Posted on: August 28, 2009 12:52 pm

NFL Tidbits & Rumors - Updated 8/28/09

Some updated NFL Tidbits & Rumors. Enjoy:


Early in training camp, three-time Pro Bowl linebacker/defensive end Terrell Suggs goaded the reigning champion Pittsburgh Steelers by wearing a black t-shirt that read, "You Bet Your Sweet A** I Hate the Steelers" on the back. Well, cornerback Frank Walker showed off his own Steelers-themed apparel this morning and the sentiment was similar in tone. Walker wore a black t-shirt that had "Hey Pittsburgh" in big yellow letters and a Raven extending a purple middle finger.


Brandon Marshall did not participate in the Broncos' practice Thursday, although he was at the team's headquarters during the session. It appears Marshall was held out for punitive reasons for his unprofessional conduct during practice Wednesday. In the practice, Marshall was nonchalant during a high-step running drill between cushioned obstacles. A channel 7 video caught him punting the ball away when the drill was finished. Perhaps realizing the video of his petulant behavior may not help him draw interest from other teams, Marshall quickly went into spin control during his ESPN interview. "Me punting the ball was definitely frustration," Marshall told ESPN's NFL Live show late Thursday night. "It was an error in judgment. There was a lot of frustration yesterday coming out of a meeting." Marshall has since been suspended fro an undisclosed period of time.


Wide receiver Roy Williams suffered a sprained left shoulder at practice Thursday night, according to multiple sources. He did not suffer a broken bone, but it is not clear how much time Williams will miss. A prolonged absence would be a blow to an offense that is looking to Williams to play a major role.


The Lions' quarterback competition continues between veteran Daunte Culpepper and rookie Matthew Stafford. "It's still wide open," coach Jim Schwartz said Thursday. "The final decision has not been made." Schwartz is sticking to the same type of plan he used in the first two exhibitions.


At least two teams -- the Ravens and the Jets -- are keeping a close eye on the Eagles' wide receiver situation. The Eagles have an excess of wealth there right now. There's a good chance they'll deal one of their wide receivers -- perhaps Reggie Brown -- before the final roster cutdown.


An NFL source has told me the Dolphins tried to trade Ernest Wilford before terminating his contract but no one was interested. And the Dolphins are not averse to conducting further business both on the giving and receiving end of a trade if the player and the price is right. In fact, GM Jeff Ireland has been working the phones with over a dozen teams in the past 10 days, I'm told.


The Buccaneers have been contacting other teams this week to gauge interest in their quarterbacks after putting off a decision to name a starter, according to league sources. Bucs coach Raheem Morris originally planned to name a starter after Saturday's preseason game against the Jaguars, then postponed the decision for at least one more week. Veterans Byron Leftwich and Luke McCown have been competing for the job, with first-round draft pick Josh Freeman the quarterback of the future. Two NFL sources said the Bucs have been calling teams, willing to listen to offers for Leftwich, McCown or second-year pro Josh Johnson, a player thought of highly internally but who likely wouldn't have great trade value.


It is widely believed that the 49ers won't pay Michael Crabtree a dime more than the Packers gave to defensive lineman B.J. Raji at the ninth overall slot. Meanwhile, we're hearing that his agent, Eugene Parker, is dealing with the Crabtree conundrum on the recruiting trail by blaming the holdout on the player. Parker, we're told, is pointing to the deal he negotiated for defensive end Tyson Jackson at the third overall slot as proof that Parker is willing and able to negotiate a fair deal for a first-round pick.


During Patriots training camp, Tom Brady playfully referred to owner Robert Kraft as "L.R.C." That stands for "lower right-hand corner," which is where Kraft's signature appears on each player's paycheck. The signature on Brady's checks isn't about to change, but it might be time for the dollar amount to. Brady is among the most iconic quarterbacks in the NFL, but he is also among the most underpaid. If Brady is upset about his compensation, it certainly didn't show yesterday.


Plaxico Burress says he plans to return to the NFL after serving a two-year prison sentence on a weapons charge.


Yes, the Titans suddenly have concerns at the receiver position following Monday's hamstring injury to Nate Washington. But no, they're still not calling former Colts receiver Marvin Harrison. The Titans aren't interested, despite the attempts by some folks in the media to keep the idea alive. Coach Jeff Fisher has said on numerous occasions the team hasn't called -- and isn't interested -- in Harrison. At this point, the Titans -- especially Fisher -- couldn't afford to look at Harrison even if someone else in the organization was jumping up and down wanting to.


Never one to relish the spotlight, Brian Urlacher was happier than anyone when the Bears acquired Jay Cutler back in April. Urlacher comfortably returned to the shadows, as much as a 6-4, 258-pound quiet leader of the defense can. "Jay is the face of the Chicago Bears. I love it," Urlacher said in an interview with the National Football Post. "He gets to answer all of the hard questions. Finally, somebody else to come along and do all of that. He deserves it. Look at him. He's our leader. He's unreal. He does things I have never seen in a person before. It's exciting to see."


Jon Runyan is ready to play football again. Now he just needs somebody to offer him a contract. The 35-year-old free-agent offensive tackle, who had microfracture surgery on his right knee in February, was cleared for full contact Monday by Dr. James Andrews, the Birmingham, Ala., orthopedist who operated on him. Asked yesterday whether the Eagles had any interest in re-signing Runyan, an Eagles executive told the Daily News, "I wouldn't rule it out, but right now, it's unlikely."

Category: NFL
Posted on: August 25, 2009 2:56 pm

NFL Tidbits & Rumors - Updated 8/25/09

Some more NFL Tidbits & Rumors. Enjoy:


We reported in early July that members of the Vikings hoped that the team would abandon the pursuit of quarterback Brett Favre and give the ball to Tarvaris Jackson. ESPN's Adam Schefter said during halftime of the Jets-Ravens game that this sentiment still exists in some corners of the Minnesota locker room. It's likely gotten stronger in light of the fact that Jackson pitched a perfect game on Friday night, generating a highest-possible 158.3 passer rating on 15 attempts. And if the Vikings struggle out of the gates, the internal calls for Jackson will only intensify.


Former Giant Plaxico Burress spoke publicly for the first time about the night he accidentally shot himself in a Midtown club. He claimed that security knew he was armed when he entered the Latin Quarter last Nov. 29. "It wasn't like I was trying to hide [the gun]," he said. "They knew I had it."


The Patriot Way is alive and well in the Rockies. From the influx of former New England players, to the coachspeak press conferences and bizarrely vague injury reports and now to the coach's wardrobe, Josh McDaniels is becoming more and more Belichickian with each passing week. McDaniels wore a grey hooded sweatshirt on the sideline of Saturday's game against Seattle -- the favorite gameday attire of his former boss, Bill Belichick.


Vince Wilfork is one of the top nose tackles in the NFL because he holds his ground. The Patriots are one of the most successful teams in the NFL because they don't budge when it comes to their budget. With the Patriots' season set to kick off three weeks from today, Wilfork, who is in the final year of a six-year rookie deal and will make $2.2 million in base salary, and the Patriots are no closer to an extension. When asked yesterday about the status of contract negotiations, Wilfork said "there isn't anything there" and answered "no" when asked if the Patriots had made him an offer that made him think those terms could lead to a deal getting done. He referred to the situation as "pretty frustrating."


One general manager, whose team could have used WR Michael Crabtree, said he never would have taken him because he could sense a holdout and didn't like his attitude. Crabtree, the 10th player picked, by the 49ers, wants a better deal than Darrius Heyward-Bey (five years, $38.5 million with $23.5 million guaranteed), the first wideout taken when he was drafted seventh by the Raiders. Crabtree is trying to beat the slotting system that pays players based on where they are drafted.


The Dolphins advised their players Saturday morning that two of their teammates would not attend Saturday night's game out of fear that both contracted swine flu, but test results have not yet indicated whether such fears are warranted. Cornerbacks Sean Smith and Jason Allen fell ill late last week, suffering from flu-like symptoms, which led to the team's decision to treat the situation with extreme caution by telling the players to increase their hygiene practices.


Bucs coach Raheem Morris said he still plans to name a starting quarterback this week. Despite a strong performance by Luke McCown, who threw a pair of touchdown passes in the Bucs 24-23 win over Jacksonville Saturday, Byron Leftwich may have a slight edge based on the off-season, training camp and the first preseason game. Morris said he would not delay the decision another week.


It didn't take long for a punter to prove Jerry Jones wrong. Titans rookie A.J. Trapasso bounced a ball of the Jerrytron during the third quarter. If you thought Jerry Jones would react by raising the center-hung structure, well, you thought wrong. Jerry pointed out that his $1.2 billion stadium was built to league specifications. He wouldn't even entertain the possibility of cranking the electronic monstrosity that holds the 60-yard big screens up a few feet. "That's not the point," Jerry said. "How high is high if somebody just wants to sit there and kick straight up?" Jerry didn't come out and say that Trapasso was aiming for the scoreboard, but he certainly pointed in that direction.


There is something amiss between the Broncos and Brandon Marshall. The Broncos made a curious decision Friday when they decided not to take their top receiver with them for their preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks. Three other Broncos players -- Brian Dawkins, Knowshon Moreno and Brandon Lloyd -- also didn't make the trip. However, they were all held back because of injuries. Marshall is healthy. His status with the team seemed to change Tuesday afternoon when his agent, Kennard McGuire, met with Broncos management to reiterate a trade request Marshall said he first delivered to owner Pat Bowlen during a face-to-face meeting in June.


Napa police have reopened their investigation into a Raiders training camp melee this month that left assistant coach Randy Hanson with a broken jaw, reportedly when he was attacked by head coach Tom Cable. Without using names, Lt. Brian McGovern said the incident at the Napa training camp at 10 a.m. on Aug. 5 was originally considered a misdemeanor but is now being investigated as a felony assault.

Category: NFL
Posted on: August 21, 2009 12:58 pm

NFL Tidbits & Rumors - Updated 8/21/09

Some updated NFL tidbits & Rumors. Enjoy the read:


Well, if the Buffalo Bills were hoping to keep the deal with defensive end Aaron Maybin under wraps until after Saturday night's preseason game, Terrell Owens didn't get the memo. Tweeted Owens moments ago: "Congrats 2 our #1 draft pick Aaron Maybin!! He will b officially joining the Buffalo Bills 2morr!!" Oops. So it looks like the deal is done. It remains to be seen whether the Bills will still try to keep it quiet through Saturday night, so that they won't have to cut a player to make room for Maybin.




An attorney representing injured Oakland Raiders assistant coach Randy Hanson will turn over medical records at the request of the Napa, Calif., police on Friday that show Hanson's jaw is broken, multiple sources told the National Football Post. In the meeting among coaches that included Tom Cable, defensive coordinator John Marshall, defensive backs coach Lionel Washington and assistant defensive backs coach Willie Brown, Cable allegedly came at Hanson from behind as he was verbally contesting what Marshall had said. "Cable said, 'I am going to kill you, I am going to kill you,' as he was choking him," according to the source, who also said furniture in the room was damaged. The source said that Hanson did not cooperate with law enforcement from the start because it was his hope the matter would be resolved and he could return to his role as a coach. The source said Hanson's lifelong goal was to work for the Raiders, leading him to leave a position he held in St. Louis for Oakland. Now that Davis and Cable have made it clear that will not happen, Hanson has decided to follow the request of police and aid in their investigation. A civil suit is a probability, a source said.




The Dolphins are not happy with Matt Roth. Specifically, as has been substantiated by multiple sources, the Dolphins are mystified why one of their most consistent, hardest-working players from a year ago has held himself out of practice for this long. The team's decision-makers, including Bill Parcells and general manager Jeff Ireland, are said to be as confused and annoyed by the situation as anyone on the outside.




Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger went down with a right foot or ankle injury in the final practice of training camp. Asked after practice if Roethlisberger would be all right, Coach Mike Tomlin told the Post-Gazette, "Yup." Several of his teammates concurred, including backup quarterback Charlie Batch, who said he believes Roethlisberger will be OK. However, it's possible he will not play Saturday night in Washington against the Redskins.



The Jets have conceded that maybe they're a little light at wide receiver and need to explore their trade options. Brandon Marshall is a sexy name, but the reality of the Jets being able to offer enough and the willingness of the Broncos to deal Marshall seem to make me feel this will never happen. Jets fans, I don't see this one happening. As for Dwayne Bowe, I'm sure if the Jets are willing to overpay, they could make the deal -- overpaying being the key to the trade, which the Jets have been known to do from time to time.



Brandon Marshall's behavior during practice Wednesday morning and his comments afterward make two things clear: The disgruntled wide receiver still wants out of Denver, and he is not ready to play in a game. In a candid interview after practice, Marshall admitted he has "trust issues" and is "not being close at all" to grasping the Broncos' offensive playbook. The result is that the rift between the Broncos and their star wideout that began in the spring appears to be growing wider as the regular season draws closer.




Leslie Frazier has watched new Vikings quarterback Brett Favre pass for two days against his defense in practice. Favre's passes haven't lost any zip, he said. "I've seen more dropped balls than before," the Vikings' defensive coordinator said Wednesday. Those drops were by receivers, not defenders. That's how hard Favre has been throwing, despite a slight rotator cuff tear and offseason biceps tendon surgery. "He has more velocity (than other quarterbacks) on the football and guys have got to get used to catching the ball," Frazier said. "He's had that everywhere he's been. When guys first begin to catch footballs from him, they have to adjust because he puts lots of velocity on the ball. A lot of velocity; he really zings it." Frazier said Favre throws as hard as any quarterback he has seen.




Venus and Serena Williams have found a new sport: pro football. The tennis-playing sisters will become the latest celebrities to own a stake in the Miami Dolphins, a person familiar with the deal said Wednesday.




Vikings hall of fame quarterback Fran Tarkenton is getting bored with Brett. "I really have no interest in what Brett Favre does," Tarkenton said on Sirius NFL Radio Wednesday morning. "He kind of lost me a few years ago by retiring and un-retiring and here and there." Tarkenton said he spoke to 10 to 12 friends and none of them cared. "It's a circus," he said. "It's an absolute circus, and it takes away from all the other things that are going on with the Vikings, with the NFL. We're getting ready for a football season and this is a circus, and I just have no interest in it."

Category: NFL
Posted on: August 21, 2009 12:42 pm

A Brett Favre Article I just had to share

I came across this article today, and had to share it.  Some may not agree.  I think this hits the nail right on the head.  Enjoy: 

Football is the ultimate team game and the dynamics and chemistry in the locker room are critically important to any team's success. Championship teams have a palpable aura and feeling of internal unity to them. That's the main reason I don't like the Vikings' signing of Brett Favre. The messages this move sends to the rank and file are plentiful, and most of them are not good.


What is commendable is the front office showing the players it will do whatever it takes to field the best possible team. Brad Childress and Co. think Favre makes them better at the quarterback position. You may say that's debatable, but that's the Vikings' story and they're sticking with it.


Here are some of the bad messages, however, that I think the signing sends to Favre's new teammates:


• Training camp is not important: It's pretty obvious that one of the key sticking points for Favre was attending training camp in Mankato. ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported Favre told one Vikings player that if he didn't have to go to training camp and live in a college dorm, he probably would have said he could play three weeks ago. That's confusing because Favre said three weeks ago he didn't feel like he could make it through a season physically. He made no mention about his disdain for camp at that time. It will be pretty tough for coach Childress to ever convince the players that training camp is important going forward now that they clearly were willing to let Favre get out of it this year.


• Preferential treatment runs rampant in Minny: NFL players are not real keen on others getting preferential treatment, but the Vikings pretty much bent over backward for Favre, allowing him to become a distraction throughout the offseason. The Vikings allowed him to walk onto the field as the starting quarterback without taking part in OTA's, minicamps or the team-building that took place during camp in Mankato. They also are paying him quite handsomely -- $12 million in '09 -- for someone who skipped all of the mundane parts of the job.


If I were Adrian Peterson, I would be thinking I'm entitled to pretty much come and go as I please, at least for the rest of the Childress regime. Why not? Peterson is much more integral to the success of this team than Favre is and thus carries even more weight with the franchise. The Vikings are fortunate Peterson doesn't appear to be a prima donna because if he were so inclined, he has enough ammunition to act selfishly.


I'm curious to find out how things went down between second-year QB John David Booty, Favre and the No. 4 jersey. Standard protocol in the NFL is that a negotiation takes place in which the newcomer talks to the current holder of the jersey number in question. Given the expeditious manner in which Booty was seen wearing No. 9 at practice makes me wonder if those talks took place. I know, I know, he's Brett Favre and Booty has done nothing in the NFL. But that would be more preferential treatment the other players would notice.


• Favre is selfish at worst, disingenuous at best: The Minnesota players don't live in a fishbowl. They have friends or acquaintances who play for the Green Bay Packers and New York Jets. They have heard the rumblings about what Favre is like as a teammate and what the Favre media circus is like. Suffice to say, I've yet to speak with a Packer or Jet who wishes Favre was still playing for their team.


Let's not forget that Favre was still under contract with the Jets for this season before they relinquished his rights after drafting Mark Sanchez. Favre made a conscious decision that he didn't want to play for a very talented Jets team anymore, so his decision to play for the Vikings, clearly, is not simply about him just wanting to play football. This situation has been massaged and manipulated for months, all the way back to April, if not sooner.



Favre's actions and words have been incredibly unfair to the Vikings this offseason, particularly to Tarvaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels. Look, the NFL is a tough business and it never has been about fairness. But Favre's waffling the past couple of years has affected many people's lives in a negative fashion, most notably the two guys who thought they were competing for a chance to be the starting quarterback of a very good team. Favre would be well served to broach the subject with those two players, or the whole team, since it's uncomfortable having that elephant in the room. The other players aren't stupid. They know Jackson and Rosenfels had been working hard this entire time while Favre chose to stay away.


• Built-in excuses are OK: Most teams go out of their way to talk about there being no excuses for their team. The Vikings, with this news about Favre and his partially torn rotator cuff, already have a ready-made excuse in case things don't go well. The disclosure of this injury can only be a crutch for Favre if he has a subpar season, while the Vikings are left twisting in the wind.


• There's no loyalty or trust: Childress told the players three weeks ago that they were moving forward without Favre, going with what they had in Jackson and Rosenfels. Childress said publicly there was "not a chance from my standpoint" if he would still consider bringing Favre on the team at a later date. So much for that, since it was Childress who placed another call to Favre on Monday to get the ball rolling. People have a right to change their minds, but I will say that Minnesota and Favre have been misinformation central over the last couple of months.




None of these potential negative repercussions will be talked about publicly by any of the Vikings players because they are way too smart for that. They know their owner and head coach signed off on the move. If your boss makes a decision, you support it because, well, he's your boss. But deep down some of them will have their doubts and be skeptical until Favre can prove to them he is a team guy and truly playing for the right reasons. Doubts and skepticism are not the foundation of a championship club in the NFL.

Category: NFL
Posted on: August 19, 2009 12:48 pm

NFL Tidbits & Rumors - Updated 8/19/09

Here are some updated NFL Tidbits & Rumors. Enjoy:


In an attempt to put out one fire, Jets coach Rex Ryan threw more gasoline on an old one, taking a thinly-veiled shot at New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, saying that if opponents needs bulletin board material from him as motivation to beat them, "we'll probably kick your (butt)." Belichick is notorious for having assistants search the internet for quotes and then using them as motivation for his players. "When I said that about Belichick ("I'm not here to kiss his rings."), I'm just letting him know I'm not intimidated by him," said Ryan at his noon press conference. "He has the same position as I have. We're both head coaches in this league. He just happens to have a helluva lot of Super Bowl rings and I don't have a win. I understand that."


It's expected that Tarvaris Jackson will be traded or released by Friday. If the Vikings are able to trade Jackson, it would seem they would prefer to deal him out of the conference. However, because Jackson knows the Vikings' offense, the hapless Detroit Lions could have interest. The best Minnesota could expect in a Jackson trade would be a seventh-round draft pick. The Vikings used a second-round pick to draft him four years ago.


Breathe easier, Cardinals fans. Anquan Boldin, the stubborn, passionate wide receiver remains a great football player and teammate. Word is, he ranks among team leaders in camp autographs, repairing his image one signature at a time. Don't fool yourself. It's not over, and it's not all better. Sit close to him and you can almost feel the anger churning inside of him. Boldin's contract still is pocket change for Larry Fitzgerald. He still believes the Cardinals never really attempted to trade him around the time of the NFL draft, instead running a charade that ultimately painted Boldin as an undesirable. Contrary to the organizational rhetoric, he doesn't think the Cardinals will ever get around to making him a serious offer.


With his NFL head coaching life on the line, Tom Cable was stunningly oblivious here Tuesday. Also in denial. Or rather, in non-denial denial. That's how it felt, anyway, when Cable answered the latest round of follow-up questions about the reported Aug. 5 altercation between Raiders coaches at training camp. Cable couldn't keep his own policy straight at his media session following Tuesday morning's practice. A day earlier, he had repeated over and over that the incident was "an internal matter" and he would not be commenting on it. But soon after, Cable made the incident a non-internal matter by going out and commenting. He told an ESPN reporter that the reports were "ridiculous" and "nothing happened." Cable repeated that last phrase Tuesday.


Marvin Harrison is an eight-time Pro Bowl selection and one of the NFL's most productive receivers all-time. And over the years with the Colts, he had his share of good days against the Titans. But don't look for him to be joining them. A report on ESPN tonight indicated the Titans had reached out to Harrison and are one of the teams interested in him. It seems like every time a notable receiver is on the market the Titans get linked to him.


Donovan McNabb lobbied for the Eagles to sign Michael Vick. Could Plaxico Burress be next? It's highly unlikely, but McNabb joked yesterday about urging the team to sign Burress the same way he did with Vick.


Two NFL sources said Kennard McGuire sought out Broncos management to get a feel for the team's position on giving Brandon Marshall a contract extension. The Broncos told McGuire that at this time they were not willing to rework the wide receiver's deal, which has one year and $2.2 million remaining. Marshall then reiterated his trade demand that he first issued in June. The Broncos again told Marshall on Monday that they would not trade him.


Offensive line coach Hudson Houck arrived about 50 minutes into today's practice to the sarcastic applause of the skill players. For a little while, we thought we might have a missing person mystery. Turns out that the 66-year-old Houck simply lost track of time. "He was actually in the meeting room watching tape, and all of a sudden, it dawned on him," Wade Phillips said. "Or someone told him." Does it concern anybody that the man responsible for coming up with blocking schemes to keep Tony Romo healthy can't remember when practice starts?


Jets trash-talking linebacker Bart Scott said he doesn't want to start a ''beef'' with his former team, the Baltimore Ravens, because it's only a preseason game. But that didn't stop razor-tongue coach Rex Ryan from firing a shot or two, or three at his former employer Monday. For openers, Ryan said he's still miffed at not getting the Baltimore job last offseason. He added that he would like nothing better than to defeat the Ravens Monday night in Baltimore. The coach said the ultimate payback would be a playoff matchup against the Ravens.


Bears wide receiver Devon Hester was honest about his feelings regarding Jay Cutler's postgame statements. After Bills defensive back Leodis McKelvin picked off a deep ball Cutler probably shouldn't have launched while on his back foot -- a ball intended for Hester -- Cutler addressed the matter after the game by saying: "Devin is more of a go-get-it guy. He's not really a back-shoulder, jump-up-and-get-it [guy], and ... you learn from it. You make some mistakes. It's a preseason game." Hester, who admitted he could have made a better play on the ball, was asked Monday if he was offended by the statement. "I was when I read it, but then he said he didn't say it," Hester said, referring to a text message sent from Cutler.


Months removed from the restrictive, don't-say-a-peep regime of Eric Mangini, the New York Jets say they truly appreciate what new Coach Rex Ryan is. And what he isn't. As for the Jets, the mantra uttered in every corner of their camp is that the relaxed Ryan "treats us like men," with the implication that the rigid Mangini didn't. Without naming Mangini, specifically, guard Damien Woody said not being afforded that respect "is almost degrading."


The Seahawks have had internal discussions about possibly being interested in adding another running back. If it were me running the Seahawks, I would be looking very hard to fill this need.


Even as he took the lead in the Browns' quarterback competition Saturday night, Brady Quinn learned the enormity of what winning the duel with Derek Anderson might bring. Not only must Quinn minimize his own mistakes, but he also must encourage his teammates to shake off their own maddening miscues. The Browns stretched their string of games without an offensive touchdown to seven, which snuffed any chance that new coach Eric Mangini had seen enough to make a decision on his quarterback. ''No, I'm going to wait and see where we are as we keep going,'' Mangini said.


While some teams, including the Miami Dolphins, have banned their players from using the social-networking site, the Jets have openly embraced Twitter. The NFL encourages tweeting, and the Jets might lead the league with at least 11 players on Twitter, including rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez. Even owner Woody Johnson will send an occasional tweet, such as announcing the team was drafting Sanchez moments before it became official.


I've heard from sources that if any team wants to sign Plaxico Burress, commissioner Roger Goodell will suspend him for the first eight games of this season at a minimum, and potentially for the entire 2009 season. The law and order commissioner is not going to take it easy on Burress.


Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt is giving former Boston College quarterback Brian St. Pierre a chance to pry the No. 2 job from Matt Leinart. He plans to have St. Pierre enter the next preseason game before Leinart.


Chiefs coach Todd Haley, known for his emotional prodding of players, has a new target in 2007 first-round pick Dwayne Bowe. Haley had the wide receiver's eyes checked because he wanted to know if Bowe dropped so many passes because of poor vision, and he also checked his cleats to see if they were the reason for his poor footwork. Now Haley has demoted Bowe from the first string.


Eric Mangini has been talking about Jerome Harrison having "a great opportunity to continue to carve out his role." And he's been talking about using a multiback system with the Browns. Jamal Lewis would still be the main focus, but someone else -- probably Harrison -- would have a significant number of carries.


Mark Sanchez by first- round knockout. If Rex Ryan were forced at gunpoint to decide on his Opening Day quarterback today, Sanchez would be his man. Sanchez (3-4, 88 yards) led the Jets to a touchdown on his one and only series and looked like 50 million bucks doing it.


Matthew Stafford isn't perfect, and he's going to make plenty of mistakes as he develops, but the first overall pick in the draft is showing he's the real deal. The Lions aren't saying anything publicly because they have nothing to gain by making an announcement in the next week or two. But trust me, when the scouts and coaches watch the practice tape every night, they're grinning from ear to ear. It's not just Stafford's rocket arm or overall athleticism, which is impressive, but it's his decision-making, quick release, knowledge of the offense, leadership and his overall presence.

Category: NFL
Posted on: August 14, 2009 2:28 pm

NFL Tidbits & Rumors - Updated 8/14/09

Some updated NFL Tidbits & Rumors. Enjoy:


As folks in Philly begin to process the reality that Mike Vick is the newest member of the Eagles, most people are assuming that current starting quarterback Donovan McNabb has given the deal his personal seal of approval. According to a league source with intimate knowledge of the dynamics within the organization, McNabb isn't pleased with the development. But McNabb can't say anything about it for now, due in part to the fact that the Eagles gave him a money-for-nothing contract adjustment and otherwise spent a lot of cash and first-day picks to improve the offense, at McNabb's urging.


NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell did the Browns a huge favor by suspending receiver Donte Stallworth without pay for the 2009 season. It relieves the Browns of a combustible public-relations issue and even costlier consequences to their team salary cap. The Browns can keep Stallworth on the reserve/suspended list through the 2009 season. He will be out of sight and out of mind. He is able to work out on his own, according to modified terms of his house arrest granted by a Florida judge on Tuesday, but the NFL prohibits him from entering the Browns' team facility.


By this evening, an Atlanta jury is expected to decide whether Brandon Marshall is a violent, abusive boyfriend or the victim of an extortion attempt by a disgruntled former girlfriend. While the truth may lie somewhere in the complicated middle, those were the two disparate arguments presented by lawyers Thursday on the first day of Marshall's trial in Atlanta on a misdemeanor battery charge, the result of a fight with his former girlfriend on March 4, 2008. Whether the Broncos will have to play regular-season games without Marshall, the team's No. 1 wide receiver who had more than 100 catches in each of the past two seasons, could hinge on what those four women and two men decide.


After Wednesday's last full-pads practice of the week before the Bears scale it down in preparation for Saturday night's preseason opener against the Bills, quarterback Jay Cutler was asked if he would offer an opinion on whom he wants on the final roster. "Oh yeah," Cutler said. "I think they're definitely going to ask me. If they don't ask me, I'm going to tell them what I think because I've got to be the one throwing to them on game day, and I've got to trust them."


Coach Rex Ryan angrily denied an Internet report that said the Jets are shopping RB Thomas Jones, who is unhappy with his contract. "I promise you, that is ridiculous," Ryan said. "Shoot, I'm not going to trade that. You know what I'm all about. This guy is huge in our plans. I'm not going to trade the running back that led the AFC in rushing. We ain't dealing him. No way."


A source said that Michael Crabtree almost certainly will sign, unless he's crazy enough to start skipping game-checks, which he probably isn't, but that it won't be until in the weeks or days before the 49ers' Sept. 13 regular-season opener. The key: agent Eugene Parker doesn't want to budge, well, at least until September, on his demands for a slot-busting deal that would get Crabtree something close to one of the biggest guarantees among the rookie deals of '09, despite his being drafted 10th. Parker's reputation, for now and in recruiting for future No. 1 picks, is at stake.


It has been well documented that the day of reckoning on Vince Young's future with the Tennessee Titans is scheduled for 2010. That's when Young's salary cap number jumps to more than $14 million, thanks in large part to a $7.5 million base salary in the fifth year of his original six-year contract. Young also has a base salary of $8.5 million scheduled for 2011. But Young's agent, Major Adams, told The City Paper that he and Young might be willing to lower that cap number in an effort to remain on the team, if something agreeable can be worked out.


The New Orleans Saints are going to kick the tires on former defensive player of the year Derrick Brooks, but they're not the only team that has taken interest in the 36-year-old 11-time Pro Bowler. A league source said the Oakland Raiders have spoken to Brooks recently, but it's unknown what their level of interest is for the veteran linebacker, who has been out of work since he was cast off by the new regime of GM Mark Dominick and coach Raheem Morris in Tampa Bay.


Defensive lineman Shaun Smith counterpunched the Browns by saying that their star defensive player, nose tackle Shaun Rogers, wants to return to Detroit. Smith, who was dumped by the Browns on Saturday and signed with Detroit on Monday, wasted no time stirring things up in his first interview sessions with Detroit media.


Patriots owner Robert Kraft said yesterday the upcoming labor uncertainty has made it difficult to move forward in locking up his marquee players to long-term deals. Speaking after a news conference to announce a partnership between the Patriots and the Massachusetts lottery, Kraft indicated his team is proceeding cautiously with contract negotiations because of the potential for a lockout. That could make things interesting for the Patriots. Among the big-ticket players with expiring contracts in the next two years are quarterback Tom Brady, nose tackle Vince Wilfork, defensive end Richard Seymour, guard Logan Mankins and kicker Stephen Gostkowski.

Category: NFL
Posted on: August 11, 2009 1:19 pm

NFL Tidbits & Rumors - Updated 8/11/09

Here are some updated NFL tidbits & Rumors:


A source familiar with Michael Vick's deliberations with NFL teams said Monday morning that at least five clubs are interested in Vick. That comes after former Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy, an adviser to Vick, said Sunday night on NBC that Vick could sign with a team soon. Sources also said Monday that the NFL Players Association has no suspicions that the league's franchise owners are colluding to keep Vick from returning to the league.


As the i-dotting and t-crossing between the Giants and quarterback Eli Manning continues, there's a rumor making the rounds that the delay in finalizing the six-year, $97.5 million deal arises from tensions between CAA and IMG. CAA handles Eli's football contract; IMG retained his marketing rights when Tom Condon left IMG for CAA a couple of years ago. As the rumor goes, IMG has thrown a wrench into the finalization of the deal. A source with knowledge of the situation says that the CAA-IMG dynamic has no impact on the ongoing negotiations between the player and the team, but that it's a "language issue" between the Giants and Manning.


David Tyree, the most improbable hero of Super Bowl XLII instead of securing the ball on his helmet will have to pull a rabbit out of it if he is to find a place for himself on a Giants roster that seemingly has no place for him. This summer, even with the departures of Plaxico Burress and Amani Toomer, there is no roster spot for Tyree. Four returning receivers are ahead of him -- Steve Smith, Domenik Hixon, Mario Manningham and Sinorice Moss -- and the two rookie draft picks, Hakeem Nicks and Ramses Barden, are locks to stick. Another problem for Tyree is he hasn't been making enough plays.


After missing all but the first two days of full-squad workouts, Brandon Marshall has fallen out of the starting lineup. The team's top three receivers are listed as Eddie Royal, Brandon Stokley and Jabar Gaffney, which should come as no surprise to anyone who has watched training camp. Marshall, the team's top receiver the last two years, is on the second-team, listed behind Gaffney.


Frank Gore wants to see more maturity out of Vernon Davis, and he told him so. "It's his fourth year now. Now it's time," Gore said. The 49ers running back spoke to reporters a day after Davis said some teammates were upset by his latest training-camp fight. Coach Mike Singletary punished the entire team after Davis' scuffle by making players run sideline-to-sideline sprints. Gore was among those unamused. "I wasn't mad about having to run gassers," he said. "I just feel it's his fourth year now, and I told him it shouldn't be him now. Everybody makes mistakes but it shouldn't be him. OK, a rookie? I accept that."


It has now been a full week since last time we saw Brandon Marshall on the practice field. The Broncos No. 1 wide receiver last practiced Aug. 2, and left that session early. He's only been spotted walking to and from the weight room since. At this point, no one (in the media at least) is expecting to see him back anytime soon. Certainly not on the field for practice this week, and not for the preseason opener Friday at San Francisco.


Having been to the Pro Bowl twice, saddled with the nickname "MeAngelo" along the way, DeAngelo Hall is taking a more mature approach as he plans his next trip to Hawaii. Hall, who in 2005 hoisted a sign that read, "Aloha, see you in Hawaii," after making an interception on "Monday Night Football" feels at home with the Washington Redskins after troubled times with the Atlanta Falcons and Oakland Raiders.


If Eli Manning is worth an average of $15.2 million per season - making him the highest-paid quarterback in the NFL - what might Tom Brady command? It's a question the Patriots and Brady don't necessarily have to answer until the end of the 2010 season, when he would become an unrestricted free agent. Yet, based on the history between the sides, it's a question that very well could be answered this year, because the Patriots have traditionally extended Brady with two years remaining.


Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler said Saturday that comments about the Denver Broncos that he made during a recent radio interview were aimed at Denver's training camp, not its fans. Cutler, traded by the Broncos to the Bears in the spring, sought Saturday to clarify comments he made in an interview earlier in the week, when he had given Chicago a nine and Denver a six on a scale of one to 10. "Denver's got great fans," Cutler said following the Bears' workout at Soldier Field before a crowd of 27,793 fans. "I wasn't saying anything about their fans."


You probably can't win a starting quarterback job during the first week of practice, but you can lose one. So as we examine the race between Luke McCown and Byron Leftwich -- sorry, Josh Freeman, your time will come soon -- understand that both avoided catastrophe. But Leftwich was better. He made more plays, got the ball in the end zone more consistently and basically converted more believers in the locker room. Still, it's too soon to order a No. 7 jersey.


You can't blame the media when Cowboys coach Wade Phillips takes a veiled shot at Terrell Owens, without even being prompted. Phillips, who spins an enjoyable yarn at pressers, was pressed as to whether the Cowboys appeared humbled by their difficult 2008 season. Phillips couldn't resist tweaking his former player. "Well, we had one guy who was here who wasn't real humble and he's not here any more,'' Phillips said. "So maybe it makes everyone else look humble.''


Derrick Burgess became unwanted in Oakland, where he had become persona non grata after begging out of minicamp with "sickness" and boycotting training camp. But he is a welcome addition in New England, which might have plugged the team???s one glaring weakness - outside linebacker. Burgess's new teammates and coach, Bill Belichick, expressed excitement about the addition of the two-time Pro Bowl defensive end, who projects as a 3-4 outside linebacker for the Patriots.


Vikings coach Brad Childress is remaining patient as Sage Rosenfels and Tarvaris Jackson compete for the starting quarterback job. "It's a good competition," Childress said, "and it's all headed toward the cumulative work here during practice and then I want to watch them compete with the lights on." At least on Saturday night, Rosenfels appeared to have the stronger performance. He had a long completion to Percy Harvin early on, down the right sideline, with rookie Asher Allen in coverage. Then, he threaded a pass to Darius Reynaud with safety Tyrell Johnson all over the young receiver. Jackson had some nice throws, including a 19-yarder to Jaymar Johnson after avoiding a sack. But he had a lowlight of the evening, with an overthrew pass intended Reynaud that safety Eric Frampton picked off.

Category: NFL
Posted on: August 7, 2009 1:23 pm

NFL Tidbits & Rumors - Updated 8/7/09

Some updated NFL tidbits & rumors. Enjoy:


The Michael Crabtree saga took a new turn Thursday when the wide receiver's cousin and adviser suggested he is prepared to sit out the 2009 season and enter the 2010 draft if the 49ers do not offer him "fair market value." "We are prepared to do it," David Wells told "Michael just wants fair market value. They took him with the 10th pick and you have Darrius Heyward-Bey getting $38 million (from the Raiders)? This week is crucial." Crabtree's agent, Eugene Parker, broke from his customary media silence and told, "I don't know where this came from, but no such threat has been made." However, according to, Parker did indeed make the threat and is reportedly looking for a contract in excess of what the Raiders gave Heyward-Bey, the seventh pick in the draft.


Talks on a new contract for Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, while considered inevitable for months, have not begun. That may soon change. Both sides have long intimated that nothing would get done with Rivers until Eli Manning's numbers in New York were settled. The Chargers will contend that Rivers doesn't have the Super Bowl hardware both Roethlisberger and Manning possess. Rivers' agent will likely point out that Rivers' numbers are better than both those quarterbacks', as well as superior to most quarterbacks ever in their first three seasons as a starter.


After practice on Thursday Raheem Morris called out tight end Kellen Winslow for controlling his emotions. The Buccaneers traded a second and fifth round pick to the Clevelnd Browns for Winslow in the offseason, and gave him a contract extension during the offseason. Morris has talked about Winslow stepping up and being a leader throughout the offseason. Morris referred to some past problems. "Oh, he's definitely talented, but I'm also starting to get an idea of the problems he's had," said Morris. "But I think it's the first time anyone has ever addressed him, talked to him about it. He understands, he looks me in the eye, I look him in the eye and that's it-my bad. If he does something good, I'll tell him my bad. Sometimes his emotional energy is going to give us a lift and other times it hurts. He's got to know when it's the right time."


Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson's non-answer to a question about Michael Vick was more than just Ted being Ted. The team is doing thorough due diligence on the former NFL quarterback and has had legitimate discussions about the idea of signing him, according to sources.


If you're counting at home, this is now Day 10 of Michael Crabtree's contract impasse with the 49ers. Allow me to detail the action thus far: Crabtree was picked 10th in the draft, asked for way more money than the 10th pick is slotted to earn and, well, there's been the sound of crickets chirping from that point forth. agents like Eugene Parker are operating in the era of the super agencies. Eleven of the top 15 picks in the most recent draft, for example, are represented by just three agencies, and landing the top players has become cutthroat. If an agent makes a splash with a contract in 2009, he'll advertise it in neon lights to reel in the top players in 2010. If he doesn't make a splash, you can bet that his competitors will use that against him. Add to that the uncapped year that is looming on the NFL horizon, and you can see why agents are being careful about setting themselves up for the future. Perhaps more than anything, this explains why nine first-round picks still remain unsigned.


The tone of Roddy White's negotiations with the Falcons has taken a turn for the worse. There were discussions Tuesday that went well into the evening. White, who is under contract for the 2009 season, wants a contract in the financial neighborhood of Arizona's Larry Fitzgerald, who recently signed a four-year $40 million deal. The Falcons apparently are not willing to go that high. Before Tuesday's talks, general manager Thomas Dimitroff thought things were going well and was hopeful that White would be in camp soon. Now, the Falcons are considering withdrawing their offer and asking White to play for the $2.28 million he's set to receive for the 2009 season.


The price tag figures to be staggering when the time comes for the Indianapolis Colts to lock up their Manning in the same manner the New York Giants locked up theirs. Yet the Colts intend to keep Peyton Manning. At the latest, that would be shortly after the end of the 2010 season, when Manning's contract expires. It's conceivable Polian and Tom Condon, Manning's agent, will iron out something prior to that.


The Jets' quarterback competition is incomplete at the moment. Coach Rex Ryan conceded yesterday that, through six days of training camp practices, the battle between Kellen Clemens and rookie Mark Sanchez is at a relative deadlock.


On a couple of occasions over the past couple of months, rumors have surfaced that the Cowboys might re-sign cornerback Pacman Jones. To date, it hasn't happened. As one league source explained it, Executive Vice President Stephen Jones has been acquiring more juice within the building, as evidenced by the decision to dump Terrell Owens. So while owner Jerry Jones might be tempted to give Pacman another chance, we're told that Stephen Jones is squarely against it -- and that as a result it most likely won't be happening.


Former Detroit Lions and Michigan State receiver Charles Rogers will be featured on an episode of ESPN's "Outside the Lines" later this month. During his interview with Free Press alumna Jemele Hill, he admits that he used to smoke marijuana "every day."

Category: NFL
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