Monday, March 05, 2007

Bucs Sign Garcia, Make trade for Plummer

Bucs Sign Garcia, Trade for Plummer
AP Sports Writer

TAMPA, Fla. -- When Chris Simms said he welcomed competition for Tampa Bay's starting quarterback job, he surely didn't envision the Buccaneers going to such great lengths to find challengers.

The Bucs signed free agent Jeff Garcia on Saturday, then announced they had also obtained the rights to Jake Plummer from Denver to potentially give the team an interesting tussle for the reins to coach Jon Gruden's offense.

Garcia, a three-time Pro Bowl selection who nearly signed with the Bucs as a free agent in 2004, agreed to a two-year deal he hopes will give him a chance to finally get to the Super Bowl.

A championship is missing from Plummer's resume, too, but it appears winning one may no longer be a personal goal after losing his starting job with the Broncos last season. The 32-year-old said on the Web site of The Jake Plummer Foundation that he was retiring.

"Football has been awesome to me in many ways. I leave the game with my health and happiness, and look forward to the future," he said on the Web site.

Stepping away from the game couldn't be farther from the 37-year-old Garcia's mind.

"Throw age out the window because that's not how I play. That's not how I focus. That's not how I mentally prepare. That's not who I am," Garcia said during a news conference.

"I'm somebody who is excited about this opportunity, who's excited to be around the guys and bring a good mix of leadership and drive and will and perseverance -- all those things you need in order to turn the corner and get back that winning feeling, that winning tradition."

The Bucs won the Super Bowl four seasons ago, but have had losing records and missed the playoffs three of the past four years.

A tight salary-cap situation has prevented the Bucs from being players in free agency since Gruden took over in 2002. However, the team began this year's signing period with about $25 million in space.

Garcia is intrigued by the prospect of helping Gruden and holdovers from Tampa Bay's championship team such as Derrick Brooks, Ronde Barber and Mike Alstott climb back among the NFL's elite.

"It's not so long ago that those things happened," Garcia said. "And, it's something that can happen again."

Meanwhile, general manager Bruce Allen acknowledged the Bucs traded a conditional pick in the 2008 draft for Plummer, even though they were aware the quarterback was thinking about not playing again.

Plummer, who has three years left on his contract and is due $5.3 million in 2007, led Denver to the AFC championship game two seasons ago but was benched after 11 games last season for rookie Jay Cutler. His .722 winning percentage with the Broncos from 2003-06 is the fourth-best in the NFL behind Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Ben Roethlisberger.

While Allen said he expects Plummer to play again, he would not speculate on whether it would be with Tampa Bay. The GM also said the Bucs did not acquire the quarterback's rights with the idea of trading him.

"I think right now, he's just taking time to think about it, which is fine," Allen said, adding it's not uncommon for players to ponder or even announce their retirement before changing their minds.

Garcia, who last year led Philadelphia to the playoffs filling in for the injured Donovan McNabb, agreed to terms a day after talking with the Oakland Raiders. The Bucs pursued him in free agency three years ago but were unable to match a more lucrative deal Garcia signed with the Cleveland Browns.

"I'm happy for him," McNabb, who watched Garcia win five of six starts to help the Eagles win the NFC East, said during the Syracuse-Villanova basketball game in Philadelphia. "I think it will be a good fit. I think he'll be fine."

As coach of the Oakland Raiders, Gruden also passed on opportunity to sign Garcia when the quarterback was coming out of the Canadian Football League in 1999. Garcia wound up with San Francisco and made the Pro Bowl three of five seasons there.

While playing with the 49ers, Gruden and Garcia became friends.

"It's unfortunate we weren't able to come together three years ago and maybe have created some great bond and great situations on the field," Garcia said of his decision to sign with Cleveland in 2004. "But I think he's getting a more focused, more motivated, more excited player now than he would have gotten at that point."

So you mean to tell me if Chris Simms can't go the Bucs have two(If Plummer doesn't retire!!!) Back up's totalling 69 years of age?? Ok so Jay "Deer in the Heaqdlamps" Feidler from Oceanside NY wasn't going to be the answer, I know,...But Garcia may never get to play a Down of Football again....and he'll get to basque in the warm sun of Central Florida for at least a year or two.....

Patriots Sign Thomas, Brady, and Morris

Patriots Sign Linebacker Adalius Thomas My Comments Below
Associated Press Writer

BOSTON -- Linebacker Adalius Thomas, one of the most sought-after free agents, signed Saturday with the New England Patriots, giving the three-time Super Bowl winners a player in the mold of the departed Willie McGinest.

The 29-year-old Pro Bowler, one of the keys to the Baltimore's defense last season, can play several positions, including outside linebacker and defensive end -- as McGinest did until he left last season for Cleveland.

Thomas, at 6-foot-2-inches and 270 pounds, said he even lined up at cornerback in a defensive package designed to handle Pittsburgh's physical receivers, matching wideouts stride-for-stride.

"I'm a football player. I don't play a position. Whatever is needed for me to do here, I'm going to do," he said. "That's why the Patriots have been so successful here because they don't look at it as position. They look at it as football."

The Patriots also announced the signings of two other veterans: tight end Kyle Brady from Jacksonville and back up running back Sammy Morris from division-rival Miami.

"Personally and professionally, we are very impressed with Adalius Thomas," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. "His playmaking, toughness, intelligence, versatility and character were all factors in our decision to pursue him."

Many professional scouts had considered Thomas the most talented free agent on the market, coming off an 11-sack and 106-tackle season as one of the anchors on Baltimore's stout defense that gave up an NFL-low average of 12.6 points per game.

The signing period for free agents was fewer than 36 hours old when Thomas signed his deal. He said he did not want to test the market after receiving a phone call from New England -- a team he said is primed to compete for its fourth Super Bowl win in seven seasons.

"We don't want to come here and play games," he said. "There's no need to go looking around for the best, when you start with the best. My first offer was here and there was no need to go anywhere else."

Thomas cited a motto that he learned from his father in Alabama -- "Be humble or get humble" -- when reflecting on his steady rise from a sixth-round draft pick out of Southern Mississippi in 2000 to a special teams Pro Bowl pick in 2003 to one of the league's top linebackers.

He has five career defensive touchdowns, 38.5 sacks, six interceptions and six fumble recoveries.

He said Belichick has a penchant for molding a system around versatile linebackers, drawing a comparison to Mike Vrabel, another linebacker known for lining up in other positions, notably as a goal-line tight end.

"I think I fit their pedigree of linebackers -- guys that can run, big strong guys that play different things from Vrabel to Bruschi to Colvin," he said. "You have all these guys that are here that are great players. Again, I just try to come in and add to what they already have because they have a great linebacking corps here."

The signing of veterans at tight end and running back fill offensive needs for the Patriots after the team released running back Corey Dillon on Friday. Tight end Daniel Graham is an unrestricted free agent expected to leave New England.

Brady, 35, played four seasons with the New York Jets and eight with Jacksonville. He has played in 183 games and caught 334 passes for 3,449 yards and 23 touchdowns.
Morris, 29, is a seven-year veteran who has played for both Buffalo and Miami.

WOW!! you can't blame them for making these deals. Thomas is a key piece to their climb back to the top. Plus the additions of two skilled vets like Kyle Brady and Sammy Morris gives them needed depth at two offensive skill positions. The rich just keep getting richer.....

Redskins (re)Sign DB Smoot, and LB London Fletcher

Redskins End Relatively Modest Weekend-Ofcourse My Comments Below......
AP Sports Writer

ASHBURN, Va. -- Fred Smoot was in classic form for his Washington Redskins reunion, punching out one-liners while ruing his two-year misadventure with the Minnesota Vikings. It was a good thing he was there, considering little else was happening Sunday at Redskins Park.

A team known for its big-spending ways had -- by its own standards, at least -- a very modest first three days of free agency.
"This year seemed to be a little bit different," coach Joe Gibbs said. "And certainly we were trying to be smart in what we did. Things kind of took off wildly with the money and everything."

Smoot and linebacker London Fletcher are the only signings to date, and Gibbs said no new free agents were scheduled for visits. That's a far cry from last year, when the Redskins acquired six players -- most of them commanding top-tier contracts -- in the first four days.

The Redskins opted not to sign offensive lineman Leonard Davis, who visited on Saturday but was asking for a budget-busting deal. Cornerback Travis Fisher also visited Redskins Park over the weekend, but he was considered superfluous once a deal was reached with Smoot.

Smoot was the self-proclaimed "Mouth of the South" when he played four seasons with the Redskins before leaving for Minnesota in 2005. His two years with the Vikings were marred by injuries, violations of team rules and a disorderly conduct charge for his actions at the infamous "Love Boat" party. Eventually, he lost his starting job and was cut.

"I thought it was a mistake to leave," Smoot said. "Not many people get a second chance to make it right. ... This is my home. I don't have to learn any new coaches. I don't have to learn any new city. It's just like moving back in that old room at my momma's house."

So what went wrong in Minnesota?

"I never really got comfortable there," Smoot said. "I always felt like a stepchild. .. Every time I got going, something happened. My brother died, the boat situation, the car accident. So a lot of stuff happened, and it humbled me in life."

On Saturday -- before Smoot's deal was finalized -- Gibbs said he spoke to Smoot specifically about "the boat situation," a 2005 players' party that devolved into lewd behavior and embarrassed the Vikings organization. Gibbs made it clear such behavior won't be tolerated in Washington.

"I think Fred and I have a good understanding," Gibbs said. "He knows what's expected of him."

Smoot was asked what fans can expect from him as a result of his troubles with the Vikings.

"They're getting a player who's been through a lot," Smoot said. "You can't get glass until it goes through a lot of changes, and then it comes out smooth. I'm that smooth part right now. ... I can promised you this: They're going to get a Fred Smoot who has matured in a lot of ways."

Gibbs said it was a mistake to let Smoot leave two years ago, but the coach didn't lure him back with a promise of a starting job. Smoot will compete with Carlos Rogers and Shawn Springs for playing time, unless Springs is traded or cut because of his resistance to renegotiate his contract to lower a high salary cap number.

"We're counting on him being here," Gibbs said. "We want him to be here. We've had some discussions. We don't know where they'll wind up, but we do know that Shawn's a very valuable part of this football team."

Smoot was so popular among the Redskins that, even after he left, they continued to give the "Fred 'Silky Johnson' Smoot Award" -- also known as the "You're Nothin' Award" -- every week to a defensive player who made a big impact.

Knowing he would be welcome if he returned to Washington made Smoot willing to sign a five-year deal that might have been less than what he could have received had he negotiated with more than one team.

"Money wasn't what I was chasing this time," he said. "It was a chance to be happy and play high-level football."

The Redskins still have two significant holes to fill. They need a right guard to replace Derrick Dockery, who signed Friday with Buffalo, and an impact defensive lineman. They can probably get the defensive lineman with the No. 6 overall pick in next month's draft. The guard could be a late free agent pickup, a late-round draft choice or a young player already on the roster.

"We'll find somebody to win that spot," Gibbs said.

Looks Like Dan Snyder might be learning a Bit From Gibbs. Maybe he's not going to break the bank this time signing too many players. They are going to need that Defensive Lineman before the start of the season, and he's will have to play both the run and pass if he is going to help Washington get back into contender status.

Cowboys Sign Leonard Davis, Re-sign WR Terry Glenn

Cowboys Agree to Terms With OL Davis-See my Commentary Below
By Associated Press

IRVING, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys have agreed to terms with free agent offensive lineman Leonard Davis.

Cowboys spokesman Rich Dalrymple confirmed the deal Sunday, but not the details of the agreement. He said a formal announcement by the team was expected Monday.

According to various reports, including a story posted on the team's Web site, Davis agreed to a seven-year contract worth nearly $50 million, including $18.75 million in guaranteed money.

Davis, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2001 draft out of Texas, spent his first six seasons with the Arizona Cardinals. He played guard for the first four seasons and switched to left tackle in 2004.

He started 91 games for the Cardinals, including all 16 last season, but never became the overpowering Pro Bowl-level player the team envisioned.

Meanwhile, the Cowboys picked up wide receiver Terry Glenn's $5 million roster bonus, virtually assuring he will remain with the team.

"I've talked to Terry and he's very excited," receivers coach Ray Sherman told The Dallas Morning News.

Glenn will earn a base salary of $820,000. He had more than 1,000 yards receiving and six touchdowns last year.

One of the Things Former Cowboys Coach Bill Parcells always wanted was a Big Time BIG Offensive lineman. He never mentioned Davis by name ofcourse, but you can't get much bigger them Him. Surely Davis will return to his former Position, Guard. This move also firms up the Cowboys Line to the point where thye do NOT have to draft a projected starter, but rather just get back-ups now.

Packers Loose Ahman Green: Texans Sign Runningback.

Texans Agree to Terms With Ahman Green
AP Sports Writer

HOUSTON -- The Houston Texans agreed to terms with free agent running back Ahman Green on Sunday. The 30-year-old former Green Bay Packer will likely become the starter for a team that struggled at the position last season after Domanick Williams -- formerly Davis -- missed the year with knee problems.

Green will be introduced at a 1 p.m. news conference in Houston on Monday, said Texans vice president of communications Tony Wyllie. Terms of the contract were not immediately available.

Houston also has a trio of inexperienced running backs in Wali Lundy, Chris Taylor and fellow former Green Bay player Samkon Gado. They also hope to re-sign free agent Ron Dayne, the 1999 Heisman Trophy winner, who excelled late last season after years of struggles.

Green had 266 carries for 1,059 yards last season after returning from a torn right quadriceps in 2005. He missed two games last season because of lingering effects from the injury.

He has 8,491 yards and 54 touchdowns in his nine-year career that began with Seattle. Before the injury two years ago, Green gained more than 1,100 yards in each of the previous five seasons.

Green, who has been with the Packers since the 2000 season, has close ties with former Packers head coach Mike Sherman, who is the Texans' offensive coordinator and assistant head coach. Along with Gado, former Packers teammate Mike Flanagan also plays for the Texans.

Green spent the weekend in Houston, visiting the Texans and taking in a Houston Rockets game on Saturday night.

"I'm just looking for a situation where I feel comfortable around the players and the coaches, where I can be myself," Green said Sunday before the deal was announced. "Come down here and just play football and have fun. That is what I'm looking for."

Green did not immediately return a message left on his cell phone by The Associated Press.

After meeting with Denver and Houston, Green told reporters in Houston earlier on Sunday that he was canceling other scheduled visits to teams and could "possibly" make his decision in the next 24 hours.

"I have gotten to the point where I have seen enough," Green said. "I don't need to venture out anymore. I know a few teams that are disappointed because I did have some visits set up, but from the two teams that I have visited, I don't need to see anymore."

Green said facing the possibility of leaving Green Bay would be difficult.

"That's where the majority of my career is at," Green said. "I think speaking in general with anybody that has been in a situation for a long time, regardless of if it was good or bad, I've been there seven years. Some good, some bad, but regardless of the fact, staying or leaving will be tough. I don't know yet, but, I think for anybody generally speaking it would be tough to do. When you're a kid and you transfer a school, and that school you have all your buddies, regardless of if it was good times or bad times, it's still a tough time to leave."

Going into the offseason, Green had indicated he preferred to stay in Green Bay. He was scheduled to appear at the Packers' annual fan fest next weekend.

With Green out, the Packers are left with Vernand Morency, an inexperienced but quick back who was obtained for Gado in a trade with the Texans last season. Morency gained 434 yards on 96 carries last year.

Green Bay also could look to address their running back needs with the No. 16 pick in the NFL draft next month or obtain another running back through free agency.

And my Take:

So now your going to get to see if Green really has it, or is he just another Fumbler of a runningback. There were at least 4 other teams, including The Giants nad Patriots that were looking forward to Green Visiting with them. I'm not surprised Green wants to be with Mike Sherman....

Bucs Sign B.J Askew

Bucs Sign Free Agent Fullback B.J. Askew
By Associated Press

TAMPA, Fla. -- Free-agent fullback B.J. Askew signed a contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.

Askew, drafted by the Jets in the third round out of Michigan in 2003, has played in 55 games in his four NFL seasons, all with New York. In 2004, he and Jerald Sowell were the lead blockers for running back Curtis Martin, who led the league with 1,697 yards rushing.

Askew has 102 yards rushing on 27 carries and 12 catches for 73 yards in four seasons while being used mainly as a blocker. He was also a standout on special teams.

Askew recently told The Associated Press that he wanted a chance to switch roles on the field, from fullback to halfback -- something he did while rushing for 1,580 yards and 17 touchdowns in college at Michigan. He also caught 83 passes for 777 yards and six TDs with the Wolverines.

"B.J. enjoyed his time with the Jets, but he wanted an opportunity to utilize all of his talents," said Askew's agent, Scott Smith. "He is much more than a traditional blocking fullback, and now he will be playing in a system that has produced one of the most prolific power backs in history in Mike Alstott."

Jags Sign WR Northcutt to a 5 year contract

Jags Agree to 5-Year Deal With Northcutt- see my end comment
By Associated Press

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Jaguars believe they found a legitimate deep threat in free agency, agreeing to a five-year contract with former Cleveland receiver Dennis Northcutt on Sunday.

Northcutt was flying to Jacksonville for a physical Sunday and was expected to sign the deal Monday.

The contract was reportedly worth $17 million and included a $4.5-million signing bonus.

Northcutt had 276 receptions for 3,438 yards and 11 touchdowns in seven years with the Browns. He caught 117 passes for 1,535 yards and four touchdowns during the 2003-04 seasons. His production dipped the last two years with 64 receptions for 669 yards and two scores.

But the Jaguars think he will help spread the field for quarterback Byron Leftwich, receivers Matt Jones and Reggie Williams and the running game.

The 5-foot-11, 170-pound Northcutt also could help the Jaguars on special teams since he ranked fourth in the league last season in punt returns.

Northcutt would be the second free agent signing for the Jaguars. They signed former Baltimore right tackle Tony Pashos to a five-year contract worth $24 million Friday.

So Coach Del Rio is quite serious about putting a winner on the field. Northcutt was wasting away the last two years as his numbers dipped in Cleveland. He was close to being a "phenom" coming out of Northern Arizona University in the 2000 Draft. This gives Jacksonville a legitimate #2 Receiver, as well as a great Punt Returner. it also gives Coach Del Rio some offensive peace of mind.

Poll Of Dems And Repub Insiders Favors Clinton and Giuliani, But No Clear Favorite - Watch Out For Obama

An LA Times poll currently has Senator Hillary Clinton and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani as the favorite with party insiders -- whatever the hell that means.

What the poll fails to capture is the rise in support for Barack Obama. Party insiders have ties to current incumbents and are often the last to adjust to the desires of the public at large.

But watch out for Obama. He now has more support amoug Black voters than Senator Clinton and is drawing huge crowds whereever he goes.