Professionally Speaking - NFL Defenders

This week Professionally Speaking takes a look around the NFL to see what's been going on this offseason with some of the defensive players who used to wear scarlet and gray, and as always we make sure to check in with updates from a number of other sports, including another clash of former Buckeyes in the WNBA.

Welcome to Professionally Speaking, a weekly feature from BuckeyeSports.com in which we report and round up news from across the globe about former Buckeyes plying their trade for pay. A mix of news gleaned from scouring box scores and reports from around the ‘Net along with the occasional exclusive interview, we think it's a feature you will like because we know you share the mantra that any player who is once a Buckeye is always a Buckeye.

This week we take a look around the NFL to see what's been going on this offseason with some of the defensive players who used to wear scarlet and gray, and as always we make sure to check in with updates from a number of other sports, including a clash of former Buckeyes in the WNBA. Next week look for an update on former Buckeyes trying to make their way on the offensive side of the ball in the NFL, plus a recap of NBA summer league action among other tidbits.

**One of the two former members of the Ohio State defensive line chosen in the most recent NFL draft, defensive end Jay Richardson may have made the biggest waves thus far this offseason with some recent comments.

Speaking to "ThisWeek" newspapers in Columbus after he returned from offseason workouts with the Oakland Raiders, Richardson did more than just update his potential for playing time in the fall.

"Some of the veterans reported that we were working too hard," Richardson told the paper. "With me coming from Ohio State, we always worked really hard there so I was kind of used to it."

He said veterans whined they, "Don't always have to do all this crap," but added the intensity of the workouts was good for him as a rookie trying to gauge the speed of the pro game.

The comments, which were picked up by other news organizations including the web site RealFootball365.com, apparently had some merit: The Raiders had to cancel their final week of their offseason training program because of what new head coach Lane Kiffin called "complaints from the players union."

As for Richardson, he told ThisWeek he was working at both end and tackle. That included reps with the starters at end.

Besides the former Buckeye, the Raiders drafted Georgia defensive end Quentin Moses in the third round with the 65th overall pick and have Derrick Burgess, a seventh-year veteran with 27.0 sacks the last two seasons, along with five other defensive ends on their roster.

The best known of the Raiders' five defensive tackles is 34-year-old Warren Sapp, who like Burgess reportedly has been absent from all optional offseason workouts this summer…

**Elsewhere on the Scout.com network, our colleagues at VikingUpdate.com speculate safety Mike Doss' signing to a one-year contract will help create a logjam at the position in preseason camp.

After four years and 42 starts with the Indianapolis Colts, Doss was allowed to leave in the offseason because of the emergence of then rookie Antoine Bethea last season as Doss sat out the last 10 games rehabbing a torn ACL.

In Minneapolis, Doss must battle returning starters Darren Sharper and Dwight Smith along with reserves Tank Williams and Greg Blue not only for playing time but perhaps a roster spot.

Working in Doss' favor figures to be his familiarity with the Tampa-2 defense employed by both the Vikings and Colts…

**Doss is one of four former Buckeyes on the Viking roster along with star cornerback Antoine Winfield, defensive end Darrion Scott and rookie free agent linebacker John Kerr.

VikingUpdate recently gave a glowing account of Scott's value to the franchise:

"The Vikings have invested first-round picks in starting defensive ends Kenechi Udeze and Erasmus James, but because of injuries, Scott has been a starter much of the past two seasons. In fact, from a productivity standpoint Scott has recorded 104 tackles and 9.5 sacks the past two seasons. Meanwhile, Udeze had 34 tackles and one sack. James had 30 tackles and 4 sacks. Scott does not have the outside pass-rush potential of either James or Udeze, but he is a very good interior pass rusher. It would be nice to see the team lock Scott up to a long-term deal."…

**In Tampa, word on Buccaneers.com is fourth-year safety Will Allen and fellow 2006 starter Jermaine Phillips will face challenges in training camp from recent draftees Sabby Piscitelli, a second-round pick, and Tanard Jackson, a fourth-rounder.

Allen started every game last season for the Buccs and logged 77 tackles with one pass defended and no interceptions. In 2005, Allen started eight of the 13 games in which he played and finished with 48 tackles and three interceptions. He returned a fumble 33 yards for a touchdown…

**We close the NFL portion of this week's Professionally Speaking with a sad note about former Buckeye and current Denver Bronco Kenny Peterson.

Like Doss and Scott a star of the 2002 national championship team, Peterson faces a four-game suspension for violation of the NFL's steroid policy.

He told his hometown newspaper, the Canton Repository, the illegal substance was a metabolic steroid from a supplement he did not clear with the league.

"I don't want anybody to think I'm a cheater. I'm far from a cheater," Peterson told the paper. "I don't want this to tarnish my character or what I stand for."

According to a statement released by the team, Peterson will be suspended without pay beginning Aug. 31 and be eligible to return on Oct. 1.

"Sometimes it is an unconscious mistake," Denver head coach Mike Shanahan told the Broncos' Scout site. "Sometimes a guy doesn't know that he is making a mistake and he makes one. If you slip up once and you don't know what you are putting into your body, you are going to pay the price. Each player is responsible for what he puts in his body."

It stands to reason Peterson faces a steep climb up the depth chart in Denver, where there were 17 defensive linemen on the roster at last check, including recent draft picks Jarvis Moss and Marcus Thomas – both of Florida – and free agent signees Jimmy Kennedy and Sam Adams

Of course, there is more to the sporting universe than football, and you can count on us to keep you updated elsewhere.

**Former OSU women's basketball center Jessica Davenport was named Honorable Mention in rookie rankings on WNBA.com July 11. She was fifth in the previous ranking, which was released two weeks earlier.

Checking in at No. 1 in both the June 27 and July 11th rankings was Minnesota Lynx guard Lindsey Harding, the No. 1 overall pick from Duke. Davenport was the No. 2 pick.

Davenport started the first 13 games of the season for the New York Liberty, who started 6-2 before losing five of their next six and six of eight. As of July 11, New York was riding a two-game winning streak and stood third in the Eastern Conference at 10-8.

Davenport's highest-scoring game since she was benched came July 6 when she scored five points as the Liberty beat Katie Smith and the Detroit Shock in overtime, 82-81. Smith, who plays point guard for the defending league champs, scored 19 points and made five three-pointers.

The game served as the second meeting between the two teams featuring former Buckeyes. Smith and the Shock came out on top 67-57 June 8. The visiting team has won both matchups…

Finally, we finish by moving back outside for a trio of notes on former Buckeyes in some lower profile roles at the moment:

**In one season, former Buckeye pitcher Mike Madsen has moved from High Class-A to Class-AAA in the Oakland Athletics' organization. The righty starter, now with the Sacramento River Cats, baffled Tucson in his first AAA start June 30 as he allowed no runs on four hits with six strikeouts over 7.2 innings. He earned the win for that effort but came back to earth in start No. 2 July 5. Though he allowed just one run, Madsen was pulled after three innings in which he gave up two hits and two walks while throwing 51 pitches. He did not factor in the decision.

**On the softball diamond, rookie Jamee Juarez is having a fine season for the Akron Racers of the National Pro Fastpich league. The righty who was a three-time OSU player of the year is in the top five in the league in all three triple crown categories for the 13-7 Racers, who are third in the standings of the six-team league.

**Former Buckeye lacrosse All-American Greg Bice, a defenseman for the Los Angeles Riptide, tallied an assist July 8 as the Western Conference lost the Major League Lacrosse All-Star Game 19-12 to the East in Cambridge, Mass.


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