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  • Ex-Jayhawk Whittemore biding time

    By David Mitchell, Sports Writer

    Saturday, July 17, 2004

    It's looking more and more like Bill Whittemore's next game will be played in the Arena Football League.

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    The former Kansas University quarterback was signed by the Atlanta Falcons as an undrafted free agent May 18, but the NFL franchise cut Whittemore on June 30. By that time, the Canadian Football League season already was under way, and Whittemore's agent has been unable to find a home for the quarterback north of the border.

    "We should know on the Canada deal by the end of next week," agent Tom Mills said. "If that doesn't happen, we would pursue the Arena League option."

    The CFL matter is complicated by the fact that a Canadian franchise, which Mills could not name, already has the rights to Whittemore in that league. But five weeks into the season, that unnamed team has not required Whittemore's services and wasn't likely to barring injuries.

    Even if Whittemore does catch on in Canada, at this late date it likely would be in a backup role. The rookie might have a better chance to play in the Arena League, which doesn't start play until October. Three teams in the indoor league already have expressed interest in the Tennessee native.

    "He has such a desire to play, we might be willing to wait a few months rather than just be on the sidelines in the CFL," Mills said.

    The Arena League doesn't have a draft. Players are invited to workouts in September before the season begins.

    Whittemore started 10 games as a senior last fall and completed 159 of 263 passes for 2,385 yards and a school-record 18 touchdowns.


    Jones case continued: Former Kansas University lineman Adrian Jones was granted a continuance Thursday in municipal court, city prosecutor Jerry Little said.

    Jones, a fourth-round draft pick of the New York Jets, was arrested May 8 and was charged with driving under the influence. Jones' case was continued to Aug. 26. At that time, he could enter a plea or ask for a diversion or his trial date will be set.


    More on McCoy: KU announced Thursday that senior lineman John McCoy would miss the season after his Army Reserve Unit was called up. The 6-foot-3, 250-pound converted linebacker was at the top of the depth chart at defensive end after spring drills.

    "He had a tremendous spring," KU defensive coordinator Bill Young said. "We really thought he was going to have an outstanding year. We're sorry to see him go, but we're awfully proud of him."

    Senior starter David McMillan (6-3, 240) returns at defensive end, but the other end is up for grabs after the departure of McCoy. Junior-college transfer Jermail Ashley (6-5, 250) likely will be the leading candidate to fill that spot.

    Another junior-college transfer, Minnesota West's Charlton Keith (6-5, 230), was expected to add needed depth, but the transfer must first complete summer school in Minnesota. Minnesota West coach Jeff Linder has not returned calls from the Journal-World.

    Young said freshman Anthony Collins (6-6, 250) would get a long look in preseason camp, which begins when players report Aug. 6. Senior Greg Tyree (6-0, 245) also could be in the mix after moving from linebacker in the spring.

    Other possibilities at end could include linebackers Zach Mims (6-3, 235) and Brandon Perkins (6-1, 225).

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  • DJRamFan
    Notebook: Lots happening in Volunteers land this week
    by DJRamFan
    Feb. 4, 2005
    By Dennis Dodd
    SportsLine.com Senior Writer
    Tell Dennis your opinion!


    Has there been a better week in Tennessee football history?

    OK, OK, we remember Tempe in January 1999.

    But the fools that keep criticizing Phil Fulmer have to be swimming in their own bile this week. In one seven-day period ...


    Fulmer signed a new contract that pays him $2.05 million per year.
    Logan Young was convicted in the SEC's Trial of the Century.
    Tennessee won another national championship.
    It was only a recruiting title -- two services ranked the Vols' class No. 1 -- but signing day was the cap on a fairly good week. And Fulmer -- the nation's winningest active coach (.799) -- has shown he knows what to do with those recruits.


    $2 Million Club's new member
    Details of Phil Fulmer's contract:
    Base: $325,000
    Radio/TV: $800,000
    Apparel fee: $625,000
    Appearance fee: $300,000
    Incentives
    Non-BCS bowl: $37,500
    SEC East tie: $50,000
    SEC championship game: $75,000
    SEC championship/BCS bowl: $100,000
    BCS title game: $150,000
    BCS championship: $250,000

    The school rewarded Fulmer on Tuesday with a one-year extension that runs through the 2011 season. Fulmer completed his eighth 10-win season after a 31-point victory over Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl.

    He rounded up a 27-man class that included at least four players that were rated the best at their position -- defensive end Raymond Henderson from Wisconsin, linebacker Andre Mathis from Pennsylvania, defensive back Adam Myers-White from Ohio and linebacker Rico McCoy from Washington D.C.

    Tennessee (10-3 in 2004) will return in 2005 again in a position to challenge for the SEC title. It won the SEC East (again) last year before losing to Auburn in the league title game. Fulmer already has some of the country's best young talent, including quarterback Erik Ainge who will return from a shoulder injury.

    The Young verdict -- guilty of racketeering in the Albert Means case -- hopefully ends one of the more bitter periods in SEC history. The sniping between Alabama and Tennessee had reached critical levels. Last year SEC commissioner Mike Slive pushed through a set of guidelines. The goal -- no school is on NCAA probation by later in the decade.

    Fulmer, afraid of getting a subpoena in a suit against the NCAA by two former Alabama assistants, skipped the SEC media days. He was fined $10,000 by the conference.

    The Tennessee critics were beginning to doubt Fulmer. No, he hasn't won an SEC title in six years. Yes, his program has lost four of its past six bowl games. But the state of Tennessee produces few blue-chip players. The program has had to recruit in surrounding states...
    -02-08-2005, 02:47 PM
  • RamsFan16
    The "Official" Atlanta Braves thread
    by RamsFan16
    Saltalamacchia relishes role as hero

    Catching prospect excited after belting walk-off homer
    By Mark Bowman / MLB.com

    LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- It took everybody in the Braves' clubhouse less time to claim they had predicted the walk-off homer than it did for them to actually complete the pronunciation of catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia's name.

    As a still-enthralled Saltalamacchia stood by his locker, just minutes after hitting a walk-off three-run homer in the Braves' 8-7 win over the Dodgers at Disney's Wide World of Sports complex on Friday afternoon, bullpen catcher Alan Butts walked by the day's hero and proclaimed that he had predicted the shot.

    Within the next 10 minutes, both manager Bobby Cox and general manager John Schuerholz were declaring they had done the same.

    "When Salty walks up there, that's the way you feel, like he's going to turn the game around," Cox said. "He just looks good."

    Right now, Saltalamacchia looks like a certain future star at the big-league level. Standing 6-foot-4 and weighing 220 pounds, he has the imposing stature that you wouldn't expect somebody who is just 20 years old to have.

    But as most in baseball have come to understand, this isn't your normal 20-year-old prospect. While playing half his games at the pitcher-friendly environment provided at Class A Myrtle Beach last year, Saltalamacchia hit .314, produced a .519 slugging percentage, drilled 19 homers and contributed 81 RBIs.

    Since being taken by the Braves as their first selection in the 2003 First-Year Player Draft, Saltalamacchia has greatly improved his defensive skills and proven to be highly skilled from both sides of the plate as a switch-hitter.

    "That's why he's classified as one of the big young hitters in the entire Minor League system," Cox said. "They tagged him right, that's for sure."

    When Saltalamacchia came to the plate with nobody out in the ninth inning to face Dodgers right-hander Jonathan Broxton, his intentions were to simply put the ball in play. Swinging from the left side, he fouled a rocket toward each dugout before drilling the game-winner to the opposite field, over the left-field fence.

    "I just said, 'Swing hard in case you hit it,'" said Saltalamacchia, who doesn't believe he had hit a walk-off homer previously in his career.

    Obviously, the legend of Saltalamacchia will grow with this blast. But it must be remembered he's played just two full professional seasons and needs a little more seasoning before being ready for the Majors.

    "He's a good young player, and he's going to have a fine career," Schuerholz said. "He'll develop like all of our young guys have developed, at his natural pace. It will happen when it happens."

    With 22-year-old Brian McCann in...
    -03-04-2006, 09:53 AM
  • Nick
    Pasquarelli discusses Delhomme's new contract, among other things
    by Nick
    Delhomme's Pact Could Affect Couch, Warner
    By Len Pasquarelli
    ESPN.com

    It is called lagniappe, an old Cajun word that roughly translates into "a little bit extra," and a term with which Carolina Panthers quarterback and dyed-in-the-gumbo Louisiana native Jake Delhomme was familiar, long before he agreed Thursday morning to his pricey new five-year contract extension.

    Rewarding their emerging star with a contract that reportedly could be worth as much as $38 million, a deal criticized in some NFL precincts because there remains a core group of skeptics anxious to see if Delhomme was just a one-year wonder, certainly represented a heaping helping of lagniappe ladled out by Panthers management. No matter where one sides in the debate, though, the contract inarguably was aimed at providing security for both parties to the extension.

    Good news, Carolina management hopes, for a franchise now suddenly resurrected and seeking to sustain newfound success and to create stability. And absolutely great news for an itinerant quarterback whose league resume included just two regular-season starts before 2003.

    But bad news -- very bad news, in fact, it says here -- for signal-callers such as Tim Couch, Kurt Warner and Kordell Stewart. How do we draw a correlation between Delhomme's contract and the fortunes of those veteran quarterbacks?

    Because players like Couch have recently been forced into a kind of wait-until-next-year mindset, one in which they sign short-term deals in the hopes of finding a far more appealing employment market next March, when they will be free agents and perhaps have a chance to pursue a starting job. And contracts like the one Delhomme signed, in the big picture, mean there aren't going to be as many vacant starting spots in the NFL as some observers suggest there might be.

    It is, to be sure, one of the NFL's most notable dichotomies. Everyone focuses closely on the movement of quarterbacks in the league every spring, and this year was no different, as 19 quarterbacks had switched franchises at last count. But in a league where the best-kept secret appears to be the number of teams that have cemented their starters in place over the last few years, many of them with deals of astonishing length, few quarterbacks who changed addresses actually upgraded their status.

    Here's a fact-and-fiction proposition: It's a fact that the 32 quarterbacks projected to be starters in 2004 have an average of 4.4 more seasons remaining on their current contracts, meaning they are locked in through 2007. So it is fiction to assume that a slew of No. 1 spots will become available next spring, or even the offseason after that.

    The late-blooming Delhomme is the latest beneficiary of a trend in which teams have sought to reverse the quarterback carousel and put a stop to the calliope tune that annually accompanies...
    -06-18-2004, 01:40 PM
  • Nick
    ESPN Insider's Whispers from around the NFL (5/23)
    by Nick
    Whispers from around the NFLPro Football Weekly

    The way we hear it, Panthers DT Kris Jenkins, who missed the bulk of last season with a shoulder injury, is carrying more weight than usual, and there is some concern he will not be as effective as he once was unless he drops some pounds.

    One scout told PFW the Redskins appeared to have hit it big with first-round pick QB Jason Campbell, if the rare poise and performance he showed in his first minicamp is any indication. He said Campbell looked like "the next Doug Williams" and that "Joe Gibbs knew what he was getting (in Campbell)."

    Chargers WR Reche Caldwell, who tore an anterior cruciate ligament in Week 6 last season, looked good during a full-squad workout in May, just six and a half months removed from surgery. Caldwell, who last season showed signs of finally leaving his bust label behind, is expected to compete with Eric Parker and second-rounder Vincent Jackson for playing time.

    We hear the Patriots likely will give second-year RB Cedric Cobbs a lot of work in training camp and the preseason to give him needed touches and build experience as a possible backup option behind Corey Dillon and Kevin Faulk.

    We hear the Cardinals' release of OT L.J. Shelton is seen as vindication of a Bills brain trust that was heavily criticized by some media members for not pulling the trigger on a proposed Travis Henry-for-Shelton trade. GM Tom Donahoe caught a lot of flak for not making that trade, but he said time and again that a player-for-player swap was not equal value. The Cardinals' decision to give Shelton his outright release is seen by the Bills as proof of that fact.

    We hear most of Jets CB Donnie Abraham's teammates assumed he would retire after he skipped most of the offseason to be with his family in Tampa. However, word is the Jets and Abraham have worked out a way for Abraham to see his family more often during the season, and that allowed him to be comfortable enough to return for his 10th NFL season.

    With DTs Tim Bowens (back) and Larry Chester (knee) both struggling to return to form following season-ending injuries, we hear it has become clear to the Dolphins they won't be able to count on Bowens and Chester to play a big role in the defense this season. That likely will lead the Dolphins to sign the free agent who best fits the profile of what coach Nick Saban is looking for Keith Traylor, who played nose tackle with the Patriots last season.

    Saints CB Fahkir Brown surprised his team when he held out of minicamp workouts, because nobody including general manager Mickey Loomis knew Brown was unhappy with his contract.

    Expect the Saints to open talks with RB Deuce McAllister about a contract extension in early June, with a deal expected to be hammered out in a short time.

    Panthers WR Drew...
    -05-26-2005, 12:24 PM
  • RamWraith
    St. Louis Signs 10 Rookie Free Agents
    by RamWraith
    Monday, April 25, 2005

    By Nick Wagoner
    Staff Writer

    Some might make the mistake of thinking that when the time runs out on the NFL Draft that teams are done adding to the roster. Actually, the draft is just the beginning of the roster tweaking.

    St. Louis joined the fray of teams in search of undrafted free agents Monday, adding 10 players to the 11 it drafted during the weekend. Of course, there is no guarantee that these players will make the roster, but most get an opportunity to go to training camp and make their abilities known.

    With the end of the draft comes time to find hidden gems who, for one reason or another, weren’t drafted. St. Louis spent most of its picks in the draft on offensive linemen and defensive backs, alleviating some of the worry about those positions. Most of the players signed Monday were brought in to fortify the defensive line after the team elected not to use any on the spot.

    Among the defensive line additions were tackles Jeremy Calahan, Colby Clark and Matt McChesney and end Vontrell Jamison. Also joining the Rams on Monday are guard Zach Bray, linebacker Clifford Dukes, defensive back Keon Newson, receivers Dominic Robinson and Dominique Thompson and cornerback Duvol Thompson.

    Rams General Manager Charley Armey said all of the players signed were considered as potential draft picks during the weekend. He pointed to a few as potential impact players at the next level.

    Highlighting the group are tackles Clark and McChesney. Clark is 6’2, 295 pounds and McChesney checks in at 6’4, 292 pounds.

    McChesney, who comes to St. Louis from Colorado, dealt with some injury and off the field problems while with the Buffaloes. He suffered a season-ending elbow injury as a freshman in 2000 and redshirted in 2002 because of an ankle injury. He had his best season when he was finally healthy in 2004, posting 59 tackles and seven sacks.

    Clark made his reputation at Northwestern as an “Iron Man,” as he never missed a practice or game because of injury. He set a Northwestern record for starts with 47 and finished with 230 career tackles.

    Dominique Thompson is another example of a player who spent his career at a small school, but played at a high level. He had a breakout year in 2004, catching 79 passes for 1,585 yards, but he is best known for his return skills.

    Thompson averaged 22.2 yards per return on kickoffs for the Tribe during his senior year.

    Bray was Texas Christian’s best offensive lineman last year and boasts excellent size at 6’3, 303 pounds. He was the team’s starting right guard for two years and holds the school bench press record at 635 pounds.

    Calahan is a bit undersized for a defensive tackle, but he is quick off the ball and had a productive college career for Rice. He was...
    -04-25-2005, 04:38 PM
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