October 2005 - Football Wiretap
Rice Will Be Back On Sunday Versus Carolina
Simeon Rice's stay in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' doghouse apparently won't last long. The flighty defensive end was sent home before Sunday's 15-10 loss at San Francisco. However, coach Jon Gruden reiterated Monday that the three-time Pro Bowl selection will return to the lineup this week against Carolina. "It's done with. We need Simeon Rice back," Gruden said. "I think he understands that. And we're looking forward to seeing him." Although the Bucs didn't announce the reason Rice was deactivated Sunday, the team's sacks leader is believed to have missed a team meeting after the club arrived in California on Saturday. Rice created a stir last year when he said the Bucs suffered from a lack of discipline under Gruden, who did not hold all players accountable for mistakes. Two weeks later, he missed a walk-through but still was allowed to play in Tampa Bay's season finale at Arizona.
No More Daunte
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Daunte Culpepper will miss the rest of the season and perhaps part of next season because of a severe injury to his right knee. Coach Mike Tice said Monday that Culpepper, who was hurt on the final play of the first quarter in Sunday's 38-13 loss at Carolina, will have surgery in the coming weeks once the swelling subsides. Recovery from such injuries can take up to a year. "He has a long rehab ahead," Tice said. The Vikings (2-5) will use veteran Brad Johnson as their starter, with Shaun Hill moving up to backup status. Culpepper, bothered with a sprained MCL and bursitis in his knee this season, was hit low and from the side by Panthers cornerback Chris Gamble while scrambling for a first down.
Rams Interim Head Coach Undergoes Angioplasty
Joe Vitt, interim head coach of the St. Louis Rams while Mike Martz recovers from a heart ailment, underwent a heart procedure of his own Monday. The 51-year-old Vitt had an angioplasty around 6 a.m., but was expected to speak at his regular Monday afternoon news conference, Rams spokesman Duane Lewis said. ``He's doing fine,'' Lewis said. ``I think it was just a routine procedure. It had been prescheduled. It was not the result of any issues the last two weeks or three weeks.'' Vitt told players about the procedure after Sunday's 24-21 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, but did not mention his plans to the media. In an angioplasty, a balloon is inserted through a tube and inflated to open blood vessels in the heart that have narrowed or become blocked. Lewis said he did not know specific details about why Vitt had the procedure.
Alexander And The Hawks Exchange Proposals
Pro Bowl running back Shaun Alexander has frequently expressed optimism about securing a long-term contract agreement. The Seattle Seahawks have consistently talked about taking a wait-and-see approach. Now comes this: FOXSports.com, citing sources close to Alexander, reported Sunday night that the sides recently exchanged contract proposals for the first time, and that the coming days could be crucial for the health of negotiations. Recent comments from first-year Seahawks president Tim Ruskell reflected less urgency. ?For the long term, I wanted to get through a good portion of the season to see what my feelings were about Shaun and how he interacts and works with this team as we go into the future,? Ruskell said Saturday on the team?s Web site. ?It?s a very big decision. The running back market is a very tough market. That?s why all these guys are seemingly in limbo.? Ruskell was referring to Indianapolis? Edgerrin James and Philadelphia?s Brian Westbrook, among other NFL running backs whose contracts expire after this season. ?So it?s a very tough thing to deal with,? Ruskell said. ?We?re talking with (Alexander?s) representatives, and if we could work out something long term at this point of the season, that would be great. If we can?t, we won?t give up on it. ?It?s certainly not going to be easy. There?s not a quick solution, and there are a lot of different factors involved.?
Holmes Suffers Mild Concussion
Priest Holmes left the game in the third quarter against the Chargers after suffering a mild concussion.
Louisiana Scambles To Keep Saints
While the New Orleans Saints played their first game of the season in Louisiana on Sunday, state officials scrambled to make sure it wouldn't be one of the last. NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue said he was committed to keeping the team in New Orleans after meeting with team owner Tom Benson, Gov. Kathleen Blanco, and other officials. ``The Saints are Louisiana's team and have been since the late '60s when my predecessor Pete Rozelle welcomed them to the league as New Orleans' team and Louisiana's team,'' Tagliabue said. ``Our focus continues to be on having the Saints in Louisiana.'' The Saints moved operations to San Antonio after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city and the Louisiana Superdome. San Antonio Mayor Phil Hardberger has lobbied hard to keep the Saints there, and believes Benson wants to stay in the city as well. Tagliabue pointed out that under NFL guidelines, Benson is prohibited to talk about moving his team during the season. Still, Benson has made some moves that appear to back up Hardberger's contention and has come under fire from Saints fans.
Rice Sent Home Before Niners Loss
Tampa Bay defensive end Simeon Rice was deactivated and sent home before the Buccaneers' 15-10 loss at San Francisco on Sunday for an undisclosed violation of club policy. Rice, a 10-year veteran who has been selected for three Pro Bowls, led the Buccaneers with five sacks in their first six games. Tampa Bay general manager Bruce Allen refused to comment on reports Rice missed a team meeting, but said Rice wasn't suspended. ``He's headed home. We don't get into the details,'' said Allen, who met with Rice on Saturday night to issue the punishment. ``Obviously, it has to do with club discipline. ... It's a (one-game) deal. We're just going to fight through this game and see where it goes from there.''
Daunte Done For 2005?
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Daunte Culpepper could miss the rest of the season after injuring his right knee against Carolina on Sunday, coach Mike Tice said. "The quarterback doesn't appear to be in good shape," Tice said. "I'm not a doctor, but the initial tests are not good. It doesn't appear that it's going to be anything that we as Vikings will want to hear. "Things happen that are devastating. This certainly, if it's as serious as it appears, is devastating to our football team." Culpepper ran for an 18-yard gain on the final play of the first quarter when he was hit by multiple defenders. Carolina cornerback Chris Gamble came in from the side and tackled Culpepper's leg and he immediately grabbed his knee. Culpepper was helped off the field and taken to a cart for the ride into the locker room. The team initially said he sprained his knee. He was on crutches with a heavy brace around his knee after the game and said he wouldn't know anything until after undergoing an MRI on Monday. "I'm not talking about anything," Culpepper said. "We don't know the extent of the damage right now. I really can't talk about it until we do the MRIs and find out."
Dolphins Hope Vikings, Saints Or Niners Land First Pick
The Dolphins don't appear dismal enough to land the No. 1 overall draft pick (and the right to choose Southern California senior quarterback Matt Leinart). But the encouraging emerging story for Miami is that most of the other teams in the mix for the top pick have invested in young quarterbacks and would be potential trade partners. The Dolphins must hope Houston (0-6), San Francisco (1-5) or Minnesota (2-4) lands the No. 1 pick, with Green Bay (1-5), New Orleans (2-5) and Arizona (2-4) somewhat appealing options, too. Miami (2-5) must root against Cleveland (2-4) landing No. 1, because they would figure to want Leinart. So might the Jets (2-5), with Chad Pennington returning from shoulder surgery in 2006, and 2-4 Oakland (though Kerry Collins, 32, is playing well). Forget landing a long-term quarterback in free agency. Among impending free agents, San Diego wouldn't lose Drew Brees without compensation (assuming the Chargers keep him ahead of Philip Rivers), Tampa Bay won't lose restricted free agent Chris Simms for nothing, and Cincinnati's Jon Kitna isn't the answer. So if Miami acquires its QB-of-the-future next spring -- which must be a priority -- it likely will happen by drafting one, trading for Rivers (who the Dolphins are believed to like), or trading with a team that has the No. 1 pick. If the Texans land the top choice, they must decide between Leinart and talented but erratic David Carr, whom Houston must pay an $8 million bonus to extend his contract beyond 2005. The 49ers, committed to Alex Smith, likely would be willing to trade the No. 1 pick. The Vikings ( Daunte Culpepper), Saints ( Aaron Brooks), Packers (who have first-round pick Aaron Rodgers in waiting when Brett Favre retires) and Cardinals ( Josh McCown) would face interesting decisions if they get the No. 1 pick. Regardless of what those teams would do, Miami would have a great chance to try to trade for a QB who's an upgrade.
Jets Could Make A Play For Leinart Or Bush
The Jets will have major changes on offense next year. If they can't get into position to draft Southern Cal QB Matt Leinart or make a trade for San Diego's Philip Rivers or Drew Brees, then Leinart's teammate, RB Reggie Bush, would inject a spark if he decides not to return for his senior season. There was no way the Jets could have kept LaMont Jordan with Curtis Martin coming off a rushing title, but Martin looks like he's hit the wall this year. His offensive line isn't helping.
Warner Could Retire
Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner is healthy again, but Josh McCown has essentially replaced him as the starter - at least until he plays himself out of the job.
Belichick: Bruschi Will Play Against Bills
Tedy Bruschi will be activated, will play and could start Sunday night for the New England Patriots against the Buffalo Bills depending on the Bills' opening formation.
L.T.'s Fullback Gets Two-Year Extension
Fullback Lorenzo Neal, who has blocked for eight straight 1,000-yard rushers, has agreed to a two-year contract extension through the 2007 season.
NFL May Move Saints To L.A.
The Washington Post reports the NFL will consider relocating the Saints to Los Angeles if New Orleans is unable to recover from Hurricane Katrina.
Lewis And Reed To Miss Monday's Game
Baltimore Ravens middle linebacker Ray Lewis and safety Ed Reed -- the past two NFL Defensive Players of the Year -- have been ruled out for Monday night's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Bruschi Hopes To Be Ready For Buffalo Game
Tedy Bruschi practiced again Wednesday, two days after his first practice with contact in more than eight months since he had a mild stroke.
Martz Unsure He Can Coexist With Team President
Jay Zygmunt, the team's second-highest ranking official, stopped a representative for Mike Martz at the door of the coaches' booth during Sunday's game against the Saints.