Posted on: August 4, 2009 1:09 pm

NFL Tidbits & Rumors - Updated 8/4/09

OK, fellow football addicts.  Here are some updated NFL tidbits & rumors. Enjoy:


Jon Gruden has been working overtime, and he's been doing it for more than just his debut on ESPN's "Monday Night Football," which kicks off its season Aug. 13 in a rematch of Super Bowl XLIII between Arizona at Pittsburgh. "He's flown in more coaches in the last six months and studied more tape than any coach with a job," one source said. "He's still into it big time." With Mike Holmgren and Mike Shanahan on the street along with Gruden and Cowher, speculation will begin early in every city that sees its team get off to a poor start.


Another NFL graybeard has caught New England coach Bill Belichick's eye. Free agent defensive lineman Kevin Carter is drawing strong interest from the Patriots, a source told on Monday. If signed, Carter is projected as a backup end in New England's 3-4 defense behind starters Richard Seymour and Ty Warren.


As Browns receiver Braylon Edwards continues to miss practice time due to a mysterious injury that, as rumor has it, he suffered while playing basketball, some league insiders are wondering whether Edwards is faking it. The fact that Edwards showed up a day late for camp is fueling the theory/hypothesis that he isn't really hurt, and that he's merely saying that he's hurt in order to not have to practice as a protest against the fact that he hasn't received a contract extension and/or hasn't been traded.


A Raiders official told on Monday morning that the team is attempting to accommodate disgruntled defensive end Derrick Burgess by trading him. Burgess is holding out over his dissatisfaction with his contract status. He is in the final year of a five-year contract he signed in 2005, and it calls for him to earn $2 million in base salary, along with a $1.5 million roster bonus.


Former Broncos linebacker Bill Romanowski may have said it, but the team's owner Pat Bowlen said Monday it doesn't make it true. Romanowski, who has stirred things up with some statements in the past - he offered to become the team's general manager earlier this year - said on a local radio show this morning that he had spoken to Bowlen and that Bowlen had told him that Michael Vick was in the Denver area negotiating with Broncos officials. Asked for a response by The Denver Post, Bowlen said through a team spokesman that Romanowski's statements were "absolutely false."


Ronald Curry's numbers declined last season under coach Lane Kiffin as he had 19 catches for 181 yards and two touchdowns. "I came back to camp and I'm fourth on the depth chart after leading the team in receiving the last couple of years,'' Curry said. "That kind of blew me (away). It kind of bothered me. I felt like I had put myself in a position where I shouldn't have been treated like that.'' Curry still played slot receiver under Kiffin, but said it wasn't the same. "He puts you in the slot and expects you to do the same thing, but they run no plays for the slot,'' Curry said. "To me, when it's third-and-five or six, or less, you let that slot go to work. It was a block-first offense. You go out there, you block, block, block, block, and at the end of the day you wonder why no receivers have more than 20, 30 yards.''


It might be nothing more than a strained groin, which wouldn't even be strange considering linebacker Matt Roth underwent surgery in January to fix that problem. Yet somehow, in the past two days, the mystery surrounding Roth's lack of participation at the start of training camp has spawned into a small soap opera that has stumped even coach Tony Sparano -- and now Roth could be in some lukewarm water as a result. Roth, who failed his conditioning test Sunday, told Sparano on two occasions that his inability to pass the test was a result of feeling ill. So the team ordered blood work be done, but the results came back negative. In retrospect, those negative results made sense, given that Roth's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, appeared on local TV saying Roth wasn't ill at all.


Regardless of how the Browns' quarterback competition shakes out, coach Eric Mangini envisions keeping both Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson for the 2009 season. "In my mind, Brady and DA will both be here," Mangini said Sunday on the second day of training camp. So unless a team desperate for a starting quarterback makes an offer Browns management can't refuse, both will be around. But that doesn't necessarily mean both will see the field. Mangini said that once he makes up his mind -- and there's still no timetable -- he'll stick with his man and not try to platoon them.


Jason Garrett is a really good coach who had a bad season in 2008. He'll prove last year was an aberration with his performance this season. We all know there's considerable pressure on Tony Romo to play at a high level this season, but there's just as much pressure on Garrett to perform. Two years ago, we anointed him a genius and the heir to the Cowboys' throne, whenever Wade Phillips vacated it, after the Cowboys' 13-3 season fueled by their record-setting offensive attack. Heck, Garrett even turned down head coaching jobs with Atlanta and Baltimore.


Most of what has been written and said about Tony Romo the last seven months leads you to believe his improvement depends on how much golf he plays and whom he does or doesn't date. The truth is much more mundane. This training camp is about some minor technical adjustments for Romo. He has tweaked his footwork for a quicker delivery on certain throws and has worked on ball security.


Broncos defensive lineman Marcus Thomas told reporters after Sunday's morning practice that he had spoken to Jarvis Moss, and Moss said he would be rejoining the team Monday. "I talked to him this morning. He's looking up now, so he's going to be back," Thomas said. Moss did not show up for training camp Saturday and has been excused from practice while he contemplates his future in football. Teammates said Saturday and today that Moss has been quite unhappy.


Todd Haley wasted no time sending yet another message that life for the Chiefs has indeed changed. The new Chiefs coach withheld five players, all starters, from the opening two training camp practices Saturday for failing to pass the previous day's conditioning test. Rather than participate in drills, offensive linemen Brian Waters, Mike Goff and Damion McIntosh and defensive linemen Ron Edwards and Glenn Dorsey lifted weights, rode stationary bikes and ran.


Uh-oh. Broncos receiver Brandon Marshall limped away from the practice field and into the locker room Sunday morning. It appeared Marshall was favoring his left hip. Dr. Marc Philippon of Vail operated on Marshall's hip on March 31.


Here's one reason Michael Vick going to Jacksonville - a scenario floated by some last week - is unlikely to happen: New general manager Gene Smith made an offseason commitment to change the culture in the Jaguars' locker room, and signing Vick would send a mixed message. If owner Wayne Weaver steps in thinking about sagging ticket sales, that's a different story.


Vernon Gholston, he of the five-tackle, no-sack, no-impact rookie season, is perhaps the biggest enigma on the Jets. He was the sixth overall pick in the 2008 draft, freakishly athletic, but his lack of production, coupled with what some teammates perceive as a lack of fire, has made him a mystery man in his own locker room. "He's strong as hell, but the question is, does he want it?" said one player, speaking on the condition of anonymity. "It's the weirdest thing I've ever seen. He's got talent, and he doesn't lack confidence, but sometimes he's like an 18-year-old kid who's never played the game before."


Stunningly candid, Jets coach Rex Ryan admitted his weight has ballooned 30 pounds since the end of last season to 340. Members of the Jets' medical staff gently encouraged him to address the issue, prompting him to start a five-day liquid diet Friday at breakfast - a citrus concoction of grapefruit, lemon and oranges. The irony is unavoidable. Every player on the team made his prescribed weight and passed the mandatory conditioning test, Ryan proudly announced, but the coach himself is fighting obesity.

Category: NFL
Posted on: July 29, 2009 1:48 pm

NFL Tidbits & Rumors - Updated 7/29/09

Some NFL Tidbits & Rumors. Enjoy:


It wouldn't be surprising, with Brett Favre gone, if highly respected Tony Dungy, who has reached out to disgraced QB Michael Vick, recommends that the Vikings consider Vick. Vick wouldn't sell tickets like Favre would have, but he would cost a lot less money.


The Raiders' position Monday on Michael Vick: "We haven't talked about it, and we've been removed from it," senior executive John Herrera said. What, you wanted a "yea" or "nay" from him? Sorry, that has to be the company line when Al Davis runs the Surprise Moves 'R Us store. Still, it's hard to imagine Vick on a team whose chief executive, Amy Trask, sits on the board of directors for Tony La Russa's Animal Rescue Foundation.


During a closed-door meeting in owner Daniel Snyder's office in April, Washington Redskins quarterback Jason Campbell listened attentively as Snyder voiced concerns about Campbell's performance last season. Snyder told Campbell he wants him to become a franchise quarterback, Campbell recalled Monday, but he has not reached that level yet in Snyder's opinion. Spurred by Snyder's assessment of him, Campbell took more initiative in setting the agenda for offseason workouts. He personally contacted receivers to participate in throwing sessions at Redskins Park and, in some cases, admonished players for lacking focus, many in the organization said.


Free Antonio! Giants brass had nothing to say about their former star, Plaxico Burress, as the knuckleheaded gunslinger prepared to throw himself on the mercy of a Manhattan grand jury today in hopes of averting a gun possession indictment. But the team's president slammed prosecutors for seeking an additional indictment against linebacker Antonio Pierce for allegedly failing to turn Burress' blood-splattered, unregistered Glock over to cops after driving him to the hospital.


We're beginning to pick up some subtle indications from a couple of sources with connections to the team that the Redskins should not be ruled out as potential suitors for Michael Vick. The thinking is that, if he were to land in D.C., Vick would not supplant current starter Jason Campbell, but that he instead would work in a Wildcat-type role for 2009, with an opportunity next year to succeed Campbell, whose contract expires after the season. If the Redskins truly are interested, it could create an awkward situation for agent Joel Segal, who represents both players.


One league source said the hold up with first-round negotiations -- only four of 32 had signed by Monday morning -- was San Francisco's Michael Crabtree. The receiver from Texas Tech was a No. 10 overall draft pick but he is seeking top 3 money. If Crabtree gets top 3 money at No. 10, then the picks around him -- Knowhson Moreno was selected at No. 12 overall -- would negotiate their contracts accordingly.


It's crunch time in the Leon Washington negotiations. With veterans due to report Thursday to training camp at SUNY Cortland, the Jets have stepped up discussions with the big-play running back, who is threatening a holdout. Washington, seeking a long-term extension, still hasn't decided if he will report to camp under his existing contract, his agent, Alvin Keels, said Monday.


Wide receiver Brandon Marshall won't say he's happy to still be with the Denver Broncos, but he did report for training camp Monday, the mandated day for the team's rookies and players who had offseason surgeries. Marshall also repeated his previous stance that, "I'm under contract, it's my obligation to be here and I'm here."


The Broncos and Knowshon Moreno were so far away from an agreement Sunday afternoon, one NFL source said there was "no way" the rookie running back from Georgia would show up today for the unofficial start of training camp.


If your team needs a quarterback, there's a former No. 1 overall draft pick available. And he's eager to find a job. Trouble is, he was the first overall pick in 1990, Jeff George. The quarterback, 41, has renewed his effort to get back into the NFL. "I feel like I can still play, and if there's someone out there to give me a shot, that would be wonderful," George said to


Unless the Cowboys go deep into the playoffs, Wade Phillips is gone. Jones will have the most attractive job opening next offseason and look at these candidates: Mike Shanahan, Bill Cowher, Tony Dungy, Mike Holmgren and Jon Gruden. They've all won at least one Super Bowl. Shanahan once replaced Phillips in Denver. He's the favorite to replace him in Dallas.


Disgruntled Pro Bowl special teamer Joshua Cribbs intends to report on time to Browns' training camp Friday, but still hopes to renegotiate his six-year, $6.7 million contract that has four years remaining, a source said Saturday. The source said Cribbs' agent J.R. Rickert has had discussions with the Browns and plans to continue those talks in Cleveland this week.

Category: NFL
Posted on: July 22, 2009 1:59 pm

NFL Tidbits & Rumors - Updated 7/22/09

Some more NFL Tidbits & Rumors. Enjoy:


Neither Michael Vick nor Plaxico Burress know when they'll be stepping on a football field again, but both will meet with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell before they do. And the commissioner was tight-lipped yesterday about when those meetings would occur and what their outcomes might be.


Former Browns tight end Kellen Winslow revealed details about the staph infection he suffered last season in an interview with ESPN The Magazine, saying doctors drained fluid from his testicles so he could play in an Oct. 19 game at Washington and that teammates should have defended him more. That was the game when Winslow, now playing for the Buccaneers, told The Plain Dealer afterward that the Browns treated him like a "piece of meat" during his hospitalization visit. The Browns suspended him for a game because of his remarks, but that suspension was later rescinded when text messages revealed a Browns staff member told Winslow not to disclose he had staph.


Edgerrin James, unsigned and hoping to enter his 11th NFL season as a running back, projects a carefree attitude regarding his future. "There are not 32 backs out there who are better than me," James said with a smile. Most NFL training camps begin at the end of next week. "I want to continue to play. I can play at a high level. My NFL training camps begin at the end of next week. "I want to continue to play. I can play at a high level."


Though the Dolphins started contract talks with potential 2010 free agents Ronnie Brown and Matt Roth, they have not with Anthony Fasano and want to see more. ``He's a solid tight end, not special,'' one NFC personnel director said. ``You would like to find a better No. 1 ideally.''


If Brett Favre were deciding upon a 19th NFL season that involved a venue closer to his Hattiesburg, Miss., home -- say New Orleans -- the answer would already be yes. If there was a regular-season game to be played in two weeks, his answer would already be yes. Minus those deal-makers, Favre is mulling the potential deal-breakers. He thinks his body -- and specifically his arm -- can withstand season-long exertion. He questions whether he wants to endure the toil of a training camp, a preseason, and all of the mandatory NFL minutiae. Ultimately, the Minnesota Vikings expect the answer to be yes. And those closest to Favre do, too. They expect that he will provide his answer well before the July 30 deadline he recently offered. They expect that he will reveal his decision by Friday.


If Michael Vick manages to get reinstated into the NFL, don't expect to see him playing for the Giants or Jets. Both John Mara and Woody Johnson shot down any possibility the former Falcons quarterback, whose 23-month sentence for his role in a dogfighting ring ended yesterday, would suit up for either team. "No," Giants owner Mara said with a laugh. "On a lot of levels, no." Johnson was also adamant about Vick not becoming a Jet. "There's no interest," said Johnson.


The Cardinals and former Bengals offensive tackle Levi Jones apparently are interested in each other, but neither side is motivated enough now to do anything about it. Jones' agent, Kenny Zuckerman, confirmed an report that the Cardinals had expressed interest in Jones. But Jones is looking to be paid like a starter should he win a job, and the Cardinals aren't willing to give that assurance, Zuckerman said.


While the NFL has been the hottest ticket in Denver for decades, it appears Broncomaniacs bummed out by the triple whammies of Mike Shanahan's painful dismissal, Jay Cutler's contentious departure and a sluggish local economy have softened the demand for seats. So you think there might be less than universal, enthusiastic approval for franchise owner Pat Bowlen's choice for coach?


A 49ers source told me this week of an episode this offseason that rubbed some of Michael Crabtree's teammates the wrong way. The source said that Crabtree, rehabbing his foot, showed up late for a meeting, prompting coach Mike Singletary to prescribe extra running for the entire team. Crabtree, per the source, did not say a word to his teammates about it - no apology. But since that episode, Crabtree has come around and his teammates are warming up to him, the source said.


Mike Shanahan said Friday that he plans to coach again in the NFL and that he had the opportunity to interview for head-coaching jobs for the 2009 season, but "it just didn't feel right at the time." In preparation to coach again, Shanahan said he has spent the past few months staying sharp should the right opportunity present itself. "I plan on getting back," said Shanahan.


As training camp approaches, the Browns really are determined to give both quarterbacks a chance to win the job. The coaching staff believes a major key to the position is handling pressure, and they plan to put Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson under the most pressure possible, especially in practice.


Whether it's planting a steel-tipped spear between the shoulder blades of an elk or his Vikings helmet between the numbers of a quarterback, Jared Allen is all about the hunt. But even the most patient of hunters has his limits, and Allen pretty much has reached his when it comes to the Vikings' months-long pursuit of Brett Favre. "If we get Brett, then that's a bonus," the All-Pro defensive end said in a phone interview. "But let's either get it done and get moving on with it or let it go. "It's not so much that it's a distraction because we're professionals and don't really buy into that. But it's annoying."


Though the transformation hasn't been quite as dramatic as Jared Fogle of Subway infamy, Redskins offensive lineman Mike Williams has lost nearly 100 pounds. He started at 450. A source with knowledge of the situation tells us that Williams currently bends the springs to 354. His goal? 345 pounds by the time training camp opens. A far more impressive feat would be for the fourth overall pick in the 2002 draft, a relatively rare first-round bust at the tackle position, to make the final 53-man roster after two full years out of football.

Category: NFL
Posted on: July 15, 2009 1:18 pm

NFL Tidbits & Rumors - Updated 7/15/09

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.


Category: NFL
Posted on: July 8, 2009 12:20 pm

NFL Tidbits & Rumors - Updated 7/8/09

Here are some NFL Tidbits & Rumors. Enjoy:


Barring a change of mind by voters, former Ravens quarterback Steve McNair will not be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. In The Baltimore Sun's poll of selectors this week, the three-time Pro Bowl player would fail to gain the 80 percent approval needed for election. Seventeen of the 24 voters who responded to The Sun - the committee has 44 members - said they did not consider McNair a Hall of Fame quarterback because he lacked elite career numbers. McNair, who was shot and killed Saturday, is eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2013.


So, is it possible to type, run one's mouth and catch passes in the NFL all at the same time? Chad Ochocinco is promising to send out updates on Twitter during regular-season games. He was on KGOW radio in Houston and said this of tweeting (Via "You know, it's funny - I like it. I like it because it gives me the opportunity to reach out to thousands of people at one time. It gives me a chance to get my story across when something goes wrong . . . It's big for me and I'm taking it a step further. I have my own application coming out where people will be able to interact and follow me. You know more than through just the keyboard and reading my messages - you'll actually be able to follow me and when the season starts, it's going to get even worse. I'm going to really make it fun. I'm using Twitter during games, during halftime, after the games. I'm going to be taking it to the next level."


Marc Silverman and Jeff Dickerson from ESPN 1000 radio Chicago interviewed Denver Broncos defensive back Champ Bailey on the Waddle & Silvy show Monday. Bailey was asked where he thought new Bears quarterback Jay Cutler ranked among the top quarterbacks in the league. ``Well he's definitely in the top 10 as far as what he's done to this point,'' Bailey said. ``Now where he can be, he can be the best in the game, he has that ability. The guys very smart, very sharp, a good arm; he has all the stuff you'd want. He reminds me of a Marino, Elway type of guy, and he's going to be a great winner for them. It's unfortunate for us that we had to lose a guy like that, but we've got to move on, we've got some quality guys back there that can definitely get the job done so we've just got to go out and handle business as necessary.''


In the weeks following the Falcons trade for 10-time Pro Bowler Tony Gonzalez few details emerged on how he'll integrate into the team's offense. He'll catch passes, but the Falcons built the offense around Pro Bowl running back Michael Turner. "Tony will help our offense in a number of ways," offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey said at the close of June organized team activities. "One thing he's going to do is that he's a productive blocker and that's important in our offense... As successful as he's been as a receiver, he's a good blocker too and he really doesn't get the credit that he should." At 6-foot-5 and 251 pounds, Gonzalez has size to push people around but his ability to shake defenders and soft hands made him the most prolific pass catcher at his position.


A Brett Favre signing with the Minnesota Vikings is expected to be announced in time for the start of the team's single-game ticket sales July 20. The Vikings will play Favre's former team, the Green Bay Packers, Oct. 5 at the Metrodome on Monday night on ESPN. The Vikings are planning to require anyone buying a ticket to that game to also buy a ticket to the Aug. 21 exhibition game against the Kansas City Chiefs. Meanwhile, a little birdie heard that quarterback Brett Favre and wife Deanna last weekend made a $30,000 deposit on a condominium near 50th and France in Edina.


Arizona Cardinals defensive tackle Darnell Dockett says he will report to training camp and not allow his unhappiness about his contract to affect his performance next season. Dockett made the comments in a series of messages posted on his Twitter page Monday afternoon. Dockett said he recently met with team officials and came away confident. Dockett has three years remaining on his contract, but he wants a new deal.


Former Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Matt Jones has completed his stint in drug court. Jones was arrested in 2008 on suspicion of cocaine possession and, as part of a plea agreement, was ordered to participate in NFL-sponsored substance-abuse counseling and undergo random drug testing through the end of the football season. Jones said he has learned from his mistakes and that he hopes an NFL team will make him an offer to play in 2009.


Pro Bowl cornerback Antoine Winfield, known for his knack of anticipating the moves of opposing receivers, didn't envision his current situation. "I didn't expect to be in July without a deal," Winfield said. "Personally, I'm a little disappointed. They consider me a core player, but they're not showing me that." Breaking his months-long silence, Winfield told the Pioneer Press he had been hearing privately the same positive comments team officials had been saying about him publicly.


The Cowboys are playing around with using Marion Barber and Felix Jones -- something it did sparingly last season when the two were healthy -- on the field at the same time. It doesn't have to be in traditional, two-back sets, either; Jones has the flexibility to split out and motion into or out of the backfield.


Bears quarterback Jay Cutler has put off any talk about endorsement deals so he can concentrate on his new teammates and the playbook. There's a perfectly good reason Cutler hasn't been seen or heard doing commercial spots for car manufacturers, hotel chains or anything else. He's not interested, at least not right now.s about endorsement deals so he can concentrate on his new teammates and the playbook. He already is one of the most popular and recognizable athletes in a city with plenty of big-name players. But capitalizing on that popularity commercially isn't an immediate priority for Cutler.


Although Derrick Brooks was caught off guard when the Buccaneers cut him loose, the former Florida State star says he isn't harboring any bitterness. Brooks' name has been mentioned in speculation with at least two teams: the New York Giants and the New Orleans Saints However, nothing tangible seems to be brewing at the moment.

Category: NFL
Posted on: July 1, 2009 1:08 pm

NFL Tidbits & Rumors - Updated 7/1/09

Some NFL Tidbits & Rumors. Enjoy:


Denver Broncos Pro Bowl wide receiver Brandon Marshall said he wanted to be traded more than 18 months ago and said he "hated Denver," according to documents obtained by the CALL7 Investigators. Marshall was arrested on suspicion of DUI on Oct. 22, 2007, and according to the police report, he started verbally attacking the city of Denver and saying he wanted to leave the Broncos. "I hate Denver. I hope I get traded. I hate this f******* city," an officer wrote in the police report.


Free agent linebacker Willie McGinest continues to eye the Pats as a possible landing spot, the 15-year veteran linebacker told Albert Breer of McGinest, who was part of three Super Bowl championships with the Patriots before leaving as a free agent for Cleveland in 2006, expressed his desire to play one more season.


After fatally striking a pedestrian on the MacArthur Causeway in a March drunk driving accident, Cleveland Browns wide receiver Donte' Stallworth also tested positive for marijuana use, law enforcement sources say. Stallworth, 28, is serving one month in jail after pleading guilty last month to DUI manslaughter. Miami-Dade prosecutors say his blood alcohol level was .126, well above the legal limit, when his Bentley hit and killed Mario Reyes, 59, on the morning of March 14. Stallworth's test results, which have yet to be released, showed traces of marijuana, according to sources with knowledge of the results.


Jason Taylor, on a one-year contract, said he does not want this season to be his last. ``I'll be around until they kick me out.''


NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is leaning toward indefinitely suspending former New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress and continuing to sideline quarterback Michael Vick, three sources with knowledge of the situations have indicated. Such moves would be the latest examples of Goodell's tough stance on players embroiled in off-field issues as evidenced with the suspension of Cleveland Browns wide receiver Donte Stallworth earlier this month.


Jets rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez said he feels very good about how he performed in offseason workouts and that he has positioned himself well to earn the starting job. He is competing with Kellen Clemens.


Two years ago, Ronnie Brown's weight and conditioning were questioned. Too much of one and too little of the latter, went the whispers. While that never was proved one way or the other, no such questions remain today. Brown allows that he would like to be a little leaner, but when those passing the Dolphins practice field gawk at the size of Brown's thighs or arms, fat isn't a factor.


From Cardinals defensive tackle Darnell Dockett's Twitter page: "I want to thank Rod Woodson and @jamiedukes. For picking me in the NFL TOP 5 D-tackels "I wish I can get paid like the top 5"


Redskins outside linebacker Brian Orakpo said he dropped about five pounds but looks smaller because he has lost some of the upper body mass he carried at the draft in April.


As the landscape for Michael Vick's future takes shape, sources tell me that one team that won't be interested is the New England Patriots. Many have felt that Vick might be an option in New England, but I'm told that the scheme and the lack of potential to become an eventual starter aren't suitable to him.


The work ethic of quarterback JaMarcus Russell is still being questioned by many who have worked with him in the past and are working with him now. After he issued a call to his teammates to practice and finish the OTA days strong, he then disappeared and was AWOL on the last day. Russell must learn that talent alone is not going to make him successful. Dedication to becoming a better player is what he needs.


General manager Mark Dominik indicated the Bucs have no interest in signing former Giants receiver Plaxico Burress at this time. The Bucs are looking for receviers to back up starters Antonio Bryant and Michael Clayton.


Former Redskins stud return man Brian Mitchell says his recent dismissal by a radio station owned by the team is not due to economic factors, as the team claims. Mitchell told USA TODAY's Michael McCarthy that Red Zebra radio cut him as an analyst because he was critical of the Redskins. Station executive Bruce Gilbert said the move was "100% driven by the economy." Mitchell made $150,000 per year.


Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson is in no hurry to have his team play more than one annual regular-season game in Toronto. Wilson told The Associated Press on Sunday he'd prefer waiting "two or three years" to determine whether the northern experiment is a success before he'd consider reworking the contract reached last year with Toronto-based Rogers Communications. The Bills are locked into playing five regular-season - one a year - and three preseason games in Toronto under the agreement which runs through 2012. Rogers officials have expressed interest in adding at least one additional regular-season game a year, particularly if the NFL goes forward with a proposal to expand its regular-season schedule to 17 or 18 games.


Owner Robert Kraft told Britain's The Times last week that he believes an NFL team based in London would be a success and that he'd be interested in an ownership stake through his sons if possible. Kraft was in London promoting the team's October game against the Buccaneers.

Category: NFL
Posted on: June 24, 2009 2:54 pm

NFL Tidbits & Rumors - Updated 6/24/09

Here are some NFL tidbits & rumors. Enjoy:


Brett Favre's agent denied another report this evening that the quarterback has agreed to a contract with the Vikings. Two days after the website Pro Football Talk reported that a deal was in place and that the club had approved the production of Favre jerseys, WCCO provided a similar report with a few minor differences, namely that the quarterback's contract includes "heavy incentives." Asked in an e-mail if there was any truth to the WCCO report, agent Bus Cook wrote one word: "Nope."


Roy Williams refuted highly respected NFL scribe Peter King's report that the coachable wide receiver was never on a consistent weight program until this off-season. "That's trying to find something to make something negative out of me once again," said Williams, who has been hit by a barrage of criticism since being traded from Detroit to Dallas. "I started lifting weights in the seventh grade." Williams, a 6-3, 220-pound physical specimen, said he took lifting seriously throughout his high school career at Odessa Permian. He added that he continued to work hard in the weight room at Texas under the guidance of Jeff "Mad Dog" Madden, one of the country's most famous strength coaches. According to Williams, his current weight program isn't much different than what he did during his four off-seasons in Detroit. Williams said he stopped lifting weights during the season after dealing with various nicks, pulls and strains his first two years in the NFL. "The year I didn't lift during the season, I made it to the Pro Bowl," he said.


Devin Hester says he has heard enough. He is tired of hearing the criticism that new Bears quarterback Jay Cutler is not a mature, capable leader. "If you haven't been around a person like Cutler, how could you say something like that?" Hester said before appearing in a photo shoot Monday evening at Soldier Field for an Under Armour commercial. In recent weeks, Super Bowl-winning coaches Tony Dungy and Mike Ditka have been among those who have expressed reservations about Cutler's maturity level.


Like Jay Cutler -- traded by the Broncos to the Bears in April -- Brandon Marshall wants Denver to trade him. The prospect that the Bears, who reportedly might be interested in Marshall, could bring the two Pro Bowlers back together seems to appeal to Cutler. "I talked to 'B' a few days ago," Cutler said during an appearance Monday at William and Mary's Colonial All-Pro Football Camp. "Just checking in on him and seeing how he's doing, because I went through a similar thing that he's going through. "I played with Brandon for three years and I think he's one of the best receivers in the NFL. I think he can be one of the greatest ever to play. "He's big and fast, and can do everything you want him to do, on the field and in the meeting room. I don't know what we're going to do. That's up to the guys upstairs. If we make a run at him, we make a run at him."


Some veterans make up their minds before the season, declaring this will be their last go-around on the gridiron. Such a mind-set can help them power through the grind of one more training camp, maybe even appreciating it more because they know finality is right around the corner. Linebacker Tedy Bruschi isn't one of those players. Entering his 14th NFL season, Bruschi said yesterday this could be the final year of his career. Then again, it may not. Bruschi, whose contract expires after the 2009 season, is leaving his options open.


Redskins running back Clinton Portis said that reports of a rift between him and coach Jim Zorn are wrong. "How this story came about, I have no idea," Portis said. "There's nothing going on. There's no beef between me and Coach Zorn. We're on good terms at this present moment. There's no problem." Portis, who attended many of the organized team activities that finished on June 11 at Redskin Park, had a well-publicized spat with Zorn after the coach benched the slumping running back at halftime of the Dec. 7 loss at Baltimore. But Portis said that flareup was "a long time ago" and that ProFootball Talk was needlessly trying to make trouble where none exists.


Miami entertainment figures Gloria and Emilio Estefan will be announced as Miami Dolphins minority owners Thursday, according to a person familiar with the negotiations between the Estefans and the Dolphins. The source said Monday night the National Football League and the Dolphins are looking to expand their reach to South Florida's growing Hispanic community and are turning to the Estefans as their ambassadors.


A rep from the National Football Post talked to some of the teams that might be interested in former Giant Plaxico Burress if he's free to play this year, and all of them are concerned about the ruling from the commissioner. No one in the league takes the personal conduct ruling lightly, but what concerned one team most was Burress' five brushes with the law as a result of driving since the gun incident. Everyone he spoke to seems to feel the commissioner will come down hard on Burress and is fearful that he might not be able to play. The delay game Burress is attempting is not really helping his situation.


Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell is arranging a week of practice for any of the team's other quarterbacks and all the wide receivers and tight ends, at an undisclosed location. Russell wasn't about to divulge many details. He said he just wants to make sure the quarterbacks and receivers are on the same page when training camp begins July 30 in Napa. That's music to Raiders coach Tom Cable's ears as he yearns for Russell to grow into his role as a starting quarterback and team leader. Cable has made it known that he wants Russell to work harder and grasp better the things necessary to be a successful NFL quarterback.


Ever since he arrived in Santa Clara for the latest minicamp and organized team activity (OTA) sessions, Alex Boone has bunked out at a nearby hotel. And followed one rule. "I just don't go out," Boone says. "That limits the opportunity to be around alcohol. When I met with somebody about all this, they were like, 'You're a smart kid. So you know what to do.' " Four months ago after attending a Super Bowl party, Boone got very drunk and went haywire. How haywire? Boone, at the behest of his agent, was living in Southern California to work out and prepare for the NFL scouting combine. But on Feb. 1, he was arrested by Aliso Viejo police after they answered a disturbance call at an apartment complex. They discovered a 6-foot-8, 318-pound man jumping up and down on the hoods of cars and attempting to smash the window of a tow truck. After being tasered twice, Boone was finally subdued. His blood alcohol level was found to be .24, three times the California legal limit if he had been driving. Boone issued a statement in which he called his behavior "inexcusable" and said he was going "to seek professional treatment." The incident, however, was preceded by an earlier DUI arrest during his college years.


Odds are that Braylon Edwards will remain with the team this season. ... unless a team comes out of nowhere with a huge trade offer late in training camp because a receiver is hurt and it is desperate for a replacement. So far, Edwards has been doing what the coaches have asked.


So, you want to know how Kellen Winslow is fitting in with his new team? The men he will play alongside will tell you he seems right at home after his trade in late February. About the only disagreement is whether he's more receiver than tight end or vice versa. Really, the answer is whatever the Bucs want it to be. But on this there is total agreement: Winslow, 25, will be used extensively. Offensive coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski said he believes in widespread use of his tight ends, and, being a former tight ends coach with the Packers and Falcons, he is intimately familiar with the position.


Titans linebacker Keith Bulluck received a gift in the mail not long after the Super Bowl. It was from a Steelers fan and included a reminder that Bulluck's Terrible Towel stomp didn't go over well in Pittsburgh. The note read: On behalf of the Steelers Nation we would love to present you with our new Terrible Towel. Hang this up in your locker room. Sincerely, The Black and Gold. P.S. -- I hope you enjoyed the Super Bowl. "I laughed. I thought it was hilarious,'' Bulluck said.

Category: NFL
Posted on: June 17, 2009 1:51 pm

NFL Tidbits & Rumors - Updated 6/17/09

Here are some NFL Tidbits & Rumors. Enjoy:

The rumor mill continues to churn regarding potential destinations for Broncos receiver Brandon Marshall. Last night, word was that the Ravens might be interested. Word today includes rumblings of Brandon possibly being traded to the Browns. The package would include, per the rumor, Browns kick returner/receiver Josh Cribbs and one or more draft picks. Such a move also would likely put Braylon Edwards in play for a trade elsewhere.

Tim Hasselbeck, a former backup quarterback for the Giants, said on ESPN's NFL Live yesterday that teams -- including the Jets -- would be wise to refrain from signing his former teammate Plaxico Burress. "When you're looking at Plaxico Burress, there's no doubt that he can be a dominant receiver at times on Sundays," Hasselbeck said. "We've seen it. But with that being said, I played with the guy. I was in the locker room with him for two years. He's a disaster as a teammate. He's a disaster as a guy that you have to coach."

Plaxico Burress is intent on playing in 2009, and it appears he wouldn't mind doing so in Tampa Bay. The former Giants receiver, who is embroiled in a legal snafu and faces weapons charges in New York after an accidental self-inflicted gunshot wound last year, reached out to Bucs RB Derrick Ward and others on the team to express an interest in joining them.

Word from Valley Ranch is Cowboys offensive coordinator Jason Garrett had a come-to-Jesus meeting with QB Tony Romo this off-season where he basically told him to get his butt in better shape. Now nobody is accusing Romo of being Val Kilmer, or even Byron Leftwich. The description used was "bottom heavy" and the message was more "We love you but... " than butt kicking. What The Redheaded Genius told him was, basically, become a better finisher. Cowboys coaches believe Romo has a penchant for showing up for training camp in just good enough shape to allow him to get out to a good start in the first half. And it falls apart in the second half because he does. He is not able to outrun the same players. His mistakes go up. He is not the same QB.

Although the agent for wide receiver Plaxico Burress said he hopes to land his client a job before the start of NFL training camps this summer, the Jets' interest in Burress has cooled, according to two people kept abreast of the discussions between the Jets and Burress' representatives. he week before the NFL Draft, the Jets contacted Drew Rosenhaus to inquire about Burress' legal status, but that's the only conversation the two sides have had. The Bears and Bucs have also reportedly expressed interest in Burress.

Tampa Bay could be without a few players for its mandatory mini-camp, which begins Tuesday. That includes quarterback Brian Griese. Griese has not participated in any OTAs and could be released or traded before training camp. He has been in Denver with his pregnant wife and is not believed to be part of Tampa Bay's future plans at quarterback, where the Bucs have four other signal callers - Luke McCown, Byron Leftwich, Josh Johnson and Josh Freeman.

Count Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin among those who think Brett Favre should bag the idea of playing for Minnesota and instead call it a career. "Listen, Favre's 100 years old; stop this already," said Irvin, in Los Angeles to promote his Spike TV reality show "4th and Long." "I love Favre and I think he's been a phenomenal talent for a long time. But when I think about it now, I say, 'Stop it already.' I don't mind that you still want to play football, but do you want to play so much, and you want to get back at [Green Bay General Manager] Ted Thompson so much, that you're willing to go back into Lambeau and hurt those fans that supported you for so long?"

Although he has said otherwise, linebacker Mike Vrabel has created the impression among reporters that he doesn't want to be in Kansas City.

Dolphins rookie Pat White continues to overthrow some passes -- this weekend, one went over a fence; another hit Bill Parcells' golf cart -- and coach Tony Sparano attributes it to adrenaline and technique. But Sparano said one of White's best skills is throwing deep.

File this one in the category of how to make a bad first impression on your new coach: Chiefs receiver Dwayne Bowe, a former first-round draft choice entering his third NFL season, showed up to offseason workouts overweight and was told to lose 20-25 pounds. He reportedly has worked hard to do so.

Category: NFL
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