May 12, 2005 3:00 PM ET
Bears: Brien signs one-year deal
The News
The Bears' kicking saga took another twist on Wednesday when the team signed free agent Doug Brien to a one-year contract, according to the Chicago Tribune. Financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed. Brien, the fifth kicker on the team's roster, will compete with Paul Edinger, Nick Setta, Tyler Jones, and Nick Novack for the kicking job. The 11-year veteran has converted 206-of-254 career field goal attempts.
Our View
It remains to be seen whether the signing of Brien will lead to the end of Edinger's five-year run with the team. Bears' officials might scoff at the idea of paying him $1.1 million salary this season, particularly when Edinger has converted only 25 of his last 43 field goal attempts. We'll continue to keep you posted on Edinger's future as more information is released.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

May 12, 2005 1:56 PM ET
Browns: Winslow shows up for rehab
The News
Though the Browns continue to keep the specifics of his injuries private, tight end Kellen Winslow was at team headquarters to start rehab on his right knee. "He was happy to be here," Browns coach Romeo Crennel told the Associated Press. "He was in pretty good spirits." Winslow did not have any surgeries while in the hospital recovering from injuries sustained in a motorcycle crash. The team also indicated they have no plans to release Winslow for violating his contract, which prohibits engaging in dangerous activities such as motorcycling.
Our View
The Browns haven't officially stated their intentions, but they are expected to ask for part of Winslow's signing bonus back because of the contract violation. Such a repayment would offer them cap relief, which would come in handy if Winslow is placed on the non-football injury list. The Browns would likely give Winslow the chance to earn back the money in future incentives, though so far his incentive-laden $40 million contract has already been reduced by $10 million and will likely dip another $10 million as a result of the accident. The fact that Winslow is back at team headquarters would seem to indicate fears of such injuries as a broken femur or punctured lung might be a bit overstated. Winlsow's status for the upcoming season remains uncertain, at least until the full extent of his injuries are known.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

May 12, 2005 1:34 PM ET
Bengals: Interested in Boulware
The News
Linebacker Peter Boulware, released by the Ravens Wednesday, could remain in the division as both the Bengals (coached by former Baltimore defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis) and Browns (with ex-Ravens personnel guru Phil Savage calling the shots) have expressed interest.
Our View
Boulware, who hasn't played since late in the 2003 season because of knee and toe injuries, turned down a reported $2 million contract with another $2 million in incentives to remain in Baltimore because he didn't want his role diminished and the Ravens have second-round pick Dan Cody playing essentially the same position. The Bengals have talked to Boulware already, and the Browns won't be far behind as he would be a good fit with the team's new 3-4 scheme and provide some semblance of a pass rush.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

May 12, 2005 1:18 PM ET
Titans: Volek signs with Rosenhaus
The News
Quarterback Billy Volek, who signed a long-term deal with the Titans last offseason, has ditched agent Ken Staninger for Drew Rosenhaus.
Our View
Volek is under contract through 2008, but contracts mean absolutely nothing to Rosenhaus. If Steve McNair doesn't announce his retirement in the next couple of days, clearing the way for Volek to start, expect Rosenhaus to begin lobbying for a trade. Volek also becomes a prime holdout candidate if Rosenhaus doesn't get whatever new contract he will undoubtedly ask for.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

May 12, 2005 1:02 PM ET
Colts: RCA Dome gets new turf
The News
NFL players voted the AstroTurf at the RCA Dome the worst in the league last season, and it appears their voice has been heard. The Colts are ripping up the old stuff and installing FieldTurf, the same surface they have at their practice facility. "Our experience is that our players are comfortable on FieldTurf, so we are happy this transition for our home field playing surface includes a familiarity for our personnel," Colts president Bill Polian said in a statement released by the team.
Our View
Nine NFL stadiums now sport FieldTurf, which plays a shade slower than the AstroTurf but will almost certainly reduce the wear and tear (and injury potential) on those who play on it.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

May 12, 2005 12:56 PM ET
Titans: Pacman to make court appearance
The News
Cornerback Adam "Pac-Man" Jones, the Titans' first-round pick in last month's NFL draft, is scheduled to appear in a Georgia courtroom Friday regarding an alleged battery charge. The sixth-overall selection was allegedly involved in a scuffle outside an Atlanta area nightclub "Apparently an allegation was made and later withdrawn," Jones' agent told the Nashville City Paper. "I don't believe this has much validity." According to an incident report filed with the police, two women—one allegedly accompanied by Jones—were observed fighting and handcuffed after becoming "loud and boisterous." Jones' agent added that it was possible the accuser would not even appear at the Friday court date, at which a judge would rule whether an arrest warrant should be issued in the case.
Our View
Jones' introduction to the life of an NFL player begins early, as even though it appears he did nothing except bring a girl to a bar he's the one who gets to see his name in headlines and make a court appearance. Then again, given the way the Titans were filling the police blotter this offseason, maybe he felt it was something he needed to do to fit in. Either way, don't expect this minor incident to impact Jones' availability for the Titans this season.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

May 12, 2005 12:46 PM ET
Eagles: Team forfeits one week of workouts
The News
The NFL and the player's association announced Thursday that the Eagles will forfeit a week of offseason conditioning due to a rules violation. The two offices released a statement announcing that they "have determined that the Eagles violated rules pertaining to the scheduling of on-field activities," according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. Specifically, it appears the team allowed players to report for workouts earlier than league rules allowed.
Our View
The Cardinals received the same punishment last year for allowing contact during what was supposed to be a non-contact practice. Likewise, the Giants received a two-day punishment when the league determined that head coach Tom Coughlin was extending practices beyond the allotted time limit. The Eagles' will not lose any minicamp workouts as a result of this punishment, so the league is essentially giving them a slap on the wrist.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

May 12, 2005 12:37 PM ET
Cowboys: Lone Stars add Love
The News
The Cowboys signed free agent wide receiver Reggie Love on Wednesday, according to the Dallas Morning News. Love went to training camp with the Packers last year, but he was released prior to the season. After being released, he returned to Duke University and appeared in 21 games for the Blue Devils' basketball team.
Our View
Love showed promise as a receiver at Duke, but the Cowboys intend to move him to linebacker. He's a long shot to make the roster and therefore has no fantasy value in leagues that award points for individual defensive players.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

May 12, 2005 12:12 PM ET
Redskins: Gibbs makes full recovery from surgery
The News
Redskins' head coach Joe Gibbs announced Thursday that he underwent surgery to open a clogged artery last month. After undergoing the procedure, Gibbs, 64, spent the night in the hospital and returned to work the next day. "I suffered no ill effects prior to the procedure, and have had none since," Gibbs told the Washington Post. He added that he chose to keep the news to himself for the last month because he considered it a private matter.
Our View
Gibbs ran 45 minutes per day during the offseason and resumed his full workout just days after surgery. The doctors have already given him a clean bill of health, so there's no reason to believe that his health will be an issue during the upcoming season.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

May 12, 2005 12:04 PM ET
Vikings: Birk sounds off on Smith
The News
Vikings' center Matt Birk took teammate Onterrio Smith to task on Wednesday after the news spread that the third-year running back had been caught with a kit used to circumvent drug tests. "Onterrio has embarrassed the team, but, first and foremost, he embarrassed himself," Birk told the Star Tribune. "He's a member of a team, and he represents that team. He hasn't represented us in a positive way. But I think he did more damage to himself." Smith worked out at team headquarters on Wednesday but declined interview requests.
Our View
Birk was the only member of the Vikings who publicly chastised Smith on Wednesday. The former Harvard graduate has taken a step forward in the leadership department, as he was also among the only members of the team to criticize former teammate Randy Moss for walking off the field with seconds left to play in a week 17 meeting with the Redskins last year.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

May 12, 2005 12:01 PM ET
Eagles: McNabb expects Owens to play
The News
Eagles' quarterback Donovan McNabb said Wednesday that he expects holdout wide receiver Terrell Owens to play this season. "Are you saying you'll sit out and lose money in order to try to get more money?" McNabb told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "I don't think people can really sleep well with that. So I expect everyone to be there… I just feel confident in the guy that we have. With T.O., I think we can do a lot of great things. I think without T.O. we can still do some good things."
Our View
McNabb is taking the diplomatic approach to Owens' contract holdout even though the disgruntled wide receiver took a few shots at him through the media in recent weeks. Donovan even turned the other cheek when it came to loudmouth wide receiver Freddie Mitchell, who cited his soured relationship with the veteran quarterback as the reason the team released him last week. If nothing else, McNabb deserves praise for keeping his cool when it comes to both temperamental wideouts.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

May 12, 2005 11:52 AM ET
Cowboys: Hall scheduled to work out
The News
Free agent safety Cory Hall is scheduled to work out for the Cowboys on Thursday, according to the Dallas Morning News. Hall was released by the Falcons in March, but he nearly re-signed with the team last month before backing out of the proposed deal. The six-year veteran started 70 games during his stays with the Bengals and Falcons.
Our View
The Cowboys are still searching for a free safety to play alongside strong safety Roy Williams. Hall is not a Pro Bowl caliber performer, but he is a steady player who would likely start for the Lone Stars given the team's need at his position.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

May 12, 2005 11:46 AM ET
Bears: Simmons meets the brass
The News
Bears' officials hosted free agent linebacker Anthony Simmons on Wednesday. Simmons, a former first-round pick of the Seahawks, took a physical and met with the coaching staff and team management, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. The Seahawks released Simmons in March to avoid paying him a $500,000 roster bonus. The seven-year veteran missed 21 games over the last three seasons due to an assortment of injuries.
Our View
Bears' head coach Lovie Smith feels that Simmons could start alongside fellow linebackers Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs. However, Simmons is likely to command more than the veteran minimum deal that the Bears are rumored to be offering him. If Simmons signs with Chi-Town, he would compete with Hunter Hillenmeyer for the starting strongside linebacker job.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

May 12, 2005 11:36 AM ET
Lions: Law visits
The News
The Lions played host to free agent cornerback Ty Law on Wednesday. "We had him in yesterday," Lions' general manager Matt Millen told the Detroit Free Press. "I met with him for most of the morning and into the afternoon. We gave him a physical, just wanted to see where he's at physically and just let him know we're interested when he's ready to go." Law, who was released by the Patriots earlier this year, is still recovering from a broken left foot suffered last October.
Our View
Law, who went to college at the University of Michigan, would be an excellent addition to a Lions' secondary that already includes safety Kenoy Kennedy, and cornerbacks Dre' Bly and Fernando Bryant.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

May 12, 2005 10:45 AM ET
Vikings: Smith unlikely to be suspended
The News
NFL officials are investigating Vikings' running back Onterrio Smith relating to his recent incident at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport, where police discovered a kit designed to beat drug tests. However, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports that it is unlikely the league will be able to take action against Smith since he did not use it during an actual test. "We'll monitor the situation and see what extent the league gets involved, then we'll decide what course of action to take, if any," Vikings' head coach Mike Tice told the Pioneer Press on Wednesday. Smith worked out at team headquarters on Thursday but did not speak to the media.
Our View
It's worth noting that Smith's lawyer is David Cornwell, who also represents notorious pot-head and former Dolphins' running back Ricky Williams. Although there probably isn't much the league can do at this point, since there is no rule that prohibits players from possessing kits used to beat drug testing, it's hard to imagine Tice putting a lot of faith in Onterrio, who is one failed drug test away from being suspended for an entire season.