|05-06-2005, 01:12 PM||#1|
Ring of Famer
Join Date: May 2003
Location: The Ville
So as it turned out, financial reasons were one big reason for the Randy
Moss trade, and not just because of Moss' strange actions at times. Rob
Brzezinski, vice president of football operations for the Vikings, said that
without the Moss trade, the Vikings would not have had the money to sign
free-agent cornerback Fred Smoot and possibly defensive lineman Pat Williams and
safety Darren Sharper. Yes, there was a lot of talk that the Moss trade was made
because players went to coach Mike Tice to ask him to trade Moss because of his
foolish actions, and to improve team chemistry. But in the end, money had as
much to do with the Moss trade as anything.
Outside linebacker Shawne Merriman, the Chargers' first pick in last month's NFL
draft, has notified the team he will not be at minicamp this weekend or at any
of the team's offseason workouts between now and July 1. Merriman and his agent,
Kevin Poston, are not satisfied with the protection afforded Merriman in the
event he is injured before signing a contract. "If I got hurt I still want
to be paid like the No. 12 pick," Merriman said by phone yesterday.
"The language had to be pumped up, and that was it . . . It's for my
protection. As reckless as I play, I definitely have got to watch that."
Word in San Antonio is that Vikings owner Red McCombs isn't thrilled about the
possibility of his city acquiring a Major League Soccer franchise. Meanwhile,
the New Orleans Saints, owned by McCombs' pal Tom Benson, have broken off talks
with the city of New Orleans for a new stadium, and the NFL team would be free
to leave in January 2006 by paying an $81 million lease buyout. McCombs has
denied that he would buy the Saints and try to move them to San Antonio.
The Browns continue to say they know nothing about Kellen Winslow's diagnosis,
but three separate sources confirm the suspicion Winslow's right anterior
cruciate ligament is torn and that he is likely to miss the entire 2005 season.
In addition to the knee, the 21-year-old tight end also has ligament and tendon
damage in his right shoulder, a source said. He faces surgery to repair both
injuries. There is also concern Winslow's right kneecap could be damaged.
Terrell Owens did not attend last weekend's mandatory Eagles minicamp, as he
attempts to get his 7-year contract revised a year into the deal. Also missing
were defensive tackle Corey Simon and running back Brian Westbrook, who haven't
signed 1-year tenders offered by the Eagles. Westbrook's agent, Anthony Agnone,
has said his client will sign and will be in training camp. Simon's agent,
Roosevelt Barnes, has indicated Simon will not sign the tender anytime soon and
will not be at training camp. Owens' agent, Drew Rosenhaus, has said he will not
discuss Owens' situation.
Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger, the NFL's Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2004,
has already announced he'd like a larger role in the offense. Now, it'll be up
to Roethlisberger to win the trust of offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt, who
was brilliant a season ago in not thrusting too much too soon upon his rookie
signal-caller. If Roethlisberger can demonstrate a better grasp and command of
the offense, the Steelers can open things up and balance things out and
diversify, to an extent, an attack that will still rely first and foremost on
the running game.
Drew Rosenhaus and his brother, Jason, also represent second-year Redskins
safety Sean Taylor, who has missed voluntary workouts over concerns about his
rookie contract. Moss said that he saw Taylor, another ex-Hurricane, working out
once at the University of Miami. But Moss believes that Taylor works out
regularly on his own. "When I do see him, it's around UM," Moss said.
At yesterday's news conference, Jason Rosenhaus declined to comment on Taylor's
contract. Said Gibbs: "We just had some real good talks. I think I got a
little information and everything from Drew and we'll just see what
happens." But Gibbs added: "The biggest thing there is [Taylor] has a
Washington Redskins coach Joe Gibbs said he strongly doubted receiver Rod
Gardner would be back. Gardner's exit after four inconsistent years was all but
sealed when Gibbs said he was "kind of skeptical" about his return
after their recent conversation. No trade has materialized, in part because
Gardner has just one year left on his contract and wants a new deal, making it
clear Washington will have to keep him or cut him.
It appears that the Giants are not currently interested in another veteran
backup, like Jeff Blake. Ralph Cindrich, Blake's agent, said a few days ago that
he had heard from several teams, but not the Giants. As the Giants prepared for
this weekend's rookie minicamp, General Manager Ernie Accorsi said yesterday
that the team was content to evaluate Jim Miller's condition as he recovered
from last week's operation to repair a torn hip labrum. Accorsi said there was
no urgency to make a decision about whether to stick with Miller or sign a
replacement. The team has a full-squad minicamp next month and training camp in
Jim Brown knows something about walking away from football in the prime of his
career. The Hall of Famer, often called the greatest running back ever, said it
might be time for Ricky Williams to return to the Dolphins. ''It's up to Ricky.
If he decides to do what is correct as far as the league is concerned, I'm sure
he would be welcomed back,'' Brown said. ``All of us would love to see him play
a few more years.'' Brown's retirement from football was a different situation
than Williams' exit, but they were similar because of the timing.
Receiver Joe Horn will sign a long-anticipated six-year contract extension with
the Saints today -- an estimated six-year, $42 million deal that will make him
one of the NFL's highest-paid receivers. The Saints will formally announce the
deal today and make Horn available to the media at the team's training facility.
Horn, 33, said Thursday night that he would reserve his comments until today.
If Kellen Winslow Jr. is charged with reckless operation in Sunday's motorcycle
crash, it won't happen until the end of May. "There's no way we will have
anything to the prosecutor until the end of the month," Westlake Police
Capt. Guy Turner said Thursday. "We still have to do a crash analysis,
examine the pavement again and we'd very much like to talk to Kellen Winslow to
get his side of the story." Turner said the police haven't talked to
Winslow yet because he's still in the Cleveland Clinic. Winslow could be charged
with reckless operation, which is a fourth degree misdemeanor. It carries a
maximum penalty of 30 days in jail and a $250 fine.
Skeptics who think the Browns made a token move in hiring team legend Jim Brown
as a player development official might be in for a surprise as jarring as the
stiff-arms Brown used to give opposing tacklers. It wasn't by accident that
Brown was the first team official to speak out and criticize team running back
Reuben Droughns for his contract hold-out. That's a job you'd expect would be
carried out by someone like club President John Collins, who should play an
active role in contract talks with players. In truth, Brown has been given
wide-ranging freedom by Browns owner Randy Lerner, who tremendously trusts the
Hall of Famer, to add his input on player issues and concerns whenever he feels
Tiki Barber turned 30 last month, and he knows that's traditionally the age when
running backs' careers begin to slide. That's why he's in favor of anything the
Giants can do to help extend his NFL life. "Absolutely," Barber said.
"I want to play another four or five years, and if I keep getting 330
(carries), or whatever I've had the last few years, my body is going to break
down. It's just physics. I'm not against doing it, because all I want to do is
win and I know by being on the field I help us do that. But it's good to have
help." Help arrives this morning when Brandon Jacobs, the mammoth running
back the Giants drafted in the fourth round two weeks ago, takes the field for
the start of Big Blue's three-day rookie minicamp.
QB Jason White will sign a two-year deal with the Titans. He'll compete for the
No. 3 job behind Steve McNair and Billy Volek. ''I didn't want somebody to bring
me in just because they felt sorry for me or because they felt like bringing me
in would help them out (with publicity) in any sort of way,'' White said. ''Now
I have a shot and I am going to come in and give them everything I've got, and
hopefully that will be enough.'' The Titans have three other undrafted
free-agent QBs on their roster who went through a two-day orientation last
weekend — Kentucky's Shane Boyd, LSU's Marcus Randall and Cincinnati's Gino
Guidugli. To make the team, White figures he'll have to perform well in the
upcoming mini-camps and during training camp, including preseason games.
For the first time in 16 months, Peter Boulware says he is completely healthy.
Whether he will have the chance to prove that as a Raven remains a question.
Team officials are talking to Boulware's agent, Roosevelt Barnes, about
restructuring the former Pro Bowl linebacker's contract, which is set to pay him
$6 million this season. Boulware, who has had little contact with the Ravens
this offseason, acknowledged that his roster spot is precarious because of his
salary and the arrival of second-round draft pick Dan Cody, whom front office
executives and coaches have penciled in as part of a rotation at strong-side
linebacker with Adalius Thomas. Cody is also expected to rush as an end in
passing situations. With Boulware set to count nearly $8 million against the
salary cap, the Ravens appear to be leaning toward getting younger and cheaper
with Cody, whose role was previously reserved for Boulware before the draft.
Arizona businessman Reggie Fowler appears poised to end his bid to become the
first black majority owner of an NFL franchise. Fowler would have a lesser stake
in an investment group seeking to purchase the Minnesota Vikings from Red
McCombs under a potential reshuffling that would make New Jersey real estate
developer Zygmunt Wilf the group's lead investor, sources familiar with the
deliberations said yesterday.
The Steelers are back on top, having compiled more regular-season victories than
anyone in the history of the 35-year-old American Conference. They begin their
padless minicamp practices this morning with few starting positions open.
There's competition at split end between Antwaan Randle El and their only
outside unrestricted free-agent signing, Cedrick Wilson. There might be a
contest at left cornerback between Willie Williams and Ricardo Colclough. Rookie
tight end Heath Miller will try to take Jerame Tuman's starting job. That's it,
although Bill Cowher and his staff would like to create more competition at
Redskins LB LaVar Arrington reported to Joe Gibbs that his knee, operated on
again five weeks ago, is feeling great without any of the ups and downs of the
previous post-surgical period.
The Jets yesterday released quarterback Ricky Ray, who spent most of last season
on the practice squad after winning a championship in the Canadian Football
League. Ray, 25, signed with the Jets last February but never took a snap in a
regular-season game. Last summer, Ray entered training camp vying to back up
Chad Pennington but was sent to the practice squad after the Jets signed Quincy
Carter. Ray, the former employee of a potato chip company who earned the
nickname "Frito Ray" while in Canada, led the Edmonton Eskimos to
successive Grey Cup appearances, including a victory in 2003.
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