Miami coach: Pats got steal in Brown

The University of Miami doesn’t recruit players to sit on the bench. The Hurricanes want true freshmen to unseat senior All-Americans.

Miami grads take that approach to the NFL, where a slew of them have made an impact, be it Ed Reed in the first round in 2002 or Jessie Armstead in the eighth in 1993.

Patriots [team stats] fourth-round draft pick Kareem Brown appears to be stepping into a fairly hopeless spot in the short term. The defensive tackle out of Miami has to contend for playing time not only with an All-Pro caliber front three (Richard Seymour [stats], Vince Wilfork [stats], Ty Warren [stats]), but also experienced backups in Jarvis Green and Mike Wright.

James will miss 1st day of camp

Running back Edgerrin James will miss the first day of the team's upcoming minicamp to attend the funeral of a relative in Florida, team officials said Wednesday.

The camp, which starts Saturday and runs through Monday, is mandatory unless the player is excused by coach Ken Whisenhunt.

" 'Edge' called and let me know about the death in his family," Whisenhunt said in a statement. "Obviously, it's more important for him to be there Saturday for the services and for his family."

Well I'll Be ... Shockey Will Report to Giants Minicamp

According to a report by Anthony Fucilli of MSG Network, Jeremy Shockey will join Plaxico Burress and the New York Giants at minicamp next week.

Once again, this is something that shouldn't be huge news, but is. Like Burress, Shockey tends to workout in Miami and avoid all non-mandatory camps. It's been a problem for the last few years and something that has manifested itself on the field.

However, Burress and Shockey are making a statement this year. It's a sign of maturity and something that should give the Giants and their fans some hope. The team is already starting to rally around each other -- something that didn't happen at all last season.

The mere presence of Burress and Shockey in camp should help Manning reach that next level. He's primed to break out and the extra work with his two top targets sure couldn't hurt.


Uh-Oh! Sean Taylor Shuns Redskin Workout

Of course you can't have everything in Redskin Land. After drafting LaRon Landry to pair up with Sean Taylor in the secondary ... Taylor decides he isn't too cool with his contract. Taylor didn't show up for the Redskins' voluntary workout this week. He and Shawn Springs [who's Redskin career is up in the air] were the most notable absences. Yeah, it's voluntary, but the Redskins have been pushing for veterans to show up since they are allowing players to work out on their own time, away from the team. Also, the Skins were led to believe that Taylor was going to attend.

However, numerous players suggested that Taylor likely would not be in attendance, a byproduct of his possible displeasure with his contract. Sources said that team officials were hoping Taylor was merely taking personal time and preparing to join the workouts. Sources added that Director of Player Personnel Vinny Cerrato and Taylor's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, had been in discussions in recent weeks regarding a contract extension for Taylor, whose contract expires after the 2008 season.

Huff HR Ends Duel In 10th, Lifts Orioles

Aubrey Huff homered with one out in the 10th inning against his former team, giving the Orioles a 1-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays Wednesday night in Baltimore.

After James Shields allowed only three hits in nine innings for Tampa Bay, Brian Stokes (1-4) faced only two batters before giving up Huff's home run. Huff drove a 1-and-1 pitch over the wall in center for his fourth homer.

Huff played for five seasons in Tampa Bay and briefly with the Astros last year before signing with the Orioles as a free agent in the offseason.

John Parrish (1-0) worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the 10th, retiring B.J. Upton on a slow roller with two outs after giving up three straight singles.

Tyrone Moss' Browns Career Lasts a Week

Just a couple of days ago, the Akron Beacon-Herald was suggesting that Tyrone Moss could work his way into the Browns' running back rotation as an undrafted free agent., and Moss was comparing himself to Jamal Lewis. Sure, he ran an unimpressive 4.75 40-yard dash, but the thought was that he was a very solid back at Miami before some injuries, so maybe he could be an interesting power back. He had been considered by many draft guides as a potential late-round pick heading into the draft.

Well apparently he looked worse than awful in the Browns rookie minicamp. Without a chance to ever put on some shoulder pads, Moss was cut on Tuesday.

The Browns replaced him Michigan running back Jerome Jackson who impressed enough as a tryout at the minicamp to earn a contract. Jackson rushed for a grand total of 720 yards in four seasons at Michigan, but apparently he showed more than Moss did.

The Browns also signed large (6-foot-8, 300-pound) offensive tackle Cliff Louis out of the tryout camp.


McGahee to zoom with Ravens

THE SCHEDULE is out. Seven coaches have been hired and fired. Most of the free-agent movement has taken place. And now rookies are settling into their new homes.

It's time to distinguish between the winners and losers this offseason in terms of fantasy value.

Today, I concentrate on guys whose values have increased significantly since the last time we saw them in uniform. Here's my top 16, starting with the most likely to improve:

Willis McGahee, Ravens. Much will be made of Tom Brady's new toys, but the fact is the New England quarterback already put up some pretty impressive numbers, so his potential for improvement is somewhat limited. Not so with McGahee, a very talented back who goes from a weak team to a strong one, which could vault him into the first round.

Jeremy Shockey Update

There's been no sign of tight end Jeremy Shockey, who also spends his offseason in Miami. Burress said he ran on the beach a while back with Shockey but gets nothing but voice mail every time he attempts to leave a message.

"Pretty much if I'm here I think he'll show up," Burress said.

Manning said he had spoken to Shockey.

"He's kinda waiting; his brother is expecting a baby so he's trying to figure that out," Manning said. "We're gonna be in touch, and hopefully we can get him up here before camp starts."


Taylor, Springs Skip Team Workout

WASHINGTON — While the majority of the Washington Redskins’ regular players were in attendance at the team’s first organized activities of the offseason Tuesday, two absences were noteworthy: Neither safety Sean Taylor nor cornerback Shawn Springs was at Redskins Park in Ashburn, Va.

It is unclear whether Taylor, who works out in Miami, plans to attend the workouts, which will be held Tuesday through Thursday of each week leading up to the June minicamp, with one week off. While attendance is voluntary, the coaching staff has encouraged players to attend, especially since Coach Joe Gibbs agreed to veterans’ demands that they be allowed to do their offseason conditioning away from Redskins Park this past winter.

Taylor attended the voluntary workouts sporadically in 2004 and not at all in 2005, then had perfect attendance last year. Springs, meanwhile, is in Scottsdale, Ariz., where he has been working out for the past three months and enduring an uncertain offseason with the Redskins. In February, the Redskins asked him to take a $2 million pay cut and he refused. In the interim, he has been part of trade scenarios. Springs said he planned to attend the voluntary workouts later in the month, but wanted to remain focused on his Arizona training.

A big challenge? Carey to tackle it

DAVIE There were different starters at four of the five offensive line spots in the opening practice of this weekend's Dolphins minicamp, but one of the biggest changes from 2006 wasn't quite so obvious.

Vernon Carey was once lukewarm about moving from right tackle to left tackle. Carey now says he is excited about being shifted to the line's most important pass-blocking position.

"It's another challenge I'm willing to take on," Carey said Friday after completing his first practice at left tackle. "It's going to push me to be a better player.

Tryout Players Get the Call - Anthony Wollschlager

Jon Gruden said the Bucs’ rookie mini-camp of last weekend, in which 28 unsigned free agents participated on tryout contracts, was a good opportunity to see if the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had missed anything during the 2007 NFL Draft.

In other words, after the seven rounds of the draft and the first wave of post-draft signings were complete, did any players slip through who were deserving of spots on a training camp roster?

The Buccaneers came up with two answers: Louisiana-Monroe cornerback Chaz Williams and Miami guard Anthony Wollschlager.

Firecats Benton 1st to Score 900 Points

Estero, FL- Florida Firecats receiver Magic Benton became the arenafootball2’s (af2) 1st player to score 900 points in a career in last weeks 56-51 win over the Albany Conquest,
Benton began the game with 898 points and quickly broke thru the plateau scoring the 1st touchdown of the game. He went on to snag 2 more scores and currently has 916 career points.
Already the af2’ career leader in receptions (515), receiving yards (6785) and receiving touchdowns (150) Magic now has another record under his belt.
“It’s nice to be first, it’s something that as my kids get older they can look back and see what their daddy did,” said Benton of the accomplishment. “All I am trying to do is win another championship, the other stuff is nice but at the end of the day all I want to do is win.”

On the year Magic has already caught 48 passes (3rd most this season) and leads the league with 654 yards receiving. His 12 touchdown receptions rank him 4th in the league, 2 behind the af2 leader.


Gore Excited About 49ers D

Pro Bowl running back Frank Gore practically gushed on Sunday afternoon after the end of the team’s three day mini camp. His excitement wasn’t the addition of the talked about wide receivers or tackle Joe Staley, although those too bring a quick smile to the third-year back. But when it came to talking about the progress made this camp, Gore kept chatting up the defense.

“It’s just all around what I’m seeing - more competitiveness, more talent,” said Gore. “Watching Nate (Clements) out here making plays, even on film, you can tell a lot by his swagger. Michael Lewis, he’s a great safety. Tully Banta-Cain, all of those guys, even this new kid Patrick Willis. We’re just going to be good. I feel excited to put the cleats back on and go against this defense.”

Damione Lewis Update

Very quietly, defensive tackle Damione Lewis played through some major pain last year. Lewis said he began experiencing shoulder pain during an early-October game against Cleveland but kept playing the rest of the season.

He had surgery to remove bone chips in late February and was limited to running during the minicamp. Lewis is working on regaining his strength but expects to be 100 percent for the start of training camp


Baraka Atkins Update

The defensive end from Miami flashed his speed, but also his rawness, as a pass rusher. The key for him will be fulfilling his upside.


Warren Sapp Shows New Look at Raiders' Minicamp

ALAMEDA, Calif. -- JaMarcus Russell's immense size was much less of a jolt for many of the Oakland Raiders than the sight of Warren Sapp. The formerly bulky Sapp arrived at minicamp this weekend looking like a scaled-down version of himself, dropping nearly 50 pounds since the end of last season and weighing only about 25 pounds more than Oakland's rookie quarterback.

"He looks funny, doesn't he," defensive end Derrick Burgess said. "Looks good, though. I like what he did for himself. That should add about six more sacks to it I bet."

Sapp did just fine at his old weight of 334 pounds, recording 10 sacks in his most productive season since 2000 and anchoring a defense that was the only strength for the Raiders during a difficult 2-14 season.

But he still spent the offseason slimming down and is as light as he's been in years. Sapp wouldn't disclose how much weight he lost but coach Lane Kiffin said his star defensive tackle was down to 285 pounds from 334 late last season.

Sean Taylor To Free Saftey

After enduring a season of pronounced defensive breakdowns that resulted in a 5-11 record, Redskins assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams said at the end of the season he planned to watch more film than he ever had in an attempt to pinpoint the specific problems, large and small.

In his first public comments of the new season, Williams mentioned a change he will make: For the first time in his tenure with the Redskins, his safeties will have traditional designations. Sean Taylor will be the free safety and LSU rookie LaRon Landry, should he win a starting role in training camp, will be the strong safety.

"I think that Sean Taylor's skill is that he can go so far to go and get balls, but we had to use him in the box an awful lot last year," Williams said. "He can do it all. He can do anything you want him to do. I think this young man can do that, too, and I'd like to put Sean Taylor more in the position to get the ball in the passing game."

Jon Beason Update

Beason will wear #52 for the Carolina Panthers.

Browns take look at Moss - Team needs someone to pair with Jamal Lewis

BEREA - Tyrone Moss would prefer that folks look at the first seven games of his junior season at the University of Miami rather than his senior year.

``My senior year was devastating,'' Moss said Saturday at the Browns' minicamp.

Moss is one of the undrafted free agents practicing with the Browns, and he probably is the most intriguing of the guys who were not drafted.

In his first two years at Miami, Moss ran for 956 yards playing behind Frank Gore.

When Gore left for the NFL, Moss took over as a junior and ran for 701 yards on 137 carries in eight games before being sidelined by a torn knee ligament.

Rashad Butler Update

With Wharton out of the lineup, Rashad Butler is lining up at left tackle for the first team offense. He was a third-round draft pick last year who is coming off the NFL equivalent of a redshirt season, having not entered a game as a rookie.


Moss ready to answer critics

Tyrone Moss smiled sheepishly Saturday after the second day of Browns rookie minicamp when asked what NFL running back he should be compared to.

"It's been said Jamal Lewis and I have similar running styles," said Moss. "But everybody is different in their own way."

Lewis and Moss will be in the Browns' backfield together this year if Moss makes the final roster.

There are a couple discrepancies between the two, however.

Namely, Lewis was a first-round draft choice by the Ravens in 2000 from the University of Tennessee. Moss is trying to catch on with the Browns as an undrafted rookie from the University of Miami.

Carey: 'Time to prove them wrong again'

DAVIE - Vernon Carey is going back to the position the Miami Dolphins had in mind when they drafted him in 2004.

And this time, he believes, it will be different.

Rumored for months, Carey is moving from right tackle to left as the Dolphins reconfigure their offensive line to not only improve pass protection, but also get more push in the running game.

"My first thought was, if I'm going to do it . . . I want to be not good, but great at it," Carey said. "That's my new attitude. I don't want to be good no more. I want to be great.

Morgan back at work

One of the highlights of the Carolina Panthers' weekend minicamp is the return of linebacker Dan Morgan.

It's his first practice time since early last season; he missed all but one game in 2006 because of the latest in a series of concussions.

"I'm excited to be out here," said Morgan, who is reported to have suffered at least five concussions. "Just being around the guys again is really great."

Speculation swirled about Morgan's status for most of last season before doctors cleared him to play again.

"I'm not concerned," he said. "I'm not going to come out and be scared to hit anybody.

Winslow still making progress with knee

BEREA — Questions remain about two of the Browns’ offseason injury issues.

Coach Romeo Crennel said Saturday that tight end Kellen Winslow will likely miss the June minicamp as he recovers from microfracture knee surgery that was performed in late January. Center LeCharles Bentley, who missed the entire 2006 season with a torn patella tendon, has to decide if he wants to have another surgery or continue with rehabilitation.

The chances Bentley will return next season appear remote. He suffered a setback when developing a staph infection in the surgically-repaired knee last September.

“He has to make that decision,” Crennel said of Bentley. “No one else can make it for him. He’ll make the decision that’s best for him.”