DETROIT - The hype level is at an all-time high and the fans are anxious for the game to arrive. On the surface, everyone is talking about Seattle and Pittsburgh -- Joey Porter and Jerramy Stevens -- but a whole different world of action is happening, and we don't mean the kind found at casinos. The rumor mill has officially kicked into high gear during a week full of league meetings, celebrity parties, and more stories about Jerome Bettis than even the most diehard Detroit natives can stomach. Here are the quick hits from Super Bowl week you need to know:
Buffalo Bills - While many questioned the hiring of Dick Jauron as the new Buffalo Bills head coach, scout.com talked to a former Chicago Bears player at the Super Bowl this week that played under Jauron who felt otherwise.
"Dick is very smart. He's organized and the players respect him. You can count on their defense making a major improvement just like it did after he took over in Chicago" the player said. "You have to understand (general manager) Jerry Angelo wasn't his guy, he didn't hire him. That's why Dick was fired."
Arizona Cardinals - It was around this time last year that scout.com was the first to report that the Arizona Cardinals had targeted University of Miami cornerback Antrel Rolle with their first-round pick. At the Super Bowl this week, a league source told scout.com that the team has USC running back LenDale White high on their list to select with their first-round pick in April's draft. While the team hasn't given up on second-year running back J.J. Arrington, the coaching staff isn't sure if he's a starting caliber back for the future.
Kansas City Chiefs - The Philadelphia Soul of the Arena Football League has contacted wide receiver Freddie Mitchell, who signed with the team last year as a free agent but then was later released. In fact, team president Ron Jaworski told scout.com this week that he's contacted Mitchell six times to gauge what his interest would be to play for the team. League rules stipulate that non-kickers must play on offense and defense so that could be a stumbling block should Mitchell even be interested in playing in the league.
San Francisco 49ers - If the team decides to release oft-injured tight end Eric Johnson who enters the 2006 season on the final year of his contract, it's possible they turn their attention to Denver Broncos tight end Jeb Putzier. Johnson has missed two out of the last three seasons entirely due to injury and has only played two full seasons in his five of service.
The athletic Putzier has a roster bonus due on his contract in early March and if the Broncos don't pick it up and decide to part with Johnson, a league source believes San Francisco could have serious interest in signing Putzier.
New England Patriots - According to a league source, there's a very good chance that the 2006 season will not only be just running back Corey Dillon's last with the New England Patriots, but the last of his career. Speculation several weeks ago was that the team would release the 10-year veteran, but scout.com confirmed that his salary is fully guaranteed making it almost a certainty that Dillon will be with the team again. Because the 31-year old back broke down so much physically during the 2005 season, those who know Dillon well feel he won't hold up more than one more season and there's a good chance he'll retire after the 2006 season.
Oakland Raiders - There's an interesting rumor floating around the Super Bowl that defensive coordinator Rob Ryan could wind up coaching the team should the team not be able to hire Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt as the new Oakland Raiders head coach.
While Ryan becoming the team's head coach is a real long shot, the Raiders have found it difficult to find a suitable head man who actually wants the job.
Most head coaches want to pick their own coaches but owner Al Davis already reached a three-year agreement to bring Ryan back and reached deals with two other assistant coaches to remain with the team. That kind of situation makes the job much less attractive.
New Orleans Saints - According to league source, while the team says re-signing center LeCharles Bentley is a top priority, those close to the situation say they Bentley probably will be playing for a different team next season. It's not that the team doesn't want to bring him back; it's believed they won't offer him enough money to sign a long-term deal.
Seattle Seahawks - According to a source familiar with the negotiations with running back Shaun Alexander's contract situation, both sides remain very far apart on what they believe he should be paid.
The sides are said to be about $8-$9 million apart on the first three years of the deal which is reflective of the offer which was made before Senior Bowl week. The latest offer still isn't close to what Alexander is looking for. However, the source also pointed out that in the end, Alexander could choose to accept less money to remain with the team than another team would offer because he and his wife are happy living in the Seattle area.
Related: Earlier this past week, Patriots insider brought you an update on Dillon's status, including verification of his salary and guaranteed bonus. You can read more about Dillon's situation Here: