Orien Harris Traded To Rams

The St. Louis Rams traded former Rutgers fullback Brian Leonard to the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday, according to a Cincinnati Enquirer report for defensive tackle Orien Harris.

The Bengals sent defensive tackle Orien Harris to the Rams, his sixth NFL team. Harris played in 14 games last season and recorded 24 tackles.


New Orleans Saints position series: Outside linebackers

Perhaps Morgan will turn out to be a surprise upgrade. In his prime, he was one of the league's best young playmakers. He was a tackling machine as a middle linebacker for the Carolina Panthers. But a series of concussions and various injuries forced him into early "retirement" last year. That time away did him good, apparently, and he's been "100 percent" healthy "doing very well" in the Saints' offseason program, according to Coach Sean Payton. ... Believe it or not, he's still only 30 years old, so he may indeed have something left to offer.


Duane Starks To Retire in Style

NFL player Duane Starks has planned an extravagant weekend to celebrate his retirement from the National Football League. The Miami born athlete has commissioned friends actors Jamie Foxx, Morris Chestnut, Allen Payne, Meagan Good, NFL colleagues Warren Sapp, Dante Culpepper, Edgerrin James; Agent Drew Rosenhaus and a host of other athletes, celebrities and entertainers to help him go out in high-class Miami style. With an elite guest list, the Duane Starks NFL Retirement & Charitable Weekend, Friday, May 15th – 17th, has already created a massive buzz.

The star-studded weekend will include a Welcome Party, Celebrity Roast, and Beach Bash. All of the proceeds raised during the weekend will help to fund the Starks Charitable Foundation, a non-profit organization designed to ignite hope and opportunity to economically challenged youth and families; and research for Hyperglycemia.



Friday, May 15th
Welcome Party
The Bentley Hotel
101 Ocean Drive Miami Beach
Hosted by TBA
Music by DJ Free Style Steve

Saturday, May 16th
Youth Fun Day
Gibson Park, 401 NW 12th Ave Miami, Fl
*A free event for the children of Overtown.
Food, fun, games, celebrity appearances
and entertainment.

Saturday, May 16th
Retirement Reception & Celebrity Roast
Karu & Y, 71 NW 14th Street Miami, Fl
Hosted by Actor/Comedian Katt Williams
*Invitation only event
*After party immediately following
(Open to public)
Sunday, May 17th
Beach, Ballers & Bikini Bash
Presented by G3 Jewelry
Royal Palm Hotel, 1545 Collins Avenue
* Pool party, jet skis and music by DJ Free
Style Steve (Timbaland’s Official DJ)

Duane L. Starks, a native Floridian, started his football career with a local Miami optimist football team at the early age of 8.

Throughout his formative years he continued to excel at the game of football. By the time he entered high school at Miami Beach Senior High, he held the quarterback position. To become a professional and recognizing the importance of education, Duane knew that college would be the next level. Little did he know the challenge he would be facing consisted of financial and educational difficulties. As a result, Duane was forced to attend an out-of-state junior college (Holmes Community College of Mississippi), later to return to Miami, only to find that some of the courses taken were not accredited for the University of his choice (University of Miami).

Duane's only recourse now, was to attend the local Miami-Dade Community College, where he successfully earned the proper credits to attend the University of Miami; ultimately becoming an outstanding defensive football player which has led to his professional career as NFL's Super Bowl XXXV Cornerback for the Baltimore Ravens.
Later Duane signed with the Arizona Cardinals which in 2005 landed him a starting position with the New England Patriots, Super Bowl XXXIX Champions. Continuing in his career, March 2006, Duane signed with the Oakland Raiders landing him a starting position as cornerback there as well.

Personal Testimony
After experiencing his young daughter being airlifted to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), with the infant onset of hyper insulin, Duane Starks found yet another passion in the support of CHOP, who treated and nurtured his infant daughter to health.

Since its start in 1885, as the nation’s first hospital devoted exclusively to caring for children, CHOP has been the birthplace for many dramatic first in pediatric medicine. The hospital has fostered medical discoveries and innovations that have improved pediatric health care and save countless lives. Today, CHOP is one of the leading pediatric hospitals and research facilities in the world. In addition to the Starks Charitable Foundation, a portion of the funds raised during the MIH Weekend will be donated to continue research of Hyperglycemia.


Roscoe Reports To Bills

Roscoe Parrish who was the subject of trade talks, is back in Buffalo and has re-joined the team for workouts.

(rosenhaussports twitter)

Tampa Bay Rays' Pat Burrell continues to struggle

NEW YORK — Pat Burrell hasn't done much with the Rays with just five extra-base hits in his first 27 games and a lower slugging percentage, .308, than middle infielders Jason Bartlett and Akinori Iwamura and 19 NL pitchers.

Manager Joe Maddon is still confident Burrell will swing the big bat the Rays expected when they signed him to a two-year $16 million contract and met with the DH before Thursday's game to share some thoughts about what he has seen.

"One thing about Pat, he doesn't push the panic button," Maddon said. "I still think he's adjusting on several different levels. But you talk to him every day, he's the same guy. He goes about his business the same way. He's got a strong belief system. He's been through the baseball wars in Philadelphia. He'll be fine."

Burrell, who averaged 31 homers and 99 RBIs over the previous four seasons, was hitting .231 with one homer and 12 RBIs — with 16 of his 21 hits being singles — before getting two singles Thursday.

Maddon said Burrell is still getting used to the DH role, and hitting coach Steve Henderson said he is also adjusting to the AL pitchers. Maddon said Burrell won't say so publicly but he is still bothered by the stiff neck that forced him out of the lineup last week.

"I just talked to him about certain observations I made during spring training and just what I'm seeing right now," Maddon said. "We spoke about that, and we'll see what happens."

Burrell was doing extensive work in the batting cage and watching video before the game and wasn't available.


Olsen & Russell Maryland to Hold Fundraiser

Former Whitney Young star Russell Maryland is teaming together with Bears tight end Greg Olsen to support a scholarship fundraiser for their school--the University of Miami.

Maryland will be honored at a dinner May 28 at the Metropolitan Club at Sears Tower in the 11th annual Chicago Scholarship Classic. Olsen is scheduled to appear along with Miami head coach Randy Shannon, other members of his staff and Pro Football Hall of Fame member Ted Hendricks. The event will be emceed by Bryan Dolgin of WMVP AM-1000. He is a 1997 graduate of the school. A golf outing will follow May 29 at Oakbrook Country Club in Oak Brook at 1 p.m.

For more information and tickets visit www.chicago-canes.org.


Saints GM says team considering RB James

The New Orleans Saints have held internal discussions about pursuing free-agent RB Edgerrin James, but they most likely will wait until after this weekend’s minicamp before re-visiting those conversations, general manager Mickey Loomis told NFL.com.

“There’s been talk about Edgerrin James, and we’ve spent some time evaluating that prospect,” Loomis said. “We’ll continue to do that. We haven’t made any decision or closed any doors on acquiring another running back if we feel that’s something we need to do. We do feel a lot better about what we have in-house than people do outside of our building.”

Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush are the top returning running backs for the Saints, who released Deuce McAllister after last season. New Orleans considered drafting a running back last month but used its four selections on three defenders and punter Thomas Morstead.

James, who has 12,121 career rushing yards, was cut by the Arizona Cardinals last week. His agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said James plans to continue playing and that teams were interested in the 10-year NFL veteran.

James was demoted for nine games last season before being re-inserted as the starter for the playoffs, where he played well as the Cardinals made a run to the Super Bowl. James, who had a career-low 10 carries per game and 514 yards in 2008, requested to be released or traded by the Cardinals at various points of last season.


Ravens RB Willis McGahee Went Under The Knife Again

Running back Willis McGahee could be limited in mini-camp as he recently had a procedure to clean out his knee. The Sun's Jamison Hensley doesn't specify which knee, but it's likely the same one that has given McGahee trouble since tearing it up in college. Given his history of knee and conditioning issues, the clean-up is another strike against McGahee.


2008 rookies who need to deliver in 2009 season

1. Calais Campbell, DE, Arizona A second-round pick in 2008, Campbell gets his chance to crack the starting lineup of the defending NFC champions this season, as a replacement for departed free-agent defensive end Antonio Smith (who signed with Houston). Campbell had 28 tackles but no sacks in 16 games last season, seeing time at defensive tackle and end, in addition to covering kicks on special teams. The 6-foot-8, 282-pound Campbell needs to rediscover the pass rush skills that made him the 50th overall choice in last year's draft.


Rosenhaus Twitters ABout Beason's Status

I worked out with Jon Beason this week. His shoulder which was operated on earlier this offseason looks great. He looks to be nearly 100%.

(rosenhaussports twitter)

On the bubble

Say what you want about the wisdom of the Rams drafting QB Keith Null in the sixth round, he threw the ball well in minicamp and could be a good fit as the third QB in the Rams new West Coast offense. That would make Berlin expendable.


Numbers game

Titans cornerback Tanard Davis has been assigned uniform No. 32, becoming the first Titan to wear the number since Pacman Jones.


Bears consider Greg Olsen a starter

Bears coach Lovie Smith says he considers Greg Olsen a starter, even if Olsen is "behind" Desmond Clark on the depth chart

"Who starts doesn't really matter," Lovie said. "Both guys (play). It's like you have a third receiver who is a starter. Greg is one of the guys." Olsen played 76.7% of Chicago's offensive snaps last season, to Clark's 78.2. The TE10 in fantasy last year, we expect Olsen to finish top eight in 2009.


Sanchez Goes Down

Triple A first baseman Gaby Sanchez, who is expected to miss at least four to six weeks after injuring his right knee in a collision at home plate Tuesday. Sanchez attended the game on crutches.

Sanchez was off to a hot start for New Orleans, hitting .345 with four home runs and 16 RBI.


Chiefs looking at Edge

Edgerrin James played last season for Todd Haley while they both were in Arizona, but a reunion could be coming in Kansas City. ESPN is reporting that the Chiefs are looking at the possibility of adding James to their mix now that he's been released by the Cardinals.

The team was openly flirting with the option of cutting Larry Johnsnon few months back, and this could possibly give them a replacement if that's still the plan. Still, moving from LJ to Edge would be a downgrade for the offense, so I think Haley will consider this cautiously before moving ahead. I could also see James being added to pair with LJ, which would likely signal the end of Kolby Smith's run in KC.


Hester to host youth football camp at local high school

LAKE FOREST, Ill. – Bears wide receiver Devin Hester will host a football camp for boys and girls ages 7-14 July 11-12 at Niles West High School in Skokie.

The Old Spice Devin Hester Football Camp presented by Fifth Third Bank will run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. each day. The superstar return specialist will be on hand to direct the activities of the camp and provide instruction.

“It’s a great honor to work with the kids,” Hester said Tuesday at Halas Hall. “When kids get to work with a football player or anybody else in sports, all of their eyes light up and they pay attention to whatever you say.”

The camp will focus on teaching fundamentals and the team concept. Individual groups will be small to assure that each camper receives personalized instruction.

All campers will receive an autographed team photo, a T-shirt and the chance to win contests and prizes. The cost of the camp is $199. For more information, log onto www.devinhestercamp.com or call (513) 793-CAMP.

Gore family celebrates Patriarch's 100th birthday

Troy Gore, the great-grandfather to former Miami Hurricane and current San Francisco 49ers running back Frank Gore as well as Miami Columbus High School blue-chip recruit Jakhari Gore, celebrated his 100th birthday Sunday during services in Coconut Grove.

Troy Gore, who raised four generations of Gores in the Grove after moving to South Florida from South Carolina in 1950, spent a career as a mason and landscaper.

Gore did not play sports as a younger man. But he has had a front-row seat to civil rights progress that allowed his sons to play on the same fields as kids of other races.

He was discharged from the Army because of a knee injury -- an ailment that is his only infirmity today after his first century on the planet.

''He is in excellent health,'' said Sabrina Gore, mother of Jakhari. ``His memory is still great, he was looking around [Sunday during the services] because Frank was late and he was wondering where he was.''

After the service, the Gore family and friends adjourned to nearby Carver Middle School for a private party.


Braun still sore

Ryan Braun missed the last two games of the Diamondbacks series with what the team called "tightness" in his ribcage area. Braun said that the discomfort is related to the intercostal injury that hindered him late last season, and again in the Spring during the World Baseball Classic.

"I'm either able to play or unable to play, and I'm unable to play," Braun said before Sunday's game. "I really don't get overly concerned about it because it does me no good to focus on negativity. Obviously, I don't want to be hurt, obviously I want to be in there every day. I'll come in and get my treatment done and hopefully it gets better."

On Sunday, the Brewers gave fans a bobblehead commemorating Braun's game-winning home run against the Cubs last season that clinched a post-season berth.

"Trust me," Braun said. "I want to be out there."

Braun appeared as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning of Monday's game at Pittsburgh and delievered a two-run double to tie the game at 3-3.

Braun had an MRI on Monday which revealed no structural damage. Braun stayed in the field after his at-bat so the signs are there for him returning to the starting lineup on Tuesday.


Lance Leggett Turning Heads in Mini Camp?

Lance Leggett has attracted some notice. The 6-3 receiver was on the practice squad last season, so it's natural that he'd seem more comfortable in this setting. But he is the kind of guy who could get a chance from the new coaches.

Coach Pluto noted that Leggett, who showed some promise back in the preseason, has looked good. Leggett was one of the few non-rookies to participate at mini-camp.


Beason brings true grit to 'D'

No matter what changes about the Carolina Panther defense in 2009, one thing will stay the same: Pro Bowl linebacker Jon Beason will provide a shoulder to lean on whenever it gets tough.

And because Beason is so essential, it's good to see he has two functioning shoulders again.

Beason didn't reveal until the offseason that he played the final half of 2008 basically with one good shoulder – his left. His right shoulder required surgery in February, which he postponed until after the Pro Bowl so he could play in that, too.

Why did he play all those games hurt?

“If you can keep playing, you should,” Beason said Friday. “At the time, season was going great.

“I have people out here who depend on me. And I know there are players out here who would play hurt for me, too.”

It's not quite Tiger Woods winning the U.S. Open on one leg in 2008, but it's not bad. Even playing hurt, Beason led Carolina in tackles, made his first Pro Bowl and had a team-high four interceptions (including the playoff game). The 24-year-old has also become the defense's most important leader.

Beason hurt his right shoulder Oct.26 – dislocating it and tearing the labrum while tackling Arizona receiver Anquan Boldin. “It was just one of those things,” Beason said. “Popped out. Dislocated. I just popped it back in and kept rolling.”

Beason would make an interception in the fourth quarter of that game that keyed Carolina's 27-23 win, but it wasn't that simple the rest of the season. If Beason had to make a shoulder-only tackle, he was in trouble.

On his blog at jonbeason.com, the player nicknamed “The Beast” would later write: “When I tackled someone, it was almost like throwing a pillow at them. I had no grip in that arm, no way to stop someone.”

Still, Beason played. It's not surprising. He has the kind of heart and competitive streak the Panthers would love to clone.

Beason could probably play a game today if he had to, but he wasn't practicing at full speed Friday during Panthers' minicamp. He went through some drills but is obviously going to be careful until training camp. He has already learned enough about new defensive coordinator Ron Meeks, though, to know that he likes him.

“A fiery guy,” Beason said. “He wants guys who are reckless, flying around, competing every play. If you're not that type of guy, you're not going to play on his defense. So people got the message real soon.”

Beason said he also liked what the Panthers did in the draft – selecting defensive players with their first three picks – and that he would try to ignore one factor about new defensive end Everette Brown.

Said Beason of Brown: “Good player, good person, works hard – he's just from Florida State.”

A Miami Hurricane to the bone, Beason said he will try to shoulder his way past that fact.

It should be a little easier now.


Bears coach Lovie Smith still wants Devin Hester returning punts

It seems reasonable for Devin Hester to get less work on special teams as he continues to evolve into a No. 1 receiver. Of the 32 receivers with 60-plus catches last season, only four -- Wes Welker ( Patriots), Steve Breaston (Cardinals), Eddie Royal (Broncos) and DeSean Jackson ( Eagles) -- doubled as the primary punt returners.

But even with a couple of capable rookies at the Bears' disposal, coach Lovie Smith has no plans to give Hester a break from punt-return duties.

"No way," he said. "Devin has the chance to score every time. If one of those [rookies] is a better returner than Devin, then we will put them back there.

"Devin can be a full-time receiver and handle one other return. And we're very comfortable with him doing that."

Regardless, don't count out Juaquin Iglesias, Johnny Knox and D.J. Moore contributing on special teams. All three saw action in the return game during rookie mini-camp, which concluded Sunday.

"D.J. Moore is probably the most polished [punt returner] right now," special teams coordinator Dave Toub said. "Johnny Knox's got potential. Obviously, the speed is there. He just has to catch more punts. It takes a lot of work. And then Juaquin, he's really a kick returner. He's really a good kick returner, when you go back and watch his college tape."

Maybe the plan is to give kick returner Danieal Manning more rest so he can settle into his role on defense -- nickel back or free safety.

Did Brad Childress Just Put Bryant McKinnie on Notice?

It’s just a little, seemingly innocent sentence buried in the middle of a Star-Tribune article about Phil Loadholt and the (quite literally) big impression he made on the first day of rookie minicamp.  Or, maybe it isn’t so innocent:

While he was impressed by Loadholt’s first workout, [Brad] Childress stopped well short of handing the big fella the starting right tackle spot ahead of incumbent Ryan Cook. “I see it as a good competition out there,” Childress said.
Childress also said he envisions Loadholt having the flexibility of being able to play both tackle positions.

Elsewhere in the same article, there is a reference to Chilly informing Bryant McKinnie that Loadholt has now officially supplanted him as the largest man on the Vikings’ roster.  Given that remark about Loadholt’s flexibility, I have to ask:  will there be another meeting in the near future where Childress informs McKinnie that he has been replaced as the team’s starting left tackle?  Something to watch for, maybe.


Moss looking forward to entering a new age

Santana Moss' game is all about speed and quickness. So Redskins receivers coach Stan Hixon groaned at the mention that his ace player is about to turn 30. That might be an age for bruising blockers and prolific punters - not Washington's favorite gnat.

"We always wonder [about increasing age] because you don't last forever, but last season Santana was our best receiver going," Hixon said. "He had more catches and more touchdowns [than in 2007]. He's still got it. I don't see him slowing down."

Neither does Moss, who isn't shying away from the impending milestone. If anything, he's embracing it, saying his 30th birthday party in June will be even bigger than his publicly celebrated 29th. And it was Moss, not some young guy threatening his status as king of Washington's wideouts, who brought up the subject of his advancing age.

"I'm getting older, and I need something to challenge me," Moss said. "You start getting up in age, and you want something different. Every year you do the same thing, and it kinda gets like 'Groundhog Day.' Is there anything else I can do?"

That search for a challenge is in part why Moss stayed home in South Florida and away from Redskin Park until this weekend's mandatory minicamp. Moss always has preferred to work out in the sunshine rather than deal with the D.C. area's inconsistent spring. And he has also become enamored of unconventional preparation for the grind that is an NFL season.

The only other players who had been totally absent until minicamp were fullback Mike Sellers, middle linebacker London Fletcher and safety LaRon Landry. But even though Moss isn't working this weekend because of shin splints, coach Jim Zorn isn't unhappy with him - after all, Moss got hurt training.

Just not in the weight room or on the track. The former college sprinter suffered shin splints while running on asphalt as part of his new martial arts routine.

"It gets you in tremendous shape," Moss said of the kick boxing-centered program he began last offseason after fighting sore hamstrings in 2007. "Last year, I did nothing for a couple of months and let the body rest. Then I built the body back up. It worked last year, so I wanted to do it again. I didn't do anything until late March. I ate and drank and had a good time.

"Then I was on the weights for a while until I had to do something different. I hate the running and lifting all the time. I want something to give me a challenge."

Moss certainly responded early last season to the challenges of proving he could stay healthy and flourish in Zorn's West Coast passing attack. Moss had 27 catches, 421 yards and three touchdowns as the Redskins started 3-1. But other than an explosion (nine catches, 140 yards and a touchdown) against winless Detroit, Moss caught just 43 passes for 483 yards and two touchdowns in Washington's final 11 games - seven of which were losses.

"Nothing changed," Moss said. "We were in a new offense, and defenses needed time to adjust. When they did, they did what they always do: Take away No. 89."

For that to stop being so simple, someone - second-year receiver Devin Thomas being the prime candidate - has to provide quarterback Jason Campbell with another downfield threat.

But the season is still four months away. For now, Moss, whose 70-catch average during his four seasons with the Redskins are a record for a franchise that has employed Hall of Fame receivers Wayne Millner, Bobby Mitchell, Charley Taylor and Art Monk, is looking to June 1.

"I'll probably be on the field next week [for the start of organized team activities], but if not, for sure in June," he said. "I'll be 30, but plenty of guys have played well at that age.
I'm good. Don't worry about me."


Portis Finds a Reason to Cancel Minicamp

Running Clinton Portis, who often expresses his disdain for minicamp, training camp and preseason games, was not happy about being on the field in the rain, especially given the threat of swine flu.

"With the swine flu going around, this water could have some swine flu in it, then all of us gonna be dead," Portis said during a group interview session with reporters on the field as it rained. "You should cancel minicamp, especially in bad weather. Right now in Mexico, they canceled all sporting events. They need to do that in the U.S. ... This is a scary, dangerous situation."

The Redskins invested heavily on defense in the offseason, luring two-time all-pro tackle Albert Haynesworth from the Tennessee Titans, re-signing cornerback DeAngelo Hall and concentrating on defense in the draft. Washington brought back veteran guard Derrick Dockery, whom the Buffalo Bills released, in an attempt to bolster their offensive line.

"We've got to find a diamond, or two, in the rough with all the guys we have out here," Portis said of the offensive linemen trying out during minicamp. "I'm not the GM, I'm not the owner, I'm not the head coach. I talk to 'em, but my opinion ... you voice your opinion."


Backstage At The Drake show At NIU w/Jarrett Payton

McIntosh Returns

Rocky McIntosh, who was excused from the first day of minicamp in order to attend a funeral, was back on the field and working out with the linebackers.