide receiver. "It's definitely a new look for the Bengals receiver corps but I couldn't be happier with the guys we've got," Palmer said. "T.J.'s (Houshmandzadeh) gone and Chad's pretty much gone, he hasn't been here, so we've got guys that want those two spots, guys that compete day in and day out, when we're out there on the field, running, conditioning and in the weight room lifting. They're guys that want to take over for those two spots. They look every bit capable of doing what we're going to ask them to do."
The rhetoric for a possible contract extension for Cardinals wide receiver Anquan Boldin has become more amicable -- but the same can't be said about the talks between the team and defensive tackle Darnell Dockett. Cardinals president Michael Bidwill, who was at the NFL Spring Meetings, said Wednesday, "We've worked hard at getting Anquan Boldin extended and we'll continue to do those things." Boldin's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said that even though Boldin is still open to be traded, a deal can be reached. "We can work out a deal with the Cardinals and we have put forth an offer to them," Rosenhaus said. Regarding that offer, Rosenhaus said he has made a proposal for a deal that would average less than $10 million a year and that the numbers are "consistent with the top receivers in the game. Not the highest paid but it's consistent with the top guys." Boldin, a Pro Bowler, has two years and $5.75 million left on his contract and has been outspoken about getting a new deal or being dealt for months. As for Dockett, it doesn't appear as if any movement toward his demands for a new contract will happen anytime soon. That might prompt a trade demand.
Eli Manning was a bit more candid than usual in an interview with Boomer Esiason on this week's Boomer Esiason Show on MSG. In fact, Manning made it clear the Giants are ready to move on without recently released receiver Plaxico Burress, and seemed to back off previous comments about the need to get a big receiver. Eli's response when Esiason asked about the team's wide receiver situation with Burress out of the picture, according to a transcript of the interview: "I feel confident. They didn't need to go and get a big wide receiver. When Plaxico was injured, the guys stepped up and put up big points. It's not like we need to have him. We put up big points. It's not like we weren't playing well because of Plaxico. We just weren't playing very good football. Steve Smith is coming around in his third year and he's going to be a guy who gets more playing time. Young guys are getting more experience."
With bodies and egos colliding all around practice fields, altercations are common in the NFL. But Bucs cornerback Aqib Talib let a routine run-in escalate Wednesday, inadvertently striking would-be peacemaker Torrie Cox with his helmet in an apparent attempt to hit left tackle Donald Penn. Cox's agent, Peter Schaffer, said his client was attempting to break up the skirmish. Penn said that Cox, a veteran cornerback at 28, sustained facial cuts he described as minor. Talib, the Bucs' 2008 first-round draft pick out of Kansas and perhaps the centerpiece of the team's secondary this season, has drawn unwanted attention with this run-in, which comes a year after he fought with then-teammate Cory Boyd at the league's rookie symposium in California.
A reporter asked Jay Cutler what he thought the Bears' offensive philosophy would be. Here was Jay's answer: "We're going to run the ball. I think I've learned the hard way that you've got to run the ball and you've got to stop the run to get anywhere in this league, to make the playoffs and make a push for the Super Bowl, so that's not going to change. Especially here in December with the wind and the weather, you've got to grind out those 4 or 5 yard runs and get yourself to a manageable position," Cutler said. Decide for yourselves what Cutler meant by that, but I take it to mean that he had probably the same feeling as the rest of us about why the Broncos crumbled in the final stretch of the 2008 season: No consistent running game, and a defense that couldn't stop anybody.