NFL Player Wire

From potential trade talk to extensions to players skipping voluntary workouts, some of the NFL's biggest names continue to make news in March. Grab a weekend cup of coffee and spend some times reading about your favorite NFL stars, including some of Vikings interest, in this extensive notebook.

  • QB Chris Simms has probably played his last game in a Tampa Bay uniform and expects to be traded.

    Simms has decided to skip the Bucs' offseason workouts, an indication he no longer fits into the team's plans for next year.

    Although the workouts are voluntary, Simms also skipped quarterback orientation last week for the first time in his career.

    "I just think at this time it's in my best interest to continue my own workouts and to just wait and see what happens with the team," Simms said.

    "I don't really know what's going to happen. We'll see. As far as the Bucs and the quarterback position goes, it's always an adventure."

    Simms, who has not taken a regular-season snap in 17 months since suffering a ruptured spleen in September 2006, says he is completely recovered from the effects of surgery, which forced him to be placed on injured reserve last year.

    "I feel great," Simms said. "I'm back to 100 percent and just excited about getting back on the field again."

    But Simms' chances of returning to the field in a Bucs' uniform diminished on Sept. 3 after the team traded a sixth-round pick in 2009 to Chicago for quarterback Brian Griese.

    The most likely scenario is that the Bucs, who own just five draft picks this year, will attempt to trade Simms before the draft April 26-27.

    Those discussions could begin this weekend at the NFL league meetings in Palm Beach.

  • QB Sage Rosenfels' likelihood of being traded wasn't increased by the signing of Quinn Gray, according to coach Gary Kubiak. "I know what people are saying, but signing Quinn has absolutely nothing to do with it," Kubiak said about acquiring Gray to expedite a trade for Rosenfels. "I've been a two-quarterback type of guy, but what happened to us last season scared the heck out of me, and I don't want to go through that again."

    Last year, veteran Bradlee Van Pelt and rookie Jared Zabransky went to camp behind Matt Schaub and Rosenfels. Both were waived. Schaub missed five starts because of injuries. Rosenfels appeared in 10 games and was 4-1 as a starter. With Schaub out, the Texans signed Shane Boyd to the practice squad in October and Craig Nall to the active roster in November. After Nall was waived, Boyd was activated as the backup behind Rosenfels.

    "I don't know what we would have done if something had happened to Sage," Kubiak said. "I don't want to go through that again. I think my philosophy has changed. I've become more of a three-quarterback guy."

  • Bengals DB Kyries Hebert, a former Vikings safety signed in January after playing in the Canadian Football League, said he is enthused to play in the kicking game.

    "I think I bring the same thing I've always brought everywhere, hard-hitting and hard-working," Hebert said. "I think I'll be able to contribute on special teams. I have an equal passion for both (teams and defense)."

  • DE Jared Allen - still unhappy after receiving the team's franchise player designation - was not in attendance at the team's first organized offseason activity.

    Nor did coach Herm Edwards expect him to be. Edwards said he talked with Allen in the week before the scheduled OTA opening and learned that Allen would not be a participant. But Edwards continues to believe Allen will eventually get the long-term deal he's seeking that will keep him in Kansas City.

    "He's in a good place right now," Edwards said. "He just made the Pro Bowl, and he made himself a lot of money this year (with the franchise player protection)."

  • DE James Hall is back with the Rams. Hall had interest from Minnesota and Buffalo, but opted to sign a two-year deal with the Rams for less money than the $4 million he had been scheduled to make this season.

    Hall had just 2.5 sacks last season, but played with a high ankle sprain for a large part of the season, missing just one game.

    "He was definitely a guy that we had high expectations for," coach Scott Linehan said. "But he played hurt most of the year. We think he has a couple of more years left."

    Hall tuned 31 in February, while defensive end Leonard Little will be 34 in October and is coming back from toe surgery. The re-signing of Hall doesn't affect the team's possible plans to select a pass rusher high in the draft.

    "We still could (one)," Linehan said. "It's just as wide open as ever."

  • CB DeAngelo Hall sees it as the Raiders got themselves a bargain for their $70 million.

    "Asante Samuel, Nate Clements, those are definitely the deals I looked at," Hall told the Virginian Pilot. "But those guys are 27, 28 years old. They're not going to see the back end of their deals. I wanted to make sure I would be able to see the back end of mine. I didn't want to load it with a bunch of fake numbers."

    A four-year veteran, Hall is only 24 years old and may have another big contract in his future.

    "I think my agents knew that coming up on my last year of my deal I'd be 30 years old," Hall said. "I've seen guys get new contracts at 32, 33. I definitely plan on playing out all the years of my contract in Oakland and getting another one in Oakland. I wanted to be realistic as possible and be able to earn every penny."

  • TE Jeremy Shockey's name continues to swirl in trade rumors. The first report said that the Saints had approached the Giants wondering if Shockey would be available in return for their second-round draft pick (40th overall) and safety Roman Harper. It was said that the Giants rejected that.

    Now the story is flip-flopping, as other parties insist that the Giants, when contacted by New Orleans, requested the second-round pick and Harper and that it was the Saints who refused to go down that trail.

    It is probable that when there is this much smoke, there may well be a fire, and if the Giants are considering the trading of the oft-injured Shockey, it would make sense for him to go to the Saints since head coach Sean Payton was the Giants' offensive coordinator when Shockey was first drafted and the two got along well.

  • Lions WR Calvin Johnson looks good after being bothered by a back injury most of his rookie season. "It's kind of funny watching him run the conditioning with everybody," quarterback Jon Kitna said, "because he's beating everybody by a pretty good margin and it doesn't even look like he's running very hard."

  • Chiefs RB Larry Johnson, who missed the last half of the season with what ultimately turned out to be a fractured bone in his foot, was running at the first team OTA, but not at full speed. The Chiefs believe he'll be at full speed later this spring, and definitely by training camp.

  • DE Chris Canty is likely going to have to settle for his one-year restricted free-agent tender of $2.07 million.

    He wants a long-term deal but the Cowboys have not put one on the table as they did for Jay Ratliff, who would have been a restricted free agent if not for signing a six-year, $20.5 million contract before the end of the 2007 season.

    "They have not said anything to my agent or to me," Canty said.

    "(The Cowboys) made the commitment they are willing to make to me. They didn't have to (make a long-term extension offer), but in the same breath they didn't have to give (nose tackle) Jay Ratliff a contract extension during the season.

    "They didn't have to extend a couple of guys that they extended, but they did; that was the level of commitment towards those guys. I'm not saying I'm being discarded, because every situation is different. The tender offer is a good offer. That's more money that I've seen, so I have to keep it in perspective here."

    Canty is coming off a season when he posted a career-high 43 tackles and 3.5 sacks.

  • MLB Keith Brooking said he had arthroscopic knee surgery in January. Brooking said it was the second time in as many years that he had the procedure and that he should have had the problems fixed during the season but he opted to play through the discomfort for the good of the team.

    Brooking said he is completely healed and that he feels as good as he has in years. To emphasize the point, he will run the final 1.1 miles of the ING half marathon March 30 in Atlanta with 300 middle schoolers who took part in health-based initiatives at their schools.

  • WR Marques Colston, who has caught more passes in his first two seasons (168) than any other player in NFL history, is rehabbing from offseason surgery on his left knee.

    Colston, a seventh-round draft pick in 2006, caught 70 passes as a rookie despite missing two full games and all but one series of a third game with a sprained ankle. Last season, he caught 98 balls while battling knee and back problems and a hand injury that forced him to sit out the second half of the season finale at Chicago.

    Colston underwent arthroscopic surgery on the left knee that bothered him most of last season, but said that shouldn't affect him too much this spring. He's been working on his conditioning by riding a stationary bike and expects to be full speed by next month.

    "Unfortunately I'm a vet to surgeries, so I know exactly what it takes," he said. "I've just got to be patient with it. I had a lot of irritation going on in there throughout the season. Now's the time to clean it up and get healthy."

  • DE Simeon Rice has never been camera shy, which might explain why a television production crew is filming his comeback attempt as part of a possible reality TV series. Rice, 34, is second only to Michael Strahan among active sack leaders with 121. But a shoulder injury he suffered in 2006 forced him to be released by three teams last season -- the Bucs, Broncos and Colts.

    Last week, Rice said his shoulder is now "100 percent," although he would only run for scouts during the University of Illinois Pro Day.

    Rice has an interest in film-making and said, "I want to show people what happens to an athlete who has been on top of his sport, gone to Pro Bowls, won Super Bowls and now finds himself having fallen from grace. I want them to see the struggle for a great player to be great again."

    His film project aside, Rice says he wants teams to know he is serious about playing this season. He has had discussions with Lions coach Rod Marinelli. But the reality is he's looking still looking for a team.

  • QB Matt Leinart is working out at the team's facility and seems to be throwing with little pain. Leinart suffered a fractured left collarbone last year. His durability is a big question because he has suffered injuries in his first two years in the league.

  • QB Alex Smith is progressing well after undergoing season-ending surgery to fix his separated throwing shoulder in December. It was a bad season all the way around for Smith - on the field and off.

    He said the shoulder was not the only thing that was repaired. Smith and coach Mike Nolan are back on the same page, he said.

    Last season, Nolan continued to insist that Smith was healthy even as his play suggested otherwise. Then, Smith lashed out, saying he was tired of people saying he was OK when he was not.

    At one point, Smith was quoted as saying he believed Nolan tried to undermine him in front of his teammates.

    Smith started just seven games last season. He tried to return from a separated shoulder but performed poorly in three starts before eventually opting for surgery. Then, third-string quarterback Shaun Hill played well in 2 1/2 games, and Nolan said the starting quarterback job would be open for competition.

    "I think we're both looking forward to putting last year behind us," Smith said of his relationship with Nolan. "I've talked to him several times and we're both excited about it. I know I definitely am, because I know that's not a reflection on either of us. We're both better than that, and I think we're looking forward to erasing that and proving to people, not only in this building but everywhere, that we're definitely going to move on."

  • RB Sammy Morris' rehab is on track for a return to action after a rare chest injury that cost him all but six games in his first season in New England. Morris was off to a fast start with the Patriots with 384 yards and three touchdowns in five-plus games, including back-to-back 100-yard efforts in the weeks leading up to the injury he suffered during Week 6 action in Dallas. Despite some uncertainty as the to the timeline for the injury, Morris began lifting weights again about three weeks ago and is excited to be back with his teammates in the offseason program.

    "I'm really pleased with my progress," Morris told the Boston Globe. "The doctors say everything looks good and that it was a freak injury, but that guys bounce back from it. "More importantly, the way I feel, physically, just being able to do stuff and that I can push myself - at the same time not overdoing it - I feel optimistic about being able to contribute this year."

  • Ravens QB Steve McNair will likely enter training camp as the frontrunner for the starting job.

    It doesn't make sense that the Ravens would hand a veteran team to a rookie quarterback as they did in 2003, and it's not looking as if they are searching for a new starter in free agency or by trade.

    By not naming a starter now, the Ravens aren't tipping their hand to their opponents, and they are giving McNair some motivation. If he works hard this offseason and comes into training camp weighing less, it seems the team will be ready to give McNair another shot as the starter.

    When asked about McNair, Harbaugh said, "He's had a tremendous career, and a lot of guys who've been in his position at his age have had pretty good seasons." But Harbaugh is hesitant to name the 35-year-old quarterback the starter now. He wants an open competition for the quarterback job and said the Ravens will consider McNair, Boller and Troy Smith for the starting role.

  • CB Chris McAlister reportedly looks in good shape after having knee surgery during the offseason.

    McAlister started eight games last season, missing five of the final six because of a knee injury. He gained weight during the weeks of inactivity but appears fit and trim.

    "I think he weighs about 212 pounds," defensive coordinator Rex Ryan said. "He looks good. I mean, really good."

  • LB Terrell Suggs' arbitration hearing has not been scheduled yet. The Ravens contend that Suggs should be franchised as a linebacker and not a defensive end. Suggs wants the one-year franchise tag of $8.879 million for defensive ends, worth $814,000 more than what linebackers receive.

  • WR Marvin Harrison is expected to make a complete recovery from a left knee injury that forced him to miss considerable playing time last season, according to Colts owner Jim Irsay. Harrison also underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee earlier this offseason.

    "I'm not a doctor. It really comes down to their expertise. But the type of problems he's had, there's just no reason (for him not to fully recover). There's no reason both knees can't be sound," Irsay said.

    "The one knee (left) that had the cartilage problem, that's pretty much sound and ready to go. The other knee is coming along and there's no reason he can't be ready (for the 2008 season)."

  • QB Drew Brees has recharged his batteries and is again looking forward to taking the Saints back to the top of the NFC.

    He was so excited to be back, he noticed the locker room had been re-carpeted since the end of last season -- which even carried a little significance as far as he was concerned.

    "As simple as that sounds, you walk in, you see it and you're like, 'OK, it's a new year,'" Brees told reporters. "It's different. It's different.

    "What do they say? The definition of insanity is doing something the same way over and over again and expecting a different result? We changed some things up. New signs, new pictures, new carpet in the locker room, it's a new year."

  • QB Carson Palmer, who expressed disgust and disappointment Dec. 31, the day after the season ended with a playoff-missing 7-9 record, was in better spirits Monday, March 24, the first day of the team's offseason strength and conditioning program. He was looking for improvement in every part of his game.

    "There is nobody that doesn't need to improve, even Eli Manning and the Giants," Palmer said. "They've got a lot of work to do too. I'm at the point now where I'm in shape and there are little things that I need work on here and there and things I need to study."

  • WR Cedrick Wilson's former girlfriend says the player never punched her, as was reported by police after an incident in a restaurant recently. The reports prompted the Steelers to release Wilson the next day after he was arrested and freed on $10,000 bail.

  • C Steve McKinney reacted to his release March 25 with the same class he showed during his six seasons with the Texans.

    "It's tough any time you get fired from a job you love, but I've had a good run here, and I'll look back on my career with the Texans with fond memories," he said. "I appreciate the way I was treated by the fans, my teammates and coaches and (owner) Mr. (Bob) McNair. I leave without any regrets."

    The Texans left open the possibility of re-signing McKinney. The 32-year-old is recovering from reconstructive knee surgery, but he's supposed to be 100 percent by the start of training camp.

    McKinney, the first unrestricted free agent the Texans signed in 2002 before their inaugural season, became expendable when center Chris Myers was acquired from Denver for a sixth-round draft choice and signed to a new four-year contract.

    McKinney said the Texans told him his $1.6 million salary was too much for a backup. "This is a bittersweet situation for me," he said. "I'm sorry to be leaving, but I'm excited to see what opportunities are out there for me."

  • CB Andre Dyson, 28, is expected to meet with Houston. Dyson, 5-10 and 183 pounds, is entering his eighth season. He spent the first four seasons of his career as a starter for the Tennessee Titans. He has since spent one season in Seattle and two with the New York Jets. Dyson had 12 tackles and one interception in nine appearances with the Jets last season.

  • Patriots TE Ben Watson had surgery on his bothersome left ankle earlier this month, according to multiple reports, although Watson said he couldn't talk about it with reporters. He will likely be limited during the team's offseason program and might not be ready for the opening of training camp, according to the Boston Herald. The paper reported the surgery was performed by Dr. Deorge Theodore, who operated on Red Sox RHP Curt Schilling after the 2004 World Series.

  • Jets WR Laveranues Coles has agreed to a contract extension, according to the New York Post. Terms of the deal weren't known, and reported the agreement doesn't include an extension, but does guarantee the $11 million Coles is due over the next two seasons. Coles had skipped the opening of the team's offseason program before arriving this week with an agreement apparently reached.

  • CB Pacman Jones has been given permission by the Titans to seek a trade, and he continues to target Dallas as his next destination. The teams have reportedly discussed a potential deal since last week, but nothing can be finalized until Jones is reinstated. Commissioner Roger Goodell has previously been said to be planning to review Jones' case before the start of training camp. reported that the Cowboys upped their offer from a seventh-round pick to include an unnamed player.

  • PK Olindo Mare signed a two-year, $3.5 million deal with the Seahawks, who are seeking a replacement for Josh Brown. Mare was released by the Saints after making just 10 of 17 field-goal attempts last season before having hip surgery. He is expected to receive competition from a rookie the Seahawks will draft or sign as a free agent. Mare is also known for his strong leg and led the league in touchbacks in 2006.

  • DE Charles Grant told the Times Picayune that surgery he underwent in January was for a torn ligament he suffered in his left ankle against San Francisco on Oct. 28, the severity of which was not revealed until now. The procedure was performed by renowned surgeon Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala.

  • Titans WR Mike Williams was told to lose 20 pounds to get down to 250, and coach Jeff Fisher said he is very pleased that Williams showed up to the offseason program within four pounds of that goal. "Very few people on this roster and other rosters accomplished what Mike was able to accomplish from the time the season was over," Fisher told reporters Thursday.

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