Posted on: June 16, 2010 9:22 pm
Edited on: June 16, 2010 9:39 pm

Crayton's time may be up in Dallas

Earlier this week, Dallas Morning News writer Todd Archer said on DCFanatic Radio that the Cowboys could keep six wide receivers on the roster, and that one of those six could be Patrick Crayton. The disgruntled veteran has asked out of town (After the draft, Crayton was told he could seek a trade; when that went nowhere, he asked for his release). Crayton can read the writing on the wall: Dez Brant, Miles Austin and Roy Williams will see a vast majority of the action in 2010.

Once a starter, Crayton – who is best equipped for the slot – could find himself as a No. 4, or perhaps even No. 5 receiver. The Cowboys always seem to give Sam Hurd a chance, and they also have an intriguing prospect in Kevin Ogletree, a second-year pro who offers the initial quickness and athletic shiftiness that Crayton lacks.

Crayton is a consummate professional who has pledged to go about his business the right way, so if he remains a Cowboy, expect he’ll keep quiet. But a receiver at the bottom of the depth chart usually plays special teams. Would Crayton be willing to do that? (And we’re not talking about just returning punts…)

--Andy Benoit

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Category: NFL
Posted on: June 16, 2010 7:45 pm

More on the Haynesworth Drama

The Washington Redskins gave Albert Haynesworth a $21 million check on April 1. (It was believed to be the single biggest check in NFL history.) Haynesworth should have said April Fools! at the time. The dishonorable defensive tackle consulted with the NFLPA before skipping the team’s mandatory minicamp. Haynesworth wanted to make sure that his bonus money was protected. Sounds like it is.

But the Redskins are reportedly searching for loopholes in Haynesworth’s contract that would allow them to go after that money. Don’t expect this story to go away anytime soon. The story’s final chapter will either be about how a really foolish organization allowed a punk player to get away with grand larceny, or it will be about…well, considering Haynesworth has already made tens of millions even without that April 1 check, the other way the final chapter could go would still involve one really foolish organization allowing a punk player to get away with grand larceny.

More interesting than the final chapter is the chapter right before it. Will we read about Haynesworth getting traded? Released? Rejoining the team after infuriating everyone in the locker room?

A trade is unlikely (Haynesworth isn’t worth sacrificing draft picks for, and teams wouldn’t want to pay his base salary). The prediction here: if the Skins can’t find a way to suspend him and go after his money (ala the Eagles and Terrell Owens), he’ll get released.

--Andy Benoit

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Posted on: June 16, 2010 7:18 pm
Edited on: June 16, 2010 7:19 pm

Six Quick Hits From Wednesday

Just days after finally signing his RFA tender, Packers defensive lineman Johnny Jolly was excused from the mandatory minicamp (June 21-23) so that he could focus on his legal issues. Jolly has a felony drug trial in Texas (he’s facing up to 20 years in prison, but not the death penalty) on July 30. That happens to be the day the Packers report to training camp.

Speaking of the Packers, turns out Tramon Williams actually accepted his tender before the deadline after all. The Packers were just waiting to receive the paperwork.

The Eagles started selling single-game tickets at 10:00 am today. They stopped selling them around 11:00 am.

Bears tight end Brandon Manumaleuna is coming back from arthroscopic knee surgery. The hope is that he’ll be ready for training camp. Manumaleuna is new to town but, having played for the Rams, already understands Mike Martz’s system.

The Broncos signed former Chiefs running back Kolby Smith today, which means you can rule out the idea of Brian Westbrook going to Denver. The 5’11”, 219-pound Smith will compete with J.J. Arrington (coming off a serious knee injury) for the No. 3 job. Smith’s problem is that he’s not a very physical presence between the tackles.

Patriots DE Ty Warren eschewed offseason workouts (and a $250,000 bonus) to go back to Texas A & M and get his degree this past offseason. Normally these stories stop being interesting after the headline, but Shalise Manza Young of offers a fun read on Warren’s story.

Bucs WR Sammie Stroughter has been taking some reps at the outside position lately, but still, you can expect him to spend most of 2010 in the slot. That’s where Stroughter’s fluidity and quickness will be most effective. Plus, the Bucs just drafted two 6’1”, 215-pound wideouts to fill the starting spots (Arrelious Benn, second round; Mike Williams, fourth round).

--Andy Benoit

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Posted on: June 16, 2010 6:29 pm

Bears GM on Idea of Adding O.J. Atogwe

It’s rare to see top-quality players still in their prime hitting the free agent market in June. But thanks to uncommon stipulations put forth by the uncapped year, this scenario has played out with free safety O.J. Atogwe. One of the better ballhawks in football (statistically speaking) is available, and seemingly every GM who doesn’t already have Ed Reed, Brian Dawkins, Eric Berry, Antoine Bethea, Darren Sharper or Nick Collins on their roster has had to field questions about the six-year pro.

This includes Bears GM Jerry Angelo. Since Mike Brown left, the Bears have fruitlessly shuffled safeties in hopes of finding the right fit. They seem destined to do so again this year, though don’t expect Atogwe to be part of the shuffle. Here’s what Angelo told the team’s website today:

“[Atogwe] is a good football player. We’ve evaluated him and we like him. But at this point, we’re set. We drafted Major Wright and traded for Chris Harris. We also have Danieal Manning, Craig Steltz and Josh Bullocks, all of whom have started in this league. We have five pretty good safeties, four of whom have a goodly amount of experience within our scheme. We feel good about that position.”

Though the Bears probably won’t sign Atogwe, let’s shake out the nonsense in Angelo’s statements.

First off, this is the same Jerry Angelo who, days before cutting Nathan Vasher, said he would not cut Nathan Vasher. (He even gave a logical explanation, which was that the cornerback had already been paid most of his money.) Can you blame Angelo for misleading the media here? No, it’s part of his job. But because of this, we have to take a heavy grain of salt with everything he says. In this Atogwe case, Angelo is talking to Think there’s a lot of hard-hitting journalists and muckrakers working for that site? The GM can say whatever he wants and not be pressed for accountability.

As for the statement itself, Angelo is right about Major Wright and Chris Harris being viable pieces. Wright, like any rookie at this point, is an enigma, but the Bears drafted him to start at free safety. Harris is a punishing hitter who knows the scheme.

But Angelo is blowing smoke when he talks about Manning, Steltz and Bullocks. These men are NOT quality safeties. If they were, Wright and Harris wouldn’t have been brought in. These three safeties all have starting experience, but only because none of them could keep a starting job. They’ve spent years rotating in and out of the lineup with each other.

Again, it’s the GM’s job to paint a rosy picture. But with no games being played to expose the falsity of these rosy pictures right now, we’re compelled to write snarky blogs when our B.S. detector goes off.

--Andy Benoit

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Posted on: June 16, 2010 5:43 pm
Edited on: June 16, 2010 5:45 pm

Jason Taylor Booed, Signs Autographs

Interesting article about Jason Taylor having to get chummy with the Jet fans. The article is a quick read and talks about Taylor being booed and signing autographs for his new fan base.

--Andy Benoit

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Posted on: June 16, 2010 5:32 pm

Pete Carroll Talks USC, Says Nothing

Pete Carroll has drawn heavy criticism for getting out of Dodge City, errr….Dodger City (ha!) just in time to avoid the brutal penalties handed down to USC for NCAA violations. Today, Carroll, through the Seattle Seahawks released this statement in regards to the mess:

"Let me say this very clearly, and I said it before so that you know. The head coach is responsible. I’m not ever trying to say anything but that. The head coach is responsible for what goes on. We just weren’t aware of this situation and we couldn’t do anything about it because we didn’t know. Unfortunately, it’s a difficult situation that the NCAA decided on early and figured out how they were going to go on it and they stayed with that -- stayed the course. So it’s unfortunate."

If you’re wondering where the substance or true accountability is in this statement, you’re not alone.

--Andy Benoit

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Posted on: June 16, 2010 4:55 pm
Edited on: June 16, 2010 4:58 pm

Osi Umenyiora....A Backup?

Let’s get one thing clear: Osi Umenyiora deserved to be benched last season. The Giants Pro Bowl defensive end became a liability as a playside run-defender. At times, it was worse than you could imagine. Offenses were clearly altering their game-plan to dial up run after run to Umenyiora’s side of the field. And not only was Umenyiora getting blocked, but opposing linemen were, at times, steering him in the direction they wanted him to go. Umenyiora was getting manhandled; the Giants had no choice but to bench him.

Now, let’s get something else clear: Umenyiora is a good player. And, prior to his ’08 knee injury, he had been a solid all-around run-defender. He’s still quick and agile, and he shows an acute ability to make run stops as a backside defender (when he can use his speed to chase the ball). Considering this and the fact that he’s still a 10-sack-caliber pass-rusher, it’d be foolish to write him off.

The 28-year-old Umenyiora is intelligent and outspoken. He has clashed with coaches in the past and wasn’t happy about the way his ’09 season finished out. With the first-round selection of Jason Pierre-Paul, many figured Umenyiora would have been traded by now. But the Giants, since the days of George Young and Ernie Accorsi, have always horded pass-rushers the way schizophrenics horde cats. So Umenyiora is on the roster and trying to climb from the second string back to the first. He must overtake Mathias Kiwanuka, a solid player with a similar skill set.

Umenyiora was asked today by’s Ohm Youngmisuk about playing the second string. Here was his response:

"Would I be cool? If I truly was not the best player, then I would be cool with it. If I feel like I am the best player and everybody in this league knows the type of player that I am, if I am able to play the way that I am capable of playing -- and I haven't played that way in my whole career in my mind -- the minute in my mind that I am playing the way that I am capable of playing when I am out on the field, then of course, it is going to be a problem. But I don't think that is going to happen."

--Andy Benoit

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Posted on: June 16, 2010 4:21 pm
Edited on: June 16, 2010 7:05 pm

Bush makes first public statement

Saints RB Reggie Bush, at the center of the investigation that cost Southern California a two-year bowl ban, 30 scholarships and possibly its 2004 BCS title, said today he’s been shaken by the penalties and that he will aid in USC’s NCAA appeal.

“This thing regarding USC and the NCAA is to me the closest thing to death without dying,” Bush told reporters today. “Because I have such a great love and respect for the University of (Southern) California, this has been one of the toughest things I’ve had to deal with in my life. But at the same time whether it’s all true or all wrong or whether we’re guilty or not guilty, it’s still my responsibility and I have to accept that. I’m going to do everything I can to make it right, to make it better, and that’s really all I can do. … It’s almost like shaming your dad in a sense.”

Asked what he could have done differently, Bush said that what’s in the past is in the past and that the present is what he was worried about. He did say, though, that not everything that’s come out in the investigation is completely true.

“There’s a lot of fabricated lies in this matter,” said Bush, who also said he couldn’t get into specifics. “I can’t sit here and cry about it. I can’t sit here and make up excuses. Ultimately it’s the responsibility that’s placed on USC’s shoulders and my shoulders that it’s because of me.”

He said he’s not worried about potentially losing his Heisman trophy.

Said Bush, who has not spoke with former USC coach and current Seahawks coach Pete Carroll: “I’m going to do everything I can to make this right, some way, somehow, if it’s the last thing I do.”

And here's Larry Holder's story for

--Josh Katzowitz

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Category: NFL
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