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Sunday, April 30, 2006

Confessions of a Draftnik #1

"Hello, my name is Bill and I'm a football Addict." I have often thought that If there were an organization named Football-a-holicis annon., that I would be it's north american chairman. I have been involved in Football for just over 40 of my nearly 46 years on Earth. I've been a fan, Youth Player, Highschool Player, High School asst. coach, Semi-professional asst. coach, and writer. I'm also about to become a College asst. coach. The one constant through all of that has been the title "Draft Geek" or "Draftnik." I have been to 32 NFL drafts dating back to 1974, and to every draft since 1985, and have held a press credential from one outlet or another since 1987. In the future I will use this space at the behest of Zennie to post various experiences i have had, as well as draft related football info.

2006 NFL Draft - At Selection 252, The Fans Cheer For Someone To Draft Marcus Vick

Marcus Vick has taken a dramatic freefall in this year's draft, and for reasons concerning his character and not his talent. Right now, we're at the 252nd selection in the draft and the fans are standing and cheering for them -- or someone -- to take Marcus Vick.

Green Bay selected Dave Tollifson, a DE from N.W. Missouri. Two picks to go. Vick's still around.

San Francisco selected, which leaves the Oakland Raiders ....the fan are cheering LOUDLY now...for Marcus Vick.

2006 NFL Draft - How A Draftees Name Gets Called

Last year, I explained the process of how an NFL draftee's name gets called. This year, I thought I'd show it. Here's the text from my report from 2005 and a video of a couple of NFL "runners" taking the name of a pick of the San Francisco 49ers to the NFL's main table.

First, the report on "How a Draftee's Name Gets Called" from my 2005 NFL Draft Report:


While I was next to the stage, I took time to record the process by which a name gets called to be the "whatever round" pick of a team. It works like this: First, the team -- let's say the San Francisco 49ers -- has 15 minutes (or a quarter in football lingo) to decide who they're going to select. Two giant football-style clocks count down the seconds. If a team fails to make a pick during that time span, they must pass and the next organization in draft order has 15 minutes to make a selection. This is called being "On the clock." Redskins' Team Table: One of 32


It's Starts With The Team Table

Second, the team's representatives, including (depending on the team) the owner, general manager, head coach, and player personnel staff, are not in New York at the Draft, they're at the team's headquarters. It's from here that they call in their selection to their representative at the team table. Washington Redskins team representatives are in the foreground in the first picture shown on this page. NFL Head Table


...Then The Name Is...

Third, the team's representative -- which range from a friend of the organization to a young employee -- write the name of the choice on a card. NFL and CSC events employees pick up that card and carry it to the NFL's main operations table. (NFL SVP Frank Supovitz is the leftmost person above.)

Fourth, from that table and to its left, the card is passed over to a bank of NFL staffers that enter it into a computer system to be recorded.

Now, here's the video of part of that process:

Bob McNair Clears The Air - On Video

Earlier today, you saw the post of Texans owner Bob McNair explaining the rationale behind his organizations selection of Mario Williams as that team's first pick and number one pic of the First Round of the NRL Draft. Now, here's the entire video of that press conference.

Vince Young Comes Out To Stage - The 2006 NFL Draft - Video

This is a video I took of the Titans first pick in the First Round of the NFL Draft, Vince Young, as he and hid family come out from the green room and onto the state of the 2006 NFL Draft.

Note how enthusiatic the crowd reception is. It wasn't the same for his counterpart, USC (and now Arizona Cardinals) quarterback Matt Leinart, who was greeted with some boos from the gallery of Radio City Music Hall.

Why? I really don't know. I think -- at that point -- the reason was to send a message that Matt wasn't wanted by the New York Jets fans, which are in abundance at the NFL Draft.

Here's the video:

2006 NFL Draft Day Two Part One - Houston Is On The Clock

Unlike the sheer craziness of Day One, Day two of the NFL Draft feels more like a club. But for draftniks and football fans -- real fans -- the drama is still real. Where will Penn State's too-fast quarterback Michael Robinson go? Will be a QB?

Houston opened up the Fourth Round and Day two with the selection of Wisconsin TE Owen Daniels. She's 6-3 253 pounds and plays with a toughness much like the New York Giants Jeremy Shockey.

Today, only ESPN's working. There's no one at the NFL Network at this time -- 11:14 AM EST. Only a fraction of the media in attendance yesterday is here today. But the gallery and the seats to the far left of me are still filled with fans. I think ESPN convinced them to go over there.

The Niners are on the clock now. They selected Michael Robinson...as a running back. A running back, not a quarterback. I wonder if Robinson agreed to that in general. Interesting. And even more so considering the Niners need for quality backup signal callers. The Oakland Raiders are on the clock now. They've selected pick 101: Darnell Bing, Linebacker from USC -- well, he played safety.

One person who's here is Paul Salata, the creator of "Mr Irrelevant" week. In this year's draft, the Oakland Raiders have the honor of picking the last draft pick, called "Mr Irrelevant." Then, later in the year on June 11-16, Mr. Irrelevant will be sent to Newport Beach, CA, where he will be "celebrated with a shower of gifts from hundreds of sports teams, treated to a day at Disneyland, honored at the All Star Sports Banquet, and presented the Lowsman Trophy from the University Athletic Club," according to the press release.

A Brief Word On The Shortness of Day One

I can't believe we finished at 9:38 PM. In 2005, Day Two went on to about 11:10 PM. Plus, it was raining like crazy. It's a lovely day in New York City this time.

Back to Day Two

Unlike Day One, the NFL didn't provide food for the media, and on that note, their was less food on Draft Day One 2006 than on Draft Day One 2005. The point is I was hungry. So, after not being able to get a simple cup of coffe because Radio City Music Hall's security guard was less than helpful, I walked over to The Broadway Deli, just one block away and one block from the Ed Sullivan Theater, where David Letterman's Show is taped. It's a great place to get a cheap meal where you just pick what you want and put it in a dish, then pay and leave. I got a lot of food. Then as I returned Mr. Salada was kind enough to stop by with two cups of coffee for me.

We're still in Round 4 and at the 128th pick. Here are some updates on the Draft to date:

• For the second time in history, Ohio State had two linebackers selected in the first round, A.J. Hawk and Bobby Carpenter. The last time that happened was 1974.

• Both Vince Young and Bobby Layne share two things in common: both are Texas Longhorns and both were picked number 3 in the NFL Draft. Vince Young is the fifth Longhorn to go in the First Round in NFL History.

• According to the NFL, Houston's new First Round pick, Mario Williams of North Carolina State breaks a streak of five consecutive quarterbacks taken with the top selection in the draft, and a string of seven QBs taken No. 1 in the past eight
drafts.

More soon!

San Francisco 49ers TE Vernon Davis Interview - From The NFL

The NFL provided this text of the interview with the San Francisco 49ers first pick in the first round (they had two), Vernon Davis. There's a video I have of this as well, which I will upload and install here later today. But here's the interview

An Interview With:
VERNON DAVIS

Q. How do you feel right now?
VERNON DAVIS: I feel great.

Q. Did you talk to any coaches yet?

VERNON DAVIS: I talked to Norv Turner,
I talked to him before. He called me up on the phone and he said, "Are you ready to get down here"? I said, "Yeah, let's go."

Q. Do you think you can have an immediate impact?
VERNON DAVIS: Oh, yeah I think I can have an immediate impact. I'm already familiar with the offense and it's a great system and a great situation for me.

Q. What's your thoughts on your rise from when the season ended to the draft and your stock just kept going up?
VERNON DAVIS: I kind of knew that my stock was going to go up, basically, because of what I did at the Combine and I just had confidence in myself. I knew what I could do.

Q. What sets you apart from other tight ends in the league?
VERNON DAVIS: Well, my speed, my ability to just make plays and I'm explosive and I can just do other things that a normal tight end can't do.

Q. When you worked out with the 49ers, what did you see from their system that you thought you would be a good fit there?
VERNON DAVIS: Just Norv Turner, he's there and he's got a great history of knowing how to deal with tight ends and put them in great situations.

Q. Did you expect to be as emotional?
VERNON DAVIS: I didn't expect to be that emotional but it hit me, this is a lifelong dream. Hearing my name called on ESPN, being the sixth pick, it feels great to be up there -- I don't think a tight end has ever been that high, along with me and Winslow. It just feels great.

Q. You mention Kellen Winslow and now you have a lot of tight ends, who played basketball who have come into the league and experienced success -- inaudible?
VERNON DAVIS: Oh, yeah, Antonio, he's a great pass-catcher, he's in a great offense, certainly as good as the one I'm headed to. I watched him a lot on film while I was in college and I seen some of the things that he can do that I can
do, also. It's going to be great just watching us, the new tight end class, new breed of tight ends.

Q. You're joining what was the worst offense in the NFL last year. Even with all your talents, can you make that much a difference in that offense?
VERNON DAVIS: Yeah, but I can't do it all by myself. Just like what I told some of the guys back at the University of Maryland, everybody expected me to be Superman because I made so many plays. I can't do it all by myself. It's going to
be the quarterback and the offensive line, we're going to have to be as one to get it done together.

Q. You thought you might be going to New York, were you surprised when they didn't pick you or did you see this coming, going to San Francisco?
VERNON DAVIS: Oh, yeah, I did think I was going to New York. But, you know, I also knew their problems, what they needed. I knew they needed an offensive lineman so I figured their first choice would be D'Brickashaw Ferguson. After that, I just started getting emotional right there because I knew that either Green Bay for San Francisco was going to take me and when my agent told me he thought Green Bay was going to take A.J. Hawk, that's when tears started to come down that I was going to go to a team that I wanted to go to.

Q. Why specifically was this the team you wanted to go to?
VERNON DAVIS: You know, like I said before, Norv Turner is there, Alex Smith is there, a guy who struggled last year who I see can be great for that team. He just needs the right weapons in there, and I think I'm a good choice for that. It's just going to be good watching us.

Q. What do you think of your family all being here, especially your grandmother, I guess she has a special nickname for you?
VERNON DAVIS: She calls me Duky, her Duky. (Laughter).

Q. Why does she call you that?
VERNON DAVIS: I don't know, she's just being a grandmother, typical grandmother who wants to make up a name for her grandchild.

Seattle Seahawks Matt Hasselbeck At NFL Draft - Named Chunky Soup Spokesperson - Video

The Seattle Seahawks' top signalcaller Matt Hasselbeck was presented as the newest Campbell's Chunky Soup Spokesperson at a luncheon at Chelsea Piers in New York City on Thursday before the NFL Draft.

Distant from the Seahawk's Super Bowl XL -- that's "40" -- loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Matt seemed to be enjoying his new role. His Mom, too.

I got the chance to ask Matt about the innovative game plan they used in that Super Bowl, but he could not get over one thing: "The crowd noise was just unbelieveable. The Steelers fans; they travel well." Matt also answered a set of questions from the press, but what I liked the most was just plain how people crowd around one person to get something -- in this case, a quote or a photo.

It's still, to me, one of the most interesting aspects of human nature.

There's little real news here other than Matt's being named as Chunky Soup Spokesperson, which I suppose lends itself to a certain measure of humor. I did ask him if he called Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb for tips. "No, but I'm going to do that," he said.

Here's the video of Matt and his mom:

Saturday, April 29, 2006

"No. I'm Not Disappointed" - Matt Leinart, Picked 10th By the Arizona Cardinals, Meets The Press - Video



(Photo credit: Bill Chachkes, NL Scouting)

After a whirlwind five months which saw his life literally played out on the Internet, firing his agent, parties large and small (like the nice one at Gustavino's on Thursday), and numerous reports that he would either be picked by the Tennesee Titans or slide down as many as 16 picks, USC's two-time national champion quarteback Matt Leinart was picked by The Arizona Cardinals as the 10th selection in the first round of the NFL Draft.

A crowded Radio City Music Hall Interview Room was the result of a mad rush to come down and hear what Leinart had to say. Frankly, I know Matt was just happy to get it all over with. He goes to a team with a proven veteran he can learn from in Kurt Warner, a good set of running backs, Ex-Colt Edgerrin James and J.J. Arrington from Cal, a respected head coach in Dennis Green (who calls him God-sent) and a brand new, state of the art stadium. Plus, he's as close to the West Coast and home as he can possibly be without being in LA.

Nice for him.

For some reaon the East Coast media loves to hit Matt on this "Hollywood Image" thing, a line of questioning that Leinart's clearly tired of: "If teams passed on me for that reason, that's their problem, not mine. I don't think there's a Hollywood Image. "

As my friend, NL Scouting's Bill Chackles put it: "I'm only slightly surprised that Matt fell as far as he did, but it was more because of the other deals going on around the top of the round then because of Questions about Matt's "Lifestyle". Still, I remarked to his Personal Coach, Steve Clarkson, "better 10th then 30th, Right?" his answer, "Thats Right."

(Well, I think the problem comes with his association with Hollywood Agency CAA, Jessica Simpson, and others. If it's part of his life, it's part of his life; he's get used to being in that "place" as long as the money's right.)

My friend ESPN's Darren Rovell asked if anyone aimed the "Do you realize how much money you lost by going 10th?" question. The answer is no -- no one other than you, DR. In fact, only about eight questions were asked. A small number considering the person. But then more were asked in the back interview room, including two by me.

One of them stemmed from a concern I had that he -- like the other draftees -- may be experiencing a loss of friends because of their newly developed celebrity status; in other words, he didn't know who his friends were. Matt took that question and ran with it, as you'll see on the video at www.nflbusinessblog.com. "Yeah, it's like you've got more hangers on and people you can't trust. It's been an experience, that's for sure."

He sounded like a person who'd been through the mill. It's only going to get more intense especially if he plays well. I mean just consider the now famous photo of him with the girls and the bottle of wine. You think they were his best friends? Heck no.

Matt's just happy to get on with it. "All the questions that teams had, I answered when I met them. As far as the (lack of) arm strength, I answered that. As far as the lifestyle I had, I answered that. As far as them getting to know me as a person, I think I answered every question I could."

It's clear he's tired. He's ready for some football.

Here's the video of the press conference held today.

An Eventful First Round Ends - Raiders and Niners Get Solid Picks - Niners Score Best First Round

The first round of the NFL Draft came and went but not without drama. There was the Reggie Bush "none-selection" by the Houston Texans, and USC QB Matt Leinart's fall to the Arizona Cardinals, leaving Texas QB the first quarterback taken, and by the Tennessee Titans.

Me? I've been taking a lot of video and talking to a lot of people. When you're one person it's hard to take video, talk to people, come back, blog in fear of missing a press conference, and then download the video -- which calls for waiting. To combat this, I decided to take all of the videos first, then download and edit them all at the same. I wish I Movie worked faster, but I'm glad I have it nonetheless.

The best drafts? Well, I'm going to sound like a homer but the 49ers had the best draft thus far. They took two solid consesus first round impact players: Maryland TE Vernon Davis and DL Mario Williams teammate Manny Lawson, outside linebacker. In the case of Lawson, his stock has moved up considerably. Bil Chackes of NL Scouting said "Lawson was rated as high as a low first round selection in some circles. A quality player but somewhat rough around the edges."

Indianapolis got the running back they needed to replace Edgerrin James, LSU's Joseph Aidi. The Raiders took the best defensive back in the draft, Texas' Michael Huff and to fill a hole created by the departed Charles Woodson.

But the 49ers got the better first round over the Raiders, because one can't argue the fantastic talent of Vernon Davis and Manny Lawson was ranked as high as the seventh best player on some reports floating around here. Davis is excited to play in an offense developed by Norv Turner, the 49ers new offensive coordinator, stating that Norv, "has a great history of knowing what to do with tight ends."

But one who runs as fast as Michael Vick? Well that's something special.

Oh, did I tell you that Reggie Bush's press conference was short and he came off -- to some -- as surly? Well, yes he did. He was clearly upset over not being picked number one, but as Lloyd Vance of "Big Play Radio" said, "He brought it on himself."

Steelers Tagged For Giving Up Too Many Draft Picks For Ohio State's Fleet Santonio Moss

There's a lot of carpping about the Pittsburgh Steelers giving up a first round, second round, and thrid round pick for Ohio State's Santonio Moss. He was one of the stars of the draft, but I can't find anyone around here who thinks he's worth that much in draft picks. No one. Reporters and fans and draftniks around here can't believe it.

Meanwhile, ESPN shows LenDale White's draft party.

..He's still waiting.

Bob McNair Clears The Air - Bush "No Pick" Not Related To Budget

I'm writing this behind the din of New York Giants fans. It's now the 24th pick and the giants are on the clock. The jets fans have had their day. Now, it's the Giants turn. But I've got so much to write...Here's Bob McNair

Once the Houston Texans personable owner Bob McNair took the podium in place of his organization's newest employee (not counting unknown front office moves), he immediately hit with the obvious set of Reggie Bush related questions.

Mr. McNair, as I call him, realizes that it's going to be hard to avoid some ""PR hit as far as fan reaction" as one person put it. "I think that's going to be a temporary situation. I'ts up to us to go out and win football games. We win football games, they are going to say 'you made the right decision." If we don't win football games, they say 'you're stupid.' anyways, so what difference does that make?

McNair slammed down the perspective of people like me, who immediately thought Bush's rejection by the Texans was a because he wasn't "signable." "They are mistaken because we could have signed either one. We made the same offer to both of them.

Giants trade 25th pick to Steelers. Giant's fans are going nuts. Steelets take WR Santonio Holmes from Ohio State. Pittsburgh gave the Steelets their first round, third round, and forth round pick for ...as my Row mate put it, "One person."

While McNair wants a player that will be in camp, he says to me that it wasn't the reason Bush wasn't selected: "No, I don't think Reggie would have held out. I think we were close enough in the discussions with his agent in terms of the money and everything that we would have been able to reach an agreement. We felt like that Reggie Bush would have a tremendous impact on our offense and would be very exciting. But that Mario Williams could have the same impact on defense."

Chicago traded it's 26th pick to Buffalo, which is now on the clock. Chicago gets second round and third round selection.

Houston Texans' Mario Williams Meets The Press

The suspense of whom the Houston Texans would pick first in the first round removed, the NFL and the Texans introduced Mario "Let's Go" Williams to the media in a jammed packed press conference in the lower level of Radio City Music Hall. Between his family members, friends, press, NFL people, and assorted-who-knows-what with a badge, it was crazy and made it a little hard to hear.

But that didn't stop me. It certainly didn't phase the very happy new defensive lineman for the Houston Texans.

"I'm speechless," said the 6'7" inch clean cut player thought by some -- including himself -- to be the next Julious Peppers, a standouit defensive lineman who's made a name for himself with the Carolina Panthers. "It's hard to explain. It's a dream come true (to be selected as the first pick in the draft) It's a dream I always had and now to be a part of it especially with the Texans."

When asked at what point he knew he was going to be the number one pick, Williams informed "You know, I really found out last night. During the day, yesterday, I got a call from my agent and he was just like, you know, we need to talk and things like that. He finally told me 'You're going to be the guy."

Williams is friends with the person everyone thought was gong to be the number one pick, Reggie Bush. "We're still god friends and that's just how it goes. Can't really do anything about it and I'm not going to try and rub it in anybody's face. I don't have an ego. I'm just so proud to be a Texan."

After Williams was done, he moved away from the podium and walked -- with a crowd of media followers -- down to the photo interview room.

Oh, I forgot to mention that because Mario Williams was the number one pick Campbells will donate 1,000 cans of Campbells Chunk Soup to the schools of Houston.

I'm not kidding.

While Williams was talking in the back, Texans owner Bob McNair took his place at the podium. That talk's next.

Matt Leinart's Gets Booed

In what's certain -- well, heck, I could see it on his face -- to get to his skin, USC quarterback Matt Leinart was booed --- BOOED -- by the fans here. Since we've now got more Jets fans in the house than Steelers fans it tells you they don't want the Jets to take him. Wild. It was very loud, too.

They cheered for Texas QB Vince Young when he was introduced.

I was just informed that the Green Bayn Packers are trying to switch picks with the NY Jets.

Stay tuned.

2006 NFL Draft Post Three - Massive Crowd

I'm about to go back up to the podium, but it's a madhouse here. I interviewed Sports Illustrated's Paul Zimmerman, which I'll post in a moment, and took a basic walk around the hall as the crowd filled. It's a crazy mix of fans and media and NFL people.

More soon!

2006 NFL Draft Day - Post One - Arriving At Radio City Music Hall

I got a cab and arrived at Radio City Music Hall as 9:32 AM EST. Once I arrived I met with a little problem in that my name and company name was filed in a place no one could find -- at first.

Then NFL VP of Media Relations Leslie Hammond wooshed by to take care of my relatively small issue with no time wasted. I got my badge and went in.

Radio City Music Hall is something to see. For those who visit the Grand Lake Theater, it's like it in design but about three times larger. To me it's a smaller space than Javitz last year and the fact that both ESPN and the NFL Network are sharing this space makes it all the smaller.

I'm sitting in row RR and next to Fumi Watanabe who's covering the Draft for Japanese Media and lives in New York. He's got a great love for snack chips and eats them like they're going out of style.

Behind us and to the right is the ESPN "studio" platform, where Mel Kiper, Michael Irvin, Susie Kolber, and Tom Jackson just did a segment. To my left and again behind me is the NFL Network platform, where Mike Mayock, Rich Eisen, and two other people I can't yet see from this angle are doing a report.

Around me and them are seats and TONS of media people and NFL sponsors, and the fans haven't even shown up yet. Opps, I stand corrected. They're filing in. They've got various jerseys ..But Steelers fans are in force here, just as they were at Super Bowl XL.

Once this place is full up, it's going to be a mad house.

For me this is like coming home. There's my good friend Bill Chackes who's attended every NFL Draft going back 30 years or so. There's Todd Barnes, who's now an NFL architect and helped me with Oakland's Super Bowl Bid. Then, there are people like ESPN's Mike Golic, who promised me that he's going to throw cookies at the crowd on the second day to get them reved-up. Funny guy.

But the highlight was meeting Jerry Davis, who represents the Oakland Raiders at their "Draft Table" He's been with the Raiders in this role for over 30 years. Frankly, I didn't know Mr. Davis was -- Raider Owner Al Davis' brother!

Yep.

I didn't realize this until I asked him "So how did you get to have this wonderful role?" Mr. Davis answer was "Well, I'm Al Davis' brother." And with that information, I froze. He got a chuckle out of that.

We talked about Oakland and how the city can do so much better than it has; that was about it. He was looking for help with a phone problem at the time. He's a nice person. Very much like his brother in style.

Oh, all of this is on video, too

What Jerry Davis does is take the phone call from Raiders Headquarters of what their pick's going to be and gives that to an NFL "runner." The runner then takes it to the head table just next to the main podium where the Commissioner reads the name of the team picks. It's that simple.

Well, I'm off to locate the Interview room right now.

The crowd is massing - fast. ESPN's Chris Berman is walked past as well.

There's a number of media stars here, so many you need a scorecard to keep track. Geez.

I'll be back!

Video: Texans Draft Mario Williams Over Reggie Bush / Owner Bob McNair Gives Clue In Discussing "Signability"

SBS NFL Business Blog is partnered with The Oakland Tribune for the NFL Draft. Visit their site at http://www.insidebayarea.com/raiders

"We need another running back. Reggie Bush is another running back. He's also a receiver....But then McNair stressed that the player -- whomever is selected as theiir first pick, must be "signable." That is the organization's not wondering if their player's going to hold out of training camp after a contract dispute.

That is what Houston Texans owner Bob McNair said while we interviewed him at the NFL's Luncheon at Chelsea Piers on Thursday before the NFL Draft. (The video is at www.nflbusinessblog.com) Last night, the Texans signed North Carolina State Defensive Lineman Mario Williams to a six-year $54 million contract. He will be introduced at the 2006 NFL Draft today, and I will be there.

To put this in perspective, recent reports had Reggie Bush's agent Joe Siegel asking for a signing bonus as high as $30 million.

That's well over half of Mario Williams new contract, and implies that Bush's total asking price could top $70 million.

The Texans may be trying to build a winner, but they're also cost concious in a different way. McNair says that money "Is not an issue" but then explained to me that "we do have a budget" for the Draft. He also hinted that they have expectations of what a kind of player should cost.

My educated guess is that McNair and Casserly determined that signing Bush would require spending "QB - Level" money. So, they went with the more affordable and theoretically "ready to play" Williams. (Both are ready to play, but Bush would be more likely to hold out in a contract dispute.)

It also appears that McNair and Casserly believe Williams will be enough of an impact player at his position to contribute to the development of a championship defense. At least that's what their press clips say.

Meanwhile, this is an obvious blow to the ego and pocket book of Team Reggie Bush. Even deeper still, it may open a rift between Bush and his agent because just last week Bush was recorded as saying that he didn't want a $30 million signing bonus. But it's apparent his agent talked him out of this desire for less money, and with disasterous results for the young man considered the number one pick for so long in the hype building up to this draft.

The Texans have done considerable damage to Team Bush in another way. By signing William for less and making him the number one pick Team Bush can no longer ask for quarterback - level money. They have to settle for less. The question is will they? Now, the New Orleans Saints are "on the clock" and may select Bush. If they skip him, I'll be it's for reasons concerning Team Bush's asking price.

Nw, it's 8:01 Saturday morning. I've gotten little sleep working with this new video strategy and using "You Tube" to upload the video, but it's time well-spent. I'm so excited to get over to Radio City Music Hall. My plan is to leave here by 9 AM. Gotta get dressed.

In closing, here's Bob McNair talking to me and another conventional media guy. (I'm unconventional.)



Friday, April 28, 2006

2006 NFL Draft Day One

Wow. What a first day!

I'm in New York City and have been here since early Thursday morning. Well not that early. It just feels early because I'm used to being three hours behind the East Coast.

A travel advisory: if you use Expedia.com to make airline reservations, make sure to read the fine print. I thought I booked a flight on Alaska Airlines, only to discover that I was to be on American Airlines because they have some weird relationship. Well, I missed my red-eye flight. Fortunately, I waited stand-by on American and got in at 11 PM EST.

I rushed to get to my hotel, change into a suit and get down to Chelsea Piers for the NFL's Draft Luncheon. It started at 11:30: I got there are 12:45 PM. Crestfallen, I thought I missed everything. Actually, I didn't at all. I got -- on video -- a great conversation with Texans Owner Bob McNair, where he did hint that "the guy we pick will certainly help us sell season tickets" as an answer to an indirect question I posed which was "The guy you're going to get will certainly help sell tickets, right?" There's an old saying that offense sells tickets, so ...The Texans will pick Bush.

I also got -- again on video -- Seahawks QB Matt Hasselbeck. I asked him about their great Super Bowl game plan and he did say that there was some good things to take from that game, and he felt that the game was "too one sided" in favor of the Steelers. In other words, he didn't think it was a neutral game at all. It's interesting to see him offer that perspective on camera. And while he and his Mom were enjoying being named the new spokespersons for Cambell's Chunky Soup.

Later, I went to another NFL Draft Party. This one at Gustavino's, a cool place that was built into the 59th Street Bridge Landing. This one had a press conference to introduce the stars from the new movie "Invincible" about how a Philadelphia Eagles local Vince Papale, made the team. It stars Mark Walberg and was made in part by the NFL with Walt Disney Company.

I then got a segment of Eagles QB Donovan Mc Nabb as you've never seen him before. I also talked with Matt Leinart and about how he's maintained his composure through all the attention. He said he credits his parents and really just "being myself" to use his words. Jake Delhomme, the Carolina Panthers QB explained Steve Smith's comments regarding their new wide receiver, free agent Keyhawn Johnson, saying that he understood what Steve was saying, that "He was telling the truth. We have to see how Key plays."

Yes, all that's on video, too. You'll see it all on Saturday.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Oakland Raiders To Trade WR Jerry Porter and #7 Pick To Saints? Rumor I Got Via Text Message

I'm trying to confirm this rumor, but it involves The Raiders trading their #7 pick and WR Jerry Porter to The New Orleans Saints and for their #2 pick in the first round of the NFL Draft.

It's no secret that the Saints want to trade down and will not pick Matt Leinart at #2.

Stay tuned.

Falcons Should Draft Michael Vick's Brother Marcus Vick - And Check Out This Video


Yes. The Atlanta Falcons are the best fit for a quarterback some regard as a misfit: Marcus Vick.

Yes, we've seen Michael's brother do some rather stupid things on the field, and read reports of his problems off the field. But I contend that the one person who can help him stabilize and mature is none other than Michael Vick himself.

Plus, it would give the Falcons two of the most effective quarterback's in the NFL and they would secure the one person who many say throws even better than his storied older sibling.

But there are some who think of him as the next Maurice Clarrett or Lawrence Phillips. Ohh. That's bad. It's a comment that makes the younger Vlck angry. "That kind of hurts me," Marcus Vick said to the Associated Press. "Maurice and Lawrence were definitely guys who had a bad past. They're not even in the league anymore. But I'm a hard worker. I'm going to keep on fighting through my ups and downs. That's the difference between me and them."

The organization that picks him should be the Falcons, where exists a great support system for him. Besides, this is the range of things he's done: reckless driving, feeding alcohol to underaged girls, driving on a suspended license, and reportedly pulling a gun on people in front of a fast food restaurant. All of this is bad. But it could be a lot worse. Plus, many of them are the mistakes of immaturity. He can and will grow up in the right environment.

Once he does, the only hell he will raise will be on the football field.

Check out this video of the Vick Brothers.

Profootballtalk.com Reports That Leinart May Slide All The Way To The 17th Pick In The First Round


This could happen. It may simply be because of the idea that USC QB Matt Leinart was the beneficiary of great talent, rather than being a great QB. I personally disagree with this; I think Matt will improve his game. But would I pick him over Vince Young? No.

Here's Mike Florio of www.profootballtalk.com


TEAM LEINART BRACING FOR SLIDE?

At a time when former USC tailback Reggie Bush is dealing with an unwelcome distraction that could disrupt his plan to be the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, his teammate who could have been the first pick in 2004 could now be facing a slide conjuring memories of the Aaron Rodgers plunge in 2005.

A source close to the Leinart camp tells us that Matt's handlers have accepted the reality that the Titans won't be drafting their guy at No. 3, barring a dramatic reversal of the current intention to acquire Texas quarterback Vince Young. Per the source, new Leinart agent Tom Condon has attempted to get some kind of an assurance from each of the teams drafting in the top five -- but has gotten nothing.

At No. 4, the Jets are not expected to draft a quarterback. Word is that they are looking to land Alabama's Brodie Croyle later in the day.

At No. 5, the Packers can't afford to spend another first-rounder on a guy who'll do nothing for them in 2006, especially since Lord Favre is coming back for one more year.

At No. 6, the 49ers have their quarterback in Alex Smith.

We'd initially presumed that the Raiders would take Leinart at No. 7, but we're now hearing from multiple sources that they won't.

The Bills won't touch Leinart at No. 8, unless G.M. Marv Levy is even nuttier than we currently believe.

At No. 9, there's no way the Lions pounce on Leinart.

Then we come to the Cardinals at No. 10. Will Denny Green be able to resist drafting a guy who falls into his lap, just like Randy Moss did eight years ago? We've got the Cardinals taking offensive tackle Winston Justice, given the importance of beefing up the group of guys who are going to be charged with keeping those big-money skill-position players alive.

At No. 11, quarterback is one of the few positions that the Rams have covered.

At No. 12, we can't see the Browns taking Leinart.

Then come the Ravens at No. 13. In our current mock draft, we've got them taking Vanderbilt quarterback Jay Cutler. Though we're feeling a little wishy-washy about whether Brian the Brain will stake his future on another first-round signal-caller, it might be hard for the supposed offensive guru to not take Leinart, if he falls into the team's lap.

And we think that the lowest Leinart would go, if he gets past Baltimore, is Minnesota at No. 17.

So the 2004 Heisman winner won't fall as dramatically as Rodgers did a year ago, when the Jeff Tedford prodigy plunged from potentially being the No. 1 pick all the way to No. 24. But given that Leinart was the presumptive No. 1 choice in 2005, and that he most likely would have been taken by the 49ers with the first pick, the possibility of sliding to No. 10 or lower translates into millions and millions of dollars of money that will never come back.

Off To New York City And The NFL Draft Tonight


I leave on the red-eye and get in Thursday morning. I'm not only going to cover the draft, but all of the events -- the NFL Luncheon and some surprises -- before the Draft.

This year, the NFL Draft's at historic Radio City Music Hall. I'm quite interested to see how this space "works" versus Javitz last year.


Stay tuned!

Brett Favre Elects To Return To Green Bay For One Year - ESPN



I personally believe this could have been handled as a non-issue by the Packers. Moreover, Brett does have the matter of his wife's health to consider. All they had to do was have two plans ready to go: one for if he comes back; one for if he doesn't return. They draft as if he's not going to come back, then they're ready. It made little sense to have this total circus, but we had one. Now, it's over.


From ESPN Wire Service:

Brett Favre informed the Packers on Tuesday that he will definitely play the 2006 season in Green Bay.

The NFL's only three-time MVP shared his decision with general manager Ted Thompson and head coach Mike McCarthy in a telephone conversation on Tuesday morning, the sources told ESPN's Chris Mortensen on Tuesday night. Wednesday, Thompson confirmed the news.

"The Green Bay Packers are very pleased that Brett has come to this decision, and look forward to a successful 2006 season," Thompson said in a statement posted on the team's Web site Wednesday.

Packers president and CEO Bob Harlan said he was delighted that Favre was coming back -- something he expected to happen, despite Favre's four months of public wavering on the decision.

"I always said the calendar was working in our favor,'' Harlan said. "If he was going to [retire], he would have told us in January.''

Neither Favre nor McCarthy was available for immediate comment. Bus Cook, Favre's agent, did not return phone inquiries.

Favre, who had a roster bonus pushed back from March to July while he pondered his decision, has said that if he chose to play in 2006 that it would be his final season.

Favre said repeatedly after the 2005 season ended that he wasn't sure if he would come back to play a 16th season, saying he wasn't sure if he wanted to be part of what he saw as a possible long-term rebuilding effort.


Will Aaron Rodgers be a success as Favre's eventual replacement in Green Bay?
Yes
No

He also claimed he wasn't sure if the team wanted him and his hefty salary to be a part of that effort. He hinted that the team's moves in free agency would play a role in his decision to come back. Favre also questioned his own motivation to continue playing.
Favre, 36, is second to Hall of Famer Dan Marino in passing yards, touchdown passes and completions. Marino is the leader with 61,361 yards, followed by Favre with 53,615 and Hall of Famer John Elway with 51,475.

An eight-time Pro Bowl selection, Favre has made an NFL-record 221 consecutive starts for the Packers. He never had a losing record until last season, when Green Bay went 4-12 and he led the league with 29 interceptions.

But the fans at Lambeau Field did not want to see him go. After Green Bay closed a disappointing campaign with a win over Seattle on Jan. 1, Favre left the game with 46 seconds left after throwing for 259 yards and a touchdown and received a thunderous ovation from the sellout crowd.

Favre saluted the fans with a wave and was surrounded by a swarm of photographers as he ran off the field.

Favre extended his NFL-record streak of seasons with at least 20 touchdown passes to 12 and increased his career total to 396. He also established a career high with 372 completions last season, surpassing his previous high of 363 in 1994.

Marino, the NFL's most prolific quarterback, has 420 career TD passes and 4,967 completions.

Favre led the Packers to six division crowns and a Super Bowl title, restoring success to one of the NFL's most famous franchises.

The Packers fired coach Mike Sherman after the final game of the season and replaced him with McCarthy, who was Favre's quarterbacks coach in Green Bay during the 1999 season. They also re-signed running back Ahman Green, who missed most of last season because of a knee injury.

But Favre continued to waffle in the offseason as the Packers struck out on high-profile free agents.

His apparent decision to return comes despite the Packers' failure to answer the quarterback's call to make a "statement" signing in free agency similar to that of Reggie White in the 1990s.

Sticking to Thompson's stated philosophy of not splurging for the sake of splurging in the free-agent market, the Packers lost veteran kicker Ryan Longwell to the division rival Minnesota Vikings and lost out in the bidding for a potential replacement, free-agent kicker Adam Vinatieri, who signed with the Indianapolis Colts.

The Packers' two most high-profile free-agent signings have been former St. Louis Rams defensive tackle Ryan Pickett and former Seattle Seahawks safety Marquand Manuel. The team has also re-signed fullback William Henderson and wide receiver Rod Gardener.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Seattle Seahawks Get Safety Mike Green From Chicago Bears - AP

Wow. Apparently Chicago believed they had someone better to fill the shoes of Green, who was the second leading tackler on the team in 2004. ..Course, he wasn't in 2005.

Associated Press

CHICAGO - The Seattle Seahawks acquired veteran safety Mike Green from the Chicago Bears for a sixth-round draft pick on Tuesday.

Taken with the and final pick in the 2000 draft from Northwestern State, Green had 437 total tackles (282 solo), six sacks, four interceptions and 27 pass breakups in six seasons with the Bears.

Green was second on the team to linebacker Brian Urlacher with a career-high 138 tackles in 2002 and 132 in 2004.

Six Players Who's Stock Has Fallen - One Of Them Is RB LenDale White

According to Mike Florio at Profootballtalk.com , six players have fallen in their "stock," which is the value placed on that person relative to other players of the almost 400 college football players under consideration for the 2006 NFL Draft

STOCK HAS DROPPED FOR SIX HIGH-PROFILE PLAYERS

Although there have not yet been any final-week disclosures or developments causing one or more of the draft-eligible players with name recognition to plummet this weekend, a broader look at the past several months reveals six guys who have seen their prospects for getting drafted early decline.

This information is based on our discussions with league sources, and thus is subject to the standard possibility that someone is knocking a guy in the hopes of making sure he's available at a lower round. In the end, where the guy is drafted is where the guy is drafted. (How freakin' profound.)

1. Mathias Kiawanuka, DE, Boston College.

Viewed by some as a top-five pick prior to the 2005 season, Kiawanuka will now be lucky to be selected on day one of the draft. The perception is that Kiawanuka had his "ass whupped" at the Senior Bowl, and that he showed no leg strength or intensity. Three teams that we know of have him rated as a fourth-rounder.

2. Jimmy Williams, CB, Virginia Tech.

Williams is regarded by some league insiders as a "very bad dude" -- and not in the good way. We've heard that some teams have removed him completely from their boards.

3. Claude Wroten, DT, LSU.

We reported on Friday, citing three league sources, that Wroten tested positive at the combine. Although the teams know about the result, no one else in the media has made the connection between the positive result and the negative impact on his draft stock.

Wroten also was arrested on marijuana charges earlier this year, but the charges were dropped. To compound the problem, we're told that some teams were not enamored by his interviewing skills.

4. Derek Hagan, WR, Arizona State.

Before the 2005 season, he consistently was viewed as one of the top receivers in the country. His inconsistent hands are putting him in the round three range now.

5. Dominique Byrd, TE, USC.

Byrd was seen as one of the top two tight ends before the 2005 season. But a "brutal" pro day workout and a "lackadaisical attitude" have fueled a fall.

6. LenDale White, RB, USC.

For anyone who has been living under a rock or, even worse, on top of one, White is this year's poster child for how not to handle the run-up to the draft. A hamstring injury was disclosed when he showed up for his pro day workout. He managed a total of 15 reps in the 225-pound bench press.

At one point, White was a possible top-ten pick. Now, he'll be lucky to hear his name called by dinner time on Saturday. White's likely response?

NFL Suspends Miami Dolphins RB Ricky Williams For One Year


I listened to the news on ESPN. I feel sorry for Williams, as it wasn't for smoking anything, and it seems as if someone tried to get him in trouble. It also seems as if there's a kind of vendetta going on against sports agent Leigh Steinberg. First he looses Matt Leinart and after a questionable turn of events that the NFL Players Association seems blind to look into, now this.

NEW YORK Apr 25, 2006 (AP and ABC) -- Miami Dolphins running back Ricky Williams was suspended for the 2006 season by the NFL on Tuesday for violating the league's substance abuse policy for the fourth time.

The league announced the suspension after Williams' appeal of a his latest positive drug test was denied. Williams met with NFL counsel Jeff Pash on April 10 in an attempt to have the league overturn the test.

Previous positive tests were for marijuana, which Williams acknowledged using. The latest test apparently involved a drug other than marijuana.

Williams retired and sat out the 2004 season, but returned last year to play for new Miami coach Nick Saban.

Before being allowed to return, Williams served a four-game suspension at the start of the season for his third violation of the drug program. He ran for 743 yards and averaged 4.4 yards a carry while sharing playing time with rookie Ronnie Brown.

2006 NFL Draft - SBS NFL Business Blog Partnership With The Oakland Tribune


Thanks to ANG Newspapers, Sports Editor Jon Becker, I'm proud to report that I'll be working with the Oakland Tribune in my coverage of the NFL Draft. I'm going to be their "Man On The Scene" at The Draft in NYC.

Visit the Oakland Tribune's website at www.oaklandtribune.com for our Draft coverage on Saturday, and this blog nflbusinessblog.com for coverage of the Draft on the days leading up to the main event and during it as well. My aim is to make you feel as if you're there and behind the scenes, especially since I'm taking my camcorder.

The Oakland Tribune's website will also be the center for our videos and we'll have links and content from this blog to the Tribune's website and their popular Raiders Blog "Inside The Oakland Raiders" http://www.ibabuzz.com/raidersblog

I'll also feed information to my good friend Oakland Tribune Columnist Monte Poole -- pictured at left -- as well.

It's going to be one big party! Join us!

Santonio Holmes In Miami Dolphins Draft Sights - Palm Beach Post

Holmes could be in Dolphins' plans

By Jeff Darlington
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

She never wanted her baby to fly so far away.

Yet Patricia Brown never argued. Never told her son he was wrong. Never questioned aloud his dreams, the ones that led Glades Central High School receiver Santonio Holmes to his college football career at Ohio State.

"I just thought it was a far place for him to go," Brown said, recalling her son's decision to leave South Florida four years ago. "But he said it's where he wanted to go. He said there were more opportunities than anywhere else."

As it turns out, those opportunities might earn Holmes a one-way ticket back to his mother's home — as a Dolphins draft pick.

Holmes is one of a several prospects in Saturday's NFL Draft projected to land somewhere in the range of the Dolphins' first-round pick — No. 16.

The Dolphins are looking for cornerbacks, linebackers, offensive linemen and receivers and Holmes certainly fits the description of what coach Nick Saban is looking for in a playmaker.

"Typically, people who can score touchdowns or create big plays, whether they affect the quarterback on defense or make the plays down the field, are guys that have a little bit more impact," said Saban, who has said his picks will be based more on the value of a particular player than on a need for a specific position.

In several recent mock drafts, Holmes has been listed all over the board — sometimes early in the first round and other times late. Todd McShay, an analyst for Scouts, Inc., has Miami selecting Holmes.

That's not a stretch, considering that the Dolphins would like to add a third receiver behind Chris Chambers and Marty Booker.

Holmes — and Florida receiver Chad Jackson — has had a pre-draft meeting with the Dolphins.

"Holmes and Jackson will probably be the only two receivers drafted in the first round," said Frank Coyle, head scout and draft analyst for draftinsiders.com. "You could make a case for three or four clubs taking (Holmes) in the middle of the first."

When Holmes, a junior, declared early for the draft, he was considered the top receiver in the class. But while his top-10 potential has slipped, Jackson's stock has risen after he posted his fastest 40-yard dash times at the scouting combine.

That's not to say Holmes isn't getting some long looks. He finished his three-year Ohio State career with 140 catches, including 25 touchdown receptions.

"Although he is an underclassman, and he still needs to be polished, he's an explosive playmaker," said Chris Landry, a former NFL scout who now serves as a consultant to NFL teams. "He has long arms and he's really strong in the lower body. He also has the speed to consistently beat defenders."

Any recent drops in Holmes' draft projections haven't affected his confidence. At 5-feet-10, 198 pounds, he described himself at the scouting combine as an "all-around playmaker.... One of the best wide receivers possibly in the game right now."

"Looking at all the things I've accomplished — the way I play on the field, the way I block, carry myself, leadership — I have all the ability to be a great wide receiver," Holmes said.

This weekend, Holmes will return to South Florida from Ohio, where he is currently pursuing his degree. Hundreds of family and friends are expected at his mother's home on draft day.

There, they'll watch with Patricia Brown to see if her baby is coming back to South Florida.

"It would probably be too close to home for him," Brown joked. "That means I would have to see him more. It'd be fine with me, but he probably wouldn't like it very much."

BUCS OWNER MALCOLM GLAZER RELEASED FROM HOSPITAL

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 24, 2006

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Malcolm Glazer was released today from the Cleveland Clinic after suffering a stroke last Sunday, April 16. The stroke has
impaired Mr. Glazer’s speech and mobility in his right arm and leg.
“On behalf of the entire Glazer family, I want to thank everyone at the Cleveland Clinic for their outstanding care,” said Joel
Glazer. “My father’s spirits are high and doctors expect his condition to improve with rehabilitation.”
Copyright 1999 - 2006 Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

www.buccaneers.com

Monday, April 24, 2006

Matt Leinart's Favorite Things


Ok, now you know everything about SC's Matt Leinart. Well this and the reminder that he did lose to Cal.

On his new website, http://www.mattleinartqb.com he lists his favorite things. There are some interesting matches. For example, his favorite color is green and his city to visit is New York. If that's not a clear signal that he wants to be drafted by the NY Jets, I don't know what is.



Matt Leinart's Favorite Things:

Color - Green
Food - Italian
Movie - Wedding Crashers
Actor - Jim Carey
Car - Chevy Tahoe
Football Team - USC
Basketball Team - Lakers
Baseball Team - Dodgers
City to Visit - NY
Vacation - Houseboating
Football Moment - Holding the Crystal Ball
Class in School - Social Psychology
Book - To Kill a Mockingbird
Animal - Dog
Video Game - Halo
Favorite Activity - Video Games
Restaurant - Wahoos Fish Tacos

NFL Draft - Cowboys Colts Trade? Playmaker88 Thinks So

Playmaker 88 gives a well-reasoned explaination why the Indianapolis Colts may wind up with the Dallas Cowboys 18th pick in the first round the the NFL Draft. Check it out via clicking on the title of this post.

Publicity Surrounding Leinart Shines Light On Steve Clarkson's "Air 7 QB Academy"


Who's Steve Clarkson? Well, he's the guy working out USC's Matt Leinart in the photo. This one taken in 2005. He's also worked Leinart out this year, and is a key member of Team Leinart.

This bio I found on his old website reveals all, but before I subject you to a long read let me inform you that he's got a great relationship with former USC and now Tennessee Titans Offensive Coordinator Norm Chow, at least that's what Clarkson reports on his website.

It may be this relationship that caused Leinart to consider the agent switch to begin with. It may be that Matt believed that this relationship -- and not Leigh Steinberg -- was the key to his becoming a Titan.

It also sheds light on why some believed that Ben Rothelisberger might switch to CAA, now that the movie talent giant's football practice is marketing Mr. Clarkson's Air 7.

Whatever the story, it's clear that Mr. Clarkson's relationships -- or more accurately his maintenance of them -- is paying off.

Well, check out this bio on Clarkson:


What separates Steve and Air 7 from the rest is Steve's ability to parlay his relationships into the strongest network of college coaches and contacts among anyone who works in football at the high school level. His success as a quarterback coach, combined with the personal relationships he developed as a player and a coach, have given his students a much greater chance of getting to the next level.

Not only a quarterback coach, Steve excels as an offensive coordinator, having produced city championships (Carson HS), record setting quarterbacks (Perry Klein - Pacific Palisades, David Koral - Palisades, John Walsh - Carson, and Steve Sarkisian - El Camino) and providing fans an exciting glimpse into the future of the passing offense.

Steve is a 1979 graduate of LA Wilson High School. During that time, Steve led his Wilson High team to three LA City Championships with a three year record of 39-1. In addition, he was named to the All-City teams his Junior and Senior seasons and was the All-City Player of the Year in 1978. In that season, he led the state in passing yards and total offense. In the early 80s, Clarkson was a record-setting quarterback at San Jose State where he wore the number seven (hence the name of his company). He was briefly in the NFL and CFL with Denver and Saskatchawan. While at San Jose State, he was a three year starter name to the Academic All-American teams in 1981 and 1982. He played for Jack Elway (John's father) and Dennis Erickson where he went on to coach at the University of Miami and then with the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers in the NFL.

The creation of the CaliFlorida Bowl HS All-Star Football game has allowed Steve to communicate directly and frequently with scores of college football head coaches, most notably Pete Carroll (USC), Karl Dorrell (UCLA), Mark Richt (Georgia) and Phillip Fulmer (Tennessee).

Having spent the last 20 years in the field of football training and coaching, Steve has developed relationships with: Bill Walsh (San Francisco 49ers); Jack Kemp (Current President of USA Football, Former Congressmen and Buffalo Bills Quarterback); Dennis Erickson (Steve’s godfather, former head coach at U of Miami, OSU & SF 49ers); Terry Donohue (Former UCLA head coach & SF 49er GM); John Elway (Hall of Fame QB); Mike Price (UTEP) Bill Walsh; Mike White (Kansas City Chiefs QB Coach) and NFL Rookie of the Year, Ben Roethlisberger (a client of Steve).

Among Steve’s closest professional relationships, is the one he has with Norm Chow. Norm and Steve have a strong relationship dating back to the early 80’s. Initially, the relationship began when Norm had great success at BYU, utilizing quarterbacks who had trained under Clarkson (John Walsh & Steve Sarkisian). Since those days, the two have become good friends as well. Most recently, the common bond has been Matt Leinart, a pupil of Steve’s, who became Norm’s most recent Heisman Trophy winning quarterback.

Matt Leinart Meets Raiders Owner Al Davis At Raiders Headquarters

I found this at Matt Leinart's new website mattleinartqb.com . He writes that he went to dinner in the Marina, which is really funny because that Thursday nigh of last week, I thought I saw a guy who looked just like Matt at The Balboa Cafe, which is in the Marina District of San Francisco.

Hmmm.....



QB meets with Raiders, Saints

It's been a long few days. I'm excited to be back home in L.A. It's been fun to meet everybody and go to the different places, but I'm definitely ready to get this over with.

As I'm writing this entry, I'm at my agent Chuck Price's house. I'm watching his two daughters dance to some Disney show. They're like the little sisters I never had. I'm kind of like their big brother.

I've been so busy traveling this week I haven't had a chance to talk to anybody.

Wednesday, I woke up at 4 a.m, and went to the airport to get on a flight to New Orleans. I had a layover in Houston. I got there and talked to the Saints' coaches. I met with the head coach Sean Payton, quarterbacks' coach Pete Carmichael, Jr. and general manager Mickey Loomis.

Coach Payton is a great guy. He'll be calling the plays in New Orleans. All the coaches I've met have been great, but coach Payton was really cool. I got along with him well.

Even though it was hot and humid in New Orleans, it was a good experience. What the city and people went through was horrible. I'm not one of those guys who would say I don't want to be with the Saints because of what happened to the city. It would be great to play for the Saints. To be there, to feel it, and talk about the community with the coaches was a very cool thing.

We had a nice BBQ dinner at my hotel after I got a tour of the Saints' facilities. It was really informal. I was there with coach Payton, offensive coordinator Doug Marrone, coach Carmichael and Mikey Loomis. We just kind of hung out and shot the breeze.

Thursday, I had an 8 a.m flight to Oakland to meet with the Raiders. After I arrived, I took a nap. I finally had a chance to catch up on some sleep.

I went out to dinner Thursday night with the quarterbacks' coach Jim McElwain. Everyone calls him "coach Mac." We went to dinner in the marina. We were right on the water. We had an awesome talk. This is his first year in the NFL. He's coming from college at Michigan State where he coached quarterbacks. He's a younger coach and very laid back.

The Raiders' facilities are right by the airport. It was really convenient. Everything was in silver and black.

After meeting with coach Shell, and watching film with offensive coordinator Tom Walsh and coach Mac, I met with Mr. Al Davis.

Mr. Davis and I met for 15 or 20 minutes in his office. I've never met him before. I told him that I've been a Raiders' fan for a long time. My brother and dad are also big fans of the Raiders.

Mr. Davis is so highly respected. He coached at USC a while ago. We talked about everything from my career to players he coached. I asked him about his quarterback situation. At USC, I was called "The Snake", which is Kenny Stabler's nickname. Stabler was his quarterback a long time ago, so it was pretty cool. Stabler was a lefty too. Mr. Davis actually said when he was watching film I reminded him of Stabler!

It was a cool experience. Mr. Davis is a legend. He's extremely smart. He's really the guy that started the NFL.

I got back to L.A on Friday. The plan for this weekend is to relax.

I played golf on Saturday with my brother Ryan, Chuck and a couple buddies. I still haven't gotten my golf clubs that I was fitted for. I had to borrow them from my attorney. As you know, I have the tendency to throw my clubs so I'm almost glad they haven't arrived. Once I start practicing, I'll be decent. I just haven't had the time.

I plan on packing this weekend for New York. I leave on Tuesday. I thought I would have more of an idea about who is going to draft me, but I still don't know. I probably won't know until draft day. It's a toss-up. That's the scary and cool part about it.

It will be great to go anywhere.

I'm excited and can't wait to get it over.

Ties Between Bush, Parents, and House May Be Coincidental - Bush To Associated Press


Hold on Cal and Vince Young fans. USC may not be in danger of losing scholarships, and Vince Young may not be given the Heisman that currently rests somewhere in the home of Reggie Bush.

Read this



Bush says Parents leased house being scrutinized by Pac-10
USC star says story has been blown out of proportion

Associated Press

LOS ANGELES — Former Southern California star Reggie Bush said there was nothing inappropriate about his family's living arrangement at a home owned by a man who reportedly sought to market him because they leased the house.

"It's kind of funny how this whole story is getting blown out of proportion," Bush said in a live ESPN interview Monday.


The Pac-10 said Sunday that it will investigate whether any NCAA rules were violated when Bush's family, including mother Denise Griffin, stepfather LaMar Griffin and brother Jovan Griffin lived in the Spring Valley, Calif., house while Bush was still playing for USC last season.

Bush declined to say who paid the rent.

The home was owned by Michael Michaels, who reportedly attempted to steer Bush toward signing with San Diego agent David Caravantes, and sought to handle Bush's marketing with a new firm he had founded, Yahoo.com reported Sunday.

NCAA rules prohibit student-athletes and their families from receiving extra benefits from agents or their representatives.

"When this is all said and done, everybody will see at the end of the day that we've done nothing, absolutely nothing wrong," said Bush, the 2005 Heisman Trophy winner.

Bush chose to turn pro after his junior season with USC and is expected to be the No. 1 pick in Saturday's NFL draft. He eventually signed with a different agent and marketing firm; his agent, Joel Segal, and Mike Ornstein, who handles marketing, did not immediately return telephone messages left Monday by The Associated Press.

Yahoo reported that the family moved out last weekend after questions over its ownership arose. Bush suggested that the timing of the move was coincidental.

"That's the funny thing," he said. "We've been looking for a house for two to three months. Now that I'm in the position of buying my parents a house, we've even made a bid on another house, but it ended up being too steep for my pocket."

Pac-10 commissioner Tom Hansen said Monday that a Pac-10 investigation could start soon, but gave no specific time frame. USC could forfeit its 2005 Pac-10 football title if Bush is ruled ineligible, he said.

"I'm not a rules expert, but I think one of the available penalties would be forfeiture of games if you compete while ineligible," Hansen said at the Bowl Championship Series meetings in Phoenix. "I want to caution that that's a long way from where we are now. And I think all of us have seen that so often there are allegations made and when you get to the heart of the matter there' s nothing there."

Any violation could also put Bush in a precarious position with the organization that awards the Heisman Trophy; the award ballot states that the winner must be in compliance with NCAA rules. Heisman officials will wait until the Pac-10 investigation is complete before deciding if any action needs to be taken, said Heisman Trophy Trust spokesman Tim Henning.

The Trojans went 12-1 last season, losing to Texas in the national championship game at the Rose Bowl. USC coach Pete Carroll was on the road recruiting Monday and was unavailable for comment.

The two-story house sits on a corner on a steep hill in an unincorporated area outside San Diego. The back yard is bare dirt and the pavement of the driveway apron is inscribed with the words "The Griffins '05.'"

San Diego County records show the 3,002-square-foot home has an assessed value of $339,394, including $99,394 for the land. State records showed construction was completed in early 2005 and Michaels purchased it for more than $757,000 in late March.

In a statement to the AP on Monday, William David Cornwell Sr., attorney for Bush and his mother and stepfather, said the tailback had no connection to the house.

"Reggie Bush was a full-time student at the University of Southern California and never lived in the house," Cornwell said. "As is the case with most 20-year-old college students, Reggie was not aware of personal or financial arrangements relating to his parents or their house. Mr. and Mrs. Griffin now realize that, given Reggie's profile, their personal decisions can reflect on their son."

Bush did not answer a question about his relationship with Michaels.

"There will be a later time for details," he said. "As of right now, it's still early and we don't want to get into all that."

In Crack-Induced Haze, ESPN's Michael Smith Writes That The Texans Should Take Mario Williams Over Reggie Bush

I love ESPN's Michael Smith. At Super Bowl XL in Detroit I asked him who his favorite team was "No one. None of 'em" was his quick witted response. I also enjoy his straight on conversational take on the NFL's Minority Hiring Problem.

But I don't agree with his latest column, which goes like this:

"Let me begin by assuring you that, to my knowledge, I never have suffered a head injury, not even a minor one. I've never used/abused recreational or prescription drugs. And it has been well over a week since I last consumed any alcohol. Also rest assured that when I wrote the following, I did so with a straight face.

With the first pick of the 2006 NFL draft, the Houston Texans should not select running back Reggie Bush of Southern California. And my reason has nothing to do with the recent report that his family allegedly accepted extra benefits during Bush's junior season.

And sorry, Houstonians, this isn't another plea for the Texans to pass over Bush in favor of University of Texas quarterback (and hometown hero) Vince Young.

They shouldn't trade down, either, or they might miss out on the player they should take. Mario Williams, the North Carolina State defensive end, should be the Texans' pick.

Choosing Williams over Bush is the smart choice if not the most popular. It isn't that Williams is the better player; a college scouting director whom I swear by told me that Bush is the best player he's ever evaluated, that Bush received a rating one point below perfect on his scale, while Williams graded out one point behind Bush. So I believe the Texans are in fact torn between Bush and Williams, whom they have rated equally atop their draft board."

The statistic that only four Super Bowl winners had running backs drafted in the first round is misleading. Yes, offense sells tickets and defense wins championships, but the vast majority of Super Bowl winners have had record-setting defenses made up of a collection of mid-first round and mostly-late round draft choices. Plus, the stat leads the uninformed and unsophistocated person to assume that every Super Bowl winner was able to draft a running back with the first pick in the first round.

No.

I'm going to go out on a limb and say this: Mario Williams will never be the difference maker that Reggie Williams can be because a team can game plan to go away from him. They cvan use his speed against him. And as long as there are other weaknesses on the Texans defense, one player will not make the difference.

But a defense that keys on Reggie Bush can be hurt by play-action. Nuff said. That defense will then have the chore of just trying to catch lightining in a bottle. What Smith and others forget is this: speed kills.

In this election, I vote for Bush.

Maryland TE Vernon Davis - A Video Look Before the NFL Draft

Vernon Davis, Maryland's tight end and one of the top picks in the NFL Draft is causing many GM's to change who's near the top of their leader boards.

At 6'3 263 pounds and posting a blazzing 4.38 time in the 40-yard dash, Davis is not only an even better athlete than last year's TE pick Matt Jones, who went to Jacksonville, but unlike Jones played at that position in college, rather than being converted to it.

Several teams can benefit from Davis' right away: the Titans, 49ers, Packers, and Raiders for starters. It's not likely he's last beyond the 4th pick.

Here's a video of Vernon Davis at work:

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Reggie Bush's Parents Abruptly Move From Home - Yahoo! Sports Robinson Reports House May Have Been Purchased By Bush's Agent

This will not impact his Draft position, but it may harm his level of expenses. Nice work by Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports

Yahoo! Sports report: Reggie Bush's family home
By Charles Robinson, Yahoo! Sports
April 23, 2006


SPRING VALLEY, Calif. – In this sprawling hilltop community with a breathtaking view of Sweetwater Lake, it was no secret who lived in the 3,000-square-foot house at the corner of Apple Street and Luther Avenue.

That home, residents would tell you, was where Reggie Bush's family lived.

That is, until this weekend, when the family abruptly packed up and vacated the residence – less than 24 hours after Yahoo! Sports approached Bush's mother about information linking the property to Michael Michaels, a man who is alleged to have tried to play a role in steering Bush toward an agent and who also has ties to a sports marketing company.

Days before Bush is expected to be the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft, unanswered questions about the residence and how his mother, stepfather and brother came to live in it within the last year have prompted the University of Southern California to refer the matter to the Pacific-10 Conference for an investigation.

NCAA statutes prohibit student-athletes or their families from receiving extra benefits from professional sports agents, marketing companies or their representatives. A breach of these statutes could result in an athlete being ruled ineligible, and games in which they played could be forfeited.

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USC finished 12-1 last season, its 35-game winning streak and national championship bid both ending with a loss in the Rose Bowl to Texas. Bush, a junior running back, won the Heisman Trophy and elected to skip his senior season and turn pro in January.

In response to reporters' questions about the matter late last week, USC athletic department officials said they would look into it.

"Rather than jumping to conclusions, we need to determine the facts before commenting on this report," Trojans athletic director Mike Garrett said in a statement released by the school on Friday. "We have asked the Pac-10 to look into this."

State records show the Apple Street home was built in late 2004 and early 2005, then purchased by Michaels on March 29, 2005 for $757,500. Around that time, neighbors say Bush's family moved in. Whether they had visited the house while it was being built is unknown, but there is an inscription in one of the cement slabs in the driveway reading "The Griffins '05."

Michaels is the only person who has been listed on the deed to the home.

Bush's mother, Denise Griffin, was approached in the driveway of the house on Thursday, but declined to comment.

"I have absolutely nothing to say," Griffin said when asked about ownership of the property, which is where Bush's mother, stepfather LaMar and brother Jovan lived during USC's 2005 season.

Before moving to the house on Apple Lane, Bush's family was listed as living in an apartment elsewhere in Spring Valley, a community located about 13 miles east of San Diego.

At some point after Bush's family moved into the residence, Michaels and an associate named Lloyd Lake are said to have contacted San Diego-based sports agent David Caravantes and offered to facilitate Bush's recruitment. A source with intimate knowledge of the meeting said it took place during the 2005 college football season and that Michaels was looking for a local agent to handle the contract negotiations for players he intended to sign to his marketing firm.

Michaels and Lake told Caravantes they were planning to start a sports marketing agency with Bush as their anchor client. It was also during this meeting that Michaels and Lake mentioned the potential name of the agency: New Era Sports & Entertainment.

The pitch to Caravantes was said to have been simple: He would be Bush's agent and Michaels' marketing creation would handle the promotion of the USC star. At some point after pitching this idea, Michaels informed Caravantes that Bush's family was living in a home Michaels owned. Caravantes isn't believed to have met with Bush and was never considered to be in the mix before the USC star hired Reebok adviser Mike Ornstein and agent Joel Segal of Worldwide Football Inc. as his representatives.

Repeated attempts to reach Segal and Bush were unsuccessful.

While it's unclear what official role Michaels played in New Era Sports, indications are that the company barely got off the ground – if at all. According to corporation filings in California, paperwork for New Era Sports & Entertainment was drawn up on Nov. 23, 2005, and records list the business address in Los Angeles under an attorney named Phillip M. Smith Jr.

Contacted late last week, Smith Jr. refused to talk about New Era Sports – even declining to give public details such as a phone number for the company, where the New Era offices were located or who was serving as the company's current president or manager.

Asked why he wouldn't provide such information, Smith ended the brief telephone conversation, saying, "That's really not an issue that I want to deal with." He has failed to return multiple follow-up messages left at his office.

Further attempts to identify New Era produced a single web page with a company logo (http://newerasports.tv/) that contains no active links to indicate where New Era is located, what services are provided or how the company could be contacted. Searches also produced the internet blogs of three self-proclaimed employees of New Era Sports. One such blog included the company logo of New Era and pictures of several NFL players. That blog was taken down shortly after Yahoo! Sports obtained a hard-copy of the page.

Contacted about his alleged meeting with Michaels, Caravantes declined to comment.

Michaels – who is a member of the Sycuan Indian Tribe and works as a business development officer for the tribe's development corporation – failed to return multiple phone calls and was unavailable when Yahoo! Sports visited his home on three occasions this weekend.

The Sycuan tribe, which owns a casino and resort and is engaged in a number of business enterprises in the San Diego area, denied any knowledge of Michaels' relationship with the Bush family.

"The tribe is not aware of his involvement," said spokesman Adam Day, who had been approved to speak for the Sycuan's tribal government. "Any involvement that he has in this situation is his personal involvement. It has no connection or correlation to the tribe, its businesses or Mike's employment by the tribal development corporation.

"What tribal members do on their own time is their own business. It's not the business of the tribe."

Back at the house on Apple Street on Saturday afternoon, the moving trucks had come and gone. A flier offering cleaning services for movers was hung on the front door, and all the shades had been drawn shut. Through a garage window, only a few empty cardboard boxes and straggling trinkets were visible.

Across the street, neighbor Grant Sitton could only shrug.

"I don't know, I guess it didn't work out," Sitton said. "Oh well. They have a big payday coming next week anyway."

Charles Robinson is the national NFL writer for Yahoo! Sports. Send him a question or comment for potential use in a future column or webcast.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

NFL COMMISSIONER SEARCH COMMITTEE HIRES KORN / FERRY FOR SEARCH PROCESS

I guess Roger Goodell -- while still the front runner -- isn't out of the woods yet.

NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE

NFL-25 4/21/06
COMMITTEE SELECTS KORN/FERRY INTERNATIONAL
TO ASSIST IN SEARCH FOR NEW COMMISSIONER

The eight-member ownership committee leading the search for a new NFL
commissioner has selected the executive search firm of Korn/Ferry International to assist in
the process, committee co-chairs Jerry Richardson and Dan Rooney announced today.
Korn/Ferry International (NYSE:KFY) is one of the world’s leading executive recruiters,
having conducted more than 100,000 senior-level searches since its founding in 1969. Based
in Los Angeles, Korn/Ferry has 70 offices worldwide and has worked with many of the world’s
top companies. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Paul Reilly will lead Korn/Ferry’s team
on the NFL search.

The members of the search committee, in addition to Richardson and Rooney, are Al
Davis of the Oakland Raiders, Lamar Hunt of the Kansas City Chiefs, Woody Johnson of the
New York Jets, Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys, Robert Kraft of the New England Patriots,
and Mike McCaskey of the Chicago Bears.

The committee will consider in the search process individuals of diverse experiences
both inside and outside the NFL and assist the league’s full ownership in reaching a
consensus on the person to be chosen as the league’s next commissioner. The selection of a
new commissioner requires the approval of 22 of 32 clubs.

The committee will report to the clubs on a regular basis during the search process,
including at a regularly scheduled league meeting on May 23-24 in Denver.
Paul Tagliabue, who has served as NFL commissioner since 1989, announced on
March 20 that he is retiring.
# # #

Lavar Arrington Becomes A NY Giant; Signs Deal For 7-Years At $49 Million - AP


NEW YORK -- LaVar Arrington signed with the New York Giants on Saturday, giving him a chance to play twice a year against his former team and helping fill a huge gap at linebacker for the NFC East champions.

Arrington agreed to a $49 million, seven-year deal late Friday, according to Kevin Poston, one of his agents. Poston didn't say how much was guaranteed but Giants general manager Ernie Accorsi indicated that it includes performance bonuses.

Arrington reportedly had been seeking as much as $18 million guaranteed and a $58 million deal, one reason Arrington stayed on the market while dozens of other players signed during the first few weeks of the free-agent period.

"We needed a big, power player to add to our defense and LaVar Arrington is that," Accorsi said. "He has a presence about him and he makes us a better football team.

"The agreement is a fair deal for the player and a fair deal for the organization."

Arrington, the third overall pick in the 2000 draft and a three-time Pro Bowler, bought his way out of Washington in March for $4.4 million after a tempestuous final two seasons in which he suffered from knee injuries and was benched by defensive coordinator Gregg Williams for freelancing. He took a physical with the Giants on Thursday to ensure that his knees were healthy.

He joins a defense that features the defensive end tandem of Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora, who last year combined for 26 sacks. Both made the Pro Bowl and Umenyiora, in his third year, was an All-Pro.

Arrington also fills a huge hole for the Giants, who lost all three starting linebackers late last season to injuries and went into the playoffs with a backup and two recently signed free agents.

Last week, the Giants signed free agent Brandon Short, who played for them from 2000-2003. The addition of Arrington means the team could turn its attention to another position in the first round of next week's draft, perhaps cornerback or defensive tackle.

Poston said Green Bay, Jacksonville and Miami all were in the running for the 27-year-old Arrington. But in the end, he said, his client decided that he wanted to play against Washington twice a season and for Tim Lewis, New York's defensive coordinator.

"It came down to LaVar feeling most comfortable going to a good team in a familiar division with a defensive coordinator that he loves," Poston said.

Texans Now Talking Contract With Reggie Bush...And Mario Williams

A bit interesting this Houston Chron story, because just a day ago, Bush said he didn't want a $30 million signing bonus. A comment I'm sure sent his agent in search of Pepto Bismal.

April 22, 2006, 1:30AM
NFL
Bush, Texans try to hash out a deal
Team negotiator, USC star's agent exchange ideas

By JOHN MCCLAIN
Copyright 2006 Houston Chronicle

One week before the NFL draft, the Texans intensified negotiations with running back Reggie Bush in an attempt to get the Heisman Trophy winner from Southern California signed in time to make him the first overall pick.

Vice president of football administration Dan Ferens, who handles negotiations, exchanged contract proposals with agent Joel Segal. There are expected to continue negotiations as the Texans try to sign Bush before the draft.

Although no one in the organization will admit it publicly, owner Bob McNair prefers the top pick to be signed by the time commissioner Paul Tagliabue announces the Texans' selection at 11 a.m. on April 29.

Neither side would comment Friday on the negotiations.

The primary issue will be guaranteed money. Quarterback Alex Smith, taken first by San Francisco last year, received $24 million in guaranteed money. Segal is expected to argue that Bush deserves more because players almost always get an increase from the previous year.

How much more could be a sticking point. The Texans, known for overpaying players, will argue that Bush is a running back and doesn't deserve a huge increase over what a quarterback was paid the previous year.

The Texans also are interested in North Carolina State defensive end Mario Williams. He's the best defensive player in the draft. Ferens has been in contact with Ben Dogra, who represents Williams.

The Autumn Wnd - Oakland Raiders Theme and Video

"The Autumn Wind" is a poem associated directly with the Oakland Raiders. The "Autumn Wind" was written by NFL Film's Steve Sabol. Sam Spence wrote the music to Autumn Wind (the Raiders Theme music) and the late NFL Films announcer John Facenda is the voice you will hear reading "Autumn Wind." The video version appears below.

"The Autumn Wind is a Pirate,
Blustering in from the sea,
With a rollicking song,
He sweeps along,
Swaggering boisterously.

"His face is weather-beaten,
He wears a hooded sash,
With a silver hat about his head,
And a bristling black mustache.

"He growls as he storms the country,
A villain, big and bold,
And the trees all shake
and quiver and quake,
As he robs them of their gold.

"The Autumn Wind is a Raider,
Pillaging just for fun,
he'll knock you around,
and upside down,
and laugh when he's conquered and won."

DeAngelo Williams Is One Of The Top Draft Backs - See This Video

The Houston Chronicle profiled University of Texas - El Paso running back DeAngelo Williams one week before the NFL Draft. We've also got a video of his best touchdown runs. You can see how he accelerates to the hole, and how well he runs out of the "I" formation.

April 19, 2006, 10:13PM
NFL DRAFT
White says he's Mr. Big
Williams offers a compact option at running back

By MEGAN MANFULL
Copyright 2006 Houston Chronicle

Reggie Bush has dominated the headlines and the pre-draft banter, but he is hardly the only running back expected to be a first-round selection in the NFL draft April 29.

The talk surrounding other backs is much quieter, but Memphis' DeAngelo Williams, USC's LenDale White and Minnesota's Laurence Maroney likely will be selected before the second round begins.


Williams, who donned No. 20 in college, is often compared to another No. 20, Barry Sanders, because of his running style and his 5-9, 214-pound frame. He is a durable back who carried the ball more than 300 times each in 2004 and 2005. During his senior season, he led the nation with 1,964 yards rushing.

White originally was expected to go soon after Bush. But with a torn hamstring leaving White unable to work out, Williams has climbed on many teams' draft boards.

"I'm not one of those guys that's looking back," Williams said. "I'm not looking for LenDale White to pass me or Reggie Bush to pass me. I turned my rearview mirror off a long time ago. I'm chasing."

USC's Bush is expected to be drafted by the Texans with the No. 1 pick. It isn't as clear where the other backs will go. Last year, Ronnie Brown (second), Cedric Benson (fourth) and Cadillac Williams (fifth) were selected among the top five.

That won't be the case again. Teams in need of backs likely will find Maroney, Williams and White available in the bottom half of the first round. Williams is the smallest of the trio; White is a big back, measuring 6-0 3/8 and 245 pounds. Maroney is 5-11 7/8 and 217 pounds.

"That's what helps me a lot in this draft, just because how big I am," White said. "DeAngelo and Reggie are in a class of their own and then you have the in-betweens like Maroney. And I think how big I am and how strong I am helps me out a lot. I'm kind of happy to be in this class because you get a lot more touchdowns when you're big."

White led the nation with 24 touchdowns last season. He also topped 1,000 yards for the second consecutive year.

Maroney, who shared time with Marion Barber in 2003 and 2004, rushed for more than 1,000 yards in each of his three seasons at Minnesota. Some consider him a perfect fit to replace Edgerrin James in Indianapolis because of Maroney's vision and smooth running style. The Colts pick 30th in the first round.

Despite always sharing time with other running backs at Minnesota, Maroney said it will benefit him as a pro.

"Actually it was fun splitting time with a guy like Marion Barber," Maroney said. "We both brought something different to the table, kept defenses on their toes, not knowing what they're going to get. We always had fresh legs in the game, so splitting time was never a problem. We never had any complaints about who had the ball."

With college finished, the prospects have spent the past few months trying to convince NFL management they can be the next breakthrough back.

Last season, Brown and Cadillac Williams had significant impact on their teams as rookies.

Even though White, Maroney and DeAngelo Williams realize they will not be the first back selected on draft day, they want to prove they will be successful.

The first step in that process is finally discovering where they will play.

"That's the thing about it, everybody has poker faces around here," DeAngelo Williams said. "Everybody's playing with a World Series of Poker face.

"They all smile the same; they all ask you the same questions."

The Video:

Friday, April 21, 2006

Texans Have Not Met With Reggie Bush Who Says He's Not Asking For A $30 Million Signing Bonus - Orange County Register



I'm not sure it's a good idea for Reggie to negotiate his contract in the media. We'll see how this plays out.

BY TODD HARMONSON
The Orange County Register

Former USC tailback Reggie Bush still expects to be the top overall selection in next week's NFL draft, but Thursday he confirmed widespread reports that the Houston Texans have not opened contract negotiations with him.

"There are some people saying it's because I'm demanding $30 million (for a signing bonus), but that's not true," Bush said in a telephone interview. "We haven't talked numbers with them at all.

"Right now it's kind of on them to start negotiations if they want to."

The Texans have the No.1 pick, are allowed to negotiate with players and could sign someone before the draft if they want. But their lack of a move to lock up Bush has fueled speculation that they might trade down to take another player, especially since some teams could want to trade up to select a quarterback.

Bush said he only has met with officials from Houston and the New York Jets. He said he is eager to learn where he will play professionally but decided he shouldn't pay attention to the incessant pre-draft speculation.

"Nobody really knows what's going to happen, so I can't get caught up in it," said Bush, who won last season's Heisman Trophy and left USC as a junior because he was expected to be the No.1 draft pick. "I think I've shown that I should be the No.1 pick and I still think that will happen."

Matt Leinart Has Post Draft Party Planned For Las Vegas


According to Profootballtalk.com , that college football star and ever well-traveled party boy Matt Leinart has a party planned for Las Vegas after the NFL Draft.

Profootball talk reports:


We're told that USC quarterback Matt Leinart has made plans for a lavish post-draft party in Las Vegas. The same source who tipped us off to the termination of agent Leigh Steinberg and the retention of agent Tom Condon tells us that Leinart intends to take a posse of 30 to Las Vegas to celebrate his official entry into the NFL.

There are, we're told, 30 plane tickets, 30 rooms reserved, and $140,000 earmarked for the event.

The party is planned for the weekend after the draft. We hope that Leinart's people cross-checked the post-draft minicamp schedules of the teams that might draft him before making any nonrefundable purchases.

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