Some NFL Tidbits & Rumors. Enjoy:
San Francisco coach Mike Singletary explained how he almost made Michael Crabtree cry. Singletary said that he saw Crabtree doing a jog-through on the practice field. Singletary said he hadn't heard that Crabtree was medically clear, so he went over and told Crabtree to get on the sideline and sit until he gets full clearance. Singletary said Crabtree got "teary-eyed" because he wanted to be out there.
Without a long-term contract, Leon Washington indicated that he's still mulling the possibility of a training-camp holdout. Jets veterans are due to report July 30. The Jets are showing little sense of urgency because the NFL's financial landscape has changed. With the league staring at the possibility of an uncapped year in 2010, the CBA rules are different for fourth-year players like Washington. Instead of being an unrestricted free agent in 2010, he will be restricted, meaning the Jets could retain him with a qualifying offer that would be significantly less than a long-term contract.
It appears the Carolina Panthers and defensive end Julius Peppers will not agree to a long-term deal before Wednesday's 4 p.m. deadline, meaning the two sides could be headed to another offseason standoff next January.
With veteran Eric Green beaten deep several times in May and June practices, Dolphins rookies Sean Smith and Vontae Davis have every chance to win the starting cornerback job opposite Will Allen, though coach Tony Sparano has said none of the three contenders did enough so far to rise above the others.
The longer the Minnesota Vikings take to announce Brett Favre will be their quarterback next season, the more money appears to be the holdup. The Vikings plan to put single game tickets on sale Monday. Favre's agent, Bus Cook, obviously knows that. He also knows if/when Favre's signing is announced, the Vikings will reap boatloads of new cash in ticket and apparel sales. Cook and Favre clearly have enough leverage to extract at least a $10 million deal for the coming season, assuming Favre remains healthy. Ultimately, it's up to owner Zygi Wilf to determine Favre's worth to the Vikings, who certainly are justified in offering an incentive-laden contract.
As an injured player, Broncos wide receiver Brandon Marshall has been informed he needs to show up for training camp with the team's rookies on July 27. As a disgruntled player, Marshall is a threat to continue his protest of his existing contract by failing to report to the Broncos' Dove Valley headquarters by his assigned date. There is a chance Marshall's holdout could end sooner rather than later. All players who don't report by Aug. 11 must forfeit an accrued season. That would leave Marshall as a third-year player in 2009 instead of a fourth-year player. In turn, he would remain another season from the potential jackpot that is unrestricted free-agent eligibility.
NFL Network's Mike Lombardi reports that he's "been hearing talk" that Tarvaris Jackson might request a trade if and when the Vikings sign Brett Favre.
Brandon Marshall is unwilling to talk about what jersey he wants to wear in the fall. However, he's made it clear that whatever uniform he dons, he expects to suit up in great shape. "All I can do is get up every day and beat my body up, and that's the truth," the Denver Broncos wideout said during an exclusive interview after a workout on Friday at the University of Minnesota with fellow Pro Bowl receiver Larry Fitzgerald(notes). "At the end of the day, I'm going to be playing football, and, if I'm going to be out there, I got to be in the best shape I can be in."
There are no signs that the Ravens and Pro Bowl linebacker Terrell Suggs will reach a new contract before Wednesday's NFL deadline. Suggs, to whom the Ravens applied the franchise tag for the second straight year, said 2 1/2 weeks ago that the sides "were close" on a long-term deal. But no agreement appears imminent after the sides talked late last week. The deadline to reach a new contract with franchise players is Wednesday. If no deal is struck, the sides can't sign a deal until after the season and Suggs would earn $10.2 million this year under the tag.
What was revealed after the season to be a fracture in his right hip was only part of Antonio Cromartie's problem. All throughout the organization there were whispers that the then-24-year-old's head was not right. "Last year my head wasn't in there," Cromartie said. "I was dealing with my kids and their moms. It had my mind somewhere else." Cromartie has been named in at least five paternity suits in the past two years. He acknowledged it hasn't always been so, but he is trying to take care of them financially. "It took me awhile to man up and say, 'I gotta do what I'm supposed to do,'and accept my responsibilities," said Cromartie, who is not married or engaged to any of the mothers. "I can't point a finger at anybody else. I made a lot of bad decisions my first and second year in the league. I point a finger at myself." There are a lot of directions to be pulled when you have seven kids living in five states. A two-millimeter crack in the hip -- suffered in the season opener -- limited Cromartie to about a dozen full practices all season and made it so that an out route against him was easy pickings for opposing quarterbacks. There came a time last season when agent Gary Wichard told him not to play, as did mentor Deion Sanders.
Picture this: A coach decides from the sideline what play to run and pokes a handheld touch-screen terminal, immediately sending an encrypted signal to a thin, digital device embedded into the armband of the quarterback in the huddle. Upon transmission, the quarterback's armband vibrates, displaying the name of the play and a graphic depicting the assignments of each player. It all happens in an instant, eliminating the potential pitfalls caused by crowd noise or audio miscommunication. The product is called ID Coach. The UFL, which will begin play in October and could soon serve as the only active developmental league for the NFL, has decided to implement the product during its inaugural year. Convincing the NFL will be a different task. The Isaac Daniel Group introduced the product to several NFL coaches and quarterbacks at a luncheon in Tampa before this year's Super Bowl. Recently, some coaches weren't willing to endorse the product publicly, even in the wake of the luncheon. Instead, younger players, such as Browns quarterback Brady Quinn, were more willing to embrace the product's potential.
The United Football League will kick off in October with teams in New York, San Francisco, Orlando and Las Vegas. The maximum salary will approach the minimum $620,000 a four-year NFL veteran gets, with some players making as little as $35,000, plus incentive bonuses. While such stars as Marvin Harrison and Derrick Brooks, both currently unsigned by NFL clubs, could wind up in the UFL -- so might Michael Vick, something commissioner Michael Huyghue is considering -- most of the players won't register highly on the recognition scale.
The Lions' offseason roster overhaul isn't complete, but free agent defensive tackle John Thornton likely won't be part of it. Thornton said Sunday he recently turned down an offer to join the team and Jim Schwartz , his former defensive coordinator in Tennessee. Thornton, 32, was a starter in Cincinnati the last six seasons but was let go as the Bengals signed Tank Johnson. Now he's unsure if he'll play anywhere this fall.
One Dolphins player said offensive coordinator Dan Henning has added interesting wrinkles. Among them: a formation with Pat White lining up, in motion, behind Chad Pennington. The Dolphins also worked on an empty backfield with Ricky Williams or Ronnie Brown lining up in the slot.
Dennis Paiva can retire his begging cup, thanks to a Herald reader so moved by the plight of the luckless panhandler that he offered to pay the $4,000 in restitution that the ex-con owes for walking off with Tom Brady's pricey Belgian flower boxes. Paiva said when he was released from prison five years ago after serving a 10-year stint for bank robbery, he tried to turn his life around. He took odd jobs and picked through people's trash looking for discarded treasures. He thought he had found some on May 31, 2008, when he spotted two stainless steel containers behind a Back Bay townhouse. But the items he lifted, which he said he thought were being tossed out, were $8,000 flower boxes that a deliveryman left for the New England Patriots quarterback. Caught on security camera, Paiva, who sold the two flower boxes as scrap metal for $450, was arrested for larceny and ordered to pay $4,000 in restitution after pleading guilty.