Notable names are missing from minicamps
By Kathleen Nelson
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Sure, workouts and minicamps at this time of year are voluntary, according to the letter of the law. But the players who aren't there violate the spirit of the law and are far more noticeable than those who report. Some miss because of physical injuries. Others skip the workouts because of wounded pride. Among the MIAs:
Briggs and agent Drew Rosenhaus are sour that the Bears placed the franchise tag on Briggs in February. Though he would earn $7.2 million, Briggs has vowed never to play again for the Bears. Trade talks with Washington seem dead, and no other team has expressed interest publicly in Briggs.
He also earned the franchise tag but has been quieter about bypassing the offseason conditioning program.
Coach Jack Del Rio played head games with Leftwich through the season about whether Leftwich would return as the starter. Since Del Rio sort of committed to Leftwich, the shoe has been on the other foot. Leftwich has yet to report for offseason workouts and probably won't appear in Jacksonville until May.
A toe injury that kept Kelly out of all but two games last year isn't the problem, according to secondary coach Raheem Morris. Nor is his status as a starter. More likely, it's money. He is supposed to make $3.6 million this season, less than half of what the top corners make. Kelly also skipped voluntary workouts last offseason.
Both are considered trade bait. Williams, a first-round pick in 2005, has failed to live up to his status and has been fined heavily for being overweight. McCown has asked to be traded, and the Oakland Raiders have expressed interest, though with the first pick in the draft Oakland has dibs on QB JaMarcus Russell of LSU.
A four-time Pro Bowler, Crumpler had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee Friday, putting him on the shelf for the three-day minicamp that began Tuesday. A spokesman for the Falcons said the procedure repaired minor damage and cleared out debris. Crumpler delayed surgery in part because he spent 12 days visiting troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Former Rams defensive end Grant Wistrom, 30, is talking about life in the NFL in the past tense, a good indication that he's ready to retire.
"I haven't turned in any papers yet," Wistrom was quoted as saying in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer on Wednesday. "But in my mind, it's official."
Wistrom was part of the Rams' two Super Bowl teams before departing for Seattle in 2004. The Seahawks released Wistrom on March 8, after signing defensive end Patrick Kerney. Wistrom has 53 sacks and 589 tackles in his nine-year career and told the Post-Intelligencer he could still play.
However, he has lost 25 pounds, he bought land near his home in southwest Missouri and said he was planning to coach the defensive line at Parkview High in Springfield, where his brother, Chance, is the principal.
Happy night owls: The Cowboys have six night games on their schedule. Last season, the Cowboys were part of the highest-rated games on Fox, CBS, ESPN and NFL Network.
The Buffalo Bills return to "Monday Night Football" for the first time since 2000. They host the Cowboys on Oct. 8.
Unhappy night owls: The Bears have five prime-time games, only one of them at home.
Rise and shine: The Seahawks play four morning games in the final six weeks of the regular season. They are on the road for games with a start time of noon St. Louis time, 10 a.m. Pacific time.
— The Lions, who finished 3-13, are the only team in the NFC with an opponents' winning percentage above .500 at .504.
— Of the five first-year head coaches, only Oakland's Lane Kiffin will open the season at home, Sept. 9 against Detroit.
Re: Notable names are missing from minicamps
wow the poor lions can't catch a break lol