49ers Insider: No summer vacation for running back Gore

SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers have a monthlong vacation before training camp begins, but don't expect to see Frank Gore, a Miami native, sipping piña coladas on South Beach this July.

Instead, Gore will be a few miles to the west of the Miami beachfront, laboring up and down one of the highest hills in South Florida while tethered to a truck tire. It's a grueling regimen Gore has performed since high school, and no amount of fame or money -- the Pro Bowler signed a $28 million deal in March -- will change that.

"You've got to sweat if you're going to be successful in this sport," Gore said this week.

And sweat he will. The average high temperature in Miami in July is 89.5 degrees, which ought to aid Gore in shedding a few pounds before the start of the season.

Jon Peattie Update

The same could be said for the newest Firecat, a kicker with a big name and impressive resume. Jon Peattie will begin his pro career tonight after starring for four seasons at the University of Miami, where he had 334 career points while missing only five extra points.

Peattie joined the Firecats for Thursday night’s practice — and ended it in style. He put a long field goal squarely through the uprights to work his new teammates into a frenzy. Peattie’s addition gives the Firecats a Burmuda Triangle of Hurricanes on the PAT and field-goal units — long snapper Brad Kunz and holder Ethenic Sands also went to college in Coral Gables.


Michael Irvin Rips Bill Parcells for Treatment of Terrell Owens

Former Cowboys wide receiver Michael Irvin is taking the side of his fellow Cowboys receiver, Terrell Owens, against former Cowboys coach Bill Parcells.

Specifically, Irvin doesn't like the way Parcells referred to Owens as "the player," rather than calling him by his name. Irvin had this to say to a local TV station, as reported by NFL Network:

"I think it's one of the most disrespectful things you can do. You go to work every day and your boss refuses to call you by your name ... you would have a problem with that. ... I wouldn't have liked playing for a head coach like that."

The one thing Irvin doesn't mention here is that he has a reason to have ill will toward Parcells: ESPN fired Irvin and hired Parcells this year.

Still, Irvin has a point: As great a coach as Parcells is, he has a propensity for acting like a jerk toward some of his players, and just because Owens is a bigger jerk, that doesn't make Parcells blameless.


Braun goes 4-for-4 in win

MILWAUKEE (AP) - Ryan Braun said he is not surprised by his offensive output less than one month into his major league career. Brewers manager Ned Yost isn't either.

Braun had four hits - including a homer - and drove in three runs to help the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Kansas City Royals 11-6 Friday night.

"He can hit. I don't know what to say," Yost said. "And he showed that he can hit. He showed that he can hit in the minors. He showed that he can hit in spring training.

"I wouldn't have put him right in the three hole if I didn't think he could."

Corey Hart also homered and drove in four runs for the first-place Brewers, who won for the eighth game in nine games since being no-hit by Detroit's Justin Verlander on June 12.

Jimerson Propels Jaxx Over Braves

(Jackson, TN) June 21st- Charlton Jimerson went 4-4 with two homers and four RBI's to lift the West Tenn Diamond Jaxx to an 8-1 win over the Mississippi Braves in game four of a six game series at Pringles Park. The win for the Diamond Jaxx was the first in the second half of the Southern League season.

The Diamond Jaxx scored early and often off spot starter Brad Nelson (3-1). Nelson, who got the start after Jo-Jo Reyes was sent to Triple-A Richmond, allowed seven runs (five earned) on nine hits over 3 1/3 innings of work. The Diamond Jaxx scored one in the first, two in the second and four runs in the fourth inning to put the game away.

While the offense was cranking on all cylinders, Joe Woerman kept the Braves off the scoreboard with 5 1/3 innings of shutout ball. Woerman (3-4) allowed just one hit with four walks and six strikeouts to pick up the win. Jose De la Cruz, David Asher and Chad Fillinger combined to allow a run on three hits over the final 3 2/3 innings of work.

Game five of the six game series takes place on Friday night at 7:05 CDT. Right-hander Travis Chick (2-0 0.53) gets the start for the Diamond Jaxx. Mississippi will counter with lefty Kelvin Villa (4-5 5.48).


Surprised Piazza willing to help the A's as a catcher

OAKLAND – Mike Piazza picked up a message on his phone Sunday morning from the Oakland Athletics saying they planned to make him a catcher again once he's healthy.

So he stayed put. The catcher-turned-designated hitter was all set to make the 90-minute drive to Sacramento for a rehab assignment with the Triple-A club when the plan suddenly changed – with Piazza receiving no warning whatsoever the switch was in the works.

“That was a little strange,” Piazza, out since May 3 with a right shoulder injury, said Monday. “This game is unpredictable at times. I never thought this would be the case, especially at this point in my career, but I learned to go with the flow. Whatever they want me to do. ... I was just as surprised as anybody.”

No news is good news for Gore

SANTA CLARA -- Frank Gore snatched the ball and quickly burst down field with the type of passion and purpose reminiscent of Jerry Rice's days on the 49ers practice field.

'Twas a sight for sore eyes.

Too bad you, Mr. and Mrs. NFL Fan, couldn't see the 49ers' offseason workouts, which conclude today.

Instead, you've been bombarded with dire news about concussions, dog fighting, strip-club escapades, roadway accidents and other off-field fumbles.

Here's a revelation easy on the eyes: Gore, the 49ers' current-and-future franchise player, has had an exemplary offseason.

It didn't start until after he started for the NFC in the Pro Bowl, a worthy reward for his 1,695-yard, franchise-record rushing output.

Jon Peattie Signs with the Florida Firecats

Estero, FL- The Florida Firecats announced today the additions of former University of Miami kicker Jon Peattie and the return of the Firecats single season sack leader defensive lineman Tyronn Johnson.
Jon Peattie finished his career in Coral Gables as the ‘Canes 2nd leading scorer in school history with 336 points. In four years as Miami’s starter he connected on 64 field goal attempts and added 144 PAT’s. After a redshirt freshman season in 2002, Jon converted 99 consecutive extra points before his first miss in 2005, which was the second-longest streak in school history.
“I talked with Jon a few weeks back about coming in and playing for us,” said Firecats coach Kevin Bouis. “We get one of the most consistent kickers in Miami’s history and he gets some experience that could help him move up to the next level in 2008. Adding Jon should give us a big boost in our kicking game.”

(firecats press release)

Greg Olseon Update

2. They drafted a tight end who will change their passing game.

Greg Olsen effortlessly reached up Wednesday between a linebacker and a safety and brought down a Rex Grossman pass with one hand—and kept running. He still has to prove he can be fluid and find the holes when wearing shoulder pads and a helmet but it would be hard to find a better fit for the Bears offense out of the '07 rookie class.

Now just get him to camp on time. Asked about the chances for a holdout, Olsen sounded hopeful and confident "things will work themselves out" before July 26.


Devin Hester Update

1. Their offense added one of the NFL's most explosive players.

Devin Hester lined up at running back and wide receiver throughout OTAs and never looked unnatural or awkward. He immediately gives the Bears an element of unpredictability they didn't have in 2006.

And despite all the documented evidence that will be offered to suggest adding receiver duties will hurt Hester's return game, a dropoff from six regular-season returns for touchdowns was inevitable anyway.


Philip Buchanon Update

Simms threw an interception to Phillip Buchanon in 7-on-7 work, as Buchanon jumped a crossing route. Gruden praised Buchanon after practice for getting a better grasp of the playbook, saying he looked more an more like the first-round pick that he was early in his career.


Piazza will catch for Athletics after all - With Cust's hot bat at DH, Piazza may share more time with Kendall.

So much for the end of Mike Piazza's career as a catcher.

The Oakland Athletics have decided to bring Piazza back from his stint on the disabled list as a catcher and a designated hitter, postponing the scheduled start of his rehab assignment Sunday with Triple-A Sacramento to give him more time to get his arm in shape. The 38-year-old Piazza has been sidelined since May 3 with a sprained right shoulder, missing his 41st game Sunday against St. Louis.

Piazza, playing in the American League and as a DH for the first time after 15 seasons as a catcher, is batting .280 with one home run and four RBIs in just 25 games so far in 2007.

A's manager Bob Geren, general manager Billy Beane and assistant GM David Forst met late Saturday and made the decision -- and a big reason behind it was the fact Jack Cust has done such a good job as DH in Piazza's absence.

McIntosh Is Taking Big Steps - Linebacker Likely To Gain Starting Job

For nearly all of the last season, during which a once-feared defense plummeted in the league rankings and teams consistently exploited the same weaknesses, the inability of prized rookie Rocky McIntosh to get on the field raised the kind of red flags players and talent evaluators want to avoid.

The Redskins traded two draft day picks to the New York Jets in 2006 to acquire McIntosh, so why wasn't he playing? Wasn't he better than incumbent weak-side linebacker Warrick Holdman, who was consistently beaten in coverage and to whose side teams pounded their running games?

During last season, after each game he could not unseat Holdman, McIntosh would demur, saying only he was trying to improve and help the team. He trusted the decisions of the coaching staff, he said, and if playing special teams was where they thought he was at his best, then so be it.

Ready after Rocky debut

With the Washington Redskins' history of playing their top draft choices fairly soon and only retread Warrick Holdman ahead of him at weakside linebacker, Rocky McIntosh figured to see plenty of action as a rookie last season.

That didn't happen. Asked every week last season when the second-round pick would play, assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams danced around the subject.

"It was pretty hard not playing," said McIntosh, a three-year starter at Miami. "I was down a little bit, but I gave it my best shot on special teams. The first time we played Philadelphia [rookie linebacker Omar Gaither] blew right past me, and he was making plays. The second time we played them, I kind of snuck up on him and got him real good."

Kosar visits Warren, local football camp

WARREN — There may not be a better person to evaluate the Cleveland Browns’ current quarterback situation than former Cleveland quarterback Bernie Kosar.

Kosar certainly can relate to Charlie Frye and Brady Quinn, the top candidates vying for the Browns’ starting quarterback position.

Similar to Quinn and Frye, Kosar was a highly touted college player who made his desire to play in Cleveland known before the NFL draft. A 1981 Boardman High School graduate, Kosar also grew up cheering for the Browns — just like Quinn and Frye.

He’s dealt with the pressure that comes along with being the Browns quarterback, and — unlike most others — he persevered through the stress, leading the Browns to three AFC championship games in his eight seasons (1985-1993) with Cleveland.

And Kosar isn’t hiding his feelings as to who he believes could better shoulder the load as the Browns starter in Week 1 against Pittsburgh.

‘‘People think because me and Charlie (Frye) are friends that’s why I feel like he’s ready,’’ said Kosar after speaking at the Mims-Manoa Football Camp at Mollenkopf Stadium Tuesday. ‘‘But just because I like (Frye) doesn’t make him a good quarterback. There’s no correlation. I just thought he did a great job dealing with all the problems the Browns went through last year.’’

Parrish: I’m A Receiver First

When one thinks of Bills wideout Roscoe Parrish, what often comes to mind is his electrifying 82-yard punt return that turned the tide in Buffalo's upset of the Jacksonville Jaguars last season.

And while Parrish is proud of that effort, the diminutive receiver would prefer to be recognized differently.

Not many remember the fact that in that same game Parrish had a pair of catches on the final drive covering 36 yards which helped to set up the game-winning field goal.

"I consider myself a receiver first who also happens to return punts," said Parrish. "I'm a receiver-punt returner in that order, not a punt returner-receiver."

According to Parrish he's been trying to alter the order in which most view his dual role as a football player since high school.

"I used to hear about how people said I was going to be just a special teamer (in the NFL)," said Parrish. "Growing up I played receiver and I knew that more than I knew the punt return position. I didn't start returning punts until my high school and college years. I started playing receiver long before I started returning punts."

Will Edge be sharp in 2007?

Will the real Edge please stand up?

Last year was a tale of two seasons for Arizona Cardinals running back Edgerrin James, who was inked to a lucrative deal with expectations he would be the showpiece in the team's retooled offense.

In the first half of the season, James rushed to the tune of a meager 2.8 yards per carry, punctuated by the most inefficient single-game performance in Cardinals history in the team's fateful Monday night loss to the Bears last October. In that contest James rushed 36 times for 55 yards, adding to the woes of then-head coach Dennis Green.

Clearly, the dreadlocked one missed Peyton Manning and the open lanes the high-powered Colts offense provided him. Eventually, the ascension of Matt Leinart and presence of stud receivers Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald helped some of those avenues open up again. In the second half of the campaign, the Cards' offense jelled in garbage time and James turned his season around, averaging 4.2 yards a carry while breaking the 100-yard mark in three of his last five games.

Rocky McIntosh Update

While Gibbs offered a measured analysis of how his players were doing, Williams made it sound as if half of the team was headed to the Pro Bowl, and his gushing over linebacker Rocky McIntosh - a player with two career NFL starts - was especially lavish.

"Rocky may be the top guy on the defensive side of the ball that has flashed this spring," Williams said.

McIntosh was a slow developer as a rookie last year, but, as Williams said, he has had a good spring.


Devin Hester Update

Devin Hester’s IQ. Hester, the dynamic return man, reportedly has  trouble digesting nuances in the playbook.


Piazza surprised by switch to catcher - Says he received no warning from A's

OAKLAND, Calif. - Mike Piazza picked up a message on his phone Sunday morning from the Oakland Athletics saying they planned to make him a catcher again once he's healthy.

So he stayed put. The catcher-turned-designated hitter was all set to make the 90-minute drive to Sacramento for a rehab assignment with the Triple-A club when the plan suddenly changed - with Piazza receiving no warning whatsoever the switch was in the works.

"That was a little strange," Piazza, out since May 3 with a right shoulder injury, said Monday. "This game is unpredictable at times. I never thought this would be the case, especially at this point in my career, but I learned to go with the flow. Whatever they want me to do. ... I was just as surprised as anybody."

Clinton Portis Update

RB Clinton Portis (shoulder and knee) again took part in a few drills but said he'll be fine for training camp. "My shoulder feels good; my knee's a little sore," he said.


Vilma playing risky hand - LB frequents Big Apple poker parlors

Echoing the hard-line stance of new NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, Eric Mangini has lectured the Jets on the importance of staying on the right side of the law. The coach is trying to build a team of wholesome players, and one player near the top of his list is Jonathan Vilma.

Except for one slip of the tongue - he compared illegal dogfighting to horse racing last week in a radio interview - Vilma has forged a solid reputation on and off the field. The talented linebacker is the latest to shoot a soup commercial with his mother, and what could be more anti-Pacman than that?

"We have a bunch of kids looking up to us," Vilma says. "I remember when I was a kid, looking up to Jerry Rice."

MLB Notes: Piazza nearing return to A's

Mike Piazza has no plans of interfering with Oakland's winning ways of late when he gets back in the lineup.
''It seems like we're playing well,'' Piazza said Saturday. ''I want to slide back on the bus.''

And the Athletics will be happy to have him aboard.

Piazza is slated to begin a rehab assignment today with Triple-A Sacramento, the last big step for the 38-year-old designated hitter before he rejoins the A's after being sidelined since May 3 with a sprained right shoulder. He missed his 40th game Saturday night, when the A's played the middle game of their interleague series against St. Louis.

Piazza, playing in the American League and as a DH for the first time after 15 seasons as a catcher, is batting .280 with one home run and four RBIs in just 25 games so far in 2007.


Alex Cora and Boston Action Team High School Leaders Go to Bat for Inner City Youth

BOSTON, June 14 PRNewswire-USNewswire — Alex Cora of the Boston Red Sox teamed up with Volunteers of America and high school student leaders from the Boston Action Team youth volunteer corps today to highlight the need for meaningful summer volunteer activities for Boston youth. Cora joined several local high school students who are members of the Boston Action Team at Fenway High School to encourage inner city youth to get involved in their communities by volunteering in and around Boston during the summer. Volunteers of America's programs in Massachusetts support and empower the area's most vulnerable groups, including at-risk youth, adults and adolescents in recovery from substance abuse, and elders in need of affordable housing and mental health services.