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Volume 6, Issue 120 (Tuesday, August 16th)

Tonight's update brought to you by:
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Hi Folks,

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Joe Bryant

SITE NEWS

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INSIDE THIS ISSUE

1. CLE - Rookie WR Braylon Edwards Will Have to Earn His Spot
2. CHI - QB Rex Grossman Probably Headed to IR
3. DEN - WR Jerry Rice Up to Third on the Depth Chart
4. BAL - RB/KR/PR B.J. Sams Arrested for DUI
5. OAK - WRs Jerry Porter & Ronald Curry to Miss Another Game
6. TEN - QB Billy Volek and Agent Hinting at Trade Request
7. MIA - QB Gus Frerotte Pulling Away; QB A.J. Feeley Sinking
8. ARI - C Alex Stepanovich Out for Remainder of Month
9. PHI - WRs Greg Lewis, Reggie Brown, and Billy McCullen Impress
10. NYJ - RB Curtis Martin Getting Faster
11. OAK - RB Lamont Jordan Preparing for 300 Carries
12. KC - TE Tony Gonzalez Still has Foot and Pinky Issues
13. IDP: BAL - CB Deion Sanders the New Sackmaster
14. IDP: TEN - CB Adam "Pacman" Jones Close to Deal - But Won't Play Friday

1. CLE - Rookie WR Braylon Edwards Will Have to Earn His Spot

Clipped from Associated Press article

For now, Braylon Edwards is another rookie, buried on Cleveland's depth chart at wide receiver along with some unknown, unsigned free agents who won't even make the Browns' roster. Edwards doesn't expect to be a fourth- or fifth-stringer for long, though. He's expecting a quick promotion. How quick? "The first time they throw me the ball," Edwards said. Confidence oozing from every pore, Edwards practiced with the Browns for the first time on Monday, a few days after he ended his two-week contract holdout by signing a five-year, $40 million contract with the Browns.

Edwards, the No. 3 overall pick, flashed some of his immense talent during the early portion of practice. During one drill, he snagged a pass with one hand and tiptoed down the sideline, drawing oohs and applause from the crowd. But in the team drills, Edwards either stood with his hands on his hips or knelt as he watched. He didn't know what to do with himself. "It was boring," he said, summing up his first NFL practice. "I'm used to going all the time, and today they held me out. It was an observation day. I've been waiting for so long to get out there and make something happen. I thought today was the day, but I'm just following the leader. I'm just waiting until they put me in there. I'm just biding my time."

It was no different on Saturday night for Edwards, who suited up but was kept out of the Browns' 17-13 exhibition win over the New York Giants. He looked good in warmups and on the sideline in his white No. 17 jersey, but never got the chance to get it dirty. Instead, Edwards spent most of the night talking with injured running back Reuben Droughns, who was out with a hamstring injury.

The Browns, though, aren't paying him all that money to shake pompoms or yell through a megaphone. They drafted him to be the kind of big-time, clutch-catch playmaker he was as an All-American at Michigan. That's in the future. His present playing time is being controlled by Browns coach Romeo Crennel, who won't show any favoritism. "We said when he got here that he would have to work his way up," Crennel said. "I told my coaches that there aren't going to be any battlefield promotions out on the field. He's going to have to go through the process. When he shows us he knows the system and he's getting the job done, then he'll move up."

[ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ OUR VIEW ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ]

Edwards has the potential to one day be the Browns top receiver, although it likely won't happen this year. He would like to be this year's Randy Moss, but he's stepping into a very different situation than the Vikings' club in which Moss exploded as a rookie. When all is said and done this year, we expect Edwards will finish behind Antonio Bryant in fantasy scoring among the Brown's wide receivers.

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2. CHI - QB Rex Grossman Probably Headed to IR

Clipped from: Chicago Tribune article by K.C. Johnson

The Bears are leaning toward placing quarterback Rex Grossman on injured reserve after surgery to repair his broken left ankle also required work on his fibula, meaning he would miss the entire 2005 season. With injuries at other positions like fullback and tight end, the Bears might not be in position to save a spot for Grossman on the 53-man roster.

"We're talking about that, but I don't want to get too far ahead of myself until I hear from the doctors," general manager Jerry Angelo said. "I told Rex this. I said, 'Rex, we're going to do everything we can to make sure you continue your progress with us.' But our first priority is what's in the best interest of our team. He understands that's the position we're going to take."

Team physician Mark Bowen and Armen Kelikian, a foot and ankle specialist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, performed the two-hour surgery. When Grossman originally suffered the injury Friday in St. Louis, the team estimated his absence at three to four months. That would mean missing eight of 16 games in a best-case scenario and 13 in the worst case. The worst-case scenario appears to be more in play following the surgery, which could end Grossman's third season even before he reaches the regular season.

Depending on how starter Chad Hutchinson and rookie Kyle Orton perform this season, Grossman could no longer be atop the depth chart at quarterback when he returns. "We have a lot of confidence in our quarterbacks and certainly [offensive coordinator] Ron Turner," Angelo said. "And we feel very good about going forward. We have plenty of time to get ready. We're going to take advantage of that time."

[ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ OUR VIEW ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ]

If you were planning to draft Grossman for your fantasy team, assuming he would return in November or December just in time for the fantasy playoffs, you'll want to reconsider your strategy. We wouldn't recommend that plan anyway, and hopefully most of you won't be stuck relying on Hutchinson or one of the other Chicago QBs to lead your fantasy team this year.

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3. DEN - WR Jerry Rice Up to Third on the Depth Chart

Clipped from Associated Press article

Jerry Rice moved up the Denver depth chart Monday, running as the No. 3 receiver at Broncos practice, ahead of Darius Watts. Rice was already considered a near shoo-in to make the roster and continue his record-setting career into a 21st season. The move Monday only serves to confirm that fact. After practice, the veteran receiver continued with a theme he set when he signed with the Broncos: that he is simply trying to prove himself and make the team. "I pretty much approach every season never thinking about what I accomplished the year before," Rice said.

Rice was limited in practice much of last week with a sore foot. He played briefly in Saturday's preseason game against the Texans and caught one pass for six yards. He is expected to play more this Saturday when the Broncos face Rice's first team, the San Francisco 49ers.

Watts struggled against Houston, catching two passes but dropping a handful of others. It was the same problem that plagued him last season -- he was good at getting open, not so dependable in securing the football. Rice said he's trying to help the second-year receiver. "I just told him, `Hey, you've got to let it go," Rice said. "He's a hard worker and I think he wants success, but he's got to keep on pushing. When the opportunity is there, that's when you've got to take advantage of it." Watts said he knew he made mistakes in Saturday's game, but said he wasn't discouraged. "I thought I'd been doing pretty good" in training camp, he said. "But I had a bad game."

Rice, meanwhile, was playing alongside Rod Smith and Ashley Lelie when the Broncos were in three-receiver sets in practice Monday. He said he is still absorbing the playbook. "I'm just going to take it and try to make the best of it," Rice said. "I've got to show them I can handle what they're going to throw at me."

[ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ OUR VIEW ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ]

During preseason last year, Watts looked very good, and had some people predicting he would quickly overtake Lelie for the number two spot. He then disappeared during the regular season. He looks to be off to a slow start here in 2005. Jerry Rice may be ancient, but don't count him out. He's one of the hardest working players in the game, and we expect he'll achieve some success this year.

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4. BAL - RB/KR/PR B.J. Sams Arrested for DUI

Clipped from Associated Press article

Baltimore Ravens return specialist B.J. Sams was arrested and charged with drunken driving after a traffic stop early Monday. Sams was pulled over shortly after 2 a.m. on Interstate 83 in Baltimore County, just north of the Baltimore city line, after his Chevrolet Tahoe was clocked going 89 mph in a 55-mph zone, Maryland State Police said. The trooper who made the stop saw signs that Sams had been drinking. After further investigation, Sams was arrested and charged with driving under the influence, negligent driving and speeding.

A female companion, who had not been drinking, drove Sams to a nearby state police barracks for processing, and Sams was released around 4 a.m. He was polite and cooperative, police said. Police would not say whether Sams took a breath test or what the results of any such tests were.

Sams, 24, took over the Ravens' punt and kick returning duties as a rookie in 2004. "We're trying to gather all the information and we will have a statement once we get the facts of the situation," Ravens spokesman Chad Steele said.

[ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ OUR VIEW ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ]

As a rookie and relative unknown last year, Sams went on to finish as the top fantasy returner in 2004 (ahead of the Dante Halls and Eddie Drummonds of the league). He's a top prospect in fantasy leagues that include individual special teams players. Baltimore already had a very strong defense, and Sams made them even better in fantasy leagues that combine team defense with special teams' returns. He is recovering from a minor hamstring injury, but nether that nor the DUI should adversely impact his fantasy value for 2005.

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5. OAK - WRs Jerry Porter & Ronald Curry to Miss Another Game

Clipped from: Associated Press article

Oakland Raiders receiver Jerry Porter doesn't plan to play in this weekend's preseason game in Houston while he recovers from a hamstring pull and instead has set Aug. 26 as his return date. "That's been my target all along," Porter said Monday. "When I can get on the (practice) field then I'll probably get in a game. When I go out there, I can't go out and go half-speed and risk messing it up some more." Porter has not practiced since Aug. 1 when he pulled up lame during a team scrimmage. Since then he has spent his time getting treatment and working with trainers away from the rest of his teammates.

Porter did not play in Oakland's preseason opening loss to San Francisco, leaving the Raiders without their leading receiver from 2004. Ronald Curry, who was second on the team in receptions, yardage and touchdowns, was also held out of the 49ers game and isn't likely going to play against Houston, either. Without Porter, the Raiders leaned on veteran Doug Gabriel and second-year player Johnnie Morant in the loss to San Francisco. Gabriel -- fourth on the depth chart behind Randy Moss, Porter and Curry -- took all the reps with Oakland's starting offense while Morant, who battled a foot injury most of his rookie season, led the Raiders with four catches for 76 yards.

Porter became a free agent in the offseason but re-signed with the Raiders, getting a five-year deal worth $20 million. The deal is voidable after three years.

But the sixth-year veteran has spent nearly all of training camp working away from his teammates. Though he regularly spends the afternoon watching practice, his mornings are spent rehabilitating his injured right leg, a process he acknowledges has been frustrating. "I'm constantly going at it out here in rehab, but I'm anxious to play football," said Porter, adding that he hopes to resume practicing this week. "I'm not out here to rehab. I'm out here to play."

[ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ OUR VIEW ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ]

Randy Moss should of course get the big numbers, however many people are expecting good things from the Raiders offense this year, so Porter and Curry should also benefit (assuming they recover from their current ailments). The lofty expectations for Oakland have many fantasy drafters eyeing Porter, consequently he is often being drafted earlier than we believe his value dictates. Curry on the hand seems to be forgotten by many drafters, and could be a very could value pick in larger leagues and ones that start three receivers.

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6. TEN - QB Billy Volek and Agent Hinting at Trade Request

Clipped from: Nashville City Paper article by Terry McCormick

Drew Rosenhaus took time off from the Terrell Owens soap opera Monday to guest star in the Billy Volek mini-series. Rosenhaus, in town partly for safety Arturo Freeman's signing with the Titans, took the time to address Volek's status as a backup quarterback with general manager Floyd Reese. "It's a tough situation for him. He's a fabulous quarterback, and he's a backup here," Rosenhaus said. "And he could start for a lot of other teams. It's a tough scenario for a guy that's in his prime. He's 29 years old, and it's a scenario where he really needs to be given a chance to blossom, and it's not going to happen right now."

Volek signed a five-year, $12 million deal before the 2004 season to return to the Titans, spurning offers from Atlanta, Buffalo and Green Bay in the process. Part of Volek's incentive in returning to Tennessee was family-related. The other part was the uncertainty of Steve McNair's status beyond last season.

Now, Volek is hinting that his time to be a starter has come. "I want to be a starter, and that's my goal," Volek said. "I want to be a starter and have my team and take my team to the Super Bowl. Obviously, this year, I want to be in Nashville and be the best backup I can be."

Volek is coming off his best season in 2004, playing in 10 games (eight starts) and completing 218 of 357 passes for 2,486 yards. That included 18 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Volek switched agents from Ken Staninger to Rosenhaus earlier this season, apparently with an eye toward starting in 2006, now that it appears McNair will play a few more years, if he remains healthy and productive.

The Titans don't appear very receptive to the idea of a trade anytime soon. Behind McNair and Volek, the Titans have only undrafted rookies Gino Guidugli and Shane Boyd. "You have to have two good quarterbacks to have a chance to win. We have two good quarterbacks," Titans coach Jeff Fisher said. "Why would we give one of them away, unless you had a chance to get a better one? We're not in the business of developing players for other teams. We're developing players for our future."

[ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ OUR VIEW ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ]

Volek has produced when he's had the chance to play. At the moment this sounds more like idle conversation, rather than trouble brewing, but we'll let you know if it goes anywhere. For this year, Volek is a handcuff yet again to McNair.

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7. MIA - QB Gus Frerotte Pulling Away; QB A.J. Feeley Sinking

Clipped from: Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel article by Alex Marvez

Gus Frerotte is officially pulling away from A.J. Feeley in the Dolphins' quarterback competition. Coach Nick Saban said Monday that Frerotte would start Saturday night's exhibition game at Pittsburgh and "is a little ahead of A.J. in terms of where we're at from an offensive standpoint."

For the first time this preseason, Frerotte worked exclusively with the starting unit during practice Monday while Feeley played with the second team. "There's still competition at this position," Saban said. "We want to see how things develop and the chemistry develops with Gus being the starter, taking the reps with the [starters] and kind of going from there." Saban had split starts between Frerotte and Feeley in the first two exhibition games. Frerotte has clearly outplayed Feeley, who threw an interception and failed to lead the Dolphins to a score in six drives in Saturday's 27-17 exhibition loss at Jacksonville.

Feeley is still ahead of Sage Rosenfels on the team's depth chart, but Saban didn't discount the possibility of Rosenfels receiving repetitions with the second-team offense during one of the team's final three exhibition games. "You always want a chance to compete, whether it's competing against other guys or competing against yourself," said Rosenfels, who has thrown touchdown passes in both exhibition games. "I play golf, so I like to compare football to golf. I'm trying to beat the course. I'm not trying to beat the other golfers necessarily, because I have to do the best job I can possibly do and I can't worry about the other guys.

[ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ OUR VIEW ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ]

Frerotte's familiarity with offensive coordinator Scott Linehan's system appears to be paying off. Whether Linehan can achieve the same kind of success he enjoyed with the Vikings is another matter. A new locale with entirely different personnel makes that a challenge. The Dolphins' offensive line is also still a project in development, so the early results for Frerotte and company might be limited.

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8. ARI - C Alex Stepanovich Out for Remainder of Month

Clipped from: Arizona Republic article by Odeen Domingo

Cardinals starting center Alex Stepanovich, who injured his right hand in the team's mock game Aug. 6, will be out for the rest of the month, coach Dennis Green said Monday. Stepanovich had surgery last week, and plates were inserted in his right hand, his snapping hand. "We don't have a timetable on Stepanovich," Green said. "It's going to be a while though (until he's back on the field). . . . We're a little concerned. He'll be back playing, but we don't know if it'll be soon."

Stepanovich wasn't at practice Monday, but he has started trying to snap with his left hand. "The question is, can you do that in the blocking scheme, too?" Green said. "He can also play guard, even though he plays center for us. He's a guard/center."

Nick Leckey, who like Stepanovich was chosen on the second day of the 2004 draft, has taken over the starting center role and was forced to play most of the snaps in Saturday's win over the Dallas Cowboys. It was the most playing time Leckey has had since becoming an NFL player, because Stepanovich took every snap last season.

Rookie free-agent center Chad Bandiera was signed last week, but fourth-year offensive tackle Adam Haayer is Leckey's primary backup.

[ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ OUR VIEW ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ]

Stepanovich is an important part of the line, despite only being a second year player. Fortunately, it looks like he'll be back for the start of the regular season.

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9. PHI - WRs Greg Lewis, Reggie Brown, and Billy McCullen Impress

Clipped from: The Times article by Mark Eckel

If there was any kind of bright spot for the Eagles in last night's preseason-opening 38-31 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, it was the play of the new-look receiving crew. With Todd Pinkston out for the year with a ruptured Achilles' tendon and Terrell Owens out until tomorrow when he brings his circus back to town, the trio of Greg Lewis, rookie Reggie Brown and Billy McMullen were impressive.

When the Eagles finally scored, on an impressive 14-play, 70-yard drive that took 8:12 off the clock, it was the receivers who made it happen. McNabb, who finished 14-for-19 for 132 yards with a touchdown and an interception for a quarterback rating of 80.0, completed four passes to Brown on the touchdown drive, two to Lewis and a big 21-yarder to McMullen on a third-and-17. "I need to make some better decisions on my part," McNabb said. "But I think as a team we were able to make some big plays. We used a lot of people. (Tight end) L.J. (Smith) made a big catch. Reggie had a big catch. Greg had a big catch. Billy had a big catch."

Brown, the second-round pick from Georgia, caught five passes for 52 yards in just over a quarter of play, two of which were for first downs, and his fifth catch set up an 8-yard touchdown pass to Smith. "I felt comfortable out there," Brown said. "I didn't get as much press (coverage) as I get in practice so it was a bit easier being able to run routes.

Lewis caught three passes for 28 yards in his limited work, including a pretty 21-yard crossing pattern over the middle in the first quarter. "I didn't feel any pressure," Lewis, who went from No. 4 receiver last year to No. 1 last night, said. "It was different, but I was more excited about it. I just wanted to come out and do what I've been doing in practice and try to make as many plays as possible."

McMullen, a disappointment his first two years, continued his strong training camp with four catches for 59 yards, including the 21-yarder and a 23-yarder. Those four receptions matched McMullen's two-year regular-season total.

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The fantasy value for all three players increased when Pinkston got hurt, and depending on what happens with the Terrell Owens saga, their value could increase even more. It's preseason and vanilla defense but rookie Reggie Brown looked very strong. As the Eagles contemplate the possibility of life without Terrell Owens, Brown was a bright spot. At least against this defense.

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10. NYJ - RB Curtis Martin Getting Faster

Clipped from: ESPN.com article by Michael Smith

Relax. That's what Curtis Martin says to himself now on those occasions when he unexpectedly finds himself alone, in space. Therefore, opponents of the New York Jets should have cause for greater concern.

This year he came up with this: Martin's longest run last season was a 25-yard touchdown against Miami in the seventh game. Consistency, not speed, has been Martin's hallmark, evident by his solid if unspectacular 4.1-yard career average; last season was just the second time in his career that he has averaged as much as 4.5. Which brings us to the aforementioned performance anxiety issue.

Martin reviewed practice film and diagnosed the problem himself. And the contrast was clear: A deep thinker by nature, Martin has come to realize that, in game situations, he would have a little too much on his mind (securing the ball, for example) when he found himself with more room to run than he was accustomed, whereas in a relaxed workout setting he was more apt to outrun defenders for long gains. "When I got into the open, I was usually so shocked, I'd tense up," he said. "It's just relaxing and allowing your legs to run freely. I just started putting more emphasis on focusing -- once I get in the open, the first thing that clicks in my mind now is 'relax.'"

He did anything but relax this offseason; the future Hall of Famer is not big on saving himself for game day. Beginning in April and continuing into early July, Martin practically called the Jets' facility home, taking part in the team's workout program and then some. He focused on increasing his speed for the first time since his early years as a Patriot, with Jets first-year director of physical development Markus Paul, also formerly of the Patriots. Back in Santa Monica, Calif., in an effort to increase foot speed, Martin sprinted his steps as opposed to merely running them.

The result: Though Paul won't divulge Martin's time in the 40-yard dash, they agree Martin has improved his quickness and speed.

Heimerdinger was hired primarily to improve the passing game; if successful, Martin should see fewer eight-man fronts. But Heimerdinger also has tweaked the run blocking a bit, allowing the linemen greater freedom to make adjustments while giving Martin the welcomed opportunity to improvise more. "Instead of hitting a specific hole," Martin said, "what I love to do is just run wherever there is a hole. A lot of the runs are designed to allow me to be an artist.

[ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ OUR VIEW ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ]

Martin was last year's number four ranked fantasy running back and now he's working hard to improve himself. The coaching staff is working hard to assist him. On average, he is currently the 19th running back taken in fantasy drafts. That sounds like a nice bargain.

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11. OAK - RB Lamont Jordan Preparing for 300 Carries

Clipped from: FOXSports.com article by John Czarnecki

[Norv]Turner, who has coached his share of runners from Emmitt Smith to Stephen Davis to Ricky Williams, believes Jordan can handle 300 carries this season. Of course, Jordan only had 93 carries last season as the backup to Curtis Martin.

"He's a big, physical back who also has the ability to run away from guys," Turner said of the 235-pound Jordan. "He has great power and super hands, but he also has a lot of finesse. You generally don't find that in power runners. He has that ability to make you miss when there's not a hole, or when someone misses a block. You don't know that about a runner until you've been around him a bit."

Jordan is excited about his well-paid opportunity. "I know they wanted to trade for me in the past," he said. "But I'm kind of glad it didn't happen last year. I really believe that by waiting another year, I matured a lot. I think I am more ready for this chance to be the No. 1 back."

To get ready for a punishing, high-carry season, Jordan said he ran more stadium steps and hills in preparation. "I knew I had to get my legs stronger," he said. "I knew I had to develop the mentality for it."

This will be Jordan's fifth NFL season, but in case you've forgotten he still holds the University of Maryland rushing record of 4,147 yards and the school's career rushing attempt mark of 807. "I know I have it in me," Jordan said. "I once ran 38 times for 306 yards against the U. of Virginia," he said. "Now, I was tired afterwards, but I did it."

[ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ OUR VIEW ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ]

We're currently projecting Jordan to get 270 carries for the year. If the Raiders actually give him 300+ carries, and if FB Zack Crockett doesn't get the majority the goal line opportunities, then Jordan could join the long line of Turner coached RB studs. He looked fantastic in last weekend's game showing power and also some outstanding hands in catching the ball.

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12. KC - TE Tony Gonzalez Still has Foot and Pinky Issues

Clipped from: KCChiefs.com article, Q&A with Tony Gonzalez

Q: How's your foot?

GONZALEZ: "It's just sore; I mean its one of those things I've been dealing with for the last two years. It's not like I am not going to play or anything like that. It's just dealing with the pain. When you are out here at camp, doing two-a-days, which I don't, it wouldn't be smart to do it because it would be fatiguing it quicker. So I am trying to stick to the one-a-day routine and go out there and do what I can."

Q: After your foot surgery, are you disappointed that you are still experiencing some discomfort?

GONZALEZ: "Yeah I am definitely disappointed. The better the foot is the more I can get out there and practice. The more I practice, the more I get my routes down, my run blocking down. It just hinders me from going out there to practice the way I want to. I am still able to go out there and work hard. I am still out there doing sprints, but it makes it a lot more painful and a lot less comfortable. But at the same time it doesn't matter. It's something you have to play through. You have to play through the pain that's the NFL. If you don't want to play though pain you have to pick another sport. It's something I am going to deal with, and hopefully we can go out there and put up some big numbers this year."

Q: How hard is it to catch a football with your injured pinky?

GONZALEZ: "It's tough. It's tough. Especially cause they put a piece of plastic over it and tape. I wouldn't play the game if I had to wear that plastic thing on it. I would probably sit out. I wouldn't even wear it; I would just deal with it."

[ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ OUR VIEW ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ]

In Dick Vermeil's Q&A session, he indicated that Gonzalez's pinky was actually broken. As usual, it appears that Gonzalez is set to play through the pains.

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13. IDP: BAL - CB Deion Sanders the New Sackmaster

Clipped from: Baltimore Sun article by Jamison Hensley

When Deion Sanders re-signed with the Ravens two months ago, the loquacious nickel back talked about settling "unfinished business." Sanders spoke about his desire to win another Super Bowl and end his stellar career with a memorable season. Funny, he never mentioned anything about re-inventing himself as a pass rusher.

After two weeks of training camp, the biggest surprise is how Sanders has changed from a cornerback that quarterbacks used to throw away from to a defender that quarterbacks have to run from. Blitzing from the outside, Sanders registered two sacks in the scrimmage against the Washington Redskins and another one in Saturday's preseason opener in Atlanta.

The Ravens are asking Sanders to take over a position he has never regularly played in his previous 13 seasons in the NFL. Sanders built his reputation as one of the best cover corners in league history by lining up one-on-one with an outside receiver, with his sole job being to take out the likes of Michael Irvin and Jerry Rice week after week. But when the Ravens didn't re-sign Gary Baxter, they asked Sanders to be the defender who had covered the slot (the middle receiver) when offenses went to three-receiver formations. By playing more in the center of the action, Sanders had to learn the entire Ravens' system, not just his receiver assignment. He also had to learn about blitzing off the edge.

Sanders proved he could still be "Prime Time" despite his part-time role. On his third and final play of the preseason opener, he was the unblocked defender in an all-out blitz. At 38, Sanders chased down 25-year-old quarterback Michael Vick, caused a fumble and recovered it at the Ravens' 18-yard line.

Never known as a hitter, Sanders has one sack in 172 career games. But he said there was a reason for that. "Early in my career, it made no sense to blitz your best defender," Sanders said. "Now, we have four corners that can really cover so you can take chances and can send me in there."

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I love Deion. Never short on ego, it's interesting to watch him mature as he realizes his role and how he can help his team. If this continues into the regular season it improves Sanders value a bit, however probably not enough for fantasy purpose, because he remains a situational part time player.

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14. IDP: TEN - CB Adam "Pacman" Jones Close to Deal - But Won't Play Friday

Clipped from: AP article by Teresa M. Walker

Tennessee's top draft pick, Adam "Pacman" Jones, didn't sign a deal or practice Tuesday, and coach Jeff Fisher said that means the cornerback won't be going to Atlanta for the Titans' next exhibition game.

Jones really wanted to play in Friday night's exhibition game against the Falcons because Atlanta is his hometown. Both sides had been close enough in talks Monday they had hoped Jones could practice Tuesday afternoon.

But Jones' agent, Michael Huyghue, had to fly from Jacksonville, Fla., to Nashville on Tuesday afternoon trying to work out the last pieces of a five-year contract.

"It's not like anybody's upstairs inking a contract right now," Fisher said.

Fisher knew how much Jones wanted to play against Atlanta after talking with him Monday, but the coach made it clear the cornerback had to be on the field Tuesday when the team worked out in full pads to make the trip.

"He's not here. He's not going to Atlanta. We'll hope he's here on the practice field and does enough work so he can go to San Francisco," Fisher said of their third exhibition on Aug. 26.

If a deal is signed that allows Jones to practice Wednesday, Fisher said they will be too busy preparing for the Falcons to do more than let Jones catch some punts and practice.

That won't have enough time for Fisher to feel comfortable letting him play on such short notice. If Jones wants to be at Friday night's game, he'll have to tap another option.

"That's the beauty of 'Will Call' now. You can put tickets at 'Will Call'. That's not a problem," Fisher said.

Even with so much time missed, Fisher said he isn't counting Jones out of the chance to start the season at cornerback on Sept. 11 at Pittsburgh. Jones' chances of being a starter diminish with each passing day that he isn't in camp.

"I'm not necessarily blaming him," Fisher said. "This is just the way things are. This is the way they're going to be. He understands that."

This is the longest holdout by a draft pick for this franchise since relocating to Tennessee in 1997. Jones, who was the sixth pick overall and the top defensive player taken in the draft, was the franchise's highest draft pick since Steve McNair was chosen third overall in 1995.

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We're assuming this deal happens here soon. Despite the off-field distractions and issues that come with Jones, he should hopefully start making an impact on defense either from the outset, or several games into the season. He also has a good chance of handling returns on special teams.

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That'll do it for today, Folks. Have a great day and we'll see you tomorrow with the update.

J

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