Around the NFL: News, Notes & Rumors

Jared Gaither (Scout.com)

The Cardinals could desperately use some help at the tackle position and there will be a handful of candidates available. Will Jared Gaither be one of the options?

Gaither,Jared (Baltimore Ravens) (5/5/2011)

OT Jared Gaither wasn't thought likely to return to the Ravens next season. However, as a four-year player, general manager Ozzie Newsome said he would likely be back as a restricted free agent if the 2010 free-agency rules are put in place.

In a conference call with season-ticket holders, Newsome said, "If we operate under the 2010 rules, we would still have Jared Gaither. ... He'd get a chance to come back and start also."

The Ravens also traded up in the third round of the draft and selected tackle Jah Reid.

Newsome said Michael Oher, who moved from right tackle to left tackle last season because of Gaither being injured, should be better there after struggling.

"I feel after him getting one year under his belt, he will take the next step," Newsome said. "He'll be able to do a very good job at that position."


Gaither,Jared (Baltimore Ravens) (5/5/2011)

OT Jared Gaither is likely to return to the Ravens if 2010 rules are in place when free agency begins.

In a conference call with season-ticket holders, general manager Ozzuie Newsome said, "If we operate under the 2010 rules, we would still have Jared Gaither. ... He'd get a chance to come back and start also."

The Ravens also traded up in the third round of the draft and selected tackle Jah Reid.

Newsome said Michael Oher, who moved from right tackle to left tackle last season because of Gaither being injured, should be better there after struggling.

"I feel after him getting one year under his belt, he will take the next step," Newsome said. "He'll be able to do a very good job at that position."


Oher,Michael (Baltimore Ravens) (5/5/2011)

OT Michael Oher, who struggled at left tackle last season, could end up back there this season. Speaking on a conference call with season-ticket holders, general manager Ozzie Newsome said Oher should show improvement. He was at right tackle in 2009, his rookie season. "I feel after him getting one year under his belt, he will take the next step," Newsome said. "He'll be able to do a very good job at that position."


Bryant,Dez (Dallas Cowboys) (5/5/2011)

WR Dez Bryant attended a player-led workout this week after missing one and being present April 29 for the one day the lockout ended. QB Tony Romo said Bryant "looked good."


Romo,Tony (Dallas Cowboys) (5/5/2011)

QB Tony Romo said about 40 players have been working out together this week at an undisclosed Dallas location.

"The guys know how important it is to be in football shape and ready to go when the lockout ends," Romo said. "I was very pleased with the turnout. The guys were excited to be out there. It was a crisp and fast-paced practice. You could tell the guys were energized to be back into football on the field.

"I think as we continue to do this going forward, it will help us improve tremendously this offseason. Any competitive advantage we will be able to obtain, that's why we're out there doing the things we're doing. We're excited knowing we'll be that much farther along and we'll be in football shape."

Said tight end Jason Witten, "We have to do that as a group, work out. You can't just go to training camp without having done any work. It's going to be a very important part of what we do. It's about us going to work and doing it together."

Conspicuous by his absence was wide receiver Dez Bryant, who also was not among the group of players that were at the team facility last Friday on the one non-lockout day of the offseason.

Yet, owner Jerry Jones defended Bryant for not being there April 29, saying, "We don't know what his schedule was since certainly two days earlier he hadn't planned to be here. He might have planned to be on the other side of the country; this was kind of an impromptu day for most of the people to be here."

Bryant did attended Wednesday and Romo said he "looked good."


Williams,Mario (Houston Texans) (5/5/2011)

LB Mario Williams, a dominant defensive end for the Texans, will play outside linebacker in the 3-4 defense installed by coordinator Wade Phillips, the Houston Chronicle reported. Williams is listed at 6-7, 290, and would be the largest player at his position in league history. He had 8.5 sacks last season in 13 games. He missed three games due to a hernia injury that forced him out for three weeks. Rookie J.J. Watt, the Texans' first-round draft pick, is expected to be used as a defensive end.


Ponder,Christian (Minnesota Vikings) (5/5/2011)

RB Christian Ponder is expected to start for the Vikings when the season opened. Appearing on 1500 ESPN Radio, coach Leslie Frazier said, "Ideally, I'd like for him to be ready to go when we play San Diego (in Week 1). That would be the ideal situation - we've got our Matt Ryan, we've got our (Joe) Flacco, we've got our (Mark) Sanchez right here. But because of the uncertainty of the offseason, it's just hard to determine exactly how you want to approach it. So, we need a little more clarity on what this offseason's going to be like."

Frazier admitted, "It would be tough to be able to send him out there against San Diego if we don't start football, if we don't report until, say, mid-August, or three weeks prior to the season. That would be a tough, tough deal for any young quarterback. It's tough enough just getting through OTAs and preseason games, but if we start this thing without preseason games or one preseason game, I think you have to rethink how you approach it. So, that'll probably answer what direction we go - based on when we start football."


Ponder,Christian (Minnesota Vikings) (5/5/2011)

QB Christian Ponder is being considered a candidate to start -- at least by his head coach -- as a rookie.

Coach Leslie Frazier said on a radio show Wednesday that, "Ideally, I'd like for him to be ready to go when we play San Diego (in Week 1). That would be the ideal situation - we've got our Matt Ryan, we've got our (Joe) Flacco, we've got our (Mark) Sanchez right here. But because of the uncertainty of the offseason, it's just hard to determine exactly how you want to approach it. So, we need a little more clarity on what this offseason's going to be like." Frazier admitted, "It would be tough to be able to send him out there against San Diego if we don't start football, if we don't report until, say, mid-August, or three weeks prior to the season. That would be a tough, tough deal for any young quarterback. It's tough enough just getting through OTAs and preseason games, but if we start this thing without preseason games or one preseason game, I think you have to rethink how you approach it. So, that'll probably answer what direction we go - based on when we start football."


Mallett,Ryan (New England Patriots) (5/5/2011)

QB Ryan Mallett said he is looking forward to learning behind Tom Brady. "I'm looking forward to coming in to learn as much as I can and working hard. That's all I can do. I'm grateful for the opportunity."

As for not being selected until the third round, he said, "Obviously it's disappointing, but I just wanted to hear my name called at any point. I'm a competitor, so now it's my turn to go compete. I get to compete in the highest level of football that there is, and there's not a better opportunity."

Speaking about trying to prove people wrong, he said, "Obviously. When there are six other guys at your position taken ahead of you, there's going to be that."

Meanwhile, his father, Jim Mallett, told the Boston Herald, Ryan was angry because the Dolphins supposedly told him they were going to trade to get him in the second round, but after acquiring the 62nd overall choice from Washington selected running back Daniel Thomas.

Said Jim Mallett, "They took another guy. Ryan said, 'Payback.' He remembers it all."


Mallett,Ryan (New England Patriots) (5/5/2011)

QB Ryan Mallett said he is looking forward to learning behind Tom Brady.

He said, "I'm looking forward to coming in to learn as much as I can and working hard. That's all I can do. I'm grateful for the opportunity."

As for not being selected until the third round, he said, "Obviously it's disappointing, but I just wanted to hear my name called at any point. I'm a competitor, so now it's my turn to go compete. I get to compete in the highest level of football that there is, and there's not a better opportunity."

Speaking about trying to prove people wrong, he said, "Obviously. When there are six other guys at your position taken ahead of you, there's going to be that."

Meanwhile, his father, Jim Mallett, told the Boston Herald, Ryan was angry because the Dolphins supposedly told him they were going to trade to get him in the second round, but after acquiring the 62nd overall choice from Washington selected running back Daniel Thomas.

Said Jim Mallett, "They took another guy. Ryan said, 'Payback.' He remembers it all."


Manning,Eli (New York Giants) (5/5/2011)

QB Eli Manning has organized numerous offensive team members for practices at Hoboken High School in New Jersey. Manning lives in Hoboken.

Said tight end Kevin Boss after one of the workouts, "It was great. First, it was great just to see everyone. I don't remember the last time we had gone this long without seeing our teammates. So it was nice just to kind of catch up with the guys and fun just to get back on the field and get back to work.

"Just to kind of get out there and hear the terminology again and work on the timing with Eli, it's definitely something that's going to help down the road. If you go too long without hearing plays called, you'll forget things. So it's nice to get back out there and hear everything again."

Manning joked to reporters that were there, "We're just here working out. I'm retired from interviews until the lockout is over. You win some, you lose some with the lockout."

In January, Manning had said, "If it is delayed, the team that handles their business, the team that is working out and the team that can get guys who are in this area to work out and be together and go over things and find a place to practice or find a place to run some routes every once in a while ... has a great advantage next year to have success."

Mo DeGennaro, the school's athletics director said Manning didn't want to be credited with doing everything.

Said DeGennaro, "He said to me, ?I don't want to make it look like I'm the guy that's organizing this and I'm this giant savior. I'm not. I want to just get a couple of guys here, go through a workout and get out of here. I need to work out. I need to stay in football shape and you're kind enough to let us use the field.'"

Manning has donated to the school, so DeGennaro was quick to help.

"The lockout caused them not to have a workout facility, and if we can help out we'll gladly help out," he said. "He's been so generous and so kind to the school and to the kids, it was a no-brainer


Smith,Brad (New York Jets) (5/5/2011)

WR Brad Smith was present at "J.T. West" player workouts despite not being under contract.

Said Smith, "My goal is every time I step on the field is to make something happen. If a team is willing to give me that opportunity a little bit more; you only get to play this game one time. You don't want to be at a place where they're not giving you an opportunity."

Asked about the selection of wide receiver Jeremy Kerley in the fifth round, Smith said, "I don't blame them. They might potentially lose three wide receivers. We'll see if when the (contract) talks begin again if that has something to do with the offer."


McKnight,Joe (New York Jets) (5/5/2011)

RB Joe McKnight admitted to being upset when the Jets selected running back Bilal Powell in the fourth round of the draft.

"I was pissed and motivated at the same time," he said. "It's just more fuel to the fire."


Ward,Hines (Pittsburgh Steelers) (5/5/2011)

WR Hines Ward was detained at gunpoint for a short time early Thursday morning in North Hollywood, Calif. Ward is on the West Coast while participating in "Dancing With the Stars."

Hines was with a woman friend when the car was stopped at 1:30 a.m. because it had been reported stolen on April 19.

Ward was briefly handcuffed, but he and the woman were let go when she was able to prove the car was hers.

According to Sgt. Maria Morrison, "She had gone somewhere, misparked it, reported it stolen and found it later" but then neglected to cancel the police report, Morrison said.

The woman's name wasn't released, but Morrison said it wasn't Ward's partner on the dance show.


Ward,Hines (Pittsburgh Steelers) (5/5/2011)

WR Hines Ward was detained at gunpoint for a short time early Thursday morning in North Hollywood, Calif.

Ward is on the West Coast while participating in "Dancing With the Stars."

Hines was with a woman friend when the car was stopped at 1:30 a.m. because it had been reported stolen on April 19.

Ward was briefly handcuffed, but he and the woman were let go when she was able to prove the car was hers.

According to Sgt. Maria Morrison, "She had gone somewhere, misparked it, reported it stolen and found it later" but then neglected to cancel the police report, Morrison said.

The woman's name wasn't released, but Morrison said it wasn't Ward's partner on the dance show.


Mendenhall,Rashard (Pittsburgh Steelers) (5/5/2011)

RB Rashard Mendenhall lost his endorsement deal with Champion athletic gear, which dropped Mendenhall because "it didn't believe he can appropriately represent Champion" after Mendenhall questioned celebrations of Osama bin Laden's death.

Mendenhall endorsed the company since 2008 and had recently signed a four-year deal.


Talib,Aqib (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) (5/5/2011)

CB Aqib Talib, who has been charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after an incident in March, will have his case presented to a grand jury in Dallas scheduled to begin may 18.

While there have been reports the team will release him when the lockout ends, coach Raheem Morris claimed no decision had been made.

Appearing on WHBO Radio, Morris said, "We have not talked about that. That has not taken place. We will, but that time has not come yet."

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