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Volume 6, Issue 91 (Monday, July 18th)

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Hi Folks,

Thanks to our Mark Wimer for rounding up these stories tonight. We've got some quotes from new Titan, Travis Henry, Mr. Raider has called it a career, and we'll wrap it on a light note with a classic story out of Pittsburgh. I hope you have a great Tuesday. Let's get to it.

Joe Bryant

SITE NEWS

A. Brand New Offensive Stat Projections - Available to Premium Subscribers
Every stat for every player. Current as of right now. If you want real time projections, projections that show the Titan running back projected stats with Chris Brown sharing time with Travis Henry and exactly how many carries/yards/receptions/TDs and so on we expect each back to post for Tennessee, then our stat projections are for you. Available to all Premium Subscribers.

B. Brand New Individual Defensive Stat Projections - Available to Premium Subscribers
Take the same concept above, and apply it to IDP guys. It's sick.


INSIDE THIS ISSUE

1. TEN - RB Henry Says He Can Coexist with Brown
2. WAS - WR Gardner a Likely Cap Casualty
3. MIA - Agent Rosenhaus Believes TE McMichael Will Be Exonerated
4. JAX - Team Missed RB Henry Opportunity (Commentary)
5. N.O. - Team's '05 Fate Rests With QB Brooks, Defensive Improvement (Commentary)
6. STL - Rams Sign Rookie QB - Harvard Man Fitzpatrick
7. FA - WR Robinson Pleads Guilty to DUI; Sentenced to 1 Day in Jail
8. Top Training Camp Battles: AFC East (Commentary)
9. WAS IDP - LB Arrington Hires New Lawyer; Arbitration Delayed
10. OAK - Tim Brown Retires as Raider
11. PIT - Imposter Claims to Be QBs Roethlisberger, St. Pierre to Get Dates

1. TEN - RB Henry Says He Can Coexist with Brown

Clipped from: Terry McCormick article in Nashvillecitypaper.com 7/18/05

Travis Henry is eager to pick up where he left off in Tennessee.

After leaving the University of Tennessee as the school's all-time leading rusher, Henry is on his way back to the Volunteer State, this time as a member of the Tennessee Titans, after a weekend trade that sends him to Nashville in exchange for a 2006 third-round pick.

Officially, the deal has not yet been finalized, according to a Titans official, but Henry said he expects to arrive in Nashville "probably within the next 48 hours." Henry must pass a physical to complete the trade.

"I'm excited about coming back," Henry told WTVF-Channel 5. "I've got a lot of memories there of playing at UT. It's going to be fun. I'm very excited to get back to the state and to be a Tennessee Titan.

Henry's agent Hadley Englehard, who now will be in the process of negotiating a contract extension for the 26-year-old Henry in Tennessee, echoed that sentiment.

Henry is entering the final year of his original contract and is scheduled to make $1.25 million. Titans general manager Floyd Reese has said a new deal would have to be completed in order to make the deal worthwhile for Tennessee.

"Travis is excited about getting back to Tennessee, where it all began for him," said Englehard, who indicated that negotiations for an extension are likely.

Henry, a member of UT's 1998 national championship team, is the Vols' all-time leading rusher with 3,078 yards.

By coming to Tennessee, Henry enters another competitive situation for playing time at running back. The Titans have Chris Brown currently as the starter. Brown amassed 1,067 yards last season, but played in just 11 games after being bothered by ankle and toe injuries.

Brown had battled a torn hamstring that limited him to 11 games as a rookie and broke his hand during the May mini-camp, further causing the Titans to become concerned about his durability. That, combined with the fact that the Titans had only rookies behind him, helped spark Tennessee's interest in Henry.

Henry says he believes he and Brown can co-exist in the same backfield.

"I haven't gotten a chance to meet Chris Brown, but as far us co-existing, I think it'll be great. Everybody's just got to know their role," he said in the TV phone interview. "Whatever role the coaches give me or give him, it's a team sport first. I've been in a situation a couple of different times where there's more than one back on the team, and competition makes you better overall. I feel like if both we both understand that and the coaches let us know what both our roles are, then things should go good."

Negotiations to make the trade work appeared to accelerate on Friday after the Jacksonville Jaguars appeared close to landing Henry themselves, even going to far as to announce that a deal for the running back "would seem to be imminent" on the team's official Web site.

In Henry, the Titans are getting a running back who at the very least should make for a strong one-two punch with Brown. Henry has a reputation as a strong inside runner, despite his size, who can pick up first downs in short-yardage and goal line situations. The Titans struggled in short yardage situations a year ago.

Henry also caught 71 passes in 2002-03, including 43 receptions in 2002. No Titans running back has caught at least 43 passes in a season since Eddie George caught 50 passes in 2000.

"I'm excited about coming up there and meeting everybody and getting the playbook down and helping the team win as many football games as we can," Henry said.

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

How the arrival of Henry affects the team's running game/mix is going to be interesting. But Chris Brown owners certainly aren't jumping up and down with glee at the prospect of another legitimate NFL back pushing for playing time/carries in Tennessee during 2005. The Bills have announced this trade as official and it seems that the only thing keeping the Titans from confirming is Henry's physical which is not expected to be a problem. The bottom line here is that Brown's value takes a serious hit while Henry's improves. Premium Subscribers can click here to see the projected stats for Henry and the rest of the Titans

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2. WAS - WR Gardner a Likely Cap Casualty

Clipped from: Washington Times article by David Elfin, 7/18/05

Receiver Rod Gardner is still expected to be cut when the Redskins need his $2.1million in salary cap space to sign Carlos Rogers and Jason Campbell.

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

Gardner didn't figure to be a prominent fantasy receiver in his current situation in Washington (buried on the depth chart) - keep an eye out for where he lands, though, as he's been productive at points in his career. He snagged 71/1006/8 for the Redskins back in 2002. If he ends up in the right situation, he could be a decent fantasy backup/bye week fill-in for your team.

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3. MIA - Agent Rosenhaus Believes TE McMichael Will Be Exonerated

Clipped from: Palm Beach Post article by Marcus Nelson, 7/18/05

"Just like last year, I hope that people will not jump to conclusions," Rosenhaus said on Miami TV station WSVN's Sports Xtra, where he is a regular guest. "Randy was exonerated in the past. We believe he will be again.

"I hope people don't think he's guilty until he has the opportunity to have his day in court. I think things are going to work out - I know things are going to work out - for Randy."

McMichael also was arrested in June 2004 at his Weston home after an altercation with his wife, who was pregnant at the time, but battery charges were dropped.

Rosenhaus said he had spoken to the Dolphins about McMichael's latest arrest.

"The team is behind Randy," Rosenhaus said. "They are supporting him and we're confident Randy is going to put everything behind him and have a great season."

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

This is just posturing. "Our Client will be exonerated" is Lawyering 101. The next line is "We will vigorously defend ourselves against these outrageous accusations". In America, we believe that people are presumed innocent until proven guilty - but there is a very disturbing pattern of arrests developing around this particular player. The wildcard here of course is that the NFL does not play by "America's" rules. He has an elevated risk of being suspended (by his team, the league, or both) due to the pending charges. At this point, you just have to be wary and understand the risks.

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4. JAX - Team Missed RB Henry Opportunity (Commentary)

Clipped from: Jacksonville Times-Union article by Mike Freeman, 7/17/05

There he was, dangling right over there, in front of their faces, ready to be plucked, and now, Jeff Fisher might be the one to have signed Travis Henry.

What a tease.

A disappointment.

Feels like that cartoon where the coyote is about to sink his teeth into a delicious ham sandwich and then the Road Runner sneakily switches a stick of dynamite in its place. Boom.

How did Henry slip through the fingers of the Jaguars? If indeed, as is being reported, he has, by agreeing to contract terms with Tennessee.

What happened? Was it money? Bad breath? Did Fred Taylor have a Henry voodoo doll?

I'm not saying Henry is Barry Sanders.

He was, however, one of the hottest commodities on the offseason market. Nice, straight-ahead runner with some quickness and power who is just entering his prime.

And he was the Jaguars' for the taking, for a lousy third-round pick.

Signing Henry would have instantly put the team into an elite group of championship contenders for the next two to three years because Henry could have provided the Jaguars with a steady and powerful running game.

So why is he a Titan and not a Jaguar?

This is just strange. Weird.

The Jaguars loved the idea of trying to snag Henry. So much that they worked out a multiyear contract agreement with him.

This is the bizarre part. The Jaguars did not make an initial trade offer to Buffalo until sometime on Friday night, days after Tennessee did, according to ESPN.com.

Didn't seem like the Jaguars' front office was in much of a rush.

Were they stuck in those War of the Worlds lines?

Because the team moved with the alacrity of a sleep-deprived snail.

The Jaguars like how Taylor's rehab is coming along. That's fine. Still when it came to Henry they forgot the first rule of football.

And that is body out, body in.

That's how it works in the NFL. One minute, a player is stretching the defense, a moment of violence later, he is being carried out on a stretcher. From a coach's crutch in the first quarter, to hobbling on crutches in the second. The NFL sometimes stands for the No Fibula League.

Player gets old or hurt. Body out. Young guy replaces him. Body in.

One man's bum shoulder is another man's opportunity.

By not signing Henry the team is taking a massive gamble that Taylor's knee will hold. Playoff hopes are resting on a few pesky ligaments.

If Taylor goes down again, or his surgically repaired knee disintegrates, the team can forget about the postseason.

That is why Henry was so important.

And why losing him was such a big blow.

Body out, body in.

The Jaguars will play this smartly. They will say that Taylor's knee rehabilitation is going well and they expect him to be ready once the season begins. They will also say they are happy with their running backs and the interest in Henry had nothing to do with Taylor's injury.

If that is true then Pauly Shore is a talented actor, Willy Wonka actually exists, and Orenthal will one day find the real killer.

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

The Jaguars are understandably nervous about Fred Taylor's knee, so they made a play for Henry - but for whatever reason, the trade didn't work out. Taylor owners can heave a sigh of relief, at least until we see if Taylor is able to play come September. Nevertheless, the Jaguars' interest in Henry should be a red flag for owners in redraft leagues - apparently, all is not yet well with Fred Taylor's knee.

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5. N.O. - Team's '05 Fate Rests With QB Brooks, Defensive Improvement (Commentary)

Clipped from: Slidell Sentry-News editorial by Benny Powell, 7/18/05

The pillar to the Saints success is largely based on the performance of quarterback Aaron Brooks.

When starting Quarterback Jeff Blake was sidelined due to an injury in 2000, Brooks was able to step in and lead the team to a postseason victory. Since Brooks has taken over the starting quarterback duties, his play has been erratic and the team has suffered.

Quarterbacks are the on-field directors for their teams in the game of football. The Saints need less backward-laterals from Brooks, and more up-field touchdown bombs to Wide Receiver Joe Horn.

Horn is sure to continue his productive tenure with the Saints, accumulating at least 900 yards per season and only missing one game in his five years with the club. Horn's accomplishments will be appreciated more if he could help mold the talented but inconsistent and injury-prone Donte' Stallworth, and the inexperienced Devery Henderson into second and third receiving threats.

A concern that needs to be addressed is the lack of performance at the tight end position. At times Eddie 'Boo' Williams appears to be the player that can fill the void, as illustrated in his five receptions, 71 yards receiving, and one touchdown game against San Diego last season. Then there are the dropped passes and the simple mistakes, like his lost fumble in last season's-opener when he was simply switching the ball between hands in the open field.

Alright, I'm aware that the Saints defense was the funkiest in the league in 2004, but unlike my buddy to the left of me, I'm a glass-half- full kind of guy.

From the bottom of the barrel, all the Saints defensive unit can do is see progress, and that's what they will accomplish with the acquisition of Pro Bowl caliber players Mike McKenzie, who was signed in the middle of last season and is sure to be better with more experience with the team, and Super Bowl winning safety Dwight Smith.

The Saints have watched a team from their division reach at least the NFC Conference Championship during the past five of six seasons. Their absence from this cycle in a league that prides itself on parity heightens the stakes for Mr. Benson's 2005 gang.

The fleur-de-lis clad gentleman could be the most underachieving bunch in the NFL, but at least a playoff berth this season would be a starting point to the ultimate goal, and would give hope to those with faith.

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

Though the Saints haven't enjoyed a lot of playoff berths in recent years, Aaron Brooks is a solid fantasy QB and Joe Horn is an elite fantasy WR - they are ranked 8th and 6th at their respective positions on the Footballguys.com always-current expert rankings boards Click here for WR Rankings

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6. STL - Rams Sign Rookie QB - Harvard Man Fitzpatrick

Clipped from: Bill Coats article in Stltoday.com 7/18/05

Only six spots remained in the NFL draft in April, and Harvard quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was on the phone with the Miami Dolphins, discussing a free-agent deal. Then his name flashed on the television screen.

The Rams grabbed Fitzpatrick with their first selection in the seventh round, No. 250 overall. Fitzpatrick, who knew that coach Mike Martz had developed three Pro Bowl quarterbacks (Marc Bulger, Trent Green and Kurt Warner) who also weren't high selections, said he couldn't have been more pleased.

"I was real excited when I heard St. Louis was going to call my name," said Fitzpatrick, a 6-foot-2, 221-pound righthander who grew up in Gilbert, Ariz. On Sunday, he agreed to a three-year contract with the team. Financial terms were not disclosed. His agent, Kyle Rote Jr., did not return a phone message.

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

Today's backup/practice squad player may be the "next big thing" in time - given coach Martz's track record with quarterbacks, Fitzpatrick is in a good situation to develop. Don't expect fantasy value out of him anytime soon, though. Dynasty league owners with room on their rookie squad might want to take a look at him, though.

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7. FA - WR Robinson Pleads Guilty to DUI; Sentenced to 1 Day in Jail

Clipped from: News-Tribune article by Mike Sando, 7/18/05

Former Seahawks receiver Koren Robinson pleaded guilty to DUI charges on Monday in Kirkland Municipal Court.

A charge of reckless driving was dismissed.

Robinson, 25, was ordered to spend one day in jail with 364 days suspended. He will be under supervised probation for 24 months and must use an ignition interlock device for one year.

"I hope you spend the day (in jail) reflecting on what is ahead of you rather than what is behind you," Judge Albert Raines said.

Robinson, who was present for the hearing, requested through his attorney to be jailed in Issaquah.

The former first-round draft choice was released by the Seahawks six weeks ago. He has not signed with another team.

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

Wow, if there was ever an example of things moving fast in this league, Robinson is it. He was a top 20 WR in most rankings this time last year. Now he's not even signed to a roster. Luckily, Robinson didn't kill anyone when he drove under the influence. Whether his career is deep-sixed remains to be seen although we expect him to sign with someone soon.

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8. Top Training Camp Battles: AFC East (Commentary)

Clipped from: CBS Sportsline.com article by Pete Prisco, 7/18/05

On most teams, the majority of positions are filled -- is anybody taking Tom Brady's job? -- with few to be decided in camp. For other teams, usually the bad ones, there are a lot of jobs open.

That's when camp and the preseason become important.

So moving into the opening of camps, this is the right time to take a look at key training-camp battles from each team.

Miami Dolphins

A.J. Feeley vs. Gus Frerotte, quarterback

The previous Dolphins regime traded away a second-round pick for Feeley, and he was a major disappointment last season. That's why Frerotte was brought in to challenge him. New offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, a guy we respect a bunch, worked with Frerotte in Minnesota, so he is familiar with the team's new offensive system. Neither of these two players is a Super Bowl-caliber quarterback, so whoever wins the job is mostly a stopgap measure.

Edge: Because he has more time in the offense, it's Frerotte. A comfort level for a quarterback is an important thing.

Opening-day starter: Frerotte. The belief is the coaching staff is leaning that way already.

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

The 4 AFC East teams are discussed, and key training camp battles among all four teams are examined. By the way, we agree with Mr. Prisco that Frerotte looks to be the guy. Click here for how we see the entire Miami team projected for 2005

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9. WAS IDP - LB Arrington Hires New Lawyer; Arbitration Delayed

Clipped from: Washington Times article by David Elfin, 7/18/05

LaVar Arrington has hired a new attorney in hopes of resolving his 19-month-old contract dispute with the Washington Redskins.

"I was brought in to give LaVar a fresh set of eyes," attorney Steve Brown said. "LaVar would like to get a resolution of this before training camp starts [in two weeks], and after reviewing the documents, I expect that we can come to a win-win resolution and LaVar can restore the relationships with the Redskins that are so important to him."

Although Redskins owner Dan Snyder and coach Joe Gibbs are both on extended vacations that aren't due to be completed until just before camp begins at Redskin Park, Brown is hopeful a meeting can be arranged to settle the dispute. NFL Players Association executive director Gene Upshaw also would be expected to participate.

The dispute, which was going to be heard by an arbitrator today before being postponed last week at the request of Brown, Arrington and the NFLPA, stems from the eight-year, $68 million contract extension the three-time Pro Bowl linebacker signed in December 2003. He and agent Carl Poston say the Redskins owe him another $6.5 million in signing bonus for redoing his deal. The Redskins vehemently disagree and say Poston didn't carefully review the contract before signing it.

Arrington missed most of last season following arthroscopic knee surgery. When he needed a followup procedure in April, he blasted the Redskins for not promptly announcing the news. After meeting with Gibbs the next day, Arrington turned around and ripped the media for reporting his anger. He hasn't talked to reporters since.

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

Brown may be hopeful that he can arrange a deal, but the Redskins have seen precious little playing time from Arrington in recent memory - they aren't likely to concede a bunch of money at him in light of his lack of on-field presence during 2004.

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10. OAK - Tim Brown Retires as Raider

Clipped from: Palm Beach Post AP article by Greg Beacham, 7/18/05

Tim Brown signed a one-day contract and retired with the Oakland Raiders on Monday, gracefully ending his 17-year career as one of the NFL's most prolific receivers.

Brown, the Heisman Trophy winner at Notre Dame in 1987, spent his first 16 seasons with the Raiders in Los Angeles and Oakland, becoming the self-proclaimed "Mr. Raider." He spent last season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after refusing to accept a tiny role with Oakland, but he always intended to finish his playing career in silver and black.

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

Goodbye Mr. Brown, thanks for the memories. Rumors have it that Brown will surface as a member of one of the NFL broadcasting teams in the near future, and he is said to be in negotiations with Fox in that direction. Brown may also buy a NASCAR team. Brown will be remembered as a class act and it's cool to see him go out wearing one of the best uniforms in all of sports. Well done.

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11. PIT - Imposter Claims to Be QBs Roethlisberger, St. Pierre to Get Dates

Clipped from: ESPN.com AP article, 7/15/06

Police have flagged a man for an illegal quarterback sneak.

Authorities said Brian Jackson, 31, dated two women by pretending to be Pittsburgh Steelers quarterbacks Ben Roethlisberger and Brian St. Pierre.

Jackson, arrested Friday, was charged with harassment for allegedly continuing to contact both women after they learned of the ruses. He was also charged with criminal mischief for allegedly ruining a Steelers jersey owned by one of the women's neighbors when he signed his worthless rendition of Roethlisberger's autograph on it. The jersey was worth $75 before it was signed, police said.

Jackson and his attorney, Paul Boas, declined comment after he was arraigned in Pittsburgh City Court and released on an unsecured bond Friday. Boas again declined comment when reached at his office. Jackson faces a preliminary hearing July 25.

The team didn't immediately return a call seeking comment.

In one of the scams, Jackson arrived at the woman's home on July 6, gave her an autographed football and pretended to be Roethlisberger, signing the neighbor's jersey, authorities said.

When she got home from their date that night, the neighbor brought her a newspaper article and told her that the man wasn't Roethlisberger.

Allegheny County police said Jackson pretended to be St. Pierre, the third-string quarterback, when he met a woman last September. She told police that during the three weeks they were in contact, Jackson often talked of his "teammates" and offered to autograph footballs for neighborhood kids. Jackson also told the woman to watch Steelers games so she could see him when he went into the game, police said.

When the woman did watch a Steelers game, she saw the real Brian St. Pierre on the screen and realized that Jackson was an impostor, police said. Jackson tried to explain to the woman that he looked "different" on TV, but she asked him not to contact her, police said.

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

He "looked different on TV". That's a classic. This story goes to show that the "Big Lie" doesn't always work out well. There are more details available in this article from the Pittsburgh Post Gazette link Mr. Jackson is apparently a car salesman. I'm sorry, but I keep seeing the Simon character (Bill Paxton) from the movie "True Lies" when I read this...

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

J

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