Here are some NFL Tidbits & Rumors. Enjoy:
The Tennessee Titans' quarterback depth chart hasn't changed. Kerry Collins is still the starter, and Vince Young remains the backup. During an interview with WMAR-TV, Young said that if he doesn't win back his old job, then he wants a change of scenery. "I definitely want to get back out there playing ball and picking up where I left off, winning games and having a good time with my teammates and with the fans," Young said. "At the same time, if them guys don't want me to be in there, it's time for me to make a career change for myself. Because the fact is I'm ready to play ball. If they're not ready for me to play ball, then somebody is."
While the knee-jerk reaction would be to assume that the club would simply slap the franchise tag on Shawne Merriman, you'd be overlooking a very important angle that could prevent the Chargers from doing that. Quarterback Philip Rivers is also entering the final year of his contract. If the team can't reach a new deal with either player prior to the start of free agency, which one do you think they'd use the tag on? Sorry, but unless Rivers contracts Ryan Leaf disease during the 2009 season, that's a no-brainer. Besides, I think the Chargers already cast their vote when they picked Larry English. If Merriman is not able to unleash chaos again, the Chargers will likely let him hit the open market, losing a player who was once a dominant force for their defense. And if he's able to bounce back, his price tag would be staggering.
In January, scarcely three months after undergoing a reconstruction of his injured left knee, Tom Brady gave his orthopedic surgeon a gift. It felt like a present to Dr. Neal ElAttrache, anyway. Brady summoned him to a Southern California park, and, with the sun setting over the ocean, the New England Patriots quarterback gave his doctor a demonstration of just how far his recuperating knee had come. The 2007 NFL most valuable player performed a brief, light workout, showing he could drop back, roll out, fire passes and was well on his way to recovery. "When he did that, and all he had to do was look at me with that smile on his face like, 'Aren't you happy?' That meant everything to me," said ElAttrache, who specializes in sports medicine at the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic in Los Angeles. Speaking publicly for the first time about the NFL star's surgery and physical rehabilitation, ElAttrache told The Times that Brady "even exceeded what I thought he was going to be able to do, and I was expecting big things from him."
Matthew Stafford, the No. 1 pick in this year's NFL draft, made an impressive throw toward the end of Lions practice Monday. He threaded the ball through tight coverage to receiver Keary Colbert, who bobbled it over the middle, then hauled it in behind the defense. Stafford made another impressive throw shortly afterward, hitting receiver Bryant Johnson down the left sideline. Coach Jim Schwartz raved about Stafford in a column posted Monday on SI.com. He said the Lions would have an "arms race" between Stafford and veteran Daunte Culpepper during the June 22-24 minicamp.
Jay Cutler already has alienated enough small pockets of fans at various appearances in Chicago to produce a flurry of furious e-mails, such as the one from a guy at Wrigley Field last week who criticized the quarterback for waving off autograph seekers.
Jessica Simpson gave boyfriend Tony Romo a nautical 28th birthday last month -- she treated the football star to a $100,000 speedboat. The singer unveiled the gift at a special party at the pair's Dallas, Texas, home, reports the National Enquirer. And the Dallas Cowboys quarterback was delighted with the custom-made gift. A source tells the tabloid, "Jessica knows that Tony has always wanted a boat. "(She's) hoping that her birthday gift will lead to marriage, and by this time next year she'll be walking down the aisle with him."
I know that if I want to follow the saga of a troubled wide receiver who eventually might help the Bears, it won't be the tired tales of either Plaxico Burress or Matt Jones . Brandon Marshall of the Broncos may also fit in that category, given a troubling history with domestic violence. But Marshall also has a history with Cutler that would make the Bears logical suitors if the big-play threat hits free agency next winter, as many in Denver fear after the Broncos turned down Marshall's request for contract extension last week.
Several people in the NFL have said not to rule out St. Louis as a possible destination for Michael Vick. The Rams might have some ownership issues to deal with before actually signing him, but they have genuine interest. They've been doing their due diligence on Vick, and if the Commissioner does reinstate him, look for them to actively pursue him. It makes sense -- a new coach with an older quarterback who hasn't played well. Playing in a dome on carpet would highlight Vick's speed and athleticism.
Two sources with direct knowledge of the situation told the Post-Dispatch on Saturday that Chip Rosenbloom and Lucia Rodriguez have retained the services of Goldman Sachs, the prominent investment banking firm. The owners will ask Goldman Sachs to help facilitate the sale of the Rams by evaluating bids and soliciting potential buyers. And if you are a St. Louis Rams fan, here's the reason to be concerned: I'm told there will be no preconditions attached to the sale of the Rams. This means the Rams could be scooped up by out-of-town buyers. And that's a dramatic -- and potentially ominous -- development, given the Rams' shaky lease at the Edward Jones Dome.
Carson Palmer has always been about loyalty, which is why during the past two weeks he has talked about the progress of the receivers who are participating in the Bengals offseason program. But don't think for one second that means he doesn't need Chad Ochocinco. For anyone who thought that, Palmer put a rest to those assumptions on Thursday when he appeared on Fox Sports Radio's Petros and Money Show. "He's a damn good receiver - that's obvious, everybody knows that - but the guys that are working here and busting their butt here deserve a shot," Palmer said. "When he shows up he'll show up and hopefully he's in great shape and he's ready to play. "But I never once said anything about not wanting him here and not needing him. He's a Pro Bowl receiver. He's put up a ton of yards. He's extremely dangerous to cover. We would love him when he comes here, but he's not here right now."
Free agent safety Rodney Harrison said he'd make a decision on his football future by June 1, and the question that is about to be answered remains the same: Will his 16th season be on the field or in the broadcast booth?
The internet is starting to fill up with reports of the Bucs expressing some form or interest in former Colts wide receiver Marvin Harrison. This one seems a little far-fetched, given the fact the Bucs dumped a pretty good aging receiver in Joey Galloway just a few months ago. That said, the Bucs do seem to be in the market for another wideout, and Harrison, 36, probably has a little something left in the tank.
Vikings coach Brad Childress defended Tarvaris Jackson. Jackson's work ethic, Childress said Friday, is beyond reproach. Childress wanted to "set the record straight" during his opening comments Friday after the start of a three-day minicamp. t's an odd situation, no doubt, for Childress to have to defend his quarterback in the wake of comments made by one of his star defensive tackles. Pat Williams didn't stop to talk to reporters as he walked off the field Friday. He said during a recent interview with Sirius NFL Radio that Jackson needed to work harder. Childress indicated that Williams' comments might have been taken out of context and shouldn't have been considered critical remarks.