Mike – NFL

Chris Henry “Battling for his Life”

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chris Henry is in serious condition at a Charlotte, N.C.-area hospital after what police are calling a domestic dispute with his fiancée. Henry reportedly suffered serious head injuries after falling out of the bed of a moving pick-up.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said an argument began at the home of Henry’s fiancée, about eight miles north of downtown Charlotte. The fiancée drove away in a pick-up, and Henry chased after her. When he caught up, police said he jumped into the bed of the moving vehicle.

“The domestic situation continued between the operator and Mr. Henry,” the police said in a statement. “At some point while she was driving, Mr. Henry came out of the back of the vehicle.”

Henry was found on the road with “life-threatening injuries,” police said.

Henry was not with the Bengals after his season ended when the team placed him on the injured reserve. The receiver broke his left forearm in Cincinnati’s Nov. 8 win against Baltimore.

The embattled receiver is in the final year of his two-year contract with the Bengals that was a second chance of sorts. Cincinnati released Henry after the  2007 season following his fifth arrest. This came after the Bengals were the only team to take a chance on Henry after a shady collegiate record that culminated with then-West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez calling him an embarrassment to himself and the program.

He has been able to stay out of trouble during his latest run in Cincinnati, and he gives much of the credit to his fiancée, who is raising the couples’ three kids.

Now, Henry’s agent Andy Simms said the wide receiver is “battling for his life.”

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Trouble 

What would another week in the NFL be without a quick check of the police logs? Before tomorrow’s games get underway we have a couple players in trouble with the law, a story about a guy who is known for being in deep (dog) sh**, and one man who has effectively been put on probation by his coach.

Speedy Bernard
With all the emerging talent on the Minnesota Vikings, especially at wide receiver, Bernard Berrian is trying to stay relevant and prove he is still fast. Berrian was ticketed Monday for driving more than 100 miles per hour. Driving on I-694 in Oakdale, Minn., Berrian was gunned at 104 in a 60-mph zone. This traffic stop came just two days after Vikings’ star running back Adrian Peterson was pulled over and ticketed for driving 109 mph in a 55. Berrian has seen his numbers slip with Brett Favre at the controls for Minnesota. Last season’s leading receiver is currently third on the team in receiving yards, behind budding young stars Sidney Rice and Percy Harvin. Berrian is being targeted much less, and is not getting the call for deep routes this season. The funny part is, the one-time speedster (Berrian had a 99-yard reception last season) is slower than Peterson off the field, too.

Suggs Restrained
The Associated Press is reporting a woman has taken out a restraining order Friday against Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs. The Ravens brass said they are “aware of the situation” and “discussed the matter.” Hard to say how big of a problem this is since Suggs is injured, thus a suspension is rendered useless. However, since there has been no arrest, it is probably not going to be big deal. The interesting part, though, is the details of the restraining order, “The order dictates that Suggs cannot abuse, contact or enter the residence of the woman, pending a court hearing on Dec. 11.” Hold on, cannot abuse? Is that a special restraining order for professional athletes? Or just extremely large men?

Vick Back to Atlanta
It’s a huge sports weekend at the Georgia Dome. Right now Alabama is moments away from kncking Florida from its undeserved perch atop the college football mountain. Tomorrow, one of the most anticipated stories of the NFL will unfold on the carpet of the Georgia Dome. Michael Vick and the Philadelphia Eagles come into the Dome to take on the undermanned Atlanta Falcons. It is Vick’s first trip back to the place he made so many defenders miss since his well-documented legal battles.

ESPN The Magazine has tagged this as the No. 13 sports story of the year. We won’t get into how they can decide the list before the year is over, instead we will just enjoy the accompanying story that gives Vick the floor.

I’m looking forward to going back to the Georgia Dome. I may not do much. I may not even play in the game. But just having the opportunity to be there and maybe have a chance to talk to the Falcons owner, Mr. Blank, before the game — that would be a great thing for me. I spent many a Sunday making that crowd go wild, and I appreciate all those fans. They were great. Man, I miss them days. But now it’s time for the second half of my career. I was a dynamic player before I left the game, and I will be again. Every day I’m making progress. It might be baby steps, but I’m getting there. I feel like that old swagger is coming back, and I’m finally starting to feel like myself again.
                                                                                               -Michael Vick

Check out the full article that is almost entirely in Vick’s words.

Giants Fall
A couple of long-time starters on the New York Giants defensive line might find themselves watching the Cowboys’ first drive from the sideline. Defensive end Osi Umenyiora and tackle Fred Robbins were demoted earlier this week to the second unit at practice. New York Head Coach Tom Coughlin did not comment on personnel issues, but a major shakeup is not out of the question for the struggling Giants. Heading into the season, New York’s imposing front line was supposed to lead it back to championship form. Instead, the Giants rank 19th in sacks and only Justin Tuck and Mathias Kiwanuka rank in the top-50 in tackles by defensive linemen.

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Medical Roundup 

The New York Jets and Buffalo Bills get Week 13 started tonight in Toronto, but who is going to be on the field this weekend as the NFL’s stretch run hits full steam? Here’s a rundown of the latest injury news around the league.

New York Jets vs. Buffalo Bills
Terrence McGee, CB (Buf)-
 Still a game-time decision, McGee is yet to fully practice this. McGee is still battling a sore knee after minor surgery and has not seen the field since the Bills’ Week 9 bye.
Ashton Youboty, CB (Buf)- A high ankle sprain is keeping Youboty out of practice for the third-straight week. Reports said he was doing individual work on the side which could point to a return next week. 

Philadelphia Eagles vs. Atlanta Falcons
Desean Jackson, WR (Phi)-
The Eagles are not going to rush their dynamic playmaker back after what happened to Brian Westbrook with the same injury. Jackson is officially listed as questionable, but reports say it is doubtful he will see any action.
Kevin Curtis, WR (Phi)- Philadelphia will be without Curtis again as he is still recovering from knee surgery. Curtis has not played since Week 2.
Brian Westbrook, RB (Phi)- Westbrook will have to sit out at least another week. The running back already tried one comeback, only to suffer a second concussion Week 10 against San Diego. 

Matt Ryan, QB (Atl)- Already ruled out of this week’s game, Ryan is going to work to return the following week from a bout with turf toe.
Michael Turner, RB (Atl)- Not looking good for Ryan’s backfield partner. An ankle sprain suffered in last week’s win kept Turner out of practice yesterday.
Atlanta wide receiving corps- Chris Redman may not have anybody to hand it off to or throw to. Roddy White, and Brian Finneran were both limited in practice today, and Michael Jenkins did not participate at all. White is expected to play. 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Carolina Panthers
Michael Clayton , WR (TB)-
After leaving the game on th Bucs’ first offensive play last week with a knee injury, it appears Clayton will be sidelined at least this week and probably Week 14 as well.
Aqib Talib, CB (TB)- Also forced to leave last week’s game was Talib with a hamstring injury. The corner was limited in practice Wednesday. 

Jake Delhomme, QB (Car)- A broken finger on a quarterback is never a good thing. A broken finger on a quarterback with the season Delhomme has had will almost certainly send him to the bench.
DeAngelo Williams, RB (Car)- An ankle injury suffered last week kept Williams out of practice Wednesday. Chances are he will play at less than 100 percent (see above and below).
Jonathan Stewart, RB (Car)- Thought to be the league’s best running back tandem, Williams and Stewart may both miss Sunday’s game. Stewart sat out Wednesday with a sore Achilles’ tendon. 

St. Louis Rams vs. Chicago Bears
Marc Bulger, QB (StL)-
A small fracture in Bulger’s shinbone will keep him out of this one, the fourth game he will miss this season.
Steven Jackson, RB (StL)- For the second-straight week Jackson is being forced to sit out practice due to back spasms. For the second-straight week, however, it appears he will get the start come Sunday. 

Orlando Pace, OL (Chi)- A strained groin kept Pace out of practice Wednesday, but sources say he will participate today.
Charles Tillman, CB (Chi)- Perhaps an overly-cautious reaction to commissioner Roger Goodell’s sentiments, Tillman was held out of practice Wednesday with lingering effects from a concussion. Sounds like he will give it a go today. 

Detroit Lions vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Matthew Stafford, QB (Det)-
The new quarterback of the future in Detroit will put himself in harm’s way again this week. Stafford participated fully in practice Wednesday. Who will he throw to, though?
Calvin Johnson, WR (Det)- Lucky for Stafford, Johnson also went through Wednesday’s entire practice. 

Tennessee Titans vs. Indianapolis Colts
Michael Griffin, S (Ten)-
Not good news for an already weak pass defense, especially when Peyton is on the schedule, Griffin sat out practice Wednesday with a shoulder injury. 

Dwight Freeney, DE (Ind)- After being a no-go in Wednesday’s practice, it appears an abdominal injury will keep Freeney out for the second-straight week. 

Also of note, neither team’s kicker was able to practice. 

Denver Broncos vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Eddie Royal, WR (Den)-
Looks like a one-week hiatus was enough for Royal’s thigh to heal, now we’ll see if it was enough time for him to figure out how to score.
Brian Dawkins, S (Den)- After a masterful game against the Giants while playing with a neck injury, Dawkins is the only Bronco not practicing because of an ankle injury. The 14-year vet is unlikely to let that keep him off the field. 

Kolby Smith, RB (KC)- Any running back with 15 carries by Week 13 is typically not going to show up in the injury report, but Smith’s ankle leaves the Chiefs with one viable running back. If Jamaal Charles goes down too, Todd Haley might be calling Cincinnati to see if Larry Johnson is available. 

  New England Patriots vs. Miami Dolphins
Fred Taylor, RB (NE)-
Despite a laundry list of guys “limited in practice” this week, it looks like Taylor will be the only one out in Miami. The veteran running back has missed seven games after ankle surgery. 

Jake Grove, C (Mia)- The Dolphins may be without Grove, the starting center, for the second-straight week. Grove is hobbled by a sprained left ankle. Obviously a big loss for a run-oriented team. 

Oakland Raiders vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Greg Ellis, DE (Oak)-
It looks like Ellis may have returned too soon as he reinjured his surgically-repaired knee in the Raiders’ Thanksgiving game. He is listed as questionable, but bringing him back too early twice would be risky (dumb). Then again, we are talking about Tom Cable. 

Ben Roethlisberger, QB (Pit)- Even though Dennis Dixon filled in amicably last week, Roethlisberger insists he has not felt any lingering effects from the concussion during practices this week. Looks like he’s back. 

New Orleans Saints vs. Washington Redskins
Hard to get a read on the Saints as they took Wednesday off, but there are all kinds of guys banged up. Pierre Thomas, Jeremy Shockey and Mike Bell are all listed as probable. Reggie Bush, Jabari Green, and Lance Moore are questionable for Sunday. 

Clinton Portis, RB (Was)- Thanks to the new rules regarding concussions, Portis is not allowed on the practice field because he has not received clearance from a specialist. Team doctors gave Portis the go-ahead.
Albert Haynesworth, DT (Was)- The Redskins expect Haynesworth to return from an ankle injury that kept him out of the last two games. He is practicing fully this week. 

Houston Texans vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Steve Slaton, RB (Hou)-
The only player in question for the Texans is Slaton. He did practice through his neck injury Wednesday, so it appears he will be ready Sunday. 

San Diego Chargers vs. Cleveland Browns
Shawne Merriman, LB (SD)-
Battling foot tendonitis, Merriman is officially listed as questionable, but the Chargers added a line backer to the active roster and have voiced concern that Merriman will not continue his string of practices. 

  Jamal Lewis and Brodney Pool were both placed on the IR by the Browns, ending their seasons, and for Lewis his career. 

  Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Giants
Ahmad Bradshaw, RB (NYG)-
The Giants’ doctors are yet to clear Bradshaw with his sprained ankle and fractured foot. He did take part in some sprints on the side Wednesday, and team officials say if he gets clearance by Sunday don’t count him out. 

  San Francisco 49ers vs. Seattle Seahawks
Takeo Spikes, LB (SF)-
A pulled hamstring did not keep Spikes out against the Jaguars last week, but it could keep him on the sideline in Seattle. He did not practice Wednesday.
Michael Lewis, S (SF)- A quadriceps injury kept Lewis out of practice Wendesday, he is listed as probable. 

  Julius Jones, RB (Sea)- After sitting out the last two games, Jones is recovered enough from his bruised lung to practice this week. He will probably be available Sunday, but Justin Forsett appears to have earned the starting gig. 

Minnesota Vikings vs. Arizona Cardinals
Adrian Peterson, RB (Min)-
An ankle injury is not going to keep Peterson out of this week’s game. And at least we know he won’t be late to the game.
  

Kurt Warner, QB (Ari)- The Cardinals are being coy with Warner and his concussion situation. He split reps with Matt Leinart again. Head coach Ken Wisenhunt said Warner will be a game-time decision.
Karlos Dansby, LB (Ari)- The Cardinals line backer says his is going to play this weekend, despite two partially separated shoulders. He is officially questionable.
Cody Brown, LB (Ari) was placed on the IR.  

Baltimore Ravens vs. Green Bay Packers
Terrell Suggs, LB (Bal)-
A sprained ligament in Suggs’ left knee has kept him out of the last two games. Suggs did not appear at practice Thursday. 

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Mid-Week Storylines 

What has gone on between the Saints marching to 11-0 and now? Nothing really, but the games start again tonight, so there’s all sorts of storylines to catch up on. 

How did we forget the Titans?
The Titans are the talk of the league again. At first it was astonishment at an 0-6 start. Now, it is utter disbelief that Vince Young has resurrected the Titans, and Bud Adams is letting everyone know how he feels without saying a word. While Young has been extremely impressive and is not making mistakes, Chris Johnson is the one with the Titans on the brink of playoff contention. Johnson is, somehow, quietly putting together an MVP season that could very well end in the single-season NFL rushing record. He must average 141.8 yards per game during the last five to tie Eric Dickerson’s 25-year old record of 2,105 yards. Certainly not out of the question considering his recent six-game streak of having at least 125 yards. 

The lone Buccaneer
After a bismal start in Tampa Bay, the Buccaneers finally remembered they drafted a quarterback in the first round. In their defense, they probably forgot because they might have been the only team in the league with Josh Freeman pitted as a first-round pick. However, in his first career start, Freeman led the Bucs to their only win of the season thus far. He outdueled Aaron Rodgers in that one, tossing three touchdowns and just one interception. His numbers aren’t great as he is only completing 55.2 percent of his passes, but he has steadily improved with little around him. Freeman’s last game against the Falcons looked to be the second win of the season, until the defense allowed Chris Redman to take the Falcons down the field and win the game. Freeman was 20-of-29 for 250 yards and two touchdowns agains the Falcons. It was also his first start in which he did not throw an interception. It will be interesting to see if he continues to adapt and feel more comfortable in the pocket in a rivalry game against the Panthers. 

Can the Cowboys finally be Giant killers?
In Week 2 the Giants and Cowboys provided one of the season’s most memorable games. Eli Manning spoiled Jerry Jones’ housewarming party to the tune of 330 yards. New York hung 33 on the Cowboys in front of 105,121 people at new Cowboy Stadium. Since that game, the teams have gone opposite directions. The Cowboys look for real, winning six of their last seven games and taking over the lead in the NFC East. The Giants ran out to a 5-0 start, but have since dropped five out of six. Manning has fallen out of the MVP race during that stretch with eight touchdowns and eight interceptions. As the seasons begin to change, though, Giants Stadium becomes more of a home field advantage for the men in blue. A win for the Giants would mean staying alive in the race for the division crown, a win for the Cowboys would mean a respectable win and one more contender eliminated. 

Check back later for an injury report. 

Girardi brought in to help Sanchez’ sliding problems 

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — New York Jets coach Rex Ryan brought in New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi as a special guest instructor to teach rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez how to slide. 

After watching Sanchez struggle with some of his slides while avoiding pressure in recent games, Ryan called Yankees team president Randy Levine on Tuesday. He asked if the World Series champions could send someone over to the Jets facility to help their franchise quarterback. 

The Yankees ended up sending Girardi, who guided New York to its 27th World Series title last month against the Philadelphia Phillies. Sanchez, who has a sore left knee, worked on sliding on his right leg and went through 10 to 15 slides under Girardi’s supervision. 

Ryan said he needed to “bring in a champ” to help Sanchez. 

Giants place Pierce on IR 

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The slumping New York Giants placed linebacker Antonio Pierce on injured reserve Monday with a bulging disk in his neck, ending the season for one of their defensive leaders. 

Pierce has missed two games since being ruled out indefinitely after an MRI exam Nov. 20 revealed the bulging disk. The Giants (6-5) decided to put Pierce on IR after he received a second opinion from Dr. Robert Watkins, an orthopedic surgeon based in Los Angeles. 

The 31-year-old Pierce, in his ninth NFL season and fifth with the Giants, has 55 tackles, one sack and one forced fumble in nine games this season. 

New York, which has lost five of six since opening the season 5-0, hosts rival Dallas on Sunday and is also dealing with an injury to quarterback Eli Manning, who has a stress reaction in his right foot. 

Pierce played 15 games last season after appearing in all 16 games in each of the previous two seasons. He has led the Giants in tackles for the past three seasons and missed only four regular-season games since leaving the Washington Redskins to join the Giants. 

He spent much of the past year in the spotlight after helping former teammate Plaxico Burress when the wide receiver accidentally shot himself in the thigh in a New York nightclub. 

Pierce drove Burress to the hospital and then took the gun that Burress used back to his home in New Jersey, later arranging to get it back to the wounded receiver’s home. Pierce testified before a grand jury, which declined to indict him for his role in the incident. 

Death of mother of Saints Brees ruled suicide 

GRANBY, Colo. — The death of the mother of New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees has been ruled a suicide. 

Mina Brees, an attorney from Austin, Texas, died Aug. 7 while visiting Colorado. Grand County coroner Brenda Bock concluded this week that the 59-year-old Brees died of a prescription drug overdose and ruled the death a suicide. 

Bock said Brees died while staying at the home of a friend in Granby near Rocky Mountain National Park. 

It took longer than three months for autopsy results to be released, but Bock said that’s typical for cases involving toxicology tests. 

The Austin American Statesman reported that three days before Brees died, the Texas attorney general’s office subpoenaed her business records. 

She had allegedly sent letters to some restaurants in Austin and Houston stating that they had lost their rights to use their names to a company she represented, Chicksports, but they could win the rights back by paying up to $25,000. She was also the president of Chicksports but that wasn’t mentioned in the letter. 

Relations between Drew Brees and his mother were strained at times and the quarterback asked her to stop using his picture in TV commercials touting her candidacy for a Texas appeals court seat in 2006. 

Mina Brees said she had not anticipated upsetting her son and sent out replacement commercials omitting mention of him. 

At the time, Drew Brees called his relationship with his mother “nonexistent,” saying it crumbled six years earlier when he refused to hire her as his agent. 

Austin attorney Marty Akins, the brother of Mina Brees, declined comment late Friday. 

Bucs get off the mat against Rodgers, Packers 

TAMPA, Fla. — Wearing one of those ghastly creamsicle jerseys that are an ugly reminder of Tampa Bay’s past, rookie Josh Freeman gave the struggling Buccaneers plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the future. 

A late rally led the Bucs to their first victory of the season Sunday. Here’s a look at how Tampa Bay fared vs. Green Bay in the fourth quarter: 

The third quarterback selected in this year’s NFL draft led the previously winless Bucs to a 38-28 victory over the Green Bay Packers in his first start Sunday, ending the league’s longest losing streak at 11 games. 

Playing with poise that belied his inexperience, Freeman passed for 205 yards and three touchdowns, including a 7-yard throw to Sammie Stroughter on fourth-and-4 for the go-ahead TD with under 5 minutes to play. 

“I felt really relaxed,” said Freeman, the 17th pick in the draft and the third quarterback taken behind Matthew Stafford and Mark Sanchez. 

“I didn’t get too high or two low,” the 21-year-old said. “I can’t say I did anything spectacular. I just played within myself, and when we had opportunities I took them.” 

Freeman became the youngest quarterback to open a game for the Bucs, who have had 10 different players start at the position since winning the Super Bowl seven seasons ago. He’s the third this year. 

“That’s a great start to how we want to be, how we want to work, how we want to play,” said the 33-year-old Morris, who has known Freeman since the rookie was a freshman at Kansas State and Morris was the defensive coordinator there. 

“However you do it, it’s impressive. His age really doesn’t matter at this point. … He’s got to lead us to where we’ve got to go.” 

Freeman completed 14 of 31 passes with just one interception. A critical second pick by Green Bay’s A.J. Hawk was wiped out by an illegal contact penalty against Hawk during Tampa Bay’s go-ahead drive. 

Three plays later, Freeman threw 29 yards to Michael Clayton to set up his second TD pass of the day. 

“He kept his composure and made plays,” Packers linebacker Nick Barnett said. 

The Bucs (1-7) are the last team in the NFL to win this season, ending a skid that was the franchise’s longest since 1976-77 when they dropped an NFL-record 26 in a row wearing the uniforms the team donned against the Packers. 

Aaron Rodgers threw for 266 yards and two touchdowns for Green Bay (4-4). The league’s top-rated passer also threw three interceptions and had one returned for a TD that put the game out of reach in the final minute. 

Rodgers was also sacked six times, hiking Green Bay’s NFL-worst total to 37 in eight games.
“It’s pretty frustrating,” Rodgers said. “I think our offense and special teams put our defense in a tough position.” 

In addition to wearing retro uniforms, the Bucs made Hall of Famer Lee Roy Selmon the first inductee into the Ring of Honor at Raymond James Stadium. They trailed 21-17 during the halftime ceremony, but Freeman refused to let them lose. 

The rookie threw second-half TD passes to Kellen Winslow and Stroughter, a seventh-round draft pick who was wide open in the right corner of the end zone with 4:14 remaining in the fourth quarter. 

Freeman’s 2-point conversion pass to Clayton put the Bucs up 31-28. The defense, which had all of its sacks after halftime, ensured victory when Tanard Jackson picked off Rodgers and — instead of going to the ground with under a minute left — weaved 35 yards to a clinching TD.
Rodgers threw a 74-yard TD pass to James Jones on Green Bay’s second play from scrimmage, then led an 11-play, 69-yard march that Ryan Grant finished with a 3-yard run that made it 14-7 late in the opening quarter. 

Cornerback Elbert Mack, beaten badly on Jones’ long touchdown, returned one of Tampa Bay’s interceptions 36 yards to the Packers 8 to set up Freeman’s first pro TD pass, a 6-yarder to Derrick Ward. 

Trailing 14-7, Tampa Bay’s Geno Hayes blocked a punt that Ronde Barber scooped up and ran 31 yards for his 14th career touchdown. Freeman led a 74-yard field goal drive just before the half, trimming Tampa Bay’s deficit to 21-17. 

Rodgers looked like he might have put the game away when he scrambled 12 yards on third-and-goal to give Green Bay a 28-17 lead. 

But Clifton Smith returned the ensuing kickoff 83 yards to set up Freeman’s 7-yard TD pass to Winslow and spark the comeback. 

The loss was the second straight for Green Bay, which fell to Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings the week before. 

“It doesn’t feel good. This one definitely hurt,” coach Mike McCarthy said. “I’m disappointed in the way we played. We have some recurring problems that we have not cleaned up yet.” 

Manning pass 40,000 yard mark 

INDIANAPOLIS — Peyton Manning is the first NFL quarterback to pass for 40,000 yards in any decade. 

Manning

Manning

Manning needed 19 yards to reach the milestone. He did it on a 5-yard completion to Pierre Garcon in the first quarter of Sunday’s game against the Houston Texans. 

That could be the first of many accomplishments for Manning on Sunday. If the Colts win, Manning will tie Fran Tarkenton for fourth place on the career wins list for quarterbacks with 125. He also needs four touchdown passes to become the first in league history to throw for 300 in a decade. 

Among his accomplishments this season, Manning became the fastest quarterback to 4,000 completions and passed Tarkenton for third place on the career touchdowns list. 

Broncos sign former Patriot Law 

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -AP- Ty Law spent the first half of the season waiting for the right team to come calling. Now that it has, he doesn’t want to waste any more time getting back on the field. 

Law came out of what he called “semi-retirement” Saturday to join the Denver Broncos and counts on contributing Monday night when the Pittsburgh Steelers bring three wide receivers to Invesco Field who are averaging more than 14 yards per catch. 

“They’re trying to get me ready to play this week in a limited fashion,” Law said. “I did it last year.” 

The 15-year veteran joined the Jets at midseason in 2008 and played aplenty a few days later against New England. 

“I’m just going to kind of wing it and go out and do the best I can,” Law said. “But right now they’re just shoving a lot down my throat because the terminology is totally different.” 

The 35-year-old Law gives the Broncos five players in the defensive backfield who are older than 30. Law said it was comforting to join a seasoned secondary that features Champ Bailey, Andre’ Goodman, Renaldo Hill and Brian Dawkins. 

“It’s different between walking into a situation where you’ve got a bunch of young guys, a bunch of first- and second-year guys. This is perfect. I can take my time and learn the system because it’s already established and all I’m doing is trying to help,” Law said. 

The five-time Pro Bowl cornerback passed his physical and practiced with the Broncos on Saturday, trying to acclimate himself to the altitude. He signed a one-year, $800,000 deal with Denver that includes a $200,000 signing bonus, a league source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter. He could earn up to $400,000 in playing-time and performance incentives, the source said. 

Law, who gives the Broncos a defensive backfield that now sports a combined 20 Pro Bowl selections, also is familiar with Denver coach Josh McDaniels, who was an assistant with the Patriots during his time in New England. 

Law helped New England to three Super Bowl titles. He signed with the Jets in 2005 after being released by the Patriots, and had a career-high 10 interceptions and was voted to the Pro Bowl. He was released by the Jets after that season and followed coach Herm Edwards to Kansas City, where he played two years before being cut in the offseason. 

“He gives us some depth at corner. He played obviously a long time in this league. He knows how to play inside, outside and he’s in good shape and ready to go,” McDaniels said. “We feel like hopefully it will take us take a step forward.” 

To make room on the roster, the Broncos waived defensive back Jack Williams. Law’s signing also likely means reduced playing time in the nickel and dime packages for rookie Alphonso Smith. 

Two of the Broncos’ last three opposing quarterbacks — New England’s Tom Brady and Baltimore’s Joe Flacco targeted Denver’s third cornerback with great success. 

Law had been training in Florida and said he hadn’t counted on staying on the sideline much longer. 

“I trained to play. I wouldn’t be out there if I didn’t,” he said. “[I] had some closure in my career as far as what I’ve done and what I’ve accomplished. I’ve accomplished a lot of things. But I still had the itch.” 

Law said he spurned other teams’ offers this season and never expected the Broncos to call, but jumped at the chance when he heard from McDaniels. He said he later heard Indianapolis had some interest, too. 

But this seemed like the perfect fit. 

“First, I’m familiar with a lot of their guys here. They’re hungry. They’re winning and then, my familiarity with Josh McDaniels. I’ve won a few championships with him,” Law said. “Other than going back to New England, this would be the ideal situation for me. 

“There are a bunch of guys out there hungry to get a championship and that’s what I’m looking for, to try and capture another championship before I shut down for good.” 

Crabtree to make debut against Texans 

Michael Crabtree will make his NFL debut in his home state as planned. 

The San Francisco 49ers’ rookie wide receiver is set to take the field for the first time at Houston on Oct. 25 following the team’s bye week. 

“That’s my first game home, so I’m very excited about the opportunity to play at home,” Crabtree said Wednesday. 

Coach Mike Singletary said when Crabtree signed last week he expected Crabtree to be ready by next weekend, and the coach is pleased with the progress he’s made so far in practice. 

“Oh, he will play,” Singletary said. “Michael’s doing fine. He’s working his tail off. I think every day he gets out here and every rep that he takes, it makes him that much better. He’s been studying his tail off and it shows when he’s out here. He doesn’t have a whole lot of questions on the field. He’s running the right routes, he’s doing the right things. It’s just a matter of us taking every step with every second, every minute to get him up to speed and ready to go.” 

Offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye has said he plans to use Crabtree as a slot receiver on third downs against the Texans. Raye and Crabtree stood on the practice field talking football for several minutes Wednesday after others had gone inside to the locker room. 

Crabtree is proving a quick learner as Singletary had hoped. His first game will be merely 2 1/2 weeks after the 10th overall draft pick finally agreed to a six-year contract with $17 million guaranteed. He was the last draft pick to sign, having waited to try to get money comparable to higher picks. 

The 22-year-old Crabtree spent Sunday’s 45-10 home loss to Atlanta on the sideline watching and trying to get a feel for the speed at this level. 

“I wanted to be out there,” Crabtree said. “It’s hard to watch games from the sideline when you’re part of an organization. I was happy to be there and see how things go before I got on the field.” 

The 49ers (3-2) are integrating Crabtree into the mix with a small package of plays initially, and he will work out at team headquarters all week while his teammates get a break to go home. 

“It’s a process. I’ve got good teammates helping me do what I need to do to get my job done,” Crabtree said. “We’re working this thing. We’re football players. Everybody’s professional.” 

Backup quarterback Alex Smith, who lives in the area, will throw to Crabtree. Receivers coach Jerry Sullivan will supervise Crabtree’s sessions with help from Wendell Davis, a former teammate of Singletary with the Chicago Bears who has been brought in to aid Sullivan in getting Crabtree up to speed. 

“He’s going to be working. We really want hands-on all the way,” Singletary said. “Crabtree wants to play, so he wants to be here.” 

Also Wednesday, strong safety Michael Lewis was scheduled for a test after sustaining his third concussion of the season during Sunday’s game. Singletary said an encouraging sign was that Lewis recovered quickly on the sideline afterward and could have returned. 

Lewis said he hopes to play against the Texans. He suffered two concussions during an 11-day span in the preseason. 

“I feel great,” he said. 

Crabtree signs with 49ers 

According to the San Jose Mercury News:
 

have reached a deal with first-round draft pick Michael Crabtree.49ersAfter one day of face-to-face talks, the

  

  

Working into the early morning, Crabtree signed a six-year deal, ending his contract impasse after 72 days. As of 4 a.m., no other details were available. 
The No. 10 overall pick will be at the team’s Santa Clara headquarters today when the 49ers hit the practice field after Tuesday’s day off. 

Citing league sources, ESPN reported that the Crabtree will get a six-year contract that he can void in five years if he meets undefined performance clauses. 

During negotiations Tuesday, team President Jed York, General Manager Scot McCloughan and Vice President of Football Operations Paraag Marathe represented the 49ers. Crabtree was accompanied by agent Eugene Parker. The Santa Rosa Press Democrat reported that recording artist MC Hammer also was among the Crabtree camp. 

Crabtree, the No. 10 overall choice, was the only unsigned pick out of the 256 players selected in the April draft. The former Texas Tech receiver reportedly has rebuffed the 49ers’ five-year, $20-million offer that includes $16 million in guarantees. 

To be able to play this season, Crabtree was facing a NFL-mandated signing deadline of Nov. 17. 

The 49ers are off to a 3-1 start without Crabtree, including 3-0 in the NFC West. At his weekly Monday news conference, Coach Mike Singletary was asked about whether the team still needs Crabtree. 

Nike denies signing Vick 

NEW YORK — Nike said Thursday it does not have a “contractual relationship” with Michael Vick, a day after the quarterback’s agent announced a deal with the manufacturer. 

In a statement released Thursday morning, Nike said it has “agreed to supply product to Michael Vick as we do a number of athletes who are not under contract with Nike.” 

On Wednesday, Michael Principe, the managing director of BEST, the agency that represents Vick, announced the Philadelphia Eagles player had a new deal with Nike during a panel discussion at the Sports Sponsorship Symposium. 

“He actually just became a Nike client,” Principe said Wednesday. “He has a new deal with Nike that we’re all very pleased about.” 

Principe declined comment Thursday. 

Vick’s agent, Joel Segal, said later Wednesday that Vick looked forward to continuing his relationship with Nike, adding that the player and company had agreed not to release terms of the deal. 

Segal did not immediately return a call for comment Thursday. 

Nike had initially declined comment Wednesday night. 

Nike, which signed Vick as a rookie in 2001, terminated his contract in August 2007 after he filed a plea agreement admitting his involvement in a dogfighting ring. 

Vick signed a $1.6 million deal with the Eagles, with a team option for the second year at $5.2 million. He was once a corporate star — holding multimillion-dollar deals to market everything from sneakers to sports drinks. But those millions are long gone. 

In July, Vick filed for bankruptcy protection while serving a 23-month prison sentence, saying he owed between $10 million and $50 million to creditors. 

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Comments
One Response to “Mike – NFL”
  1. Ryan says:

    Can we use your picture for a web site for academic reasons?

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