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Volume 6, Issue 10 (Thursday, April 28th)

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Hi Folks,

Hope you’re ready for Friday. The week’s flown by in
the aftermath of the draft. And that’s just getting
started as we’ve still got plenty of news for you
here. Thanks to Footballguy Maurile Tremblay for
rounding up these stories. Let’s get to it.

Joe

/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/

INSIDE THIS ISSUE

1. RB Davis (CAR) Expects To Play Again
2. Rattay (SF) Not Conceding QB Job
3. QB Warner (ARI) Without Targets
4. Browns Sit Tight On RB Droughns' Request
5. Agent: RB Westbrook (PHI) To Play Ball
6. QB Boller (BAL) Ready To "Silence Critics"
7. Titans WR Bennett Example For Matt Jones’ (JAC) Conversion
8. RB Williams (TB) Has Tough Act To Follow
9. WR Williams (DET) Gets Wisdom From Coach Cris Carter
10. Cowboys Release RB Anderson, WR Williams
11. Packers’ Off-Field Woes Take Center Stage
12. RB Henry (BUF) Knew Forecast Would Stay Gloomy
13. Jets Release K Brien
14. IDP: Is SS Minter (CAR) Out After 8 Seasons?

/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/

1. RB Davis (CAR) Expects To Play Again

Clipped from: Associated Press article by Jenna Fryer, 4/28/05

Stephen Davis expects to make a full recovery from
microfracture surgery and play for the Carolina
Panthers again this season.

The team's starting running back missed most of last
season with nagging right knee problems, then had the
surgery in November.

"Stephen is doing great, he is jacked up about this
year," agent David Canter said Thursday. "He feels
like that that knee thing was probably something that
was here for a while, maybe even when he was in
Washington, and he thinks it is all cleared up now."

Davis spent eight years with the Redskins, then signed
with the Panthers before the 2003 season. He then had
the best year of his career, rushing for a career-best
1,444 yards while helping Carolina win the NFC
championship and earning his third Pro Bowl
invitation.

But Davis played just two games last season. He played
in the season-opener, then had surgery to repair torn
cartilage in his knee. He tried to return for one game
after that, then had the more serious operation to end
his year.

[[[[[[[[[[ OUR VIEW ]]]]]]]]]]

Davis probably won’t participate in the team’s
offseason mini-camps as he continues to let his knee
heal, but he should be ready to go by the start of
training camp. Expect DeShaun Foster, who is coming
back from a broken collarbone, to start at RB for the
Panthers. Davis and rookie draft pick Eric Shelton
will compete for playing time behind Foster. Shelton
is a big back with a running style similar to that of
Davis.

/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/

2. Rattay (SF) Not Conceding QB Job

Clipped from: San Francisco Chronicle article by Kevin Lynch 4/28/05

Could it get any stranger for 49ers quarterback Tim
Rattay? After struggling through injuries during last
year's disastrous 2-14 season, Rattay had to be
subjected to Alex Smith fanfare.

Smith, chosen with the first overall pick in the
draft, was suddenly everywhere. An ESPN cameraman
followed the former Utah quarterback wherever he went.
He appeared on the 49ers' new flagship radio station,
KNBR, three times. There was Smith again receiving a
standing ovation at SBC Park when he was introduced
Monday night at the Giants-Padres game.

While Smith was being christened as the player that
will turn around the 49ers' fortunes, Rattay was
working hard on rehabilitating from last season's foot
injury.

"I'm just trying to go out there and get healthy,''
Rattay said Wednesday between his morning meeting with
the 49ers and his afternoon rehabilitation with a San
Francisco physical therapist. "I'm not worrying too
much what other people are doing or the situation. All
that stuff will work out by itself.''

Even though Rattay is entering his sixth season and
has started 12 games, the new 49ers coaching staff is
probably more familiar with Smith. Head coach Mike
Nolan and his assistants have been pouring over
Smith's college videotape and have worked Smith out
twice in the last month.

Meanwhile Rattay, because of the tender foot, has been
unable to take part in the team's continuing
quarterback school.

[[[[[[[[[[ OUR VIEW ]]]]]]]]]]

Could Rattay be the 2005 version of Drew Brees? That’s
a long shot. There will be an open competition between
Rattay and Smith throughout training camp and the
preseason. Alex Smith has better physical tools than
Rattay, but he will have to earn the starting job, as
it will not be handed to him. Rattay, meanwhile, has
was in and out of the lineup all season last year due
to injury, and he still isn’t 100 percent. Even if
Rattay starts on opening day, we expect Smith to see
plenty of action as the season progresses.

/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/

3. QB Warner (ARI) Without Targets

Clipped from: The Arizona Republic article by Kent Somers, 4/27/05

Kurt Warner is missing two of his top three receivers
during the three-day voluntary camp that ends today.
He's not panicked about their absence, but he admits
he needs to work with them because a big part of his
game is based on anticipation and timing.

"That's the hardest thing for me, to get back and
throw everything on time but still have a good feel
and still make the completions," he said.

Receiver Bryant Johnson is attending classes at Penn
State, and Anquan Boldin is absent because he's
seeking a new contract.

"I think everybody understands the business part of
it," he said of Boldin's situation, "and I think
everybody knows how hard he (Boldin) works and how he
gets ready to play the game.

"Our whole thought on it is: 'Let's get it done, let's
get him here and let's go win some games.' "

[[[[[[[[[[ OUR VIEW ]]]]]]]]]]

In Anquan Boldin, Larry Fitzgerald and Bryant Johnson
– once they are all on the field together – Warner
will have better weapons to throw to in 2005 than he
did last year with the Giants. Boldin and Fitzgerald
both have terrific hands and run excellent patterns:
the debate over who will be the Cardinals’ top WR this
year will rage all offseason.

/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/

4. Browns Sit Tight On RB Droughns' Request

Clipped from: Akron Beacon Journal article by Patrick McManamon, 4/28/05

The Browns are laying low on Reuben Droughns' request
for a new contract.

The team's stance is pretty simple: Droughns, a
running back acquired from Denver via trade last
month, is signed for two more years and he has yet to
hold out from anything. Since he's not required to be
present until the full-team minicamp June 13-15, the
team isn't commenting on the situation.

Droughns has two years left on a deal he signed while
playing fullback. It calls for him to make $950,000
this season and $1.15 million in 2006.

Droughns switched to running back last season and
gained 1,240 yards. It was his first season as the
main back, and his first gaining 1,000 yards.

Droughns sounded off in Wednesday's Plain Dealer about
wanting a new deal. ``I keep hearing from everyone my
whole career that I'm going to get taken care of down
the road. But I keep getting the short end of the
stick.''

[[[[[[[[[[ OUR VIEW ]]]]]]]]]]

The workouts Droughns has missed so far have been
"voluntary," but things look as though he will hold
out once training rolls around as well. He has been in
the league six seasons, but last year was the first
time he got extended work as a ball-carrier. The
Browns traded for Droughns with the idea that he would
compete for the starting RB job with Lee Suggs. If he
gets into camp on time, with or without a new
contract, he would seriously challenge Suggs for the
starting job; but if he holds out, Suggs probably
becomes the favorite. William Green is still on the
roster as well, and is reportedly having a good
offseason – but we’ve heard that one before.

/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/

5. Agent: RB Westbrook (PHI) To Play Ball

Clipped from: Philadelphia Daily News article by Les Bowen, 4/28/05

He won't be at minicamp this weekend, but Brian
Westbrook will sign the Eagles' 1-year restricted
free-agent tender if there is no long-term deal, and
will report to training camp on time, agent Anthony
Agnone said yesterday.

Agnone said talks continue toward Westbrook's goal of
a long-term contract. Team sources have indicated the
sides are far from agreement, but Agnone said
Westbrook's desire for more than a 1-year accord
shouldn't be taken as any sort of campaign to get out
of town.

"He's not interested in that,'' Agnone said, when
asked about the possibility of Westbrook holding out
to dramatize his plight or force a trade. "Brian
Westbrook will be in an Eagles uniform this year.
Brian feels very strongly that he's part of the Eagles
organization, and he hopes that he will get a
long-term deal.''

Agnone said if there is no long-term agreement,
Westbrook will sign the 1-year, $1.43 million tender
by June 15. On that date, a team can withdraw the
tender to an unsigned restricted free agent and still
retain exclusive negotiating rights by substituting an
offer of 110 percent of the previous year's salary.
Last season was the final installment of Westbrook's
original 3-year deal, which paid him a total of $1.325
million after he was drafted in the third round out of
Villanova. So he would make considerably less than the
$1.43 million tender this season, if the Eagles
substituted. April 15 was the deadline for other teams
to make offers to restricted free agents.

[[[[[[[[[[ OUR VIEW ]]]]]]]]]]

Westbrook led all NFL running backs in receptions last
year with 73. He is an explosive open-field runner who
played a huge role in the offense last year, but the
Eagles may want to limit him to 15 to 20 touches a
game this year, and are therefore hesitant to give a
contract in line with "featured RB" status. Correll
Buckhalter just re-signed with the Eagles, and the
team also drafted Louisiana Tech's Ryan Moats last
week in the draft. In addition, the Eagles are
reportedly interested in Buffalo running back Travis
Henry. So Westbrook’s offensive touches are likely to
decline from the 250 he got last year.

/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/

6. QB Boller (BAL) Ready To "Silence Critics"

Clipped from: Baltimoresun.com article by Jamison Hensley 4/27/05

The expectations piled on Ravens quarterback Kyle
Boller over draft weekend resembled an unforgiving
Pittsburgh Steelers blitz.

Based largely on the selection of receiver Mark
Clayton in the first round - which completed the
revamping of the passing game - the national media
gave the Ravens' draft a resounding grade of A, which
might as well have been translated to: All excuses are
now removed for Boller.

The buzz surrounding the Ravens has included the
mounting pressure on Boller to produce, from the
coverage on ESPN to the ramblings on local Internet
message boards.

With Clayton and veteran Derrick Mason, Boller no
longer has a suspect receiving tandem. With Jim
Fassel, Boller no longer has a conservative play
caller. And with 25 starts under his belt, Boller no
longer has the label of being inexperienced.

Asked about the challenge of being the X-factor to the
Ravens' season of heightened goals, Boller appeared to
have more of an edge than any previous offseason.

"Bring it on," Boller said after an hourlong workout
with about 20 teammates. "The pieces of the puzzle are
coming together. With the changes that the
organization has made, shoot, I'm ready to get out
there and silence all the critics."

The most criticized facet has been the Ravens' passing
game, which ranked last in 2003 and second-to-last in
2004. In fact, the Ravens have finished 22nd or worse
in five of coach Brian Billick's six seasons.

[[[[[[[[[[ OUR VIEW ]]]]]]]]]]

Footballguys.com will be debuting its Player Pages in
the near future. Here is a sneak preview of the
scouting report on Boller from his Player Page:

Positives: Boller is a terrific athlete with excellent
size and mobility. He can be effective delivering
short, underneath passes. He is a threat to run once
he gets outside the pocket, and can throw on the move.
For a young QB, he does a good job of throwing the
ball away before taking a sack. He is a streaky passer
who can be accurate when he gets into a rhythm. This
will be only the second season Boller enters as the
starter, and he should continue to improve with
experience. He played better in the second half of
2004 than in the first half, and he has better
receivers to throw to this year with the additions of
Derrick Mason and Mark Clayton.

Negatives: Boller’s accuracy has been quite erratic so
far in his career. He will overthrow open receivers,
and will sometimes string together several terrible
passes in a row. Despite his strong arm, his deep ball
often hangs in the air too long. He will also
sometimes lock on to a particular receiver instead of
seeing the entire field. He does not always step into
his throws, and his mechanics suffer when he is
pressured. He also fails to take care of the ball,
fumbling far too often when he is hit. He does not
always have good patience or awareness in the pocket,
and will often leave the pocket even when he is not
pressured.

2005 Fantasy Outlook:  The Ravens’ offense centers
around Jamal Lewis and the running game. Offensive
coordinator Jim Fassel would like to open up the
passing game a bit to present a two-dimensional
attack, but Boller will have to improve his accuracy
for that plan to work. Until Boller starts to show
signs of living up to his potential, he should be
viewed as a QB3 in 12-team fantasy leagues.

/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/

7. Titans WR Bennett Example For Matt Jones’ (JAC) Conversion

Clipped from: The Florida Times-Union article by Bart Hubbuch 4/27/05

Those who doubt the Jaguars' ability to turn Matt
Jones into a wide receiver -- and there seem to be
many of them around the country -- might not know
about Steve Walters.

Walters, the Jaguars' new receivers coach, is no
stranger to teaching college quarterbacks how to catch
the ball instead of throw it.

Walters molded Drew Bennett of the AFC South rival
Tennessee Titans into one of the NFL's most productive
receivers, which is why Bennett predicts a bright
future in Jacksonville for the 6-foot-6, 242-pound
Jones.

"Matt is going to have his trials and tribulations,
but anybody his size and with that kind of speed is
going to be able make the transition -- especially
with a guy like Steve Walters helping him,'' Bennett
said Tuesday.

The transition was no problem for Bennett, who spent
most of his career at UCLA as a quarterback before
coming into the league as an undrafted free agent with
the Titans in 2001.

Bennett has since emerged as one of the league's true
success stories, both as a fan favorite and as a
dangerous playmaker. He set career highs last season
with 80 catches for 1,247 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Bennett made steady progress, too, increasing his
catches, receiving yardage and touchdowns in each of
his first four years in the league. By the end of the
2004 season, he was so efficient that the Titans
released former Pro Bowl receiver Derrick Mason as
part of a salary-cap shakeup.

That production didn't go unnoticed by Jones, who
mentioned Bennett by name last weekend when asked
about his role models.

"Look at Drew Bennett now -- he's having a lot of
success in the league,'' Jones said. "Hopefully,
[Walters] can do the same with me.''

Bennett gives much of the credit for his blossoming
career to Walters, a veteran NFL assistant who left
Tennessee in January to join the Jaguars.

[[[[[[[[[[ OUR VIEW ]]]]]]]]]]

Jones is almost 40 pounds heavier than Bennett, and
has better speed. He ran a 4.36 in the forty yard dash
at the scouting combine, and has a 38-inch vertical
leap. The Jaguars will be able to move him around,
using him out wide or as an H-back. Jones is very raw
as a receiver, however, and may take a few years to
emerge as any kind of fantasy threat. Drew Bennett did
not have his breakout season until his fourth year.

/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/

8. RB Williams (TB) Has Tough Act To Follow

Clipped from: Buccaneers.com article, 4/28/05

Cadillac Williams has a tough act to follow.

We could be talking about the last three running backs
to be drafted fifth overall, as Williams was on
Saturday by the Buccaneers. After all, LaDainian
Tomlinson (2001), Jamal Lewis (2000) and Ricky
Williams (1999) have played a combined total of 13 NFL
seasons – and counting, at least for Tomlinson and
Lewis – and have a combined per-season average of
1,385 rushing yards.

But we’re not.

And we could be talking about the great Auburn running
backs of the past, as Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach
Jon Gruden did while introducing Williams to the Bay
area on Monday. Gruden, a student of the game, threw
out such names as Bo Jackson, Lionel James and Brent
Fullwood while describing how productive Williams and
his Auburn backfield mate Ronnie Brown had been last
season. Jackson, in particular, was a star on the NFL
level, though his name may not resonate real happily
with Buccaneer fans.

But we’re not.

There is another more recent and perhaps more relevant
comparison that Williams is not going to be able to
avoid. In fact, it came up during his introduction on
Monday and probably will be made repeatedly until
Williams’ rookie season is complete.

"This guy is going to be the last guy to leave, he’s
going to be the first guy there and he’s going to make
plays. Off the field, he’s a guy who you want to build
your football team around."
Williams’ tough act to follow is that of wide receiver
Michael Clayton, the Buccaneers’ home run of a
first-round pick last year. Clayton put together one
of the best rookie seasons by a receiver in NFL
history and appears to be a critical piece of the
Bucs’ foundation for the near future. The Buccaneers
selected Williams with the hopes that he would join
Clayton in that foundation, though it might be unfair
to expect the same wildly successful debut season.

Still, the comparisons are there. Both players might
have gone even higher in the draft if their respective
positions weren’t so deep that year. Both are
hard-working, team-oriented, do-anything types. Both
play positions that often allow for instant
contributions.

[[[[[[[[[[ OUR VIEW ]]]]]]]]]]

The Buccaneers running back position is somewhat
crowded, with Mike Alstott, Michael Pittman, and
Charlie Garner all on the roster. (Of course, Williams
is used to having company at the position, having
played with Ronnie Brown at Auburn.) Despite the
presence of several competent ball-carriers in Tampa
Bay, though, Williams should make a solid contribution
right from the start. Not many running backs who are
picked fifth overall in the draft spend a lot of time
on the bench, even as rookies.

/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/

9. WR Williams (DET) Gets Wisdom From Coach Cris Carter

Clipped from: Detroit Free Press article by Nicholas Cotsonika, 4/28/05

It's a beautiful Tuesday afternoon in Boca -- balmy
and breezy. At the beach, people are lying in the
sand. At restaurants, people are lingering over lunch
outside.

And behind Pope John Paul II High School, on a
secluded field at the end of a long parking lot, Mike
Williams is sweating, doing push-ups.

Williams, a receiver the Lions took 10th overall in
the NFL draft Saturday, has just dropped a pass. And
in front of his mentor, receiving great Cris Carter,
he's paying the price.

"You're making me look bad!" Carter yells, smiling. "I
was just getting ready to say you look like an NFL
receiver!"

Williams says he obviously wouldn't have left Southern
Cal after the 2003 season had he known then what he
knows now -- that an appeals court would overturn the
decision that allowed sophomores to enter the NFL
draft, that the NCAA wouldn't reinstate him afterward,
that he would miss a year of football because of it.

But he also says that, had he gone back to school, he
might not be the receiver he is today.

This is why.

"I mean, how much more you gonna learn after you score
30 touchdowns in two years?" says Carter, sitting on
the grass with Williams, who did just that at USC.
"You've been in college. What you've been doing there,
it works. But there's a whole other level."

To reach that level, Williams has been working with
Carter periodically, and he'll keep working with him
periodically after going through his first Lions
minicamp Friday through Sunday -- all the way up until
the Lions open training camp in late July.

"I don't care how many receivers are drafted," Carter
says. "There's no rookie receivers working like this
today. Yeah, there might be a Torry Holt working like
this today. Yeah, there might be a Marvin Harrison,
guys like that, because they know. But those young
guys, they don't know this."

[[[[[[[[[[ OUR VIEW ]]]]]]]]]]

Williams could have done a lot worse in picking a
tutor. Williams is actually a similar receiver to
Carter: like Carter, Williams has excellent size,
mediocre speed, and a real talent for catching the
ball in the end zone. Carter has been working with
Williams on the technical aspects of route-running,
something many rookies WRs struggle with after having
gotten by on natural athleticism in college. Mike
Williams joins Charles Rogers and Roy Williams in the
most physically talented trio of WRs in the league –
by a huge margin.

/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/

10. Cowboys Release RB Anderson, WR Williams

Clipped from: DallasCowboys.com article by Nick Eatman, 4/28/05

The Cowboys trimmed two spots off their roster on
Thursday, including 12-year veteran Richie Anderson,
who underwent neck surgery last week in New York.

The Cowboys also cut wide receiver Randal Williams,
who was phased out of the offensive plans last year.

Williams, one of the fastest players on the team, once
being clocked with a 4.04 time in the 40-yard dash,
caught only one pass last year, his only catch of his
career.

Mostly a special teams player, Williams did get an
opportunity to start two games at receiver last year,
when both Terry Glenn and Quincy Morgan went down with
injuries. But Williams was a non-factor in those games
(Detroit and Cincinnati), and went back to the
inactive list for the rest of the season.

As for Anderson, his release comes as no surprise. The
Cowboys actually placed him on released/failed
physical, since he has yet to start what would be a
five-month rehab, if he were to return next year.

[[[[[[[[[[ OUR VIEW ]]]]]]]]]]

As mentioned, the release of Richie Anderson is no
surprise. Knowing that they would be without Anderson,
the Cowboys drafted running back Marion Barber III in
the fourth round of this year’s draft to give them
more depth at running back behind starter Julius
Jones.

/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/

11. Packers’ Off-Field Woes Take Center Stage

Clipped from: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article by Tom Silverstein 4/28/05

If the first day of minicamp is any indication of how
the 2005 season is going to go for the Green Bay
Packers, winning football games is going to be the
least of their problems.

Before new general manager Ted Thompson got through
the first full on-field workout of his tenure with the
Packers, his star wide receiver, Javon Walker, hadn't
reported for work, his star running back, Ahman Green,
had been cited again for domestic abuse and his top
cornerback, Al Harris, was reportedly under
investigation for sexual assault.

In a matter of 24 hours, the Packers were looking more
like the Forrest Gregg embarrassments of the 1980s
than the Mike Holmgren and Ron Wolf teams that became
the envy of the NFL in the 1990s.

"I think this comes with the territory," Thompson
said. "We care about all of those things, but this is
the NFL and these are high-profile players. Things
come up from time to time. We support our players and
we will continue to support our players. Me
personally, there are times you have days like this.
You go about business and do the best that you can."

Walker's absence, which can't officially be called a
holdout until Friday when the workouts are mandatory,
was certainly newsworthy, but it was nowhere near as
potentially damaging as the reports about Green and
Harris. Not only do both players face possible legal
charges, they could be disciplined by the NFL if they
are found guilty of a crime.

[[[[[[[[[[ OUR VIEW ]]]]]]]]]]

This is obviously not the way the Packers wanted to
start their first mini-camp.

The workouts Walker has missed so far have been
"voluntary," so he is not technically holding out
until he misses Friday’s practice – which he is
expected to miss. Walker is one of several Drew
Rosenhaus clients trying to force contract
renegotiations this offseason, along with Ruben
Droughns, Terrell Owens, and Anquan Boldin.

/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/

12. RB Henry (BUF) Knew Forecast Would Stay Gloomy

Clipped from: Buffalo News article by Allen Wilson, 4/28/05

When the Buffalo Bills hold their first mandatory
spring minicamp this weekend, running back Travis
Henry won't be there.

Henry reiterated Wednesday he is still committed to
seeking a trade and has no plans to attend the
upcoming minicamp or any of the team's offseason
workouts.

Henry was hoping he would be traded during the draft.
But when the draft passed he was still a member of the
Bills. He had prepared himself for this worst-case
scenario, so he wasn't surprised no deal was made.

"It was disappointing," Henry said by phone from his
home in Orlando, Fla. "But I'm doing fine. I'm keeping
my head up. Everything will work itself out."

Henry's pending absence from minicamp is no surprise.
He has been very clear that he no longer wants to play
for the Bills. He is looking for a team that will give
him a chance to be a starter. Willis McGahee is
entrenched as the Bills' featured back.

The Bills have tried to grant Henry's wishes, but they
have yet to receive what they consider an acceptable
offer.

[[[[[[[[[[ OUR VIEW ]]]]]]]]]]

The four teams that were reportedly interested in
Henry – the Dolphins, Buccaneers, Cardinals and Eagles
– all drafted running backs this past weekend. Henry
rushed for more than 1,300 in both 2002 and 2003
before losing the starting job to Willis McGahee last
year. As we mentioned above in the Brian Westbrook
article, the Eagles may still be interested in trading
for Henry since they believe Westbrook is more
effective when his touches are limited.

/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/

13. Jets Release K Brien

Clipped from: Associated Press article by Andrea Adelson, 4/28/05

It didn't take long for the New York Jets to get rid
of Doug Brien.

The Jets released the veteran kicker Thursday, five
days after they picked Ohio State All-American Mike
Nugent in the second round of the NFL draft. Brien
missed field goals from 47 and 43 yards in the final 2
minutes of regulation of a 20-17 overtime loss to the
Pittsburgh Steelers in the playoffs, sealing his fate
with the team.

By releasing Brien now, the Jets take hit of about
$400,000 on this year's salary cap. The spotlight now
turns on Nugent, set to make his debut when minicamp
opens Friday.

"Doug Brien did a great job for us in the two years
that he was here and wore our uniform," coach Herman
Edwards said. "At this point in time, we feel that
making this move gives Doug some freedom in his
options in terms of continuing on in his career."

[[[[[[[[[[ OUR VIEW ]]]]]]]]]]

This confirms the release that we all knew was coming.
Nugent has a stronger leg than Brien, and is more
accurate. Brien, a veteran entering his 12th season in
the league, will end up in some team’s training camp.
But it won’t be with the Jets.

/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/

14. IDP: Is SS Minter (CAR) Out After 8 Seasons?

Clipped from: Gaston Gazette article by Steve Reed, 4/28/05

Mike Minter has been the Carolina Panthers’ starting
strong safety for the past eight seasons.

But will it be nine?

Panthers head coach John Fox announced that he’ll
start out first-round draft pick Thomas Davis at
strong safety when the team opens its three-day rookie
minicamp on Friday at Bank of America Stadium. Fox
said Davis will work the second team and split reps
with Minter.

Given the contract Davis will receive, it seems the
Panthers plan to make him a starter right away. Under
Fox, Carolina’s last three first-round draft picks —
Julius Peppers, Jordan Gross and Chris Gamble — were
all immediately thrust into starting roles.
Minter, 32 and entering his ninth NFL season, said he
isn’t too worried about losing a starting job and that
he could always move to free safety, although that
position may not suit his strengths.

"I’m not upset about it," Minter said. "This is
football and it’s all about competition. I love it.

"I’m not worrying about them replacing me. I guarantee
there will be a spot for me on the roster. You get the
best 11 on the field and you try to win a
championship. And if Thomas Davis can come in and help
us win a championship, then I’m all for it."

But the decision to start out Davis at strong safety
does raise speculation about Minter’s future with the
team. He’s in the final year of his contract and will
cost the team a substantial $5.9 million under this
year’s salary cap.

[[[[[[[[[[ OUR VIEW ]]]]]]]]]]

That Davis is likely to supplant Minter as the starter
at strong safety is the author’s own speculation – he
provided no quote from John Fox to that effect. Still,
the speculation is reasonable. Minter has been a solid
player for the Panthers, but he has never made the Pro
Bowl, and Davis has better size and athleticism. This
will be one of the more interesting training camp
battles to watch.

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That'll do it for today, Folks. Have a great Friday
and we'll see you tomorrow with the update.

J


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