|03-20-2005, 10:31 AM||#1|
Ring of Famer
Join Date: May 2003
Location: The Ville
NFL Report Sunday.
Could there be progress made on Tom Brady's contract extension this week with the Patriots brass at the owners' meetings in Hawaii? One source familiar with the negotiations said late last week, "There's more than a fair amount of work to be done. I think the characterization that it was close a few weeks ago was quite premature, and it was surprising that it was put out there by someone, but I'm not sure that was an accurate characterization at the time. I think it will get done, but it's not that easy, and completing it is going to require a good deal of work." If Brady agrees to what has been proposed, he would likely be one of the top three paid quarterbacks, behind Peyton Manning and Michael Vick.
Agent Carl Poston said he's been authorized by the Oakland Raiders to make a sign-and-trade deal for his other top-echelon cornerback, Charles Woodson, who received and accepted the Raiders' franchise tender of $10.5 million. Woodson's high number will likely mean he stays in Oakland, but Poston hasn't ruled out a trade developing before the summer.
It is Raiders owner Al Davis' opinion that Reggie Fowler is a cinch to be approved as owner of the Vikings. "Paul Tagliabue has accomplished some great things for the NFL with big television income, a good collective bargaining agreement among other things," said Davis, who seldom talks to the press. "Tagliabue is going to retire in the next few years. The one thing he wants to accomplish before he retires is to have at least one minority owner in the NFL. "The NFL will find a way to make sure that Fowler is able to buy the team from Red McCombs."
Ty Law may be unable to run yet because his broken foot is still healing, but that hasn't stopped him from making a number of stops at cornerback-challenged NFL cities. First it was his hometown of Pittsburgh. Then Kansas City. Law also expects to visit with the Jets and Colts.
Bears QB Rex Grossman said if there was a game this week, he could play on his right knee, which was surgically repaired in October after he tore the anterior cruciate ligament. He has been doing all quarterback work necessary for a few weeks and says the half-year off from throwing was good for his arm. Because he's at Halas Hall every day working out, Grossman also is spending many hours a week in offensive coordinator Ron Turner's office in the fifth offense he will have played in in five years.
In an exclusive interview with the Daily News, Michael Strahan says the marriage is over but he wants to end the relationship with dignity for the sake of his family - and especially for his 5-month-old daughters. "You realize that everything really boils down to them," he says. "If I were a man without kids, without family, then this would be, 'Hey, you want to duke it out, let's duke it out.' "But I got kids. I got nephews. I got nieces. I got a mother and father and brothers and sisters. And Jean has the same. And I think just for our families' sake, I don't want to slug it out. "I'm not looking to fight, because I think our families are going to be the biggest losers in this. And to me, it's not worth it." The 13-year National Football League veteran says he feels compelled to set the record straight because he feels his wife has taken some dishonest, painful shots since their marriage - which looked like a fairy-tale relationship to his friends and fans - collapsed in the 10 days since Jean Strahan called police to their Montclair, N.J., mansion.
Raiders owner Al Davis on the Randy Moss trade: "I have a reputation for being able to handle any type of football player," Davis said. "Randy and I will have no problems. We checked him out. He is a good kid." On another subject, Davis said he expects Rich Gannon, the Excelsior resident who has been the Raiders quarterback since 1999, to retire from football.
Doug Flutie and Vinny Testaverde remain possibilities if the Patriots want a fourth quarterback for training camp. The popular choice would be Flutie, who at 42 would be coming home to finish his career. But the Patriots aren't known for doing things based on popularity. Flutie will be weighing NFL and television opportunities in the weeks to come. The Hamilton Tiger Cats reportedly want him back in the CFL, but that seems unlikely.
You're Tedy Bruschi and you're upset, disappointed and more than a little ticked off. And it has nothing to do with your physical condition and the reported upcoming surgery you face to close the reported hole in your heart that allegedly caused the ``mild stroke'' you suffered a month ago. It has to do with the lack of respect for you and your family's privacy shown by segments of the media in the immediate aftermath of your hospitalization. You've been a playmaker with the Patriots since 1996 when you came here as a third-round draft pick from Arizona. You've been to four Super Bowls and you have three NFL championship rings. You had just returned from your first Pro Bowl appearance when you suffered the stroke. The words ``reported'' and ``allegedly'' are used because there has been nothing official announced. You've put up a roadblock along this particular information superhighway, a sign of your unhappiness with the media.
Patriots WR Troy Brown is still available, but he's given his agents instructions to avoid saying anything to the media about where he might sign for 2005.
Muhsin Muhammad is guaranteed a starting job at one Bears wide receiver position, but after starting all of 2004, Bobby Wade isn't assured of anything. "Of course Bobby started for us last year, but we really like what Bernard Berrian was able to do in the limited amount of time he had,'' Lovie Smith said. "The year before, Justin Gage was really coming into his own. As it is every year, there will be open competition. You have a starting order, a pecking order, but all those guys will get a chance.'' If Berrian can play consistently, he could provide a real speed threat opposite Muhammad.
Chad Johnson on the 2005 Bengals: "We are the team to beat," Chad said. "We just need to dominate the AFC. We might as well. We've got the tools on offense to do it. Me, Rudi and T.J. have been together going on five years, and Carson's coming along perfect. Why not us? It's our time now. "We missed the playoffs (with an 8-8 record) by one game last year. Buffalo messed us up. It's real simple this year. Win the games we're supposed to win, and the ones we're not — where they count us out — we've got to find a way to win 'em."
The Chiefs have been preoccupied with defense in free agency, but they do have former Browns receiver Kevin Johnson on their radar screen.
Status of the NFL's next prime-time television package. The FOX and CBS Sunday afternoon contracts were extended six years through 2011 in November. At issue are the Sunday and Monday night packages - "Monday Night Football" could be moved to ESPN, and ABC would show Sunday night games - and a possible new package of Thursday and Saturday night games.
Other rules issues to be discussed: The Kansas City Chiefs proposed adopting the college rule for pass interference. That sets a limit of 15 yards on interference calls. The current NFL rule puts the ball at the spot of the foul, even if it's 60 yards downfield. The Chiefs also proposed eliminating the automatic first down on an illegal contact penalty and capping the infraction at 5 yards. The Chiefs argue that an automatic first down is a pretty harsh penalty on an incomplete pass on, say, third-and-15. The other side of the fence is a 5-yard penalty would encourage more aggressive contact on long pass plays simply to avoid a big play.
A full 35 days after Vikings owner Red McCombs and Reggie Fowler announced their $625 million agreement, the approval process has slowed, if not stalled. Even the long end of McCombs' timetable no longer seems possible; the league now projects a resolution no earlier than late May.
Based on moves such as the signing of veterans Trent Dilfer (quarterback), Jason Fisk (defensive tackle) and Joe Andruzzi (guard), it's clear Browns General Manager Phil Savage privately thinks the team can quickly become playoff material, though he publicly downplays such expectations. And here's more evidence: Recently signed veteran linebacker Matt Stewart says one reason he decided to join the Browns is because he's been assured that the team expects to start winning soon. The Browns were 4-12 last year.
Restricted free agent Tim Hasselbeck is also getting some interest. He was off for a visit with an undisclosed team this weekend. No, it wasn't the Patriots. Hasselbeck received a low tender of $680,000 from the Redskins, which might help him get a backup job with another team, since there would be no compensation due. It is also in Hasselbeck's favor that he has played a bit, starting three games in 2003.
Charlie Weis confirmed there was a brief period of turbulence between him and Bill Belichick last spring when the former offensive coordinator had reached a contract impasse with the Patriots. But they smoothed things over quickly, said Weis, who is now head coach at Notre Dame. "All I'll say is this: Those were anxious times," said Weis. "There was a lot of animosity at that point stemming from that contract. But that situation was dealt with very quickly and Bill and I spent a lot of time on our relationship after that. We put it behind us quickly, and I must admit that our relationship from that point on was the best it ever was during my time with him." Weis and his agent, Bob Lamonte, were trying to work out an extension that would have bumped Weis from the $500,000 he was earning to a salary of about $1 million.
The Bears, for the second straight year, did not sign a veteran to compete with Rex Grossman. GM Jerry Angelo would rather find out if he's got something in Grossman than flounder with a veteran whose best days are behind him.
The NFL will consider adding those maddening "down by contact" plays that wipe out fumbles to the jurisdiction of instant replay at the league meetings this week. So many times a player fumbles, but the official blows the whistle and rules he was down by contact before the ball came out. Then replay shows the ball came out before the player was down. Now, if it gets 24 out of 32 votes, these plays will be added to replay if the ball was immediately recovered. No advancement would be allowed.
Michael Strahan is looking for a career in TV and commercials when his football career ends. There is no doubt he is on a short list of current players who networks such as Fox, CBS and ESPN are interested in. If his divorce battle continues to be featured in newspapers and on TV, will Strahan's own TV future be stopped in its tracks? A network executive, who declined to be identified, said under normal circumstances background checks are done on all former players under consideration for a TV gig. When someting as sensational and public as a high-profile divorce is involved, not a lot of "homework" is needed.