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Volume 6, Issue 18 (Friday, May 6th)

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Hi Folks,

Joe Horn gets paid, Cadillac looks good and things are looking up a
little in Philadelphia. We've got lots for you today so let's get to
it. Thanks to our Chris Smith for rounding up these stories today.

Joe

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

INSIDE THIS ISSUE

1. WR Horn (NO) Signs Six-Year Extension
2. RB Barber (NYG) Eager to Pass the Torch, Sort of
3. (SF) Rookie Smith Will Battle Rattay for Starting QB Spot
4. Rookie WR Brown (Phi) Needs to Learn Quickly; WR Mitchell (Phi) Cut
5. The Cadillac (RB Williams-TB) Looks Good in Test Drive
6. (Jac) WR Reggie Williams: "I'm Not a Bust!"
7. WR Hilliard Signs with the Buccaneers
8. First Impressions from the Seahawks Minicamp
9. WR Rice (FA) May Retire if 49ers Not Interested in Signing Him
10. RB Westbrook (Phi) Will Sign and Attend Training Camp; Update on
WR Owens (Phi) and DT Simon (Phi)
11. Three Veteran Offensive Players Sign with the Redskins
12. QB White (Ten):  Former Heisman Trophy Winner Gets an Opportunity
with Titans
13. Rookie TE Miller (Pit) Surprises by Participating in Camp
14. IDP: LB Arrington's (Was) Status Updated
15. IDP: LB Mike Barrow (Was) to Undergo 'Final MRI'; Return Close
16. IDP: LB Boulware is Healthy but Status with the Ravens Unclear

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

1. WR Joe Horn (NO) Signs Six-Year Extension

Clipped from: Mike Triplett article in the Times-Picayune

Receiver Joe Horn will sign a long-anticipated six-year contract
extension with the Saints today -- an estimated six-year, $42 million
deal that will make him one of the NFL's highest-paid receivers. The
Saints will formally announce the deal today and make Horn available
to the media at the team's training facility. Horn, 33, said Thursday
night that he would reserve his comments until today. The Saints also
wanted to wait until the contract was signed to announce the details.
Horn's agent, Ralph Vitolo, would not release specifics but said
Thursday that the deal was similar to what has been reported this
month: a six-year extension totaling around $42 million with a $7
million signing bonus.

In five years with the Saints, Horn has caught 437 passes for 6,289
yards and 45 touchdowns, and was selected for four Pro Bowls. Horn, a
nine-year veteran who began his career in Kansas City, had said it was
important for him to remain in New Orleans, where he became a
full-time starter for the first time after signing as a free agent in
2000. Horn had one year remaining on his previous three-year, $13
million contract.

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

WR Joe Horn is one of the leagues most under rated receivers, a top
fantasy talent and he deserves to be one of the highest paid in the
game.  Signing a contract that will likely keep him a member of the
Saints for at least the next few seasons, Horn can be counted on to
keep racking up receptions and yardage.  The only question now is
whether or not the call he made to his agent using a cell phone hidden
in the goalposts during his four-touchdown performance against the
Giants in 2003 helped 'seal the deal' on this new contract.  Horn is a
colorful, talented and tough player who has worked his tail off to
become an elite receiver at the NFL level.

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

2. RB Barber (NYG) Eager to Pass the Torch, Sort of

Clipped from: Ralph Vacchiano article in New York Daily News

Tiki Barber turned 30 last month, and he knows that's traditionally
the age when running backs' careers begin to slide. That's why he's in
favor of anything the Giants can do to help extend his NFL life.

"Absolutely," Barber said. "I want to play another four or five years,
and if I keep getting 330 (carries), or whatever I've had the last few
years, my body is going to break down. It's just physics. I'm not
against doing it, because all I want to do is win and I know by being
on the field I help us do that. But it's good to have help."

Help arrives this morning when Brandon Jacobs, the mammoth running
back the Giants drafted in the fourth round two weeks ago, takes the
field for the start of Big Blue's three-day rookie minicamp. The
veterans have the week off, so Barber won't be there to see the
6-foot-4, 267-pound rookie who insists he can run a 4.4 in the 40. But
he's hoping Jacobs will be good enough to fill the short-yardage
running back role.

"It'll be interesting to see how he performs on this level because
there's been a trend away from big backs," Barber said. "There are
more 5-10, 6-foot guys who are agile. So we'll see if he can keep up
with the pace. But I'm excited about him. I think he'll help with some
situations, like short-yardage and goal-line."

Barber had those roles by default last season due to the failures of
Ron Dayne. He had every other role, too, as he touched the ball on
39.5% of the Giants' plays. This offseason, the Giants were determined
to lighten that load, which is why they drafted Jacobs out of Southern
Illinois. Veteran Mike Cloud likely will be Barber's primary backup,
but Jacobs and second-year pro Derrick Ward (5-11, 233) will battle it
out for the short-yardage role. And that's a crucial role considering
the Giants converted just 48% (13-for-27) of their third-and-1
opportunities last season - the second-worst percentage in the league.
Barber believes Ward and Jacobs "will push each other and hopefully
give us a powerful punch in the backfield." He also hopes they'll
allow him to occasionally step off the field.

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

Yes, RB Tiki Barber has reached the dreaded 30-year mark which is a
red flag to fantasy football owners.  He has carried the ball 903
times over the last three seasons, caught 190 passes and scored 29
touchdowns, which ranks him 6th overall amongst running backs in
fantasy football over that stretch. If anything we would expect small
breathers during the football game to be beneficial to his fantasy
numbers but it is possible he will see a slight dip in his touchdown
production if rookie Jacobs can step in and have an impact this
season.  Look for another strong campaign out of Barber as he cements
his place as one of fantasy football's best weapons. Still though, pay
attention to what he's saying about Jacobs seeing goal line looks.

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

3. (SF) Rookie Smith Will Battle Rattay for Starting QB Spot

Clipped from: Matt Maiocco article in the Press-Democrat

The No.1 overall pick in the draft takes the field today for the first
time with the organization he was hired to rescue. Quarterback Alex
Smith, wearing his new 49ers jersey, No. 11, will share two-thirds of
the practice snaps with incumbent Tim Rattay during the team's
mandatory three-day minicamp, 49ers offensive coordinator Mike
McCarthy said. Ken Dorsey and Cody Pickett will share the other 33
percent of the practice time today, Saturday and Sunday at the team's
facility in Santa Clara. The workouts are closed to the public.

"Things can change, but as we stand here today, we're giving those two
guys (Smith and Rattay) the opportunity to compete for the starting
job," McCarthy said.

Rattay did not participate in the team's first minicamp last month
because of a foot injury that forced him to miss the final four games
of 2004. But Smith will undoubtedly receive the most attention during
the five practices scheduled for this weekend. Smith remains unsigned
but is allowed to take part in the minicamps, as well as the organized
team activities.

"We want to see how fast he picks it up," said McCarthy, who said he
also is curious to see how Smith commands a huddle with his new
teammates. "There's going to be a newness that you can't avoid, but I
want to see his pocket awareness, and how he moves his feet and makes
a play. I want to see the things we saw on film. It's nave to think
he'll have the rhythm and timing with the perimeter players because he
hasn't thrown a ball to them, yet."

Smith, who graduated from the University of Utah with an economics
degree in two years, is learning a new offense and new techniques.
While leading Utah to a 12-0 record last season, he ran a unique
spread offense in which he lined up in the shotgun formation. McCarthy
said the 49ers' offense will be taught in 12 segments, with the first
two coming this weekend. The entire offense will be in place prior to
the start of training camp, he said.

Even the returning quarterbacks are learning a new system. McCarthy's
version of the West Coast offense more closely resembles what Steve
Mariucci implemented as 49ers coach from 1997 to 2002 than what the
49ers did the two seasons under Dennis Erickson. Both McCarthy and
Mariucci spent time on Mike Holmgren's staff with the Green Bay
Packers. Rattay is the only current 49ers quarterback who played for
Mariucci.

"Tim said there's very little carryover, and Dennis (Erickson) went in
a different direction," McCarthy said. "So we're starting from scratch
- A to Z."

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

It is interesting to note that it already appears to be a two-horse
race for the right to start the season at quarterback with the 49ers
with Ken Dorsey being delegated to an afterthought at this point of
the camp.  Alex Smith has a lot to learn but Tim Rattay isn't that
experienced as well and he also has to learn a completely new
offensive philosophy so this job is completely up for grabs.  While it
is likely that Rattay will start the season at quarterback, Smith is
almost certain to get lots of playing time as the season wears on.  He
has too much talent to sit on the bench and will get his chance to
showcase his talents at some point in his rookie campaign.

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

4. Rookie WR Brown (Phi) Needs to Learn Quickly; WR Mitchell (Phi) Cut

Clipped from: Nick Fierro article in the Express-Times
                   
So much to learn, so little time. That has been the NFL rookie mantra
even before the word "minicamp" was added to the league's nomenclature
late in the 20th century.

Now it applies even more, because first-year players are expected to
have a much better grasp of the system they'll be in by the time
training camp begins.

This is what the last three days have been about as the Eagles
conducted their first minicamp to prepare for the upcoming season.
They'll have another one later this month. Wide receiver Reggie Brown,
a second-round pick in last month's draft, will be keeping his eyes
and ears open, particularly because he might have a chance to play
right away if No. 1 wide receiver Terrell Owens continues his holdout
and No. 3 receiver Freddie Mitchell is traded or released, as
expected.

"There are some times where I just don't know what I'm supposed to
do," Brown admitted after Saturday morning's practice, "but I'm trying
to get a grasp of it. I think it's going pretty good."
Rookie wide receivers traditionally do not get many repetitions in
practice, much less games, in their first season under head coach Andy
Reid. His West Coast offense is supposedly too complicated. There is
more than a small chance they will deviate from that pattern with
Brown, who played at Georgia.

"They're not really teaching too much technique because they think you
should have all that down by the time you get in the NFL," Brown said,
"but they just try to give us the plays and what they want us to do
and be in position. The playbook) is not that overwhelming. I mean,
you're not going to pick up everything in one day, but it's not
(bad)."

Brown worked mostly on the outside during this first camp, and Reid
was impressed with how well he was able to absorb things.

"You're looking at a guy that seemed to pick things up quickly," Reid
said Sunday. "And he's very gifted athletically. He's made some plays
down the field for us and he also caught the short intermediate routes
and did a nice job of that. He seemed to have a good feel for zone vs.
man coverage. And again, we threw a lot at him and he seemed to handle
it. We're going to throw some more at him at the next camp and we'll
see how he digests all of that."

Reid stopped short of saying Brown was ahead of any established
receivers. "I'd say he's doing well right now, that's what I'd say,
without comparing him to other people," the coach said.

Offensive coordinator Brad Childress offered a similar take on Brown.
"He's doing a very nice job in there with a lot of volume and a lot of
physical play, and he holds his own in there," Childress said. "I've
seen him do some things underneath the defense and I've seen him do
some things down the field stretching the defense. He's been as good
as can be expected for a first-timer in this offense. He's doing a
nice job."

The coaches have been careful not to place an "inside" or an "outside"
label on Brown, or their other receivers, for that matter.
Theoretically, he should be just as effective wherever he lines up. At
least that's their mindset now.

"He can really play either out or in," Childress said. "He's big
enough in stature to be able to get in there, but you just want him to
make sure that he's full speed at whatever he's doing. You don't want
him measuring or thinking. That's our charge, to get him up to speed
there."

All signs point to Brown getting significant playing time if he can
pick up the offense in a timely fashion. Brown is counting on it.
Childress wouldn't rule it out.

"I think surely that's the goal," Childress said. "I think it remains
to be seen as we grind through training camp, the preseason and those
types of things. But he's certainly shown an aptitude and the ability
to be able to hold his own against these guys. It will just be a
matter of how he continues to grow. After 60-70 practices, we'll know
a lot more."

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

Clipped from the AP article by Dan Gelston: Freddie Mitchell has
talked his way out of Philadelphia. In a move that was no surprise,
the Eagles released Mitchell on Friday, cutting ties with the wide
receiver after four seasons where he never lived up to his promise as
a first-round pick.

"We appreciate everything Freddie has contributed to the Eagles
organization over the last four years," Coach Andy Reid said. "By
releasing him now, it gives him the opportunity for a new start with
another team in the NFL."

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

There is no question that rookie receiver Reggie Brown will be given
every opportunity to play this season.  Veteran 'quote-machine'
Freddie Mitchell has burned too many bridges in Philadelphia and he
was cut just after this article came out.  He is a favorite of the
media thanks to his biting, speak whatever is on his mind quotes but
he is at best a marginal receiver that the team can live without.
Owens will be back but don't be surprised to see Brown emerge as the
3rd or 4th option at the receiver position in 2005.  He shouldn't be
considered on any roster save dynasty leagues at this time but he has
a chance to have a solid pro career.

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

5. The Cadillac (RB Williams-TB) Looks Good in Test Drive

Clipped from: Chris Harry article in Orlando Sentinel

Long before draft geeks and Mel Kiper Jr. wannabes started questioning
the size and durability of Carnell "Cadillac" Williams, Tampa Bay
running backs coach Art Valero put a list together of current NFL
backs with a similar build to the 5-foot-10, 214-pound former Auburn
star:

Tiki Barber -- 5-10, 200.

Marshall Faulk -- 5-10, 211.

Ahman Green -- 6-0, 217.

Priest Holmes -- 5-9, 213.

Curtis Martin -- 5-11, 205.

Clinton Portis -- 5-11, 205.

LaDainian Tomlinson -- 5-10, 221.

There were more, but you get the idea.

OK, so he's not an Escalade. Coach Jon Gruden gladly will settle for
the XLR-like model that rushed for nearly 2,472 yards and 29
touchdowns his past two seasons in the Southeastern Conference and
looked awfully slick Friday during the first session of the
Buccaneers' rookie minicamp.

"Right now, I'm about 214,"' said Williams, the team's first-round
pick in last weekend's NFL draft, after bobbing and weaving through
drills with his 11 draft classmates and 39 undrafted free agents. "I'm
going to stay around there."

That'll be just fine with Gruden and his staff. Williams, as the fifth
overall selection and highest Tampa Bay draft choice in 15 years,
figures to be a focal point in a Bucs offense that is in desperate
need of a spark in the backfield. After finishing 29th, 24th and 27th,
respectively, in rushing in Gruden's three seasons, the Bucs pounced
on the opportunity to land a potential difference-maker; a guy who
could get 20-25 touches a game, with the speed and elusiveness to take
it the distance. The Bucs wasted no time applying their lessons,
adjourning in the afternoon to the practice field.

"We threw a lot at him -- and he did great," Valero said. "From
everything we know and have seen about him, he can carry the load. He
has great hands and great vision. We think he can be the guy. He's a
far cry from that today, but I believe he's going to get there."

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

It is always funny when a running back who is 214 pounds is
red-flagged for not being big enough.  Williams has great speed and
quickness and will be hard to hit on a consistent basic.  When he is
popped, he has enough size at 214 pounds to bounce off the tackle or
to explode through it.  Williams is a talented kid who has a great
attitude and work ethic and he is going to have a strong professional
career.  If the list of names above don't convince you he's plenty big
enough then nothing will.

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

6. WR Reggie Williams: "I'm Not a Bust!"

Clipped from: Pete Prisco article in CBS Sportsline

Bust is not a word any first-round pick wants next to his name. It's
even worse when it's there before the end of your rookie season,
forcing you to play through a label you know is wrong.

Jacksonville Jaguars receiver Reggie Williams lived that. As the ninth
pick in the first round of the 2004 draft, Williams was expected to be
an instant impact player, the guy who would someday take the receiving
baton from Jimmy Smith and put up his kind of numbers. Instead
Williams struggled, catching just 27 passes for 268 yards and one
touchdown. The critics said he was too slow. That he didn't get off
the jam, that he didn't look smooth.

"I heard it all," Williams said.

What they didn't say was rookie receivers always seem to struggle.
There are exceptions, such as Tampa Bay's Michael Clayton last year.
But for the most part, sophisticated defenses make that jump from
college to the NFL overwhelming. History says Williams can make a huge
leap this year. Using the top nine receivers from last year -- tight
end Tony Gonzalez led the league so he's out of this equation -- we
get a clear example of the struggles of most rookie receivers.

Those nine receivers, including Pro Bowl players like Chad Johnson and
Muhsin Muhammad and Torry Holt, averaged 23 catches for 313 yards and
1.6 touchdowns as rookies.
"That's interesting," Williams said. "But it does take time for
receivers to get going."

Williams used a car analogy to highlight another reason he didn't put
up impressive rookie numbers.

"It was like having a Ferrari and only using it in first gear," Williams said.

Translation: He wasn't used right.

"You know what," Smith said, "he wasn't. The old offense didn't use
any of us right."

The old offense was a West Coast system put in by former coordinator
Bill Musgrave. It was a system that featured a passing game with short
dink-and-dunk passes, rather than downfield throws that would have
highlighted Smith, Williams and quarterback Byron Leftwich. It was a
system that averaged 16 points per game -- lowest in the AFC -- and
one that led to plenty of griping from the players, particularly
Smith, who made his feeling known late in the season to the coaches.
Musgrave was let go after the season, replaced by Carl Smith, who came
from Southern Cal. Smith was formerly the coordinator for the New
Orleans Saints back in the Jim Mora days. His belief is to run the
ball and go deep off play action.

"I'm going to be going deep a lot," Williams said. "I can't tell you
how much I'm going to like this offense."

At Jaguars minicamp last week, the evidence was there that the offense
will be fun to watch in terms of the deep ball. The Jaguars went bombs
away a bunch, which excites the players and should help amp up the
scoring numbers. Williams looked like a different player out there. He
has trimmed his body, dropping 10 pounds, which made him look quicker
and faster. To some observers at the practices, it was hard to imagine
this was the same guy who struggled as a rookie.

And that's why Williams is one of the players we expect to have a
breakout season in 2005.
"I expect it, too," Williams said.

In addition to the offensive system, Williams was hurt by a couple of
other factors as a rookie. For one, his class at Washington didn't end
school until late June, which meant NFL rules prohibited him from
taking part in much of the Jaguars' offseason program. While other
rookies were learning the offense, he was working out on his own. The
added weight, which he said was at the request of the Jaguars, also
seemed to slow him down.

"They wanted me at 230, so I ate enough to get there," Williams said.
"I feel much faster being down the 10 pounds."

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

In terms of fantasy football, there is some important information in
this article.  First of all, the offensive philosophy in Jacksonville
has completed changed around, going from an ultra-conservative
approach to an aggressive, get down-the-field mentality. That should
have a huge effect on the numbers for Byron Leftwich, who should
thrive in a vertical game and Jimmy Smith who can still get down the
field.  However, nobody will be happier about the changes than the
slimmed down 2nd-year receiver Reggie Williams who has the talent to
be a star receiver at the NFL level.  Don't be surprised to see
Williams emerge this season with good receiving numbers and for the
Jaguars to put up a lot more points overall.

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

7. WR Hilliard Signs with the Buccaneers

Clipped from: ESPN Wire

Ike Hilliard is headed back to Florida.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced the signing of the veteran receiver
on Friday. Financial terms were not disclosed. Hilliard spent his
first eight seasons with the New York Giants and ranks fourth in
franchise history with 368 receptions, but was released in March for
salary cap purposes.

"This is a great opportunity for me," Hilliard said. "It's great to be
back in the state of Florida, where I played college ball."
Hilliard was an All-Southeastern Conference performer at the
University of Florida and helped the Gators to a national championship
in 1996. In Tampa Bay, Hilliard should compete for a starting job
opposite Michael Clayton.

"He (Hilliard) has proven what he can do in this league, and we're
excited to have him," Buccaneers coach Jon Gruden said. "He is a
versatile player, and we expect him to help us. He is a guy that we
are really going to lean on."

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

Follow up on a previous story - Ike Hilliard is a good pickup for the
Buccaneers.  It gives them a proven player across from talented
2nd-year receiver Michael Clayton and will bring a solid veteran
presence to the offense.  He should be able to catch 50+ passes for
the team in 2005.

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

8. First Impressions from the Seahawks Minicamp

Clipped from: Clare Farnsworth article in Seattle Post-Intelligencer

A rundown on how the veteran free agents that signed with the Seahawks
this offseason looked during the team's first minicamp that concluded
yesterday:

* Jerome Pathon -- A low-mileage 29-year-old, the former University of
Washington wide receiver still has a deceptive combination of speed
and quickness, which he used to average 17.1 yards per catch for the
New Orleans Saints last season.

* Joe Jurevicius -- The ex-Tampa Bay Buccaneer, ex-New York Giants
receiver is -- as advertised -- a big (6 feet 5, 230 pounds),
sure-handed target. He could be especially effective in the red zone
and while working from the slot in the three- and four-receiver sets.

* Jamie Sharper -- Durable, productive and nasty. Despite playing
middle linebacker the past three seasons for the Houston Texans,
Sharper will replace the recently released Chad Brown at strong-side
linebacker.

* Kelly Herndon -- Exactly where the former starter for the Denver
Broncos fits remains to be seen, but his best plays during the
minicamp came while covering slot receivers. Like Sharper, he brings a
needed physical style of play to the defense.

* NOTE: Defensive end Bryce Fisher did not practice after having
arthroscopic surgery on his left foot; cornerback Andre Dyson did not
attend because he is on his honeymoon.

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

The Seahawks have brought in a number of free agents this season to
attempt to reach the next level.  Both receivers, Jerome Pathon and
Joe Jurevicius are going to help the Seahawks on the field and both
bring different skill sets to the table.  Pathon will be able to
stretch the defense while Jurevicius gives the Seahawks a weapon they
have been missing which is a big, strong receiver who catches
everything thrown his way.  Perhaps both guys will rub off on
disappointing receiver Koren Robinson who will see his playing time
reduced if he doesn't respond with more professionalism and
concentration in 2005.  LB Jamie Sharper is a top-notch talent who
will make plays all over the field for the team and Kelly Herndon is a
big, powerful cornerback who will see lots of playing time.  The
Seahawks did a great job bringing in talented players this offseason
and the team should be better for it.

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

9. WR Rice (FA) May Retire if 49ers Not Interested in Signing Him

Clipped from: Dennis Georgatos in Mercury News

Jerry Rice is considering making one more appeal to Coach Mike Nolan
in hopes of returning to the 49ers for a farewell season. If the 49ers
don't bite, Rice said Thursday that he might retire.

"It's looking real dark. This might be it," Rice said during a break
from his workout at a peninsula health club. "I've had a few other
options, but right now, I'm having a hard time seeing myself in
another uniform."

Rice, 42, spent his first 16 seasons with the 49ers, helping them win
three of their five Super Bowl titles before being cut in a salary-cap
move in June 2001. He is without a team after being released in
February by the Seattle Seahawks, who acquired him last season from
the Raiders. A team Rice declined to identify has expressed interest,
he said, but he still wants to "say goodbye the right way" by
rejoining the 49ers.
Rice said he approached the 49ers two months ago about coming back,
and his agent, Jim Steiner, also had conversations with Nolan and
owner John York. Nolan, who has said the 49ers would welcome Rice back
but not as a player, reiterated that stance in a statement released by
the team Thursday.

"As I have always said, Jerry Rice is not only the best receiver in
49ers history, but the best receiver of all time," Nolan said. "We
have a lot of respect for what he has done in his career. We would
love to have Jerry retire as a 49er, but our plan is to develop the
players we currently have on our roster."

That type of reasoning puzzles Rice.

"I understand them wanting to move on, but I didn't understand how
this would set them back," Rice said. "If anything, I think I would
bring a very positive perspective to the 49ers. And also it gives me
the opportunity to end my career where I started. I feel like both
parties would be able to get something out of this. I really just
wanted one more go-around with the fans to show them I appreciate all
the encouragement over the years. I don't have to go out there and
catch 7-8 balls. I don't have to be the starter. I don't need to be
the main focus. If I could just walk to the center of the field right
before the games and just wave or something like that, that would be
great."

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

I think it would be terrific to see Jerry Rice back for one final
season with the 49ers.  However throughout his career, including the
last few seasons, he has had disgruntled moments when he doesn't get
the ball thrown in his direction and the team is probably worried he
could become more of a distraction than a plus at this point in his
career.  Still, if Rice is sincere about coming back to just end his
career with the team he became a star with and if he truly doesn't
mind if he sees the ball or not throughout the season, perhaps he
could be a positive influence on the young receivers of the 49ers. No
matter what, the days of Rice being a fantasy option are over.

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

10. RB Westbrook (Phi) Will Sign and Attend Training Camp; Update on
WR Owens (Phi) and DT Simon (Phi)

Clipped from: Philadelphia Daily News

WR Terrell Owens did not attend last weekend's mandatory minicamp, as
he attempts to get his 7-year contract revised a year into the deal.
Also missing were defensive tackle Corey Simon and running back Brian
Westbrook, who haven't signed 1-year tenders offered by the Eagles.
Westbrook's agent, Anthony Agnone, has said his client will sign and
will be in training camp. Simon's agent, Roosevelt Barnes, has
indicated Simon will not sign the tender anytime soon and will not be
at training camp. Owens' agent, Drew Rosenhaus, has said he will not
discuss Owens' situation.

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

It is good news for owners of Brian Westbrook in fantasy leagues as he
will sign the tender offered by the Eagles and arrive on time for
training camp.  He will be playing for a big payday this season and
should have plenty of motivation for a strong season.  He is ranked a
solid 18th at the running back position at our site.  The news is less
rosy for defensive tackle Corey Simon but he is at best a marginal
option in fantasy football and shouldn't be counted on in your IDP
leagues.  In all likelihood, Owens will be ready to go no matter what
once the season hits.  This is just offseason posturing by the
talented, veteran receiver.

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11. Three Veteran Offensive Players Sign with the Redskins

Clipped from: Gary Fitzgerald article on Redskins.com

The Redskins completed the signings of three veterans and an undrafted
rookie quarterback on Thursday. The new acquisitions: tight end Billy
Baber, wide receiver Jimmy Farris, running back Brock Forsey and
quarterback Bryson Spinner. To make room for the four new players, the
Redskins released tight end Kori Dickerson and running back John
Simon. On Wednesday, the team released quarterback Tim Hasselbeck and
wide receiver Jason Samples. Farris, 6-0 and 200 pounds, was
originally signed by the San Francisco 49ers as an undrafted rookie
free agent in 2001. He spent his rookie season on the practice squad.
Farris was signed by New England in January 2002 but was waived prior
to the start of the regular season. In November 2002, the Atlanta
Falcons signed him to their practice squad and then to the active
roster in January 2003. He appeared in 30 games for the Falcons and
recorded six catches for 100 yards and two touchdowns. Head coach Joe
Gibbs likes him for special teams.

Baber, 6-4 and 260 pounds, was a fifth round (141st overall) selection
of the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2001 NFL Draft. He played for the
Chiefs for three seasons before being released prior to the start of
the 2004 regular season. During his time in Kansas City, he appeared
in 29 games with two starts and recorded three receptions for 30 yards
and one score. Gibbs said Baber will play at H-back, joining a group
that includes last year's starter Chris Cooley and recent draft pick
Manuel White, Jr.

Forsey, 5-11 and 208 pounds, was drafted by the Chicago Bears in the
sixth round (206th overall) of the 2003 NFL Draft. He was released
prior to the start of the 2004 season and later signed on with the
Miami Dolphins. During his career, he appeared in 18 games with two
starts and recorded 244 rushing yards on 69 carries and two
touchdowns. He also logged three catches for 37 yards.

"[Forsey] has had production in this league," Gibbs said. "He is also
a good special teams guy."

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

None of these three players are likely to have fantasy impact this
season or beyond. RB Brock Forsey could provide valuable depth and
always does a serviceable job when pressed into action.  In week
thirteen of the 2003 campaign, then a Bears' backup running back,
Forsey exploded onto the scene with a 134-yard rushing performance
against the Cardinals.  He has only had 22 carries since.  TE Billy
Baber is an interesting player who has the best potential to make an
impact on the field.  He has some receiving talent and has good size.
He won't start as that distinction belongs to the talented Chris
Cooley but he should compete for the backup spot with rookie Manuel
White Jr.

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

12. QB White (Ten):  Former Heisman Trophy Winner Gets an Opportunity
with Titans

Clipped from: ESPN Wire

Jason White is getting another shot at the NFL with the Tennessee
Titans. The 2003 Heisman Trophy winner agreed to terms Thursday on a
contract with the Titans. The former Oklahoma quarterback wasn't
offered a contract after going through a three-day rookie camp with
Kansas City last week. White went undrafted despite leading the
Sooners to the national title game in 2003 and '04. White threw 75
touchdown passes and went 24-3 the past two seasons with Oklahoma. He
finished his college career with 7,922 yards passing and 81 touchdown
passes. But his arm strength is considered questionable for the NFL,
and he has had major reconstructive surgery on both knees.

The Titans have an opening for the No. 3 quarterback job behind Steve
McNair and Billy Volek. White also shares an agent with McNair. White
will be in town for the Titans' first minicamp workout of the
offseason on May 17 with three other undrafted free agent
quarterbacks: Shane Boyd of Kentucky, Gino Guidugli of Cincinnati and
Marcus Randall of LSU.

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

Jason White has 'Great College Passer; NFL Bust' written all over him.
He was a feel-good story with the Sooners, coming back from knee
injuries to win the Heisman Trophy but he'll likely join the ranks of
past quarterbacks since 1989 (Eric Crouch, Chris Weinke, Danny
Wuerffel, Charlie Ward, Ty Detmer, Andre Ware and Gino Toretta) who
went on to disappointing NFL careers.  Not even worth a look in
dynasty leagues at this point in his professional career.

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

13. Rookie TE Miller (Pit) Surprises by Participating in Camp

Clipped from: ESPN Wire

Tight end Heath Miller unexpectedly took part in the first day of
Pittsburgh Steelers minicamp Friday even as the first-round draft pick
recovers from offseason surgery to repair a sports hernia.
Miller, the 30th overall choice, said after the April 23-24 NFL draft
he hoped to be ready for minicamp. But the Steelers didn't
realistically expect him to be practice-ready until training camp
starts July 31.

"I felt really good and it (the groin) feels fine," Miller said.

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

Even though the Steelers haven't been featuring the tight end position
for a long time, Miller has the tools necessary to become a vital cog
in the passing attack within the next season or two.  It is a major
victory for him to be on the field already and that could lead to a
lot of playing time right out of the gate this season.  His soft hands
and quickness will make the Steelers offense that much tougher to
defend.

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

14. IDP: LB Arrington's (Was) Status Updated

Clipped from: Gary Fitzgerald article on Redskins.com

Head coach Joe Gibbs updated the status of injured weak-side
linebacker LaVar Arrington. The Redskins' three-time Pro Bowler worked
out on Wednesday and is continuing his rehabilitation from
arthroscopic knee surgery last month.

"He had an excellent workout," Gibbs said. "He told me it was the best
his knee has felt. He felt real good about all of the movement. We're
starting to increase his workout program now."
The team continues to approach Arrington's rehabilitation with
caution, Gibbs added. Arrington played in only four games last season
due to a lateral meniscus injury in the knee.

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

LaVar Arrington is an important piece of the Redskins' defensive
puzzle and the team needs him to be 100% ready to go at the start of
the season to have a chance of righting the ship.  In terms of fantasy
football, Arrington is a top fifteen linebacker who is a must start
each week when healthy.  It sounds promising that he'll be healthy and
ready to go by week one.

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

15. IDP: LB Mike Barrow (Was) to Undergo 'Final MRI'; Return Close

Clipped from: Gary Fitzgerald article on Redskins.com

Linebacker Mike Barrow will undergo a final MRI on his knee later this
week and, if cleared by team doctors and trainers, could be ready to
start more rigorous preparation for the 2005 season. Barrow has been
working with trainers on agility drills during off-season workouts at
Redskins Park, head coach Joe Gibbs said.  "He'll spend a lot of time
with our trainers to get him in a running program," Gibbs said. "We'll
start the work back and see how he does."

Barrow, a 12-year veteran, could be a key component to the Redskins'
defense next season. The defense has a void at middle linebacker due
to Antonio Pierce's departure to the New York Giants. Barrow was
expected to be the starter last year, but he experienced tendonitis in
his knee early in preseason and was sidelined the entire 2004
campaign.

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

Mike Barrow is getting up there in age but the Redskins have limited
options at middle linebacker and Barrow will get every opportunity to
win the job this season.  Barrow is a good tackler and brings valuable
experience to the table but it is anybody's guess at this point if
he'll be healthy at the start of the season and if he'll be able to
stay healthy throughout the season.  If he can't go, expect Lemar
Marshall to get a long look.

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

16. IDP: LB Boulware is Healthy but Status with the Ravens Unclear

Clipped from: Brent Jones Article in Baltimore Sun

For the first time in 16 months, Peter Boulware says he is completely
healthy. Whether he will have the chance to prove that as a Raven
remains a question. Team officials are talking to Boulware's agent,
Roosevelt Barnes, about restructuring the former Pro Bowl linebacker's
contract, which is set to pay him $6 million this season. Boulware,
who has had little contact with the Ravens this offseason,
acknowledged that his roster spot is precarious because of his salary
and the arrival of second-round draft pick Dan Cody, whom front office
executives and coaches have penciled in as part of a rotation at
strong-side linebacker with Adalius Thomas. Cody is also expected to
rush as an end in passing situations.

With Boulware set to count nearly $8 million against the salary cap,
the Ravens appear to be leaning toward getting younger and cheaper
with Cody, whose role was previously reserved for Boulware before the
draft. Even Boulware is not sure if he will return for a ninth season
with the team that made him a first-round draft choice in 1997.
Boulware is the franchise's leader in career sacks with 67 1/2 .

"Ultimately, the decision isn't about me," Boulware said. "The
decision is with the organization and whether they feel they can bring
somebody in who can do what I did better than me. If they feel that
way, then I'm sure they'd be willing to do the right thing by me."

Boulware, 30, said he is fine with restructuring his contract to
remain with the Ravens, but is not sure where he fits in the team's
plan even if an agreement is reached. If a new deal fails to
materialize, cutting Boulware outright might not be that beneficial
for the Ravens. If the Ravens release Boulware before June 1, the
prorated portion of a $13.5 million signing bonus he received from a
contract signed in 2002 would count against the salary cap this season
(roughly $7.6 million). If the team were to release Boulware after
June 1, half of the remaining portion of his signing bonus money would
count against this year's cap, and the other half would count against
next year's cap.

A more likely scenario would see the Ravens attempting to negotiate a
decrease in Boulware's base salary. His salary is the highest on the
team, and Boulware is scheduled to make $6 million a year over the
next four seasons. If the sides fail to agree on a new base salary,
the Ravens would have to decide whether cutting Boulware after June 1
and having dead money count against the cap in 2006 would be better
than having him play this year. The plus for keeping Boulware is that
he could serve as valuable insurance in case starting weak-side
linebacker Tommy Polley does not play as well as expected or Cody
develops slowly.

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

The Ravens would love to keep Boulware around as valuable insurance
but can only do that with a contract that makes sense for the team.
Boulware has gone from valuable starter and decent fantasy option to a
great depth guy who has limited fantasy value unless injuries occur.
However if his time with the Ravens is indeed at an end and he gets
picked up by another NFL team, he could be a good backup for a fantasy
roster.

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

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

Joe


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