Player Wire: 7/03/2008

Draft picks are being signed at an increasing pace, veterans are making final preparations for their last break before training camp and free agents are coming to terms with retirement or a comeback...

New England Patriots
* DB Willie Andrews was arrested and charged with pointing a gun at the head of his girlfriend -- his second arrest this offseason. He was ordered held without bail and has a Thursday morning hearing.

"The victim stated that during an argument, the suspect held a handgun in his hand and was waving it," a Mansfield police press release stated. "At some point during the argument, the handgun went up to the area of her temple."

Andrews was ordered to serve 100 hours of community service and take part in the league's substance abuse program after being arrested in May on marijuana distribution charges.

* LB Bo Ruud signed with the Patriots. Terms weren't immediately known. New England tapped into the football bloodlines again with its final pick in the seventh round of Ruud, brother of current Tampa LB Barrett Ruud, and the sixth Ruud Family member to play football at Nebraska. Ruud is another reach pick, rated by many as an undrafted free agent. He started each of his final three seasons with the Cornhuskers and his insatiable appetite for all things football will earn him points with Belichick.


Chicago Bears
* RB Matt Forte' has agreed to terms on a four-year deal. The contract is worth more than $3.7 million an includes around $2 million in bonus money, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Forte' will go to training camp as the team's de facto featured running back.

And that's just fine with the second-round pick from Tulane who believes he can handle the major responsibility of resurrecting a rushing offense that was the worst in the NFL last season in average gain per attempt.

"I'm not going to sit here and doubt myself or my talent or anything," the 6-foot-2, 216-pound Forte said. "I believe that I can come in and play. I have the ability, (but) it's going to take a lot of work."

Forte worked overtime for the Green Wave last season, carrying 361 times for 2,127 yards (second in the nation), 23 touchdowns and a 5.9-yard average per carry. Benson averaged a career-worst 3.4 yards per carry in 2007 for the Bears, who, as a team, averaged a league-worst 3.1 yards per try, so the bar isn't set very high for Forte.

* DT Marcus Harrison is close to signing a four-year deal with the Bears, a source told the Chicago Tribune. He had knee surgeries in 2006 and '07, a scope first and then a procedure to repair a torn ACL the following year during spring practice, but returned to start 10 games. Was suspended for the first game last season after an arrest, when he was charged with speeding and felony possession of a controlled substance (ecstasy). Returned ahead of schedule last season, even though he wasn't at full strength, but still had 76 tackles and 10 batted passes. Showed flashes of his early 2006 form late last season and in postseason work. Has good athleticism and agility. More suited to the "three technique," although he isn't a threat as a pass rusher. Also has enough size to play nose tackle.


Green Bay Packers
* LB Nick Barnett will avoid criminal prosecution after completing a deferred prosecution agreement stemming from an incident at a nightclub in June 2007, according to the News Chronicle. Barnett was charged with criminal disorderly conduct, but the deferred agreement left Barnett with $753 in fines after completing the terms of the deal, which included staying out of further trouble with the law, according to the paper.

* QB Brett Favre said reports that he is considering coming out of retirement and showing up at Packers training camp is "all rumor." ESPN cited a source that said Favre had the "itch" to play another season and that he had talked to coach Mike McCarthy about possibly coming to training camp. In a text message to Biloxi Sun Herald sports reporter, Al Jones, Favre wrote "It's all rumor."

However, Favre's brother, Scott, told Milwaukee TV station WTMJ-TV "I think it's 50-50," when asked what he though the chances were of his brother playing in 2008. "There's no doubt he can play. He's in good shape, he's working out, we know he can still play, he's healthy, so, if he did, it wouldn't surprise me."

NFL Players Association spokesman Carl Francis told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that Brett Favre has yet to file retirement papers and is still listed as an active player.


Minnesota Vikings
* QB Kyle Wright was waived by Minnesota. Wright had signed with the team as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Miami.

* CB Travis Key was waived by the Vikings.

* S Marcus Griffin was waived by the Vikings. Rated a fifth- or sixth-round prospect by NFLDraftScout.com, Griffin signed with the Vikings after he went undrafted in April.


Philadelphia Eagles
* CB Jack Ikegwuonu signed a four-year deal with the Eagles. Ikegwuono was essentially a futures pick. Ikegwuonu, who was regarded as one of the draft's top corners when he declared in January, tore up his knee training for the combine and won't play this year. He's also awaiting trial for burglary. The Eagles were able to take a flier on him because they had multiple fourth-round picks.

* LB Joe Mays signed a four-year deal with the Eagles. Mays isn't particularly fast. His fastest forty in his workout for scouts was 4.9. Also isn't very tall, but he does a lot of the little things well. Best hope of making the team is if he can prove he can make a contribution on special teams.

* OT King Dunlap signed a four-year deal with the Eagles. Dunlap had a horrible '07 season that included poor play, an elbow injury and an off-field incident in which he was arrested on a misdemeanor warrant after neglecting to pay a speeding ticket. Has good genes; his father played in the NFL and his mother was an Olympian.

* DE Bryan Smith signed a four-year deal with the Eagles. Financial terms were not released. Smith was a bit of a reach in the third round. He's considered too undersized to be an every-down end, but the Eagles like his pass-rushing potential, and for defensive coordinator, it's all about getting to the quarterback. Smith had 31 sacks in 31 games at McNeese. At the combine, Eagles defensive line coach Pete Jenkins thought this kid had better potential than first-rounder Derrick Harvey, who went eighth to Jacksonville.


Tennessee Titans
* RT David Stewart has signed a multi-year deal with Titans. The Tennessean reported over the weekend that it's a six-year contract worth $38.9 million. It includes $10 million in guaranteed money, according to the paper, with $6 million coming in a signing bonus. The deal puts Stewart under contract through 2013.


San Diego Chargers
* RB Marcus Thomas signed with the Chargers. Terms were not disclosed. In tipping their hand at how fluid the running back situation is -- behind LaDainian Tomlinson -- the Chargers add to their stable of backs with Thomas. He rushed for 1,166 yards and 16 touchdowns last year, averaging more than 5 yards per carry.

* OT Corey Clark (7/234) signed with the Chargers. Terms were not disclosed. With the run on premier tacklers in the first round, the Chargers decided to wait to address this need until their final pick. If nothing else. Clark has NFL-size and was a three-year starter for the Aggies. Clark was an honorable mention All-Big 12 last year and will probably make at least the practice squad with the team's lack of personnel at tackle.


Baltimore Ravens
* CB Derrick Martin was was cited on a charge of drug abuse Monday following a police search after airport screeners discovered three small packets of suspected marijuana at a security checkpoint at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. Martin is scheduled to appear in Cleveland Municipal Court on July 15, with the maximum penalty being a $150 fine.

 

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