New York Jets
TE Chris Baker returned to the Jets for mandatory minicamp. Baker had skipped voluntary practices, but showed up for minicamp because he would be fined over $8,000 per day if he were absent.
"That's the only reason I'm here," Baker said. "The way things are right now, I don't have the desire to be out here."
Baker is set to make $863,500 this year, while backup Bubba Franks, signed as an unrestricted free agent in March, will make $1.65 million this season. Purdue's Dustin Keller, one of the Jets' two first-round picks, hasn't signed yet, but certainly will get a contract worth more than Baker's as a first-round selection.
Baker's four-year deal, which expires after next season, averages $1.65 million per season.
"I got a question for you," Baker said to media members. "Imagine if coach (Eric) Mangini was the third-highest paid coach on the staff. Think he'd be happy about that? Think he'd allow that to happen? That's how I feel."
WR Mike Walker was pronounced healthy enough to rejoin his teammates in the club's organized team activities.
Walker has been in the background since the Jaguars grabbed the former Central Florida receiver with a third-round pick in the 2007 college draft. He had posted impressive numbers as a senior with 94 receptions for over 1,000 yards despite having reconstructive knee surgery before the season. If his knee holds up, the Jaguars view Walker as part of the 2008 receiving corps.
"I felt pretty good out there, no problems. I didn't thing about it (the knee) at all," he said. "I've just been anxious and tired of watching.
"I thought I'd go out there rusty, dropping balls, kind of nervous. I haven't been out there in so long, I was just curious. Now I have a good picture of how I'm doing and where I'm at. I don't think I fell off too much."
CB Lito Sheppard was a no-show this week at the Eagles' voluntary full-squad minicamp, a clear indication that he still wants to be traded.
Sheppard, a two-time Pro Bowler, attended the team's mandatory minicamp last month, but skipped this one. He and backup guard Scott Young are the only two players not participating in the voluntary camp, which runs through June 11.
"That's his decision," said Eagles coach Andy Reid. "My focus is on the guys who are here. I don't think twice about it. We've got a lot of business to do.
"Guys who are here are getting extra practice time. That's the important thing. They are getting to better themselves. You prepare yourself for a successful season with a successful offseason. You can't slight that."
Sheppard, a two-time Pro Bowler who has missed 13 games over the last three seasons with injuries, has been unhappy with his contract situation since last year. He signed a long-term extension in 2004 that still has another four years to run.
DE Darren Howard pretty much has been a bust in his first two seasons with the Eagles since signing a six-year, $30 million deal with the team in March of 2006. But he hopes to change that this season.
Howard, who saw his playing time shrink to about 6-7 snaps a game last season, when he was used essentially as a pass-rushing tackle on obvious passing downs, has been working out hard in the offseason, adding strength and speed and slimming down to a chiseled 255 pounds, about 15 pounds lighter than his '07 playing weight.
"I always said I was going to do this," said Howard, 31. "I've always wanted to change my body around and work a little bit harder, try to get a little more muscle on my frame. This year, I just happened to do it. I don't know if there was a particular reason.
"It happens that I'm on a team where a lot of the defensive ends are 250-260. So I don't have to be big. When I played in New Orleans, we had ends who were 280-290. So I don't have to be big here, and the team is partial to smaller ends."
CB Pacman Jones was partially reinstated by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, meaning he can practice, participate in training camp and preseason games with the Cowboys.
Goodell will make a final decision on reinstatement by Sept. 1, six days before Dallas is scheduled to open the regular seasons against the Cleveland Browns.
"This limited reinstatement is a step in the process," Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones said in a statement released by the team. "Adam is aware of the things that need to be done in order to take the next step."
WR Terrell Owens signed a three-year, $27 million contract extension, including a $12.9 million signing bonus. Owens has 28 TD catches in two seasons with the Cowboys. He will be 35 in December, meaning he's likely to retire a Cowboy.
"Upon signing here, I never really knew what to expect," Owens said. "At this point today, I'm very happy. I know I'm a Cowboy for life. I couldn't be more ecstatic about what's going on now.
"This contract really, for a lot of people, it signifies money and they see dollar signs. But for me, it signifies commitment."
WR Terry Glenn hasn't passed a physical since before the end of last season. He missed 15 games because his right knee was operated on twice. The Cowboys have insisted on an injury setttlement of $500,000 being in place to protect the Cowboys from paying Glenn's full salary of $1.74 million in the event his knee doesn't hold up again. Glenn has refused to sign the waiver but will not be allowed to practice until he does.
LB Greg Ellis returned to practice on Wednesday after boycotting OTA workouts the past week because he was upset over the amount of reps he was getting. The Cowboys were taking a longer look at linebacker Anthony Spencer, which also saves some wear and tear on Ellis. Ellis didn't trust the Cowboys' motive and envisioned losing his role altogether. Ellis had a face-to-face meeting with coach Wade Phillips on Monday, paving the way for his return on Wednesday. Phillips said he told Ellis that it was important for him to be on the field working with his teammates.
CB Anthony Henry said he is open to moving to safety if it will be best for the team and prolong his career. The Cowboys could have a potential logjam at cornerback if Pacman Jones is reinstated. Jones could start opposite Newman, allowing Henry to possibly move to free safety. Henry played safety his first three years in college.
"At some point it could happen," Henry said. "I am not sure when. If they made the decision, I would be down (with the move). I think I will make the switch eventually. That's what I have in my mind and plan on doing at some point. I know it's something I could learn and play well. I understand it. Terence (Newman) got paid, they draft a corner in the first round and bring in Pacman. It does affect me. All I can do is play my best and try to be successful and let things fall where they fall."
FS Stuart Schweigert brings a lot of starting experience from Oakland. Schweigert started all but three games in his career since 2005 before he suffered a strained right calf in Week 12 last season. The Raiders signed Gibril Wilson as a free agent and have Michael Huff, a former first-round pick. Schweigert turned down offers from Atlanta, Denver, St. Louis and Tennessee to join the Redskins.
"It feels like a 1,000-pound bear has been lifted off my chest," Schweigert said. "I'm very excited. At the very least what I want is in December to have something to play for because the last four seasons our season has pretty much been over in November.
"I wanted to go to an organization that has a chance to win and this team definitely does," Schweigert added. "They're an aggressive defense. They're going to after the ball. They're going to create turnovers. They play with passion. That's something I'm about. That's how we played in Oakland, too. There's a lot of chemistry and energy out there."
CB Shawn Springs was the only absentee as the Redskins continued "voluntary" organized team activities on June 2 and 3. Springs has missed all of the "voluntary" portions of the offseason. While first-year coach Jim Zorn merely said that he still hadn't heard from Springs, defensive end Phillip Daniels blasted the cornerback, his teammate of eight seasons in Seattle and Washington.
"If there's no reason (for his absence) and I'm here, then be here, be a leader," Daniels said. "(Shawn)'s his own man. I'm a leader. I lead by example. I lead by being here. I'm not a rah-rah guy. He's not here to help us right now. ..."He's got to deal with the way people perceive him. I can only say to him, 'Get here. Be involved with this.' "
RB Clinton Portis, who was riddled by injuries from August 2006-August 2007, missed time last month with a hip flexor. The No. 1 running back was back on the field on June 2-3 but suffered a recurrence and was held out on June 4. Zorn termed it a minor setback.
LB Rian Wallace was waived by Washington.
CB Carlos Rogers won't be on the field for the start of the regular season according to the Redskins. Rogers has progressed, but the team is being cautious with the right knee in which Rogers tore the ACL and MCL on Oct. 28 last season. The former first-round pick has been on the sideline for organized team activities.
"It's hard because you know you can do things, you see how your leg's coming," said Rogers, who figures is knee about 80 percent recovered. "I'm breaking and cutting in individual drills so what's wrong with doing a walkthrough? I don't feel it cutting and breaking, doing all the DB drills ... They tell y'all that I won't be back until after the season starts, but the way my knee feel, I'm not going to miss no half a season. I'm on track to be out there for training camp. I know I'll be there first game. I'm not going to miss that."
WR Sidney Rice had a productive rookie season -- his four touchdown catches led the team -- and has added about eight pounds to his 6-4 frame. That would put him around 210 pounds.
"Anytime you get in the offseason lifting program and offseason conditioning program and then you're taking the time individually with a position coach every day to just learn some things that may not have been roped to you, I think you can't put a premium on that," coach Brad Childress said when discussing the development of the second-year players.
Rice impressed at recent OTAs. He has soft hands and is one of the team's best pure receivers. He can be a deep threat or cause matchup problems with his size.
OLT Bryant McKinnie, who faces four charges stemming from a Feb. 24 brawl outside a Miami nightclub and is scheduled for a June 20 court date, met with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell last weekend. McKinnie is a repeat offender of the league's personal conduct policy and, thus, could face disciplinary action.
DE/OLB Bertrand Berry worked out fully with the team Monday for the first time since suffering a season-ending triceps injury in 2007.
"It's always important to be healthy and feel a part of it," said Berry, a former Pro Bowler. "Going out there and getting some of the timing down and the rust off is important before camp."
QB Matt Leinart has been named the starter in Arizona, but the depth chart is very much subject to change.
"It's the same thing it was when I said it back at the end of the season," Coach Ken Whisenhunt said of the quarterback situation. "Matt's our starter. Kurt's going to be there pushing. It's going to be a tough job for Matt to keep because Kurt played at a high level for us last year. Kurt's been doing a lot of work in the offseason and he's looked sharp in these drills.
"It's competition. And it's not just at quarterback. It's every position on our team and that's the way you like to have it."
QB Kurt Warner proved last season that he'll be there if Matt Leinart falters. Coach Ken Whisenhunt, who reiterated that Leinart is the starter, isn't putting anything in stone. He said the job is a competition.
"That's basically what has been shared with me, that the best player's going to play and that's how I look at it, and I believe everybody else is looking at it the same way," Warner said. "I can only go on what I know and what I've been told. And with that, I'm going on the fact that I'm competing and I'm going to make every rep count and try to prove to these guys that I'm the best guy for the job."
WR Steve Breaston, a strong candidate to move into the No. 3 position with Bryant Johnson having moved along via free agency, has gained about five pounds, to 190, adding muscle to his upper body. Breaston's blazing speed is comparable to that of Johnson, making him a potentially strong complement to starters Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin.
"This is the hardest I've worked in my life, and I'm really seeing it," Breaston said.
Breaston spent most of his rookie season in 2007 as a return specialist.
"More than anybody from this team, I think Steve benefited from the offseason workouts here," Fitzgerald said. "It's really showing every day. He's trying to expand his role from just being a special teams guy to helping us on the offensive side."
WR Anquan Boldin wants a new contract. He skipped voluntary workouts and has given no indication that he will attend any voluntary practices.
WR Steve Johnson, a seventh-round pick out of Kentucky, is feeling good about his chances of making the roster. At least you have to admire his confidence. "I think there is opportunity everywhere," he said. "God puts you in places where you can prosper. So yes, there is opportunity everywhere. So all you have to do is keep on doing, going hard, have a hard work attitude, and believing in God and anything can happen from there."
CB Kennard Cox has signed his rookie contract. Cox was one of Buffalo's three seventh-round picks.
CB Ashton Youboty, the former Ohio State star and 2006 third-round pick whose career has yet to take off has been lost in the shuffle with the Bills. He could wind up as trade fodder if injuries strike another position, and the Cleveland Browns are rumored as a suitor.
RB Marshawn Lynch was wanted for questioning by Buffalo police as to why a 2008 Porsche SUV registered in his name was involved in a hit-and-run incident involving a 27-year-old woman at 3:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 31, in Buffalo's entertainment district. The victim suffered bruises to both hips and needed seven stitches but is otherwise OK.
Lynch's SUV was placed at the scene by eyewitnesses and later found parked in his driveway with damage to the passenger side, reports said. While the team referred questions to Lynch's legal counsel, police held a news conference to address reporters' questions.
A police spokesman called Lynch a "key figure" in the investigation.
"I think it's fair to say that, if Mr. Lynch was not driving the vehicle, he probably has a pretty good idea who was," Buffalo police spokesman Michael J. DeGeorge said last Tuesday. "At no point has Mr. Lynch reported his vehicle had been stolen that police are aware of."
Lynch's SUV was impounded but police had not determined if the player was the driver or even in the vehicle. They were confident charges would be filed in the case.
"Charges are going to be filed at some point," DeGeorge said. "No question about that."
DT Marcus Stroud didn't look in OTA workouts like a player with ankle problems, which was his history in Jacksonville and a reason the three-time Pro Bowl tackle was available in trade. That's good news for the Bills, who need his playmaking in the middle of the defense. Stroud seems eager to set a tone.
"They practice playing fast and running to the ball and that's exactly how we're going to start off and hopefully we'll finish just like that," Stroud said.
And the ankle?
"It's not a question for me. I feel pretty good," he said. "I feel pretty good moving around. I was running to the ball. I'm excited. I'm optimistic."
OLT Jason Peters, angling for a new contract, remained a no-show for the Bills third and final week of organized team activities. "Well, we would like to have him here, but as you all know, it's voluntary," coach Dick Jauron said. "So we certainly can't force anybody to come. We've had great participation and great attendance, so well just keep moving. It's not affecting our progress. It's not affecting our progress at all. Obviously, we would like to have him here."
DT Shaun Rogers came at some cost to the Browns, but the early reviews are that Cleveland made a wise investment. Rogers had three added years on his contract for a total package of six years and $42 million. Coach Romeo Crennel said the trade could not have been made if the Browns hadn't given Rogers the extension.
"Shaun is a physical specimen," Crennel said. "He's got good size, good strength. I think he'll be hard to handle one-on-one, which will force some double teams.
"From time to time he'll be able to penetrate versus one guy, so I'm encouraged by what I see. His attitude has been good. He's been working. No problems, a smile on his face."
QB Derek Anderson has the security of a long-term contract, but there's no time for rest with former first-round pick Brady Quinn nipping at Anderson's heels for playing time. Anderson has been working on completing more passes to his left. He is trying to refine other aspects of his passing as well. For one, Anderson wants to be more accurate.
Anderson was ranked 17th among quarterbacks last year. His 29 touchdown passes was fifth highest, but only three quarterbacks, all with 20 (including Eli Manning of the Super Bowl champion Giants) threw more than the 19 interceptions Anderson threw. Anderson completed 298 of 527 passes, a 56.5 completion rate. He was the only quarterback in the top 24 to complete less than 60 percent of his passes.
"The two major things with Derek are opening his hips throwing to his left and not changing his arm slot when he throws underneath," QB coach Rip Scherer said. "We want him to release the ball at the same level, just take a little speed off it. Those are mechanical things he's real receptive to. He works on them every day with me after practice."
OLB Kamerion Wimbley will get rest at times in 2008. He was on the field for 99 percent of the defensive plays last year. The coaches believe he will be more effective if they can keep him fresh.
ILB D'Qwell Jackson has been one of the most impressive players in OTA sessions. He has been flying to the ball. There is no tackling, but Jackson looks sure of himself. If nothing changes he and Andra Davis will be the starting inside linebackers in the season opener.
New York Giants
DL Renaldo Wynn signed with the Giants completing a move that has been in the works for some time. Wynn was formerly a first-round draft pick by Tom Coughlin, the Giants' head coach, when he filled the same role in Jacksonville. That was 1997, and the Notre Dame product earned several All-Rookie nominations and spent five seasons with the Jaguars.
He is going to be 34 years old before the season starts, and while he was interviewed in mid-May, he wasn't signed until June 1 had passed so as not to allow his signing to have a negative impact on compensatory draft picks awarded by the NFL to teams that have lost veteran players.
SLB Mathias Kiwanuka, who suffered a fractured fibula last Nov. 18 in a game against Detroit and missed the remainder of the regular season and playoffs, is fully healed and says he's just "happy to be back on the field." The signing of Renaldo Wynn may put off a projected return to DE for "Kiwi," who was moved to SLB prior to the start of training camp in 2007.
TE Jeremy Shockey hasn't been seen around the team since the Super Bowl, but he is, according to general manager Jerry Reese, "the starting tight end of the New York Giants."
The big test is coming next Wednesday, when the Giants open their first and only mandatory minicamp at Giants Stadium. All players must be there or have a legitimate reason why not. And at the moment, Shockey has no such excuse. His fractured fibula with accompanying ankle involvement has healed and is being checked down there in south Florida, where he lives and trains.
QB Rex Grossman is coming off an inconsistent 2007 season when he was benched early for poor play but performed better when given a second chance, although not well enough to be given the starting job. He's sharing first-team snaps with Kyle Orton in the offseason and the starter won't be named until well into training camp.
"I think I have a little bit of a chip on my shoulder striving to prove myself in this league and get myself over that hump to become a great quarterback in this league consistently," said Grossman, who has often mixed exceptional and horrendous games throughout his first five seasons. "I'm working as hard as I can to get there. There's a lot in front of me, but I feel I can handle everything that's thrown at me."
LB Brian Urlacher increased his chances for a contract extension by showing up for mandatory minicamp. But, even though he led the team with 158 tackles last season and seemed to move without restrictions during Friday's unpadded workout, the Bears still aren't expected to add much to their latest offer. Urlacher battled through an arthritic back last season, was not voted to the Pro Bowl for just the second time in his eight-year career and then had postseason neck surgery, although he said he was fine physically. He wouldn't confirm that there was any ulterior motive to his presence.
"I'm supposed to be here," he said. "I'm not trying to send any message. It's a mandatory team function and we're supposed to be here. I came here to practice just the same as any year in the past. I wasn't here for the first couple OTAs, but I'm here for the main practices that I'm supposed to be here for."
Asked if stalled negotiations had been rekindled, Urlacher said: "Next question please."
RB Brian Calhoun has battled through a frustrating spate of injuries and logged just 11 games in two seasons. He suffered a torn ACL as a rookie and didn't fully recover last season.
"It's not sore," Calhoun said. "It's not tired. I mean, I feel great. My legs feel good. ... I really feel more confident in my knee than last year."
Calhoun said he began his offseason training earlier this year, the first week of February. He is taking better care of his body, stretching and warming up properly, eating better. After bulking up the past couple of years, he's back down to his old playing weight of 208 pounds, but a leaner, stronger 208 pounds.
"I haven't felt this good since I came out of college a couple years ago," Calhoun said.
WR Roy Williams missed a recent string of voluntary OTAs, and he said weather in Texas prevented him from making the trip two straight days. On the third, Williams said, he booked his airline ticket for the wrong date. Williams denies his absence was a ploy for a new contract and added he's always open to discussing a new deal.
"I'm like 7-Eleven, baby," he said. "I'm always open. Even on the field."
But the Lions have not approached him about an extension.
For months, there have been reports and rumors about the Lions looking to trade Williams and Williams wanting to play for the Cowboys. Coach Rod Marinelli said they wouldn't trade Williams, and they haven't. Williams maintains he would like to stay in Detroit.
Asked if he ever went to president Matt Millen, Williams cut off the question by saying: "No. Nope. Nope."
DT Shaun Cody had a hard time forgetting about football in the offseason.
Coach Rod Marinelli made sure of it, calling Cody every week with a reminder. Sometimes it was a quick chat. Sometimes it was just a voice mail. "'You know, Shaun, you don't need to call me back. I just want to leave you with this,' " Cody said. "Then he'll drop you some jewel or nugget of pass-rushing wisdom. ... It was different every week. But he's always trying to remind you -- football, football, football." When was the craziest time Marinelli called? Late one night in February, when Cody was out to dinner with his girlfriend at a nice restaurant in southern California. "Just when they were putting on the candles," Cody said, laughing. "No."
Green Bay Packers
OG Allen Barbre is champing at the bit to win the left guard job. He was a developmental player as a rookie last year after being taken in the fourth round of the draft out of Division II Missouri Southern State. He appeared in only nine games last season, primarily on special teams. The converted left tackle might be Green Bay's most athletic lineman. Combined with the sturdier frame -- Barbre gained 16 pounds of lean muscle mass in the past year -- he has now and a better understanding of the blocking schemes, the much-anticipated, supposedly friendly battle with starter Daryn Colledge could swing Barbre's way.
OG Daryn Colledge, a second-round draft pick in 2006, is competing with Allen Barbre for the starting left guard spot. Colledge managed to start 30 of a possible 34 games (including playoffs) his first two years despite playing with fits of inconsistency as a blocker. He's lost his job in the past and had to fight to win it back each of the last two seasons, so being put on the spot again is old hat.
"That's fine," Colledge said of the competition with Barbre. "It's good for us, good for the team, keeps me on my toes. This is definitely not my job to have. I am not a (right tackle Mark) Tauscher or (left tackle Chad) Clifton or (center Scott) Wells yet. But, I'm trying to get to that point. Hopefully, we can push each other to that kind of success. But, for right now, we'll share the reps and work hard."
RB Noah Herron took matters into his own hands in dodging a harrowing situation at his Green Bay-area home in the late evening May 30. Herron used a bed post to wallop one of two alleged intruders during an attempted break-in. The injured suspect was hospitalized, while the other suspect was arrested outside Herron's home.
"Noah Herron used necessary, reasonable and justifiable force in protecting his life and property," Brown County (Wis.) Sheriff Dennis Kocken said in a statement.
The incident occurred six months after Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor suffered a fatal gunshot wound to his leg during a burglary at his home in Florida.
Herron, 26, continued to practice in organized team activities in the days following his tense ordeal.
"That's a tough situation, and he handled it probably the best he could," head coach Mike McCarthy said. "It's a tough time."
Herron, a versatile backup, is making a comeback this year after he missed the entire 2007 season because of a knee injury.
QB Brett Favre will be honored by the Packers with a personal gift. GM Ted Thompson disclosed a plan to disassemble Favre's locker stall in the team's Lambeau Field locker room and ship it to his home in Mississippi.
The removal and delivery of the wooden locker isn't expected to happen until after the Packers have their minicamp later in June but before training camp commences in late July.
"It's frankly an excellent idea that Ted Thompson and the organization had as far as a gift on a personal note to Brett," coach Mike McCarthy said. "It's been discussed with Brett, and we can talk about it at later date.
"I thought it's a classy move and something that definitely reflects how the Green Bay Packers do business and how they appreciate what Brett Favre has done in his career."
In the interim, the "Favre" nameplate above the locker was removed and replaced with "Packers." Having the Favre name attached to the locker was an unwelcome topic of discussion at the outset of organized team activities in late May for Favre's successor, Aaron Rodgers.
TE Jermichael Finley, a third-round draft pick, had to leave practice June 4. Finley was hurt in a midair collision as he tried to catch a pass against the defense of linebacker Desmond Bishop and safety Aaron Rouse.
The team initially feared that Finley suffered an injury to his right shin or ankle. Finley, though, said he had the wind knocked out of him when his knee hit his chest and felt he wouldn't have to miss any significant time in offseason workouts the rest of the month.
LT Chad Clifton has been held out for most of the OTAs as a precautionary measure. The ninth-year veteran has experienced knee troubles the past couple years. Orrin Thompson has been filling in for Clifton with the starting unit.
DE Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila will be sidelined until the start of training camp in late July after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery May 29.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
TE Jerramy Stevens' signing with the Buccaneers drew the ire of Bucs' fans.
"I don't feel it's a good use of my time to focus on that, so I'm doing everything I can to try and go forward," Stevens said. "It's not surprising to me."
"It's a fan's right to try and understand what's going on. The fact that I play for the Buccaneers and the fans in the community are concerned, I understand that. ... The only way I can move forward and become a better person and stay that way is to keep my eyes focused forward and not backtrack and talk about these things that happened and I learned from."
General manager Bruce Allen said the club was aware of Stevens' history and asked him about it prior to signing him to a one-year contract in 2007.
QB Jeff Garcia is not going to quit grumbling about his contract status.
The Bucs' QB has been very vocal that he wants an extension and believes the team needs to make up for more than $1 million he lost in playing incentives when they 'rested' him several games last season.
Garcia was at it again last week on NFL Serius Radio and even hinted at retirement.
"It would be really difficult for me to go through the season and not have something done," Garcia said. "I would really like to see the appreciation put out there.
"For me to go into this season and if it doesn't work itself out, if a contract is not presented as far as a renewal and a chance to finish my career here, then I will seriously think about ... what my alternate options may be. It may come to not even playing football anymore. And I'd hate to even say that, but I feel like when you mistreat people there comes a time when it doesn't matter how much money you're going to be paid. If you're not being treated the right way it's going to lead to some drastic decisions and those decisions may just take me away from the game."
St. Louis Rams
PK Josh Brown was signed on the first day of free agency when longtime kicker Jeff Wilkins retired. Said Brown, "Jeff left a great amount of space to fill. He did a great job for a long time. I just want to concentrate on carrying on what I've already learned and what I've started to accomplish and the reputation I already have. Jeff played here for a long time, and he will be missed, but I'm kind of glad the job is open."
Coach Scott Linehan said it was fortunate Brown was available and the Rams were able to move quickly to get him signed.
"It is nice, I can tell you that," Linehan said. "I think this thing about 'Wilky' and what he meant to this team and the whole thing with him retiring with all of the emotions we went through during the offseason was sad.
"It was really sad to see his career come to an end. To have Josh come in and fill his role is a bittersweet kind of a deal, but it is nice to have Josh here. I'm glad we had a chance to replace Jeff with a guy of his caliber, that's for sure."
WR Drew Bennett, a starter with the Titans who had just 33 receptions for 375 yards and three touchdowns in 2007 after signing a six-year free-agent contract that was worth $30 million, is eager to put last year's disappointment behind him. Bennett was signed to be the No. 3 receiver, but his season got off to a bad start when he injured a quad muscle just before the season opener. Later in the season, he was hampered by a bad hamstring.
Said Bennett, "I wanted to go out there and run, and I couldn't. There's no good feeling going to sleep when you're in that situation, where you're beat up a little bit and you're not playing as much as you want to and the team's not doing well.
"It was an extremely frustrating season ... extremely frustrating. Especially, I think everything's magnified when you're 3-13."
WR Chad Johnson, acting as a guest columnist for a national magazine, used the platform to say he'd be back with the Bengals as early as June. That doesn't mean he'll be thrilled about it. He has said he is frustrated with the losing climate.
"If we want to be like Indy and New England, we have to pay for difference-makers on defense," Johnson writes for ESPN the Magazine. "Our offense is fine. But if they're fussing about paying me, a guy among the league's best, you know damn well the Bengals aren't (going to) give the defense what it needs. So I just said, 'If we aren't (going to) do what we need to do to win, can I please leave?' It's simple. I just told (them): 'If y'all won't change then I have to.'"
DT Jason Shirley remained unavailable for OTAs. He was in Fresno, Calif., where a jury was expected to return a verdict this week (June 5 or 6) on three misdemeanor counts related to Shirley's DUI and another traffic-related arrest last fall. He was the team's fifth-round pick.
OT Willie Anderson returned Tuesday and was on the field again Wednesday, the only offseason workout this week the media is allowed to attend.
Limited to seven games and five starts because of heel and knee injuries in 2007, during which his 116-games started streak was snapped, Anderson said that he just wanted to prove he could still walk.
Anderson, who will turn 33 next month and is entering his 13th NFL season, is working behind Stacy Andrews at right tackle. Anderson said he was unable to return earlier to Cincinnati from his home in Atlanta because of undisclosed family issues.
"It's going to be an up-in-the-air decision," Anderson said of his depth-chart status. "It's in my mind right now that Stacy is going to be in the first group. We'll see what happens."
TE John Carlson, who the team projects as the starter, has been restricted by a sore hamstring in this minicamp.
S C.J. Wallace could not participate in this minicamp because he had an appendectomy on May 29 in Sacramento and was told he could not fly for a week.
WR Nate Burleson could be the team's starting split end. If so, he likely won't have as many -- or any -- return duties like he did last season. "He's a valuable special teams player and he's good for us, but if he is our starting split end I might have to reevaluate that," Mike Holmgren said. "Then I have to see if someone can do what he did. We are working on that."
RB Justin Forsett has impressed in minicamps with his speed, but because he is undersized and because the team added so many backs in the offseason, it seems unlikely Forsett will crack the rotation should he make the team.
DT Red Bryant has stood out more than anybody in the most recent minicamp. One day, he broke into the backfield and sent rookie RB Justin Forsett flying even though it is a non-contact camp. Another he nearly squared off with an offensive lineman. And in a third, he bull-rushed center Steve Vallos so hard he almost bent Vallos over backward.
RB Julius Jones will get the bulk of the carries, in part because Jones possesses the versatility that Shaun Alexander never had.
Besides being a downhill runner, Jones can also catch passes out of the backfield and is not afraid to block.
"Julius, he appears to have good quickness, good hands ... the right guy," coach Mike Holmgren said. "I don't see any downside to him. I think that will work out fine."
WR Justin Gage tied for the team lead in receptions last season with 55, good for a team-best 750 yards and two of the team's nine receiving TDs. The Titans showed how much they valued the receiver by signing him to a four-year, $14 million contract in February, a deal that included $6.5 million in guarantees.
"I know things are going to be different," he said. "Defenses will focus on me more, and it's going to make it tougher. But at the same time, it is not as much pressure as trying to make a roster spot, wondering, 'If I mess up, are they going to cut me?'
"Now I can just go out there and have fun."
S Adam Archuleta visited the Titans on June 5.
S Deke Cooper was among several free-agent defensive backs who visited the Titans on June 5.
Kansas City Chiefs
QB Brodie Croyle is the Chiefs' incumbent starter, but he's not ready to call Kansas City his team.
Asked again last week when he would know for sure that this is "his team, his huddle," Croyle gave the only answer possible.
"When we start winning football games," he replied evenly.
"That's when people will start believing it," he added. "You can only believe in something so much until you go out and prove it. I can have the best OTAs and mini-camps I can possibly have, have a great training camp, even a great preseason, but it doesn't really mean much until you start winning football games.
"Only then is the offense going to hang on every word you say because you're the quarterback. You don't really call it your team, your huddle until you go out and win."
OT Will Svitek, who has done little but individual drills this spring while recovering from offseason cleanup surgery, insists he'll be fully operational when training camp rolls around. But his position as a backup tackle is being challenged by a strong OTA effort by draftee Barry Richardson, who is getting some first-team reps when veteran Damion McIntosh does not work in team drills.
WR Javon Walker had just 26 catches with the Broncos last season, but that didn't prevent the Raiders from forking over $16 million in guaranteed money to their presumptive No. 1 receiver. Oakland won't get a full look at Walker until training camp. His knee isn't 100 percent and he didn't arrive at minicamp in top condition.
"Javon's a little heavy right now so we're going to continue to this offseason to get him down by training camp and the regular season, the final thing that counts," coach Monte Kiffin said. "He's picking up the offense fine but we've got a long way to go."
WR Drew Carter, signed as a free agent from the Carolina Panthers, has been Oakland's most consistent offseason receiver.
Coach Lane Kiffin said Carter has been the first to develop the sort of relationship in terms of timing and familiarity with Russell that will be crucial to the Oakland offense.
"I've got to get a good rapport with JaMarcus and right now I feel that way," Carter said. "Since Day 1, it's been me and him out there, catching. I know I feel comfortable with him and I hope he feels that way with me."
Besides a chance at playing time, Carter said the possibility of playing with Russell was part of the reason he signed with Oakland. Getting used to Russell's powerful throwing arm after the softer tosses of Jake Delhomme in Carolina hasn't been difficult, Carter said.
"You're waiting on the ball, you're not really stagnant," Carter said. "When you're coming out of your break the ball is already there. It helps, because you don't really want to wait for a ball with a defensive back on your back or have to slow down on a deep ball."
LB Edgerton Hartwell has been working in the middle, backing up Kirk Morrison. Signed as a free agent after stops in Atlanta and Cincinnati, Hartwell is trying to regain the form that made him a prized free agent after playing in Baltimore.
Lane Kiffin wants to see how Hartwell holds up physically before being too enthused.
"We signed Ed to a minimum contract to give him a chance," Kiffin said. "We haven't set expectations, we're giving him a chance to make the team. He hasn't played in awhile so we'll let him take it as far as he can take it."
RB Darren McFadden continued to impress as Kiffin experimented with different wrinkles, including splitting the rookie occasionally as a wideout and pairing him with Michael Bush in the same backfield.
"You don't want to do too much with him too soon, but he's picking things up so fast they're coming easy to him," Kiffin said. We researched him, but you never really know how long it takes guys to learn things. It's really easy for him right now. I've got to monitor how much we're doing with him because we're doing a lot right now."
During the mandatory minicamp, visitors included McFadden's father and stepmother, as well as his agent Ian Greengross, who began preliminary contract talks with Raiders exec Marc Badain.
McFadden seems pleased that there is little or no rookie hazing.
"Coming in as a high drafted rookie, you would think some of the guys would despise you a little bit, but with me, I feel like all the veteran players have been taking me in and making me very comfortable," McFadden said.
RB LaMont Jordan agreed the running back would not take part in the mandatory camp while the club tried to work out a trade. If the Raiders can't find a trade partner, Jordan will be released.
"We released LaMont from his on-field activities," Kiffin said. "We're pursing some other options with him ... LaMont hasn't been here for the offseason program and the last thing we want to do for him or ourselves is for LaMont to come out here and get hurt today."
Jordan's contract calls for $4.7 million this season and $5 million in 2009. When he is cut or traded, the Raiders are on the hook for $1.4 million in bonus acceleration in each of the next two seasons.
CB Nnamdi Asomugha has spoken to coach Lane Kiffin, who said he expected him to be at the team's mandatory minicamp for moral support.
Asomugha has not signed his exclusive franchise free agent tender as his agent Steve Baker attempts to negotiate a long-term contract, one which would probably meet or exceed the deal with $24.5 million in guaranteed money received by DeAngelo Hall.
However, Asomugha did not appear at the minicamp at all. Kiffin did not appear concerned.
"Nnamdi is a guy who has always been in shape, but we'd love to have him around to complete our team," Kiffin said.
QB Kevin Kolb has unofficially been bumped ahead of A.J. Feeley on the depth chart at quarterback. Kolb has been taking the bulk of the reps with the No. 2 offense at the team's two-week voluntary minicamp. "I've seen improvement (in Kolb)," coach Andy Reid said. "And right now, he has a seasoned veteran ahead of him (Donovan McNabb) and another one behind him (Feeley). He has a lot of knowledge there to draw from and learn from. He's competing right now. That No. 2 spot allows him to get a few more reps than what A.J. might get in the third spot."
OG Scott Young isn't at the voluntary camp, and the reason is unclear. His agent, Jeff Courtney, said he had "personal reasons" for not attending. It's believed that Young may be trying to get the team to release him so that he could sign with another club. "You'd like to think a guy would want to come in and take on a challenge," club president Joe Banner said. "It's hard to get into his head -- if you (don't like your chances of making the team this year), you still want to be working and getting better as a football player."
RB Jerious Norwood has been identified as a weapon by previous coaches, but it seems new offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey and head coach Mike Smith have devised a scheme to finally take advantage of the 5-11, 204-pound speed-burner who's averaged 7.7 yards each time he's touched the ball.
"The coaches are putting me in a variety of spots in a variety of sets," Norwood said. "They're going to line me up at receiver, running back, shoot, maybe some quarterback. They're going to put me in some one-on-one matchups to get me in the open field."
Norwood has 202 carries for 1,246 total yards. All three of his rushing touchdowns have come on runs of more than 60 yards. Surprisingly, the sure-handed Mississippi product has just 40 catches for 379 yards.
In theory, Norwood will back up starter Michael Turner, who Atlanta signed to a six-year, $39.5 million contract to leave San Diego. In reality, he could be in the backfield with Turner. Then things could get fun. He could remain set, go in motion and operate out of the slot or even end up as a wideout.
Whatever matchup he gets, he'll either have a size or speed advantage on the person trying to defend him.
"He's a guy that can cause all kinds of problems for defensive coordinators," Smith said. "Not strictly because of his speed but because of the potential matchup problems he can create. Jerious is a special athlete that can do a number of different things."
TE Ben Hartsock was signed as a free agent from Tennessee to start at tight end after the release of Alge Crumpler, there were no misgivings about how different the new coaching staff planned to utilize that position.
Hartsock would, in essence, be a third offensive tackle, unlike Crumpler, who was a third receiver. Yet, pigeon holing Hartsock would prove too easy to scheme against, with defenses pretty much knowing when he was on the field, Atlanta was either going to run or use Hartsock as a pass protector.
So to mask their plans, the Falcons are unmasking Hartsock and working on involving a player with 24 catches in his four-year career into a downfield receiving threat.
"I've run more one-on-one routes and had more one-on-one coaching on route running this spring than I have in my entire career in the NFL," said Hartsock, whose played for the Colts and Titans. "It's been extremely beneficial and it works two-fold. It gives me an opportunity to hone in on an area that I need to improve on but it also gives the coaches and front office an opportunity to see whether I can be called upon in games."
CB Chris Houston returned to OTA drills this week after missing the past 2 1/2 weeks with a knee bruise. In a move that sent a message to all players, the new coaching staff did not insert Houston back into his regular role as the starting right corner. Instead, rookie Chevis Jackson is working with the starting unit for now.
Though Houston likely will return as the starter, coaches not simply giving his job back to him upon his return fortified the message that every position is up for competition and if you want it, you have to earn it.
PK Jason Elam has missed several OTA workouts with the permission of the team. Elam had a personal trip planned well before signing a free-agent contract with the Falcons and it was considered a non-issue once offseason workouts kicked off. Coach Mike Smith said even if Elam were at OTA workouts, he would be doing very little, if any, kicking.
"We're not doing a whole lot of field goal work anyway," Smith said. "Jason knows how he to be prepared. He'll be ready. This is not his first rodeo."
WR Michael Jenkins, a former first-round draft pick, was moved into the top three rotation of receivers out of necessity with Roddy White hobbled and Joe Horn MIA, and the big target seems to be making the most of the opportunity.
Jenkins reminded the new coaching staff that he is a very good blocker in the running game and, at 6-4, a dangerous receiving threat inside the 10-yard line. Jenkins has caught 10 touchdowns in the past two seasons, more than any other wide receiver on the team.
Even so, Jenkins appeared slotted to be the No. 4 WR, even after Horn decided to stay away following the team's second mini-camp, which came after the draft. White and Laurent Robinson were the top two WRs and third-round draft pick Harry Douglas was being used in the slot.
OT Jeff Otah went through his first practice as a professional this past week as the Panthers opened their second week of summer school sessions at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte. Prior to Monday the 6-foot-6, 340-pound Otah had been working on the side with trainers rehabbing a high ankle sprain that he initially injured last August while at the University of Pittsburgh.
As expected, Otah stepped right in and began working with the first team at right tackle ahead of Jeremy Bridges. To say Otah was dominant would be incorrect.
The team isn't practicing in pads and there's limited contact, so there's only so much an offensive lineman can do at this time of the year to make an impact. And second, Otah looked a little slow reacting to certain blocking assignments, although that's probably to be expected given his late start.
"It felt good to finally get out there," Otah said. "Things move a little faster than in college out there. You know what you're doing, but you have to get it in your head a little faster so that you can react."
Otah said last week the time he spent in the team's meeting room was valuable. And clearly he was anxious to get on the field and make a good impression on his teammates.
"You know, when you look at your playbook, you know your plays.
"It's a little different when you've got to get out there and know them like that," Otah said as he snapped his fingers, "and know audibles like that."
DE Tyler Brayton, another former first-round draft pick, lined up across from Jeff Otah on most of plays.
"He's big. He's strong. (But) it was his first day. I can't imagine that's very easy. And it's always tough on the first day," Brayton said.
WR D.J. Hackett returned to practice on Wednesday after missing two days with inflammation in his knee. Hackett continues to work as the No. 3 receiver for the Panthers behind apparent starters Steve Smith and Muhsin Muhammad.
"It swelled up on me, but nothing is hurt," Hackett said.
Hackett, who spent his last four seasons with the Seattle Seahawks, said he's picking up Carolina's offensive scheme pretty well.
"Everything is going good," Hackett said. "I'm figuring everything out with the offense, the timing and everything. I think things are going good."
FS Terrence Holt signed with Carolina this offseason and for a while looked like a potential starter at free safety. But the Panthers selected Charles Godfrey from Iowa in the third round of April's NFL draft and immediately plugged him in to work with the first team defense.
Not that Holt is willing to concede the job.
"I think being in my sixth year I know how to handle that now," Terrence said. "I think those situations make you a better player. I'm just working on myself being the best player I can be and I think the depth chart will take care of itself."
New Orleans Saints
DE Will Smith, who is seeking a contract extension, attended his first voluntary workout of the offseason last week.
Smith, who is entering the final year of his contract, missed the first 2 1/2 months of the club's offseason program while he and his agent try to work out a new deal with the team.
Smith reported to and participated in a mandatory three-day minicamp the previous weekend and stuck around for team meetings when the Saints resumed organized team activities (OTAs).
Smith, however, did not take part in any on-field work because of a sore toe. Still, Saints coach Sean Payton saw Smith's presence as an encouraging sign as Smith and agent Joel Segal. Payton said both sides "are working through the contract and trying to sort things out."
CB Jerametrius Butler signed with the Saints after he took part in the veteran minicamp on a tryout basis.
Butler is an eight-year NFL veteran who played six years with the St. Louis Rams before moving to the Buffalo Bills last season. A fifth-round draft pick of the Rams, he has played in 71 regular-season games with 32 starts. He led the Rams in interceptions in both 2003 and '04.
C Marquay Love signed with the Saints after a minicamp tryout.
San Francisco 49ers
OT Barry Sims is scheduled to work out for the 49ers on Monday at the team's practice facility in Santa Clara. Sims, a nine-year veteran, started 119 games for the Raiders, mostly at left tackle.
The 49ers are thin with proven players at offensive tackle. The club added to its roster by signing journeyman Alan Reuber last week. Behind presumptive starters Joe Staley and Jonas Jennings is rookie Chilo Rachal, who was drafted in the second round as a guard. The 49ers decided to try Rachal at tackle during their current organized team activities.
San Francisco 49ers
WR Arnaz Battle was a surprise no-show for the 49ers' the past two seasons. He had 50 catches for 600 yards and five touchdowns last season for an offense that averaged just 145.0 yards passing per game.
All the 49ers' receivers should see increased production this season. Martz features a wide-open passing attack with an emphasis on multi-receiver formations. As offensive coordinator of the Detroit Lions last season, the club's third wideout, Mike Furrey, caught 61 passes for 664 yards.
CB Will Allen said the recently reported dispute he had over money with an unnamed party outside a Bed, Bath & Beyond is over as far as he is concerned, but the Davie Police Department PIO said the matter is still under investigation and could drag on until the end of July. No charges have been made.
DT Kory Robertson was placed on the retired list after the undrafted rookie out of Virginia Tech told the Dolphins and his agent Tony Paige that he didn't have, "the fire," to pursue an NFL career.
RB Ricky Williams was lauded by coach Tony Sparano for his work ethic and his positive effect on backfield partner Ronnie Brown, who is ahead of schedule in his rehabilitation of a torn ACL. Said Sparano, "He finishes every run. I think that's important. Within his individual drills, I see the guy working hard to get better during these individual periods. I think the guy shows up each day and has a purpose when he practices. He wants to get better at something each and every day. When you sit down and you talk to him, he'll tell you those things. I like where he is right now. He's used this offseason very well. We're at the end of 10 weeks or whereabouts, or into the 11th week right now of this offseason program and he has been at every workout, which is going to be really good, I think, for him down the road and for us."
Williams, who turned 31 recently, is concerned that his drug suspensions have tainted his legacy for his children. "I've kind of given up on that," he said. "I'm more worried about my legacy just in a bigger picture, as far as setting myself up for post-football. Going back to school and getting a job, a real job, and raising my children."
CB Michael Lehan, who started a career-high 14 games last year, crumpled to the turf in the indoor bubble after trying to knock down a long pass to wide receiver Derek Hagan. Hagan dropped the ball and Lehan might've dislocated his right ankle. It's too soon to predict how long Lehan will be sidelined, but early August would be optimistic.
New England Patriots
TE David Thomas' mere presence on the practice field for the team's passing camps last week was an encouraging sign. The New England third-year player, whose second NFL season was interrupted early by a foot injury, is still mending, but clearly making progress. He credited the Patriots' training staff, particularly head trainer Jim Whalen and strength and conditioning coach Mike Woicik, with helping him recover to this point in the offseason.
"I think the offseason is important every year, whether you're injured or not. Just to work on the things that'll make you a better player. The little things," he observed. "The best thing you can do every year is just work as hard as you can in the offseason to be as healthy as you can and as strong as you can and be mentally prepared for everything."
OT Oliver Ross signed with the Patriots June 2. The 33-year-old is a 10-year veteran who made a name for himself in Pittsburgh from 2000-04 before three difficult seasons with the Cardinals over the last three years. The 6-4, 327-pound Iowa State product missed all of last season with a triceps injury.
Ross adds veteran experience to an already deep New England line. The Patriots return all five starters from a year ago as well as four experienced backups. Ross has played both guard and tackle over his career, but his best seasons have come as a right tackle with the Steelers. He adds to that spot in New England that's become a bit more precarious with the recent revelation that starter Nick Kaczur has been involved with a DEA sting revolving around his illegal purchase of prescription painkillers, which could hurt his standing with the team and could lead to repercussions in the NFL's substance abuse program.
DB Willie Andrews spoke during the team's recent passing camp work, addressing his Feb. 5 arrest and subsequent charge of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. The case was continued without finding on May 9, after Andrews reportedly admitted to sufficient facts for a guilty finding.
"It's a dead issue. It's over," Andrews said walking off the field after practice. "It's not brought up out here and I know it won't be brought up out here. It's just back to work now."
The special teamer said he spoke wit coach Bill Belichick the day after the arrest and that he's received support from his coach and organization. In the end he is aware that he made a mistake.
"Of course. It was a situation I shouldn't have been in in the first place, but we all make mistakes and you got to learn from those," Andrews said. "I just hated that it had to be that type of situation for me to learn from, but that's the hand I was dealt, so you got to play the cards."
LB Junior Seau's future in the NFL and New England remains up in the air. The 18-year veteran reportedly had offseason shoulder injury and was set to take a physical for the Patriots. But Bill Belichick said the sides have yet to reach a point where a decision has been made either way.
"I think it is closer to reaching that point," he said. "I don't think it is any closer to having any kind of commitment one way or another. We are just not there yet. But we are closer to being there. We just don't know where that is."
In the end the decision as to whether Seau will return to New England for a 19th season and potential run at an elusive Super Bowl ring may not come until late July.
"I'd say it will probably (come) closer to training camp than mini camp," Belichick concluded.
LB Rosevelt Colvin is still in the mix for a possible return to his hometown team, though signing with the Colts is still considered to be something of a long shot.
"I don't know where we are in the process, but we'd probably like to get it settled one way or the other pretty quick," coach Tony Dungy said. "We're still investigating some things, so I wouldn't say anything is out of the picture. But for the most part, this is the group you're counting on."
Colvin said recently in a radio interview that he'd like to play in Cleveland for Romeo Crennel or for the Jets and Eric Mangini, two former assistants in New England.
OL Jason Brown has become a foal point of the Ravens' line. Brown is switching from left guard to center.
"The transition has been a lot more smooth than I expected," Brown said. "Maybe it's muscle memory because it's coming back very quickly."
Brown started making a name for himself last season at left guard, where he physically dominated defenders at times.
Now, he has to take a more cerebral approach to playing center.
Within seconds of lining up, he has to dissect what the linemen and linebackers are doing as well as the coverage of the secondary before shouting out the blocking calls.
"You have to know everything about everything," Brown said. "If the quarterback is the general, I would be the colonel."
OL Marshal Yanda is moving from right tackle to right guard.
OL Ben Grubbs, the team's first-round pick in 2007, is flipping from right to left guard.
SS Dawan Landry is definitely making his presence felt at minicamp. Without being asked, coach John Harbaugh went out of his way to praise the third-year starting strong safety. "He has been tremendous this spring," he said. "He's playing fast (and) he's all over the field. He's taking charge of that secondary back there."
OLB LaMarr Woodley's six sacks ranked third on the team behind James Harrison's 10 and James Farrior's 6.5. His role will be expanded this season.
"He's very strong," Keisel said of Woodley. "I think once he gets more comfortable in our scheme and what he's doing, he's just going to be that much better. I definitely expect double digits from him."
DE Anthony Weaver hopes to respond with his on-field performance to offseason chatter that the Texans need another pass rusher. Weaver, who played through injuries last season, had 14.5 sacks in his four seasons with Baltimore. He has had just one with the Texans in the past two seasons.
"There's a lot of motivation in that," Weaver said. "You see a lot of these young guys coming in and moving fast and I think, 'I used to move like that.' You know, eventually as you get older you have to use other things. You have to use your smarts. You have to use your knowledge of the game and show you still have some athletic ability to go out there and get the job done.
"So my goal right now is to prove to myself I've got it, which I know I do. And to show these other guys too."
Weaver was signed by former Texans general manager Charley Casserly to a five-year, $26.5 million deal that included a $12 million signing bonus in 2006. He quickly became a fixture at left end and has missed only two games the past two seasons.
OLB Rosevelt Colvin visited Reliant Stadium Wednesday. He took a physical in the morning and then spoke with general manager Rick Smith and some of the coaches in the afternoon.
Colvin, 6-foot-3, 250 pounds, has 52.5 sacks in nine NFL seasons. Four of those sacks came last season when he was limited to just 10 games with the Patriots because of a foot injury he suffered Nov. 25 against the Eagles.
"We know he can rush the passer," coach Gary Kubiak said. "He brings a lot of maturity to your team from a standpoint of that he's been on some great football teams and won a lot games in this league, a very smart player who has played a lot of places. I just think he would bring some veteran leadership and accountability to our team."
The Texans are trying to add another outside pass rusher to complement Mario Williams. Colvin has played in the 3-4 and 4-3 schemes before, and he has two Super Bowl rings.
He is also familiar with Texans general manager Rick Smith. Both are Purdue alums.
"You know, I recruited Rosevelt Colvin out of high school," Smith said. "He was at Broad Ripple High School in Indianapolis and I was at Purdue at the time and I was successful in convincing him to come to Purdue. And he had a pretty good career."
RB Travis Henry was signed in March of 2007 with high hopes, and he was the NFL's leading rusher through four games last year. But the other things -- injuries, news that Henry had fathered nine children with nine women and an ultimately successful battle with the NFL over a failed drug test -- were problematic.
"When you talk about making decisions it's not based on one week or two weeks," Shanahan said. "It's based on the time he's been here."
The Broncos could also afford to move on because they have depth at tailback. Selvin Young is working as the starter now, but Pittman, Andre Hall and rookie Ryan Torain could all compete for the starting job before the season starts.
In a statement, Shanahan acknowledged Henry "has the ability to be one of the top running backs in the NFL," but he was upset with his lack of commitment. The players noticed Henry hadn't shown up for camp a few times, so there wasn't much surprise when he was let go.
"That's on him," running back Andre Hall said. "He brought it on himself."
WR Rod Smith will officially retire at some point, move on with his life and perhaps take another job with the Broncos. For now, the Broncos' all-time leading receiver isn't going to call it a career. The chances of Smith, who turned 38 last month, returning are very small. He has had two hip surgeries in the past year and a half, the second one coming after last season. He said he couldn't live his day-to-day life without pain.
Now, Smith said he can walk and work out without any serious problems.
"I'm just enjoying where I'm at right now," Smith said.
Smith has acknowledged that he has likely played his last game and he is currently on the reserve/retired list. The Broncos put him there for salary-cap reasons in February, so he's not taking up a roster spot or using any cap room.
PK Matt Prater was impressive during the first day of team camp, hitting some field goals with good accuracy. Prater has a strong leg but has to show he can be accurate, and his real test will come in the preseason. Prater and Garrett Hartley, an undrafted rookie, are the two kickers on the roster, and Prater is the early favorite to be the kicker for the season opener.
C Casey Wiegmann was planning to go back to his hometown of Parkersburg, Iowa, this month to help the town recover from a devastating tornado. The tornado caused damage to his parents' house, his brother lost his house and his aunt and uncle suffered injuries. Wiegmann said his uncle suffered a broken leg.
"It was very shocking," Wiegmann said. "I'm going to go back there as soon as I can and help out as much as I can."
San Diego Chargers
C Jeremy Newberry, a two-time Pro Bowl center, just in case Nick Hardwick's foot injury isn't healed by the regular-season opener.
Newberry, a 10-year pro, could fill in for Hardwick after his rehabilitation got a late start by not undergoing surgery until well into the offseason. Newberry will compete with Cory Withrow as Hardwick's possible early-season replacement.
"Obviously, if Nick was 100 percent and wasn't injured, we probably wouldn't be in this position," coach Norv Turner said. "But he isn't 100 percent.
"Again, we expect Nick to be healthy and we expect Nick to be ready to go. Things happen in this game and Jeremy is a guy that fits our needs at this time."
QB Philip Rivers was upbeat after being allowed recently to against the defense in a drill. Rivers hasn't been facing a pass rush has he returns from ACL surgery. "I was excited to play football again," he said. "Up to this point it's just been 7-on-7. You don't get a great feel for it with that. Sitting here the beginning of June, I feel really good about where we are (in the rehab process)."
WR Eric Parker, who missed last season with a toe injury, could participate in one of the offseason coaching sessions before they end on June 18.
TE Antonio Gates, who is rebounding from toe surgery, is back running again. Well, kind of. Seems coach Norv Turner saw him being a little tardy for a team meeting and he jogged to the door. Turner did say that Gates is making strides in his rehab, but real running is still in the future. "He's exercising and working it pretty good," Turner said. "He's making great progress. I don't think they want him running yet."