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
Posted on: June 10, 2009 12:52 pm

NFL Tidbits & Rumors - Updated 6/10/09

Here are some NFL Tidbits & Rumors. Enjoy.


The Redskins might be a logical pick to pursue Michael Vick except for one problem: They don't want him. According to multiple league sources, the Redskins briefly discussed signing the ex-Falcons quarterback and came to a quick and unanimous conclusion. It would not work here. It's a message league sources say has been consistent since January.


With the Pioneer Press having confirmed that Brett Favre has had surgery to release a frayed biceps tendon, the only issue now seemingly remaining for him to sign with the Vikings, assuming his throwing arm responds well, is a contract. Despite Tuesday's report that the Vikings were suspending their pursuit of Favre, he still would be expected to get a contract in the $10 million range, structured over two years, although the future hall of fame quarterback would be expected to play just next season for Minnesota. Favre's agent, sly Bus Cook, is expected to seek at least the $13 million Favre was to receive had he remained with the New York Jets for this season. A cat-and-mouse scenario between the Vikings and Cook could now ensue until a deal is done.


New Orleans Saints fans don't look for Derrick Brooks to be with the team. Coach Sean Payton shot it down in post practice interviews. Asked if the team is considering bringing in veteran linebacker help, Payton said the team is content with the current depth at the position and plans to take the nine players on the roster into training camp.


Which young Dolphins players are ready to break out? Miami general manager Jeff Ireland mentioned receivers Davone Bess (''no doubt ready to take it to another level'') and Ted Ginn Jr. (he's ''a different player,'' he told WQAM last week).


That plan of Adam Jones' return to the Cowboys? Put it on hold. Through Cowboys spokesman Rich Dalrymple, owner and general manager Jerry Jones said, "I have no plans to bring Adam back." According to a report, the owner said he was considering bringing Jones back six months after the team cut the cornerback although the team has not contacted Jones' agent, Worrick Robinson. Adam Jones continues to live in Prosper and work out with Deion Sanders. Robinson said he has had talks with "several teams" but that they are being patient and hoping something can be worked out by training camp. For now, it appears the Cowboys will not be calling.


Nose tackle Vince Wilfork, who is unhappy with his contract situation, was part of a radio interview on the "Dale & Holley Show" on sports radio WEEI Monday. "I'm not looking to sign this big-time, going-down-in-history, the best contract there is. I want to be comfortable, but at the same time, I want to be with the guys that I go to war with. That's Ty Warren, that's Richard Seymour, that's [Tedy] Bruschi, that's Richard Seymour. I don't think I'll find any better group of guys or coaches out there. So I don't want to leave. I'm pretty sure we're going to do everything in our [power] to make it work."


Make no mistake, the Jets remain interested in Plaxico Burress, who has a June 15 court date. If he somehow is available to play in 2009, even if it's for only 12 games (remember he could get slapped with a suspension by the commish), the Jets will be one of his most ardent suitors.


NBC Sports boss Dick Ebersol announced he was adding the gentlemanly Tony Dungy, along with cheap shot artist Rodney Harrison, to "Football Night In America's" studio cast. What Ebersol meant to say is that Tiki ain't going to get much face time on Sunday night. And, though we can't break it down to minutes and seconds, Barber, who once aspired to rise to a Matt Lauer level, is not exactly a major presence on the "Today" show either. There's no way around it, Barber's stock has plummeted. He's the TV equivalent of General Motors, but there ain't no bailout coming his way. Maybe Barber can turn things around, maybe he gets in a groove this season. After all, when he retired from the Giants he had so much potential. Barber was an excellent communicator who spoke his mind. Still, in his two years at NBC he has not been able to live up to the hype.


Kellen Clemens and Mark Sanchez will do everything possible to win the job as the Jets' starting quarterback, with one notable exception: As competitive as they will be on the field, both will do everything possible to support one another during their duel for the No. 1 spot. You read right. Barring a dramatic change of heart from either player, this will be as respectful a competition as you could ever envision. This despite the fact that anger and disappointment occasionally bubble to the surface for Clemens, the presumptive starter before the Jets pulled off the blockbuster draft-day trade for Sanchez. Call it Clemens' version of paying it forward, a lesson from former teammate Chad Pennington.


Larry Johnson has been quiet. He's been well-behaved. He has been almost invisible. So, what's the problem? This isn't a complaint. No, it's another indication that the Chiefs are making things right after last year's implosion. He's not telling loud jokes like he was at training camp last year. He's not complaining about playing time or how a teammate or coach looked at him in the hallway. Nothing. A reporter asked Johnson on Saturday if he'd participate in an interview. Johnson politely declined, same as he did a month ago. Maybe Larry Johnson has finally grown up. It would be a good thing for LJ and the Chiefs if he keeps up the good work. More than anybody would like to admit, Johnson and the Chiefs need each other. But the Chiefs need him only if this new LJ is the one they get for the long haul.


Eric Mangini was asked what things mattered most when judging a quarterback, and his first two points were "huddle presence and the ability to run the offense. ... Who can look at the defense and understand what the coverage is and go to the right places with the ball." The coach talked mostly about the mental approach, about poise, about dealing with pressure and making the right decisions. Could be wrong, but that seems to favor Brady Quinn.


As compelling as that story line sounds -- the Rams returning to Los Angeles -- it isn't going to happen. Not now. And maybe not ever. There are plenty of reasons there won't be an L.A. reboot of the Rams. Here are some of them: Rams owners are hoping to get at least $850 million for the team, and a privately financed stadium will cost $800 million at a minimum. Factor in a relocation fee imposed by the NFL, and the number soars well north of $2 billion. It would be surprising if returning to L.A. cracked the top five issues on NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell 's to-do list. It might not even be in the top 10. Just about every ounce of energy is spent on hammering out a labor agreement with the players. The Rams might not have the best stadium in the league, but their lease ranks right up there. The first out clause doesn't come until after the 2014 season. The club pays a nominal amount to play in a dome paid for entirely by taxpayer money. Fans largely have been supportive of the team, even in down years, and the Rams haven't done a lot of searching for alternative deals in their backyard.


It doesn't look like Julius Peppers has many options. That's been the case since the NFL draft passed in late April. Barring an incredibly creative type of trade, there isn't much another team could offer the Panthers that would help them enough this season to make them consider dealing away their Pro Bowl defensive end. Team officials are under pressure to win this season and to finally make the playoffs in consecutive years for the first time in team history. Peppers is a big part of the defensive plan for '09 and trading him for future draft picks doesn't help their immediate needs at all. Team officials expect and believe Peppers will show up for training camp with other players on Aug. 2.


Just a hunch: Brandon Marshall is not long for Denver. While every player has discussed how difficult Josh McDaniels's new offensive system is to learn, Marshall has been spending most of his offseason training in Orlando.


What seemed to be Chad Ochocinco week on the NFL Network wrapped up Friday with a blunt admission from the Bengals wide receiver about his performance last season. "I'm not even going to lie to you, I'm going to say it. Last year, the offseason, I didn't lift one weight, I didn't run one route, I didn't exercise. I didn't do nothing because my focus was on getting out of a situation I didn't want to be in. I'm not going to lie," Ochocinco said. If you're a Bengals fan, you have to be worried when you hear your star WR admit to lack of effort.

Category: NFL
Posted on: June 5, 2009 1:19 pm

NFL Tidbits & Rumors - Updated 6/5/09

Some more NFL Tidbits & Rumors. Enjoy:


The surgery Brian Westbrook will undergo Friday morning in Baltimore is a serious procedure, according to a source close to the situation. "I'm just concerned that it is being underplayed," the source said. "It's a lot more than a little spur and it's much more than the knee arthroscopy he had (in February)." Both a team source and Westbrook's agent Todd France downplayed the significance of the surgery, which the team announced late Wednesday night. "It's just some bone spurs," France told Wednesday.


The Falcons indicated several weeks ago that Michael Vick was not in their plans for this or any other season. So why is Vick still on the roster? Call it the "never-say-never" factor. Sources familiar with the Falcons situation tell me that the team is pretty much resigned to the idea that they will release Vick -- probably late in training camp -- once his status is decided by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. The never-say-never part comes in with other teams: The Falcons feel that it's worth it to hang onto Vick on the possibility that a team might be willing to fork over a draft pick in a trade. The Falcons got a tepid response from teams when they held discussions at the Scouting Combine in February, but felt it was worth a shot to see if any further interest would be generated over the summer. Bottom line: If no trade partner can be found before the start of the regular season, the Falcons will release Vick sometime before the opener.


Safety LaRon Landry is now the only Redskin who is unaccounted for during this round of offseason workouts. Linebacker London Fletcher and fullback Mike Sellers - who declined comment as they left the field today - both returned to work out earlier this week after missing Monday and Tuesday. Landry, though, is not here, and Jim Zorn said he has not been able to reach the third-year player by either telephone or text message.


The giddy reaction in Chicago over the Bears' acquisition of Pro Bowl quarterback Jay Cutler is not shared by former Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy. "[The Bears] took a risk [trading for Cutler]. I think they took that risk specifically with beating the Green Bay Packers in mind," Dungy said Wednesday. "I really think Chicago gave up a lot to get a quarterback who they believe is going to be the final piece of the puzzle. But I am not sure he has won enough to merit that yet."


It appears that Donovan McNabb's decade-long run as Eagles' starting quarterback is about to extend at least two more years. Citing an anonymous league source, Comcast SportsNet reported that the team and its 32-year-old franchise quarterback are on the verge of agreeing to a restructured deal. Talks initially centered on an extension have shifted to re-working McNabb's current contract to guarantee the roughly $19 million he's slated to earn in the next two seasons, the report said.


Rex Ryan already has predicted the Jets will win a Super Bowl in the next three years and yesterday on the radio declared, "I didn't come here to kiss Bill Belichick's rings."


During an interview with a Baltimore television station, Vince Young made it clear it's time for him to play football or go elsewhere. "He was just voicing his opinion about competing for a starting job," his agent, Major Adams, said Wednesday, adding that Young was surprised by the magnitude of the controversy. But make no mistake, Young isn't satisfied with the role of backup to 16-year veteran Kerry Collins, who assumed the starting job midway through the 2008 season opener and led the Titans to a league-best 13-3 record. But after an offseason when Young appeared to be largely toeing the company line, working hard and saying the right things, the interview at a youth football camp offered the first signs of a lifelong football star becoming frustrated with an unfamiliar supporting role.


Category: NFL
Posted on: June 2, 2009 1:50 pm

NFL Tidbits & Rumors - Updated 6/1/09

Here are some NFL Tidbits & Rumors. Enjoy:


The Tennessee Titans' quarterback depth chart hasn't changed. Kerry Collins is still the starter, and Vince Young remains the backup. During an interview with WMAR-TV, Young said that if he doesn't win back his old job, then he wants a change of scenery. "I definitely want to get back out there playing ball and picking up where I left off, winning games and having a good time with my teammates and with the fans," Young said. "At the same time, if them guys don't want me to be in there, it's time for me to make a career change for myself. Because the fact is I'm ready to play ball. If they're not ready for me to play ball, then somebody is."

While the knee-jerk reaction would be to assume that the club would simply slap the franchise tag on Shawne Merriman, you'd be overlooking a very important angle that could prevent the Chargers from doing that. Quarterback Philip Rivers is also entering the final year of his contract. If the team can't reach a new deal with either player prior to the start of free agency, which one do you think they'd use the tag on? Sorry, but unless Rivers contracts Ryan Leaf disease during the 2009 season, that's a no-brainer. Besides, I think the Chargers already cast their vote when they picked Larry English. If Merriman is not able to unleash chaos again, the Chargers will likely let him hit the open market, losing a player who was once a dominant force for their defense. And if he's able to bounce back, his price tag would be staggering.

In January, scarcely three months after undergoing a reconstruction of his injured left knee, Tom Brady gave his orthopedic surgeon a gift. It felt like a present to Dr. Neal ElAttrache, anyway. Brady summoned him to a Southern California park, and, with the sun setting over the ocean, the New England Patriots quarterback gave his doctor a demonstration of just how far his recuperating knee had come. The 2007 NFL most valuable player performed a brief, light workout, showing he could drop back, roll out, fire passes and was well on his way to recovery. "When he did that, and all he had to do was look at me with that smile on his face like, 'Aren't you happy?' That meant everything to me," said ElAttrache, who specializes in sports medicine at the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic in Los Angeles. Speaking publicly for the first time about the NFL star's surgery and physical rehabilitation, ElAttrache told The Times that Brady "even exceeded what I thought he was going to be able to do, and I was expecting big things from him."

Matthew Stafford, the No. 1 pick in this year's NFL draft, made an impressive throw toward the end of Lions practice Monday. He threaded the ball through tight coverage to receiver Keary Colbert, who bobbled it over the middle, then hauled it in behind the defense. Stafford made another impressive throw shortly afterward, hitting receiver Bryant Johnson down the left sideline. Coach Jim Schwartz raved about Stafford in a column posted Monday on He said the Lions would have an "arms race" between Stafford and veteran Daunte Culpepper during the June 22-24 minicamp.

Jay Cutler already has alienated enough small pockets of fans at various appearances in Chicago to produce a flurry of furious e-mails, such as the one from a guy at Wrigley Field last week who criticized the quarterback for waving off autograph seekers.

Jessica Simpson gave boyfriend Tony Romo a nautical 28th birthday last month -- she treated the football star to a $100,000 speedboat. The singer unveiled the gift at a special party at the pair's Dallas, Texas, home, reports the National Enquirer. And the Dallas Cowboys quarterback was delighted with the custom-made gift. A source tells the tabloid, "Jessica knows that Tony has always wanted a boat. "(She's) hoping that her birthday gift will lead to marriage, and by this time next year she'll be walking down the aisle with him."

I know that if I want to follow the saga of a troubled wide receiver who eventually might help the Bears, it won't be the tired tales of either Plaxico Burress or Matt Jones . Brandon Marshall of the Broncos may also fit in that category, given a troubling history with domestic violence. But Marshall also has a history with Cutler that would make the Bears logical suitors if the big-play threat hits free agency next winter, as many in Denver fear after the Broncos turned down Marshall's request for contract extension last week.

Several people in the NFL have said not to rule out St. Louis as a possible destination for Michael Vick. The Rams might have some ownership issues to deal with before actually signing him, but they have genuine interest. They've been doing their due diligence on Vick, and if the Commissioner does reinstate him, look for them to actively pursue him. It makes sense -- a new coach with an older quarterback who hasn't played well. Playing in a dome on carpet would highlight Vick's speed and athleticism.

Two sources with direct knowledge of the situation told the Post-Dispatch on Saturday that Chip Rosenbloom and Lucia Rodriguez have retained the services of Goldman Sachs, the prominent investment banking firm. The owners will ask Goldman Sachs to help facilitate the sale of the Rams by evaluating bids and soliciting potential buyers. And if you are a St. Louis Rams fan, here's the reason to be concerned: I'm told there will be no preconditions attached to the sale of the Rams. This means the Rams could be scooped up by out-of-town buyers. And that's a dramatic -- and potentially ominous -- development, given the Rams' shaky lease at the Edward Jones Dome.

Carson Palmer has always been about loyalty, which is why during the past two weeks he has talked about the progress of the receivers who are participating in the Bengals offseason program. But don't think for one second that means he doesn't need Chad Ochocinco. For anyone who thought that, Palmer put a rest to those assumptions on Thursday when he appeared on Fox Sports Radio's Petros and Money Show. "He's a damn good receiver - that's obvious, everybody knows that - but the guys that are working here and busting their butt here deserve a shot," Palmer said. "When he shows up he'll show up and hopefully he's in great shape and he's ready to play. "But I never once said anything about not wanting him here and not needing him. He's a Pro Bowl receiver. He's put up a ton of yards. He's extremely dangerous to cover. We would love him when he comes here, but he's not here right now."

Free agent safety Rodney Harrison said he'd make a decision on his football future by June 1, and the question that is about to be answered remains the same: Will his 16th season be on the field or in the broadcast booth?

The internet is starting to fill up with reports of the Bucs expressing some form or interest in former Colts wide receiver Marvin Harrison. This one seems a little far-fetched, given the fact the Bucs dumped a pretty good aging receiver in Joey Galloway just a few months ago. That said, the Bucs do seem to be in the market for another wideout, and Harrison, 36, probably has a little something left in the tank.

Vikings coach Brad Childress defended Tarvaris Jackson. Jackson's work ethic, Childress said Friday, is beyond reproach. Childress wanted to "set the record straight" during his opening comments Friday after the start of a three-day minicamp. t's an odd situation, no doubt, for Childress to have to defend his quarterback in the wake of comments made by one of his star defensive tackles. Pat Williams didn't stop to talk to reporters as he walked off the field Friday. He said during a recent interview with Sirius NFL Radio that Jackson needed to work harder. Childress indicated that Williams' comments might have been taken out of context and shouldn't have been considered critical remarks.

Category: NFL
Posted on: May 29, 2009 1:20 pm

NFL Tidbits & Rumors - Updated 5/29/09

Some more NFL tidbits & rumors. Enjoy.


Tom Brady faced his first blitz of the season today, and deftly ducked it. The Pats QB was at the center of a media scrum after practice, and managed to stay calm in the pocket. Though more comfortable talking about football than family, Brady did reveal that wife Gisele Bundchen is not pregnant, contrary to reports circulating on the Internet. "No. It's...No," said Brady. "One is enough. I have dogs and that's all I need."


Plaxico Burress may be rejecting the advice of his lawyers to take the best deal on the table for the weapons charges he faces. The problem, Giants radio voice Bob Papa said on Sirius satellite radio, is Burress is "deathly afraid" of going to jail. Papa said if Burress had accepted the deal with about two months jail time served in early April, he would be close to getting out and free to seek a new NFL job. "They worked out something where they had it down to about a three-month jail term with actually only two months served and about 1,500 hours of community service," Papa said. "He shot down the deal. . . . My guess is that the city of New York is not gonna back off any kind of jail time."


Coach Raheem Morris indicated Thursday that the Bucs will monitor the case of former Giants WR Plaxico Burress. A team representative contacted Burress last week, but there has been no talk of signing the troubled receiver. If Burress clears his legal hurdles, he still could face a suspension by the NFL. Agent Drew Rosenhaus has said three teams have expressed interest but none wants to be identified.


Two NFL sources said -- and a team source confirmed -- that Donald Driver was absent because he wants the Packers to sweeten his contract. Driver, 34, has two years remaining on his contract, which calls for a $3.9 million base salary this season and a $4 million base salary in 2010. This is the fourth straight year that Driver has approached the team about reworking his deal, the team source said.


Word out of Miami is Dolphins rookie Pat White continues to be inaccurate on many of his throws, looking like a QB chucking, not passing, the ball.


If the conversation is about the NFL's best active running backs, the names Adrian Peterson, DeAngelo Williams, Clinton Portis and LaDainian Tomlinson have to be mentioned. Ronnie Brown? He was the NFL's 19th-leading rusher a season ago, and his professional resume includes only one 1,000-yard season, that coming two coaches and seemingly a lifetime ago in 2006. But Brown, 27, who is about to embark on the most important season of his career, already believes his name belongs with the league's elite runners. ''I definitely do,'' Brown said Thursday after the Dolphins finished their latest organized team activities session. "You got to have confidence on this level and, you know, if I didn't, I wouldn't want to be playing this game. So, obviously, when their names are brought up I want my name to be in that same group.''


One of Bill Belichick's sons was arrested at Gillette Stadium earlier this week. 17-year-old Brian Belichick of Weston was one of several people arrested by Foxboro police Monday for underage drinking during the NCAA Lacrosse Championships. He appeared in Wrentham District Court Tuesday, paid a fine and the case was closed. n October 2006, Belichick's son Stephen was arrested for marijuana possession. He was placed on probation for six months. He was 19 at the time.


Is nose tackle Vince Wilfork set to make a statement about his displeasure over stagnant contract negotiations? Wilfork, who sent out three "tweets" on his Twitter account yesterday at the same time the Patriots were practicing at Gillette Stadium, has been frustrated at the lack of progress on contract talks. The sides haven't negotiated this offseason.


Bears general manager Jerry Angelo wants to explore every option in terms of upgrading the team. But don't expect the Bears to make a serious run at free-agent receiver Matt Jones. When asked about Jones during a community visit in Waukegan Wednesday afternoon, Angelo seemed to have reservations about adding the former Jacksonville Jaguar. "He was a first-round draft pick and he is a very talented player," Angelo said, "but it's case by case. We're not quick to move on any player." No doubt the Bears are concerned about Jones' checkered past, one that included an arrest for cocaine possession last July.


When news broke that receiver Anquan Boldin had dismissed agent Drew Rosenhaus and was seeking new representation, Cardinals fans hoped it would lead to a breakthrough. It might be wishful thinking. Boldin, who has been at odds with the team regarding his contract and had expressed a desire to be traded, did not attend Wednesday's voluntary organized team activities at the club's Tempe training facility, and coach Ken Whisenhunt said it was unclear whether anything has changed.


It appears Maurice Clarett is still thinking about football. And after reading one of his latest blog posts (he writes a blog from prison, where he is serving 3 1/2 years on robbery and illegal weapons possession), it wouldn't be a surprise if he attempts a comeback when he is released. Clarett was given a 3 1/2-year sentence in September, 2006, and will theoretically be freed in time for the 2010 season.


Vikings defensive tackle Pat Williams delivered a strong message to quarterback Tarvaris Jackson: Work harder. Jackson is locked in a fight for the starting quarterback job with Sage Rosenfels, and he has been put on notice by Williams, an outspoken team leader. "I talk to Tarvaris all the time (and) tell him you have to put in the time," Williams said recently on Sirius NFL Radio. "This ain't college no more. This is the NFL. You have to put in more time than you are used to putting in. If you are putting in four hours, you have to put in eight. You have to put in more time than what he's doing. I think if he puts the right time in, he will be a great quarterback in the league." Williams is one of the most respected veterans in the Vikings' locker room, so the Pro Bowler's comments carry significant weight. Jackson played poorly in Minnesota's first-round playoff loss to Philadelphia last season, throwing a critical interception that was returned for a touchdown.


Former Giants receiver Plaxico Burress, who has a residence in Miami, has told people he would love to join the Dolphins if his legal problems are resolved. However, the Dolphins are not interested in his services. The Jets and Buccaneers are reportedly interested. Burress will appear in court next month and faces the possibility of a 3 1/2 year sentence for carrying an unlicensed firearm.

Category: NFL
Posted on: May 26, 2009 12:55 pm

NFL Tidbits & Rumors - Updated 5/26/09

Some NFL Tidbits & Rumors. Enjoy:


Browns receiver Josh Cribbs will report to voluntary minicamp today after skipping the first camp last week, his agent, J.R. Rickert, said in a text Monday night. Cribbs missed all three voluntary practices last week because he was waiting for the Browns to engage in "meaningful dialogue" regarding a new contract. Rickert has said Cribbs will ask to be traded if the Browns tell him they won't redo his deal.


The Dallas Cowboys are expected to resume their organized team activities today in Carrollton without outside linebacker Greg Ellis. Citing anonymous sources, several media outlets reported last week that the team told Ellis, 33, he wouldn't be allowed to participate in the remainder of the OTAs. According to those reports, the Cowboys are going to either trade or release Ellis, an 11-year veteran. Potential destinations include New England, Miami, Cincinnati and Tampa Bay.


New Jersey cops are investigating a woman's claim that she was raped at the home of star Jets defensive back Kerry Rhodes after meeting him and another man at a Manhattan nightclub, The Post has learned. The woman, a Canadian tourist, told NYPD cops that two men raped her late Friday or early Saturday in Morristown, NJ, where the 26-year-old Jet safety has a town house, New York law-enforcement sources said. Rhodes, in a statement issued through a Jets spokesman, said: "I briefly talked with police on Saturday regarding an incident that allegedly took place at my home. The police confirmed to me that I am not the subject of this allegation."


Albert Haynesworth is among the people expected to be interviewed by NFL officials possibly as early as this week regarding allegations that the Washington Redskins violated league tampering rules, according to league sources. NFL investigators have been reviewing information relating to the Redskins' pursuit of Haynesworth, who formerly played for the Tennessee Titans, and whether his representative was improperly contacted before free agency officially began at midnight Feb. 27. The Redskins and Haynesworth agreed to terms of a deal by 5:30 a.m. Feb. 27.


The trade rumors about Oakland Raiders defensive end Derrick Burgess are real. So real, in fact, the Raiders asked the Patriots for their second-round pick this year, Sebastian Vollmer, and back-up quarterback Kevin O'Connell in exchange for Burgess. The Pats turned down that trade proposal, just as the Raiders have turned down a few of the Patriots'. New England remains interested in Burgess, but the prevailing thought in the NFL is that the Raiders will not trade him -- they're just making it seem that they're making the effort. Burgess has made it clear to anyone who listens that he wants out.


Supermodel Gisele Bundchen is expecting a little munchkin, it was reported Friday. The Brazilian beauty has told close friends she's expecting her first child with New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, according to Brady, 31, has one child already, John Edward Moynahan, with actress Bridget Moynahan whom he left for the supermodel in late 2006.


Tedd Ginn said he wants to raise his game ''to another level,'' and the Dolphins have challenged him, starting with general manager Jeff Ireland's remark last month that ``it's time for Ted Ginn to really show what he was drafted here to do.'' With offseason practice under way, the Dolphins want to see improvement running after the catch, better knowledge of the coverage and getting of press at the line of scrimmage.


Receiver Braylon Edwards, speaking at voluntary minicamp for the first time since off-season trade rumors, said he didn't want to leave Cleveland on a bad note after his subpar 2008 season. "I didn't get excited [about the rumors]," he said. "One, they were rumors and there was nothing to hold on to. And two, I felt like if I would have left Cleveland for any reason, I would have left with a bad taste in my mouth. "I wanted to get back to playing good football, definitely here. It's a business and who knows what's going to happen next year. But for me, it was just about getting back to what I know I can do and being the player the Browns drafted in '05 and that the fans saw in '07."

Category: NFL
Posted on: May 22, 2009 12:57 pm

NFL Tidbits & Rumors - Updated 5/22/09

Some more NFL tidbits & rumors. Enjoy:


The Dallas Cowboys are shopping outside linebacker Greg Ellis, multiple sources told FanHouse on Thursday. Ellis is one of the most trusted defenders the team has, but it would like to push 2007 first-round pick Anthony Spencer into a starting role. Dallas is serious about a potential move because on Thursday, the final day of this week's organized team activities, the team sent Ellis home, not allowing him to practice. The Cowboys did this last year during some OTAs, and coach Wade Phillips said then it was to not wear Ellis down. He turns 34 in August. This week the team held a team meeting with several of its veterans including Tony Romo, Jason Witten, DeMarcus Ware and Marcus Spears. Ellis, who is tied with left tackle Flozell Adams with the longest tenure on the team, was not invited to the meeting by the coaches. Ellis took that as a sign he might not be wanted.


Former Patriots receiver Donte' Stallworth could avoid a lengthy prison sentence even if he is found to have been impaired when the car he was driving struck and killed a pedestrian in Miami March 14, according to a report on Yahoo! Sports. Stallworth, whose arraignment yesterday on DUI manslaughter was delayed until next month, has not yet entered a plea to charges he was driving drunk when he struck and killed Mario Reyes in the early morning hours of March 14. Tests showed Stallworth's blood-alcohol level was .126, well above Florida's .08 limit. Yahoo! Sports, citing two NFL sources and a pair of Florida attorneys, said Stallworth's prison sentence may be as little as two or three months rather than the possibility of up to 15 years. There is also the possibility Stallworth, who is under contract with the Browns, could play this season. According to Florida's DUI manslaughter law, there are exceptions under what is called "causation" of an accident. In short, someone who is driving drunk and causes an accident is not necessarily responsible if the other party did something to contribute to the accident. In this case, Reyes allegedly was jaywalking when he was hit. If Reyes was jaywalking, it could be argued he contributed to the accident. In addition, Stallworth claimed to have flashed his lights and honked his horn at Reyes, which is being interpreted by Stallworth's side as a way of warning Reyes.


While all the attention has been focused on Josh Cribbs' absence, yet another veteran has decided to skip the first full-team camp of the Mangini Era.In addition to Donte Stallworth and Josh Cribbs, veteran kicker Phil Dawson was missing from the minicamp practice that was open to the media this morning. The press met with Eric Mangini prior to the practice and were unaware that Dawson was not in camp. There are some reports that Dawson is unhappy with his contract and might be the reason he was not present.


He won't offer his first word of analysis until a Cardinals-Steelers exhibition game Aug. 13, but already the inclination is to agree that ESPN's choice of Jon Gruden as a replacement for Tony Kornheiser on "Monday Night Football" telecasts is a shrewd one - for this year, anyway. But there could be an eventual downside for ESPN. Gruden, who was fired last season after the Buccaneers lost their final four games to miss the playoffs, sounded like a man taking a one-year sabbatical rather than someone making a career change. Once, when asked about the length of his contract, he said, "I'm a short-term, goal-oriented person." At another point he said, "I dearly miss coaching." If he returns to the sideline after just one season in the booth, ESPN would be in the awkward position of making a major alteration to the broadcast team for the third time since "Monday Night Football" moved to the network in 2006.


The verbal salvos from Carson Palmer about Chad Ochocinco's absence from the Bengals this offseason have intensified. On Sirius NFL Radio on Tuesday, Palmer issued his strongest criticism yet about the absence of the ninth-year wide receiver. "It's definitely a new look for the Bengals receiver corps but I couldn't be happier with the guys we've got," Palmer said. "T.J.'s (Houshmandzadeh) gone and Chad's pretty much gone, he hasn't been here, so we've got guys that want those two spots, guys that compete day in and day out, when we're out there on the field, running, conditioning and in the weight room lifting. They're guys that want to take over for those two spots. They look every bit capable of doing what we're going to ask them to do."


The rhetoric for a possible contract extension for Cardinals wide receiver Anquan Boldin has become more amicable -- but the same can't be said about the talks between the team and defensive tackle Darnell Dockett. Cardinals president Michael Bidwill, who was at the NFL Spring Meetings, said Wednesday, "We've worked hard at getting Anquan Boldin extended and we'll continue to do those things." Boldin's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said that even though Boldin is still open to be traded, a deal can be reached. "We can work out a deal with the Cardinals and we have put forth an offer to them," Rosenhaus said. Regarding that offer, Rosenhaus said he has made a proposal for a deal that would average less than $10 million a year and that the numbers are "consistent with the top receivers in the game. Not the highest paid but it's consistent with the top guys." Boldin, a Pro Bowler, has two years and $5.75 million left on his contract and has been outspoken about getting a new deal or being dealt for months. As for Dockett, it doesn't appear as if any movement toward his demands for a new contract will happen anytime soon. That might prompt a trade demand.


Eli Manning was a bit more candid than usual in an interview with Boomer Esiason on this week's Boomer Esiason Show on MSG. In fact, Manning made it clear the Giants are ready to move on without recently released receiver Plaxico Burress, and seemed to back off previous comments about the need to get a big receiver. Eli's response when Esiason asked about the team's wide receiver situation with Burress out of the picture, according to a transcript of the interview: "I feel confident. They didn't need to go and get a big wide receiver. When Plaxico was injured, the guys stepped up and put up big points. It's not like we need to have him. We put up big points. It's not like we weren't playing well because of Plaxico. We just weren't playing very good football. Steve Smith is coming around in his third year and he's going to be a guy who gets more playing time. Young guys are getting more experience."


With bodies and egos colliding all around practice fields, altercations are common in the NFL. But Bucs cornerback Aqib Talib let a routine run-in escalate Wednesday, inadvertently striking would-be peacemaker Torrie Cox with his helmet in an apparent attempt to hit left tackle Donald Penn. Cox's agent, Peter Schaffer, said his client was attempting to break up the skirmish. Penn said that Cox, a veteran cornerback at 28, sustained facial cuts he described as minor. Talib, the Bucs' 2008 first-round draft pick out of Kansas and perhaps the centerpiece of the team's secondary this season, has drawn unwanted attention with this run-in, which comes a year after he fought with then-teammate Cory Boyd at the league's rookie symposium in California.


A reporter asked Jay Cutler what he thought the Bears' offensive philosophy would be. Here was Jay's answer: "We're going to run the ball. I think I've learned the hard way that you've got to run the ball and you've got to stop the run to get anywhere in this league, to make the playoffs and make a push for the Super Bowl, so that's not going to change. Especially here in December with the wind and the weather, you've got to grind out those 4 or 5 yard runs and get yourself to a manageable position," Cutler said. Decide for yourselves what Cutler meant by that, but I take it to mean that he had probably the same feeling as the rest of us about why the Broncos crumbled in the final stretch of the 2008 season: No consistent running game, and a defense that couldn't stop anybody.

Category: NFL
Posted on: May 20, 2009 12:55 pm

NFL Tidbits & Rumors - Updated 5/20/09

Some NFL tidbits & Rumors. Enjoy:


According to, Here's the real team to watch as a Michael Vick destination. The Buffalo Bills. The Bills want to win. Now. Whether it's because owner Ralph Wilson is feeling a Leon Hess-style sense of urgency or whether coach Dick Jauron feels a Rich Kotite-style sense of urgency or a combination of both, the Bills are going all in. They offered receiver Terrell Owens $6.5 million guaranteed at a time when no one else was willing to pay him $6.50.And a league source tells us that the Bills made a very aggressive play for defensive end Jason Taylor immediately after Taylor was cut in March by the Redskins. In fact, the Bills were the very first team to pursue Taylor. As to the potential backlash from signing Vick, consider the fans' reaction to the arrival of T.O. He's already gotten the key to the freaking city. So if any team can sell this transaction to their fans, it's the Bills.


It turns out surgery is not an option after all - at least not at this moment - in the mind of Brett Favre. Contrary to a report on Monday out of Minnesota that said Favre was on his way to Alabama for surgery on his partially torn biceps tendon, Favre apparently would like to continue trying every nonsurgical method to correct the arm instead. ESPN countered the surgery report Tuesday with its own story that said surgery was not imminent. Rather, Favre would turn to cortisone injections and biceps curls or light throwing in an attempt to tear the tendon completely in an effort to eliminate the pain. Now, once again, Favre's future is, at least publicly, uncertain. ESPN also reported that Favre could be close to a decision. "Either way, Favre is losing patience, causing the source to say the shoulder problem must be overcome soon or Favre is likely to abandon his effort to play a 19th NFL season," the report said. Even NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said he was unsure about Favre's future. "I don't know if he officially retired," Goodell said.


Get ready, NFL. Tom Brady is back. And if all the indications from this spring are correct, the new Brady should be pretty close, if not identical, to the old Brady who started the 2008 season with a clean bill of health. According to a source close to Brady, the quarterback has "no restrictions at all" as a result of his reconstructed left knee and is "more than excited" about his progress. Brady tore his ACL and MCL during last season's opening game and underwent reconstructive surgery Oct. 6. An infection resulted from the surgery, but the infection was quickly contained after follow-up procedures. Brady was able to return his normal rehabilitation schedule within "10 days to two weeks" after the follow-up procedures, the source said. That means the quarterback is roughly six months into the rehab process. "He's full go," the source said Tuesday. A second source confirmed that assessment.


Running back Ricky Williams said he would like to play this season and in 2010 and then retire. "I want to be one of the guys who can walk away from the game on my own terms," said Williams, who abruptly retired in May 2004 and missed time because of drug suspensions from 2005 through '07. Williams, who still gets drug tested three times a week, will turn 32 on Thursday. "As far as when the ball is snapped, I don't feel 32," he said. "Maybe after when I get home I feel 32, but on the field I don't feel it. I think I'm in a good situation where I'm not going to be asked to carry the ball 30 times."


Agent Drew Rosenhaus said Jets RB Thomas Jones will end his boycott of non-mandatory team sessions and report to organized team activities next Wednesday. Jones has skipped the voluntary workouts because he's hoping to redo his contract with the team. "I will admit that we are in some discussions with the team," Rosenhaus said Tuesday at the NFL Spring Meeting. "He's not unhappy. There is no acrimony, and who knows? He may even be showing up in the near future. I don't think this situation is as bad as people are making it out to be, and we're hopeful he will be back in the fold and there won?'t be any issues." Shortly after making those comments, Rosenhaus stated on his Twitter page that Jones will report to the Jets' OTA workout next Wednesday. The team has OTA sessions scheduled for May 27-28.


The Miami Dolphins are just in helmets and shorts, but second-round pick Pat White got his first crack at the Wildcat offense during the team's organized training activity session today. White lined up as a receiver while tailback Ronnie Brown took snaps from center. When asked if that's how White will be used in the Dolphins' offense, coach Tony Sparano cracked a smile and said, "I don't know." As a quarterback during rookie minicamp earlier this month White's NFL inexperience wasn't apparent, but during today's session the glove-wearing lefty threw a number of balls far beyond the reach of his targeted receivers.


Bucs fans, Kellen Winslow hears you. He knows many have wondered what to make of his absence during the first two days of voluntary offseason workouts last week, prompting him to address those concerns today in an interview with the Times. Winslow said his still-incomplete move to the Tampa area has been the main reason for his absence last week and this week. He vowed to be in attendance beginning May 26, when the Bucs begin a third week of workouts at One Buc Place. Winslow said he consulted with coach Raheem Morris beforehand and said even ownership was made aware he would not be in attendance for the first five sessions of the offseason. Though he isn't working with his teammates in their non-contact drills, Winslow stressed the fact that he is continuing his punishing personal workouts, something he does each offseason. He vowed to arrive in shape, ready to perform.


Coach Mike Singletary is exhibiting mid-November intensity. Singletary stopped practice early in the 49ers' organized team activity today to implore the team to get its act together. After practice he gathered the team around to deliver another impassioned pep talk. "We lost a day," Singletary said of the practice session that did not meet his approval. When asked about what he didn't like, Singletary said, "I don't even want to get started. It was not good."


Do not invite Jon Gruden and NFL Network czar Steve Bornstein to the same event anytime soon, or ever. Bornstein wants to wring Gruden's neck. The NFL Network is furious with Gruden for jilting the network after he'd verbally agreed to a deal to work there. The former Bucs coach had been very good on the NFL Network, colorful and opinionated, at the NFL scouting combine and the NFL draft, and the network had finalized everything but the signature on the paper for Gruden to begin working there immediately. In fact, he was slated to be at NFL Films this week to begin his job full time. But ESPN swooped in, offered Gruden the Monday night seat vacated by Tony Kornheiser (how convenient), and Gruden took it. The NFL Network planned to put Gruden on the air all season, then move him to the Thursday night football booth alongside Bob Papa, replacing Cris Collinsworth. Now it's back to ground zero in its search for a voice to pair with Papa. One of the reasons the NFL Network is so steamed, I'm told, is that no one from the Gruden camp called Bornstein to tell him. In many cases like this, the league might work with its TV partners to tell them, "Hey, hands off,'' or "Play fair here,'' but that didn't happen here. ESPN got to Gruden too fast. Now there are two people who should have been NFL Network stars this fall -- Gruden and ace reporter Adam Schefter -- who will instead work for ESPN. And the NFL Network is not pleased about the defection of either one.


As first reported by ESPN and confirmed by Christopher Price of, the Patriots are interested in trading a 2010 draft pick to acquire Oakland Raiders pass rusher Derrick Burgess. The purported deal the Patriots are considering would send either a second-round pick (New England has three in 2010) or a third-round pick to Oakland for Burgess, who is in the final season of a five-year deal he signed after leaving Philadelphia for Oakland as a free agent in 2005. The 6-2, 260-pound Burgess, a two-time Pro Bowler, has played defensive end in his career, but would be a 3-4 outside linebacker for the Patriots, helping fill the void created when the team traded Mike Vrabel to Kansas City. Reports out of the Bay Area have said Burgess is unhappy with his contract status. He attended the Raiders mini-camp earlier this month, but didn't practice due to stomach flu.


There wasn't a press release or an announcement, but the Eagles have indicated a significant shift in direction this week with an updated "unofficial" depth chart on the team's web site. Andy Reid had indicated the team would look at playing Shawn Andrews at right tackle and just-acquired brother Stacy Andrews at right guard this season. Reid said Andrews was drafted as a tackle project, but placed at guard only because the tackle slots were already manned. Well, they aren't just looking at it, as the Eagles head into the first of two OTA camps this week. Shawn is the tackle and Stacy the guard on the depth chart. The Eagles don't do this kind of thing lightly. You have to watch them every minute and read the hints the way the Chinese used to read Democracy Wall in Beijing for hints what the government was thinking. It may say "unofficial," but the change wouldn't have been made unless it was going to be a fact.


Jason Taylor apparently is OK with not starting for the Dolphins this coming season because he has been told he probably won't. He apparently recognizes the importance of the team's offseason workout program, the one he famously skipped last offseason, because he has been told it's important to the team. Taylor is even agreeable to earning his way onto Miami's roster, beating out less-accomplished but younger players, because he has been told if he doesn't, his return will be short-lived. Taylor knows exactly where he stands with coach Tony Sparano and football czar Bill Parcells. And that is a refreshing, wonderful thing. Unlike Cam Cameron, the last Dolphins coach Taylor played for, the regime running the Dolphins now doesn't have the gift of double-talk. They do not say one thing and do another, as Nick Saban did.


The skeptics are in confederacy against Deuce McAllister. The former Saints running back knows he's being universally dismissed, that most everyone -- NFL fans, reporters, scouts and executives -- thinks his playing career is over. He even cracked a wry smile and chuckled when someone asked if he'd consider a career in coaching or in the front office if the New Orleans Saints offered him a golden parachute. There's little left for McAllister to accomplish individually. He's the Saints' all-time leading rusher and scorer and a two-time Pro Bowler. His singular focus now is on winning a Super Bowl. McAllister said he doesn't want to work out for teams until his knee is as close to 100 percent as possible. But once it is, he's confident a team will find a role for him.

Category: NFL
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