Thursday's NFL Blog: Early Edition

January 18, 2007 ... Championship round news & notes ... Giants Q&A with WR Amani Toomer ... Colts safety Bob Sanders on the Colts-Patriots ... coaching updates out of Pittsburgh and Oakland ... Larry Johnson's future in K.C. ... Mark Anderson's rookie diary update and more in today's NFL Blog!

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Playoffs? Playoffs?  Yes, the playoffs continue with the top four teams clashing for the right to advance to the Super Bowl, and our Seahawks site has pulled together these two reports for our subscribers. Check out the AFC Championship News and Notes and then the NFC Championship News and Notes to help you get ready for Sunday's games! 

Talking with Toomer:  Ken Palmer at our Giants site conducted a Q&A with receiver Amani Toomer, whose season ended due to a knee injury after he had helped push the team to a 6-2 record. When asked for his thoughts on quarterback Eli Manning, he said, "I think he's learning that he has to handle things the right way, which he has. He's not pointing fingers at anybody or saying that it's everybody else's fault like some other quarterbacks do. You can respect that. He understands that when things are going well it's not all because of him and that when things aren't going well, it's not all his fault. There's a whole team behind it."   The Giants wide receiver also talks about his surgery and rehab, the plight of the Giants this year and more in this subscribers' feature.

Quotable:  "...I mean [Tom] Brady is the type of guy where he can hurt you and he'll exposure weaknesses. So we just got to make sure we're on the details and we focus in on what we need to get done." -- Colts defensive back Bob Sanders on the Colts - Patriots matchup during his NFL conference call with the media. You can read the highlights at our Colts site.

I'm outta here...  Denis Savage at our Raiders site reports that starting right tackle Langston Walker has voided the final year of his contract and will become an unrestricted free agent. Savage says, "Good riddance."  Get his take on the situation and how this might impact Oakland's draft strategy this April in this subscribers feature.

Six minutes:  Jim Wexell at our Steelers site reports that assistant head coach Russ Grimm spent six hours interviewing for the head coach position on Wednesday and then six minutes with the media. When asked if he was disappointed that Bill Cowher didn't recommend him for the job, Grimm said, "I don't know if that's an accurate statement. It's been said, but it wasn't said to me. It hasn't been said here, so we'll leave that one alone." subscribers can read the entire transcript of the interview to stay on top of the interview process in Pittsburgh.

Chiefs RB Larry Johnson (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Sign him or trade him? Nick Athan at our Kansas City site believes the Chiefs need to commit to a long-term deal or consider trading him. " You see, age is going to eventually come up and bite Johnson in the rear," he says.  "He'll be 28 next season, which means he'll be at the peak of his NFL prowess. If he wants serious money after the 2007 season (as an unrestricted free agent), teams are going to want the entire package." subscribers can get his full analysis of the situation here.

No longer the runner-up?  Our Green Bay site is reporting that former Packers wide receiver and Hall of Famer James Lofton almost snagged the Oakland head coach position last year instead of Art Shell. And now he appears to be a top candidate again this time. "Raiders owner Al Davis has interviewed three others: the Raiders' popular defensive coordinator, Rob Ryan, Southern California assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach Steve Sarkisian, and former New York Giants coach Jim Fassel," says Steve Lawrence in this update at our Packers site.

Offseason analysis:  Our Broncos site takes a look at their quarterback and running backs situation heading into 2007. Find out who's staying and who's leaving by clicking here.

Quotable:  "There simply was no margin for error on any of our parts. I know that some of the national media has been getting their digs in at us, but I think we stayed in this and proved them wrong."  -- Bears defensive lineman Mark Anderson in his rookie diary feature at our Chicago site. subscribers can read this entire feature and find out what he thought about last weekend's win over Seattle and on this weekend's game.

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