|04-25-2005, 08:59 AM||#1|
Ring of Famer
Join Date: May 2003
Location: The Ville
The only veteran on the team is Joey Galloway, so the Bucs still feel a need to add a veteran before training camp rolls around. Two possibilities are Rod Gardner of the Redskins and free agent Jerry Rice. ``There are a lot of veteran receivers wanting to come over here,'' said Gruden, who also remains on the lookout for a veteran quarterback and possibly help at cornerback. The latter is one spot the Bucs did not bolster during the weekend's draft.
The Eagles have been talking about trading for Travis Henry for nearly 2 weeks now; they've been uncharacteristically candid about their interest. Yet, they haven't traded for Henry, which would seem to fuel suspicions that their involvement with Buffalo has a lot to do with trying to get Brian Westbrook to sign a long-term contract at a number they can accept. If the Eagles trade for Henry, who has a year left on his contract, they are said to be ready to sign him to a long-term deal, which would pretty much shut the door on one with Westbrook. The Bills had been trying to get a third-round pick for Henry, 26, a two-time 1,000-yard rusher. Donahoe said no one offered them that. Asked if he would take a pick from next April, maybe less than a third-rounder, Donahoe said: "We're willing to discuss anything, but someone has to offer you something, so you can have a conversation.''
Since the Jets did not pick a surefire run-stopper in the draft, hammering out a deal with John Abraham might become even more of a priority. Abraham, designated as their franchise player in February, has rejected the team's 1-year, $6.7 million offer. "We have conversations all the time, but those conversations are private," Bradway said, referring to contract negations with Abraham. Jets Coach Herman Edwards was unavailable for comment.
Shawne Merriman thought he was headed to Dallas, which had the pick just before the Chargers. Shawne Merriman is happy. But he is also the kind of guy to happily carry a little bit of a grudge. And the men who run the Dallas Cowboys, coincidentally the first team Merriman will play against as a professional, are not his favorite people at present. "Bill Parcells and Jerry Jones both told me if I was still on the board at No. 11 they were going to pull the trigger," Merriman said yesterday. "Not only was I lied to, I was smacked in the face." The Cowboys took another pass-rush specialist, Demarcus Ware of Troy, with the 11th pick of the NFL draft Saturday.
After months of discussion, the Cardinals never came close to trading for Buffalo running back Travis Henry. Arizona left tackle L.J. Shelton remains in limbo, although he said he didn't expect the deal to be made. "If it was going to happen, it probably wouldn't have come down to the last day," he said. Shelton has been working out at Make Plays, a Phoenix training center. He said he weighs 336, one pound above his normal playing weight. He planned to talk to coaches to see if they wanted him to report to minicamp later this week. Shelton said he's prepared to return to the team. "It's still a business," he said.
Browns GM Phil Savage said he didn't receive any calls about William Green, "and we didn't actively pursue any because we feel like William is doing some positive things here. If he plays well, we want him. We don't want somebody to walk out the door and be a great player. . . . We need a big back. We need as many as we can get."
The Jets cornerback position remains thin and veteran Donnie Abraham has yet to decide if he will retire. Free agent Ty Law remains an option there. "We'll look at that like we look at everything," Bradway said, a week after coach Herman Edwards said he has had conversations with Law.
The Colts have not closed the door on re-signing Rob Morris. Their starting middle linebacker for the past four seasons became a free agent in March, and remains one. "The question is: Can we work it out financially and where is Rob at in that situation?" Polian said. "I've said to his agent fairly repeatedly that we like Rob here. "Maybe that works. I certainly would not close the door on that."
Steelers director of football operations Kevin Colbert said the team has been in contact with linebacker Chad Brown, who was released last week by the Seattle Seahawks due to a salary impasse. Brown signed with Seattle after a Pro Bowl career with the Steelers from 1993-96. He'll turn 35 in July. "There has been communication, but we will see where it goes, just like we did with (cornerback) Willie Williams last year," Colbert said. "Any veteran that is out there, we will continue to follow up."
Incumbent Doug Brien, he of the Pittsburgh debacle, will be released, possibly this week. Vikings coach Mike Tice said yesterday he might be interested.
Eagles Coach Andy Reid did not say what he planned to do with Freddie Mitchell, but he did drop a few hints at his news conference yesterday. When asked if he expected anything to happen this week with regard to Mitchell, Reid did not say "yes" and he did not say "no." He said, "We'll see. We'll see how things go." Reid was then asked if he could possibly bring Mitchell into minicamp, given what he has said in public. Reid only said, "It would be great for you guys." Read into that what you will, but as you know, he knows and Freddie surely knows, Big Red is not in the business of a teeing up stories for the local media. It would then be reasonable to assume that when minicamp opens, Mitchell will have been shown the door, which some believe has been his goal for some time now.
Joe Gibbs plans to quickly resolve the status of former starting receiver Rod Gardner, whom Washington has been trying to trade for three months. The coach has hinted that Gardner, who was inconsistent in catching 51 passes last season, now could be brought back. Gardner, who has been excused from the offseason conditioning program at Redskin Park, couldn't be reached for a reaction. Agent Joel Segal declined comment.
Chargers GM A.J. Smith confirmed that he explored with three teams the possibility of trading for a veteran defensive end before the draft. He would not confirm any of the teams involved, but it is known one was Tampa Bay, which would have sent Simeon Rice to the Chargers for the Chargers' second pick in the first round (No. 28 overall). Smith said he would have picked a receiver with the No. 12 pick had a trade for a defensive end gone through.
The Jaguars received no calls over the weekend from teams interested in trading for strong safety Donovin Darius, James Harris, the Jags' vice president of football operations, said. Darius' salary ($4.97 million) and his unsigned status beyond this season diminished the interest in the eighth-year pro after Minnesota broke off trade talks with the Jaguars last month. Darius, who is not participating in the Jaguars' voluntary offseason program, has been designated the team's franchise player each of the past three years and appears likely to depart in 2006.
Former Badgers guard Jonathan Clinkscale, who also tested positive for marijuana, wasn't drafted but signed a free-agent contract with Tampa Bay, his agent said.
The most intriguing of those 49ers choices is Rasheed Marshall, a quarterback at West Virginia taken in the fifth round who will be converted to wide receiver. "He's very good with the ball in his hands," Mike Nolan said. Once Marshall was drafted, offensive coordinator Mike McCarthy asked if he had to restrict Marshall to wide receiver. Nolan said no, meaning Marshall could become the league's new "Slash." Quarterback Kordell Stewart was the first "Slash" -- playing quarterback/wide receiver/running back early in his NFL career, in 1995 with the Steelers. As a Pittsburgh native, Marshall recalls those days fondly. "That would be great," Marshall said of the 49ers' plan. "You look at Pittsburgh and they did a lot of stuff like that. A lot of trick plays."
The Dolphins didn't look far to find a free-agent quarterback after Sunday's draft. Brock Berlin, University of Miami starter for two seasons, was signed for a fourth-string role behind A.J. Feeley, Gus Frerotte and Sage Rosenfels. "It's nice to be in a place where I was already comfortable in the surroundings," Berlin said. "I just want to come in and compete and learn the offense as fast as I can." A 25-game starter for the Hurricanes after transferring from Florida, Berlin completed 58 percent of his passes but had almost as many turnovers (31) as touchdown throws (34). The Dolphins signed wide receiver Josh Davis as a free agent. Davis, out of Marshall, is second all-time in NCAA pass receptions with 306.
The Giants began the process of acquiring undrafted free agents only minutes after the draft when they signed former Don Bosco RB Ryan Grant from Notre Dame and Penn State LB Derek Wake
Fred Taylor won't be allowed back on the field until at least June, Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio said on Sunday. The veteran running back had arthroscopic surgery in January to repair damage to the medial collateral ligament in his left knee, an injury that caused Taylor to miss the final two games of the 2004 season. Although Del Rio said Taylor's rehabilitation is on schedule, he ruled out Taylor for the three-day minicamp that begins on Friday. Taylor missed the first two weeks of the Jaguars' offseason program to work on his recovery in Miami under the supervision of the doctor who performed his surgery.
While Denver Broncos coach Mike Shanahan is taking the heat for his third-round selection of former Ohio State tailback Maurice Clarett, the man most responsible is former Buckeyes assistant Bobby Turner. Turner, the Broncos' running backs coach, spent 1989-90 as offensive coordinator and position coach under OSU coach John Cooper. He sat down with Clarett and former Buckeye back Scottie Graham, now with the NFL Players Association, at the first of Clarett's two appearances at the Indianapolis combine in February 2004. ``One thing he kept telling me was: Keep in touch with me every week,'' Clarett said of Turner. ``He kept saying they were interested in me. If it wasn't for him, I don't think I'd be here. ``Coach Turner took a gamble on me, he and coach Shanahan, and I don't want to make them look stupid.''
From 1995 to 2004, NFL teams selected 23 quarterbacks in the first round of the draft. Only nine quarterbacks from that group have led their teams to at least one playoff berth, and two of those — Tim Couch and Kerry Collins — are nothing close to superstars. Only eight of the 23 — or 34.8 percent — can be categorized as franchise quarterbacks, defined as the kind of quarterback to build a team around. Those eight are: Tennessee’s Steve McNair (No. 3 overall in the 1995 draft), Indianapolis’ Peyton Manning (No. 1, 1998), Minnesota’s Daunte Culpepper (No. 11, 1999), Philadelphia’s Donovan McNabb (No. 2, 1999), New York Jets’ Chad Pennington (No. 18, 2000), Atlanta’s Michael Vick (No. 1, 2001), Jacksonville’s Byron Leftwich (No. 7, 2003) and Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger (No. 11, 2004).
Vikings owner Red McCombs said the $20 million deposit Reggie Fowler and his group put down for the option to buy the team is not refundable if the deal doesn't go through. "They get credit for that money only if the deal for the sale of the team is closed." McCombs said. He added that without a possibility of a stadium in the near future, he doesn't have any interest in owning the team. And if the Fowler deal falls through, he has other buyers interested.
Barry Alvarez has been head football coach at Wisconsin for the past 15 years, and before that he was an assistant at Iowa and Notre Dame. So when Alvarez sings the praises of Erasmus James, the Vikings' other first-round choice, you listen. "He's the best defensive lineman I've coached, and he's got a lot of upside," Alvarez said. "Everyone knows he's a great pass rusher. He's proven that. But he's a physical player also. He can play the run. His technique is sound. He's very athletic. He's got a very, very bright future.
Dan Orlovsky, 6-4 and 238 pounds, already knows Lions starter Joey Harrington. They have the same agent, David Dunn. "About two months ago, I was with him (Harrington) for a night out in California," Orlovsky said. "We were at a barbeque and hung out. He's absolutely a great guy." Orlovsky will be the No. 3 quarterback behind Harrington and Jeff Garcia, the backup.
The Packers couldn't tell you for sure whether Brett Favre will play beyond this season, but his level of play suggests he could go on for several more years, which means Aron Rodgers could wind up wasting away on the bench. No one will know for sure whether he's the real thing until he plays, but his first-round status will cast him as a savior until he proves otherwise. In the short term, Rodgers' presence could create a distraction the Packers didn't bargain for as fans and writers continually wonder when his time will come. Favre is a living legend and won't be forgotten easily, but this is also a town where in the midst of a 10-6 season, a television poll of fans once resulted in Lindy Infante being voted the best coach in Packers history.
Once again, Irrelevant Week originator Paul Salata announced the final pick of the draft: Andrew Stokes of William Penn. Stokes, whom the Patriots picked at No. 255, will be feted in a weeklong celebration of the underdog in Newport Beach, Calif., June 20-25. He is the 30th "Mr. Irrelevant," following a tradition that began with Pittsburgh's selection of Kelvin Kirk in 1976. "I'm excited about that, but I'm more excited to play some more football," said Stokes, who will be treated to a host of activities on the West Coast, including a parade in his honor and a VIP day at Disneyland. Patriots coach Bill Belichick was indifferent about the Mr. Irrelevant hoopla. "It's a lot of hype," Belichick said with a smile. "There's not much difference between being the 255th player than being the 254th, other than the trip to Wally World or wherever."
The last player the Eagles drafted from USC was defensive end Byron Darby in 1983. Darby is serving time for a drug charge.
Coach Andy Reid indicated that, with the addition of third-round pick Ryan Moats on Saturday, the Eagles probably no longer have any interest in trading for Buffalo running back Travis Henry.
The Steelers began signing undrafted rookies after the draft and hoped to land 11 or 12, with a higher concentration at linebacker than other positions. They also may sign a rookie quarterback. Veteran QB Charlie Batch, who has been with them three years, is a free agent Kevin Colbert says is "an option."
Despite Joe Gibbs's repeated votes of confidence in quarterback Patrick Ramsey, a 2002 first-round pick, and the Washington Redskins' needs at other positions, team officials invested considerable time scouting and positioning to draft Auburn quarterback Jason Campbell on Saturday, and say they are delighted to have him. One Southeastern Conference defensive coach believes the Redskins erred in taking Campbell, saying there were three quarterbacks in the SEC he would draft ahead of Campbell. "He'd win a beauty contest, and the NFL just sees a tall quarterback with a strong arm," the coach said. "They're obviously not looking at all the other intangibles."
The Washington Redskins may have found the solution to their goal-line problems by drafting fullback Manuel White of UCLA in the fourth round yesterday with their first pick on the second day of the NFL draft.
Jeremy Shockey has skipped the Giants offseason program. Even though the program isn't mandatory, Tom Coughlin wants every player to attend, and the workouts are "optional" in name only. "He's working in Miami, and I don't have any question that he's working out. But that's not the only reason to be here, though," Coughlin said. "Jeremy knows exactly what I feel about the program. He and I have discussed it at great length. I feel he'll be here at some point in time; hopefully sooner." When asked if he thought the enigmatic Oklahoman would return before minicamp from June 1-3, Coughlin could only shrug and say "Sooner. What can I say?" "It gives a great opportunity for players to work in an environment where they're sweating and grinding with no names on the back of the jerseys, no fanfare. It's good for chemistry from a team concept," Coughlin said. "In general those are some of the reasons the offseason program is important, and I'd like to have everybody here."
The Jets believe their kicking woes are now distant memories. Mike Nugent made 24 of 27 field goals at Ohio State last season and was a first-team all-American. The Jets also feel that they significantly improved their secondary and special teams during the two-day draft, in which they selected eight players, including five on Sunday.