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Volume 6, Issue 29 (Tuesday, May 17th)

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Tonight's Update brought to you by www.wcoff.com 

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Hi Folks,

Twenty stories for you today as Voluntary Workouts start to warm up. Thanks to our Mark Wimer for rounding these up. Let's get to it.

J

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Site News - Early Bird Discount ends May 20, 2005. The window to take advantage of the Early Bird discount is quickly closing. You know by now that we've rolled back the price to $19.95 for a Footballguys.com subscription for folks that sign up by May 20, 2005. Don't miss out. You can sign up on the front page of www.footballguys.com. We'll do our dead level best to give you what you need to Dominate your League this season.

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INSIDE THIS ISSUE

1. HOU - TE Joppru Injures Knee in Non-Contact Drill, MRI Today 2. IND - RB James Skips Voluntary OTAs, Mandatory Mini-camp Next? 3. CLE - RB Droughns Returns to Workouts, Mute on Contract Dispute 4. PHI - HC Reid "We'll see" How T.O. Situation Works Out 5. NYG - Tim Hasselbeck is Our #2, A "Gift" 6. WAS - WRs Moss, Patten Begin Indoctrination in Redskins' System 7. BAL - New OC Fassel Wants Offense to Attack in 2005 8. CIN - Bengals start OTAs 9. MIN - RB Smith Whizzes Past Reporters to OTAs, RB Stable Competition 10. JAX - WR Jones Sits Out This Week, Hamstring Injury a Concern 11. TEN - Sketch of Issues as Team Opens Mini-Camp 12. DEN - Battle for Spots in Denver RB Stable Begins 13. ARI - Rookies Start NFL Careers In Rookie Development Camp 14. N.O. IDP - Starting RCB Brown AWOL From Coaching Session 15. MIN IDP - DBs Chavous, Williams Skip Developmental Camp 16. IND IDP- MLB Morris to Resign with Colts? 17. JAX IDP - S Darius Shuts Up, Puts Up, Shows Up 18. WAS IDP - S Taylor AWOL During OTAs Today 19. ST. L. IDP - S Archuleta "6,000% Better" 20. Bill Romanowski: Portrait Of Performance Enhancers; Lost Integrity

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1. HOU - TE Joppru Injures Knee in Non-Contact Drill, MRI Today

Clipped from: Houston Chronicle article by Carlton Thompson, 5/17/05

Attempting to make a cut in the middle of the outdoor grass field, Joppru tumbled to the ground and clutched his right knee. He tried to get up, but thought better of it and immediately was surrounded by trainers. Within minutes, Joppru had been helped off the field and loaded onto a cart, quite possibly the victim of a third season-ending injury in as many years.

Early indications are Joppru suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament, but general manager Charley Casserly and coach Dom Capers are holding off on a specific diagnosis pending further tests. An MRI exam is scheduled for today.

Things don't look good for Joppru, who missed the first two years of his career because of a groin injury, and could have to wait another year to prove he was worthy of a second-round pick in the 2003 draft.

"It's disappointing to me, and I know how extremely disappointing it is for Bennie," Capers said. "You hate to see anybody go down out there. I've seen Bennie out here during our offseason work over the last two months, doing the same kind of routes.

"It's just one of those things. It was a non-contact (injury). He planted his foot to make a cut and the next thing I know, he went down. Over the last three years, he's had as tough a luck as anybody, but that's part of this game."

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

When a player goes down due to a non-contact knee injury, it's rarely good news. If the MRI confirms a torn ACL, he'll almost certainly need surgery to repair the injury, and is probably done for the 2005 season.

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2. IND - RB James Skips Voluntary OTAs, Mandatory Mini-camp Next?

Clipped from: Indianapolis Star article by Mike Chappell, 5/17/05

James' absence wasn't a surprise. The team's career rushing leader has usually spent his offseason working out in South Florida.

"I know Edgerrin's down in Miami, probably one of the most physically-fit athletes in the National Football League," quarterback Peyton Manning said.

Whether James shows up for the Colts' mandatory three-day minicamp, which begins Friday, is anybody's guess.

James could not be reached for comment and his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, did not immediately return a phone message.

"I have not talked with (James), but I anticipate him being here," coach Tony Dungy said. "That's our first thing on the agenda that's mandatory, so we expect everyone to be here for it."

The collective bargaining agreement between management and the players allows a team to fine a player who skips a mandatory activity a maximum of $1,000 per day. The penalty rises to $5,000 per day for missing training camp. The only time James has failed to attend a mandatory event was in 2002 when he missed the first Dungy-directed minicamp to continue to rehabilitate his surgically repaired left knee at the University of Miami (Fla.).

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

This will only become news if James skips the mandatory mini-camp. He's usually absent from voluntary OTAs. For those of you with James on your roster, stay tuned for Friday.

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3. CLE - RB Droughns Returns to Workouts, Mute on Contract Dispute

Clipped from: Cleveland Plain Dealer article by Mary Kay Cabot, 5/17/05

Browns running back Reuben Droughns has returned to Cleveland and is working out with the team again.

"Right now, I'm not worrying about the business side of it," he said Monday night by phone. "All I'm concerned about is learning the system and getting in shape for the season."

Droughns, acquired in a trade with Denver for Ebenezer Ekuban and Mike Myers, walked out of the Browns' off-season conditioning program in April and said he was prepared to hold out for a bigger deal.

He's under contract for $950,000 this season and $1.15 million in 2006. Asked whether he's prepared to play under his current contract: "I'm not ready to comment on that."

He said it wasn't like him to be away from his teammates and not preparing for the season.

"I definitely feel I'll be around for the quarterback school [starting May 23] and the minicamp [June 13-15]," he said. "I'm committed to doing everything I can to get ready to play."

Droughns is represented by Drew Rosenhaus, who currently has several players in contract disputes, including Philadelphia's Terrell Owens.

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

This is a smart move by Droughns, who does need to be committed to getting ready to play in a new system if he is to have an impact during 2005. We'll see if he continues to play ball come training camp, but this has to be considered a positive sign for Droughns owners.

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4. PHI - HC Reid "We'll see" How T.O. Situation Works Out

Clipped from: Daily Times article by Bob Grotz, 5/17/05

Andy Reid conceded Monday he's spoken recently with discontented wide receiver Terrell Owens, who skipped the Eagles' mandatory minicamp over contract issues.

Reid wouldn't say if he expected Owens to attend the Eagles' next voluntary camp, starting Monday, or even training camp in late July.

But Reid didn't appear nearly as upset and annoyed over the matter as he was addressing it during the mandatory camp two weeks ago.

Since then, Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie has said the club would not renegotiate Owens' contract, and the player's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, countered that it was much too early to brand his client a training camp holdout.

Reid nonetheless declined to go out on the same limb with his quarterback, Donovan McNabb, who last week predicted Owens would be part of the Eagles by the season opener.

"I don't know about that," Reid said. "We'll see how it all works out. We'll just have to see."

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

It's good to hear that the two sides are communicating - acrimonious holdouts are only made worse when the sides refuse to talk to each other. Drew Rosenhaus is a shark, but he's not stupid. It's encouraging to hear him already softening his stance saying it's too early to call T.O. a holdout. My guess is they've tested the water here and the overwhelming response they received was the water was way too hot to dive in. Mr. Lurie has stated his position clearly and concisely. We'll see how Rosenhaus responds.

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5. NYG - Tim Hasselbeck is Our #2, A "Gift"

Clipped from: New York Post article by Paul Schwartz, 5/17/05

"Hasselbeck was a gift," GM Ernie Accorsi yesterday told The Post. "We did not expect him to become available. We have a high regard for him. If he were a free agent he would have been at the top of our list. This is not one of these stop-gap things."

The Giants believe they have their three quarterbacks in place, with Jesse Palmer expected to beat out Jared Lorenzen for the No. 3 job, a role Palmer filled last season while not throwing a single pass.

At first, when the Giants picked up Hasselbeck, 27, it seemed as if he and Palmer, 26, would compete for the backup job. That battle likely will not emerge, as Hasselbeck is clearly in the lead for the No. 2 spot.

Accorsi went as far as to say that, other than Kerry Collins, Hasselbeck "talent-wise is as good a backup as we've had here," although Accorsi did give Kurt Warner an edge over Hasselbeck in experience.

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

Strong support for Hasselbeck from the front office - but he won't see action unless Eli Manning is injured, or in blowout victories/losses. Manning owners in dynasty leagues might want to pick up Hasselbeck for insurance purposes, if you have room on your roster but this is clearly Manning's job.

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6. WAS - WRs Moss, Patten Begin Indoctrination in Redskins' System

Clipped from: Washington Times article by David Elfin and Jody Foldesy, 5/17/05

Organized team activities, which are akin to practices without pads (or rookies), will take place Tuesday through Thursday the next three weeks until just before the team-wide minicamp June 17-19.

Redskins coach Joe Gibbs termed these days as an indoctrination for his new veterans, including receivers Santana Moss and David Patten and center Casey Rabach. All three are projected starters.

"When you step up to OTAs [from the walk-throughs the players have been doing since offseason workouts began March 21], it's the first time we get to go offense against defense," Gibbs said. "Obviously you don't have pads on, so you have to be careful. A lot of it's mental. You look at how guys pick things up and also their physical conditioning."

Since most of the Redskins have experience in Gibbs' offense and assistant head coach Gregg Williams' defense, the pace should be faster than last year, when the systems were new. The biggest change will be the addition of the shotgun, which Gibbs always has eschewed because of concerns the players can't hear the signals. However, it has been incorporated into the offense thanks to new quarterbacks coach Bill Musgrave, previously an assistant with Jacksonville.

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

The Redskins hope their latest free agent imports will help spark an offense that struggled mightily in 2004. It'll be interesting to watch this squad develop (and hopefully jell) during the coming weeks and on into training camp.

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7. BAL - New OC Fassel Wants Offense to Attack in 2005

Clipped from: Baltimore Sun article by Jamison Hensley, 5/17/05

It's apparent the bigger project for new coordinator Jim Fassel is revamping not the playbook but the offense's confidence.

The Ravens' offense finished second to last in the NFL last season and has ranked 21st or worse the past three years.

New excitement has been growing at the Ravens' training complex since the arrival of new receivers Derrick Mason and Mark Clayton. Still, Fassel remains the director of this attitude makeover.

"I think you'll see a definitive personality for the offense," coach Brian Billick said. "Obviously, with Jim's experiences and where he's coming from as a head coach, one of the priorities was to create a very specific personality and to have a swagger about itself. You have to earn that, but when Jim stands there in front of that offensive group, there is a presence."

In the past, the personality of the Ravens' offense has been conservative. The Ravens were just one of 10 teams who averaged more rushing attempts than passes last season.

Fassel's reputation has a more aggressive flair. In his final five seasons as head coach of the New York Giants, the team averaged being the ninth-best passing team in the league.

"We want to be on the attack," Fassel said. "Part of that is you can't be stupid with the ball and you can't penalize yourself. You've got to be efficient."

The Ravens were far from that yesterday. Quarterback Kyle Boller was inconsistent on his throws, and Mason dropped a pass in the end zone.

On the first seven-on-seven drill, tight end Darnell Dinkins coughed up the ball.

"It didn't make me happy when we fumbled it today," Fassel said. "We've got a ways to go and a lot of things to work on. But I want their attitude to change about what we're going to be about on offense."

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

How the Ravens' offense progresses during 2005 is dependant on how often we read "Quarterback Kyle Boller was inconsistent on his throws." as mini-camps and training camp progresses. He's been underwhelming since becoming the teams' starter, and his poor progress has hampered the team's other skill position players' production. To hear Brian Billick talk, Boller is the next Montana but we need to see some consistent production.

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8. CIN - Bengals start OTAs

Clipped from: Dayton Daily News article by Chick Ludwig, 5/17/05

The on-field coaching sessions, all closed to the public, run Tuesday through Thursday for four weeks. The mandatory, full-squad minicamp is June 17 to 19, and players report to Georgetown (Ky.) College for summer training camp on July 28. The team breaks camp on Aug. 17.

"The guys know what's expected," head coach Marvin Lewis said. "They come in here to work. More than 90 percent of our football team is here. These are voluntary workouts. The guys that are here are volunteering to be here, and it's a good thing for them."

The Bengals have all 11 starters back on offense, thanks to center Rich Braham's signing of a two-year contract on Friday, so it shouldn't take the unit very long to develop good chemistry.

"Time always tells on all these things," offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski said. "But we've seen a lot of positives."

The coaching sessions are critical for the development of the defense as it adjusts to new coordinator Chuck Bresnahan's scheme.

"I love Chuck," defensive tackle Langston Moore said. "He's my man. Everything Chuck says is gold to me. He has more of a college-coach mentality. He puts his foot on the back of your neck, but he can get results. He's a great addition for us."

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

The long off-season is finally over - pre-season is upon us. Look for more reports on the Bengal's players as the coaching sessions progress during the coming month. Keep a very close eye on the Bengals offense. Returning all eleven starters is significant.

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9. MIN - RB Smith Whizzes Past Reporters to OTAs, RB Stable Competition

Clipped from: Pioneer Press article by Don Seeholzer, 5/17/05

Quarterback Daunte Culpepper and No. 1 draft choice Troy Williamson were among 74 players who showed up Monday for the start of the Vikings' four-day developmental camp, but they didn't draw the most media attention.

That was reserved for running back Onterrio Smith, who is taking part in the voluntary camp but not talking about last week's reports that he was stopped April 21 at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport with a device designed to circumvent drug tests.

Smith and "The Original Whizzinator" have been the punch line to countless jokes since then, but he brushed off reporters' questions after practice by saying, "Gotta go to work." Fellow running back Moe Williams said Smith's situation isn't a distraction or even a hot topic of conversation in the Vikings' locker room.

"We do our little one-liner jokes, and that's the end of it," Williams said. "That's about it."

The NFL is investigating Smith, who already has two strikes against him in the league's substance-abuse program. He faces a one-year suspension for his next offense, but possession of test-altering paraphernalia outside of a testing situation is not a violation of league policy.

The third-year running back took his normal repetitions during Monday's practice.

"Until I'm told differently, his role is going to be developed," offensive coordinator Steve Loney said. "Those (other) decisions are going to be made in offices a lot bigger than mine. . My job is to coach the guys that are in the room and not worry about it. If they're in the room, then I'm going to coach them and put them out on the field."

Smith is competing with Michael Bennett and Mewelde Moore for the starting running back job, and Loney said he feels good about all four of his backs, including fourth-round draft choice Ciatrick Fason of Florida.

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

Coach Tice has said that he wants one of the Viking's backs to headline the rushing attack this year, but he said that last year and the team instead employed a RBBC that confounded fantasy owners invested in the Viking's various backs. Until the situation is clarified, it's hard to get very excited about any one of the backs as a fantasy starter during 2005 - we'll keep you updated on which contender gets a leg up on the others. UPDATE: Smith skipped the second day of developmental camp for "personal reasons", according to DC Ted Cottrell.

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10. JAX - WR Jones Sits Out This Week, Hamstring Injury a Concern

Clipped from: Times-Union article by Vito Stellino, 5/17/05

Top draft pick Matt Jones will be on the sidelines today when the Jaguars start the next phase of their offseason workout program with a three-day passing camp.

The workouts will be part of the 14 organized team activities the team is allowed to have in helmets and shorts before training camp opens in late July.

Coach Jack Del Rio said Jones, who strained a hamstring on the first day of the mandatory minicamp April 29, aggravated the injury last week and Del Rio said the Jaguars don't want to rush him back in May. Del Rio said he's not sure if Jones will be able to participate in workouts later in the week.

The Jaguars will work three days a week for four of the next five weeks -- skipping Memorial Day week -- and then will wrap up the drills with workouts Tuesday and Wednesday, June 21 and 22.

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

Jones is attempting to transition to WR from QB this season - any lost time is worrisome. He needs every repetition he can get to learn his new position. However, it takes time to heal a hamstring pull, so there isn't much else the Jaguars can do with their prized rookie.

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11. TEN - Sketch of Issues as Team Opens Mini-Camp

Clipped from: Tennessean article by Jim Wyatt, 5/17/05

Quarterbacks are back: Steve McNair and Billy Volek, both making nice progress from surgeries, are expected to be on the field with the rest of the veterans and rookies. They'll have several new faces to throw to, but the Titans won't wear out the quarterbacks. Four undrafted free agents want and need reps, too.

Chow time: New offensive coordinator Norm Chow begins the process of changing the offense in earnest this week as the Titans conduct 11-on-11 drills for the first time since last season.

Welcome to the NFL: After drafting 11 players and signing 37 undrafted free agents, the Titans are younger than ever. First-round pick Pacman Jones, three drafted receivers and two drafted tackles need to be ready to help early.

.Back in action: Linebacker Peter Sirmon, who missed all of last season, and guard Zach Piller, who missed almost all of last season, return to the field. Several other players who suffered season-ending injuries last season are ready to return, though rehab will keep wide receiver Tyrone Calico, guard/tackle Jacob Bell and safety Tank Williams, among others, out a bit longer. Running back Chris Brown is also working his way back from turf toe.

Kicking situation: The Titans released Joe Nedney. Gary Anderson is fly-fishing again. Ola Kimrin will have competition before too long, so this is his chance to make a nice first impression.

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

Obviously, there are a lot of question marks for the cap-strapped Titans to answer before fielding a team in 2005. They have to develop a large amount of rookie talent in order to be competitive, and they are thin in many of the key skill positions, with injury issues complicating the picture.

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12. DEN - Battle for Spots in Denver RB Stable Begins

Clipped from: Rocky Mountain News article by Lee Rasizer, 5/17/05

Maurice Clarett made splashy headlines nationally this off-season when the Denver Broncos selected him in the third round of the draft.

But when it comes to the nitty- gritty of winning the team's starting tailback job, one aspirant for the position is focusing on older news.

NFL veterans Mike Anderson and Ron Dayne, not Clarett, were foremost in Tatum Bell's mind as the Broncos began their quarterback camp Monday.

"I feel like my competition is the guys that are already here. That's just how I feel," Bell said after practice. "He's got a long way to work his way up the ladder, just like I did. If he does it, it's all good. If he doesn't, it's going to be a long season."

Bell did not say it with malicious intent; it came off more as statement of fact.

Yet the way running backs coach Bobby Turner has framed it to his group, all players have some rungs to climb in the coming months.

Anderson and Bell tentatively are working with the first group this week, based on their Broncos experience and, perhaps because Quentin Griffin is being held out while he recovers from his second right knee surgery.

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

Bell is the front runner for the starting job in Denver this season, but as we saw in 2004 with Reuben Droughns, the team can plug in any one of a number of options behind their excellent OL. The guy who plays the best and fumbles least will be the starter come September. And we'll be watching for you everyday.

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13. ARI - Rookies Start NFL Careers With Rookie Development Camp

Clipped from: Arizona Republic article by Odeen Domingo, 5/17/05

The 22 rookies and first-year players who participated Monday in the first day of Cardinals rookie development camp are trying to learn a new playbook, new football terminology and maybe even how to balance a checkbook.

"They focused primarily on weight training this morning, conditioning and then the classroom and, of course, football," Cardinals coach Dennis Green said at the team's practice facility in Tempe. "With two weeks of this, we think they'll be in pretty good shape when (voluntary team workouts with veterans and rookies start in June)."

Green said he hopes that the young players catch on quickly to how things work. The players will work at the same pace of a training camp or regular-season practice.

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

The first step on the long road to NFL excellence begins in these coaching sessions. Hopefully, J.J. Arrington and the rest of the newcomers can pick up the playbook quickly.

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14. N.O. IDP - Starting RCB Brown AWOL From Coaching Session

Clipped from: Times-Picayune article by Jeff Duncan, 5/17/05

Fakhir Brown was nowhere to be found.

The starting right cornerback was one of two veterans not present at the team's first two-hour, on-field workout. Defensive tackle Brian Young, who was on a honeymoon after being married Saturday, was excused; Brown was not.

"I don't know where he is," Saints coach Jim Haslett said. "His agent (Ted Marchibroda Jr.) doesn't know where he is. We haven't been able to find him. I don't know what the problem is, if there is one."

Marchibroda didn't not return a phone call from The Times-Picayune.

Brown was a regular participant in the club's offseason conditioning program, Haslett said. The six-year veteran did not alert teammates or coaches that he would be absent.

"His workout days were Tuesday through Thursday and (strength coach) Rock (Gullickson) thinks he might have just forgot that coaching sessions started," Haslett said. "Hopefully, he'll emerge soon."

Center LeCharles Bentley and cornerback Mike McKenzie were conspicuous in their presence after participating in the voluntary six-week conditioning program on a part-time basis.

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

Brown may have forgotten that coaching sessions started - that's not a sign of a player who is focused on what his team is doing. Hopefully, he's alright and will be in as expected today.

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15. MIN IDP - DBs Chavous, Williams Skip Developmental Camp

Clipped from: Star-Tribune article by Judd Zulgad, 5/17/05

Speculation that defensive backs Corey Chavous and Brian Williams aren't pleased about their situations with the Vikings gained momentum Monday, when the pair failed to show up for the first day of developmental camp at Winter Park.

Coach Mike Tice declined to comment on the absences. Chavous' agent, Eugene Parker, failed to return messages, and Williams' agent, Jordan Feagan, did not get into specifics of his client's decision in an e-mail.

Chavous, whose interception total fell from eight in 2003 to one in '04, met with Tice in April after hearing rumors the Vikings were hoping to replace him as starting strong safety. There has been speculation he isn't happy with the $1.9 million base salary he is due and that he could be released June 1.

Williams was a restricted free agent after the season, and the Vikings thought enough of him to give him a first-round tender of $1.43 million, meaning any team that attempted to sign him would have had to part with a first-round selection. But Williams, the starting right corner in 2004, wasn't pleased when the Vikings signed free agent Fred Smoot to take over the starting role. Williams is expected to become the nickel back.

"Brian chose not to attend," Feagan said. "He is back home in North Carolina working out and spending time with his young daughter who he never has a chance to see during the season. He will be ready for training camp."

Because this week's camp is optional, neither Chavous nor Williams will be fined; both attended the mandatory minicamp from April 29 to May 1.

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

Rumblings of discontent among the Minnesota DBs is no surprise, as the team is moving to shake things up in a defensive secondary that allowed 243.5 passing yards per game last season (29th in the NFL) and 30 passing scores (tied for 27th in the NFL with Oakland). IDP owners will want to watch and see how the situation shakes out - there may be some holes to fill in your DB stable if you have Vikings DBs on the roster.

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16. IND IDP- MLB Morris to Re-sign with Colts?

Clipped from: Indianapolis Star article by Mike Chappell, 5/17/05

Speculation regarding Morris, meanwhile, had to do with whether the team will re-sign its starting middle linebacker. The Colts have had discussions with Ethan Lock, Morris' agent, but nothing has been resolved.

"The door's not shut," Dungy said of Morris' possible return. "We're looking at the salary cap and all of the ramifications of it. We haven't totally decided yet."

Without Morris, the Colts' only middle linebacker with NFL experience is Gary Brackett. Signed as an undrafted free agent in 2003, Brackett has appeared in 31 games with only one start.

"We feel comfortable with Gary," Dungy said, "but . . . only having one experienced middle linebacker is not ideal."

Two other veteran linebackers remain on the open market -- Baltimore Ravens' castoff Peter Boulware and ex-Cincinnati Bengal Kevin Hardy -- but if the Colts sign a free agent, Dungy prefers "somebody that's been with us."

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

Coach Dungy's statement that "only having one experienced middle linebacker is not ideal" is a huge understatement. Hopefully (for Colts fans, Morris and Indianapolis D/ST owners) the two sides will be able to agree to a deal in time for the beginning of training camp.

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17. JAX IDP - S Darius Shuts Up, Puts Up, Shows Up

Clipped from: Palm Beach Post AP article by Mark Long, 5/17/05

Safety Donovin Darius says he is finished complaining about his situation, criticizing the Jacksonville Jaguars and seeking a trade. He is ready to move on.

Darius practiced with the Jaguars on Tuesday, rejoining the team after skipping a mandatory minicamp last month and getting fined by coach Jack Del Rio.

Darius had been unhappy since the Jags designated him their franchise player for a third consecutive year in February. He publicly ripped the team for the decision, then got permission from owner Wayne Weaver to pursue a trade.

"This is a business. This is a short-term opportunity for us to make as much money as we can," Darius said Tuesday. "Our window of opportunity is a lot shorter than a lot of other careers out there. It is our job and our personal obligation to try to do whatever we can to (make money)."

The league's franchise rule allows teams to keep one player off the free-agent market in exchange for a one-year tender worth the average of the top five players at his position. If a player doesn't sign, the only way he can leave is if another team is willing to part with two first-round draft picks.

Despite his displeasure with the franchise tag, Darius signed the tender that guaranteed him $4.97 million this fall.

Nonetheless, he promptly called newspapers in Minnesota and Miami to campaign for a trade to those teams. But the Jaguars didn't get any offers they liked, leaving Darius with little choice but to play another season in Jacksonville.

"It was never about the $5 million," he said. "My objective all along was to get a long-term contract. I'm looking to play another five or seven years, so it's not about 2005. It's about 2006, 2007 and 2008.

"Whenever you look at an investment, you look at the risk versus the reward. From the player's standpoint, the risk is very high that in one season you could be hurt or you may or may not have as great a season as you did before. That's why players look for longer contracts even though they are not guaranteed."

Darius said he was "at peace" with returning to the Jags once he realized the Vikings weren't going to be able to trade for him.

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

Looks like Darius will have to settle for a mere $4.97 million in salary for one year's employment.

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18. WAS IDP - S Taylor AWOL During OTAs Today

Clipped from: CBSSportsline.com article by Wire Reports, 5/17/05

Safety Sean Taylor was the only unexcused absence when the Washington Redskins began practicing Tuesday.

"We have had no contact with him," coach Joe Gibbs said.

Taylor has stayed away from the team's offseason program because he wants a new contract. He signed a seven-year, $18 million deal as the No. 5 overall draft pick last year.

"I think that the day you sign a contract you have to honor that contract," Gibbs said. "That is part of the deal."

The Redskins began a series of "organized team activities" -- practices without pads -- that will lead to a minicamp in mid-June. Attendance is technically voluntary, but Gibbs has made it clear he expects every player to attend if possible.

Among those excused were linebacker LaVar Arrington, who traveled to Alabama on Monday to see a doctor for a checkup on his right knee. Arrington had surgery on the knee last month, and the team is optimistic he will be back on the field for training camp.

"The initial report that we got back is that he felt real good," Gibbs said. "We are just going slow with him."

Also absent was linebacker Mike Barrow, rehabilitating his injured knee with a doctor in Arizona. Punter Tom Tupa was excused for personal reasons. Defensive lineman

Brandon Noble, battling complications associated with recent knee surgery, was at Redskins Park but did not take part in the practice.

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Taylor is staging a holdout to protest his 1-year-old-contract. His agent is Drew Rosenhaus. Not to be confused with Terrell Owens, whose agent is Drew Rosenhaus and who is also rumbling about a holdout to protest a 1-year-old-contract .

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19. STL IDP - S Archuleta "6,000% Better"

Clipped from: ESPN.com AP report, 5/17/05

"It was pretty much a nightmare," the St. Louis Rams safety said Tuesday. "I really probably had no business being out there. When you play a whole season and you can't bend over and touch your knees, it's a big deal."

After four months of rehab, Archuleta was back on the field for voluntary organized team activities. And feeling like he belongs on the field again.

"Let's put it this way: Compared to where I was during the season, I'm about 6,000 percent better," Archuleta said. "From what I hear and what people tell me, all the experts, they say I'm ahead of schedule."

Archuleta played with a herniated disc in his back all last season after getting hurt in training camp, and was nowhere near the impact player he had been in his first three seasons with the Rams. Although he finished second on the team with 123 tackles, he had only two sacks, no interceptions and no quarterback pressures.

Archuleta, a former first-round pick in 2001, said with about two weeks of rest, he would have been fine. But he didn't want to come off the field. Fellow safety Aeneas Williams missed most of the second half of the season with an arthritic condition in his neck, a career-ending injury given that the team has already reassigned his number.

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The Rams' safety is obviously better off now than he was last year - couldn't touch his knees? He really fought through a lot of adversity to play last year. He could be very impressive this year, considering he had 123 tackles while playing with a significant injury last season.

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20. Bill Romanowski: Portrait Of Performance Enhancers; Lost Integrity

Clipped from: Rocky Mountain News article by Robert Denerstein, 5/17/05

"At the core, I compromised my integrity to become the best I could be, to perform at the highest level possible," Romanowski said. "Deep down inside, I'm a kind, loving person that really enjoys people. I have a big heart and I always want to help people."

Romanowski sounded more like a philosopher than the gladiator for which he made his name.

"That's the learning experience. If you continue to do the things that compromise your integrity than what are you?" said Romanowski, who in 2003 tested positive on an NFL drug test for THG, a previously undetectable steroid allegedly provided to athletes by BALCO. "Morally, you get into a bind. What do you want? Is it quality of life? Do you want to feel good? It was a struggle that I had."

For Romanowski, football and ambition made for an intense combination.

"I think I've been so relentless in achieving goals and living my dreams that I don't know if I really ever took a deep breath and said, 'Enjoy the journey,' " he said. "There are things I did off the field to be able to perform at the highest level possible that really go back to that insecurity of 'can I do this on my own?' "

Romanowski said the NFL gives its players a lot to worry about when it comes to job security.

"They say you're only as good as your last game, but sometimes it's your last practice . . . ," he said. "I played 243 straight games. That doesn't count playoffs and Super Bowls. The game is not good for the human body. That's a reality. My drive was not only to perform but to have quality of life afterward."

Could Romanowski have excelled relying only on talent and training?

"We'll never know if I could have done it completely on my own," he said.

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"We'll never know if I could have done it completely on my own," - and that's the sad part. For Romanowski, for the fans, for the game.

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

J

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