Denver Broncos News: Horse Tracks - 3/6/11

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Klis: Hey, no need for talks to be rush job - The Denver Post
The Broncos of past summers have proclaimed such where-have-they-gone players Darius Watts, Corey Jackson, Cedric Cobbs and Marquez Branson as offseason sur- prises. Talk about a waste of time. Before commissioner Roger Goodell and union chief DeMaurice Smith get serious about splitting $9 billion in revenues this week, I present one question: What's the rush?

A taxing question in NFL tiff: who paid for venues? - The Denver Post
Broncos rookie quarterback Tim Tebow got a $1.3 million salary to stand on the sideline in his home stadium for most of the season. Overpaid? You bet. But as long as we're arguing about money in the NFL, let's stand up for the fans. In a league that realizes a $9 billion annual bonanza, no taxpayer should ever have to finance a stadium again.

NFL, union have more time to talk - The Denver Post
What will happen is still anyone's guess. A deal could be reached at any time. Talks could break off. The sides could agree to yet another extension. But mediator George Cohen said the tenor of the talks has changed as the two parties are now "fully, frankly and candidly talking to each other."

NFL NEWS: GENERAL

ProFootballWeekly.com - 49ers' mixed QB signals worth monitoring
The surprisingly strong initial bond we had been hearing so much about between new Niners head coach Jim Harbaugh and newly promoted GM Trent Baalke was definitely on display at this year’s Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. "I’ve been really impressed," Harbaugh said when asked by PFW about his relationship with Baalke. "He is a smart guy. He is a hard, hard worker. There haven’t been too many days, maybe a couple, where I drive my car into the parking lot that his car isn’t already there. We’re talking pretty early in the morning.

No Fights. No Checking. Can This Be Hockey? - NYTimes.com
It is not always easy to say how much you can reduce the violence in a sport without losing its essence. Certain sports, like boxing and football, are intrinsically violent, and perhaps cannot be made safe without sacrificing their true natures. In others — like baseball — what violence there is seems to be merely contingent, and with changes like better helmets such sports can be made relatively safe without threatening the heart of the game.

UFL hoping to become TV option if NFL goes dark - NFL - SI.com
The five-team UFL started in 2009 and is made up of players who were cut in training camps and veterans who want to get back to the NFL. Last season each 52-man roster included an average of 24 players with NFL experience. Huyghue said he's had preliminary talks with network executives. ESPN spokesman Bill Hofheimer said his network has "no current plans" to pick up UFL games. NBC and CBS had no comment. A Fox spokesman did not respond to messages seeking comment.

Rey Maualuga says he's ready to lead | National Football Post
Rey Maualuga had an "extremely average" season in the estimation of Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer. Now, Maualuga is vowing to respond with a better season. "I think it’s a good thing he said that and then again why did he single me out. I don’t know?" Maualuga told the Cincinnati Enquirer. "I think this organization expected a lot out of me when I first stepped foot in this place. Then again I expected a lot out of myself as well. It’s like you ask the fan sitting out in the stands what stood out from Rey this year and I’m sure people won’t say as much. They will say I made a play here or there. I’m not satisfied with how I performed."

Why is Robert Gallery leaving Oakland? Money | National Football Post
The Raiders' version of events is much different and more detailed, though. And it came down to a major difference of opinion in money. According to Raiders senior executive John Herrera, Gallery wanted to make $8 million. They were thinking $2.5 million "What was mutually agreed upon were his numbers he wanted, and his agent wanted, were way out of line," Herrera told CSN California. "He was asking for too much money. "He wanted $8 million; we were at $2.5 million. It was just way out of line with what we thought was reasonable."

Eric Wright got death threats from Browns fans | ProFootballTalk
Wright told Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer that as his on-field performance deteriorated, he heard from Browns fans threatening his life. "I went from people expecting me to be a top cornerback in the league to receiving death threats," Wright said. "It was a lot to deal with." Wright never reported the death threats because he said he thought they just came from Browns fans who let their passion get the better of them, not from people who actually planned to kill him.

A.J. Smith is baffled that Eric Weddle’s agent is baffled | ProFootballTalk
In 2011, L.T. is long gone and safety Eric Weddle could soon be leaving, too, as a free agent. Agent David Canter recently said that he’s "absolutely baffled" by the team’s failure to engage in talks on a long-term deal. "All I can say is I’m baffled [that] he’s baffled regarding our position at this point in time," Smith said, according to Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune.

NFL.com Blogs " Blog Archive Pick Six: From gridiron to squared circle "
NFL players are no stranger to the squared circle, but who are the best to have come from the NFL to excel in the realm of "sports entertainment?" I’m talking about careers here, so while Lawrence Taylor headlining Wrestlemania XI against Bam Bam Bigelow was impressive, L.T. didn’t make a career of it. The Rock has a football background, but he wasn’t an NFL player.

NFL DRAFT

NFL Draft rumors: Post-Combine | National Football Post
Even with the rise of Alabama DT Marcell Dareus, all the scouts I have talked with still think Auburn DT Nick Fairley is the better NFL prospect.

The evolution of Cam Newton’s draft stock | National Football Post
Newton brought his patented charisma, wide smile, and easy-going disposition to the NFL Scouting Combine last week. He wowed the crowded room of reporters with thoughtful answers. He stated football was his top priority — not the "entertainer and icon" stuff he was throwing around a few days earlier. He won the press conference. But can he win in the NFL? Because No. 1 picks are reserved for sure-things, for prospects who can win against some of the best athletes in the world — not just a room full of reporters.

Report: Panthers not sold on taking defensive lineman with first pick | ProFootballTalk
One theory taking hold of late is that Cam Newton has a good chance to go first, despite his erratic effort throwing at the Combine. A report from the Charlotte Observer Saturday helps support the theory. Joseph Person credits two sources that say the Panthers are "not sold" on taking a defensive lineman No. 1 overall. They are expected to take "long looks" at Newton and Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert.

Poll of NFL sources finds gulf of opinion on QBs - CBSSports.com
Since the Combine ended Tuesday, I've been polling league sources on their rankings of the quarterbacks. I spoken or texted with seven sources (ranging from area scouts to front office executives) as of Saturday morning and have some interesting results. In six of the seven cases, Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert were the top two rated quarterbacks. Four teams had Auburn's Newton as the top passer. Three had Gabbert. All three of the Gabbert fans noted, however, that his March 17 Pro Day would significantly impact their grade on him.

 

NFL LOCKOUT

NFL labor bargaining at getting-it-done stage | Detroit Free Press | freep.com
"I liken it to sometimes you hear contracts for players coming in and they're far apart and, 'We're not talking,' and then he's in camp three days later," Hanson said. "So serious business -- and this is big business -- is never done where it's like you get together for dinner and have some fun and let's just figure out what's fair. There's a lot of, 'We're not signing. Forget it,' and then it gets done."

Padecky: Lockout can't hold back ex-Montgomery player's NFL dream | PressDemocrat.com
What would Marcus Ezeff do if the NFL locked out the players and asked him to cross the picket line this fall and play in the league as a replacement player? Would Ezeff, the former Montgomery and Cal star, risk the scorn of the veteran players who have made a very good living because of their union? Would Ezeff be OK if someone called him a scab (as replacement players were called in 1987)?

Revis worries about injuries if there is an NFL lockout - espnW
Players are starting to form plans that would include working out together, but Darrelle Revis is wary of that idea. The cornerback held out of training camp last season wrangling for a new contract with the Jets, which he eventually got, but the first half of his season was marred by a series of quad injuries. He looks at that and thinks that if there is a season without training camp, the players will ultimately pay the price. "It won't work," said Revis. "Just looking at my situation of holding out and me trying to hurry up and come back and play -- say this thing carries on until July, I think a lot of guys are going to get hurt because we haven't been to OTAs, we haven't been in that mode of football. Yeah, you can work out, I was working out when I held out, but it's a different level."

Could NFL shutdown look like baseball, hockey?
What might be more relevant is how -- or if -- the current situation compares to the two longest work stoppages in professional sports history: Major League Baseball's strike in 1994 and the National Hockey League's lockout 10 years later. Both had dramatic impacts on their sports, and both were felt deeply in Pittsburgh. Will that history repeat?

American Chronicle | Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn., Charley Walters column
Decker, 23, the Broncos' third-round draft pick, said he has been conservative with his football earnings ($405,000 in salary last season) in anticipation of a work stoppage. He doesn't have to find another job yet and in two weeks will head to Phoenix for workouts on his own to be ready if a labor deal is reached. Meanwhile, Decker, who is signed for $490,000 next season, has been working out at his alma mater with former Gophers teammate Adam Weber, who on Tuesday will display his quarterbacking talent for NFL scouts at a pro day at Minnesota's Bierman complex.

American Needle’s silver lining could help NFL in antitrust case | ProFootballTalk
At the tail end of the written ruling in American Needle resides language that would give the league a reasonable shot at winning an antitrust lawsuit on the merits. "The fact that NFL teams share an interest in making the entire league successful and profitable, and that they must cooperate in the production and scheduling of games, provides a perfectly sensible justification for making a host of collective decisions," the Supreme Court wrote. "Other features of the NFL may also save agreements amongst the teams. We have recognized, for example,’that the interest in maintaining a competitive balance’ among ‘athletic teams is legitimate and important’ . . . . While that same interest applies to the teams in the NFL, it does not justify treating them as a single entity . . . when it comes to the marketing of the teams’ individually owned intellectual property. It is, however, unquestionably an interest that may well justify a variety of collective decisions made by the teams."

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