Newsbreakers Recap

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May 6, 2005 8:35 PM ET
Steelers: Miller participates in minicamp
The News
Steelers rookie Heath Miller was an unanticipated participant at minicamp on Friday. The Associated Press is reporting that he took part in the camp despite a nagging sports hernia that was expected to keep him sidelined until training camp in July. Miller said he felt fine afterwards and is expected to partake in sessions throughout the weekend.
Our View
Every snap Miller can take in minicamp will be a productive one because it will help him get used to the speed of the NFL and learn the team's playbook. We like to hear that hernia has healed enough for him to play with and we expect him to be ready to go at full-speed come training camp.

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May 6, 2005 4:48 PM ET
Eagles: Mitchell released
The News
As expected, the Eagles 'Fred Exed' disappointing wide receiver Freddie Mitchell into the free agent pool on Friday, severing ties with a former first-round pick that never panned out. Mitchell has yet to surpass 500 receiving yards in a season and has five touchdowns in four years.
Our View
Mitchell will get a fresh start with a new team next season, but it's unlikely he'll ever have an opportunity quite like the golden one he blew last year when Terrell Owens went down with an injury. Until he proves us wrong, we'll continue to project fast-talking, non-producing Freddie as a fantasy afterthought.

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May 6, 2005 1:24 PM ET
Redskins: Arrington on pace for training camp return
The News
Redskins' head coach Joe Gibbs delivered good news on Thursday when he told the Washington Post that linebacker LaVar Arrington is healing well following his most recent knee surgery. Gibbs added that he expects the five-year veteran to participate in training camp this July. Arrington missed 11 games last season with a knee injury.
Our View
This is good news for fantasy owners, as Arrington is one of the best linebackers in the league when healthy. Before he suffered the injury last year, LaVar was ranked as the No. 15 linebacker in our individual defensive player rankings.

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May 6, 2005 12:48 PM ET
Giants: Testaverde talks break down
The News
The Giants have been unable to come to terms on a contract with free agent quarterback Vinny Testaverde, according to the New York Daily News. The team has been searching for a veteran backup signal caller ever since Jim Miller underwent a hip surgery that will sideline him for at least three months. Testaverde's agent Michael A. Azzarelli also told the Times that his talks with the G-Men never advanced past the exploratory stages.
Our View
Vinny is willing to accept a backup role, but it appears that the team and his agent are still worlds apart in contract talks. The two sides haven't talked since last week, so it does not appear that a deal is imminent. Whether it's Testaverde or someone else, we expect the G-Men to sign a veteran signal caller sooner or later to help second-year quarterback Eli Manning.

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May 6, 2005 12:17 PM ET
Redskins: Moss reports to practice
The News
Santana Moss practiced for the first time as a Redskin on Thursday after signing a six-year, $31 million contract on Wednesday night. And it didn't take long for the veteran wide receiver to make a good impression on his teammates. "He's quicker than lightning," cornerback Shawn Springs told the Washington Post of his new teammate. "That boy's quicker than a hiccup. He's blazing fast." Moss finished last season with 45 receptions for 838 yards and five touchdowns.
Our View
Moss had been working out with fellow University of Miami-FLA alumni in Florida, so he reported to practice in good shape. He will immediately step into the No. 1 wideout role in Washington ahead of fellow receivers Rod Gardner, David Patten, and Taylor Jacobs.

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May 6, 2005 12:06 PM ET
Seahawks: Holmgren searching for a veteran quarterback
The News
Seahawks' head coach Mike Holmgren admitted Thursday that he is still keeping an eye out for a veteran quarterback who could fill the role vacated by Trent Dilfer, who signed with the Browns as a free agent. "This is on the list of things to do," Holmgren told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Matt Hasselbeck, Senaca Wallace, and rookie David Greene make up the current list of quarterbacks on the Seahawks' roster.
Our View
There are some rumblings that the team will pursue Tim Hasselbeck, the younger brother of starter Matt Hasselbeck, who was released by the Redskins earlier this week. Apparently, Holmgren is trying to corner the market on bald quarterbacks.

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May 6, 2005 11:54 AM ET
Ravens: Boulware healthy but may still be out of a job
The News
Ravens linebacker Peter Boulware hasn't played since the next-to-last game of the 2003 regular season because of knee and toe injuries, and the team may not be willing to support his $8 million cap hit for the coming season. Boulware told the Baltimore Sun he is open to restructuring his contract, but that won't guarantee him playing time. "I know my role is going to be decreased," the teams' first-round pick from 1997 told the Sun. "They brought [Dan Cody] in, and if he's everything they think he will be then they should have a good player."
Our View
The Ravens plan to use second-round pick Cody as a strong-side linebacker and rush end, the role that Boulware has filled in the past. If he is released before June 1, Boulware would cause a $7.6 million cap hit; that number would be spread out over two seasons if the move comes after June 1. With Boulware slated to make $24 million over the next four seasons, it would be surprising if some sort of restructuring couldn't be worked out.

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May 6, 2005 11:51 AM ET
Seahawks: Hannam has surgery
The News
Seahawks' tight end Ryan Hannam underwent arthroscopic knee surgery on Thursday, according to the Seattle times. Hannam took part in minicamp earlier this week but had to drop out of the practice sessions due to swelling in his right knee. He missed 11 games last season after having reconstructive surgery on his same knee. The Seahawks have yet to establish a timeline for Hannam's return.
Our View
Hannam is buried on the depth chart behind Itula Mili and Jerramy Stevens, so he is nothing more than a situational player. As such, he has no fantasy value.

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May 6, 2005 11:43 AM ET
Chargers: Merriman another Poston holdout
The News
Linebacker Shawn Merriman, the first of the Chargers' two first-round picks in last month's draft, didn't take long to catch on to the nuances of being a client of the notorious Poston brothers. Merriman notified the team that he will not be participating in any of the team's offseason workouts between now and July 1 because he and his agent are dissatisfied with the injury protection Merriman receives prior to signing a contract. Poston also hinted at a training camp holdout for his client, telling the San Diego Union-Tribune, "It takes two to tango."
Our View
It's tough to fault Poston, who appears to be desperately trying to cover his backside after watching injuries sap potentially $20 million from the contract of another client, Kellen Winslowóbut we're certainly not going to stop anyone from doing so. Merriman has a chance to be an impact defensive player, but if he doesn't join the team until some point in the preseason that impact will likely be delayed. The Chargers, meanwhile, continue to be plagued by first-round holdouts; only two of their eight first-round selections since 1990 have made it to camp on time.

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May 6, 2005 11:42 AM ET
*****: Rattay finally healthy
The News
*****' quarterback Tim Rattay has recovered from the right foot injury that forced him to miss a recent minicamp workout. The incumbent starter is expected to take part in this weekend's three-day minicamp, according to the Mercury News. Rattay will likely split snaps with No. 1 overall draft pick Alex Smith.
Our View
Barring an injury, we'll be shocked if Smith isn't named the starting signal caller. There are already rumors that the Niners have been attempting to trade Rattay, who missed seven games last season due to a variety of injuries.

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May 6, 2005 11:38 AM ET
Buccaneers: Shepherd signs
The News
The Buccaneers signed exclusive rights free agent wide receiver Edell Shepherd to a one-year contract tender on Thursday, according to the team's official website. Financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed. Shepherd will compete for the No. 3 wide receiver job with Ike Hilliard and Adrian Madise.
Our View
Shepherd showed real promise during training camp last year, but he suffered a foot injury and spent the rest of the season on injured reserve. If Edell can stay healthy, the battle for the No. 3 job will be interesting.

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May 6, 2005 11:34 AM ET
*****: Rice running out of options
The News
Free agent wide receiver Jerry Rice said Thursday that he intends to contact *****' head coach Mike Nolan one more time regarding the possibility of joining the team. However, the 42 year-old veteran admitted that the odds are not in favor of him signing with his former team. "It's looking real dark," Rice told the Mercury News. "This might be it. I've had a few other options, but right now, I'm having a hard time seeing myself in another uniform." Nolan has previously indicated that he would welcome Rice back to the organization but not as a player.
Our View
Nolan wants to keep room on the roster for younger receivers. Barring a change of heart, it appears the greatest receiver in league history has played his last game. From a public relations standpoint, the Niners should at least consider the idea of signing Rice. For that matter, he could provide some veteran wisdom to younger wideouts such as Brandon Lloyd, Rashaun Woods, and Arnaz Battle.

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May 6, 2005 11:34 AM ET
Panthers: Short is leading candidate to fill in for Fields
The News
With linebacker Mark Fields sidelined for the entire 2005 season while he battles Hodgkin's disease, first-round draft pick Thomas Davis, Brandon Short, and the recently signed Chris Draft will likely compete for the job during training camp. "We knew this was a possibility as we proceeded through the offseason and we feel like we have good depth at linebacker," Panthers' general manager Marty Hurney told the Charlotte Observer regarding Fields' condition. "But you're never going to replace a guy like Mark Fields because he's so valuable as a leader and a player."
Our View
The news of Fields' condition is downright depressing and it comes just a couple weeks after Panthers' assistant coach Sam Mills lost his battle with cancer. The team rallied around Fields and Mills during the 2003 season when both men first learned of their illnesses. The team used both men as inspiration and eventually reached the Super Bowl that year. At this point, Short appears to be the favorite to replace Mills in the starting lineup, as he worked at Fields' strong side linebacker position during a minicamp last week.