Schon: Rumors, Rants & Raves 8/17/06

The Arizona Cardinals, Al Davis and Ashley Lelie all take their shots in today's edition of Rumors, Rants & Raves.

Props to the Arizona Cardinals organization for finally giving the city of Phoenix a glimmer of hope - new uniforms, new stadium, a new running back and a hot new QB from USC.

There hasn't been this much improvement in … well … forever.

While it may not be an overnight cure, fans living on the surface of the sun have responded accordingly. All eight Cardinal home games were sold out weeks before training camp even opened.

The fines for Denver Broncos wide receiver Ashley Lelie continue to spiral out of control. As of Monday, the four-year veteran had dropped nearly $300,000 of his $700,000 base salary in fines, by refusing to show up at Broncos training camp.

Lelie also gave up an easy $100,000 bonus by refusing to participate in the teams' off-season workout program.

For those keeping track that's four-hundred grand down the drain, trying to push head coach Mike Shanahan into a trade situation where Lelie could become a starting receiver somewhere else.

So far, the plan has backfired. Not one NFL team has come up with enough juice to make a trade worthwhile, and an obviously stubborn Shanahan is more than willing to let this one play out, considering the consequences.

If Peter Schaffer, Lelie's agent, is unable to work out a trade soon, the disgruntled receiver would end up voiding his 2007 free agency status, which would then lock him into the team through 2008.

If he fails to report by Sept. 15, he could also find himself actually owing the Broncos $880,000 – the prorated portion of the $4.4 million signing and option bonus he received when he signed with the team in 2002, due to a breach of contract.

Or … he could report sometime before the second game of the season, play out the remainder of 2006 for free, retain his free agency status then pray someone out there is willing to take a gamble on a self-centered one-dimensional receiver.

Hello Dallas, this is Mike Shanahan……..

How pathetic is the current Oakland Raiders offense?

Consider this, through the first two preseason games; starting quarterback Aaron Brooks completed just two passes - one in each game. His backup, Andrew Walter, has fared only slightly better, connecting on 13 of 29 passes with two interceptions.

Their offensive coordinator, Tom Walsh, has been out of football since 1994, running a Bed & Breakfast, which I guess in the eyes of Al Davis, gives him enough credibility to lead an NFL franchise.

More pathetic is the fact that the Raiders by-passed drafting USC quarterback Matt Lienart in favor of defensive safety - Michael Huff, feeling that Lienart was a little too similar to Walter, and it would be a mistake to have two quarterbacks of equal potential, on the roster.

Speaking on behalf of the rest of the AFC West – you gotta love Al Davis………

Michael John Schon has covered the National Football League and the Denver Broncos for the past ten years. As a member of the Pro Football Writers Association he has published and syndicated columns to both newspapers and magazines throughout the United States and Canada. His syndicated radio broadcast: "Schon Live" airs weekly on various radio stations around the country.

Schon can be reached at

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