Update - 3/13/06 - 10:45 PM EST
As Seahawks.NET first reported last week, former Miami Dolphins RB Sammy Morris is in Seattle tonight, and the Seahawks are trying to work out a deal with Morris.
In 2005, the 6'0", 218-pound Morris carried the ball 16 times for 58 yards and a touchdown in an offense where Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams made playing time for any other back near-impossible.
Morris' best season was in 2004, when he rushed 132 times for 523 yards and 6 TDs. Originally drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the 5th round (156th overall) in 2000, Morris also can catch the ball and has logged a lot of time on special teams, which speaks to the versatility needed in Seattle for a backup RB.
Maurice Morris, Seattle's current backup to Shaun Alexander, is an unrestricted free agent and has been linked in various reports to several teams, inclusing the Minnesota Vikings and Baltimore Ravens.
Scout.com has confirmed that UFA G Toniu Fonoti (Vikings) is close to agreeing to a one-year deal with the Oakland Raiders. Fonoti could take over the starting right guard position since veteran G Ron Stone was released (March 2) prior to the start of free agency. The Minnesota Vikings offered Fonoti a multi-year deal to re-sign but not much over the veteran minimum per season.
The thinking is if Fonoti plays well, he'll either get a solid offer in free agency again or from the Raiders to re-sign. The key for him is to keep his weight down.
Update - 3/13/06 - 8:30 PM EST
The Houston Texans waived defensive end Gary Walker and named Tracy Simien assistant defensive line coach, it was announced today.
Simien joins the Texans staff after coaching the defensive line for the Cologne Centurions of the NFL Europe league in 2005. He spent the 2004 season as a coaching intern in Tampa during NFL Europe training camp.
The Sweeny native played seven seasons for the Kansas City Chiefs, from 1991-97, and spent time with the San Diego Chargers in 1999. He finished his career with five sacks and five interceptions, along with 367 total tackles. He also played for the Montreal Machine of the World League in 1991, the league’s inaugural season, after a standout career at TCU.
Drew Brees' 3/12 press conference in Miami:
Opening Statement: "I had a great time. I obviously got to meet all the coaches. I spent a lot of time with Coach (Sean) Payton and Mickey Loomis and it was sweet. We had a great time. We talked about the offense quite a bit. I had a chance to see the city and some of the neighborhoods and that sort of thing. I really got a lot accomplished."
Q: Should anything be read into it that you came here without signing a contract?
A: "No, not at all. I'm evaluating all of my options and I want to make sure that I give everything the chance that it deserves. I'm really just taking in a lot of information right now and obviously a decision will be made."
Q: When do you want to get this thing done by?
A: "Obviously as soon as possible, but then again, I'm not going to rush it because this is a big decision. Wherever I sign is where I plan on spending the rest of my career and winning a few championships in the process and raising a family and everything else. It's more than just a one-year thing. It's just long term."
Q: Would this be an opportunity to get you as close to your hometown of Austin as you have been since you were in high school be a consideration?
A: "Obviously during the season and everything else, you spend so much time, the location that you're at. I'd say, not that doesn't, because the time that you're able to spend and go back home is so limited as is, but obviously it does make it nice. It's easy for my dad to come over and watch his son play."
Q: Does the condition of the city play into your decision at all right now?
A: "No, obviously New Orleans has gone through a very tough time in the last eight months, just with everything that's going on and kind of being in the rebuilding phase now and obviously this organization being in a situation where this whole season was played in so many different locations besides New Orleans, it's kind of coming back. I think it's a great opportunity, a great opportunity for this organization to come back and to kind of help this city get back on its feet, bring it back to where it was and even beyond that. I think being a part of that would be a great opportunity."
Q: Can you discuss how New Orleans stands a chance when you played in a plush city like San Diego and are visiting a plush city like Miami ?
A: "Like I said, the opportunity to come to a place that kind of needs that rebuilding and resurgence, there's something to be said for being a part of that and I feel like in my football career, every team that I've gone to. We're talking football here, I go to Purdue and they haven't won in 10 years. Why would I want to go to Purdue as opposed to maybe a Texas school or somewhere else? Well, it's the opportunity to be a part of something special, maybe do something that some people think you can't do, to come together and do something special. There's meaning to that."
Q: Did you guys discuss the possibility of the team taking a quarterback with the second pick in the draft?
A: "No, when they did that with Phillip Rivers in San Diego , obviously they were drafting him to come in and replace me, but my mindset is I'm not competing against anybody but myself. Obviously it's fun to go out there and beat a guy out or what have you. In my mind, you don't reach your full potential unless you're competing against yourself. Otherwise, you never reach your full potential. I'm not sure what would happen with that second pick. I would assume they would not take a quarterback, just because when you draft me, you better expect me to be here a long time."
Q: How is your shoulder? Is it an issue and are you at a point where you don't want to talk about it anymore?
A: "No, I don't mind talking about it, because I know where I'm going to be four or five months from now. Obviously I'm only two months out of surgery at this point and still it's a process. When I first had my surgery, they said it was going to be a six or seven month deal and it's going to be tough, but I know how to handle this. I feel like I'm four weeks ahead of schedule at this point and I'm going to continue to stay at that pace and I just have to realize it's a process. To these guys, the shoulder's a non-issue. I think they know, just like I know where I'm going to be when it counts."
Q: Does it mean something that you visited New Orleans first? Did they show enough of a commitment?
A: "They absolutely have. It's been first class. My wife and I have been treated as good as we could have been treated and I see there's a lot of great people here within this organization and that's very, very important, because when you talk about building a successful organization, it's all about people and they're doing that here."
Q: Did you see a commitment from New Orleans in your decision to come here for the first visit in free agency?
A: "Yes, absolutely. They're interested in me and I'm interested in them and obviously we're at a little bit of the beginning of the process here, but everything is going well thus far."
The New Orleans Saints came to terms Monday with free agent Scott Fujita, linebacker with four years in the NFL, a Saints spokesman said. Fujita spent three years with the Kansas City Chiefs and last year with the Dallas Cowboys. His career statistics include 268 tackles with 54 assists and 11.5 sacks.
The move comes a day after former Saints linebacker Cedric Hodge signed with the Miami Dolphins.
The Dallas Cowboys signed linebacker Akin Ayodele, who had been with the Jacksonville Jaguars, to a five-year contract on Monday.
Updated signings with analysis from Scout.com's Lane Adkins:
Chris Weinke (Carolina) – Weinke’s professional career has been marred by bad decisions when given the opportunity to shine. Sporting good size and arm strength, Weinke has been erratic, inconsistent, and does not move well in the pocket. Familiar with the Carolina offensive system and this is a good match for depth purposes.
Jamal Lewis (Baltimore) – One of the bigger backs in the game, Lewis has returned from a couple serious knee injuries to continue as one of the best in the game. Coming off a season in 2005 where he did not perform up to his standards, Lewis appears poised to have an off-season without distraction. Still a powerful and punishing runner, Lewis possesses a little “shake and bake” stutter in his style to throw the timing of a defender off when attempting to make the tackle. Runs hard with high leg lift, and remains a difficult player to bring down. The signing of Lewis should solidify the state of the Ravens running game heading into the 2006 season.
Greg Jerman (Buffalo) – Jerman played reasonably well in a backup role in the 2005 season with Buffalo. While not being considered as a starting type lineman, Jerman is versatile, having the ability to play the guard and tackle positions. Displayed surprising agility when playing the tackle position and should be considered a solid backup for the Bills.
L.J. Shelton (Miami) – Shelton is a large offensive tackle that reclaimed his place in the game with a solid 2005 season for the Cleveland Browns. Shelton was reasonably consistent throughout the season with the Browns, though he still has trouble with speed rushers coming off the corner. An adequate run-blocker, Shelton should be an improvement for Miami and help anchor the left-side of the Miami offense line for years to come.
Adam Archuleta (Washington) – Archuleta has displayed the skills set to be a strong player in run support. While his pass coverage skills are often overlooked, Archuleta has displayed the ability to cover a good amount of ground, when put in that position. At times he can be too aggressive, causing him to be out of position or not primed to make potential big plays. Being a physical player, Archuleta has struggled with some nagging injury issues, but is expected to be a major contributor in the Washington defensive scheme, lining-up next to the greatly athletic Sean Taylor.
Update - 3/13/06 - 10:30 AM EST
According to ESPN.com, former Colts linebacker David Thornton signed with the Tennessee Titans on Monday. ESPN.com also reports that former St. Louis safety Adam Archuleta has signed with the Washington Redskins.
Updated signings with analysis from Scout.com's Lane Adkins:
Tim Hasselbeck (NY Giants) – Despite lacking ideal size and arm strength, Hasselbeck has displayed the ability to lead a team on a limited basis. Showing the tendency in brief appearances to throw the ball into coverage too often, Hasselbeck can be prone to interceptions. Has not had a legitimate opportunity to gain playing time and experience and will not in New York, backing-up Eli Manning.
Chad Morton (NY Giants) – Morton excels in the return game and has been steady in that role for the Giants. Due to his limited ability to be an asset in the running game due to his size, Morton can be of help coming out of the backfield, if called upon. Morton provides the team a viable weapon in the return game and should continue to succeed in this role.
Darren Howard (Philadelphia) – If healthy and in the right mindset, Howard can be a dominating type of defensive end. With an explosive first-step, couple with good strength and athleticism, Howard has displayed the ability to run-past or fight through a blocker. Better pass rusher than run blocker, but is solid in all facets of the game. Became discouraged in New Orleans due to on-team and front office issues, along with injury. Lining-up in this aggressive Philadelphia should be a perfect match for Howard and the Eagles.