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  1. #1
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    Around the League 6-8-05

    Newsbreakers Recap

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    June 7, 2005 2:10 PM ET
    Vikings: Smith's suspension made official
    The News
    The NFL announced on Tuesday that Vikings running back Onterrio Smith has been suspended for the 2005 season for violating the league's substance abuse policy.
    Our View
    Nothing new here, other than the suspension is now official. Word leaked out about Smith's suspension a few weeks ago after he was caught at the airport with his (ahem) cousin's "The Original Whizzinator," a device used to circumvent drug tests.

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    June 7, 2005 1:04 PM ET
    Colts: Doss found guilty
    The News
    Colts safety Mike Doss pled no contest to a pair of misdemeanor gun charges and was found guilty Monday by an Akron Municipal Court Judge. Doss was slated to face weightier charges stemming from a May 29 incident in downtown Akron, but he pled down to carrying a concealed weapon and discharging a firearm. He was sentenced to a combined 240 days in jail, but the jail time was suspended. Doss must also perform 40 hours of community service and fined $500 for each criminal count plus court costs. Doss spoke briefly following his sentence, apologizing for his conduct and lack of judgment and now awaits punishment from the Colts and the NFL. "Now it's up to the league and the team what they want to do," Doss's attorney told the Indianapolis Star. "I have every suspicion that the league or the team, or both, will take some action."
    Our View
    With both Doss and fellow Colts defensive back Nick Harper facing league sanctions for offseason brushes with the law, Indy's secondary once again is shaping up to be a bit of an adventure. That means the onus will once again be on the Colts offense to carry the day—which actually isn't bad news for fantasy fans.

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    June 7, 2005 1:00 PM ET
    Buccaneers: Howell signs one-year deal
    The News
    The Seahawks signed safety John Howell to a one-year contract on Monday. The Tampa Tribune reports that the deal is worth $565,000 and includes a $25,000 signing bonus. Howell started six games for the Buccaneers last season.
    Our View
    This move has been in the works for weeks. Howell gave Tampa a chance to match the offer he received from Seattle, but salary cap issues prevented the Bucs from doing so. Howell will open training camp as a backup safety and special teams performer.

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    June 7, 2005 12:56 PM ET
    Buccaneers: Nimmo returns
    The News
    The Buccaneers claimed offensive lineman Lance Nimmo off waivers on Monday. Nimmo, who was released by the Patriots last week, was originally selected by the Bucs in the fourth round of the 2003 draft. Nimmo also spent time with the Jets during his two-year career.
    Our View
    The Bucs need offensive line help, so it's no surprise that team officials picked up their former fourth-round pick. Nimmo will compete for playing time at left tackle with starter Derrick Deese.

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    June 7, 2005 12:53 PM ET
    Titans: Volek won't remain a backup
    The News
    Quarterback Billy Volek is comfortable with his role as Steve McNair's backup for this season. After that? "I don't know," Volek told The Tennessean. "Right now, this year, yes I am (okay) with my role." But Volek's recent switch to agent Drew Rosenhaus seems to indicate he intends to be a starter next season—in Tennessee or elsewhere. "Obviously in the ideal world, as his agent I'd like for Billy to get a chance to play and start," Rosenhaus told The Tennessean. "But as far as after this year, all bets are off at that point."
    Our View
    It doesn't take much reading between the lines to figure out that if McNair returns next season, Rosenhaus will throw himself on the ground and kick his feet in the air, flail his arms wildly, and hold his breath until he turns blue—anything but honor the four-year, $6.8 million deal Volek inked in March 2004. It's a year away, obviously, but something keeper-leaguers should be aware of.

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    June 7, 2005 12:51 PM ET
    Panthers: Carter shows speed, risks life
    The News
    Panthers' wide receiver Drew Carter proved that he is the fastest wideout on the team when he ran a 4.34-second 40-yard dash recently, just a hair faster than teammate Steve Smith. "Number one," Carter told the Rock Hill Herald of his feat. "I was giving Steve a little stuff, because he's had the crowd for three or four years." Carter's 40-time is especially impressive considering that he has undergone three surgeries to repair a torn ACL. He is currently vying for the No. 3 spot on the depth chart behind Smith and Keary Colbert.
    Our View
    We're happy for Drew, but he may have put his life at risk when he taunted Smith about his 40-time. After all, this is the same Steve Smith who beat the snot out of former teammate Anthony Bright, who did nothing more than ask for a play to be shown again during a film session. Bright was hospitalized following the attack and has never returned to the NFL.

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    June 7, 2005 12:41 PM ET
    Cardinals: Hambrick skips voluntary workouts
    The News
    Cardinals' running back Troy Hambrick has not been attending the team's voluntary workouts, according to the Arizona Republic. The five-year veteran appeared in 10 games for the team last season and logged 283 rushing yards and one touchdown. He is currently listed as the No. 3 running back on the depth chart behind rookie J.J. Arrington and Marcel Shipp.
    Our View
    Hambrick might be writing his ticket out of Arizona. Troy had weight issues in the past, and we'll be surprised if he reports to training camp prime physical condition, assuming he isn't cut before then. There is already speculation in the Arizona media that the Cards signed fullback Harold Morrow on Monday to send a message to Hambrick.

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    June 7, 2005 12:40 PM ET
    Redskins: Dyson signed, Freeman rejected
    The News
    The Redskins signed free agent wide receiver Kevin Dyson on Monday. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The Washington Post reports that Dyson and former Packers' and Eagles' wide receiver Antonio Freeman worked out for the team on Monday. Dyson was signed to what is believed to be a one-year deal, while Freeman left town without a contract. Dyson has only appeared in one game over the last two years due to knee injuries.
    Our View
    You know a team is desperate for wideout help when they bring in aging stiffs like Dyson and Freeman for workouts, let alone sign one of them. Dyson was actually the first receiver selected in the 1998 draft. The 30 year-old veteran was selected ahead of some guy named Randy Moss that year.

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    June 7, 2005 12:35 PM ET
    Ravens: Lewis' request to be in Baltimore denied
    The News
    Ravens running back Jamal Lewis will have to remain at an Atlanta halfway house and will miss the team's upcoming minicamp as well as the first few days of training camp. Lewis had requested permission to serve what's left of his two months in a halfway-house in the Baltimore area, allowing him to rehabilitate his surgically repaired ankle at the Ravens' practice facilities and work out with the team. "It's disappointing, especially since every time I turn on the TV, Martha Stewart is all over the country doing something," Ravens coach Brian Billick said of the rejected plea. "Evidently, she has a different furlough guy than Jamal."
    Our View
    Billick noted that Lewis will still be able to work out and rehab his ankle, and added that Lewis missing organized workouts was not "insurmountable." Lewis is slated to complete his sentence in August 2; the Ravens open camp July 31.

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    June 7, 2005 12:32 PM ET
    Rams: Martz forces number change for karma purposes
    The News
    Rams' head coach Mike Martz appears to have a phobia of certain jersey numbers. The notoriously strange head coach forced backup quarterback Jeff Smoker to abandon his No. 9 jersey in favor of No. 15 because he believes certain numbers carry bad karma. The second-year signal caller disputed rumors that he would be released if he didn't agree to switch numbers. "No, he didn't say that," Smoker told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "But I kind of took the hint and switched the number."
    Our View
    We've had our suspicions for years, but now it's finally official: Mike Martz is insane. In some twisted way, perhaps this explains why the Mad Scientist elected to insert the washed-up Chris Chandler into the starter's role last year when Marc Bulger was sidelined by a shoulder injury.

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    June 7, 2005 12:28 PM ET
    Browns: Verba given permission to seek trade
    The News
    Disgruntled offensive tackle Ross Verba has received permission from the Browns to seek a trade and has been excused from next week's mandatory minicamp. Cleveland signed free agent L.J. Shelton last week, in part because Verba has been holding out demanding a new contract, and Browns GM Phil Savage told the Cleveland Plain Dealer that while the team has not officially closed the door on Verba, trading him would be the preference.
    Our View
    Verba is seeking a contract equivalent to some of the top left tackles in the game, which will make him difficult to trade since in no way does he warrant such a deal. The Bears, Texans, and Chiefs have been mentioned as teams interested in upgrading their line. Shelton, who fell out of favor with Denny Green in Arizona because of his conditioning (or lack thereof), looked "okay" during recent workouts, according to Savage, who added that the team has more than a month before training camp to work with him on getting into shape.

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    June 7, 2005 12:15 PM ET
    Steelers: Bettis feels okay
    The News
    After mulling retirement over the offseason, Steelers running back Jerome Bettis skipped the team's first minicamp to give his body a rest. Bettis rejoined the team for organized workouts in late May and indicated he feels good. "I know I'm older now, I feel it more," Bettis told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "But I feel good. I'm where I though I'd be."
    Our View
    Bettis usually spends his offseason working out with trainer Bob Kersee, but he opted for more rest following his 12th NFL season and an unexpected 294 carries. Bettis will train with Kersee later this month to get in shape for training camp, but he's acknowledged that he doesn't anticipate shouldering the same load as last season, and that Duce Staley will be the Steelers' starter.

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    June 7, 2005 12:07 PM ET
    Rams: Turley released
    The News
    The Rams released Kyle Turley on Monday after the veteran offensive tackle failed a physical. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Rams still owe the 28 year-old lineman $250,000 and will take a $1.82 million salary cap hit this season, and a $5.47 million hit in 2006. Turley missed the entire 2004 season due to a herniated disc in his back, but has indicated that he is hoping to return to action this season.
    Our View
    Turley was actually open to the idea of returning to the Rams' locker room even though he allegedly threatened to kill head coach Mike Martz last year. Then again, this is the same guy who announced his intention of switching to defensive tackle this season to avoid putting strain on his back, even though he hadn't cleared it with team officials. This is also the same Turley who miraculously lost nearly 70 pounds of body mass in record time after he suffered the back injury last year.

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    June 7, 2005 11:57 AM ET
    Redskins: Portis settles number dispute
    The News
    Redskins' running back Clinton Portis settled his legal issue with Cardinals' safety Ifeanyi Ohalete to avoid appearing in court on Tuesday. The Associated Press reports that Portis agreed to pay his former teammate $18,000 to settle a dispute over a jersey number. Portis previously refused to pay the final $20,000 installment of the $40,000 he agreed to pay Ohalete in exchange for rights to the No. 26 jersey last year.
    Our View
    One of the silliest cases in judicial history has been settled. Portis chose to pay most of the remaining balance, which he probably would have been ordered to pay had the case actually gone to court. Ohalete had a contract signed by Portis, who stopped payment after the safety was released by the Redskins during training camp last year.

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    June 7, 2005 11:39 AM ET
    Cardinals: Morrow reunites with Green
    The News
    The Cardinals signed free agent fullback Harold Morrow to a one-year contract on Monday, according to the Arizona Republic. Morrow, 32, played for Cardinals' head coach Dennis Green while both were members of the Vikings' organization. Morrow spent the last two seasons with the Ravens.
    Our View
    Harold will likely contribute more on special teams than as a fullback. Either way, we do not expect him to make a fantasy impact this season.

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    June 7, 2005 11:34 AM ET
    Seahawks: Open competition for starting wideout job
    The News
    The release of wide receiver Koren Robinson has created an opening in the starting lineup for the Seahawks. Among the contenders for the starting job opposite Darrell Jackson are Bobby Engram, D.J. Hackett, Jerome Pathon, Joe Jurevicius. With Jackson boycotting the voluntary workout, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports that Engram and Hackett took the reps with the starting offense during Monday's minicamp workout. Jerheme Urban, Taco Wallace, Alex Bannister, and Jason Willis round out the list of wideouts on the Seahawks' roster.
    Our View
    We're surprised to see Engram taking reps with the starters. Although he has expressed interest in becoming a starter, Hawks' head coach Mike Holmgren considers him a perfect fit for the No. 3 role. In fact, when Robinson was suspended last year, Holmgren moved ancient wide receiver Jerry Rice into the No. 2 role rather than promote Engram. As such, we expect one of the other wideouts win the starting role opposite Jackson during training camp.

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    June 7, 2005 11:33 AM ET
    Packers: Favre doesn't back down from Walker comments
    The News
    Speaking to reporters following this weekend's Brett Favre Celebrity Softball tournament, the Packers' quarterback did not back down from his comments regarding the holdout of wide receiver Javon Walker. "I don't see any reason why he'd be bitter at me," Favre told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "If he is, then he'll have to get over it. I haven't said anything negative about Javon. He's a tremendous player, he's a great guy, but I think the way he is going about this is wrong."
    Our View
    It's good to see Favre stick to his guns rather than backpedal, but it's not so good to have this kind of discord with training camp just around the corner. Keeping tabs on the Walker holdout is high priority for fantasy owners this offseason, so keep your eye on camp Cheesehead.

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    June 7, 2005 11:33 AM ET
    Redskins: Taylor excused from offseason workouts
    The News
    Redskins' defensive back Sean Taylor will not be taking part in the team's offseason workouts or upcoming minicamp. Although this may not seem like news given that Taylor has been holding in protest of the contract he signed last year, the fact that the Redskins have excused him from those activities is newsworthy. Skins' head coach Joe Gibbs declined to discuss Taylor's recent arrest on aggravated assault with a firearm in detail, but he did tell the Washington Post that he expects the second-year defensive back to take part in training camp next month.
    Our View
    Here's hoping that Gibbs hasn't bothered to notify Taylor of his decision. Taylor didn't give Gibbs the respect of returning his phone calls in recent months, so it would only be fitting if the legendary coach turned the tables on the troubled defensive back. Fantasy owners shouldn't lose too much sleep over Taylor's arrest. After all, Sean already beat a drunk driving charge, so he clearly has good legal representation.

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    June 7, 2005 11:21 AM ET
    Seahawks: Holmgren feels guilty about cutting KoRo
    The News
    Seahawks' head coach Mike Holmgren took no pleasure in cutting troubled wide receiver Koren Robinson last week. In fact, he feels guilty about it. "I prayed for him every day," Holmgren told the Seattle Times. "It became to me much more than a football issue, it became a life issue. Somehow, I couldn't communicate well enough. I kind of failed on that one, and that bothers me. But I don't regret how we tried to do some things. I just hope it works out for him." Holmgren contacted Robinson personally to inform him of his decision last week.
    Our View
    Holmgren bent over backwards for Robinson. In fact, the only thing he should feel guilt over is coddling the troubled wideout. With the possible exception of adopting Koren, Holmgren did everything in his power to help set the former first-round pick straight. It didn't work, and Robinson's release was long overdue.

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    June 7, 2005 11:19 AM ET
    Chiefs: Mitchell, Hakim seek to fill receiver void
    The News
    The Chiefs kicked Johnnie Morton to the curb last week, and the list of veterans hoping to take his place is starting to form. Former Eagle Freddie Mitchell visited Kansas City Monday, and ex-Lion Az-Zahir Hakim will be in town Tuesday. "Whenever you have the opportunity to evaluate somebody that was a first-round pick, you've got to take a look at him," Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil told the Kansas City Star of Mitchell. As for Hakim, who played for Vermeil in St. Louis, the Chiefs' coach said, "I want him to go where he has the best opportunity."
    Our View
    Vermeil has been reluctant to offer Hakim a job because the Chiefs have plenty of undersized receivers already on the roster. The Chiefs at present have no plans to bring former Seahawk Koren Robinson in for a visit, leaving Samie Parker as the likely candidate to start opposite Eddie Kennison. Rookie Craphonso Thorpe and a pair of pass-catchers coming off injuries—Mark Boerigter and Chris Horn—are also in the mix.

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    June 7, 2005 11:08 AM ET
    Lions: Rogers gets rid of red jersey
    The News
    Fragile Lions wide receiver Charles Rogers has worn the red "no contact" jersey for the last time…he hopes. Rogers, who is recovering from a second broken collarbone in as many seasons, had been wearing the red jersey during minicamp for extra protection, but he will finish this week's workouts with the same Honolulu blue jersey that his teammates have on. "It's probably in his best interests to get rid of it, so he feels like everybody else in the last part of this practice before we go to training camp," head coach Steve Mariucci told the Detroit News. "We've talked about it. It's not just the physical part of his recovery that matters. It's the mental."
    Our View
    If it seems like just one year ago we were reporting this same news…well, it was. On June 11, 2004 we reported that Rogers was getting rid of the red jersey and would be wearing blue in training camp. So he's apparently four days ahead of schedule from where he was last year in terms of his recovery from his broken clavicle.

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    June 7, 2005 10:51 AM ET
    Giants: McQuarters still considering his options
    The News
    Free agent defensive back and special teams ace R.W. McQuarters has visited several teams since the Bears released him last month. Although he has yet to enter serious contract negotiations with any teams, the Vikings and Giants are rumored to be the leading contenders for McQuarters' services. Mike Sweatman, the G-Men's special teams coach, is obviously hoping that R.W. will choose Gotham City. "He's an exciting, electrifying type returner, similar to some of the plays David Meggett made when he was with the Giants," Sweatman told the New York Post. McQuarters has returned three punts for touchdowns during his seven year career.
    Our View
    The Giants might have the inside track toward signing McQuarters, as Sweatman coached him in Chicago. The Giants might also find a spot for R.W. at nickel back, whereas the Vikings already have Brian Williams penciled in for that role. We'll continue to keep you posted on McQuarters free agent visits and eventual signing as more information is released.


  2. #2
    jkramsfan Guest

    Re: Around the League 6-8-05

    Since He Was A Former Ram I Hope Bettis Has A Good Year And Then Retires,get Out While You Are Somewhat Healthy And Able To Walk Without A Limp.

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