The draft wasn't the only thing to talk about in the league over the last week. Several NFL veterans have been released,including a guard who is drawing interest from the Jets, while others are feeling the sting of a draft pick at their position.
G Joe Andruzzi was released by the Browns on Friday. The Browns had warned
Andruzzi of his pending release earlier in the week. Andruzzi struggled
with knee injuries during his two years in Cleveland after spending most of
his career as a standout with the Patriots. The New York Jets are believed
to be interested in Andruzzi's services. Jets coach Eric Mangini won a
Super Bowl as the Patriots' defensive backs coach in 2004, Andruzzi's last
season as a Patriot.
Chargers OLB Shawne Merriman is still recuperating from an offseason shoulder injury
and won't participate in the team drills during minicamp.
S Gibril Wilson, a restricted free agent, signed a one-year deal with the
Giants. Terms were undisclosed. Wilson was a fifth round draft choice in
Chiefs G Will Shields retired from the NFL. Shields earned a record 12 Pro Bowl
appearance during his 14 year career.
Cowboys LB Greg Ellis admits being frustrated by the Cowboys' decision to draft
linebacker Anthony Spencer in the first round of the 2007 draft. To Ellis,
who is recovering from a torn left Achilles, it's another sign that his
status on the team is up on the air. For Ellis, it's a continuation of a
familiar theme. He felt the Cowboys were trying to get rid of him two years
ago when they benched him at defensive end in favor of rookie Chris Canty.
"Who wouldn't be frustrated?" Ellis said to the Star-Telegram. "I'm
my cool and my composure. But it's hard not to be frustrated when they
constantly move you around, and thank God you are able to play (a new
position, linebacker). Now, they do it to you again." According to the
Cowboys the decision to draft Spencer was not about getting rid of Ellis
but giving the Cowboys another pass rusher. When Ellis went down last year
they only had DeMarcus Ware and it crippled the defense. Now they could
have three pass rushers to rotate next year.
P Chris Hanson signed a one-year contract with the Saints Hanson is a
seven-year NFL veteran who played 85 of 86 career games with the
Jacksonville Jaguars. A 6-foot-2, 202-pound left-footed punter, he has
never had a punt blocked in 428 career kicks in the NFL. A Pro Bowl pick in
2002, Hanson averaged 42.9 yards per punt with a net average of 35.9 and a
long kick of 74 yards during a six-year stay with the Jaguars. He dropped
136 punts inside the 20 and had just 50 touchbacks. Hanson, who will
compete with second-year punter Steve Weatherford, also served as the
holder for the Jaguars. He originally signed with the Cleveland Browns as
an undrafted free agent and has spent time with the Green Bay Packers and
DT Manny Wright, a massive individual at 6-6, 329, was claimed off waivers
by the Bills after being released by Miami. Drafted as a fifth-round supplemental pick
in 2005 out of USC, Wright played in three games as a rookie and recorded
one sack (against Buffalo's J.P. Losman).
49ers MLB Derek Smith's starting job appears to be in jeopardy after the club
drafted Patrick Willis of Ole Miss with the No. 11 overall selection in the
draft. Smith and Willis will compete in training camp for the staring job
at the "mike" linebacker.
"He sounds like a good kid -- nice,
guy," Smith said. "I'm sure he's a great athlete as well and a great
football player if they took him that high. That's the way the NFL works. I
think he'll make our team better."
49ers OL Damane Duckett has spent three seasons in the NFL as a defensive
lineman, but he willingly made the conversion this offseason to offensive
tackle. "The more you can do, the longer you stay in this league," Duckett
said. "If I can play offensive line and play good, and if I can play
defensive line and play good, that's good."
Raiders S Darnell Bing's transformation from college strong safety to NFL weak-side
linebacker ended when Bing, wearing No 29 instead of No. 59, lined up at
strong safety in the minicamp. Bing played linebacker from the outset last
season but was placed on injured reserve at the final cut-down.