Adrian Peterson is among the best backs in the NFL, but he has a chance to leave no doubt in the…
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Peterson,Adrian (Minnesota Vikings)
RB Adrian Peterson apologized for missing a youth football camp in his name in Oklahoma. The two-day event, which he has attended the past three years, started Thursday, but Peterson said a scheduling miscommunication created a conflict.
Initial reports stated that Peterson was in studio taping for the NFL Network but those reports have been denied by a network spokesman. Peterson will be taping NFL Network's Top 100 Players of 2011 later this week, meaning that it didn't cause him to miss his camp in Norman.
ProCamps took the blame for the miscommunication with a statement on its website: "ProCamps has appreciated the opportunity to assist Adrian with his football camp the past three years, and due to a breakdown in communication on our end, the camp was scheduled at a time that prevented Adrian from being able to attend."
Analysis: It's unknown what ultimately caused the scheduling conflict (the NFL Films taping doesn't take place until later this week) but you'd think Peterson would be available thanks to the free time provided by the lockout. Nonetheless, ProCamps has taken responsibility for the error and it appears to be a non-issue at this point.
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Faulk,Kevin (New England Patriots)
RB Kevin Faulk said he's not ready to retire just yet.
Faulk, who recently celebrated his 35th birthday, is recovering from ACL surgery last October.
"That word (retire) is not in my vocabulary right now," Faulk said. If it's possible, if (the Patriots) allow me to, I'd like to play another season. People are telling me they drafted two running backs, but hey, I've never questioned anything the Patriots have done. That's why they're who they are."
Faulk will be a free agent when the lockout ends. The Patriots selected Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley in the draft and Faulk participated in the team's recent player workouts. Vereen and Ridley were also there, and Faulk was helping them.
He said, "I was just going through some drills and trying to get them not up-to-speed, but close-to-speed on what's going on."
As for his recovery, Faulk said, "Right now, I'm doing everything. Right now, I can't complain. We'll just see what happens when that time comes."
Analysis: Given the Patriots' incoming rookies, Faulk might be a long-shot to be back in New England. That said, coach Bill Belichick is known for valuing veteran players and might keep Faulk around for another season for his leadership skills if nothing else.
Collins,Kerry (Tennessee Titans)
QB Kerry Collins will be a free agent when the lockout ends, and he is hopeful of being back with the Tennessee Titans, even as a mentor to rookie Jake Locker.
If it doesn't work out, Collins is prepared to walk away from the game although he doesn't want to.
Collins said, "When we came to Nashville (in 2006) I told my wife, we are going to ride this thing out here as long as it goes and that is going to be it. I know I am getting near the end, but I still have good football left in me."
"If it makes sense on both sides to do it, I'd be good for coming back. Physically, I definitely have a couple of years left in me, no doubt. But I want to see where the Titans are at, too."
Collins believes his experience will be helpful for the Titans, especially after the lengthy lockout. He would also be willing to somewhere else if it was the "right fit."
"It is legitimate speculation to think the longer this thing goes, the more attractive I would be to them because of my familiarity with everything," Collins said. "I know we have new coordinators, but I am sure a lot of terminology is going to be the same. On paper it makes sense to at least talk to me about coming back."
As for being there for Locker, Collins said, "I went through it with Vince (Young)," Collins said. "I would be open to it, but it would have to be the right thing. I would like to get to know Jake a little bit to make sure he'd be the type guy I'd want to help out. That won't be the sole issue, either. It is not about what kind of guy Jake is. I just have to weigh a lot of things.
"There are so many unknowns right now. I am in a wait-and-see mode with the lockout just like everyone else. When things get sorted out more I'll have to take a lot of things into consideration. I'd like to play, but I have been at this so long and I know how the business works. There is no use speculating ... You wait until the situation presents itself before deciding anything for sure."
Analysis: Bringing back Collins for one more season – even with Locker now in the mix – would be an ideal situation for the Titans. Locker could sit back and learn for at least a portion of the 2011 season while Collins is capable of being a serviceable quarterback and bridge to the future.
Bulluck,Keith (New York Giants)
LB Keith Bulluck will be a free agent when the lockout ends, and he named three teams he would consider joining: The New York Giants, Detroit Lions and New England Patriots.
Bulluck played 10 seasons with the Tennessee Titans before signing with the Giants last season. He played 13 games, and started eight, and said he will only continue playing if he's an every-down participant.
"(A full-time role) is the only way I'm playing football next year," Bullock said previously in the offseason. "This (2010) is the first time I've ever, since my rookie year and my second year in the league, come on and off the field. I'm someone that needs to be on the field all the time. That's just how I feel, so yeah, that's the only way I'd play football next year."
His reasons for singling out those three teams are simple.
"First and foremost, New York because they gave me an opportunity to come and continue my career, really get healthy, where I needed to be," Bulluck said on SiriusXM Radio. "Detroit. I like what (coach Jim) Schwartz is doing up there. Last year, I wasn't prepared physically to play and do the things that they would need me to do, but now I feel I am. New England is always veteran-friendly, and I know, every year, they're in contention of winning.
"Like I say, I want to win, really. At this point in my career, financially, me and my family are fine. But I definitely would like to be in a position to play myself into maybe possibly being one of the top-paid linebackers in the league again. Definitely one of the top players in the league."
Schwartz was his defensive coordinator in Tennessee, and Bulluck said he can see similarities between the Titans of tghen and the Lions of now.
He said, "In Tennessee, we always had horses up front. We had (Albert) Haynesworth, and we had Tony Brown, Robaire Smith, a plethora of guys that will get it done. Now they have two big first-rounders (Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley), and with Kyle (Vanden Bosch) up front,
Analysis: Bullock's expectations might be a bit out of whack right now, but the veteran will have some options to play in 2011. The Lions seem to be a logical fit as an up-and-coming team – particularly on defense – and due to Bullock's past ties to Schwartz in Tennessee.
Sharper,Darren (New Orleans Saints)
FS Darren Sharper is unlikely to be back in New Orleans for a third season in 2011. What doesn't seem to be in doubt is that Sharper, who was relegated to backup status in 2010, first by his recovery from a late-season 2010 knee injury and then by the emergence of Malcolm Jenkins as the starter, definitely wants to play at least one more campaign.
Sharper has rebuffed some concrete offers to move full-time into the media, The Sports Xchange has confirmed, and is preparing as if he'll play somewhere in 2011. The 13-year veteran is the league's leading active interceptor, and only five players in history have more than Sharper's 63 thefts. Just one pure safety, all-time leader and Hall of Fame member Paul Krause, has more. Sharper played in only eight games in 2010, the fewest of his career, and the only time he has appeared in fewer than 13 contests. He had just one start, the least since he had none as a rookie in 1997.
But at age 35, Sharper thinks he has enough left in the tank, certainly in terms of football "smarts," to be at least an effective nickel safety for a team, and is especially seeking out a contender.
Analysis: Sharper's "smarts" will help the veteran land a job for the upcoming season whether that's in New Orleans or elsewhere. It's hard to believe, however, that the Saints would let him walk given that the team will have limited practice time and Sharper would be an excellent mentor for younger players on the roster.
Hawk,A.J. (Green Bay Packers)
LB A.J. Hawk says there's a good reason the team hasn't had workouts during the lockout that included big numbers of players.
Said Hawk, "We haven't had any full team workouts. We've had small groups of guys here and there working out together. The great thing about Green Bay is we're not banking on having any rookies coming in and play. We're not putting in any new schemes. For us the main thing is making sure everyone is coming into camp in shape and on time. We have a lot of guys who are accountable and take care of their bodies this whole summer."
Analysis: Due to the abundance of players coming back from injuries, the Packers will have a great shot to make another deep playoff run. Hawk's assessment is accurate that Green Bay's impressive crop of rookies won't need to make an impact, but they more than likely will.
Williams,Trent (Washington Redskins)
OT Trent Williams has been a no-show at the team's player-organized workout, but he doesn't consider it a major issue.
Williams said a weekend he was in interfered with one set of workouts, and that he found out late about the ones that were held this week. He told ESPN 980 he thought this week's workouts were for only backs and receivers.
He said, "If I wouldn't have found out Monday that the workouts were Tuesday, then I probably would have been there. It was a last-minute deal.
"I kind of had my hands tied. But I figure as long as I'm getting work in and am making sure I'm ready. I've been trimming down a little bit, focusing on total body strength, and I started back (doing squats) this offseason, which I hadn't done since my sophomore year, to get my explosiveness in my legs back. I feel great."
He added, "When the lockout's lifted I'm pretty sure everybody's going to be rusty. I can't be no rustier than what I was as a rookie last year. I didn't know any of the playbook then. So I'll automatically be further along."
Analysis: The Redskins have much bigger problems to be worried about (see the quarterback position and Albert Haynesworth). Williams should be ready to go by the start of the 2011 campaign and will be counted on to become a dominant lineman upfront, starting this season.
White,Pat (Free Agent)
QB Pat White, a second-round pick in the 2009 draft, always wanted the chance to be more than just a wildcat novelty, and now he's going to get the chance. White, who dabbled with baseball after the Dolphins admitted their mistake last year and released him, has signed with the Marty Schottenheimer-coached Virginia Destroyers of the UFL.
"It's a chance to show I can do it," White said. To "do it," White won't exactly have to beat out a murderer's row of competitors, with the team's quarterback depth chart including such notables as Chris Greisen, Derek Devine and Dennis Brown.
The Dolphins chose White hoping he would add another dimension, because of his ability to throw the ball, to their Wildcat package. This spring, then-Dolphins vice president Bill Parcells acknowledged the pick was a flawed one, and that the franchise reached in taking White. The team's rationale was just as flawed: Coaches felt they could teach White to be a quarterback first, with all the plays, and a Wildcat guy later. That's not to say White would have been a success if indoctrinated into the Wildcat only, but he was a bit overwhelmed by trying to assimilate the entire playbook.
We'll see if he does any better at a reduced level of competition.
Analysis: White failed miserably during his first two professional seasons, but the former second-round pick will get a shot at redemption in the UFL. If he shows any ability as a quarterback, look for White to get a second chance in the NFL sooner rather than later.
Kindle,Sergio (Baltimore Ravens)
LB Sergio Kindle said he will be ready for training camp, whenever it begins.
A second-round pick of the Baltimore Ravens last year, kindle missed the entire season as a result of a fractured skull he suffered when he fell down a flight of stairs just a week before the start of training camp.
Kindle told the San Antonio Express-News he was cleared to play three months ago.
He said, "I got cleared to play again in March. So I have to get back into it and see how it goes from there. Of course, I got cleared, but until I actually do contact, that's what's going to determine (my progress)."
Describing what it was like to miss the entire season, Kindle called it "terrible," and said, "I had a skull fracture and some brain bruising. Basically, I messed up my equilibrium. I can hardly hear out of (my left) ear anymore. The doctor said it was unlikely it will come back. But it's been a while, so I've gotten used to it. ... Now I'm actually training, football training, without the contact. Now I just have to wait and see whatever the lockout does so I can give it a shot."
As for what it will be like to play again, he said, "I don't think I have the words. I'm trying to get on SportsCenter. That's something I've wanted to do my whole life. That's my lifelong dream. To actually hit the field, I'll just have to give thanks, because (God's) the one who got me there."
Analysis: Kindle has yet to make an impact in Baltimore since being drafted in the second round of the 2010 draft. His contributions during the coming season will essentially be that of another rookie for the Ravens, on a defense already filled with tremendous playmakers.
Ainge,Erik (New York Jets)
QB Erik Ainge is still a member of the Jets, but for how long is anyone's guess.
Ainge missed the entire 2010 season while he fought an addiction to drugs and alcohol, as well as depression.
Now, as Ainge revealed on Twitter recently, he has a torn rotator cuff in his throwing shoulder.
His tweet said, "no fun, (oh) well, could always be worse, (I'm) sober and loved, all that matters."
A fifth-round pick in 2008, Ainge has not played in an NFL regular-season game.
Analysis: The trials and tribulations of Ainge have been well documented and this is yet another blow to his NFL career. It's unlikely that the Jets keep Ainge around for another season and he'll likely be out of a league for a year before attempting to make a comeback.
Jones,Dhani (Cincinnati Bengals)
LB Dhani Jones will be a free agent when the lockout ends, but the 12-year veteran hopes to re-sign with the Bengals.
Jones told the NFL Network, "They've done nothing but take great care of me. The city has embraced me. We've had a rough couple seasons but we've overcome a lot."
Analysis: Jones is another experienced player who'll be in an excellent position when the lockout eventually ends. Jones is familiar with the Bengals' defensive scheme and due to the limited practice time heading into the season, that familiarity will be far more valuable than usual.
Ryans,DeMeco (Houston Texans)
LB DeMeco Ryans has been rehabbing his Achilles during the offseason in Alabama, but he's also had time to help school his teammates in defensive coordinator Wade Phillips' 3-4 defense.
After getting the basics from Phillips during the brief time the lockout was lifted, Ryans is helping teach the concepts to his teammates. That happened during the week of June 6 during a three-day minicamp at Rice University.
Said Ryans, "The big key at our minicamp was making sure everyone was on the same page as far as terminology. I felt like my job was to make sure the guys were seeing things as I was seeing them.
"I was real happy with what we were able to do. There are things we did we can't do working out alone."
Noting that defensive end Mario Williams will likely play a lot of linebacker in the defense, Ryans said, "I know a lot of people are concerned about it, like moving Mario, but the biggest change for most of us is learning the different terminology. It's not a big difference for us inside guys at all.
"I'm most excited because this defense gives us so much more flexibility. It's easier to disguise our coverages and when we're coming and not coming (after the quarterback)."
Watching what he saw from the defense, quarterback Matt Schaub said, "There was a lot of teaching going on by DeMeco as far as assignments and adjustments. At the same time, coverages are coverages. Once we got to seven-on-seven, it was just go and play ball and have fun."
Analysis: Along with a stellar group of incoming rookies and new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, Ryans should help propel the Texans defense to the next level in 2011. Houston's defensive unit has struggled throughout the Gary Kubiak era but the pieces appear to be in place for a breakout season.
Rice,Sidney (Minnesota Vikings)
WR Sidney Rice talked with coach Leslie Frazier when the lockout was briefly lifted in April and Frazier and communicated the team's interest in having him back.
Rice is without a contract and has four accrued seasons in the NFL. That would have made him an unrestricted free agent in 2009, but restricted last year.
No one knows yet what the free-agent requirements will be when the lockout ends and there is a new agreement.
Said Frazier, "I talked to him in that brief window we had with that draft weekend and he was enthusiastic about maybe signing back with the Vikings. But he still wants to explore opportunities, and you can't begrudge him for that.
"We'll just have to kind of wait and see what happens. Obviously, we'd love to have him back in Minnesota."
Analysis: Barring major changes to a new CBA, Rice will become an unrestricted free agent when the lockout is lifted. With two rookies heading the Vikings' depth chart under center, Rice might take the opportunity to leave for a more stable situation. Several teams are in need of help at wide receiver, and Rice would be a hot commodity if he's able to test the open market.
Holliday,Vonnie (Washington Redskins)
DL Vonnie Holliday couldn't disagree with the recent assessment of defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth by defensive coordinator Jim Haslett.
Haslett recently said on 101 ESPN Radio in St. Louis, "He can do almost anything he wants. He doesn't want to do anything. To me that's the issue. He's one of those guys you walk in a meeting and you tell him, 'Put down the phone.' The next day you have to tell him to put down the phone. The next day, you tell him to put down the phone.
"You tell him, 'Don't read the newspaper in meetings.' The next day you have to tell him the same thing. It doesn't stick; it's an every-day thing."
On 106.7 the Fan in Washington, Holliday said this week, "Short of getting into a fight with Big Al, you can't tell him what to do. As frank as coach Haslett was on the radio station about what transpired throughout the course of last year with Albert I thought there was a missed opportunity there for coaches.
"Maybe this is something that was just instilled in me early in my career -- you just don't take your phone to a meeting. If a phone rings in a meeting it is an issue. It is a problem. You are going to get cursed out, fussed out and fined. Any number of things are going to happen to you by your coach. I'm terrified.
"These younger guys it is not the same. It's not looked at as the same. Unfortunately Albert ... some of the stuff that coach Haslett is talking about, having a phone in the meeting, it was just not addressed. Coming up, you're telling a guy, 'Hey don't bring your phone to a meeting. You can't do that.' I mean, the way we get through to these guys is to fine them and that just never happened throughout the year."
Holliday said most frustrating was that Haynesworth didn't perform on the field.
He said, "First of all, I'm not in it to be an Albert Haynesworth basher. Yes, some of the on-the-field antics, some of the stuff in the meeting rooms have been disappointing."
Analysis: Holliday's comments are just the latest confirming that Haynesworth is a distraction and problem for the Redskins. Haynesworth as been a headache for Washington since the team transitioned to a 3-4 defense, a scheme that Haynesworth has little desire to play in.
Information from the Sports Xchange was used in this report
Questions or comments? Contact Brad Wilbricht at email@example.com
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