|03-24-2005, 07:19 AM||#1|
Ring of Famer
Join Date: May 2003
Location: The Ville
Nfl Report Thurs.
The NFL owners meetings opened with commissioner Paul Tagliabue saying negotiations for a collective bargaining agreement extension have been exhausted to a point in which he considered them at a dead end. Four days of meetings produced some progress in talks. Though the extension talks may still be at an impasse, Tagliabue plans to move forward. "I think we made some progress internally on the collective bargaining issues," Tagliabue said as the owners meetings in Maui closed Wednesday. "There was a lot of good discussion." The high revenue teams such as Dallas, New England, Washington and others don't want a revenue tax to help the lower revenue teams. Where the meeting concluded was that the league and committees are studying several different formulas from the league's resources to fund those lower revenue teams. One concept involves the $500 million of benefits that amounts to $15 million a team. The concern is that increased revenues because of the new rich television contract extensions force the lower revenue teams to eat up too much of their money meeting the minimums of the salary cap. Committee meetings are being scheduled in April, and there will be a CBA related owners meeting April 19 in Atlanta to further continue the process.
The NFL may be ready to make decisions on the four Los Angeles area sites for stadiums -- Anaheim, Carson, the Rose Bowl and the Los Angeles Coliseum. Reports were given on those sites at the owners meeting in Maui. The next step will come at the May meeting when owners may start to vote on those concepts and inform the bidders what the NFL likes and what they don't like.
Miami Dolphins owner Wayne Huizenga received favorable responses to his idea of putting permanents facilities near Dolphins Stadium to secure future Super Bowls on a three-year basis. Owners loved the concept but this is a long-term project because of the cost involved, along with the notion the NFL would have to commit the Super Bowl to Miami every three years. A vote on such a project may be years down the line, but the idea was a big hit.
As expected, nothing was done by the NFL in regards to Minnesota Vikings HC Mike Tice's past sales of Super Bowl tickets. Commissioner Paul Tagliabue will await a report from league investigators before he makes any decision on fines or disciplined. Tice didn't talk about the subject Wednesday morning while he awaits the results of the investigation. "We have a policy for distributed tickets to team employees for their use and they are not for re-sale," Tagliabue said
Dolphins RB Ricky Williams, whom Dolphins HC Nick Saban would support in a comeback. The league's position is if Williams returns before July 28th -- his retirement date in 2004 -- he would be subject to a one-year suspension for retiring while under the league's substance abuse program and avoiding the drug testing. If he returns after July 28th, he would be subject to the four-game suspension he owed from last year. Why the difference? The NFL can't stop a player from wanting to un-retire if there is a team that wants him. But if he uses a retirement to avoid drug testing, they have the right to administer a stern penalty.
New York Jets HC Herman Edwards expects QB Chad Pennington back for training camp. Edwards said Pennington, who underwent extensive right rotator cuff surgery - a difficult injury for someone who has to throw a football - has been a regular at the team's complex. "Chad's a quick healer," Edwards said. "He should be back in plenty of time (for July's opening of camp). Pennington has a new offensive coordinator, OC Mike Heimerdinger, who has a more aggressive approach than Paul Hackett. Edwards said the long-passing game that was nearly extinct under Hackett will be emphasized this season. "We'll be a little more open as far as going downfield with the ball," he said. "We'll be more big-play oriented."
The Washington Post reports after visiting his fourth NFL team Tuesday, DE Courtney Brown is expected to inform his suitors -- including the Washington Redskins -- of his choice today, according to sources familiar with the situation. HC Joe Gibbs has publicly played down Washington's chances of acquiring Brown, despite a courtship that started when the Cleveland Browns released him March 14 for not accepting a substantial pay cut. "One good thing about recruiting and free agency, sooner or later they wear out," Gibbs said yesterday at the NFL owners' meetings in Hawaii. "I'm going to be part of the wear-out process because I'm going to call them in the morning and I'm going to call them at night. Sooner or later, they're going to say, 'Okay. I give. We're not coming or I'm coming.' " According to a source, the Redskins and Broncos remain the front-runners, and both teams have called him repeatedly over the past two days. The Broncos also have publicly expressed confidence about obtaining Brown.
The Sun Sentinel reports if retired RB Ricky Williams decides to play football again, one of his former coaches believes the Dolphins would be making a big mistake taking him back. "I don't know that his teammates would actually want him back for what he did," New Orleans Saints HC Jim Haslett said Wednesday at the NFL's annual meeting on Maui. "He ruined lives. Coaches, players -- I don't know how an organization would even want him back, but that's something they have to look at. I wouldn't want him on my team."
The Post Gazette reports Saints HC Jim Haslett went from a 160-pound quarterback at Avalon High School to a 230-pound defensive end at IUP, but he said it wasn't until he reached the NFL that he took steroids. Haslett, the New Orleans Saints' coach, discussed the rampant steroids use in the NFL 25 years ago at a time when Major League Baseball is attempting to rid that sport of the illegal drugs. He detailed his use of steroids yesterday over breakfast at the NFL meetings in Maui. Haslett estimated that half the NFL players, including all the linemen, used steroids in the 1980s when they were not banned by the league and legal if prescribed medically. He claimed steroids began in the NFL with the Steelers' players in the 1970s and mentioned Barry Bonds as having tell-tale signs of use.
The Post Gazette reports free-spirited WR Plaxico Burress and Giants HC Tom Coughlin, the dictator coach of the New York Giants, do not seem to be an ideal pairing. But, so far, so good, Coughlin said. "I felt very good about Plax, very good," Coughlin said yesterday. "I enjoyed our opportunity to sit and talk with him. I think studying this guy on tape, seeing what he can do, seeing the quality of player he can be is exciting. It's exciting for our team. I think our quarterback is excited about that."
The Indianapolis Star reports Jim Irsay said during a break at the NFL owners' meetings this week that he intends to sign Colts HC Tony Dungy to a contract extension before training camp, which opens in late July. Dungy has two years remaining on the five-year, $13 million deal he signed in 2002. "He can sign an extension tonight as far as I'm concerned," Irsay said. "We're not going to talk about it that much, but we'll do it. "He certainly deserves one, sooner than most." In three seasons, Dungy has directed the Colts to three playoff appearances, including a trip to the AFC Championship game after the 2003 season, and an overall record of 37-17. The 37 wins rank fourth in franchise history.
The Florida Times-Union reports the Jaguars continued their pursuit of DE Courtney Brown on Wednesday as their chief negotiator, Paul Vance, said the team "outlined a proposal [for Brown] that would make some sense.'' Brown has also talked to the Redskins, Broncos and Seahawks, and the Browns are still interested in having him return. He might make a decision as soon as today.
Titans correspondent Terry McCormick reports for the City Paper reports while CB Andre Dyson is waiting to secure some more visits in free agency, perhaps next week, older brother WR Kevin Dyson is also drawing some interest. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Washington Redskins have both inquired about the wide receiver and former Tennessee No. 1 pick, who did not play last season after being released by San Diego. WR Kevin Dyson tried out with the Titans in September when WR Tyrone Calico was injured, but the club opted not sign him because of salary cap constraints and Dysonís past injury situation.
The Denver Post reports Broncos restricted free-agent DT Monsanto Pope could garner an offer. His agent, Ron Del Duca, said Pope has had a few calls from interested teams. Pope, like TE Jeb Putzier and CB Kelly Herndon, fits the perfect profile of a player teams go after in restricted free agency. He started most of the season and would not cost much. Pope was a seventh- round pick, so any team that signs him would owe the Broncos a seventh-round pick in this year's draft if Denver failed to match. Teams figure getting a starter now is better than reaching for a project in the late rounds
The Tampa Tribune reports the Bucs are seeking to add a veteran quarterback and the latest rumor has Tampa Bay interested in San Francisco 49ers QB Tim Rattay. The 49ers are expected to take a quarterback with the first pick in the draft and San Francisco could be tempted to move Rattay for a draft choice. Rattay, a seventh-round pick in 2000, battled forearm, groin, foot and shoulder injuries last year and wound up appearing in just nine games before finishing on injured reserve.
The Tampa Tribune reports Bucs HC Jon Gruden offered a detailed and at times searing analysis of QB Chris Simms on Wednesday, saying the third-year quarterback needs to ``tune out'' hype and hit open receivers when he gets opportunities playing behind QB Brian Griese. Even while acknowledging Simms' intriguing potential, Gruden chronicled some of the reasons why the Bucs decided to re-sign Griese last month instead of turning the starting job over to the former University of Texas standout. ``He's just got to keep working, and when Chris gets his opportunity, he's got to put points up on the board,'' Gruden said at the NFL owners meetings. ``He can't fumble the ball on the 1-inch line against Seattle, or throw an interception on the 18 with 1:50 to go and two timeouts. We have to find a way to eliminate those kinds of plays because, in the middle there, there's some really flashy, exciting things. He's got some real positive things to draw from - and he's got some real negative things to spit out and eliminate. I think he's got to keep coming on ... try not to listen to the elevator music and these chat sessions.''
Texas tailback Cedric Benson had an "average" Pro Day workout on Wednesday.At the University of Texas' pro day in Austin, six teams surveyed by the Chronicle had Benson's 40-yard dash time as low as 4.59 seconds and as high as 4.67, with an average of 4.63.
Benson, 5-10 3/8 , 225, had a vertical jump of 33 inches and a long jump of 9-8. He bench-pressed 225 pounds 18 times.