No. 1-overall pick Cam Newton hopes to keep Steve Smith in Carolina because he is in desperate need of a primary pass catcher. (Noel Vasquez/Getty)
A firm looking to build a new stadium in Los Angeles for the purpose of attracting the NFL has had contact with five teams, but even though the Bills were not one of them, that doesn't mean fans have no reason to worry about the future viability of the franchise in such a small market.
Chad Pennington is taking a year off from quarterbacking -- and injuries, of course -- to spend the 2011 campaign in the FOX broadcast booth next to Sam Rosen, and despite the fact that he isn't using the word "retirement" just yet, he'll probably turn out to be a tremendous analyst and has likely played his last game.
New England Patriots
We all know Bill Belichick has no problem waving goodbye to veteran players once they become more expensive and less productive, so it really says something about the 35-year-old Kevin Faulk and what he brings to the offense in a reserve role if he is still in the cards for this season.
New York Jets
Erik Ainge's official reason for walking away from football was said to be injuries to his foot and shoulder, but here's hoping that he stays involved with the game on some level and can speak to the dangers of alcohol and drug addiction, which is what truly derailed his career and potentially cost him a fortune.
Count McDaniel College -- and its local economy -- in Westminster, Maryland, among the unfortunate victims of the lockout, as the Ravens announced Thursday that if and when training camp actually arrives, it'll be held at team headquarters in Owings Mills.
Not only were the Bengals ranked dead last among the 122 professional franchises in the four major sports in this country by ESPN the Magazine, but Sean McClelland of the Dayton Daily News says the worst part is that the reaction from Cincinnati fans has been a collective shrug of the shoulders.
Because the Browns passed on taking Alabama's Julio Jones at No. 6 overall in the draft and instead traded back with Atlanta, it will be interesting to see if they roll the dice on one of the diva free agents -- Randy Moss, Terrell Owens or Plaxico Burress -- to give Colt McCoy the No. 1 he needs so desperately.
Mike Wallace averaged an AFC-leading 21.0 yards per reception last season, which is second in franchise history -- behind Buddy Dial's 21.6 in 1963 -- for any player that caught more than 40 passes. Even Hall of Famer Lynn Swann never averaged more than 19.7 yards per catch.
No matter what happens before now and Week 1, I refuse to once again be duped into believing that "This is the year the Texans break through and make the playoffs," not with their track record under Gary Kubiak.
Even though Peyton Manning has been franchised, if you were another team in the AFC North, wouldn't you at least have to entertain the thought of offering the future Hall of Famer $25 million per season -- and willing to surrender two first-round selections as compensation -- since the Colts might only be a 6-10 club without him?
Maurice Jones-Drew is on record saying he didn't care for Jacksonville's draft, claiming David Garrard is going to beat out first rounder Blaine Gabbert and that consistent winners like New England, Pittsburgh and Indianapolis have the same QB playing in the same system for years.
Kenny Britt stands by his defense that his Facebook account was hacked, so it really wasn't him threatening to retire and dropping F-bombs on Roger Goodell. And in other news, the dog ate my homework.
We get it, John Fox. You're trying to convince everyone that Brady Quinn still stands a legitimate chance to win the starting quarterback job in order to inflate his value and potentially get something for him. We're not buying it.
Kansas City Chiefs
They may be locked out of their own facility, but that didn't stop members of the Chiefs from helping clean up the post-tornado carnage in Joplin, Missouri (tipping my cap).
If you're patient enough to go through what can be a grueling short-sale process, you can have JaMarcus Russell's six-bedroom, five-bathroom, 5,884-square-foot mansion in Oakland for a mere $1.6 million.
San Diego Chargers
2010 first-round choice Ryan Mathews is certainly going to be the starting running back this season, although Mike Tolbert was the better ball carrier last year and deserves to be rewarded as a restricted free agent.
Roy Williams is yet another in a long line of players seemingly enjoying the lockout, believing "it's good" for "older players" to have time to heal, even if the gifted wideout has never needed an excuse to take a pass on working hard.
What could be more embarrassing than Donovan McNabb curiously working out with former Eagles teammates the other day? I suppose if Justin Timberlake's career went in the tank and he crawled back to *NSYNC, that might be worse.
While there may finally be some light at the end of the tunnel in Detroit, let's all take a deep breath before putting the Lions in the playoffs and remember that this organization hasn't posted a winning record since 2000 and has lost double-digit games nine times in the last 10 years.
Green Bay Packers
If I had to guess which member of the Packers would start up his own record label this offseason, Super Bowl MVP Aaron Rodgers may have been the last name to come to mind, and yet Suspended Sunrise Recordings has his name on it.
What is the point of having the Adrian Peterson Football Camp if Adrian Peterson can't even bother to make an appearance? Refund or not, he looks bad. Scheduling mishap? Come on. It obviously wasn't that important to him.
Rarely do rookie receivers make a big impact in the NFL, but considering how good Julio Jones looked in workouts and how quickly he's forging a strong relationship with Matt Ryan, he could be dynamite right out of the shoot.
While No. 1 pick Cam Newton is lobbying for Steve Smith to remain in Carolina, nobody should hold it against the Pro Bowl pass catcher if he doesn't want to babysit a rookie QB and would rather play for a contender.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Bucs really need the lockout to be resolved, as the only "news" revolving around that organization has to do with their former luxury seat manager, a 38-year-old man, getting arrested for his attempt to have sex with a 14-year-old girl.
The NFC West, which produced a 7-9 division winner this past season, featured four teams that scored a total of 1,193 points while surrendering 1,515. The Cardinals tied the Rams for fewest points scored (289) and far and away gave up the most (434).
San Francisco 49ers
Ray McDonald has primarily been a pass-rushing defensive end on third down the last two years, but since he believes he's an every-down player, despite a lot of evidence to the contrary, expect him to hit free agency looking for greener pastures.
Raheem Brock was arrested in Philadelphia recently for allegedly walking out on a $27 tab at a restaurant. The name of the establishment? Copacabana. No word on whether or not Brock exited through the kitchen like Henry Hill.
St. Louis Rams
David Vobora was awarded $5.4 million in a suit against a supplement manufacturer, as an unlisted ingredient turned out to be a substance banned by the NFL and led to him being suspended for four games -- his reputation tarnished, too.
|John Crist is an NFL analyst for Scout com, a voter for the Heisman Trophy and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America.|