Around The NFL: News, Notes & Rumors
Matt Hasselbeck (Getty)
Matt Hasselbeck (Getty)
brad.wilbricht@gmail.com
Posted Jul 26, 2011
Brad Wilbricht


Matt Hasselbeck might be heading elsewhere soon, the Kevin Kolb to Arizona rumors continue, Plaxico Burress named his latest team of interest, Braylon Edwards' legal troubles aren't over yet and much more inside.


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Hasselbeck, Seahawks nearing split

QB Matt Hasselbeck could be moving on to greener pastures. The Seahawks offered the veteran quarterback what they consider a fair offer before the lockout began in March, but Hasselbeck chose not accept the deal and see what better offers he can get on the open market.

Once free agency begins on Tuesday, Seattle's offer might not still be on the table. Hasselbeck has interest from Tennessee and Minnesota, and reportedly is looking for something similar to Kerry Collins' two-year, $15 million deal he received from the Titans two years ago, with $8.5 million guaranteed.

There's no doubt that Hasselbeck can still play, just go back and watch his impressive performance in the NFC West Wild Card game against New Orleans. His pedigree and ability to command an offense make him one of the most attractive free agent quarterbacks on the market.

But questions about Hasselbeck's durability and his ability to play at a high level over the long haul still persist, and Seahawks' brass are approaching the contract negotiations with their eyes wide open.

Analysis: It appears that Seattle and Hasselbeck might be poised to part ways. Thanks to the lockout, a higher premium will be put on veteran quarterbacks and Hasselbeck might cash in with a new deal elsewhere.

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Kolb to Arizona rumors picking up steam

QB Kevin Kolb has been rumored to be heading to Arizona, and has thrown passes to WR Larry Fitzgerald, according to FOXSportsArizona.com. Once the lockout ends, the Cardinals are the leading contenders to acquire Kolb from the Philadelphia Eagles. Some reports have indicated a deal might have been agreed to in principle months ago, although the Cardinals have denied any trade is already in place. Other teams including Arizona's division rival Seattle Seahawks could potentially be in the market for a veteran quarterback as well.

According to the FOXSportsArizona.com report, Kolb organized a private throwing session at Arizona State's indoor practice bubble. That would require permission from the school, and Fitzgerald's other workouts with NFL players during the lockout were well known.

Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie has been mentioned repeatedly as a potential player the Eagles would like to receive as part of a deal, and Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt told The Arizona Republic earlier this week that no player on the roster was untouchable.

Kolb did participate in some of the Eagles' player-organized workouts during the lockout, but has made it clear his preference is to be traded now that Michael Vick is established as the team's starter. Former Northwestern quarterback Mike Kafka would become Vick's primary backup should Kolb be dealt.

The Eagles were believed to have already received an offer of a first-round pick from an unknown team shortly before the lockout began. Other teams seeking a veteran quarterback included the Minnesota Vikings and Tennessee Titans.

Analysis: Kolb has been one of the hot names in Arizona for some time and his fate could be determined sooner rather than later. Kolb continues to be the leading candidate to start under center for the Cardinals this season.



Reed healthy entering 2011 campaign

S Ed Reed said he's healthy entering training camp, although he hopes the team limits his reps leading up to the season.

"I'm feeling fine," Reed told the Baltimore Sun at his second Baltimore-area football camp. "I'm pretty sure that I wouldn't do the things that training camp requires because of longevity of my career and my life. After not going through training camp with the physical abuse of last year and playing the way I played, I would hope Coach (John Harbaugh) would be smart about how they handle me. I don't think I have much to prove during training camp but it is the time to get in shape."

Reed missed the first six games last season following hip surgery and still went on to lead the league with eight interceptions. While he didn't have any surgery this offseason, he said the hip still isn't 100 percent.

"I'm still rehabbing it," Reed told the paper. "It's going to be a life-long thing you deal with. I'm not going to live in the past and the things I went through last year. I feel good for right now."

Reed, who has two years left on his contract, said it "makes sense" to finish his career with the Ravens. He's due to earn $6.5 million in 2011 and $7.2 in 2012, and said he'll sit down with the Ravens after the lockout is over to discuss his long-term future with the team.

Reed admitted last month that as he approaches the age of 33 that he thinks more about being injured in the inevitable collisions that occur.

"Definitely, you think about it," Reed told ESPN. "You've got to be smart about tackling. I'm not hitting guys as much as I used to - not hitting them trying to knock them out as much, sorry to say. You're not tackling with your shoulder as much, just wrapping them up and getting them on the ground."

Analysis: Led by Reed and linebacker Ray Lewis, Baltimore’s talented, yet aging defense is running out of time to win a Super Bowl. A healthy Reed should help the cause tremendously.



Taylor’s return to Miami a possibility

LB Jason Taylor could take a third spin with the Miami Dolphins. When asked about that in March, the greatest defensive player in franchise history said he thought "that ship has sailed" and added if he played anywhere in 2011 it would be with the New York Jets, who released him in February.

However, in late July, the veteran linebacker and South Florida resident seemed to crack open the door once more for a return to Miami.

"I appreciate the interest and the concern if there is any," Taylor said at Alonzo Mourning's charity golf outing. "No ships have sailed, no bridges have been burned. There's nothing to do right now. I'm going to play this year, if there's a season, and I think there will be. ... Until this thing works itself out, I'm playing golf."

Analysis: Taylor has the itch to play at least one more season and is now open to returning to Miami. If Taylor doesn’t end up in New York, there’s a good possibility he’ll return to the Dolphins.



South Beach an unlikely landing spot for Plaxico

Despite adding the Miami Dolphins to the list of teams he has publicly said he'd like to play for, WR Plaxico Burress isn’t expected to continue his playing career in South Beach.

Burress has a home in the area and trained upon his release from prison in June. The Dolphins, however, insist the interest is one-sided.

Burress has previously mentioned the Chicago Bears, Houston Texans, New York Jets, Oakland Raiders and Philadelphia Eagles as desirable destinations.

Released from prison June 6 after serving two years on gun charges, Burress spoke about the danger of guns to a group of kids at Arthur Ashe Middle School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. on Thursday.

According to the Sun-Sentinel, when a girl ask if he'd like to play for the Dolphins, Burress said: "Of course. There are a lot of things that go into me making that decision and wanting to be here. But of course. Of course I would love to be a Miami Dolphin."

The majority of Burress' time was spent talking about the danger of guns and his desire to make a positive influence in the community.

"I pretty much come from the same upbringing as most of these kids do, so I understand," Burress said, per the Sun-Sentinel. "I know what goes on ... I think we need to get back into the community and stress the damages that guns do and how they take lives away, rip families apart."

Burress, 34, will be a free agent once the lockout officially ends and the league year begins, likely at 2 p.m. EST on Wednesday.

Analysis: Burress would love to play for a lot of teams and there should be a decent amount of interest on the open market. Unfortunately for Burress, that interest isn’t coming from the Dolphins.



McNabb’s future uncertain

QB Donovan McNabb, likely to be released for salary cap reasons after a disappointing 2010 season. McNabb would come highly recommended by his college coach, former Dolphins defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni, a close friend of Dolphins coach Tony Sparano.

The Dolphins also spent time this offseason interviewing Brad Childress, McNabb's former coordinator in Philadelphia, and hired former Eagles assistant Jeff Nixon as their running backs coach. Both men could provide valuable insight into how McNabb might fit into the scheme with the Dolphins.

Analysis: Barring a turn of events, McNabb won’t be back in Washington and will be playing elsewhere in 2011. There are still a handful of teams searching for a starting quarterback and with the lockout over, McNabb should have a new home soon.



Cowboys’ Bryant facing civil suit

WR Dez Bryant and his advisor, David Wells, face a civil suit brought by a jeweler. Eleow Hunt claims Bryant and Wells, a bail bondsman from the Dallas area, failed to pay him for around $600,000 in jewelry, sports tickets and loans, according to the Dallas Morning News.

The case has a Jan. 9, 2012 court date, despite Bryant saying in June the suite had been "taken care of."

It's the second civil suit filed against Bryant in the past year. He settled with a New York jeweler, who claimed he was owed $246,000.

Analysis: Bryant appears to have a taste for expensive jewelry but doesn’t always want to pay up. Bryant’s reputation off the field is starting to follow him and may catch up to him on the field eventually.



Cutler’s engagement off

QB Jay Cutler and reality television star Kristin Cavallari have ended their engagement, according to multiple reports. The pair set a wedding date for next spring.

Cavallari was out in Los Angeles on Saturday night without her engagement ring, according to People, but the magazine's website said it was Cutler who called off the engagement.

The two had been dating since the beginning of last football season, and became engaged in April.

"She got dumped," a source told People.com. "She's absolutely devastated. She can't believe this is happening."

Cavallari was reportedly planning to move to Chicago.

"She was planning her dream wedding, the date was set, the location - everything was set," the source says. "She's in shock that the dream wedding she was planning is going to end this way."

Analysis: Culter’s breakup with Cavallari seems to have ended as badly as his relationship with the Denver Broncos.



Jets’ Edwards pleads guilty to DUI, could face parole violation

WR Braylon Edwards has a court appearance Wednesday in Cleveland to determine if he violated parole when he plead guilty to a drunk driving charge Friday in New Jersey, according to NJ.com.

Edwards reportedly faces up to six months in jail, although that length of a sentence would be unlikely. He is on probation in Ohio from a 2009 altercation outside a nightclub. He plead no contest in January 2010 to aggravated disorderly conduct, paid a $1,000 fine and received a suspended 180-day jail sentence that included inactive probation.

The guilty plea to the drunk driving charge opens the door for the Cleveland Municipal Court to revisit the jail sentence. However, he could still face a fine rather than jail time.

With the plea agreement in the drunk driving case stemming from a Sept. 21 arrest in Manhattan, Edwards will not face jail time or probation in New Jersey. He will be charged a $500 fine, have his driver's license suspended for six months and must continue an NFL alcohol counseling program he began last November.

He was originally pulled over for tinted windows, and a breath test showed a blood-alcohol level of .16 - twice the legal limit.

"I feel good. I feel like it came to a fair conclusion by the judge and (District Attorney)," Edwards said Friday. "I'm happy that it's past and now it's just really time to focus on football again."

Edwards is a free agent now that the lockout has ended, along with fellow Jets wide receivers Santonio Holmes and Brad Smith.

Edwards caught 53 passes for 914 yards and seven touchdowns last season.

Analysis: Edwards’ DUI penalty seems to be a mere slap on the wrist, but he could be facing steeper charges for violating parole. Jail time is unlikely but the uncertainty could cause for problems on the free-agent market.



Rookie Ingram OK after car accident

RB Mark Ingram, one of the Saints' two first-round draft picks this spring, should be ready for training camp despite being involved in an accident Friday morning with an 18-wheeler in Huntsville, Ala.

Two Alabama television stations reported Ingram's car collided with the 18-wheeler just before 1 a.m. Ingram, the 2009 Heisman Trophy winner from Alabama, and his girlfriend were not injured in the accident and Ingram walked away from the scene under his own power.

The driver of the truck reportedly was uninjured as well after the collision with Ingram's 2008 Infiniti. Preliminary police reports indicated that drugs and alcohol weren't involved.

Ingram was in Huntsville on Thursday night to participate in an autograph-signing event with former Alabama teammate Julio Jones, a first-round pick of the Atlanta Falcons, at a local restaurant.

Analysis: Thankfully, the accident wasn’t serious and Ingram should be ready when training camp opens.



Pain-free Stafford hoping for big season

QB Matthew Stafford has been throwing without pain or any physical difficulty basically all summer. He was at all eight voluntary workouts, looking much bigger and stronger in his upper body, and proclaimed his surgically-repaired right shoulder was "better than ever." About his new physique, he said, "I was down in Pensacola (Fla.) at the Andrews Institute for two and a half months just doing everything they told me to do. The therapists and trainers had me going every day, sometimes twice a day for more than 10 weeks. I had to get better."

Analysis: The Lions are hoping for a breakout season and Stafford will be at the forefront of the attack. If everything comes together for the third-year quarterback and he’s able to stay healthy, a playoff run could be in store for Detroit.



Packers’ Finley to debut slimmed-down look

TE Jermichael Finley could be returning sleeker and more slender when the players finally report for work this week for the first time after the end to the 4 1/2-month NFL lockout Monday.

Not only is Finley recovered from the surgically repaired ligaments in his right knee that cost him all but the first five games of Green Bay's title-winning 2010 season, but the dynamic tight end was working out this summer with a svelte look.

"I'm thinner right now," Finley said during an appearance at Larry Fitzgerald's passing camp in Minneapolis in early July.

The 6-foot-5 Finley, who was listed at 247 pounds last year, didn't divulge his current weight but alluded to taking on more of a receiver role this season.

"(The Packers are) probably not liking me right now, but I'm trying to stand up this year," Finley said. "I'm not going to sugarcoat it. I think (lining up in) a two-point (stance), I can get on the linebacker quicker, I can get on the safety quicker, and it's a win-win for me and (No.) 12 (quarterback Aaron Rodgers)."

Finley, who was Rodgers' top passing target with 21 receptions for 301 yards before the third-year player suffered the season-ending injury, estimated he lined up in a standing position "a good 60" percent of the snaps he played in 2010.

"Standing up, I think that's the best position for me," Finley said.

When asked whether the Green Bay coaches are comfortable with that, Finley replied, "They're going to be comfortable with it."

Analysis: The Packers didn’t look back after Finley went down with a knee injury last season. His presence, however, should make things even more difficult for opposing defenses against Aaron Rogers and Green Bay’s dynamic offensive attack.



Williams expecting to hit open market

RB Ricky Williams has hinted strongly in a video he released on YouTube that he doesn't expect to be back with the Dolphins. Williams has become more visible of late, doing multiple public appearances at South Florida businesses and resuming his radio appearances on WQAM. However, Williams has made it clear he is "preparing" for the next phase of his career to be somewhere else. Public criticism of coach Tony Sparano while the coach's fate was still being determined at the end of last season didn't help Williams' cause.

Williams ranks second behind Larry Csonka in most franchise rushing categories but may not get a chance to pass the Hall of Famer.

Analysis: Williams’ time in Miami might be over but there will be plenty of teams lining up for his services. Williams can still be a productive runner, particularly in a two-back system.



Favre rumors continue

QB Brett Favre's name surfaced as a possibility for the Philadelphia Eagles with a rumor started by Howard Eskin of WIP radio. But FOXSports.com's Jay Glazer cited two sources Sunday who said with an "emphatic no" that the Eagles are not interested in Favre.

Analysis: Although the latest Favre has been put to bed, it’s hard to rule anything past the old gunslinger. That said, it’s highly unlikely No. 4 will be suiting up in an NFL uniform this year.



Umenyiora, Giants to meet after lockout ends

DE Osi Umenyiora has been outspoken about his displeasure with his contract situation, and Giants owner John Mara said it's a situation Umenyiora and general manager Jerry Reese have to sit down and figure out.

Umenyiora filed a sworn affidavit as part of the players' antitrust lawsuit claiming the Giants broke a promise to him to renegotiate his contract in a specific time frame (2008-09).

Mara saw Umenyiora last week during negotiations between the owners and players in New York last week.

"I told him that when this (lockout) is over, he's got to sit down with Jerry man to man and work this thing out," Mara told Newsday. "He's got to do that."

Newsday reported that Reese declined to comment on the situation.

In the affidavit, Umenyiora claimed he had a meeting with Reese about two weeks before the start of the 2008 season and was told that his contract would be renegotiated two years after the start of that season "to be equal to "that of the top five defensive ends playing or I would be traded to a team that would do that" if Umenyiora continued to perform at a high level.

"Before leaving the meeting, I asked Mr. Reese twice if he was absolutely sure that would be the case," Umenyiora stated in the affidavit. "He then told me that he was an honest and church-going man and that he would not lie, which I believed to be the case. Under the penalty of perjury these statements are true and accurate."

The NFL Players Association sought Umenyiora out as part of its argument that players have suffered irreparable harm in the Brady vs. NFL antitrust lawsuit.

Whether Umenyiora continued to play at a high level for the two seasons after his meeting with Reese is up for debate. He missed the 2008 season following a left knee injury during the preseason. He returned to start 16 games in 2009, registering 7.0 sacks along with four forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries. He did record 11.5 sacks and 10 forced fumbles last season.

Analysis: Due to the attention brought to this in the media, expect the Giants to take care of Umenyiora. He might not be amongst the highest paid defensive ends in the league, but it should be fair value.



Broncos’ Cox facing rape charge

CB Perrish Cox is facing a rape charge from an incident in September 2010, and the alleged victim believes she was drugged because she wasn't certain she had sex that night until she learned she was pregnant.

The information in an affidavit was released after The Denver Post and The Associated Press went to court to argue for the right to see it. Cox, 24, was arrested Dec, 9 and is facing felony charges of assault on a helpless victim and sexual assault on a victim incapable of appraising her condition. He faces a minimum of two years in prison and a maximum of life if convicted.

Cox plead not guilty in May and his trial is scheduled for October.

In the affidavit, the woman told police she only had four or five drinks as she partied with three Broncos players the night of Sept. 5 and early Sept. 6, and later passed out at Cox's apartment, according to The Denver Post.

According to the affidavit obtained by the Post, wide receiver Demaryius Thomas and cornerback Cassius Vaughn were the other two players. The woman met Thomas at a nightclub, and Vaughn and Cox were roommates at the time. Thomas has denied having sex with the woman, and DNA evidence has matched Cox as the father.

The name of the alleged victim has not been released, but her attorney, Craig Silverman released a statement.

"My client suffered a sexual assault by Perrish Cox. For her, this is an intensely painful, personal and private matter," Silverman said. "My client's victimization will be made clear in a court of law. I urge respect for the legal process and the rights of this crime victim."

Analysis: Certainly things don’t look good for Cox as this has become quite a messy situation. Only time will tell how thing’s pan out in court but all signs point to Cox being at fault to some degree.

Information from the Sports Xchange was used in this report


Questions or comments? Contact Brad Wilbricht at brad.wilbricht@gmail.com


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