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Volume 6, Issue 75 (Saturday, July 2nd)

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Hi Folks,

Hoping everyone is enjoying their 4th of July extended weekend. Not a lot happening right now, but things should heat up soon. Thanks to Aaron Rudnicki for rounding these stories up. Let's get to it.

J


INSIDE THIS ISSUE

1. PHI - Eagles WR Owens Eyes NBA Switch
2. JAX - Jaguars Are Top Suitor For Bills RB Henry; Titans Remain Interested
3. TEN - WR Calico Endures Long Road Back
4. CHI - Q&A With GM Jerry Angelo
5. Former 2-sport Star WR Crosby Works Out For Scouts
6. IDP: WAS - S Sean Taylor's Co-Defendant Could Get Plea Bargain
7. IDP: KC - CB Law Still An Option For Chiefs

1. PHI - Eagles WR Owens Eyes NBA Switch

Clipped from: BBC Sport article, 7/2/05

Controversial Philadelphia Eagles star Terrell Owens wants to switch from the NFL to the NBA with Sacramento. Owens is currently locked in a bitter dispute with the Eagles as he tries to renegotiate his seven-year contract.

Agent Drew Rosenhaus said of Owens' NBA ambitions: "He wants to do this very badly and he will be disappointed if he doesn't get the chance."

The Kings want Owens to try-out for them in a summer league but will not go ahead without the Eagles' permission. However, that permission is unlikely to be granted because of fears over him picking up an injury ahead of the new NFL season in September.

Owens sparked the Eagles to the 2005 Super Bowl, where New England beat Philadelphia to claim a third NFL crown in four years. It was his first year as a receiver with Philadelphia after a switch from the San Fransisco 49ers.

Owens played three seasons of college basketball at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga, starting five games and helping the team reach the 1995 national championship tournament. In addition to winning a celebrity dunk competition at the 2000 NBA All-Star Game, Owens played in 2002 for the Adirondack Wildcats of the US Basketball League.

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

Yet another interesting twist in the Eagles/Owens situation. This is most likely just an attempt by Owens to gain some leverage in his negotiations with the Eagles, as it seems pretty unlikely that he'd have any kind of chance to play in the NBA when he wasn't even a regular starter on his college basketball team. Nevertheless, this story looks dead as the Kings have said they won't pursue Owens without the Eagles' permission.

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2. JAX - Jaguars Are Top Suitor For Bills RB Henry; Titans Remain Interested

Clipped from: Tennesseean.com article by Jim Wyatt, 7/2/05

At least for the time being, the Bills have a little more bargaining power in trade talks regarding running back Travis Henry. They can thank another running back - Jacksonville's Fred Taylor - for that.

Taylor raised more questions about his availability for this season when he admitted his left knee injury from last season was worse than initially thought. In the coming weeks, the Jaguars will know a lot more about Taylor's immediate future.

The Titans, meanwhile, probably have no choice but to sit back and wait. They remain interested in trading for Henry, but the Bills now know there's another team that might need him more - and might be willing to give up the third-round pick they want.

"In a month it certainly could impact things," Titans General Manager Floyd Reese said. "It sounds like (Taylor) just started (testing his knee) and they are going to wait and see where he ends up. I think in Buffalo's situation, they can certainly wait and see what happens there, too. They have a fall back, which would be us, and now it is a matter of getting something else."

The Titans and Bills have been involved in trade talks since the draft. So far, Reese hasn't been willing to part with a third-rounder for Henry, though the teams have discussed a scenario where the Titans would give up a fourth-rounder that would turn into a third if Henry reached certain numbers in his contract. But the Bills want a straight third.

"Time is on their side and there is no pressure on them, unless the coach just decides he wants him out of there," Reese said. "They can just sit and wait and I don't know how long they are going to be willing to wait."

For the Titans to land Henry, they'd need to work out a long-term contract as part of the trade. Henry currently has just one year remaining on his deal with the Bills.

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

Jacksonville is looking more and more like a legitimate destination for Travis Henry. The Jaguars have enough talent to make a serious run at the playoffs this year, but they probably need a healthy Fred Taylor to do so. The longer Taylor takes to recover, the more willing the Jaguars will be to part with a 3rd round pick for Henry, who would be a good fit in their offense. The Titans are also still in the picture, but so far have been unwilling to part with a 3rd round pick.

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3. TEN - WR Calico Endures Long Road Back

Clipped from: Nashville City Paper article by Terry McCormick, 6/30/05

So much was expected of Tyrone Calico last season. The second-year player was supposed to be the deep threat the Tennessee Titans needed to stretch defenses and open the shorter routes for Drew Bennett and Derrick Mason.

Those plans quickly came unraveled when Calico injured both knees in a pre-season horse collar takedown by Dallas Cowboys safety Roy Williams (a play outlawed by the NFL for this season).

Calico made it back onto the field, but in his October return at San Diego, he re-injured himself and underwent surgery on both knees. He also had an old ACL injury repaired in his left knee, and with that, has been rehabbing with an eye on 2005 ever since.

Because of the Titans' salary cap purge this offseason, now even more is being expected of Calico, who should move into the starting lineup opposite Bennett with Mason now gone.

It has been a long road to recovery for Calico, but seeing him run a few routes last week in individual work, as he continues his rehab, had to be an encouraging sign.

"He's worked very hard. It's a difficult set of circumstances for him, injuring both knees then fighting to come back and then losing the ACL," Titans coach Jeff Fisher said. "But he's done a great job. He's very close to getting back on the practice field. He's gone through some minor setbacks, not regarding the knee itself, but just other issues. He's doing well. We expect him to be ready to go by training camp."

Calico, who was plagued by a sore left calf early in June, shares the same goal in the recovery process. "I plan on being out there for training camp. That's what we're aiming for now. It's still in our sights. It's just a month away," Calico said.

Last year, Calico's aim to improve came in getting better at catching the football, as he was plagued by drops his rookie season. He never got to enjoy the fruits of those labors. Now, he works just to be ready to play again. That, too, is a motivating force and has made him even more determined to succeed.

"Mental toughness. That's the main thing you've got to have, especially the first couple of months after you get hurt, and especially during the season," Calico said.

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

Calico has flashed some of his potential, but hasn't been able to stay healthy long enough to prove himself. 2004 was definitely a rough season for him, but the Titans need him more than ever in 2005. With Derrick Mason leaving, Calico will have a chance to start every week and could be a decent sleeper pick. His injury history makes him a significant risk though so be careful not to draft him too early.

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4. CHI - Q&A With GM Jerry Angelo

Clipped from: ChicagoBears.com article by Larry Mayer

Q: The Bears selected Cedric Benson with the fourth pick in the April draft. What sort of progress is being made in signing Cedric Benson?

A: We've had contact with his agent, and I've said this before: We always try to get out early in terms of doing deals with our rookies. Some teams like to wait until the 11th hour, but we don't. We want to engage as early as possible. We feel that benefits the agent as well as us. We're prepared to do the deal today. It's just a matter of the agent getting what he needs in place to come to the table and that's where we're at.

Q: I'm still not comfortable going into the season with Hunter Hillenmeyer as our starting strongside linebacker. Can you please explain why you passed up Tennessee's Kevin Burnett in the draft and did not seriously attempt to sign Anthony Simmons?

A: We feel good about Hunter Hillenmeyer. Hunter had a lot of playing time last year. Hunter is a good football player. We feel we have a good player there, one we can win with. Kevin Burnett is a good football player, but we liked other players in the draft over him-particularly Mark Bradley-and our needs lent more to offense and creating more speed on offense. We felt it was best for our football team to go in that direction. We brought Anthony Simmons in here for a visit and he had medical concerns. He has not signed with anybody or even visited anybody as of late, so obviously those concerns are shared by other teams.

Q: What player who had minimal or no impact last year has been most impressive this offseason?

A: I'd say Tank Johnson. Tank played last year, but we didn't feel that he played near what he's going to play at. It was his rookie year. We tried to play him as a nose tackle early on. But that wasn't a natural position for him. Then we moved him to what we call the under tackle, but with Tommie Harris in front of him there he didn't get a lot of playing time. But I feel that Tank will be a player that should take a big step this year.

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Angelo doesn't reveal too much in this Q&A session, but there are a couple nuggets of useful information. The Benson signing doesn't appear imminent, but they are eager to get him signed in time for training camp. Hillenmeyer is an adequate SLB, but that is a position that could likely use an upgrade at some point. Lastly, Angelo has a good feeling about Tank Johnson this year, but he'll have a tough time finding playing time if he's stuck behind Tommie Harris at the under tackle position.

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5. Former 2-sport Star Crosby Works Out For Scouts

Clipped from: AP article posted at SI.com

Former two-sport sensation Roscoe Crosby cut short his workout Friday for NFL scouts when cramping in the hot midday sun and concerns about his right leg kept him from catching passes.

Crosby, 22, was a former Kansas City Royals draft pick and star recruit as a Clemson receiver. But injuries and various circumstances kept Crosby from fulfilling the enormous goals set upon him as a senior star from Union High School four years ago.

After an arbitration case with the Royals for the remainder of Crosby's $1.75 million contract went against him in February, Crosby turned his attention full time to football.

And after the 6-foot-2, 218 pound receiver turned in 40-yard dash times in the sub 4.4-second range, NFL teams were interested. There were 17 scouts gathered Friday, first at a local gym, Total Fitness 4 You, and then at nearby Spring Valley High School.

Crosby hopes he'll get selected in the NFL's upcoming supplemental draft July 14. If not, Crosby says he's certain he'll get a chance as an NFL free agent.

After Crosby's weight workouts -- one scout confirmed that Crosby lifted 225 pounds 18 times -- the group shifted to the field for outdoor workouts. Crosby ran a pair of 40-yard sprints. While no one would talk about the times, a scout from the Carolina Panthers said the first was in the mid 4.4s and the other in the high 4.4s.

However, after Crosby caught a couple of passes from former NFL quarterback Shaun King (he was Tulane's quarterback for then coach Tommy Bowden, who signed Crosby for the Tigers), Crosby went off to the side as trainers stretched out his legs. Soon after, one of Crosby's agents, Kevin Parker, gathered scouts to let them know that Crosby's workout was done.

Crosby's trainer, Ewell Gordon, said Crosby's times were better than when he worked out at Clemson during its pro timing day before April's NFL draft, but not as good as a workout last month. Still, "we see things going forward," Gordon said.

King said Crosby's on-field strength are his precise routes, something the scouts didn't view up close. Crosby says there's plenty of action film of his game for NFL teams to watch. "Who knows?" Crosby said. "You never know how it goes with those guys."

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

Crosby is probably a long shot to make an NFL roster this fall, but a player with his size, speed, and athletic ability will definitely be intriguing for most NFL teams.

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6. IDP: WAS - S Sean Taylor's Co-Defendant Could Get Plea Bargain

Clipped from: Washington Post article by Nunyo Demasio, 7/2/05

The Miami-Dade state attorney's office has postponed the preliminary court hearing of Sean Taylor's co-defendant, Charles Elwood Caughman, in the hopes that he accepts a plea bargain and becomes a prosecution witness against the Redskins safety, according to the defense attorney. Taylor has been charged with one felony count of aggravated assault with a firearm and faces a minimum sentence of three years.

Caughman, 19, of Baltimore, was charged with one felony count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon (a bat). He faces a maximum of 15 years; there is no mandatory minimum sentence.

Caughman's hearing -- a plea conference -- originally was scheduled for last Thursday. It was moved to July 11, one day before Taylor's hearing, when the 22-year-old officially will be provided an opportunity to accept the minimum sentence. If Caughman accepts a plea bargain, he will be added to the prosecution's witness list for Taylor's hearing, the state attorney's office said yesterday.

"What they are doing is using Charles as a pawn to get the top prize: Sean Taylor," said Caughman's attorney, Evan Hoffman , who said his client -- who knows Taylor casually -- was on vacation in Miami when the June 1 incident occurred. "They could have filed a misdemeanor against my client. But there's a headhunt for Sean Taylor, and we don't need to be caught in the middle of it. We're going to explore all our options, and do what's best for Charles.

"The state wants to resolve our case on July 11. But right now we have no reason to cooperate. I don't see the court proving its case."

Taylor's trial date tentatively has been set for Sept. 12 -- the day after the team's season opener against the Chicago Bears -- although it is expected to be postponed for several months through continuances requested by Taylor's attorney, Edward Carhart.

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

Looks like the prosecution is going hard after Taylor and will try to get Caughman to testify against him. We'll keep watching this situation closely throughout the offseason and let you know of any changes as they occur.

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7. IDP: KC - CB Law Still An Option For Chiefs

Clipped from: Warpaint Illustrated article by Nick Athan, 7/1/05

When Kansas City officially made the announcement that they had come to terms with 13-year veteran cornerback Ashley Ambrose earlier in the day on a one-year contract, many thought that this signing would signal the end of their pursuit of cornerback Ty Law. Well, that's not the case according to our source.

Warpaint Illustrated has confirmed that the Kansas City Chiefs still have a strong desire to bring in the veteran cornerback for a visit before training camp. According to a league source, Law is still a couple of weeks away from being able to take a physical.

Last week he worked out in Jacksonville in front of the Jaguars coaching staff but they were not impressed enough to make him a concrete offer. In fact, the workout was not extensive and observers indicated that it was more of a walk-through. His appearance on the field did nothing to accurately test his readiness to practice at full speed; yet alone start the season at 100%.

Law who made claims earlier in the week that the Chiefs had made him a $40 million dollar contract offer were not accurate according to our source. The offer that Law was referring to came from his agent Carl Poston and not the Chiefs. Poston told the Chiefs if they agreed to that price; that would seal the deal for Law's services. Obviously the Chiefs rejected the offer and instead made the trade for Patrick Surtain.

It appears that Kansas City is still looking to make even more changes in their defensive secondary. Surtain is the only lock at cornerback as the Chiefs still awaiting news from the NFL on Eric Warfield's pending suspension for his off the field incident last year. Warfield could be suspended anywhere from a pair of games to as many as four games. The hitch appears to be how many of his off the field incidents will be counted as strikes by the NFL.

Still we're told that even if Warfield is available to start the season and the Chiefs do indeed sign Ty Law that Warfield would move to a back-up spot. He'd become the teams first nickel back off the bench and that means Ambrose and veteran Dexter McCleon will fight it out for a roster spot.

I would think Ambrose would have the advantage in this situation because of his play-making abilities plus the fact he's 100% healthy. Kansas City Chiefs Head Coach Dick Vermeil has made it very clear that he's not happy that McCleon had surgery to repair his shoulder in the off-season. McCleon used doctors outside of the arms reach of the Chiefs medical doctors and McCleon did not participate in any of the OTA or Mini-Camp sessions.

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

This article is mostly just rumor and speculation, but it would certainly be interesting if the Chiefs continued to pursue Ty Law. Pairing a healthy Law with Surtain would easily give the Chiefs one of the best CB tandems in the league, but Law's contract demands would probably have to drop considerably for a deal to make sense.

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That'll do it for today, Folks. Enjoy the rest of the holiday weekend and stay safe.

J

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