Sorry I wasn't able to do these last week. Enjoy:
The Minnesota Court of Appeals has denied Kevin and Pat Williamses' quest for a permanent injunction to block the NFL from punishing them, clearing the way for the league to suspend the Minnesota Vikings defensive tackles for four games next season for failing 2008 drug tests. Minnesota's Drug and Alcohol Testing in the Workplace Act does not regulate bumetanide, the prescription drug found in StarCaps, the tainted weight-loss supplement the Williamses used, which means the NFL did not violate state law by trying to discipline them, the Court of Appeals ruled today.
The Green Bay Packers defied the odds in a number of ways, among them by overcoming injuries and becoming the first NFC sixth seed to win the Super Bowl. But the Packers aren't expected to take any chances with their football operations, wasting no time to lock up coach Mike McCarthy and general manager Ted Thompson for the foreseeable future. McCarthy and Thompson are under contract through the 2012 season, but president Mark Murphy indicated the team will be proactive in working out extensions. "We want Ted and Mike to be with the Packers long term, and I'm confident that they will be," Murphy said. Murphy will work on Thompson's extension, then Thompson will deal with McCarthy's.
New Titans head coach Mike Munchak informed Mike Heimerdinger on Tuesday he will not be retained as the team's offensive coordinator. Heimerdinger just finished this third season as offensive coordinator with the Titans, his second stint with the team. In 2010, the Titans offense ranked 27th in the NFL. "He decided to let me go," Heimerdinger said. "I am disappointed but Mike is going to do what's best for the Titans and I appreciate my time here. Hopefully I can move on and get a job down the road sometime.'' Heimerdinger just interviewed for the head coaching job with the Titans last week, but the job ended up going to Munchak, who was hired on Monday.
"It was only a few years ago when Eagles fans were begging the front office to deal for Larry Fitzgerald. Now, the Cardinals wideout is practically begging Arizona's front office to get him an Eagles quarterback. Fitzgerald, an annual Pro Bowl receiver, has told the quarterback-strapped Cardinals that he'd like to catch passes from Kevin Kolb, according to a report Sunday night from ESPN's Adam Schefter. Citing league sources, the report said the Cardinals approached Fitzgerald, the face of their franchise, and asked him for input on their quarterback situation. After the retirement of Kurt Warner and preseason trade of Matt Leinart, the Cardinals used three different quarterbacks in 2010……..
Darrelle Revis doesn't want to cover Chad Ochocinco anymore. "I want Chad to come here and play for us, to be a Jet," Revis told New York Metro leading up to the Super Bowl. "I've been in his ear a lot about it this week. ... I think he could do well here. I've been telling him to come here." The Jets could be in the market for wide receivers, with Santonio Holmes, Braylon Edwards and Brad Smith heading toward free agency in an uncertain NFL labor climate. Ochocinco is currently with the Bengals but reportedly looking for a way out of Cincinnati. He reportedly thought about returning to his former surname Johnson but changed his mind back.
The Panthers have hired Joe Kenn to be their strength coach, and only need an assistant for him to finalize their coaching staff. Kenn has most recently worked out of the Proehlific Park facility of new Panthers offensive consultant Ricky Proehl (a former college teammate as well), but has an extensive resume at the college level.
One year ago today New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton woke up cradling the Vince Lombardi Trophy, went to a press conference and reiterated how much winning the Super Bowl meant because of the symbiotic relationship between rebuilt team and rebuilding city. Soon after he released a best-selling book, "Home Team," that chronicled his love for and inspiration he drew from the Gulf Coast as he powered the Saints to the championship. Then along came Monday when word leaked via ESPN's Ed Werder that Payton was moving his family out of Louisiana and to the tony Dallas suburb of Westlake; hence, the false Payton to Dallas rumors. They will now maintain two residences, according to the Times-Picayune.
The Jaguars began their offseason cuts on Monday, releasing veteran offensive tackle Jordan Black and signing first-year center Bradley Vierling. Black started the season as a backup entering games as an extra blocker on occasion. When starting right tackle Eben Britton tore the labrum in his right shoulder at Kansas City, the Jaguars turned to Black to be their starter for the rest of the season. A backup in a starting role, the eight-year veteran struggled at times, but was the Jaguars best option for most of the year.
The Titans have officially named Mike Munchak as their new head coach. Munchak, 50, replaces Coach Jeff Fisher, who coached the team the past 16 full season before the two sides opted to go separate ways last month. Munchak recently finished 14th year as the Titans offensive line coach. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2001 after playing in 159 games for the Oilers over 12 seasons. After interviewing four candidates for the job last week, Titans Executive Vice President Steve Underwood and General Manager Mike Reinfeldt spent the weekend discussing the candidates before officially deciding on Munchak.
The Arizona Cardinals are formally pursuing Pittsburgh Steelers linebackers coach Keith Butler for their vacant defensive coordinator position, according to league sources. Butler is the coach-in-waiting behind Dick LeBeau as Pittsburgh's defensive coordinator, but he is intrigued by the Cardinals' opening and Steelers officials expect him to take it. A Steelers source said the team likely would not block the move. Monday is the first day the Cardinals can officially approach Butler for permission to interview and they intend to do just that. Butler is close with Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt from their time together on the Steelers staff and their friendship extends beyond football.
After a turn-back-the-clock game that ended with a disappointing outcome Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward said he has no plans to retire. "I'll be back," Ward said after the Steelers' 31-25 loss to the Green Bay in Super Bowl XLV. "I'm not going anywhere." Ward, 34, played one of his best games of the season and looked anything but aging in catching seven passes for 78 yards and a touchdown. Those were his most receiving yards since going over 100 in a win against the Bengals on Dec. 12. Ward also became just the sixth player in NFL receiver with at least 10 touchdown catches in postseason play.
The Falcons aren't ready to talk about a report saying Jon Bon Jovi may buy a part of the team. But fans of the New Jersey rocker may be living on a prayer that the rumor is true. ESPN.com broke the news of the talks between Falcons owner Arthur Blank and Bon Jovi, who reportedly may buy a 15-percent stake in the franchise for $150 million. But the team later said rumors are slippery when wet. "The Falcons works under confidentiality agreements regarding discussions such as what was reported this morning," the team told the AJC in a statement. "The club will have no further comment." If true, this wouldn't be Bon Jovi's first run with football.
The Detroit Lions have already told linebacker Julian Peterson that he will not be back with the team and, under league rule, today marks the first day the Lions can officially release him. The Lions acquired Peterson two years ago in a trade with the Seattle Seahawks that sent Cory Redding (who is now with the Ravens) and a fifth-round draft pick to Seattle. Peterson was coming off three straight Pro Bowl appearances and, in his first season with Detroit, he had a solid, but not significant season. Peterson, who made $6.5 million that year, had 74 tackles, 4 ½ sacks and five forced fumbles in 16 starts.
Few teams have as many key free agents to re-sign as the New York Jets, who lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Championship Game and now have 17 players scheduled to hit free agency. But New York plans to use its lone franchise tag not on receivers Santonio Holmes or Braylon Edwards, but on linebacker David Harris, according to a league source. Cornerback Antonio Cromartie and special teams ace Brad Smith also will be free agents. The linebacker franchise tag number last season was $9.6 million, but Harris would like a considerably longer-term deal than just one year.