May 2, 2005 11:32 PM ET
Bengals: Pollack progressing nicely
The News
Bengals first-round pick David Pollack spent his first minicamp switching from defensive end to linebacker and impressed his coaches with his progress. "He's got a long way to go, but he gets better every day. He's better in everything we're teaching him. He's a coachable guy. He's making progress," defensive coordinator Chuck Bresnahan said to the team's website. "With a guy who has played the position before, you might go a little faster. We have to make sure we go from A to B to C and not A to E to M to R, but that's good because everyone can learn from that." Even head coach Marvin Lewis took time out of his day to remark on Pollack's development. "He's further ahead than any guy I've ever had [make the switch]," Lewis said to the sit. "I don't see that being an issue."
Our View
That is high praise for Pollack from Lewis, who was in Baltimore when Peter Boulware switched from defensive end to outside linebacker and became a Pro Bowler. The rookie has all the natural tools to succeed as a linebacker and is improving every day. We'll keep an eye on him during training camp because he may turn into a sleeper linebacker who can help out fantasy teams this fall.

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May 2, 2005 8:39 PM ET
Cowboys: A-Train parks in the Lone Star state
The News
Running back Anthony Thomas will be a Cowboy this season, according to the Dallas Morning News. The paper is reporting that he signed a one-year deal with the club, but financial terms were not disclosed. Thomas ran for 404 yards and two touchdowns last season as a Bear.
Our View
Anthony goes from backing up one Jones brother in Chicago to another in Dallas. He'll compete with rookie Marion Barber III to be Julius' primary backup. As long as Bill Parcells doesn't him give goal line carries because of his size, the A-Train's fantasy value will be minimal at best.

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May 2, 2005 7:55 PM ET
Bengals: Johnson to take Henry under his wing
The News
Bengals veteran Chad Johnson plans to take rookie wideout Chris Henry, who saw his draft stock fall because of attitude problems, under his wing, reports the team's website. Johnson even plans to send Henry to a receiving camp after the Bengals end their workout in June. "He doesn't know it yet," the loquacious Johnson informed the site.
Our View
While allowing Johnson to mentor a kid whose attitude is already questionable may seem as wise as using Kristie Alley as your nutritionist, the veteran's tutelage should help Henry develop faster. The Bengals have a deep receiving corps, but if Peter Warrick and Kelley Washington are slow to recover from their injuries, Henry will get a long look as the team's third receiver.

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May 2, 2005 7:27 PM ET
Ravens: Clayton limited by hamstring injury
The News
Ravens rookie receiver Mark Clayton tweaked his hamstring on Friday and was limited to light jogging and stretching on Sunday, reports the team's website. Head coach Brian Billick noted that injured rookies seem to be a trend around the league. "I think you could look around the league right now, and based on what I was reading, half the rookies [are out]," he told the site. "It's tough on these kids, because [the draft process]…messes up your workout routine, so that's something you have to account for. He's got two weeks to heal up, come back, and be ready to go." Clayton was the team's first selection during this year's draft.
Our View
Clayton's next football commitment will be on May 16 when the Ravens hold a passing camp. He is expected to be all right by then, but we'll be sure to update his condition as camp approaches.

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May 2, 2005 6:24 PM ET
Packers: Freeman has the edge at safety
The News
After the Packer's first minicamp, defensive coordinator Jim Bates believes that Arturo Freeman is the favorite to start the season as the team's safety. "He has an edge as far as knowledge and being there," Bates told Packernews.com, "but the competition is going to be keen and this camp showed. We saw Earl Little make an incredible interception [Friday], as good an interception as you're going to see. We saw Mark Roman taking charge out there, played well." Freeman spent the last five years in Miami, where Bates was the team's defensive coordinator before moving north to accept the same job with the Packers this offseason.
Our View
Unfortunately for Bates and the coaching staff, the Packers' safeties have as little talent as the cast of XXX: State of the Union. The hope is that the group will quickly grasp Bates' scheme and the whole ends up being greater than the sum of the parts. However, Green Bay's best bet may be to wait until June 1 and then making a move for a more talented veteran that another team couldn't afford to keep.

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May 2, 2005 6:04 PM ET
Vikings: Elling the favorite to win the kicking competition
The News
Aaron Elling was one of three kickers the Vikings brought into minicamp last weekend and his strong performance has won the confidence of head coach Mike Tice, reports KFAN.com, the website of the team's flagship radio station. In fact, Tice indicated that he may not even bring in another set of kickers during training camp to challenge for Elling's job. "I don't foresee us bringing somebody in just to bring somebody in," Tice was quoted as saying by the site. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it – that's the way I'm going to look at it. Right now, it isn't broke, and he's hitting the ball real well." Elling was cut by the Vikings last year in favor of Morten Andersen, but was resigned and handled kickoff duties until a fractured foot ended his season on November 8.
Our View
Elling's problem isn't kicking at minicamps, it is how he chokes when he has to face actual competition. There aren't many other kicking options available to the Vikings at this point, but we're confident they will be active this summer if any quality kickers are cap casualties.

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May 2, 2005 5:34 PM ET
Bears: Bradley impresses Lovie
The News
The Bears spent a second-round pick on wideout Mark Bradley and were impressed by his improvement throughout the team's minicamp this weekend. His performance even drew praise from second-year head coach Lovie Smith. "I'm impressed with the way he's caught the ball," Smith said to the team's website. "He had a couple drops [Friday]. He told me that wouldn't happen anymore and I think he caught it a lot better. I just like him a lot. Every day I think I'll be saying the same thing. We like him more and more each day we see him."
Our View
The Bears plan on running a conservative offense this season that will feature plenty of running plays and short passing routes. As such, even if Bradley does beat out Justin Gage and Bobby Wade for a starting spot, it is hard to get too excited about his fantasy prospects.

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May 2, 2005 5:07 PM ET
Cardinals: Hodgins back on the field
The News
Cardinals fullback James Hodgins missed the entire 2004 season because of a shoulder injury, but he was back on the field for minicamp last weekend, according to the team's website. "Anytime you are injured, you lose that team feeling and you feel like you are by yourself just rehabbing and working for a goal that seems so far away," Hodgins explained to the site. "So, it's now finally here and I'm excited about it. Things are going good. It feels good to be playing football again, back with the fellas, back with the team."
Our View
Hodgins won't have any fantasy value this season because he doesn't touch the ball much. However, if he can open some holes up for Marcel Shipp and J.J. Arrington, he'll be a popular guy among fantasy owners.

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May 2, 2005 4:56 PM ET
Bills: Everett may miss the start of the season
The News
Bills tight end Kevin Everett has a torn ligament in his left knee and may miss the start of the regular season, reports the Associated Press. The injury usually takes four-to-six months to recover from, but the team hasn't established a timetable for his return. He suffered the injury when his foot stuck in the ground while turning after a catch during Friday's minicamp session. Everett was the team's third-round selection in last month's draft.
Our View
The Bills tight end corps is not a healthy one. With both Mark Campbell and Tim Euhus currently recovering from their own injuries, the loss of Everett is another blow to the team's depth at the position. If he doesn't heal in time for training camp, the Bills may put him on injured reserve, which would end his season.

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May 2, 2005 3:44 PM ET
Browns: Winslow crashes bike
The News
Tight end Kellen Winslow was injured in a motorcycle accident Sunday, but team officials told the Cleveland Plain Dealer his injuries are not life-threatening. Winslow was riding with four other men in a parking lot when he hit a curb at about 35 miles per hour and was thrown from his bike, Cleveland police Lt. Ray Arcuri told the Plain Dealer. "He went over the handlebars and was real evasive about what the injuries were," said Acursi. Winslow was wearing a helmet but did not have it strapped, and it flew off his head during the incident. He was taken by ambulance to Fairview Hospital following the accident but scheduled to be transferred to the Cleveland Clinic Monday to be treated by the Browns' medical staff, according to a team spokesman.
Our View
The sixth overall pick in last year's draft missed the vast majority of his rookie season after breaking his leg in week two, but he was expected to be ready for the coming season. This, obviously, could set him back from that goal. Fanball has been unable to confirm rumors that Winslow was helping Jeff Kent wash his truck or attempting to jump 14 garbage cans in the parking lot at Arnold's at the time of the injury.

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May 2, 2005 3:10 PM ET
Packers: Walker misses entire minicamp
The News
Packers Pro Bowl wide receiver Javon Walker boycotted the team's minicamp this past weekend in hopes of getting a new contract. "I want him here just to be part of the team," head coach Mike Sherman told the Green Bay Press Gazette. "I would hope Javon would see it (like that) and react a certain way, but I can't predict that." Sherman is talking tough. "We've already moved on," he said. "We can't wait for anybody. You always just put another guy in there and just move forward. It's just like when you get somebody hurt, you move on."
Our View
You can safely assume that Walker will not be around for the team's next minicamp in June, which is not mandatory. The real story will come at the end of July if Walker is a no-show at training camp. His considerable fantasy value will start declining quickly if the dispute lingers into the preseason.

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May 2, 2005 2:49 PM ET
Patriots: Law ahead of schedule
The News
Ty Law is reportedly ahead of schedule as he recovers from surgery on his left foot. He recently had a screw removed from the foot and his agent, Carl Poston, told the Boston Globe he expects Law to be a highly sought-after player once he heals. "There are plenty of teams in need of a player of Ty's caliber," Poston told the Globe. "There'll be a post-June market. All along we understood we had to be patient and let things play out and, more important, allow Ty time to heal the foot. When the foot is healed, Ty becomes an attractive player in the market again." Poston added that Law was running and working out near his home in Miami and is "ahead of schedule" on his rehab.
Our View
The Patriots have already brought in veteran cornerbacks Chad Scott and Duane Starks, so they aren't likely to keep Law. The Chiefs and Steelers have shown interest, and Ty is believed to have a desire to play for the Jets or Colts. Law may have to prove he's healthy this season under a short-term contract, rather than working out a long-term deal with lucrative terms.

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May 2, 2005 2:38 PM ET
Jets: Dinger opens up the offense
The News
The Jets are making no secret about their desire to open up the offense this season. "There's a lot of options, and a lot of those options are vertical," coach Herm Edwards told the Newark Star-Ledger at minicamp over the weekend. "You're going to miss some every once in a while but that's okay. I told [Chad Pennington] he might not lead the league in completions. [But] I'm not going to worry about that." New offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger is the driving force behind the change. His offense features more shotgun formations and audibles at the line to take advantage of matchups.
Our View
Thank God. It appears the dink-and-dunk style of former OC Paul Hackett is a thing of the past. Hiemerdinger turned Steve McNair into an MVP in Tennessee, and his offensive game plan is known for being a very receiver and tight end-friendly system. Pennington, Justin McCareins, and Laveranues Coles all have a chance to bounce back into fantasy relevance this season.

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May 2, 2005 2:23 PM ET
Bills: Losman coming along
The News
J.P. Losman overcame early camp rustiness to play well during the second two days of the Bills' minicamp. The first-year starter hooked up with receivers Lee Evans and Roscoe Parrish on several nice pass plays on Sunday, and told WGR 550 Sports Radio that he is starting to feel comfortable in the offense. Coach Mike Mularkey felt his young signal-caller had command of the offense in his first extended work as the starter.
Our View
Interestingly, Losman said he felt comfortable with young receivers Evans and Parrish, but wanted to work more with the veteran Eric Moulds to learn his style. As a second-year quarterback starting for the first time, don't get too optimistic about Losman, but the Bills have surrounded him with a potent set of skill players and a solid offensive line, so once he gains experience and maturity he could turn into a solid fantasy option.

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May 2, 2005 2:23 PM ET
Lions: Rogers wearing red
The News
Lions' wide receiver Charles Rogers, who is coming back from a twice-broken collar bone, was wearing the red "no contact" jersey during minicamp practices this past weekend. The Detroit News noted, however, that his practice time increased over the course of the weekend. "I think it's a gradual thing for him coming back, being more confident he can hold up," head coach Steve Mariucci said.
Our View
Fantasy owners will understandably have a tough time trusting Rogers' ability to hold up. Hopefully the added muscle from off-season workouts will help. The red jersey stuck with Rogers until training camp last year, but apparently he should have left it on when the regular season started.

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May 2, 2005 2:16 PM ET
Eagles: Philly wants some of T.O.'s money back
The News
The Eagles are considering declaring wide receiver Terrell Owens in violation of a clause in his contract which would allow them to get back approximately $1.8 million of the $9.6 million signing bonus Owens received. Sources have indicated to the Philadelphia Daily News that language in every Eagles' contract allows them to recoup part of the signing bonus should the player breach the contract.
Our View
This one is rapidly escalating beyond the "kiss, have Andy Reid wear tights, and make up" stage. Maybe the two sides need to sit down with Wilma McNabb and some soup to get everyone on the same page. There's still time for this situation to sort itself out before decisions need to be made regarding Owens' fantasy status for the coming season, but we'd much prefer to see T.O. in camp and happy before we spend a top pick on him.

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May 2, 2005 2:04 PM ET
Lions: Woody's weight still an issue
The News
Lions' guard Damien Woody is still trying to lose some weight—a battle of the bulge that started last year and continued in minicamp this weekend, according to the Detroit News.
Our View
Woody is officially listed at a svelte 325, which is probably a tad on the low side…just a guess. We'll check back in with him to see if the weight remains an issue when training camp rolls around.

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May 2, 2005 12:43 PM ET
Seahawks: KoRo trying to turn things around
The News
Wide receiver Koren Robinson, whose numbers were down last season thanks to a four-game substance abuse suspension and another two-game suspension courtesy of the Seahawks, told the Seattle Times he realized he was squandering his shot at the NFL and is trying to turn things around. For starters, Robinson said he has stopped drinking, and that his mother and his three-year-old son are moving from North Carolina to Seattle to help him settle down.
Our View
The Seahawks would love to see Robinson approach the potential they saw in him when they made him the ninth overall pick in the 2001 draft. However, they've also added Joe Jurevicius and Jerome Pathon this offseason, in case KoRo is unable to stay clean or harness that potential.

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May 2, 2005 12:34 PM ET
Rams: Incognito out four-to-six months
The News
Rookie offensive lineman Richie Incognito underwent surgery on his kneecap April 28, and Rams coach Mike Martz told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch the team's third-round draft pick will need four to six months of rest and rehab before returning to the field. "We feel eventually, we're going to get a really good player there," Martz told the Post-Dispatch. "If you rush one of those things, then you just compound it."
Our View
Incognito was considered one of the top offensive linemen in the draft, but injury and character concerns dropped his stock. It appears unlikely he'll contribute in any meaningful fashion this season, but if he can get healthy and stay on the straight and narrow he could be a significant find for the Rams down the road.

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May 2, 2005 12:29 PM ET
Cardinals: Navarre's finger is better
The News
Quarterback John Navarre, who suffered a chip fracture to his right ring finger in his first NFL game, a week 13 loss to the Lions, is fully recovered from the injury.
Our View
Navarre kept the finger in a brace for six weeks to help with the healing and has looked sharp in passing drills. It's unlikely he's going to contend for the starting job, but a strong showing in training camp and the preseason could elevate him to the role of Kurt Warner's eventual successor.

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May 2, 2005 12:24 PM ET
Giants: Testaverde an option
The News
With news that backup quarterback Jim Miller will be sidelined three-to-four months following hip surgery, the Giants' search for a backup and mentor to Eli Manning turned to Vinny Testaverde. Testaverde's agent confirmed for Newsday that the Giants had contacted the former Jet, and added that he expected Testaverde to give the Giants an answer later this week.
Our View
The Giants also have Jesse Palmer and Jared Lorenzen on the roster, but the team would prefer a veteran backup to help show Eli Manning the ropes. Doug Flutie was an option until he signed with the Patriots.

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May 2, 2005 12:17 PM ET
Bills: Parrish impresses at minicamp
The News
Wide receiver Roscoe Parrish turned heads during the Bills' minicamp over the weekend. The second year draft pick from Miami impressed wideout Eric Moulds and veteran defensive back Troy Vincent. "Roscoe's quick as a cat," Moulds told the Associated Press. "He's going to be an excellent player for us." Vincent added, "He knows how to create separation, and that's what you generally don't see from most guys that come from the collegiate level."
Our View
Parrish is the frontrunner to start as the Bills third receiver in the slot in three-receiver sets when the season begins. Former starter Josh Reed has become nearly an afterthought for the Bills, and may even be released before the season if Parrish continues to make plays. As a rookie, he's still raw and is only worth a late-round draft pick in extremely deep fantasy leagues at this point, but keep an eye on his progress.

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May 2, 2005 12:03 PM ET
Eagles: Westbrook ruffling feathers
The News
Terrell Owens' holdout may be drawing the most attention, but the Eagles are equally frustrated with running back Brian Westbrook's absence. Westbrook, a restricted free agent, has said he will sign the team's tendered offer by June 15—the date at which the Eagles are allowed to substitute a lesser offer. However, until he signs Westbrook is under no obligation to attend any of the Eagles' minicamps, and those sessions will be completed by June 15.
Our View
No other team can sign Westbrook, and Westbrook has indicated he'll be at training camp and would still like to sign a long-term agreement with the Eagles. Philly, meanwhile, does not seem all that interested in a new contract, drafted Westbrook clone Ryan Moats in the third round of the most recent draft, and is still believed to be in trade talks with the Bills for Travis Henry. The fantasy ramifications of another back in Philly would certainly send a ripple through the running back rankings, so stay tuned.

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May 2, 2005 11:42 AM ET
Panthers: Jones trying to fit in
The News
Tight end Freddie Jones is an odd fit for a Panthers' offense that asks its tight end to block first and catch passes as an afterthought. But Jones spent minicamp working on blocking fundamentals and has indicated a willingness to adapt his philosophy. "I know the focus of this team is to have a great running game," Jones told the Charlotte Observer. "I knew that when I came here."
Our View
Jones will work at fullback and H-back at the team's June minicamp, and the Panthers have suggested they'll take advantage of his versatility in the passing game—something they didn't feel they had the luxury to do with their tight ends last year due to injuries on the offensive line.

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May 2, 2005 11:31 AM ET
Raiders: Konrad retires
The News
Fullback Rob Konrad, signed by the Raiders to a one-year, $700,000 deal in March, is retiring from football. "His heart's just not in it anymore," Konrad's agent told the Contra Costa Times. Konrad intends to file the necessary retirement papers with the league later this week.
Our View
A moment of silence, please… not in memoriam, but as a microcosm of Konrad's NFL career.

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May 2, 2005 11:17 AM ET
Chiefs: Vermeil recommends Arena League for White
The News
Quarterback Jason White's tryout with the Chiefs will not result in an invitation to minicamp. "What I recommended him to do, if he really wants a place in the NFL, is to go to the Arena League, sharpen his skills and compete," Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil told the Kansas City Star.
Our View
The former Heisman winner went undrafted, in part because of two knee surgeries, and he was unable to crack the quarterback logjam on the Chiefs' roster.

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May 2, 2005 11:08 AM ET
Broncos: Sauerbrun sought
The News
The Broncos are pursuing a trade that would bring Panthers punter Todd Sauerbrun to Denver. The Denver Post cited an NFL source in reporting that the Broncos have received permission from the Panthers to talk to Sauerbrun about restructuring his contract. Denver would part with a late-round draft pick in order to acquire Sauerbrun, who would almost certainly have been released by the Panthers after June 1.
Our View
Sauerbrun has had plenty of off-field issues, including a DUI and investigation into steroid use, and it's unlikely he's a frequent dinner guest at the Gramatica household. However, Broncos coach Mike Shanahan wanted to improve on the team's inconsistent punting from a year ago, and Sauerbrun would certainly be a step in that direction.

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May 2, 2005 10:58 AM ET
Browns: Droughns losing ground
The News
Running back Reuben Droughns will lose ground in his battle for playing time with Lee Suggs if he continues to hold out, according to new Browns head coach Romeo Crennel. "The only thing I can say about that is, the guys who are here, which is the majority of the team, they're here working, developing that team chemistry that you have to have if you're going to be a winner," Crennel told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "We would like all of our players to be here. The ones who are not here, I can't control those guys."
Our View
Droughns also absorbed a public berating from former Browns great Jim Brown for his decision to not participate in voluntary team workouts because of dissatisfaction with his contract. Meanwhile, Suggs' hold on the starting job grows tighter with every passing day Droughns stays away.

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May 2, 2005 10:44 AM ET
Bengals: Washington sits with shoulder injury
The News
Bengals coach Marvin Lewis revealed that wide receiver Kelley Washington underwent surgery to repair a dislocated shoulder. Lewis told the Cincinnati Enquirer that Washington has not received clearance from his doctor to participate in any of the team's voluntary workouts.
Our View
Washington played primarily as the Bengals' third receiver last season. However, Peter Warrick could be back in the mix after missing much of 2004 with injuries, and the team also drafted Chris Henry in the third round. Moreover, Washington is in the final year of his three-year contract; he could return from recuperating to find himself out of a job.

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May 2, 2005 10:28 AM ET
Titans: Mathews mulling retirement
The News
Offensive tackle Jason Mathews told The Tennessean he is "in the 90 percent range of retiring" after 11 years in the NFL. Mathews started seven games for the Titans last season, filling in for injured players at several positions along the line.
Our View
The Titans selected three tackles in this year's draft, and one of them was wearing Mathews' uniform number, 76, during the team's rookie camp last weekend, which is a pretty strong indication that, baring another rash of injuries, he won't be back.