NFL Quick Hitters

We check in with the latest happenings from the around the league, including the ever-popular "Hard Knocks" debate, the start of the new USFL, the Arizona and Buffalo offensive lines, and the Ravens' contractual dilemma with safety Ed Reed.

USFL on the horizon

Some of the discussion at Tuesday's league meeting is expected to focus on the resurrected USFL, which is being reconstituted as a "feeder" or minor league, and on how involved the NFL should be with it. Former NFL executive Jim Steeg, who once presided over Super Bowl preparations, is chairman of the USFL's board of advisors, and that could give it some entre with the NFL.

Knocking on the door

Word is that the Jacksonville football regime isn't as enamored with the potential for a "Hard Knocks" appearance as is new Jaguars' owner Shahid Khan.

Safety net

With the Friday addition of former Miami starter Yeremiah Bell, the New York Jets further addressed a safety position that struggled in 2011. But Bell, who signed a $1.4 million deal, is the second veteran safety to sign just a one-year contract with the team, joining LaRon Landry, and the Jets may have to rebuild the position again next spring.

Leaning on Levi

Although Levi Brown struggled at left tackle for Arizona in 2011, Cardinals coaches seem content to leave him on the blind side. There was some thought the Cardinals might move Brown back to the right side, where he played the first three seasons of his career, and perhaps try fourth-round rookie Bobbie Massie on the left side. But it looks now like Massie, whom the Cards' coaches regard as a draft steal, will play the right side.

Gauging Glenn

Buffalo officials still think there is a chance that second-round offensive lineman Cordy Glenn can play left tackle, although many scouts contend that his best position is guard.

Trying to read Reed

Ravens officials regard the comments this week by safety Ed Reed, who suggested alternately that he had not fully committed to 2012 and then insisted that he wants to play several more years, as a contract play. The eight-time Pro Bowl defender is entering the final season of his contract and apparently feels his $7.2 million base salary is unsatisfactory.

... Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer feels that the Cincinnati line is one of the best young, deepest and unheralded units in the league.

... Look for Tennessee to play more man coverages in the secondary in 2012, and to increase its blitz ratio. The Titans traditionally have relied on their front four to generate pressure, but are expected to make some changes in that regard.

Happy 100th

Congratulations to Hall of Fame quarterback "Ace" Parker for celebrating his 100th birthday Thursday. Parker, inducted into the Canton shrine in 1972, is the only Hall of Fame member to celebrate his 100th birthday and, according to the folks at the Hall, only the fourth former NFL player in history to reach the milestone. According to the Hall, 12 Canton enshrines reached 90 years of age or better, including three current members.

... The Steelers are still in the market for some affordable veteran help on the offensive line and at linebacker, but are not likely, even with Rashard Mendenhall coming off knee surgery, to add a veteran running back.

... Russell Wilson, who was the 75th player selected last month, is the highest quarterback drafted by Seattle since the Seahawks tabbed Rick Mirer with the second overall choice in 1993.

... One more Wilson note: The Seahawks have noted several times that, while Wilson was the shortest of the 19 quarterbacks at the combine (by nearly 1 1/2 inches), he had a hand measurement of 10 1/4 inches. That was a bigger hand than 14 of the combine quarterbacks. The ability to wrap his fingers around the ball, however, might not compensate for the height deficiency.

Man in the middle

With the guilty verdict against Rolando McClain, in which he was sentenced to 180 days of jail, Oakland officials were said to be fishing around to see if there were any middle linebacker options, via trade or free agency, late in the week. McClain might play all or part of the season, but the Raiders are doing their due diligence, just in case.

The last word

"I don't buy it. I'm only speaking from my personal experience, because I haven't allowed myself to buy it, and I haven't been affected. Yes, I'm aware that football is a rough sport. But instead of saying, 'Oh, I'm doomed to brain trauma,' I said, 'What can I do about it?' And I just started taking care of my body. I found people, places and things that really helped me. Again, I don't know what's going to happen to me in 10 years, but I look at the other things I've learned about, and the way I see the world. And to me, it's like, 'OK, yes.' If we're going to spend six months brutalizing our bodies, I said, 'That makes sense. (So) I'm going to spend six months taking care of my body.' I started to equip myself with tools. I started practicing yoga, and I started learning some hands-on healing stuff. I found really good chiropractors and message therapists, and I found that I was able to peel off layers of trauma on my body. I actually move better now than I did (during my playing career)."

— former NFL tailback Ricky Williams, who played 11 seasons in the league, on the recent attention afforded concussions and head trauma.

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