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Volume 6, Issue 11 (Friday, April 29th)

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Hi Folks,

One week of Daily Updates are in the books. With lots more coming.
Hang on. Thanks to Footballguy Chris Smith for rounding up these
stories today. Have a great Saturday and let's get to it.




1. WR Boldin (Ari): Disgruntled Receiver Fails to Show for Minicamp
2. WR Walker (GB):  Failed to Report to Training Camp
3. WR Matt Jones (Jac):  Rookie Tweaks Hamstring on First Day
4. QB Pennington (Jets):  Sidelined For Minicamp but Should Begin Throwing by June
5. WR Ferguson (GB):  Lasik Surgery Works Wonders For Receiver
6. RB Henry (Buf):  Not Surprisingly A No-Show At Mandatory Minicamp
7. 7. WR Owens; RB Westbrook; DT Simon (Phi):  Disgruntled Stars Miss Minicamp
8. RB Stephen Davis (Car):  Expects to Play for Panthers This Season
9. WR Rogers and WR Roy Williams (Det):  Update on Injury Status
10. TE Everett (Buf):  The Bills Love This Rookie's Talent
11. RB Williams (Mia): Expected Back Next Week
12. QB Krenzel (Chi): On Bubble to Make Team
13. OT Hopkins (Ten): Draws Year's Probation and Could Face Suspension
14. K Edinger (Chi): Being Shopped Around the NFL
15. OT VanBuren (SD):  Ready For Fresh Start
16. Batch (Pit):  Back and Ready to Compete
17. Coach Parcells (Dal):  Energized and Ready to go
18. WR Randy Moss (Oak):  Enjoys First Day With New Team
19. QB Flutie Heads Back Home to New England
20. IDP  S Darius: Skips Jaguars' Minicamp


1. WR Boldin (Ari): Disgruntled Receiver Fails to Show for Minicamp

Clipped from: ESPN Wire

Wide receiver Anquan Boldin failed to show up for the first day of the
Arizona Cardinals' minicamp on Friday in a dispute with the franchise
over a new contract.

The 2003 offensive rookie of the year is scheduled to earn $380,000 in
base salary and $300,000 in a signing bonus this season, the third
year of the four-year contract he signed after being drafted in the
second round _ the 54th pick overall _ out of Florida State.

In contrast, the team's other star receiver, Larry Fitzgerald, is in
the second year of a six-year, $60 million contract, with $20 million
guaranteed, that he signed as the No. 3 pick overall in the 2004

Neither Rod Graves, Cardinals vice president for football operations,
nor Boldin's agent Drew Rosenhaus would comment on the situation.
Arizona coach Dennis Green was in a testy mood when asked about
Boldin's absence, although he said he wasn't surprised.

"Everyone wants their best players, absolutely, but you have to go
play," Green said. "I tell you what. I don't think we've got a guy
on this team that says `Oh my, I don't think we're going to be any
good because we don't have one player."'

Boldin also didn't participate in the team's voluntary workouts
earlier this week. Two seasons ago, Boldin set an NFL record for
rookies with 101 receptions, tying the team record for any receiver.
Only one rookie in league history _ Bill Groman of the 1960 Houston
Oilers _ had more yards receiving than Boldin's 1,377. Green said
winning franchises move on and aren't concerned about holdouts.

"That's probably what we ought to do," he said, "have a little tour
and let you understand that winners don't whine about anything, about
anything or anyone. Winners lace it up and start playing. That's the
way I'm going to be."
Quarterback Kurt Warner, a new addition to the Cardinals, said
holdouts are understandable but unfortunate.

"I was there at one point in my career. A lot of guys have been where
you have to make those decisions," he said. "You have to take care
of yourself from a financial standpoint because this is your job. This
is what you do. Guys feel they need to be compensated based on what
they do."

With one of his best receivers involved, he hopes the dispute can be
resolved soon.

"You hate to have guys at minicamps to miss time because you want to
build that continuity, especially being a new guy coming in," he
said, "but you understand that and you just continue to hope and pray
that it gets done sooner rather than later, so when it really comes
time to buckle in and to get ready for the season you have all your

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

This isn't a huge problem this early in the preseason activities but
if he and the team don't resolve their difficulties in the weeks
ahead, it could affect Anquan Boldin's productivity this season
driving it down while driving Larry Fitzgerald's up.  With a new
quarterback in town, it is important to get the reps necessary to
build cohesion within the offensive unit and not having Boldin there
will eventually cause disruptions on the field.  Boldin should be
there once training camp begins however.


2. WR Walker (GB):  Failed to Report to Training Camp

Clipped from: ESPN Wire

Pro Bowl wide receiver Javon Walker failed to report to the Green Bay
Packers' minicamp Friday, beginning a holdout after changing agents in

"I'm very disappointed as I'm sure everybody is. We want our whole
team here," coach Mike Sherman said.

The team will fine Walker, a first-round draft choice three years ago.
Sherman did not specify how much, but the maximum under league rules
is $1,000 a day.

"He's a guy that I enjoy being around and I enjoy coaching," Sherman
said. "I look forward to him being here, as a player and as a

The minicamp began Wednesday, but Walker was not required to be
present until Friday. The camp ends Sunday. General manager Ted
Thompson said Friday he didn't anticipate Walker reporting to the
minicamp. Walker's new agent, Drew Rosenhaus, did not immediately
return calls Friday seeking comment. But Walker, who has two years
left on his contract, is believed to be upset about his existing
contract after a season in which he caught 89 passes for 1,382 yards
and 12 touchdowns to earn his first trip to the Pro Bowl.

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

There is no doubt that the Packers need WR Javon Walker in the lineup
but will they pay out huge sums of money for a player with one big
season under his belt and two years left on his contract?  This isn't
a big deal at all right now but if he misses parts or all of training
camp down the line, pay close attention to how Donald Driver and
Robert Ferguson play as they could represent outstanding value in your
drafts.  Just watch this situation over the next couple of months to
see what transpires.  Chances are Walker will report to training camp
on time and ready to play.


3. WR Matt Jones (Jac):  Tweaks Hamstring on First Day

Clipped from: article, 04/29/05

Rookie WR Matt Jones started the day off well, catching everything in
site and getting open regularly.  Then he strained his left hamstring
and missed the afternoon practice.  QB Byron Leftwich was impressed
with the rookie and said he caught everything thrown to him.  Jones
isn't sure how long he'll be out.

"Who knows?" he said.  "I'm going to get some treatment on it and we'll see."
Leftwich said the offense is similar to the one Jones ran for Arkansas
in college and being an ex-quarterback, the rookie should have no
problem learning the ins and outs of the offense.

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

Is the glass half open or half closed?  Jones had a great beginning to
his professional career by catching everything thrown his way but soon
after hurt himself and it is unknown at this time whether he'll miss
more time.  Minicamp is always full of rookies and unproven players
playing well but that doesn't always translate to success on the field
once the real games begin.  Still, it is a positive story and perhaps
he'll be able to make an impact in 2005.  Let's just hope the injury
proves to be a minor one.


4. QB Pennington (Jets):  Sidelined For Minicamp but Should Begin Throwing by June

Clipped from: Washington Times AP article by Andrea Adelson, 04/29/05

Chad Pennington stood in the huddle with a clipboard in his hands,
barking encouragement to Jay Fiedler as he ran the offense for the New
York Jets. Pennington didn't stop there. After rookie Mike Nugent
missed his first kick as a Jet and struggled with his second attempt,
Pennington urged him to remember back to the 55-yard field goal he
made last year to give Ohio State a 24-21 win over Marshall,
Pennington's alma mater. Nugent made it.

So it went as the Jets opened minicamp Friday. Though Pennington
didn't participate while he continues to rehab his surgically repaired
right shoulder, the franchise quarterback made his presence felt,
spreading enthusiasm whenever he could. Pennington should begin
throwing in June, and said there is "no doubt" he will be ready for
the Jets' season opener, Sept. 11 against Kansas City. Though it is
unclear how much Pennington will be able to do in training camp, he is
preparing himself for the regular season.

"Our goal, just like every players' goal, is to be ready for that
opening day game," Pennington said. "Not to be totally ready for
minicamp or even totally ready for training camp. It's not like we
just have one month to go. We have three or four months left and
that's why we feel really good about everything."

Coach Herman Edwards seemed amused with several rumors about
Pennington's status. Edwards' mother phoned him from California to
tell him she heard Pennington's career was over.

"There's a lot of rumors swirling his career's over," Edwards said.
"His career is not over. We anticipate he'll be throwing in June."

Instead of practicing, Pennington has been busy in meetings, learning
the new offense from coordinator Mike Heimerdinger. Pennington
compared this offseason to the time he spent learning behind Vinny
Testaverde as a rookie.

"That's what I can do now in this offseason, is really watch this
offense and look at the details of it and not have to worry about
going out and making reads and throws off the cuff," Pennington said.
"I can really watch the guys in front of me and really learn."

Until Pennington returns full-time, Fiedler is taking snaps with the
first-team offense. The former Miami Dolphins starter looked poised
and comfortable Friday, connecting on several deep passes. That
shouldn't be too surprising, considering Heimerdinger plans on opening
up the offense this season.

Receiver Wayne Chrebet, never a fan of former coordinator Paul
Hackett, said "This offense will be light years away from last year.
In this offense, everyone is going to have a big part."

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

While it does sound promising that Chad Pennington will be ready at
the start of the season, you have to at least monitor the red flags
that are up at this time in regards to his injured shoulder.  If he
doesn't attend training camp, the offense may come out of the gate
sluggish as it takes awhile to gel in a new offensive system.  It
sounds like the players are excited to participate in a more
aggressive offensive attack but Pennington has thrived in the
conservative approach and may need time to adapt to the new
philosophy.  If he isn't practicing during training camp and into the
preseason and I would think several times before selecting him in my
fantasy draft.  Only time will tell so for now just continue to
monitor the situation.


5. WR Ferguson (GB):  Lasik Surgery Works Wonders For Receiver

Clipped from: Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel article by Bob McGinn, 04/29/05

Donald Driver had his break-out season in 2002 and Javon Walker had
one last year. Maybe it'll be Robert Ferguson's turn in 2005. Earlier
this month, Ferguson had all he could do to get to sleep at night and
focus during the day. The last thing on his mind was catching passes
and scoring touchdowns. Ferguson still was feeling the effects of the
devastating hit from Jacksonville's Donovin Darius in December at
Lambeau Field that cost the veteran safety a $75,000 fine from the
National Football League. Headaches had been his constant companion
for the better part of four months. At the same time, Ferguson's
vision was off in his right eye. His eye problems went back many years
but the shot from Darius that caused a concussion and numbness in his
limbs certainly didn't help.

Ferguson said he went to three doctors seeking a panacea for the
headaches. One suggested that Lasik surgery probably would solve his
eye problem and just might curb the headaches. Two weeks ago, Ferguson
decided to undergo Lasik surgery on both eyes. Slade Baker, a doctor
in his native Houston, performed the operation. The results were
immediate, dramatic and all-encompassing. The headaches have vanished
and he says his eyesight is perfect.

"It's an amazing difference," Ferguson said Thursday at the Green Bay
Packers' minicamp. "I should have done it long ago. I'm ready to

The Packers still might have some concerns about Ferguson until he
takes his first hit in training camp and plays his first exhibition
game. Ferguson, however, allayed some reservations Thursday by making
some acrobatic catches in traffic.

"He's back to his old self," Driver said. "I think he proved that
today. Catching the ball well. He's fearless."

As tough on the field as he is popular among his teammates, Ferguson
never let himself wallow in the self-pity game. From the thumbs-up
gesture that he had for shaken fans as he rolled off Lambeau Field on
a stretcher to his gutsy return to practice for the playoffs, Ferguson
is a player whom teammates and fans feel good about cheering.

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

This is great news for the Green Bay Packers.  With the loss of their
two star offensive guards, the team may find it more difficult to run
the ball this season, forcing them to open up the passing game.
Having a healthy Robert Ferguson on the field alongside of Donald
Driver and Javon Walker will enable the Packers passing game to
flourish this season.  It is unlikely that Ferguson will catch enough
passes to be a fantasy starter but he is certainly capable of taking
touches away from both Driver and Walker, possibly lowering the
fantasy value of both players.  It may be prudent to slightly lower
the value for both Walker and Driver while elevating both Brett Favre
and Ferguson up in value for the 2005 campaign.


6. RB Henry (Buf):  Not Surprisingly A No-Show At Mandatory Minicamp

Clipped from: Washington Times AP article

As promised, disgruntled running back Travis Henry was a no-show when
the Buffalo Bills opened a mandatory three-day minicamp Friday. Henry
has one year left on his contract, but has demanded a trade after
losing his starting job to Willis McGahee last season. The four-year
veteran vowed last month he would not return to practice or play for
the Bills.

Coach Mike Mularkey was scheduled to address reporters later in the
day. Henry and his agent Hadley Engelhard did not return messages left
by The Associated Press.

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

At this time, it doesn't appear promising that Travis Henry will find
a new home this season via the trade route.  Most teams are quite set
at the running back position and the ones who could use a boost can
pick up decent talent via the free agency route.  Henry will likely be
frustrated throughout the preseason and only a serious injury to
Willis McGahee or a trade will result in Henry having any kind of
fantasy worth in 2005.  We will let you know if any trade talks heat
up but for now it is all quiet on the Henry front.


7. WR Owens; RB Westbrook; DT Simon (Phi):  Disgruntled Stars Miss Minicamp

Clipped from: Washington Times article by Rob Maaddi, 04/29/05

All-Pro wide receiver Terrell Owens skipped the Philadelphia Eagles'
first mandatory minicamp practice on Friday, presumably because he
wants a new contract. Owens said several times this month he wants to
renegotiate the seven-year deal he signed last March. The Eagles have
refused to redo the contract worth nearly $49 million.

"If he's here, he's here. If he's not, he's not," Eagles coach Andy
Reid said. "We have an understanding here that if you're not here, we
move on without you."

Pro Bowl running back Brian Westbrook, defensive tackle Corey Simon
and wideout Freddie Mitchell also were absent. Reid said he excused
Mitchell from the camp.

"I told him I didn't want him here," Reid said of the former
first-round pick who has talked himself out of town by constantly
griping about his role in the offense.

The flamboyant Owens helped the Eagles reach the Super Bowl in his
first season in Philadelphia after eight years with the San Francisco
49ers. Owens set team records with 14 touchdown receptions and seven
100-yard games, and finished with 77 catches for 1,200 yards. Owens
broke his leg and severely sprained his right ankle in Week 15 against
Dallas, an injury that sidelined him until the Super Bowl. He had nine
catches for 122 yards in Philadelphia's 24-21 loss to the Patriots.

Owens, though, recently took a shot at quarterback Donovan McNabb over
his performance against New England. Some Eagles said McNabb was so
ill in the fourth quarter that he couldn't call one play in the

"I played every snap they allowed me to play," Owens told "I
wasn't even running until, like, two weeks before the game. But I made
sure I was in the best shape possible. I wasn't the guy who got tired
in the Super Bowl."

McNabb, who made a recruiting pitch to get Owens to Philadelphia
before last year, clearly isn't happy with any of the comments.

"I wasn't tired," McNabb said. "For whatever has been said, I don't
play games in the media. If someone has a problem with me, they can
call me or they know how to get in touch with me. That's the way to
handle the situation. Don't try to throw names or guys under the bus
to better yourself. You never heard me say any names in any situation,
You never heard me talk about any given players. I'm the guy to be
professional and be a man about things."

McNabb said he hasn't spoken to Owens since the comments were made
almost three weeks ago.

Westbrook has until June 15 to sign a one-year, $1.43 million tender.
He's seeking a long-term deal, but discussions haven't been promising.
Simon was offered a one-year franchise tender worth about $5.13
million, but he also wants a long-term contract. Westbrook had a
breakout season for the Eagles, scoring nine touchdowns and leading
the team with 1,515 total yards. Westbrook rushed for 812 yards on 177
carries and led all NFL running backs in receptions with 73 for 703
yards last season.

Simon, who went to the Pro Bowl two years ago, overcame a poor start
to finish with 5 1/2 sacks and 34 tackles last year. The Eagles
considered trading him this offseason, but talks with Baltimore broke

"We move on," Reid said. "You don't worry about it. You take care of
who is here and who wants to be here."

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

The Eagles were and still are a great football team but you have to
think this offseason of turmoil isn't going to make it any easier on
them to repeat their NFC Championship in 2005.  The good news is that
QB Donovan McNabb has months to get back on the same page as WR
Terrell Owens and they'll find a way to make it work going forward.
Still, you have to think the relationship between McNabb and Owens has
been strained.  RB Brian Westbrook has enjoyed a lot of success with
the Eagles but his long-term prospects probably aren't great,
especially with a young, talented runner in Ryan Moats having been
drafted this year.  Having Moats on the roster will enable the Eagles
to play hardball with Westbrook in terms of a contract and his mood
may not be great heading into this season. Keep a close eye on the
Eagles situation throughout this offseason.  Time can heal all wounds
but time can also pull people further apart.


8. RB Stephen Davis (Car):  Expects to Play for Panthers This Season

Clipped from: AP article ( by Jenna Fryer, 04/29/05

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.

Canter said the Panthers will probably hold Davis out until training
camp in August to allow him to heal. The Panthers also have DeShaun
Foster, who missed most of last season with a broken collarbone, and
they drafted Eric Shelton in the second round last weekend. Picking
Shelton, a big, bruising, north-south runner who is very much like
Davis, was viewed as insurance in case the 31-year-old Davis can't
play again.
But Canter said Davis will be back.

"He is excited and when you talk to Stephen now as opposed to last
season, there is no frustration in his voice," Canter said. "He's got
a clear goal in mind and one of them is to prove the nonbelievers
wrong who said this is it, he's done."

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

More on a story from yesterday - In terms of fantasy football, this is
shaping up to be a bit of a mess.  Stephen Davis is a warrior and I
wouldn't bet against him taking the starring role once again in
Carolina.  He has fought through adversity his entire career and could
have another strong season or two in him.  However just as probable
would be DeShaun Foster stepping forward to finally make an impact on
the team with his sizeable talent and fragile durability.  Add in a
strong rookie runner in Eric Shelton and it is anybody's guess at this
time who will emerge as the # 1 running back in 2005.  This is a
crucial area to keep an eye on throughout the preseason.


9. WR Rogers and WR Roy Williams (Det):  Update on Injury Status

Clipped from: The Detroit News article by Mike O'Hara, 04/29/05

A dose of caution is mixed with the enthusiasm generated by the first
full gathering of the Lions this year.  Some key players will be under
wraps -- and off limits to any contact -- in a mini-camp that runs
from today through Sunday at the team's headquarters and practice
facility. Wide receiver Charles Rogers is among the returning veterans
who will be under some restrictions as a precaution. He will wear
protective padding for a broken right collarbone that knocked him out
for the season on the third play of the first game.

Coach Steve Mariucci expects Rogers to be at full strength when
training camp opens July 28, but he doesn't want to take any chances
with the start of the regular season more than four months away.

"In general, anybody who's had a surgery or missed last year, you
proceed with caution, even though they may seem to be healthy and
capable. We got a lot of practice time between now and the first

Rogers missed the last 11 games of his rookie season because of a
broken right collarbone. He had surgery after the 2004 injury, and a
plate was inserted to promote healing and strengthen the area. He has
been a regular participant in the off-season conditioning program.

Earlier in the week, Rogers underwent a CT scan.

"Everything was according to plan," Mariucci said. "You have to use
some precaution. He's doing everything that everybody else is.

Mariucci doesn't expect any restrictions for second-year receiver Roy
Williams, who had off-season surgery on his left ankle.

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

This is a mixed bag of news for fantasy football participants.  Roy
Williams sounds ready to go and has put his injury woes behind him.
He should have a very strong season.  Charles Rogers on the other
hand, continues to battle with his collarbone problems and obviously
isn't 100% yet.  It is encouraging that he is working out with the
team and that he can practice, albeit in a limited fashion, but with
the team selecting star collegiate receiver Mike Williams, a huge
target with sweet hands, it appears that Rogers may be losing his
worth in fantasy football.  Still, if he can get healthy, Rogers could
be a great value pick in 2005.  Watch his progress through training
camp to see how his healing progresses.


10. TE Everett (Buf):  The Bills Love This Rookie's Talent

Clipped from: Democrat & Chronicle article by Leo Roth, 3/29/05

If Penn State is Linebacker U., then Miami is Tight End U. At least
that applies lately. Green Bay's Bubba Franks (2000), the New York
Giants' Jeremy Shockey (2002) and Cleveland's Kellen Winslow Jr.
(2004) were Hurricanes taken in the first round of the NFL draft, and
Franks and Shockey have been impact players.
Now comes Kevin Everett.

The 6-foot-5, 240-pound senior, who started only one season playing
behind Winslow in the Hurricanes' loaded lineup, wasn't a first-round
pick. The Buffalo Bills picked him up in the third round last weekend,
86th overall, some 80 spots lower than where the Browns took Winslow.
Everett was just the third tight end to come off the board after
Virginia's Heath Miller (30th overall to Pittsburgh) and Stanford's
Alex Smith (71st to Tampa Bay). But almost instantly he was being
compared to Franks, Shockey and Winslow.
Everett doesn't mind being talked about in that company; in fact, he
welcomes the pressure.

"I feel like I'm just as good as those guys, if not better," he said.
"There are things I need to work on to hit my goals, but I plan on
reaching that."

With a goal of upgrading their 27th-ranked passing game and
surrounding new quarterback J.P. Losman with more playmakers, the
Bills eagerly took Everett right after selecting Miami wide receiver
Roscoe Parrish in the second round.  Coach Mike Mularkey couldn't have
lived with himself if had he passed up the chance to energize his
offense at his favorite position. Mularkey played nine seasons in the
NFL at tight end, but he wasn't blessed with Everett's athletic

"With Kevin, we've seen flashes of things he's capable of doing,"
Mularkey said. "I'm going to work with him, and (assistant) Mike
Miller, and we're anxious. We think he's got some skills that are rare
for that position."

Like 4.6 speed in the 40-yard dash. Like a vertical leap of nearly 40
inches. Like 9-inch hands. Everett needs to add weight to become a
full-time starter capable of handling the rigors of blocking. But he
already has the God-given tenacity, recording 84 knockdown blocks last
fall to go with his 23 catches for 310 yards.  His coaches at Miami
said he's polished enough to contribute as a rookie, and as for raw
speed, well, when Winslow challenged him to a foot race in practice
one day, Everett whipped him.

"We feel that everything with Kevin is yet to come," general manager
Tom Donahoe said. "He's got size and he can get bigger, he's
aggressive as a blocker and he can give us something in the tight end
position that we haven't had and that's more of a vertical threat in
the passing game."

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

Don't expect TE Kevin Everett to have a huge impact in 2005 although
he will see some playing time and will make some plays happen.  If you
are in a dynasty fantasy football league however, Everett is certainly
a player to keep a close eye on this season and is worth a roster spot
on your team.  He isn't as polished as other Hurricane tight ends over
the past several seasons, but he does have great athleticism and could
become a very good tight end in a couple of seasons.


11. RB Williams ([Mia]...whether that stands for Miami or Missing in
Action is your call): Expected Back Next Week

Clipped from: Miami Herald article by Jason Cole, 4/29/05

Retired running back Ricky Williams is expected back from India next
week, although he is supposed to return to California for now to
continue classes at the College of Ayureveda.

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

At this time, nothing new to see here unless you are participating in
a botany and 'herb' fantasy league.  We'll keep you posted if and when
Williams decides to come back to the NFL.


12. QB Krenzel (Chi): On Bubble to Make Team

Clipped from: Bears Notebook article by Gene Chamberlain, 04/29/05

It seemed an innocuous comment, but upon closer examination offensive
coordinator Ron Turner may have said a great deal about Craig
Krenzel's chances of sticking with the Bears for a second season. The
team wanted Krenzel to go to NFL Europe this spring. He decided
against it, with Ryan Dinwiddie and Kurt Kittner going overseas

"We talked about him (Krenzel) going over there. I think it would have
been good for Craig to get reps," Turner said. "All quarterbacks need
reps. He's been here, working out and studying what we're doing,
throwing with our receivers and that's all good. But there's nothing
like game situations."

Today through Sunday, Bears coaches will get their first close look at
the talent they selected in last weekend's draft. Rookies, as well as
players without a year of accrued NFL experience, will be at Halas
Hall for a minicamp.

Included in the rookie crop is quarterback Kyle Orton, the Bears'
fourth-round pick out of Purdue. Orton will try to unseat Krenzel,
who's third on the depth chart behind Rex Grossman and Chad

"I think he's got a chance to," Turner said, referring to Orton
beating out Krenzel. "I'm not going to say for sure that's going to
happen. I think Craig has a lot of ability. I saw him a lot in
college. I think he's a winner and he's a great competitor and a good
player. We'll see how it unfolds, but I know that Kyle's got a lot of
Bears general manager Jerry Angelo indicated at least one, and
possibly two, of the six quarterbacks on the roster will not be with
the team by the start of training camp (July 23) in Bourbonnais.

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

QB Craig Krenzel had no business starting in an NFL game last season
as a rookie and it is very likely that the more talented Kyle Orton
will beat him out, giving the Bears a legitimate talent at the # 3
spot to learn behind both Rex Grossman and Chad Hutchinson.  Krenzel
is a good leader and plays hard but he simply doesn't have the talent
to play at the NFL level and he'll probably start his medical career
in a very short period of time.  Expect the three quarterbacks at the
start of the season to be Grossman, Hutchinson and Orton although this
group could really use a mentor over the next couple of seasons to
help these young kids out.


13. OT Hopkins (Ten): Draws Year's Probation and Could Face Suspension

Clipped from: article by Paul Kuharsky, 04/29/05

Longtime Titans tackle Brad Hopkins offered a conditional guilty plea
to charges of assault and domestic violence yesterday in Williamson
County General Sessions Court as his wife, Ellen, the victim of the
assault, stood by his side.

The plea came with one year of probation and several conditions:
Hopkins will donate $10,000 to domestic assault charities in
Williamson County, pledged to complete a 25-week anger management
program and must avoid any other criminal charges during his

If he meets those conditions, the record of the March 14 incident with
Ellen Hopkins in Cool Springs will be expunged. The NFL could suspend
Hopkins under the league's personal conduct policy. Players charged
with violent crimes must undergo a mandatory clinical evaluation and,
if warranted, undergo counseling. Penalties in similar cases in recent
years have usually resulted in either one- or two-game suspensions.

Hopkins, 34, is heading into his 13th NFL season, all with the Oilers/Titans.

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

The Titans offensive line is in a state of flux as it is and they
don't need their cornerstone, Brad Hopkins to lose any time due to
suspension.  At worst he will miss two games but that could halt any
progress this offensive line makes with the team attempting to replace
Fred Miller who fled to the Bears.  Hopkins has begun to slow down and
isn't the elite player he once was but he is absolutely critical to
any success this unit will have in 2005.  Don't expect RB Chris Brown
and the Titans rushing attack to find many holes to run through if
Hopkins does get suspended.


14. K Edinger (Chi): Being Shopped Around the NFL

Clipped from: Chicago Sun-Times article by Bradd Biggs, 04/29/05

Tyler Jones and Nick Novak will get their first chances to impress in
the Bears' kicking derby today as rookie minicamp begins, but veteran
Paul Edinger figures he already has a leg up on the competition.

With a tweak in his approach, Edinger has been in the team's offseason
workout program for three weeks, kicking almost daily in front of
special-teams coach Dave Toub. No longer does Edinger line up by
taking steps backward and then to the side for his unusual corkscrew
windup. Now he retreats at an angle, a new approach he hopes will
bring consistency to his game after he led the league with nine missed
field goals last season.

"I was approaching the ball a tad different each time," Edinger said.
"It all started with my lineup. I'm still standing the same way, but
there's no chance of lining up wrong now. If anything else goes wrong,
it's something else than what I thought the problem was. We'll see."

The Bears are eager to see, indeed, with Edinger due to earn $1.1
million this season. It is believed they are gauging interest around
the league to see if a trade could materialize for the six-year
veteran from Michigan State. He is signed through 2007 with his salary
climbing to $1.4 million and $1.7 million in the next two seasons.

Asked about the trade talk Thursday, Edinger's agent, Ken Harris,
said, "I have no comment whatsoever."

"I'm just going to keep going in," Edinger said. "Whatever happens, happens."
To remain with the Bears, he will have to stave off competition. He
has made only 25 of 43 field-goal attempts in his last 24 games, with
seven misses inside 40 yards. Former Notre Dame kicker Nicholas Setta
could figure in the mix, too, as he will be exempt for training camp
because he is kicking in NFL Europe.

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

Looking at the teams around the NFL it is unlikely the Bears will be
able to move K Paul Edinger for much, if anything and he'll likely
remain with the Bears as the starting kicker in 2005. However if the
changes he has made doesn't result in better numbers, the Bears could
jettison him during the upcoming season or certainly after this
campaign.  He does have a good leg and has had success in the past so
he has a good chance of reclaiming his past glory.


15. OT VanBuren (SD):  Ready For Fresh Start

Clipped from: article by Tom Shanahan 04/29/05

This time last year Chargers offensive tackle Courtney VanBuren was
projected as the Bolts' starting left tackle in a rebuilt offensive
line. Then everything changed with one key trade for a veteran left
tackle with a Super Bowl ring and one season-ending knee injury.
Instead of building on a promising rookie season in 2003, VanBuren
watched the Chargers' 2004 AFC West championship season unfold from
the sidelines and the training room as his opportunity slipped away.

Roman Oben, the veteran acquired from Tampa Bay in a trade, started
every game at left tackle. Shane Olivea, the seventh-round draft pick
from Ohio State that was one of the surprise stories of the year in
the NFL, started every game at right tackle. As VanBuren, a 6-foot-6,
350-pounder, prepares for Mini Camp in June, the Chargers' offensive
line is no longer the virtual blank canvas it was in 2004 when the
third-round draft pick from Arkansas Pine-Bluff was considered a key
building block. All five starters up front return from last year.

But despite the drop on the depth chart, VanBuren sounds the same now
as he did a year ago when he was recovering from a knee injury that
forced him to miss the final two games in 2003.

"I'm ready to go," VanBuren said. "I've been doing everything I need
to do in the offseason program, and I'm excited about the season.
We've got some solid draft picks coming in that will help the team
win. I want to contribute. I feel the future for the Chargers is

VanBuren was injured in the final preseason game on Sept. 2 and placed
on injured reserve once a torn ACL was discovered and he underwent

"You definitely become more introspective when you've been hurt for a
long time," VanBuren said. "You realize how much you miss football and
how much it means to you. I love football. I love the competition, the
physicality and the camaraderie of the guys." I definitely feel
stronger now than I did a year ago," VanBuren said. "A year ago I was
making inroads and felt I was playing at a better tempo (than his
rookie year). I want to get back to where I wanted to be last year and
where the Chargers wanted me to be. The only thing I can do is keep
working and trying to get better."
VanBuren said competing for a job on a defending champion will make
him a better player than when he would have been as a projected
starter on a team with holes to fill.

"I've learned you can't take anything for granted in this league," he
said. "You have to play every play like it will be your last. I've
never been a lazy person, but now I'm prepared better mentally. I feel
like light years have passed since I first got here. I want to thank
the Chargers for sticking by me. I know every year there is a new crop
of 150-odd guys trying to take your job, and you have to be ready to

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

It is truly amazing how quickly something can change at the NFL level.
At the start of last season, it appeared that the offensive line in
San Diego was in a state of flux, destined to have a lot of problems
throughout the season.  Somehow this unit became one of the strongest
units in the NFL and it will be even more so this season with the
return of talented tackle Courtney VanBuren and the addition of draft
choice Wesley Britt, whom the Chargers stole in the fourth round.
Whether or not VanBuren makes the starting roster, the Chargers will
have a strong presence up front with phenomenal depth and the offense
will find success once again this season.


16. QB Batch (Pit):  Back and Ready to Compete

Clipped from: article by Teresa Varley, 04/29/05

Quarterback Charlie Batch signed a one-year deal to remain with the
Steelers and will compete for a job backing-up Ben Roethlisberger,
along with veterans Tommy Maddox and Brian St. Pierre.

"Right now, the starting job's not an option for me," said Batch.
"Obviously, the goal is to want to play, to make this as competitive
as I can. It's going to make everybody better, and it's going to make
Ben better, as well because he'll see the competition as us trying to
take his job.

"So, of course, he comes into this as the starter, no questions asked.
And right now, it's three people fighting for two jobs -- me, Tommy
and Brian."
Batch is happy that he is getting the opportunity. He missed the 2004
season after suffering a knee injury during training camp and has been
undergoing rehab since then. He doesn't know if he will be able to
competition the team's mini-camp on May 6-8, but he hopes that he

"It's a possibility, but I don't know," said Batch. "I'm supposed to
be taking a Cybex test shortly to get an indication of where my
strength is. I still have a lot of work ahead of me."

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

Not much to see here in terms of fantasy football but it is nice to
see Charlie Batch back healthy and ready to compete for a roster spot.
He'll have his work cut out to make his way up to the # 2 position as
he'll have to pass the serviceable Tommy Maddox which isn't likely.


17. Coach Parcells (Dal):  Energized and Ready to go

Clipped from: ESPN Wire

Laughing at his awkward fist bump with top pick Demarcus Ware and
smiling during a tricky game he played with punt returners, coach Bill
Parcells had a good time Friday at the start of the Dallas Cowboys'
rookie minicamp. The reason he enjoyed it so much was simple: After
working nearly every day since last season ended to avoid another 6-10
meltdown, Parcells was happy to be on the field preparing for a 2005
season that seems to be off to a solid start. After the workout,
Parcells acknowledged being energized by the fresh start _ and by a
"tremendous fear" of failure.

"I always have had it. I don't apologize for that," he said. "I
don't care how many games you've won, I don't care what's happened in
your life. You're not winning now, so you suck. That's the way it

Parcells was a big winner his first season in Dallas, taking a club
that went 5-11 for three straight years and getting them into the
playoffs at 10-6. With high expectations to build on that in 2004, the
Cowboys cratered instead, especially on defense.

So Parcells rolled up his sleeves Jan. 3 and began laying out a game
plan to prevent it from happening again. He must be pretty pleased
with how things have gone so far because Friday, in his most extensive
news conference of the offseason, he twice thanked owner Jerry Jones
for being aggressive in free agency and praised his scouts for a
well-run draft. But that doesn't mean he's satisfied.

There are still question marks at free safety and right tackle, plus
all the other, typical concerns coaches always have.

"We've got a lot to do here," he said. "We still got some holes we
need to talk about."

Drafting Ware, a linebacker who can be an effective pass rusher, was a
key to the planned changes for this fall. His versatility enables the
Cowboys to use various formations, which means more ways to try
attacking offenses. Dallas also used a second first-round pick on
defense, taking end Marcus Spears from LSU. The Cowboys spent six of
their eight draft picks on defensive players and Parcells said youth
and inexperience could be issues with the unit this season. "But
maybe you just got enough of them that are eager and will hustle and
try to do what you want them to do," he said. "Guys like that can
create a frenzy if they can make plays. Hopefully that will be what

Among other topics Parcells discussed:
_ Spears, the 20th overall pick, caught Parcells' attention for the
wrong reason: Being too heavy.

Parcells said he called Spears' college coaches at LSU to find out his
optimum playing weight and he's not there yet. Dallas lists him at 307

"I'm not playing Chubby Checker there at defensive end," said
Parcells, adding that he's not angry with Spears. "These kids don't
know what you want."

_ His veteran offensive linemen are in good shape. Left tackle Flozell
Adams has "lost quite a bit of weight" and left guard Larry Allen is
"running things he's never run before in his life." Blocking tight
end Dan Campbell also is progressing nicely from season-ending

"I'm not optimistic so much, I'm just encouraged by the
circumstances," Parcells said.

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

At this time of the year, most stories are positive but still, you
have to like the changes the Cowboys were able to make during this
offseason and with a re-energized head coach at the helm in Bill
Parcels, the Cowboys likely have the talent to make a strong push to
the playoffs this season.  It's always fun to watch Parcels at work
with the young players.  He has already singled out Spears by calling
him 'Chubby Checker' and he'll have the rookie in tip top shape in no
time or he won't be playing.  It appears to be a strong starting point
for the Cowboys.


18. WR Randy Moss (Oak):  Enjoys First Day With New Team

Clipped from: article by Janie McCauley, 04/29/05

Randy Moss stopped briefly to answer to coach Norv Turner. "How was
it?" the Oakland Raiders coach asked his new star receiver after the
team's first minicamp practice Friday. Moss just smiled and gave the
thumbs up sign as he walked off the field, his long braids swinging
and shining in the California sunshine. Acquired last month in a trade
with the Minnesota Vikings, Moss looked sharp in a short practice
Friday in his new No. 18 uniform and oversized gray shorts.

With no defenders on the field, he caught a 15-yard out from
quarterback Kerry Collins, tiptoeing the right sideline before going
out of bounds. Moss and fellow receiver Jerry Porter, re-signed to a
five-year deal in February, squatted together on the field and
motioned with their hands to diagram plays.

"It was cool," Porter said on his way to the locker room.

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

Not really anything of importance here but it appears that Moss made a
strong first impression with the club.  He certainly has the ability
to turn the Raiders' offensive fortunes around in 2005.


19. QB Flutie Heads Back Home to New England

Clipped from: ESPN Wire

Doug Flutie is returning to his hometown team. The Super Bowl champion
New England Patriots signed the veteran quarterback to a one-year
contract on Friday. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The 42-year-old Flutie starred at Boston College and played in 17
games for the Patriots from 1987-89.

"I'm very excited about being back in New England and being home and
having an opportunity to join a great football team and fulfill a role
that they seem to be in need of," Flutie said.

Now Flutie, who is a native of Natick, Massachusetts, will compete
with Chris Redman, Rohan Davey and rookie Brad Kassell for the backup
spots to two-time Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Tom Brady.

"Doug brings us additional veteran experience and depth at the
quarterback position," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said.

Flutie spent the last four seasons with the San Diego Chargers before
being released last month. Mainly a mentor to starter Drew Brees and
2004 first-round pick Philip Rivers, Flutie played in just two games
last year, completing 20-of-38 passes for 276 yards and a touchdown.
He also rushed for two scores.

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

Doug Flutie will be nice insurance for the Patriots in 2005 in case
something happens with Tom Brady.  He is still capable of stepping in
and doing a good job as a starter when called upon.  Nice pickup for
the Patriots.


20. IDP  S Darius: Skips Jaguars' Minicamp

Clipped from: Washington Times AP article by Mark Long, 04/29/05

Disgruntled safety Donovin Darius skipped Jacksonville's mini-camp
Friday, drawing criticism and a fine from coach Jack Del Rio. Darius
has been unhappy since February when the Jaguars designated him their
franchise player for a third consecutive year. He publicly criticized
the team, then got permission from owner Wayne Weaver to seek a trade.
But the Jaguars have fielded few offers, leaving Darius with little
choice but to play another season in Jacksonville.

He was in a similar situation last year. The hard-hitting safety
complained about the franchise tag a year ago and received approval
from Del Rio to sit out mini-camp to avoid being a distraction. Del
Rio refused to give Darius the same deal this time around, though.

"This year, I asked him to be here," Del Rio said Friday. "He's
declined, and that's his right, and he'll pay the fine. We do know
that once he shows, he shows up in shape ready to play,"

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

This isn't a surprise as Donovan Darius really wanted to be traded
this season.  Still, he is scheduled to make $4.97 million dollars as
the franchise player this year which should help curb his pain once
training camp begins.  He'll be ready to go at the start of the season
whether he is 100% happy about his situation or not.  He's a warrior
who does a great job for the Jaguars.


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


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