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Volume 6, Issue 64 (Tuesday, June 21st)

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Tonight's update brought to you by: FanStar

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Hi Folks,

Hi Folks, it's that slight calm before the storm but we've still got the NFL news you need to know here. Thanks to our Mark Wimer for rounding up these stories tonight. Let's get to it.

J


SITE NEWS

A. Next Magazine Ad in the We're Everywhere Series
Thanks for the feedback on the Ref and the Cheerleader ad. Here's a low res copy of the next ad in the series. We'll have a poll here soon and all 17 of you guys who care about this can let us know which one is your favorite.

B. FBG 228 page Strategy Guide Magazines are almost sold out for online orders.
David only has about 125 magazines left for ordering online. The newsstands should have them out next Tuesday but you still have time to get the magazine in your hands before then. This thing is a whopping 228 pages thick. It's not a condensed down summary - It's the meaty details that serious players want. Check it out.


INSIDE THIS ISSUE

1. NO - QB Brooks Behind His OT Gandy
2. CIN - QB Krenzel Now Backing Up Palmer and Kitna
3. PHI - T.O.'s Agent Claims To Talk With H.C. Reid: No Resolution
4. TB - No More Offseason for Team; OL Problems (Commentary)
5. SF - WR Morton Signed
6. NO - WR Hakim Officially Signed by Saints
7. IDP WAS - S Lott Fractured Leg in OTA's; Out Until Training Camp
8. IDP ARZ - LB Suggs' Most Serious Charge Dismissed; Trial Continues
9. IDP CAR - MLB Morgan Wants Extension
10. IDP WAS - S Taylor Did Not Point a Gun, According to Attorney

1. NO - QB Brooks Behind His OT Gandy

Clipped from: USA Today article by Larry Weisman, 6/21/05

Before the New Orleans Saints put their hand in Wayne Gandy's pocket, they should consider the other pocket - the one that protects quarterback Aaron Brooks from pressure.

Gandy, the left tackle, is under a bit of pressure himself. The Saints front office has let him know it would like him to accept a cut in pay for the coming season, and he has declined.

Thanks to an accelerator in the contract he signed in 2003 when he joined the Saints as a free agent, his base is $5.25 million. Brooks says this about Gandy: "I think the guy deserves every penny of it."

Gandy goes into his 12th season as a pillar on which the Saints can try to build. At 34 he has seen the highs and lows of this league, from being a No. 1 draft pick of the St. Louis Rams in 1995, through four seasons (and two playoff berths) with the Pittsburgh Steelers and two years with the Saints that fell short of postseason opportunity.

When their minicamp ended a little more than a week ago, the Saints gathered at a hotel ballroom in downtown New Orleans for a farewell party, hosted and paid for by Gandy.

Yes, the same Gandy who bought pizzas for the team during the voluntary workouts.

"I think that besides being a heck of a football player he does a lot for this team off the field," coach Jim Haslett says.

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

Aaron Brooks is doing his best to keep his offensive line intact - who can blame him for that? Hopefully, both sides will come to an agreement that will keep Gandy on the line and Brooks relatively safe during the 2005 season.


2. CIN - QB Krenzel Now Backing Up Palmer and Kitna

Clipped from: Dayton Daily News article by Staff, 6/21/05

The Cincinnati Bengals acquired former Ohio State quarterback Craig Krenzel on waivers from the Chicago Bears on Monday.

As a rookie last season, Krenzel (6-foot-4, 228 pounds) became the first Bears quarterback in nearly 40 years to start his career with three straight victories.

The second of the Bears' two fifth-round draft picks in 2004, Krenzel took over for injured starter Rex Grossman in late October. In his first start of the season, he led the Bears to a 23-13 win over the San Francisco 49ers, and followed that effort by helping guide the Bears to consecutive victories over the New York Giants and the Tennessee Titans.

Krenzel injured his ankle against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day and his season ended when he was placed on the injured reserve Dec. 7.

Overall, in six games last season (five starts), Krenzel completed 59 of 127 passes for 718 yards. He threw three touchdowns and six interceptions.

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

This move provides some insurance for Palmer/Kitna, but understand his lowly QB #3 status. He's a waiver wire prospect in larger leagues (at best) if he ends up being pressed into service during 2005 - definitely a long-shot, but he's a player to keep in mind as Chad Johnson, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Peter Warrick and company are a formidable WR corps that should make almost any signal-caller look good.


3. PHI - T.O.'s Agent Claims To Talk With H.C. Reid: No Resolution

Clipped from: Philadelphia Daily News article by Les Bowen, 6/21/05

Drew Rosenhaus said yesterday he has spoken to Andy Reid "this week" about the stalemated situation between the Eagles and their All-Pro wide receiver, Terrell Owens.

"I called Andy and talked to him," Rosenhaus said. "I mention this because I think people have the sense that I don't have a professional dialogue with him. It's not like he and I don't have a dialogue."

An Eagles spokesman said the coach was away - far away, somewhere out West - on vacation yesterday and couldn't be reached for comment.

Rosenhaus said he didn't want to go into what he and Reid discussed, or give any characterization of their conversation.

But given the Eagles' chiseled-in-stone public position on Owens' demand to have his 7-year, $48 million contract revised after one season (their position, in case you've forgotten, is that they aren't going to do anything, period), it's hard to imagine that the dialogue lasted very long or produced very much.

Here's a stab at one topic they might have discussed: If Owens reports to Lehigh with the rest of the veterans on time Aug. 1, and stops talking about his contract, would the Eagles be willing to consider quietly doing something for him during the season, once the "showdown" pressure has eased?

"Terrell and I will take the whole process 1 day at a time, and make the decision that seems best for him," Rosenhaus said, when asked about the report-and-see-what-happens scenario. Rosenhaus reiterated that no decision has been made on whether Owens will report.

Really, though - what other path seems viable right now?

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

Owens has not endeared himself to the Eagles' faithful during this off-season, and his swipes at QB Donovan McNabb were not diplomatic. That's supposedly been smoothed over. We'll see how this situation plays out, but Owens has made a bed of nails for himself - whether he will lie down in that bed or not remains to be seen. Eagle fans like their stars as much as anyone else. But they've always been big on the team concept, not unlike their opponents in last year's Super Bowl. You can bet that Rosenhaus and his continued talk of what's "best for him" doesn't sit well.


4. TB - No More Offseason for Team; OL Problems (Commentary)

Clipped from: Tampa Tribune article by Roy Cummings, 6/21/05

There's no such thing as an offseason anymore in the NFL.

Oh sure, the players get a couple of weeks off here and there. But sandwiched between is a three-month-long training session that has become known as the ``offseason workout program."

The Bucs' offseason program began April 5 with the first of 14 voluntary workouts, and it culminates this week with a mandatory three-day minicamp beginning today at One Buc Place.

The Bucs will practice five times this week, including once at Raymond James Stadium. By the end of the week, they hope to have a good idea of what their depth chart will look like when training camp opens July 28.

In some cases, the Bucs already have the answers they seek. At linebacker, for example, Ryan Nece, Barrett Ruud and Marquis Cooper are set as the backups for starters Derrick Brooks, Shelton Quarles and Jeff Gooch.

And at quarterback, the likelihood is that Chris Simms will go to camp as the top backup behind Brian Griese. At some positions, though, the starters and backups are still to be determined.

There is a chance the Bucs will open the 2005 season with five new starters on the offensive line. At the very least, they will have one new starter, at right guard.

The Bucs lost last year's starter, Cosey Coleman, to the Browns in free agency. Second-year pro Jeb Terry, second-round draft pick Dan Buenning and third-year player Sean Mahan are competing to replace him.

Interestingly, Anthony Davis is not. Davis, whom the Bucs have been touting as a future starter for nearly a year now, said last week that plans to work him inside at either left or right guard have not materialized.

Davis said he has been splitting his time this offseason at left and right tackle. In the latter case, he has been filling in for projected starter Kenyatta Walker, who is recovering from knee surgery.

The status of left guard Matt Stinchcomb and tackle Todd Steussie also remains uncertain. Steussie is expected to be released as a salary cap casualty. The same fate could befall Stinchcomb if he can't keep his starter's job.

Walker has been mentioned as a potential cap casualty as well, but he'll likely go to camp as the projected starter at right tackle while Derrick Deese is the projected starter at left tackle.

At center, John Wade is expected to go to camp as the starter, but because he is still recovering from knee surgery he'll likely be held out of some or all the workouts this week.

The same can be said of wide receiver Michael Clayton, who had surgery on his left knee earlier in the offseason. Clayton said last week that he expects the training staff to severely limit his activity this week.

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

Just recently, ESPN reported that OT Todd Steussie has been excluded from participating in mini-camp. Tampa is struggling through a transitional phase - their offensive line woes should give pause to any fantasy owners considering Carnell "Cadillac" Williams for their 2005 season. The possibility of 5 new starters on the OL is not good news - the Bucs have a lot of issues with their line coming into training camp so be wary.


5. SF - WR Morton Signed

Clipped from: ESPN.com Wire Reports, 6/21/05

The 49ers signed wide receiver Johnnie Morton to a two-year contract Monday. Morton, an 11-year veteran, was cut earlier this month by the Chiefs.

"Johnnie is our kind of guy." 49ers coach Mike Nolan said. "He is a hard-working professional who will be a great example to our young receivers."

The Chiefs saved approximately $2.4 million in salary cap space when they released him. Because of prorated signing bonus money, Morton still counts about $785,000 in so-called "dead money" on the Kansas City salary cap for 2005. He was under contract for four more seasons, at base salaries of $3 million (2005), $3.5 million (2006), $4 million (2007) and $5 million (2008).

Kansas City recently signed wide receiver Freddie Mitchell, who was released by the Eagles this offseason.

In three seasons with the Chiefs, Morton, signed as an unrestricted free agent in 2002, caught 134 passes for 1,932 yards and eight touchdowns in 43 appearances that included 42 starts. His average numbers in a Kansas City uniform -- 44.7 catches, 644 yards and 2.7 touchdowns -- are hardly reflective of the productive career he has enjoyed. In 2004, Morton had 55 receptions for 795 yards and three scores.

The former Southern California star, who played his first eight NFL seasons in Detroit, was one of the league's most productive receivers over a five-year stretch with the Lions. Between 1997 and 2001, Morton averaged 73.4 catches, 1,031.2 yards and four scores.

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

The 49ers don't have much in the way of veteran depth at WR - if Morton can hold off the likes of Brandon Lloyd, Arnaz Battle and Rashaun Woods, he could end up a starting WR this season. Time will tell how much gas Morton has left in his tank.


6. NO - WR Hakim Officially Signed by Saints

Clipped from: Palm Beach Post AP article by Staff, 6/21/05

Free agent wide receiver Az-Zahir Hakim signed with the New Orleans Saints on Tuesday, a week after an agreement with the Kansas City Chiefs fell through.

Hakim, released by the Detroit Lions, signed a one-year deal with New Orleans.

"He is an established player who has shown he can be an important part of an offense throughout his career," Saints general manager Mickey Loomis said Tuesday. "We wanted to add a proven veteran to the mix at the position and we have with this move."

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

This move has been expected. They had a verbal agreement and now it's official. Hakim is a Saint.


7. IDP WAS - S Lott Fractured Leg in OTA; Out Until Training Camp

Clipped from: CBS Sportsline Wire Reports, 6/21/05

Washington Redskins safety Andre Lott has a hairline fracture just below his knee, although the team expects him to be ready for training camp.

Lott hyperextended the knee during minicamp over the weekend, and tests detected the fracture. He'll be on crutches for four weeks, then will have two weeks to prepare for the start of training camp.

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

With Sean Taylor's status up in the air, Lott was in the picture for some significant playing time. Depending on how things work out in Miami and with Lott's recovery, Lott could be a solid IDP pick in August. If you need help at S, keep an eye on 1) Lott's rehabilitation and 2) Taylor's legal woes.


8. IDP ARZ - LB Suggs' Most Serious Charge Dismissed; Trial Continues

Clipped from: East Valley Tribune article by Gary Grado, 6/21/05

A judge dismissed the most serious charge against Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs on Monday, eliminating the possibility the former Arizona State star will get a mandatory prison sentence.

Suggs could still go to state prison or spend time in county jail if convicted of the remaining charges - a felony and a misdemeanor - but he would also be eligible for probation, according to court documents.

Suggs smiled and shook hands with co-defendant Robert Castro-Sanchez after Judge Michael Wilkinson of Maricopa County Superior Court threw out the charge for lack of evidence.

Both men stood accused of hitting Anthony Henrie with a metal bar during a March 29, 2003, brawl at a three-on three basketball tournament in Phoenix.

Suggs began his defense by calling two eyewitnesses who described the instigator of the fight as a white man.

Jeryme Cook, who is white and named as a victim in the case, testified last week he exchanged words with Suggs, but that Suggs threw the first punch, knocking him out.

David White, a recruiter with the United States Air Force who was playing in the tournament, testified that Suggs was threatening to knock out people before the fight, but Suggs was also saying he didn't want to fight right there at the tourney. The white man threw the first punch and Suggs proceeded to deck him and then decked another man before someone else came in with a metal bar and hit Suggs with it, White said.

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

Suggs is not out of the spotlight yet, but he appears to have avoided the worst penalties for this incident. Time will tell if he is in the clear, but Suggs owners should be encouraged by this ruling.


9. IDP CAR - MLB Morgan Wants Extension

Clipped from: Charlotte Observer article by Stan Olson, 6/21/05

With Carolina Panthers middle linebacker Dan Morgan entering the final year of his contract, his agent said Monday he feels "a sense of urgency" to get an extension negotiated.

The two sides have some distance to go to make that happen.

"Obviously we've talked several times and exchanged some proposals, but we're not close to getting a deal done at this point," said agent Drew Rosenhaus, hired by Morgan after a recent switch from Tom Condon.

"There is a sense of urgency at this point; anytime a player is entering the last year of his contract, there is a sense of urgency," Rosenhaus said. "You try to get a deal done before training camp, because once that starts, the player's tendency is to focus more on football.

"So this is definitely a very important time because you don't want to miss that window of opportunity."

Training camp will begin July 29 at Wofford in Spartanburg.

Asked about Rosenhaus' comments, Carolina general manager Marty Hurney said, "We're just talking. We don't comment on negotiations."

Making it more difficult for the Panthers is the fact that Will Witherspoon, the team's starting weakside linebacker and another highly thought-of young player, is also in the final year of his contract.

Combining base salary and his workout bonus, Morgan will make $919,000 this season. He will count just over $2 million against the salary cap. The latter figure is higher because Morgan's original signing bonus is spread over the length of the contract.

Rosenhaus is likely seeking a deal worth between $3 million and $4 million annually for his client, according to league sources.

Morgan, the team's top draft pick in 2001 and a key member of the defense, has battled injuries in recent seasons, but made the Pro Bowl last season. He said during this month's voluntary workouts he was concentrating on football, not finances.

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

Morgan was 4th among all fantasy LB's in points per game last season - he's a highly valuable member of the Panther's defense. At the present time, there are no indications that a hold-out is imminent - but Morgan's new agent is Drew Rosenhaus... Stay Tuned.


10. IDP WAS - S Taylor Did Not Point a Gun, According to Attorney

Clipped from: Washington Post article by Nunyo Demasio, 6/21/05

Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor's defense attorney, Edward Carhart, said yesterday that his client will file a not-guilty plea for Friday's scheduled arraignment should prosecutors pursue two felony charges of assault with a firearm and a misdemeanor count of simple battery.

Carhart added that he hopes to spur the Miami-Dade state attorney's office to drop the charges by meeting with prosecutors today. The 6-foot-2, 232-pound safety will attend the meeting, Carhart said.

Carhart said that he will present evidence and witness accounts that prove that Taylor did not point a gun, as the police have said.

"I sincerely believe that Taylor is innocent of the charges," said Carhart, a well-known trial attorney, who has practiced law in Florida for the past 40 years, including 10 as a prosecutor. "At least one witness I interviewed told me Taylor did not have a gun and that there was no bat. And he will be a great witness who was in Taylor's car."

The police say Taylor pointed a gun at two men who he believed stole his two all-terrain vehicles after driving his 2005 Yukon Denali into a Miami neighborhood while being trailed by friends in another car. According to police reports, Taylor got out of his car and demanded the return of the ATVs. Although no shots were fired, police reports said, Taylor and his friends returned 10 minutes later. At that point, Taylor's co-defendant chased one person with a bat and Taylor punched the other person, police said.

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

Taylor is in a bad situation. He was involved in an altercation that led to his arrest - that's all we can say for sure right now. However this particular case ultimately plays out, be cautious about adding this player to your IDP roster - he is a risky proposition in light of his contract gripes and legal troubles.


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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