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Volume 6, Issue 122 (Thursday, August 18th)

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I guess Randy Moss was getting tired of seeing Terrell Owens in the news so much... On a serious note, 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 Maurile Tremblay for the help rounding up these stories tonight. Let's get to it.

Joe Bryant


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1. OAK - WR Moss Admits To Marijuana Use
2. MIN - WR Burleson Likes New Role
3. DAL - WR Crayton Has Slight Edge Over WR Morgan
4. SF - Plenty Of Motivation For RB Barlow
5. DEN - RB Clarett Dogging it?
6. WAS - RB Portis' Elbow "Not That Big A Deal" But Worrying HC Gibbs
7. CHI - Still Seeking Answers For #2 Wideout
8. DEN - WR Watts Seeking Consistency
9. MIA - RB Brown May Play Saturday
10. NO - CHi - GM Jerry Angelo On Benson Holdout
11. WAS - Do Or Die For QB Ramsey
12. SF - WR Woods Hurt Again
13. IDP: TEN - Titans Reach Deal With CB A.Jones
14. IDP: IND - DL Freeney Finally Back At Practice
15. IDP: BAL - LB P.Boulware Set To Return

1. OAK - WR Moss Admits To Marijuana Use

Clipped from: Associated Press article, 8/18/05

Oakland Raiders receiver Randy Moss admits he has used marijuana since entering the NFL seven years ago and still smokes it "every blue moon."

"I have used, you know, marijuana ... since I've been in the league," Moss said in an interview for HBO's "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel" scheduled to air Tuesday night. "But as far as abusing it and, you know, letting it take control over me, I don't do that, no."

When pressed whether he still smokes marijuana, the star receiver with the checkered past said: "I might. I might have fun. And, you know, hopefully ... I won't get into any trouble by the NFL by saying that, you know. I have had fun throughout my years and, you know, predominantly in the offseason.

"But, you know, I don't want any kids, you know, watching this taking a lesson from me as far as 'Well, Randy Moss used it so I'm going to use it.' I don't want that to get across. Like I say ... I have used (marijuana) in the past. And every blue moon or every once in a while I might."

The NFL's drug policy calls for up to 10 tests a month after one positive result. A second violation results in a fine equal to the player's salary for four games, a third in a four-game suspension, and a year's suspension for a fourth violation.

Moss has never been suspended for violating the league's drug policy and NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said it is confidential whether the receiver is in the drug program or not.

"We evaluate all conduct related to substance abuse and it is handled confidentially by the doctors," Aiello said.

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

This news may not come as a huge shock - it's probably along the lines of finding out that Barry Bonds used steroids. But it is somewhat surprising that Moss is willing to discussing the issue in public. The NFL has one of the stricter drug-testing policies in professional sports; maybe he will be borrowing the Whizzinator from former teammate Onterrio Smith. Moss has not tested positive for any banned substances since he's joined the NFL, but he did test positive for marijuana as a freshman at Florida State, causing him to lose his scholarship there. That incident was one of the reasons cited to explain why he slipped to the 21st overall pick in the 1998.

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2. MIN - WR Burleson Likes New Role

Clipped from: Star Tribune article by Judd Zulgad, 8/18/05

Antoine Winfield knows that Nate Burleson's 1,006 receiving yards and nine touchdown catches last season weren't exactly shabby numbers. But the veteran cornerback said the Burleson he has gone against in training-camp practices the past three weeks is simply an improved version.

"He's definitely gotten a lot better since last year," Winfield said. "His techniques, he's more aggressive when we're in press coverage, he's running great routes. I think he's playing with a lot more confidence."

There is little question Burleson has had one of the best training camps of any Vikings player to date. He has made numerous excellent-to-spectacular catches of Daunte Culpepper passes, often using his outstanding jumping ability to take balls from surprised defenders. He also had a 33-yard touchdown reception in the Vikings' preseason opener against Kansas City on Friday.

"He's had a great camp," said Wes Chandler, the Vikings' new receivers coach. "I didn't expect any different from him honestly. He's a competitor, and he has a lot of talent. ... I look for great things to happen for Nate this season. He's a great person, a hard worker. He's willing to learn, he listens and he works on the little things to make him even better."

Culpepper takes things one step further, saying, "Nate Burleson is primed to be a superstar."

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

The offseason news about Burleson has been consistently positive. With Moss gone, Burleson becomes the go-to WR in Minnesota - a role he thrived in temporarily last year when Moss was limited by a hamstring injury. We are optimistic about Burleson's prospects this year: he is the top WR in a dynamic offense with a quarterback who throws an excellent deep ball.

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3. DAL - WR Crayton Has Slight Edge Over WR Morgan

Clipped from article by Matt Mosley, 8/18/05

But almost three weeks into training camp, the South Garland product is on the verge of losing his claim to the third receiver spot. Coach Bill Parcells said Wednesday that second-year receiver Patrick Crayton, a seventh-round draft pick in 2004, has a slight edge over Morgan, who hasn't done much to distinguish himself in camp.

"It's a pretty good battle," Parcells said.

Take, for example, a play in the red-zone drill Wednesday: Quarterback Tony Romo threw the ball a little high on a crossing route, but Morgan managed to get his hands on it. However, that's as close as he came to making the catch.

Crayton is not as fast as Morgan, but appears to have much better hands. Morgan, now in his fifth year in the league, has a fundamental flaw in catching the ball, according to Parcells. His first instinct is to cradle the ball rather than plucking it with his hands.

Parcells said last week that it took Keyshawn Johnson about two years after he was drafted by the Jets to learn how to properly catch the ball. Morgan is not a first-round draft pick, though, and won't be given the same leeway.

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

Morgan may be undraftable at this point in a typical 12-team league. Early in the offseason, it looked like he'd have a chance to push Terry Glenn for the starting job opposite Keyshawn Johnson. Now, however, he may be an underdog to hold onto the third WR spot in a heavily run-oriented offense.

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4. SF - Plenty Of Motivation For RB Barlow

Clipped from USA Today article by Skip Wood, 8/18/05

Practice has been finished for nearly half an hour, but two San Francisco 49ers apparently didn't hear the air horn. Fifth-year running back Kevan Barlow, along with undrafted rookie Tony Ficklin, already have jump-roped and taken turns catching tight, hard passes from a converted pitching machine. Now it's on to the blocking sleds technique refinement.

Such extra work is a newfound routine for Barlow, who admits he rarely if ever did it last season. So why now?

"Oh, just trying to improve my game," he says with a broad smile. "Making my feet quicker, getting my conditioning stronger. The things that I'm doing now are to better myself and the other guys, too."

Barlow also is doing it, in part, to put 2004 as far behind him as he can. After he spent his first three seasons mostly as a backup to Garrison Hearst, his first full year as a starter was highlighted both by inconsistency and loads of tension between him and the former coaching staff, headed by Dennis Erickson.

He finished with 822 yards and seven touchdowns on 244 carries, along with 35 catches for 212 yards. That actually was down from the previous year, when he had 1,024 yards on 201 carries and 35 catches for 307 yards.

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

Barlow was a late first or early second-round pick in many drafts last year. He scored 7 TDs but for the most part, was disappointing. He has the physical talent to be a star, and he had been productive in limited action back when he split carries with Garrison Hearst, but, by his own admission, he did not really push himself last year. Hence the disappointing results. He won't get away with that this year. With rookie RB Frank Gore in the mix, Barlow will have to perform well to stay on the field.

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5. DEN - RB Clarett Dogging it?

Clipped from: Denver Post article by Thomas George, 8/18/05

Clarett joined the Broncos with a clean slate. The Broncos said that. He said it. It is no longer pristine. It is full of coaches who question his drive and teammates who are viewing him sideways.

He suffered an injury to his right groin 15 days ago and has not practiced for the past 13 days.

There is a slew of Broncos coaches and players who believe he is dogging it. That he is unhappy with his contract. That he is insulted he is not a starter and would be asked to contribute on special teams. That he trusts none among them. That he has become more withdrawn among them. That he should not be on television chirping when he is not on the field practicing.

That he is an athlete who does not like conforming to rules.

Only Champ Bailey among the Broncos spoke for attribution about this after the morning practice Wednesday.

"The best thing for Maurice to do is be professional," Bailey said. "He has to make sure there are no hard feelings. It is all about performance. Can he help us win games? That's all I care about. And I don't know if he can. I haven't seen enough to know. He's got to get on the field and show it. There is a wide range of feelings about him around here. Some people think he's loafing.

"I'm not down on him. I think you have to let a guy judge his own injury; I don't know his body, just like he doesn't know mine."

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

Clarett has too much competition in the Broncos' backfield to get away with giving less than his full effort, especially after having been out of football for the last two years. With Tatum Bell, Mike Anderson, Quentin Griffin, and Ron Dayne all playing hard, Clarett's spot on the roster is no sure thing. At this point, his choice to forego a signing bonus in exchange for additional performance incentives appears to have been a mistake.

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6. WAS - RB Portis' Elbow "Not That Big A Deal" But Worrying HC Gibbs

Clipped from: Washington Times article by Ryan O'Halloran, 8/18/05

In other injury news, running back Clinton Portis was limited during practice by a bursa sac injury to his right elbow. "I have a little fluid in there, but I'm all right," he said. Said Redskins coach Joe Gibbs: "It's not that big of a deal, but it keeps getting agitated and worrying us. It's one of those things where it's inflamed, and we've been trying to get it to calm down. But with a running back, it seems like every practice he ends up on his elbow and aggravates it." Gibbs said a decision on Portis' status for tomorrow night's game against Cincinnati would be made today. [[[[[[[[[[ OUR VIEW ]]]]]]]]]] The Redskins will rely heavily on Portis this year, and they need him healthy by the time the season starts. If he has to sit out a preseason game to give the elbow a chance to heal, so be it. If the injury lingers into the season, it could lead to fumbling problems, which plagued Portis early in his rookie year.

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7. CHI - Still Seeking Answers For #2 Wideout

Clipped from: Chicago Daily Herald article by Bob LeGere, 8/18/05

When the Bears started training camp, there were important questions at the wide receiver position, mostly concerning who would emerge to complement Pro Bowler Muhsin Muhammad.

Twenty-six days later, the team is still seeking answers, but it has more information.

"We know a little bit more about the players," coach Lovie Smith said. "But we have a long ways to go."

Across from Muhammad, Justin Gage still is listed as the starter, but Bernard Berrian is pushing hard for his job and has been much more productive in the first two preseason games. While Gage has yet to catch a pass, Berrian has 5 receptions for 87 yards.

"Between Justin and Bernard, there's a great competition right now," offensive coordinator Ron Turner said. "I think Bernard has really stepped up. I think it's pretty even. They're both a little bit different in what they do and in what their strengths are, but they're both playing well."

The 6-foot-4, 212-pound Gage has the size and leaping ability to outsize most defensive backs. Berrian has the superior speed and quickness to turn any catch into a touchdown.

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

Rookie Mark Bradley is the darkhorse candidate in this race. He has more raw athleticism than Gage or Berrian, and can make the spectacular play. He is too inconsistent right now to challenge for a starting job to open the season, but he could emerge as a dangerous playmaker in the second half of the season.

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8. DEN - WR Watts Seeking Consistency

Clipped from: Rocky Mountain News article by Jeff Legwold, 8/18/05

Welcome to the rest of the story.

Welcome to the NFL, to the world of get it done.

Welcome to where OK isn't really OK and sometimes doesn't get you a pat on the back.

Welcome to it all, Darius Watts.

"People keep asking me if it's hard and all that," the Denver Broncos receiver said Wednesday. "But it's not really that hard because you really can't think about that kind of stuff. You worry about one thing, then you have to worry about everything.

"I know what they want me to do and that's keep working. I'm working and I'll just keep on going."

Watts is the guy who was bumped down the depth chart at receiver Monday in favor of Jerry Rice. Watts is the guy who dropped a third-down pass against the Houston Texans on Saturday, the guy who was singled out after the game by Broncos coach Mike Shanahan.

Watts also is the guy the Broncos still believe has a big future if he can just forget a little piece of the past from time to time.

"You just forget about it and keep going," Watts said. "That's what I know and what they tell me. I tell people I was born with a short memory, so maybe it should come natural."

But forgetting the past and moving on is far easier said than done.

Watts consistently has drawn praise from Broncos coaches for his consistent ability to get open, to run away from, or around, opposing defensive backs. But during his rookie season in 2004, when he made 31 catches for 385 yards, and so far this year in training camp, he has had bouts of inconsistency.

With a drop here, a bobble there, Watts left a few big plays out there. And when the total hit the red-flag point, the Broncos moved up Rice.

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

We reported to you a couple days ago that Jerry Rice has moved ahead of Watts on the Broncos' depth chart. Whether that move is permanent for the year is up to Watts. He has the ability to be a more explosive player than Rice currently is - but he also drops too many balls, something you'll almost never see Rice do.

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9. MIA - RB Brown May Play Saturday

Clipped from: Miami Herald article by David Neal, 8/18/05

Coach Nick Saban sounded as if he was leaning toward playing first-round draft pick Ronnie Brown in Saturday's preseason game against Pittsburgh.

Brown's first practice with the Dolphins was Monday. His training camp time missed actually argues for playing him, according to Saban.

''On one hand, we don't practice a lot on Friday. If he doesn't play on Saturday and we're off on Sunday, he has missed three developmental days,'' Saban said. ``On the other hand, if we play him in the game and he gets hurt, [the media will] crucify me.''

During Wednesday's practice, Brown and Wes Welker swapped as return men on kickoff return drills.

Though Saban recalled Brown as a good special teams player at Auburn, he said Brown was in the drill more for conditioning.

''We're not conditioning that much as a team right now,'' Saban said. ``We are past that, but he missed all of that.''

Said running back Ricky Williams: ``When [Brown] first got drafted, you heard people wonder why you'd use a No. 2 pick on a guy who didn't even start in college, but, seeing him out there, there is really nothing that isn't wonderful about him.''

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

Some nice words from Ricky Williams about Brown's talent. The Dolphins now have two top-five overall draft picks in their backfield, although Williams won't be available until the fifth game. By that time, we expect that Ronnie Brown will have established himself as the firm starter, but it remains to be seen whether he gets the huge majority of the carries after that, or whether he'll have to share a large piece of the pie with Williams.

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10. CHI - GM Jerry Angelo On Benson Holdout

Clipped from: article, 8/18/05

Chicago Bears General Manager Jerry Angelo issued the following statement regarding the contract negotiations with Cedric Benson:

"After missing all of training camp, we want to make it abundantly clear that the Chicago Bears have made their best and final offer to Cedric Benson. No dollars are left on the bargaining table, and at this point the only contract discussions that will be entertained will be reflective of the considerable loss of value to the club created by the player's extended absence.

"We will not provide details regarding contract negotiations, however, in an effort to move forward and focus solely on preparing for a winning football season, we believe it is important for everyone to know our position on Benson's contract situation as his holdout enters Day 26 and now is the NFL's only unsigned first-round draft choice.

"The Chicago Bears have always placed a premium on having our players in camp on time, and recent history reflects our excellent track record. Our last four number one draft picks have been signed on time for the opening of training camp. Two of those picks, Rex Grossman and Tommie Harris, were also represented by Benson's agent, Eugene Parker.

"The failure to reach an agreement on a fair and reasonable contract has been a huge disappointment. We look forward to having Cedric end his holdout and join his coaches and teammates as they prepare for the upcoming season."

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

The Bears are drawing a line in the sand. The longer Benson's holdout lasts, the more Thomas Jones' value increases. Jones looked strong in last week's preseason game; if he continues to perform at a high level with the Bears' starting unit, he will be that much harder for Benson to dislodge after he does eventually sign.

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11. WAS - Do Or Die For QB Ramsey

Clipped from: article by Scott Hurey, 8/18/05

This year is Washington Redskin quarterback Patrick Ramsey's year to make his mark in the National Football League. There comes a time in every player's career when it's do or die, and that time is now for the Ruston, LA native.

Throughout Ramsey's professional career, he has shown flashes of brilliance. He has made spectacular plays and garnered a reputation as a tough player with heart and character. Now entering his fourth season, Ramsey will need to put it all together to ensure his future in the NFL.

While Coach Joe Gibbs has made it clear that this is Ramsey's team, he also sent Ramsey a clear message by trading three picks for the 25th overall selection earlier this season; a pick used to select quarterback Jason Campbell.

That's not to say that fans can expect to see Campbell this season. Coach Gibbs has stuck by his quarterbacks throughout his coaching career, including Mark Brunell last season when injury slowed the veteran quarterback and affected his play. Coach Gibbs is also known for utilizing veteran players whenever possible. The only way we are likely to see Campbell play this season is if both Ramsey and Brunell are injured.

What that does likely mean however, is that the Washington Redskins believe that Jason Campbell is the future of the franchise. Campbell will likely be the starting quarterback before Coach Gibbs ends his second tenure at the helm of the team, and that means Ramsey must perform, not only to be the starting quarterback for this team, but to establish himself as either a quality backup for the Redskins or a starter elsewhere.

The keys for Ramsey seem to be fairly simple, at least from a laymen's point of view. Settle down in the pocket, trust the protection and plant his foot and step into each throw.

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

Ramsey had some success moving the offense in last week's preseason game against the Panthers, helped in large part by the impressive play of the offensive line. He still gets happy feet in the pocket at times, but that's a habit that will be broken naturally if he gets consistently good protection. Ramsey won't have huge numbers this year, as the offense will lean heavily on the running game, but he has a place as a strong QB3 in twelve team leagues, with the potential to have a few stellar games in his better matchups.

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12. SF - WR Woods Hurt Again

Clipped from: San Francisco Chronicle article by Kevin Lynch, 8/18/05

Now it's Rashaun Woods' quadriceps muscle that's betraying him.

Last year's first-round pick mainly stands away from the team these days, watching practice from afar, while the other wide receivers try to catch passes -- and the coaches' attention. Woods' inactivity has led to almost daily questions about his status to coach Mike Nolan, and some speculation that he could be cut.

Even if Woods doesn't rebound rapidly from his thigh pull, it appears unlikely the 49ers' salary cap could handle his release. If waived, Woods' contract would consume about $2.4 million of cap space.

Woods is struggling through his second injury-marred training camp. Last summer, he pulled two hamstrings shortly after signing a six-year deal with about $3.8 million in guaranteed cash.

After finally recovering from his hamstring maladies last season, Woods was unable to earn a starting assignment despite an unsettled situation at wide receiver.

He finished with seven catches for 160 yards and a touchdown, but nearly all his receptions were at the end of blowout losses. A 59-yard touchdown catch in the dying minutes of the 21-7 season-ending defeat in New England was Woods' last reception.

Woods kept largely to himself last season, but he did make an appearance on the team's swag board, which pokes fun at players. After The Chronicle printed player finances, a picture of Woods with a drawn-on ski mask was taped next to Woods' contract numbers, implying that he was stealing money.

Woods said he reported this summer in the best shape of his life and seemed poised to prove his worth. Then he pulled the quadriceps muscle in the first week of camp, and has practiced sparingly. Woods didn't play in Saturday night's exhibition opener.

Now Woods says he's pushing to play Saturday night in Denver.

"That's what I'm working for,'' said Woods, who made a rare appearance in Tuesday's practice. "I'm going to try to go through as many drills as I can and give the coaches the sense that I can possibly play. If I can play, I guarantee I will be out there.''

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

Woods has as much talent as any WR on the 49ers' roster, but Brandon Lloyd, Arnaz Battle, and Johnnie Morton have been the guys making plays during practice. We don't expect huge production out of the 49er passing game in general this year, so Woods has almost no fantasy potential as the fourth receiver (at best).

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13. IDP: TEN - Titans Reach Deal With CB A.Jones

Clipped from: Associated Press article, 8/18/05

Tennessee's top draft pick says finally having an NFL contract eases the disappointment of not being able to play his first game as a professional in his hometown.

Adam "Pacman" Jones had hoped to have a contract that would allow him to join the Tennessee Titans in Atlanta on Friday night to play the Falcons. But reaching agreement on a five-year contract more than makes up for not accompanying his new teammates.

"Amazingly, as bad as I wanted to play the game in Atlanta, there's nothing that can take the place of my dream," Jones said. "I've been waiting 21 years for this. I'm just proud to be a Titan. I'm the youngest Titan. I'm hoping that I can come in and maybe I can contribute."

Jones, who left West Virginia after his junior season, had been one of only two draft picks still unsigned after a 20-day holdout. His five-year deal with $13.5 million in guaranteed money left running back Cedric Benson of Chicago as the only draft pick in the NFL without a deal.

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

Jones should slide in and start immediately since both of last year's starters at CB, Samari Rolle and Andre Dyson, are no longer with the team. He will not play in this weekend's preseason game against the Falcons, but will begin practicing next week.

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14. IDP: IND - DL Freeney Finally Back At Practice

Clipped from: Associated Press article, 8/18/05

Dwight Freeney is finally back to work. The two-time Pro Bowl defensive end was chasing quarterbacks in practice Thursday, marking the first time he'd worked out with his Indianapolis Colts teammates since a January playoff loss to the New England Patriots.

It didn't take Freeney long to make an impact.

"You can tell when he's on the field, and depending on what we're practicing, you can see a difference," coach Tony Dungy said after the morning workout.

Freeney's return is good news for the Colts, who have had nearly two dozen injured players and three of their starting defensive linemen sit out the past couple of weeks.

Freeney has quickly established himself as one of the NFL's most feared pass rushers. Last year, he became the first Colt to win the league's sack title and only two players - Reggie White (52) and Derrick Thomas (43 1/2) - had more sacks in their first three seasons than Freeney (40).

As the leader of the Colts' defense, the team missed his presence; but Freeney missed the action even more.

"It was tough, frustrating," he said. "You have to be professional about it. Whatever you can do to get better - getting mental reps, running, doing the bags on the side or whatever - you have to do so that when your time comes, you're ready."

Freeney thought he was ready to practice when the Colts reported to training camp on July 27. Team doctors took a cautious approach, holding him out despite Freeney's insistence he was healthy.

Until Thursday, Freeney couldn't convince them. He's still likely to miss Saturday's preseason game against Chicago.

Dungy had said earlier this week he expected Freeney back by Monday, and the Colts didn't appear to put any limitations on his first practice. Freeney participated in position drills, worked against the Colts' offense and didn't shy away from contact in helmets and pads.

"We've been fairly cautious bringing him back," Dungy said. "But the doctors cleared him, so we're more worried about his conditioning than his shoulder."

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

Freeney led the NFL with 16 sacks last year, putting constant pressure on opposing QBs. He is one of the few defensive players in the league whose impact isn't limited to IDP leagues. Freeney alone is one of the reasons the Colts should be considered a top ten team defense in most scoring systems.

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15. IDP: BAL - LB P.Boulware Set To Return

Clipped from: Baltimore Sun article by Jamison Hensley, 8/18/05

Peter Boulware's unexpected return to the Ravens will become official today if he passes a physical, the four-time Pro Bowl linebacker said yesterday.

The franchise's all-time sacks leader is scheduled to sign a one-year contract and suit up for today's afternoon practice once he is cleared to play.

Boulware, 30, would fill the Ravens' major need for a pass rusher only three months after he was released for salary cap reasons.

"I didn't think coming back was ever a possibility," Boulware said in a telephone interview. "I never even thought about it. Once I left here, I thought my time here was over and I had to go somewhere else. For this opportunity to come back, it's truly a blessing."

Boulware, one of the most popular Ravens after being drafted in the first round eight years ago, was cut by the team in early May, when talks broke off on a restructured contract. The Ravens didn't want to pay him his $6 million salary this season, and Boulware rejected a substantial pay cut (reportedly $2 million in salary and another $2 million in incentives).

But Boulware rushed back into the Ravens' picture when his replacement, rookie Dan Cody, severely sprained his knee Aug. 1, during the first practice of training camp. Although Cody will be re-evaluated, the second-round pick most likely will miss the entire season.

The Ravens contacted Boulware by the second day of camp and brought him up for a workout yesterday.

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

Boulware did in fact pass his physical and sign with the Ravens this afternoon. He will team with Terrell Suggs to form one of the most dangerous pass-rush tandems in the league. Boulware is primarily a pass-rusher, who is not often asked to drop into coverage. The biggest concern with Boulware had been his health, after knee and toe injuries kept him sidelined all of last year. But he appears to be ready to practice with the team, and should make an immediate impact.

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


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