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Volume 6, Issue 28 (Monday, May 16th)

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Tonight's update is brought to you by Payday Sports/Tropicana East
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Hi Folks,

Hope your week's off to a good start. Thanks to our Mark Wimer for rounding up these stories today.

For any of you guys looking for stock tips, go heavy on Starbucks and Visine. We're working around the clock on the Footballguys Magazine and both items are in unprecedented demand across the country.

Let's jump to it.

J

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Site News: Early Bird Discount Closes after May 20, 2005. There are just a few more days left for you folks that want to take advantage of the price roll back on the Footballguys.com subscription. For people that sign up by May 20, 2005, we'll honor the discounted price of $19.95. After that, it'll go to $24.95. Don't miss out. A subscription to FBG is everything you need to dominate your league in 2005.

INSIDE THIS ISSUE

1. PHI - T.O. Wrote Own Ticket Out of Town? (Commentary) 2. BAL - Imprisoned RB Lewis on Teammate's Minds 3. BAL - Fresh Look at Passing Game Starts Today 4. TEN - A Look at Off-season Conditioning During OTAs 5. NO - Hunting for Veteran WR 6. TEN - QB Volek's Shoulder is Healing 7. MIA - IDP: CB Poole Has Surgery on ACL; Out For Season

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1. PHI - T.O. Wrote Own Ticket Out of Town? (Commentary)

Clipped from: Philadelphia Inquirer editorial by Phil Sheridan, 5/16/05

Thanks for stopping by, Terrell Owens. It was interesting, to say the least, but now it's time to go.

As talented and tough a player as Owens is, the bottom line is that the Eagles were a very good team before acquiring him and they will be a very good team when he is gone. As long as Donovan McNabb is the quarterback here, the Eagles will have a chance to win a Super Bowl.

Maybe that's what really drives Owens crazy. Maybe that's the pea under the stack of mattresses his ultra-sensitive ego rests upon. Clearly, Owens is consumed by jealousy over McNabb's stature, McNabb's talent and - most of all - McNabb's wealth.

It was bad when Owens took a minor potshot at the quarterback to further his own misguided play for a new contract. The comment about "the guy who got tired in the Super Bowl" was unfair and stupid, but likely would have faded with time.

Not this.

Although Owens wasn't quoted directly in Stephen A. Smith's column in yesterday's Inquirer, the star receiver's acrimonious feelings about the franchise quarterback came through loud and clear. So when Smith conveys Owens' opinion that McNabb is a "company man" who is "unwittingly exploited" by Andy Reid and the Eagles, you just know that's what the receiver has said.

Does he believe it? Maybe. Is he willing to say it merely to further his own selfish aims? Absolutely.

Reid simply can't let this slide. He has built this organization a certain way, with certain kinds of people, and he took a chance by making an exception for Owens. A year ago, I was all for that move. I even wrote in this very space that, if Owens was able to control himself for just one season, it would be worth it.

That holds true. Last season was special. It was worth it. But Owens has crossed a very important line here, the one between mere distraction and locker-room cancer. He has forced Reid to do more than simply ignore this mess.

You can live with a distraction. You have to remove a cancer. As soon as possible.

Maybe this seems melodramatic, an overreaction to a couple of comments about McNabb. But this is about much more than that. It's about Owens cruelly taking aim at spots where he perceives McNabb to be especially vulnerable.

There are questions about the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl, so Owens throws a dart right at that bull's-eye.

There are people who whine about Reid and the Eagles "sheltering" the quarterback, so Owens exploits that perception by suggesting McNabb is the coach's puppet.

And why is Owens doing this? For money. That's it, money. What kind of teammate - what kind of man? - humiliates a perfectly decent person like this? And make no mistake, Owens is deliberately painting McNabb as a sellout.

.If Reid is as concerned with team chemistry as he says he is, the coach will make sure this is Owens' last mistake as an Eagle.

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

The furor continues to grow in Philadelphia over Terrell Owens' off-season behavior. He promised coach Reid not to become a distraction when he signed the contract last year - that promise has obviously been broken. Now, the ball is in the court of Philadelphia's management. What action they will take, if any, remains to be seen - however, the situation continues to get more nasty as each day passes.

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2. BAL - Imprisoned RB Lewis on Teammate's Minds

Clipped from: Baltimore Sun article by Jamison Hensley, 5/16/05

When the Ravens begin their first offseason minicamp today, one player absent from the huddle will be Jamal Lewis.

But that doesn't mean the former All-Pro running back has been out of the Ravens' tight-knit circle.

Team officials have kept close contact with Lewis throughout his four-month prison sentence in Pensacola, Fla., which included a recent visit by owner Steve Bisciotti.

Lewis entered Federal Prison Camp on Feb. 4 after pleading guilty to using a cell phone more than four years ago to arrange a drug deal.

All of the reports have been positive, according to Ravens coach Brian Billick.

Lewis is progressing on schedule from ankle surgery and weighs about 240 pounds, which is great shape for a player who has been known to balloon in the offseason.

"This sounds terrible, but he's in a great, regimented environment," Billick said. "There's not a lot else for him to do but to stay focused."

After Lewis finishes the remaining weeks of his prison term, he will spend two months in a halfway house and perform 500 hours of community service.

Indications have been made to team officials that Lewis could serve his house arrest in Baltimore.

"I'm comfortable with his rehab, but I think it would be great to have him up here in this environment," Billick said. "I'm not particularly concerned about the time he would miss in [June] minicamps, but I think it would be great for him to be up here around his teammates."

If Lewis is at the Ravens' training complex in June, Billick said he's unsure how much the running back would participate in those minicamps.

"The next hurdle for him is to get the conditioning level up because it's been so focused on the rehab," Billick said.

Asked if the ankle could hinder Lewis for training camp in August, Billick said, "I don't think that's an issue."

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

It seems weird for someone to indicate a prison term is good for a "great, regimented environment" - but then again, it's tough to put a positive spin on your star RB spending the off-season in prison for a felony conviction. It appears that Lewis will be ready for training camp despite his forced absence from team facilities and trainers.

/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/**/ 3. BAL - Fresh Look at Passing Game Starts Today

Clipped from: Carroll County Times article by Aaron Wilson, 5/16/05

The Baltimore Ravens will devote the next four days to upgrading their most chronic shortcoming: the passing game.

The Ravens signed two-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Derrick Mason as a free agent and drafted Oklahoma consensus All-American wideout Mark Clayton in the first round to try to boost the NFL's 31st-ranked passing game.

Beginning this morning at their training complex they open a four-day passing camp, the Ravens will begin discovering firsthand the impact of these additions.

For third-year quarterback Kyle Boller, it will be his first formal practice with Mason and Clayton.

After picking Clayton, the Ravens began immediately talking about the potential explosiveness of a tandem that specializes in running after the catch, a major weakness of last year's squad.

"This gives us a lot of latitude in our packages," Ravens coach Brian Billick said.

Last season, the Ravens averaged only 144.2 passing yards per contest as running back Jamal Lewis, tight end Todd Heap and tackle Jonathan Ogden missed a combined 18 games.

Heap will not be available for these practices as he recently underwent shoulder surgery that's expected to keep him out for at least a portion of, if not the majority of, training camp.

Boller improved somewhat during his second season, going 9-7, as he completed 55.6 percent of his passes for 2,559 yards, 13 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He finished as the second-lowest rated passer in the AFC.

The Ravens will work on routes, timing, throws and learning the terminology of new offensive coordinator Jim Fassel, holding practices for 1 hour, 15 minutes each day through Thursday.

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

The article highlights the frustrations of the Ravens regarding their passing game during the last two years, and their best hopes for improving in 2005 (Mason and Clayton). However, given Boller's uninspiring past performances, we aren't too excited about his fantasy prospects for 2005 (he's 23rd on our expert rankings board for QBs).

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4. TEN - A Look at Off-season Conditioning During OTAs

Clipped from: Tennessean article by Jim Wyatt, 5/16/05

It's called metabolic running, but some of the Titans probably call the exhausting conditioning drill something else.

''Absolutely it's something guys dread,'' receiver Drew Bennett said. ''But like it or not, everybody knows it's something you've got to do to get ready for the season.''

The Titans veterans and rookies will be on the field for the first time together tomorrow for the first of six organized team activities scheduled for this month. In June, they'll practice six more times together before returning for training camp in late July.

But for the veterans, it certainly won't be their first time on the field. They've spent the past seven weeks building up their cardiovascular base, working in a number of different exercises ranging from tug-of-wars to obstacle courses to sprints to cone drills.

The one that will perhaps get them the most prepared for this fall, however, is a heart-thumping drill called position specific metabolic running. By design, it simulates game-like situations, and turns heavy breathers into smooth operators. Well, at the least they won't be doubling over like they did in the beginning.

But the transition doesn't happen overnight.

''It is fast and furious,'' said Titans strength and conditioning coach Steve Watterson, a drill sergeant of sorts. ''As much as I think it helps (get them ready for the season), I believe they do, too.''

The Titans started the metabolic program at the start of the offseason program in late March. It will continue until July 1, the last day of the program.

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

Teams that are in top condition have energy left for the 4th quarter in-season. While the story doesn't give fantasy-specific information, it does let owners know that the Titans they might draft will be in condition come training camp/pre-season.

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5. NO - Hunting for Veteran WR

Clipped from: Times-Picayune article by Tim Duncan, 5/15/05

Lyman's injury coupled with the release of Jerome Pathon has left the Saints relatively thin at receiver, so the club is expected to pursue a veteran in free agency. Ironically, one of their top targets is Az-Zahir Hakim, who was released by Detroit earlier this spring. Saints fans will remember Hakim for his famous fumbled punt that helped preserve the club's playoff win against the St. Louis Rams in 2001. Former Patriots receiver/defensive back Troy Brown is also a possibility.

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

With Joe Horn and Donte Stallworth entrenched as the teams' #1 and #2 receiver, there probably won't be much fantasy potential to be found in whichever veteran WR the team brings in - unless an injury opens up one of the team's top 2 spots. Given how often players are hurt in the NFL, it'll be worthwhile to know who ends up #3 in the Saints' WR stable to start the season. This offense is one of the more frustrating in the league, but that's partly because it has so much potential.

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6. TEN - QB Volek's Shoulder is Healing

Clipped from: Pro Football Weekly article by Staff, 5/16/05

According to Tennessee Titans head coach Jeff Fisher, Volek currently is about 90-percent recovered from offseason surgery to repair a severely separated throwing shoulder. The quarterback, who went under the knife nearly four months ago, plans to be at full strength by the start of training camp later this summer.

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

Good news for Titans fans as Volek was sensational at times in relief of Steve McNair last year - he'll be a big part of what the team does if McNair succumbs to injury again this year.

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7. MIA - IDP: CB Poole Has Surgery on ACL; Out For Season

Clipped from: CBS Sportsline article by AP, 5/16/05

Dolphins cornerback Will Poole had reconstructive knee surgery Monday and is expected to miss the entire 2005 season.

Poole tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during minicamp earlier this month. The second-year pro was the leading candidate to replace Pro Bowl cornerback Patrick Surtain, traded last month to Kansas City.

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

This is no surprise, we've expected this news since his injury. However, it's now a medical fact that Poole has had reconstructive surgery. We'll see him in 2006, if his rehabilitation goes as planned.

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That'll do it for today, Folks. Remember that the Early Bird Discount closes after May 20. Check out www.footballguys.com for the details on signing up. Have a great Tuesday and we'll see you tomorrow with the update.

J

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