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Volume 6, Issue 86 (Wednesday, July 13th)

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Hi Folks,

Thanks to our Will Grant for rounding up these stories tonight. I hope you have a great Thursday. Let's get to it.

Joe Bryant


A. The Water Cooler
by Chris Smith


1. MIA - TE McMichael Could Face Suspension
2. GB - QB Favre Slams Holdouts
3. Ten Training Camp Questions (Commentary)
4. KC - IDP CB Warfield Suspended for 4 Games
5. TEN - IDP CB Packman Jones Arrested
6. DEN - IDP CB Middlebrooks On The Move?
7. NFL - IDP DT Manuel Wright Has NFL Talent. (Supplemental Draft Prospect)

1. MIA - TE McMichael Could Face Suspension.

Clipped from: Miami article by Jason Cole 7/13/05

Dolphins tight end Randy McMichael could face a fine or suspension from the NFL for his latest arrest, depending on how the case is resolved.

NFL spokesman Steve Alic said Tuesday by e-mail that any criminal conduct by a player is evaluated by the league once the matter is resolved in the judicial system. The punishment is at the discretion of NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue and the player is subject to clinical evaluation and therapy depending on the circumstances.

McMichael, who was arrested early Saturday morning in Georgia on two misdemeanor charges from an altercation with his wife Cawanna, is due in court in August for the incident. He spent several hours in jail after being arrested and his wife was left with a bloody nose, according to witnesses. Witnesses told police that McMichael threw a cell phone at his wife initially and then threw her out of a car as many as four times.

This is the second time in 13 months that McMichael and his wife have had a confrontation that led to him being jailed. In June 2004, McMichael pushed his wife and then both of them were put in custody after he called 911. The case was dismissed.

Even if McMichael, who set a team record for tight ends with 73 receptions last season, pleads no contest to the current charges, he could be suspended.

According to the league's Personal Conduct policy: ``Any Covered Person convicted of or admitting to a criminal violation (including a plea to a lesser included offense; a plea of nolo contendere or no contest; or the acceptance of a diversionary program, deferred adjudication, disposition of supervision, or similar arrangement) will be subject to discipline as determined by the Commissioner. Such discipline may include a fine, suspension without pay and/or banishment from the League. Any Covered Person convicted of or admitting to a second criminal violation will be suspended without pay or banished for a period of time to be determined by the Commissioner.''

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

The NFL isn't a fan of negative publicity and McMichael seems to be a repeat offender. As the article suggests, if he's convicted or pleads no contest, he'll likely be suspended by the NFL and possibly the Dolphins as well.

The NFL has already mandated that McMichael undergo a clinical evaluation and would be suspended if he refuses that as well. Link to Sun Sentinel Article

But let's not forget - this is America and you're innocent until proven guilty. Until he is convicted, you can expect that McMichael will be one of the top TEs in the NFL again this year. However, approach with caution as a conviction or admission of guilt would probably mean McMichael would miss a few games.

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2. GB - QB Favre Slams Holdouts

Clipped from: article 7/13/05

Favre is far from endorsing the strategy of sports agent Drew Rosenhaus. He spoke out against the potential camp holdouts of Rosenhaus' two Packers clients, Grady Jackson and Javon Walker:

"I don't see the Packers are going to budge because what happens with the next guy, then? I mean, you look at [Rosenhaus client and holdout] Mike McKenzie and what did it get him? He's in New Orleans. Maybe he wants to be there but Drew Rosenhaus didn't get him a new contract in that situation," Favre remarked.

"In Javon's deal, he still has two years left," he continued. "What these guys don't understand is that the Packers are not going to pay, and in Javon's case he's going to sit out the whole year and still have two years left on his contract, a year older, too."

"I don't think it will get to that, but we will move on if we have to."

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

Favre is just vocalizing the thoughts of many football fans around the country: What is Rosenhaus thinking? If the Packers won't work with McKenzie when they are desperate for help at CB, why would they work with Jackson, Walker or Franks (also holding out)? It's still a bit early to panic, but with training camps approaching, the time to get these issues resolved should be now. If Walker and the rest continue to hold out, this could get really ugly. We'll keep you posted on any of the developments as they happen.

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3. Ten Training Camp Questions (Commentary)

Clipped from: Clark Judge Article on CBS Sportsline

This is the month most NFL clubs open training camps, which means this is the month we start asking what we should expect from the coming season. Well, you've come to the right address. Before the pros start practicing, we'll start asking -- and answering -- our top 10 questions about what's in store for 2005.

On the count of three ...

1. Can the New England Patriots win a third straight championship?

Can they? Absolutely. Will they? No. Now, I'm the genius who predicted they wouldn't do it last year, and we all know what happened. I'm a big believer in learning from the past, and what the past tells us is that 1) No one has won three straight Super Bowls, and 2) the last time a Super Bowl champ lost two coordinators in the same year (San Francisco, 1995) it didn't return to the Big Game. Ever. The Patriots' Bill Belichick deserves all the credit for what he's done the past four years, but he'll need divine intervention to win a third straight Super Bowl -- and Charlie Weis is ahead of him in that line.

2. Is Ricky Williams serious about returning to the game?

It depends on what you mean. Yes, I think he's serious about returning to the Dolphins, but I wouldn't mortgage the farm on a long-term commitment anywhere. I'm not alone here. One AFC general manager who will go unnamed was asked what Williams' trade value was, and his response was to hold up a finger and thumb shaped in the number zero. "How can you trust the guy?" he said. Well, that's a good question. Especially when there's a question about what he should earn this season. Williams believes he's entitled to $3.7 million in base pay under terms of a contract he negotiated in 2002 and insists he won't take the league minimum of $540,000. This from a guy who walked out on the club last year, owes it $8.6 million, and faces a possible drug suspension. "Now that," said the GM, "suggests one thing: All he cares about is the money." Stay tuned.

3. Will Terrell Owens sabotage the Philadelphia Eagles?

No. The Eagles won without him last year, and, if Owens persists in sitting out, they will win without him again this year. You don't mess with the Eagles. They stood firm when Jeremiah Trotter, their leading tackler for three straight years, wanted a bundle three years ago. So they released the guy and went to successive NFC Championship games. Two years later he returned to play for the minimum. There's a lesson there. Owens is proud, obstinate, stubborn, you name it, and may try to stay out, but he turns 32 this year -- which means the clock is winding down -- and his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, is not one to hold out clients for a season. If, however, Owens doesn't change his position, the Eagles will move on sans T.O. Yes, he's valuable, but, no, he's not invaluable. There is a difference.

4. Is this the year Kyle Boller is exposed?

No. On the contrary, this is the year Kyle Boller is recognized for what he is -- a quarterback who does just enough for the Ravens to win. Hey, people who love to rip the guy forget he has a career record of 14-10. Boller has a lot going for him: Jim Fassel is running the offense; Derrick Mason and rookie Mark Clayton step in as wide receivers; Jamal Lewis is back; Todd Heap is healthy. Boller doesn't have to be the Peyton Manning of 2004; he has to be the Trent Dilfer of 2000 -- that is, manage the position and minimize his mistakes. He can do it. His interception percentage last year was fourth best in the AFC. Look for the Ravens to give him more room to operate, but if Lewis is rolling and the defense is as good as it appears to be, Boller may spend most of his time handing off to kill the clock.

5. Will Eli Manning be a success?

Yes. The Giants were smart to play him last year when he won one of seven starts. That development will benefit him now, and now is when he starts to separate himself from the pack. Remember how brother Peyton struggled in his first year? He was 3-13 and 1-6 in his first seven games. He was 13-3 the following season and forever thanked then-coach Jim Mora for not pulling him as a rookie. Eli doesn't have Marvin Harrison or Edgerrin James, but he has more weapons than his brother did and a better defense. Look at it this way: Over his last three games he twice had passer ratings of 100-plus and had a total of five touchdowns -- including three in the season finale against Dallas. Manning rallied the Giants in that game for a last-minute win, and it should catapult him -- and the Giants -- to a big season.

8. Will the Raiders regret acquiring Randy Moss?

What, are you nuts? They just picked up the most dangerous receiver in the game for an offense that is strictly bombs away. So Moss takes plays off. Big deal. All I know is that he played on one leg half of last year and still wound up with 13 touchdowns. The guy's a monster to cover, especially with Kerry Collins throwing it deep, and makes big catches in big games. So he's had his troubles. You think that's something new to the Raiders? This is the team that swears by a Commitment to Petulance. Moss makes the Raiders difficult to defense, especially with Lamont Jordan on the scene as a legit rushing threat. The problem for the Raiders isn't Moss or Jerry Porter or anyone who wants the ball on offense; it's a defense that leaked an AFC-high 442 points last season, including nine games of 30 or more.

9. Should Cincinnati be taken seriously?

Absolutely, and I'll explain why in two words: Carson Palmer. The third-year quarterback should have a breakout season, and that's not based on intuition as much as it is on Palmer's last four starts last year. He threw 11 touchdowns then -- including three in an extraordinary come-from-behind win over Baltimore -- and was on the verge of something big when he was sidelined the last three games with a knee injury. Now he's fine, which makes the Bengals a legit sleeper. They have the 1,000-yard running back. They have the Pro-Bowl receiver. Now they have their best quarterback since Boomer Esiason. Look out above.

10. Is this the year Drew Brees belly flops?

No. Brees was too consistent far too long to believe he's another Scott Mitchell. He had 10 games without an interception and eight with two or more TD passes -- including one with five. Plus, he completed 31 of 42 for 319 yards in his first career playoff game. His surrounding cast remains the same, which means there's LaDainian Tomlinson to carry the ball and Antonio Gates to catch it. Brees was extraordinary last year, with a career-best 104.8 passer rating, 27 TDs and 7 interceptions. I don't expect him to repeat those numbers simply because the competition is better and the road tougher -- with San Diego making a franchise-high five trips into the Eastern time zone. But if the offensive line holds up under new assistant Carl Mauck, there's no reason to believe Brees won't drive this team into the playoffs again.

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

Mr. Judge hits on many of the questions we're all talking about. That's what July is for...

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4. KC - IDP CB Warfield Suspended for 4 Games

Clipped from: article 7/12/05

Chiefs cornerback Eric Warfield has been suspended for the first four games of the 2005 season for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy.

The 29-year-old was arrested Sept. 20, 2004 in the Kansas City suburb of Overland Park, Kan. Police said Warfield had a blood alcohol level of .189 percent, more than double the state's .08 percent legal limit.

He pleaded no contest in January to a felony charge of driving under the influence, his third DUI in as many years. He was sentenced to 10 days in jail and 80 days of house arrest.

His agent, Craig Domann, confirmed the suspension in a statement released July 12. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello declined comment.

Officials with the Chiefs would not comment on specifics, but said the decision was no surprise. "This has always been a possibility," said Bob Moore, a team spokesman. "It's not something the team hasn't been prepared for."

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

Last season, the Chiefs ranked 31st in TD passes allowed, and dead last in passing yards allowed and yards allowed per attempt. Losing Warfield for the first four games of the season isn't going to help that as the Chiefs start the season against the Jets, Raiders, Broncos and Eagles respectively. As for fantasy numbers, Warfield only posted 49 solo tackles, 8 assists and 4 INTS in 2004. Now that he has been suspended for four games, he should probably drop off of your fantasy radar for now.

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5. TEN - IDP CB "Pacman" Jones Arrested

Clipped from: Washington Times article by Teresa M. Walker 7/13/05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Tennessee Titans top draft pick Adam "Pacman" Jones surrendered to police Wednesday on charges of assault and felony vandalism stemming from a fight at a nightclub.

Jones was released from custody after posting bond. He did not comment to reporters as he left the jail.

"If this gentleman was not a Titan, you would not be here," Jones' lawyer, Roger May, told reporters.

A Titans spokesman said the team was aware of the situation and was monitoring it but had no immediate comment.

In a court appearance, nightclub owner Robert Gaddy said Jones grabbed his shirt, hit him and broke his necklace after Gaddy asked three of Jones' friends to leave the club. Gaddy told police he asked Jones' friends to leave because "they were smoking drugs."

In April, Georgia authorities investigated a report that Jones was involved in a fight in a nightclub near Atlanta in April, but no charges were filed against him in that case.

The 5-foot-10 Jones, who played for West Virginia, was the first defensive player taken in the NFL Draft in April.

He hurt himself in the Titans' rookie orientation on April 29 and couldn't practice with the team until June 14.

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

Jones is expected to help improve on the Titans defense that ranked 26th in passing yards allowed and 30th in yards per attempt allowed. This arrest is obviously not a good start. The league and the Titans will probably stay out of this until the trial is over. If Jones is convicted, he will probably face a suspension as well. The fact that his friends were allegedly "smoking drugs" isn't a real confidence booster given the random drug tests of the NFL. Stay tuned for more info as it comes up.

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6. DEN - IDP CB Middlebrooks On The Move?

Clipped from: Denver article 7/13/05

The Broncos and San Francisco are discussing a deal that would send former first-round pick Willie Middlebrooks to the 49ers as early as today for an undisclosed veteran player.

The 49ers, who are in need of a backup cornerback, are investigating Middlebrooks' off-the- field behavior before finalizing a deal. The Broncos' top pick in 2001 was arrested in January on misdemeanor domestic violence charges.

Middlebrooks has an Oct. 11 trial date. He had a court hearing Monday.

"Everything is on hold before we talk any further. We want to know we're chasing a good guy," 49ers coach Mike Nolan told the Santa Rosa Press Democrat. "We want to make sure it was a bad choice and not a character issue."

Nolan said a trade was "50-50."

He said the Broncos would likely get a veteran in return. San Francisco has been shopping defensive linemen John Engelberger and Andre Carter because the 49ers are switching to a 3-4 defense.

Middlebrooks was the 24th pick in 2001. Carter, the seventh pick in 2001, played in just seven games last season because of back problems.

Engelberger, from Virginia Tech, has played for the 49ers since 2000.

An NFL source said the Broncos have been shopping Middlebrooks around the league.

Among the teams still looking for help at cornerback are San Francisco, Jacksonville, New England, Miami and Kansas City.

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

The Forty Niners posted only 9 INTS last season, and could use a serious boost in their secondary. Middlebrooks has been a bust since the Broncos drafted him in 2001, and a change of scenery might be the key to jumpstarting his career. The former first rounder is just 26 years old, and has plenty of playing time in front of him. If the deal with San Francisco falls through, there are plenty of other teams that are interested in him.

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7. NFL - IDP DT Manuel Wright Has NFL Talent. (Supplemental Draft Prospect)

Clipped from: article by John Clayton 7/13/05

As he stood around the dozens of NFL scouts and coaches, Manuel Wright found himself being criticized for doing what he thought was the right thing. It's the story of his young football life.

During his first 40-yard dash at a workout for scouts in Los Angeles Friday, the former USC defensive tackle tweaked a hamstring. Knowing he would be criticized if he didn't finish the workout, Wright gutted it out. His next 40 time accomplished his goal of the "Wow" factor. Weighing 329 pounds, the 6-foot-5 Wright ran a 4.97. He ran a third 40 to show he was a player.

Then came the next set of drills and the disappointments. His shuttle times were terrible. Those watching wondered whether he had even trained on the shuttle run. He then bench pressed 225 pounds just 16 times, less than expectations. Instead of getting the "Wow" Wright was hoping for, the response was more of a reflective "Hmm."

Wright didn't want to do the wrong thing and end his workout when he tweaked his hamstring.

"Despite the hamstring, I wanted to finish," Wright said. "That's the way it's supposed to be in the NFL. You have to be ready to play out the whole game."

But it shouldn't be much of a surprise that Wright, the top player available in Thursday's supplemental draft, drew mixed reactions. He's always been an enigma. Scouts and draftniks had targeted Wright as one of the next great defensive tackles -- for the 2007 draft. Had he stayed at USC for two more years, Wright could have been a top-10 selection.

But because he didn't want to risk losing college eligibility if he fell behind in the classroom this spring, Wright applied for the supplemental draft. Instead of excitement, Wright drew questions.

One knock was maturity. Of course, he was leaving school two years early, at the age of 22. He was in the middle of his college experience. The other knock was his playing time, which was only about 20 percent of the snaps last year. But considering he played behind Mike Patterson, a first-round choice of the Eagles, and Shaun Cody, a second-round choice of the Lions, playing time was precious on one of college's deepest rosters.

The NFL is the right place for Wright. It's just happening at the wrong time. Sure, there is an outside chance a team in desperate need of a defensive tackle could take him in the first or second round of the supplemental draft (any team that drafts a player in the supplemental draft forfeits its corresponding round pick in the 2006 draft). But it seems more likely he will go in the third or fourth.

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

Is Wright a diamond in the rough, or an NFL project that might never materialize? Hard to say at this point, but at least Clayton thinks he's ready for the big time. DT is a hard position to fill for many teams, so you can expect that Wright will end up somewhere. The supplemental draft is tomorrow. Check back here and we'll let you know where he lands.

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


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