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Volume 6, Issue 121 (Wednesday, August 17th)

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

Terrell Owens is back in camp and all is right in the world. I'm sure we're done talking about him this summer… Yeah right. Big news today as we've got another brand new set of projections ready for you. Plus the Footballguys $20,000 Subscriber Contest is ready to roll. Plus the new 37 page Training Camp Update is ready for all Premium Subscribers. Details are in the Site News below. Camps are rolling and we're here for you to plow through the mountain of news and bring you the key things you need to know. Thanks to our Footballguy Will Grant for the help rounding up these stories tonight. Let's get to it.

Joe Bryant

SITE NEWS

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INSIDE THIS ISSUE

1. PHI - WR Owens Returns To Practice
2. SD - TE Gates Is Informed: Sign Or Don't Play
3. PIT - WR Ward Returns to Practice
4. NYJ - QB Pennington To Start Against Vikings
5. KC - TE Gonzalez Plays Despite Broken Finger
6. KC - PK Tynes Charged With Felony
7. CHI - WR Gage Not Catching Anything
8. DEN - RB Bell Wants To Be #1
9. CAR - RB Davis Out Until Aug 26th. (At Least)
10. CIN - IDP LB Pollack Signs
11. STL - IDP CB Butler Lost For The Season
12. NYJ - IDP DE Abraham Still Holding Out
13. GB - IDP DT Jackson Ends Holdout
14. SD - IDP CB Florence Should Start

1. PHI - WR Owens Returns To Practice

Clipped from ESPN.com article 8/17/05

One week after being banished by Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid, Terrell Owns returned to practice.

Owens sprinted onto the practice field before 9 a.m. EDT on Wednesday, sporting Eagles practice gear for the first time since being dismissed on the heels of a heated argument with Reid a week ago.

Prior to taking the field, Owens met with Reid for a few minutes in what the coach deemed a "good" meeting.

During his one-week suspension, the star wide receiver took time to play some hoops, label quarterback Donovan McNabb a "hypocrite" via the media and attend a preseason game at the Georgia Dome on Saturday.

When asked if he spoke with Owens regarding his "hypocrite" remark, McNabb said, "No, we haven't. I'm not looking forward to that, either."

Without Owens available for their preseason game Monday, the Eagles lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers, 38-31. McNabb's first pass was intercepted and returned for a touchdown.

During Wednesday's practice, Owens appeared to be in good spirits and bantered back and forth with McNabb. He was held to limited reps due to a groin injury that had kept him out of practice each of the previous two days before his banishment.

"We're going to take it day by day and see how things go," Reid said. "It was good to see him back out there. He did a nice job and worked hard."

"I think (Owens) works hard out there on the field," McNabb said. "We were able to make some big plays."

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

So far, so good. It'll be interesting to see how Owens and McNabb get along. They may like each other or they may hate each other, but they know that to be successful as a team, McNabb and Owens need to get along on the field. Can Owens keep it together the entire season? Maybe. Can he and McNabb play nice? Hopefully. One thing is clear: with Owens, you never know what is going to happen next. I'll leave the situation as this: Owens showed up Wednesday looking not too thrilled but worked with the team and basically did what he was supposed to do. Pretty much like the first day of camp. And we all know how that went. Our bottom line is that we still think he'll be the guy for the Eagles this year. But there is the "worry" factor that cannot be ignored.

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2. SD - TE Gates Is Informed: Sign Or Don't Play

Clipped from: Foxsports.com article by Jay Glazer 8/17/05

The San Diego Chargers have made their move in the contract stalemate with All-Pro tight end Antonio Gates.

FOXSports.com has learned that the Chargers sent Gates a letter informing him that if he does not sign his tender (reported to be $380,000) by Saturday, he will be held out of both the season opener against Dallas in addition to the last two preseason games.

The letter also states that for every preseason and regular season game he misses after Saturday's game, he will be sat for an extra game. In other words, if Gates does not sign his tender until after the preseason, he will miss the first three games of the season, as the contract impasse between the two sides now hits another level. He will also not receive a game check for those games he is forced to sit.

For the games Gates is forced to miss, he will be held off the team's 53-man roster.

Gates last year was named an All Pro and wants to be paid along the lines of Chiefs' perennial Pro Bowl tight end Tony Gonzalez. The Chargers have negotiated with Gates for a while, but when they could not get a deal done prior to camp, Gates boycotted training camp.

Gates, who did not play college football, had a breakout year in 2004, making 81 catches for 964 yards and 13 touchdowns.

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

Strap yourself in folks: this one is going to be bumpy. Gates is a huge part of the San Diego offense, and the Chargers need him this season. While missing the last two pre-season games is no big deal for Gates, missing the first game of the season is a big deal to fantasy players who are taking Gates in the third round. Stay tuned for more details on this as it develops. We'll let you know when either side makes a move.

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3. PIT - WR Ward Returns to Practice

Clipped from Washington Times.com AP article 8/16/05

On a night they ran back an interception and two kicks for touchdowns, the Pittsburgh Steelers' best return came a few hours before they beat the Philadelphia Eagles.

Hines Ward ended a two-week holdout that concluded just as it began - with Ward wanting more money and the Steelers declining to give it to him until he showed up and began practicing.

Ward's absence was the longest by a Steelers veteran player since Pro Bowl running back Barry Foster stayed out for nearly three weeks in 1993 before doing exactly what Ward did by returning without a new deal. There is every indication the Steelers want to work out an extension with Ward and quickly, just as they did with Foster.

What was unique was one of Ward's main reasons for returning: He missed practice and training camp, something few NFL players would ever acknowledge. With training camp coverage now available 24 hours a day by flipping on a TV, Ward began to wish he was in Latrobe, Pa., for the two-a-day drills, the heat, the endless meetings and daylong routine.

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

With Plaxico Burress now in New York, Ward is going to be the focal point of the Steeler passing attack this season. Although his stats dipped a bit in 2004, Ward's 80 receptions were almost double that of the #2 man Antwaan Randle El's 43. As Big Ben gains more confidence and begins to open up the passing game more, Ward's stats should climb back into the fantasy top 15 at WR. While he probably won't approach the 112 reception, 1300-yard mark that he had in 2002, he should do better than the 1004 yards receiving that he had last season.

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4. NYJ - QB Pennington To Start Against Vikings

Clipped from thenewyorkjets.com article by Troy Nelson 8/17/05

"Chad will play with the starters, he'll get some reps," head coach Herman Edwards announced on Wednesday. "He'll probably throw some high balls, some low balls, and he'll throw some really good ones. It's a practice game and we'll evaluate it after it's over and try to improve on the things that we need to improve on.

" "Our starters will play into the second quarter, maybe the entire first half, depending upon how many reps they get and how they fare. Our second team will play the majority of the second half and we'll start substituting our third team in the fourth quarter."

"Pennington's receivers are anticipating a healthy and excited quarterback when they take the field Friday night.

"I expect Chad to be sharp," Cotchery said. "I've seen him progress a lot since coming back from surgery."

"He's looking better every day," wide receiver Justin McCareins added. "He's getting stronger. I can tell he's throwing the ball with more and more confidence every time he's out on the practice field."

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

Great news for Jets fans and fantasy football fans alike. Earlier this summer, it was questionable if Pennington could make it back for the final pre-season game. To see him starting two weeks earlier is a good sign that he'll be 100% by the time the regular season starts. Pennington is an important of New York's revamped offense that should be more aggressive than it was under OC Paul Hackett. With Laveranues Coles back as the #1 WR, the Jets are hoping to add a spark to a passing game that fell 14th in passing yards in 2003 to 22nd in passing yards last season..

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5. KC - TE Gonzalez Plays Despite Broken Finger

Clipped from: KansasCity.com article by Elizabeth Merril 8/17/05

The conversation today, just before the cafeteria Swiss steak and steamed rice, is about quantum physics. Tony Gonzalez is reading another book and getting deep. He's thumbing through The Master Key System by Charles F. Haanel. This guy Haanel, supposedly, inspired Bill Gates to leave Harvard and start Microsoft.

Surely he can help Gonzalez channel the pain that shoots through his right hand and left foot.

"I'm interested in what makes people tick," Gonzalez said, "and what makes myself tick."

Nobody can really figure out Tony G. He's a reality TV star who doesn't have a television in his dorm room. He's a training-room junkie who's stretching for a catch in the end zone.

Just when it looked as if Gonzalez was ready for a healthier 2005, Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil broke the latest injury news early Tuesday: Gonzalez has a broken pinky finger. With two fingers taped together and a bandage that resembled an oven mitt, he practiced again Tuesday afternoon, referring to a chapter in another book he's reading in his 11-by-13 dorm room.

It's How to Be Like Mike, a biography on Michael Jordan.

"This is the NFL," Gonzalez said. "If you can't play with pain, then this isn't the game for you."

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

Some guys will injure themselves just getting out of the car in the parking lot. Guys like Gonzalez need to be dragged off the field. Gonzalez has been the #1 or #2 fantasy TE for the last six seasons, and he's not going to let something like a broken finger stop him from playing every down possible. Expect him to be one of the top Fantasy TE's in your league this year again.

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6. KC - PK Tynes Charged With Felony

Clipped from: Washington Times AP article 8/17/05

Kansas City Chiefs kicker Lawrence Tynes was charged Wednesday with breaking a bouncer's nose in a bar fight, a felony with a maximum penalty of 3 1/2 years in prison.

Tynes, the NFL's first Scottish-born player, turned himself in Wednesday morning and made his first appearance in Pierce County Circuit Court on one felony count of substantial battery and one count of misdemeanor battery. He was released on a $15,000 signature bond.

He practiced with the team Wednesday. Practice broke up before word of the criminal charges got out.

The alleged fight took place early Sunday morning at a bar in River Falls, where the Chiefs have their training camp.

A police report said Tynes allegedly hit a bar patron in the face, then hit the bouncer in the nose.

Tynes was charged after police received medical reports, River Falls Police Capt. John Stapleton said. Wisconsin law provides for a felony battery charge if the victim has a bone broken.

Two other players, defensive tackle Junior Siavii and safety Greg Wesley, were arrested early Sunday after allegedly getting into a drunken confrontation with police in a Minneapolis hotel. Each is charged with one misdemeanor count of disorderly conduct, and Siavii is also charged with a misdemeanor count of fifth-degree assault.

Tynes won the kicking job from veteran Morten Andersen last season but has struggled in training camp this year.

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

Everyone knows it's all fun and games until you make the kicker mad… While on the surface, it might be humorous to think about Tynes going WWF on a bouncer in a bar, the felony charge is serious. As usual, the NFL and the Chiefs will sit tight until a player is actually found guilty, so expect things to progress as normal. Tynes is the only kicker on the current roster for the Chiefs, so if he is misses any playing time, another kicker will have to be brought in. Tynes currently is listed at #13 on the Footballguys.com projection list for kickers.

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7. CHI - WR Gage Not Catching Anything

Clipped from: Chicagosports.com article by KC Johnson and John Mullin 8/16/05

Justin Gage wears a low uniform number for a receiver, but No. 12 is still far bigger than his reception total in the Bears' first two exhibition games.

Zero.

That could change Saturday against Indianapolis if recent practices are any indication. New starting quarterback Chad Hutchinson has quickly developed a rapport with Gage, who could be set for the kind of breakout he has been craving since virtually being cast aside by former offensive coordinator Terry Shea.

"Chad [has] been feeding the ball to me more," Gage said. "That could just be the plays and the way the defense is playing them. And it's the quarterback building confidence up. I definitely feel Rex [Grossman] had confidence in me. Rex is more of a guy who will do it by the book but also likes to take a chance. Chad right now is getting comfortable and doing [plays] more by the book."

In Hutchinson's first game as a starter last season, Gage caught two passes, one to set up a touchdown in the Dec. 5 victory over Minnesota.

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

Gage was the early favorite to be the starter last season as well, and fell down the depth chart by the time the season started. With Bobby Wade, Bernard Berrian, Eddie Berlin and rookie Mark Bradley all competing for a starting shot, Gage can not afford to come up empty during the remain pre-season games.

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8. DEN - RB Bell Wants To Be #1

Clipped from: RockeyMountainnews.com article by Lee Rasizer 8/17/05

The hole opened fast and Tatum Bell shot through the back-side lane even faster, leaving the Houston Texans defense in the dust.

The breakaway play, which occurred last week as the Denver Broncos and Texans practiced in preparation for their preseason opener, was commonplace late in the 2004 season, when Bell got his chance in the backfield. But this year, through three weeks of training camp, it has been a rarity.

While Mike Anderson has been the most consistent and, by far, the best short-yardage and goal-line runner of the Broncos' backs and Ron Dayne consistently has raised his stock while flashing surprising quickness, Bell has managed to be solid, if unspectacular.

The flash that defines Bell has been seen only sporadically.

"I've still got it, man. . . . I've still got my speed," Bell said Tuesday after the morning practice. "I'm just trying to run with a little more power and to do all the little things right to keep myself in the running."

Bell was alluding to being in the running for the starting tailback job. The race has turned into a sprint, with Bell needing to hustle if he is to make a push to displace Anderson.

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

Bell was excellent in his limited appearances last season. He rang up a team high 5.3 YPC and 16.0 YPR with his 80 touches. When Reuben Droughns left town for Cleveland, the starting job was Bell's for the taking. Yet it is Mike Anderson who sits atop the depth chart now. As many fantasy football players know, whoever runs the ball in Denver is a quality running back. The Broncos have been a top ten rushing team since 2000 and had 2333 yards as a team last season. The last two pre-season games will be the key.

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9. CAR - RB Davis Out Until Aug 26th. (At Least)

Clipped from: Charlotte.com AP article 8/16/05

Carolina Panthers running back Stephen Davis probably won't return to the team until at least the third game of the preseason, coach John Fox said Tuesday.

"So far, there has been nothing to discourage that," Fox said. "But we're not at that point yet and we're just taking it a day at a time."

Davis is attempting to recover from microfracture knee surgery and is not allowed to practice with the team while he remains on the physically unable to perform list. He has been working with team trainers.

"He's going through his rehab, and all of those things have been good," Fox said. "Now, it's just a matter of time when we get him out there and start banging him around."

The Panthers play their second preseason game of the year Saturday against the New York Giants. They play Cleveland on Aug. 26 and end the preseason against Pittsburgh on Sept. 1.

Davis ran for a career-high 1,444 yards in 2003, but missed 14 games last season with knee problems.

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

At this point, it looks like DeShaun Foster will be the starter for the Panthers when the season opens. Stephen Davis is making every effort to come back, and will be a shot at some point during the season. How he performs remains to be seen. For now, it looks like he'll still be sitting on the sidelines watching and waiting.

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10. CIN - IDP LB Pollack Signs

Clipped from: The Washington Times AP Article 8/17/05

David Pollack, the Cincinnati Bengals' first-round pick, ended his 19-day holdout on Wednesday by signing a five-year contract.

"We're excited to have this deal concluded," said Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis. "We're excited to get started with David, for his and our future."

The Bengals scheduled a 2 p.m. news conference to announce the deal.

Pollack, the 17th pick overall in April's draft, was one of the last first-round picks to sign. Chicago's Cedric Benson and Tennessee's Adam "Pacman" Jones are the only holdouts remaining, though Jones is close to signing.

Originally penciled in as a starter at strong-side linebacker after playing defensive tackle in college, he was demoted to third team on the depth chart during his holdout.

Just Monday, Lewis blasted Pollack for missing practice, saying, "I think the club has given in every way."

The 6-foot-2, 255-pound Pollack was a defensive end at Georgia. He became the first two-time winner of the Ted Hendricks Award given to the nation's top college defensive end. His 36 sacks set a Georgia record and rank fourth all-time in the SEC.

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

Pollack might not make the starting lineup by week 1, but the Bengals need him to help improve on their 19th ranked defense. Expect to see him playing before the end of the pre-season. Pollack's signing leaves only Chicago RB Cedric Benson and Tennessee CB 'Pacman' Jones as the only unsigned 1st round picks.

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11. STL - IDP CB Butler Lost For The Season

Clipped from: The Washington Times.com AP article 8/17/05

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- St. Louis Rams cornerback Jerametrius Butler will have knee surgery Monday and miss the season, coach Mike Martz said Wednesday. Butler torn a right knee ligament on the first day of training camp July 28. He went to New York City this week to see a specialist, who agreed with Rams' doctors that Butler should have an operation.

"He's going to have surgery on the knee, so obviously he's done for the year," Martz said. "It'll take about four months to recover and rehab from that thing."

Butler will have the operation at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City.

"It's tough news," Butler said. "All the doctors told me the same thing. I'm out for the year, but I'll rebound from this. It hurts, man." Butler said the injury happened when he broke for the ball and felt his knee give out. He kept playing, but asked the trainers to look at it because it didn't feel right.

"He was just starting to realize his full potential," Martz said. "He's obviously a terrific corner. We'll move on. It just provides an opportunity for somebody else to fill in the ranks and be a good player."

Backup DeJuan Groce, drafted in the fourth round in 2003 out of Nebraska, will move into Butler's position. Groce started five of the 11 games he played last season and saw action in both postseason games.

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

This is a huge hit for the St. Louis secondary and for IDP players alike. Butler had 73 solo tackles, 6 assists, 5 INTS and a whopping 14 pass defenses. Look for DBs Pisa Tinoisamoa and Adam Archuleta to help pick up the slack. Groce has only 47 career solo tackles and 1 career INT. His numbers should take a big jump this season as he will certainly see more action with Butler gone.

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12. NYJ - IDP DE Abraham Still Holding Out

Clipped from: newsday.com article by Ken Berger 8/17/05

John Abraham is scheduled to fly to Baltimore today and meet with his agents about his lengthy contract dispute. But with no dialogue between the Jets and Abraham's representatives, the three-time Pro Bowler is no closer to reporting to training camp.

The Jets also are not wavering in their refusal to negotiate a long-term deal with Abraham, whose agents, Tony Agnone and Rich Rosa, have not spoken with the Jets in at least a week.

General manager Terry Bradway, speaking to WFAN radio on the field yesterday during practice, said, "The bottom line is, we want the same thing John wants. We want John to be here a long time. We want to be able to work out a long-term deal with John at some point ... We are committed to him."

But Bradway also left open the possibility of using the franchise tag on Abraham for a second time next season, citing Seattle left tackle Walter Jones.

When reporters asked Bradway to elaborate on his comments immediately after his radio interview, the general manager said, "Nothing to report. I have no comment." Asked when Abraham might report to training camp, Bradway said, "I have no idea. Nothing new to report."

When pressed on the issue of a long-term deal for Abraham, Bradway said, "Sure, we'd like to have John here for a lot of years." But when asked when those talks might take place, Bradway said, "I'm not going to discuss it. Thanks." Then he walked away.

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

Abraham has not played a full season since 2002 for the Jets. However, when he plays, Abraham is a beast. Despite only playing 12 games last season, Abraham had 33 solo tackles, 15 assists, 9.5 sacks, 3 forced fumbles and 1 fumble recovery. In his 57 NFL appearances, Abraham has 43 total sacks. We'll keep you posted on the contract talks.

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13. GB - IDP DT Jackson Ends Holdout

Clipped from: Wisconsin State Journal.com article by Jason Wilde 8/17/05

Recalcitrant nose tackle Grady Jackson said Tuesday that he has given up his demand to be cut or traded and will play out the final year of his contract with the Green Bay Packers.

Jackson, who threatened to hold out of training camp if the Packers didn't extend his contract, had met with general manager Ted Thompson and vice president of player finance Andrew Brandt on July 28 and asked to be released or sent to another team.

"I'm going to come back and play, give my all, worry about the contract thing after the season," said Jackson, who will make $600,000 in base salary this season in the last year of the two-year, $2.31 million deal he signed in December 2003. "If I'm here next year, I'm here. If I'm not, I'm not. I just have to worry about this season and play ball.

"I just have to worry about getting on the field and playing ball like I'm capable of doing and hopefully have a Pro Bowl season. I'm through with the contract thing now. I'm just going to focus on the season." Jackson, who had surgery on his left knee in February after dislocating his kneecap in the regular-season opener at Carolina last year, is on the physically-unable-to-perform list and has yet to practice in camp.

Coach Mike Sherman said he hopes Jackson will be able to play in the Packers' penultimate preseason game, Aug. 26 against New England at Lambeau Field.

"(The knee) is getting better. Probably in a week or two I'll be ready," Jackson said. "(I) just need to practice a little bit, get into the groove of it. We've got 16 games and (hopefully) a couple of playoff games, so instead of just coming out and hurting it out here, we're just trying to rest it a little more."

Jackson said playing in the Sept. 1 preseason finale at Tennessee "would be fine for me to tune it up and get ready" if he doesn't play against the Patriots.

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

Good news for Packer Fans. Maybe players are starting to realize that walking out on camp as a negotiation tactic is not going to work in Green Bay. Jackson only had 17 solo tackles and 1 Sack for the Packers last season, but he is a key part of their defensive line.

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14. SD - IDP CB Florence Should Start.

Clipped from: SignonSandiego.com article by Kevin Acee 8/17/05

It has been apparent for several days, if not longer, that Drayton Florence has his arms wrapped around a cornerback job, and barring unforeseen events will be a Chargers starter come the regular season.

"He's the starter right now; I'm the backup," said Sammy Davis, the man competing with Florence for the corner spot opposite Quentin Jammer.

The man who could make it official, however, doesn't make that sort of pronouncement.

"That's why you have a full training camp," coach Marty Schottenheimer said yesterday. "Those types of decisions are not likely to be made until the final preseason game."

But Florence's time with the first team has increased steadily, from splitting with Davis at camp's opening to perhaps 90 percent now. He is making plays, too.

"I'm still going to compete," Davis said. "I'm not going to lay down."

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

Florence is entering his third season for the Chargers, and he is looking to improve on his 36 tackles from last season. While his tackles were nothing to write home about for a DB, he did have 4 INTS for the Chargers last season. Jammer is still the star in San Diego though, and should be again this season.

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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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