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Volume 6, Issue 76 (Sunday, July 3rd)

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Hi Folks,

Thanks to our Mike Brown for rounding up these stories tonight. I hope you have a fantastic 4th of July and stay safe. Let's get to it.

J


INSIDE THIS ISSUE

1. PHI - Eagles Won't Let WR Owens Play On NBA Kings' Summer League Team
2. JAC - Jaguars Say They Aren't Currently In Talks For RB Henry
3. SEA - RB Alexander Still On Trade Market
4. DET - QB Harrington Must Make It Happen Now
5. SEA - Seahawks Are Sticking With Wallace As Backup QB For Now
6. IDP: NE - DL Seymour's Holdout Could Be Lengthy
7. IDP: CB Law Still In Demand, But May Need To Lower Salary Demands
8. OAK - HC Turner Says Defense Is Improved

1. PHI - Eagles Won't Let WR Owens Play On NBA Kings' Summer League Team

Clipped from: Associated Press article by Greg Beacham 7/3/05

Philadelphia Eagles receiver Terrell Owens won't play for Sacramento's summer-league team next week because the NFL club will not give permission.

Owens, the talkative All-Pro who's embroiled in a contract dispute with the Eagles, had recent discussions with the Kings about another foray into basketball, his favorite sport.

But Kings spokesman Darrin May said Friday the franchise wouldn't add Owens to its roster for the Las Vegas summer league unless the Eagles give their consent - something they did not do, given Owens' value and contract status. The Kings' first game is July 10."

Eagles president Joe Banner said through a team spokesman Friday night that they had not received a request from the Kings, but if they were to receive one, they would not allow Owens to play.

Owens, a 6-foot-3 shooting guard with a quick first step, was a backup on his college basketball team at Tennessee-Chattanooga. He played briefly for the USBL's Adirondack Wildcats in the summer of 2002, while he was still with the San Francisco 49ers.

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

Sure, Terrell. We don't mind if you complain about your contract, bad-mouth the starting QB, and then go pursue your NBA dreams…no problem. Riiiight. Considering Owens wasn't even a starter for his college team (and his college team isn't exactly in the UNC/Duke range), his hoop dreams are just that - dreams. Obviously, one cannot blame the Eagles for not granting Owens permission to play because he hasn't exactly endeared himself to those in charge this off-season. It remains to be seen how Owens will react to this latest event, but we get the impression that he won't be thrilled. What else is new?

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2. JAC - Jaguars Say They Aren't Currently In Talks For RB Henry

Clipped from: Times-Union article by Vito Stellino 7/3/05

When Travis Henry asked to be traded at the end of last year, GM Tom Donahoe asked for a second-round pick for him.

After finding no takers, he lowered his demand to a third-round pick.

"We're not going to budge. We feel we've already lessened the asking price. We don't think we could go below that. We think we're giving away for a three,'' Donahoe said. "We think that a three is pretty fair for a starting caliber running back, somebody who's been to the Pro Bowl. It's been perplexing to us why we haven't been able to get it done.''

Henry is only 26, and he has rushed for more than 1,300 yards twice -- although he only gained 326 yards last year when McGahee became the featured back.

"It's frustrating for us and frustrating for Travis,'' Donahoe said. "We understand how he feels. Wherever he ends up, he'll add tremendous toughness. He's played with broken ribs and a hairline fracture in his leg. He lines up and plays. It's not a case where we want to trade Travis. Selfishly, I would love to have him on our team. I really respect him. I haven't been around too many football players tougher than him.''

One problem: Henry is in the final year of his contract, so unless a team can reach an agreement on a long-term deal, a team trading for Henry would risk losing him as a free agent after one year.

Donahue said he gave some teams, including the Jaguars, the right to negotiate with Henry's agent, Hadley Engelhard, but hasn't heard back.

Paul Vance, who negotiates for the Jaguars, said he had preliminary conversations with Engelhard a few months ago, but said they aren't currently involved in any talks.

Because the offseason programs are over and the start of training camp is almost a month away, the Henry talks aren't likely to heat up for several weeks.

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

Since this is a complete contradiction of what was reported yesterday, we can tell you without question that someone isn't telling the truth. Personally, we highly doubt the Bills would be willing to risk team harmony as well as the development of Willis McGahee by keeping Travis Henry through the start of the season. That, and the fact that there are several teams that are in pretty big need of a quality back. Right now there is a lot of posturing going on, with every team involved trying to make it seem as if they aren't the ones who need to complete a trade. But in reality, both sides (the Bills and whoever their trading partner may be) need to get something finished. So, expect something to be done during training camp, if not sooner.

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3. SEA - RB Alexander Still On Trade Market

Clipped from: Tennessean article by Jim Wyatt 7/2/05

Another player being shopped in the trade market is Seattle running back Shaun Alexander, but he's looking for a contract that would probably include a signing bonus in the $15-$18 million range.

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

This is just a tiny blurb clipped from an article about Travis Henry, so the writer doesn't go very in-depth. Just a status update on Alexander that we figured we'd keep you informed about. It's much less likely that Alexander will be moved, but with a player of his caliber still on the market, it needs to be noted. So here you go.

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4. DET - QB Harrington Must Make It Happen Now

Clipped from: Orlando Sentinel article by Chris Harry 7/3/05

Detroit took Joey Harrington with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2002 draft, but he hasn't lived up to billing.

Through his first three seasons, Harrington has made 44 starts, thrown for 8,221 yards, completed 54.2 percent of his passes and has 48 touchdown passes and 50 interceptions. Those aren't exactly world-beating numbers, and they're a prime reason the Lions are 14-34 in his three seasons.

Harrington, who turns 27 in October, has some primo skill-position talent to work with. The Lions took former USC wide receiver Mike Williams with their No. 1 pick this year, the third year in a row they nabbed a receiver with their first selection. Detroit took Texas' Roy Williams with its first pick in 2004 and Michigan State's Charles Rogers with its top choice in 2003.

In addition, the Lions took Virginia Tech running back Kevin Jones with their second first-rounder in 2004 and signed tight end Marcus Pollard away from Indianapolis as a free agent this offseason.

There looks to be a solid line in front of Harrington, too. Left tackle Jeff Backus was a first-rounder in 2001 and has All-Pro potential. Center Dominic Raiola and guards Damien Woody and Rick DeMulling (also signed away from the Colts) are solid performers, meaning only right tackle is a concern.

All that talent around him means it's time for Harrington to produce.

This will be the third season for Coach Steve Mariucci, who has the complete backing of the front office. Mariucci wanted the Lions to bring in Jeff Garcia -- his former quarterback with the 49ers -- as the backup to Harrington, and the front office obliged.

Garcia, 35, is saying all the right things in his role as the veteran backup.

"It's Joey Harrington's job to lose," he told the Gilroy (Calif.) Dispatch last weekend when he was in his hometown for a charity golf tournament. "But I'm going to be right there nipping on his heels."

What if he gets a chance at the starting job?

"I don't plan on giving it back," he said.

Trust us: Mariucci won't hesitate to go to Garcia if Harrington struggles early. And if that happens, Harrington won't be with the Lions next season.

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

It's no secret that Harrington is on very shaky ground heading into the season. The fact that Jeff Garcia was the player brought in is very significant, because of Garcia's ties to HC Steve Mariucci. Garcia didn't just have good seasons in San Francisco under Mariucci - he had PHENOMENAL seasons there. With the type of talent there is in Detroit, and with how little Harrington has done to this point, we can't help but think that Garcia will find his way into the lineup at some point. On the other hand, It wouldn't be shocking to see Harrington finally have a breakout season because of how much talent is around him, but at this point this much is clear - he has no more excuses, and he needs to turn his potential into results.

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5. SEA - Seahawks Are Sticking With Wallace As Backup QB For Now

Clipped from: Saint Louis Post-Dispatch article by Kathleen Nelson 7/2/05

The Seahawks have sent mixed messages about their desire to add a veteran quarterback to back up Matt Hasselbeck, probably because the team has mixed feelings on the subject.

Coaches compliment backup Seneca Wallace on his progress, despite his inexperience. Entering his third season after a career at Iowa State, Wallace has yet to throw a pass in a regular-season game.

The list of free-agent options could be unappealing. Jeff George, who filled the veteran backup role for Seattle in 2002, remains unsigned, as do Kordell Stewart, Jim Miller, Quincy Carter, Vinny Testaverde and Jeff Blake.

When asked whether he'd add a veteran before training camp, coach Mike Holmgren said, "If we get a chance, we probably will. Sometimes you can't, and I'm not just going to bring in a guy just to bring in a guy. Right now, I am feeling more comfortable with (no veteran) every day. Is it my ideal situation? No."

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

We'd love to tell you what to expect out of this situation, but from the looks of things it appears even Mike Holmgren doesn't have any idea of what he'll do. Seneca Wallace has made great strides the past two years in his development, and has impressed the coaching staff during practices. That said, teams don't normally want the season to hinge on a player who has never thrown an NFL pass if the starter goes down to injury. At this point, Wallace is an unknown commodity. But the list of potential backups to Matt Hasselbeck isn't all that spectacular anyway. The team may just be better off relying on Wallace and seeing what they have. In either case, we'll keep you posted on any developments with the situation throughout the summertime with our updates.

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6. IDP: NE - DL Seymour's Holdout Could Be Lengthy

Clipped from: Boston Globe article by Nick Cafardo 7/3/05

It's vacation time in the NFL and Richard Seymour's holdout is on hold -- for now. But team sources tell us the Patriots are unlikely to redo the contract to Seymour's liking. And player sources continue to tell us Seymour will dig in for what could be a prolonged holdout.

There's nearly a month to go before the start of training camp and much could change, but the Patriots say they feel good about potential replacements for Seymour, especially Jarvis Green, who has a chance to prove he can be a top-echelon defensive lineman as he heads into his unrestricted free agent season. There's also optimism about Rodney Bailey, a restricted free agent signing from last year who missed the season after rupturing his Achilles' tendon.

There's always the possibility Seymour could cave. Most holdouts do. Seymour, who is scheduled to earn $2.8 million this season, believes the precedent has been set with Tom Brady's new deal for renegotiations with two years remaining on a contract.

Seymour has sent mixed signals about his holdout, attending the team's ring ceremony just a day after skipping minicamp, and then playing golf with members of the organization the following day.

But don't read anything into that because in the past Seymour has been able to separate business from the camaraderie of teammates.

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

Interesting situation here, in that A) The Patriots don't normally cater to player demands, and B) Players with the Patriots don't normally make big demands. Seymour's value to the Patriots is not quite on the level of Tom Brady, so using him as a precedent to get a new contract would be a mistake. The team will accommodate Brady well before anyone else, and we don't need to tell you why. If this holdout drags on, the writer has a point in that the Patriots may very well have ample replacements for Seymour. We'll keep you updated on this situation throughout the summer, as it appears it'll probably take all summer to sort it all out.

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7. IDP: CB Law Still In Demand, But May Need To Lower Salary Demands

Clipped from: Boston Globe article 7/3/05

In the end, the Chiefs couldn't afford Ty Law, whom they really wanted to team up with Patrick Surtain, so they opted for 13-year veteran Ashley Ambrose to add depth. The Chiefs showed a lot of interest in Law, but with Law wanting top dollar and still just 85 percent healthy, it didn't add up. The Chiefs need a sure thing to round out a much-improved defense. Law still has the Buccaneers, Jets, Colts, Steelers, and Jaguars on hold, with offers in hand from most of them. He'll wind up at one of those places (and don't rule out the Browns), but he might have to set his salary sights slightly lower.

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

Law was smart by waiting until the summertime to sign with someone, because he knew he'd make more money if he proved his health. Now, though, Law may want to consider getting something done. The longer he waits, the more teams will seek out other options (as the Chiefs did with Ambrose). Whichever team ends up landing him will be adding an impact player, assuming he can return to full health. As we've noted all spring and summer, we'll keep you posted on the latest developments.

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8. OAK - HC Turner Says Defense Is Improved

Clipped from: Orlando Sentinel article by Chris Harry 7/3/05

Oakland's defense was -- in a word -- horrendous last season.

The Raiders were 30th in total defense (371.0 yards per game), 30th in pass defense (245.2 ypg), 22nd in rush defense (125.8 ypg) and 31st in scoring defense (27.6 points per game).

But second-year Coach Norv Turner said he has seen significant progress this offseason.

"Last year we were asking guys to play a new system," Turner told the San Francisco Chronicle. "Now we're in Year 2, and that comfort level is higher right now than at any time last year."

The Raiders used a 3-4 set last season because that was coordinator Rob Ryan's preference, but Turner said his team might move back to the more conventional 4-3 scheme.

"We want to play both," he told the Chronicle. "We want to be multiple and play both at a high level."

The Raiders deserve high marks for their offseason moves on offense, most notably adding wide receiver Randy Moss and running back LaMont Jordan. But they didn't do much on defense, with end Derrick Burgess the only notable acquisition.

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

It's one thing to improve a mediocre defense. It's quite another to be improved from the 30th-ranked defense in the league. In fact, we currently have the Raiders ranked 31st out of 32 teams. click here That's what happens when all of your off-season attention is focused on improving the offensive side of the ball. Needless to say, we don't share coach Turner's assessment of his defense, and we feel it'll be a long season for Raider defenders.

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That'll do it for today, Folks. Have a great 4th and we'll see you tomorrow with the update.

J

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