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Tag:Josh katzowitz
Posted on: February 23, 2012 10:24 pm
 

Rivera says Jeremy Shockey might retire

Ron Rivera isn't sure whether Shockey wants to play next season. (US Presswire)
Eye on Football staff report

INDIANAPOLIS -- There’s little question Jeremy Shockey isn’t the same player he was when he averaged 62 catches per season from 2004-07 with the Giants and was considered one of the best tight ends in the game. But after the Saints cut him before the 2011 season, he signed with the Panthers on a one-year, $4 million contract and played admirably alongside Greg Olsen.

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His 37 catches last year were a career-low, but the fact he played 15 games, matching the most ever during his injury-ravaged career, was a good sign. Now, however, at least one person believes he’s contemplating ending his career after 10 years in the league. 

That was the word from Carolina coach Ron Rivera at Thursday’s media session at the scouting combine.

“It was a great conversation and he just said, 'Well, we'll see,'” Rivera said. “With him, who knows?”

The last time Shockey and Rivera talked was in January after the season ended. But since then, Rivera told Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer that he hasn’t heard an update because Shockey -- who’s either a hero or a scoundrel -- has been traveling abroad.

Panthers general manager Marty Hurney, though, isn't buying it, telling the AP, "We’ve gotten no indication that Jeremy’s considering retirement at this point,” and that, “it’s ultimately a question for Jeremy but all indications we are getting is that he wants to play.”

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Posted on: February 23, 2012 8:44 pm
 

Eagles sign Trent Edwards to one-year deal

EdwardsBy Josh Katzowitz

In 2008, quarterback Trent Edwards had a decent-enough season with the Bills, completing 65.5 percent of his passes for 2,699 yards, 11 touchdowns and 10 interceptions for a 7-9 Buffalo squad.

But after Ryan Fitzpatrick took over the starting quarterback job -- the dance between Edwards and Fitzpatrick was enough to make former Bills star Jim Kelly go mad -- Edwards has been a non-factor in the league.

He played two games for the Bills in 2010 before Buffalo cut him and then played three games with the Jaguars. Though his name always seemed to pop up among teams who were desperate for a fill-in quarterback last season, he didn’t play at all in 2011 after the Raiders released him before the year began.

Looks like Edwards might not be unemployed for 2012, though, as the Eagles announced Thursday that they’ve signed him to a one-year deal.

Although Edwards (obviously) won’t compete with Michael Vick for the Philadelphia starting job, he’ll have a chance to beat out Mike Kafka for the right to back up Vick. And though it’s questionable whether Edwards is a legit starting quarterback in this league, he still can be a solid backup.

For a team that employs the oft-injured Vick, that’s an important component for the Eagles.

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Posted on: February 23, 2012 6:07 pm
 

Report: Browns will go after Matt Flynn

Flynn

By Josh Katzowitz

The list of potential suitors for Packers backup quarterback Matt Flynn continues to grow. Already, you know the Dolphins are interested, and Green Bay probably would like to bring him back so the team can then (possibly) trade him away.

But according to the Canton Repository, the Browns also will make a play for the fourth-year veteran who’s made exactly two starts in his career (though he admittedly was pretty awesome in both those starts).

As Steve Doerschuk writes, “There will be a budget that will not be exceeded in the play for Flynn. Peyton Manning’s presence on the market drives down his price.  … That still leaves the Dolphins as a suitor … and as the likely lander of Flynn.”

The paper also notes that Browns president Mike Holmgren is “no great fan” of quarterback competition, and if Cleveland can land Flynn, the team would make him the starter instead of Colt McCoy.

It’s still unclear whether the Browns, who hold the No. 4 spot in April’s draft, will try to trade with the Rams to move up to the No. 2 position to grab Baylor’s Robert Griffin III, but on Wednesday, Browns coach Pat Shurmur had some nice things to say about McCoy*.

In like Flynn?
"We're looking forward him to improving through the offseason," Shurmur said. "I think it will make a big difference in year two (of) me being here.  I told him to prepare himself to get as much out of this offseason as possible. I'm expecting him to attack this offseason and get as good as he can get within our system. He really works at things and that's going to help him."

*Basically, it seems like nobody has any idea what the Browns will do.

Flynn, meanwhile, is looking forward to striking out on his own as a potential starting quarterback.

"I'm a confident person but the element of the unknown makes you wish March 13 was tomorrow," Flynn said this week. "I've loved being a Packer, and it's not 100 percent sure I'm leaving Green Bay, but as a competitor and football player, that's what you play the game for -- to be a starter in the league. Hopefully some teams will be interested in me and I can find a good opportunity. I want to lead a team and I'm excited about it. But I can't talk to teams now. I don't know if I'm on their radar. It's going to be a long month leading up to that time -- waiting and wondering."

While you still have to consider Miami the favorite to land Flynn (even if there are no billboards of him on I-95) because of the connection with new Dolphins coach/former Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin, it will be interesting to see if the Browns actually can make themselves a player in this lottery.

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Posted on: February 23, 2012 5:09 pm
Edited on: February 23, 2012 9:19 pm
 

Report: Big Ben restructures contract for PIT

It's not ideal, but the Steelers can survive in a Wallace-less offense. (US PRESSWIRE)
By Josh Katzowitz

Since it now seems that the most important thing in the world for the Steelers to do this offseason is keep Mike Wallace in the organization -- clearly the franchise is being truthful when it says it wants the receiver to spend his entire career in Pittsburgh -- even Ben Roethlisberger is willing to sacrifice.

According to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Roethlisberger has restructured his contract so the Steelers can save about $8 million in cap space for 2012. Reporter Ed Bouchette writes that the cap space saved by the Roethlisberger restructuring will put the Steelers at about the cap limit of $120 million (the deadline is March 13).

Roethlisberger signed an eight-year, $102 million deal in 2008, and though he was originally supposed to make $11.6 million in 2012, Pittsburgh has taken $10.7 million of that and converted it into a signing bonus. As Mac’s Football Blog points out, the signing bonus will then add $2.675 million to the Steelers salary cap from 2013-2015. Roethlisberger, who now has restructured his deal for the second time in six months, will make at least $11.6 million per year in those three seasons.

Pittsburgh clearly wants to keep Wallace, a restricted free agent this offseason, for the long term, and in order to do that, the Steelers will have to sign him to a long, rich contract. Or they could franchise tag him, which would cost the team about $9.5 million for 2012. Even with Roethlisberger’s restructuring -- and he's not the only one, as the team has reworked the contracts of Lawrence Timmons, LaMarr Woodley and Ike Taylor -- reaching that mark probably will be tough.

And at this point, Wallace isn’t sure he’ll return to his team.

"(Pittsburgh is) where I would like to be, but we all know that it is a business and you have certain things you have to handle," Wallace told Sirius XM NFL radio on Wednesday. "So if I have to go elsewhere, you know Pittsburgh will always be in my heart, but I have to do what I have to do.

"Yeah, we are talking, but I don`t know how far they are going to get right now because of the situation. I know that they are working hard trying to take care of it, but I don`t know. We`ll see.”

Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert is a bit more optimistic, saying Thursdasy (via the AP), "I'm confident Mike wants to finish his career with the Steelers."

Most likely, the Steelers will place a first-round tender on Wallace, but a team that needs receiver help and that has plenty of space under its respective salary cap (and can let go of a first-round pick) might have a better chance of making an offer to Wallace the Steelers simply can’t match. Then, it won’t matter what Roethlisberger has sacrificed, because one of his top targets will be gone.

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Posted on: February 22, 2012 4:24 pm
 

Shurmur believes Colt McCoy can improve

McCoy

By Josh Katzowitz

Because the Rams hold the No. 2 pick in April’s NFL draft and because they already have a franchise quarterback, it makes sense that the Browns, holding the No. 4 selection, would try to trade up so they can grab Robert Griffin III.

Even though Colt McCoy has had some success as the Browns quarterback the past two years, much of the speculation surrounding the Cleveland quarterback situation center around the Browns trying to find another quarterback to replace him.

Count Cleveland coach Pat Shurmur among those who aren’t sure replacing McCoy is the best solution.

"We're looking forward him to improving through the offseason," Shurmur told reporters, including the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "I think it will make a big difference in year two (of) me being here.  I told him to prepare himself to get as much out of this offseason as possible. I'm expecting him to attack this offseason and get as good as he can get within our system. He really works at things and that's going to help him."

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So, McCoy can actually improve, then? That’s strange for a coach to say.

"I'm expecting that he will and the thing that's encouraging to me is that he's a guy you know [is] going to work at it," said Shurmur, who also reported McCoy is completely healed from the late-season concussion he sustained. "Heck, I think he can be very good. If he plays at a high level like I think he can, when he makes these improvements, that means he can help us win football games and I think that's what you're looking for at the end of the day -- put the ball in the end zone and win games."

Of course, the Browns would be silly if they didn’t study Griffin at this week’s scouting combine, but perhaps whatever they’d have to give up for Griffin might be too much to bear if the team really feels like McCoy can be the guy. Or Shurmur could just ask CBS analyst Rich Gannon.

"I know people are saying, 'Is this guy a player?' but there's a lot of things to like about him," Gannon said last season. "I mean, there's something about him that makes me think he's got a chance. I like him. ...

"People don't understand that you've got develop the quarterback position," Gannon said. "We're making a huge mistake in the NFL with these young guys. These coaches come in and say, 'He's not my guy, I want to get rid of him,' and then they bring another guy in. Then it takes a couple of years to develop that guy. Meanwhile, they fire that head coach, and the next guy comes in. It's a terrible cycle."

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Posted on: February 22, 2012 3:16 pm
Edited on: February 22, 2012 3:27 pm
 

Leonard Weaver still hoping to make comeback

After missing most of 2010 and all of 2011, Weaver won't return to the field in 2012 either.  (US Presswire)
By Josh Katzowitz

Leonard Weaver, perhaps the NFL’s best fullback in 2009 who suffered a brutal knee injury in 2010 and who missed all of 2011, won’t play in 2012 either. He’s simply not healthy enough, as you can surmise in this Philadelphia Daily News piece that follows Weaver as he fails another physical with the Eagles training staff.

Weaver says his foot doesn’t work right, and though he wants to resume what had been a six-year career, he’s not sure if he’ll ever be healthy enough to do so.

"My heart is to get back," Weaver said. “But it's not going to happen this season. It's tough."

More from the Daily News:
What Weaver doesn't have is the ability to move his left foot fully, even after nearly 18 months of rehab, much of it incredibly painful and tedious. He's as athletic and powerful-looking as ever, within a couple of pounds of his playing weight. If you stood the 2009 Weaver up against the 2012 Weaver, in street clothes, you probably couldn't tell the difference. But the difference is huge.

"As of right now, no, I can't run like I used to," Weaver, 29, says.

Teams have called, he said, but he isn't ready to run for them. After another year away? Well, who will call about a 30-year-old fullback whose last substantive action was in 2009?

The tackle that might have ended Weaver’s career occurred in Week 1 of 2010 when Weaver took a carry and took a helmet to the leg courtesy of Green Bay’s Nick Barnett. Weaver’s body went forward; his leg went backward. And that was it.

"That was the worst pain I've ever felt. I've never been shot, but I'll tell you what, it had to be worse," Weaver said. "It was just all up and down my leg, up and down my back, this burning sensation. It was like somebody lit a match and it went all over my body, and it just continued. It was crazy."

Weaver tore his ACL and suffered nerve damage, a diagnosis that left Weaver sobbing in the locker room afterward. Since then, Weaver has had three surgeries, and though the foot he couldn’t lift after his initial injury has improved, it’s nowhere near NFL ready.

Doctors have told him there’s a 99 percent chance he’ll never play again. For now, Weaver is just happy he can walk.

If you have some time, click the Daily News link and check out the rest of the story. It’s an interesting look at a guy whose dream most likely will not become a reality.

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Posted on: February 22, 2012 1:56 pm
 

Despite death hoax, Clinton Portis still alive

PortisBy Josh Katzowitz

So, apparently, some people thought former Redskins running back Clinton Portis died last weekend in a car crash. He didn’t. Portis, in fact, is currently still alive.

“Not sure about the rumor that’s out but I’m alive and well, before it even begins to spread of a car crash!!!!” Portis wrote Monday on his Twitter account. “I'm in bed goodnight world hopefully I don't go in my sleep 2night!”

And if that didn’t satisfy those who truly believed Portis was gone, he went on 106.7 The Fan (via the Washington Post’s Sports Bog) to let the world know he was still breathing.

“That rumor scared the mess out of me, got my mama calling me wanting to talk every hour,” Portis said. “I don’t know where the rumors came from, but I’m alive and well. Man, I done got calls from everybody. I guess it’s a trending topic on Twitter or whatnot....But I’m good, man. I appreciate the people that are worried, but it ain’t my time yet.”

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Thankfully, we can now turn our attention to Portis’ chances of landing with a new team next year after the Redskins released him a year ago. Um, those chances are probably not good, and Portis, despite trying out for some teams last year, sounds like he’s realistic about a possible comeback attempt.

“I enjoyed my time with the Washington Redskins,” Portis said. “I don’t regret anything, I don’t look back and wish I would have changed anything. It was a moment in life. You know, everything comes to an end. That’s relationships, buying a new car, buying a new house.

“You always love it in the beginning, and towards the end, you see a new car that you want, or you feel like you need to upgrade and move, or you want to re-do your house. Nothing lasts forever, and I understand that. And I understand the decision that the Redskins made in moving on....I don’t have any regrets. I think Mr. (Dan) Snyder gave me the opportunity to do something that most people would die for.”

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Posted on: February 22, 2012 12:27 pm
Edited on: February 22, 2012 1:07 pm
 

Hines Ward pleads guilty to reckless driving

WardBy Josh Katzowitz

Last July, Steelers receiver Hines Ward was arrested on a DUI charge, an incident that stunned CBSSports.com’s Mike Freeman* because he seems like the exact opposite of the kind of guy who would get himself into that kind of trouble.

Ward’s lawyer denied Ward was impaired by alcohol as he drove, and seven months later, Ward has cut a plea bargain deal with the DeKalb County (Ga.) Solicitor’s office, which has dropped the DUI charge.

In exchange, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports, Ward pleaded guilty Wednesday to reckless driving and no contest to a charge of failing to maintain lane.

Ward was sentenced to 12 months of probation (he’ll be allowed to check in with his officer on the phone or with email since he’ll likely be playing football somewhere in 2012), 80 hours of community service and a $2,000 fine. He’ll also undergo an alcohol evaluation.

*Ravens running back Ray Rice also was mighty displeased by the arrest.

Ward's lawyer, Andy Reed, released this statement afterward (via the Pittsburgh Post Gazette): "We are grateful for the outcome. By dropping the DUI charge, it is clear that the prosecution did not have sufficient evidence to proceed. Hines has always maintained that his ability to drive was in no way impaired and we are pleased that the facts supported his innocence. He is thankful to his legal team and to all who stood by him. Hines has a great respect for the legal system and is also grateful, in particular, to the state for the professional manner in which they handled this matter."

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com