Sunday, April 08, 2007

Panthers come to terms with QB David Carr

Panthers come to terms with QB David Carr

By MIKE CRANSTON, AP Sports Writer

A month after he was released by the Houston Texans ,David Carr agreed Friday to a two-year deal to play for the Carolina Panthers .

Carr, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2002 draft, will serve as Jake Delhomme 's backup.

"It's a case where we were obviously looking for someone to come in back up Jake and the opportunity to get a quarterback the caliber of David in free agency is unique," Panthers general manager Marty Hurney said. "We thought it was a good situation and a good opportunity for us."

Carr was a five-year starter for the expansion Texans. He completed 60 percent of his passes, but threw 65 interceptions and was sacked 249 times. Carr completed a career-high 68.3 percent of his passes last season, but was released by the Texans after they obtained Matt Schaub in a trade from Atlanta and anointed him as their starting quarterback.

The Panthers believe Carr's troubles stemmed from Houston's poor offensive line, and tried to sign him during his visit with the team early in the week. Carr left without a contract and visited Seattle, while Carolina brought in former Miami quarterback Joey Harrington for a visit.

But on Thursday Carr decided he wanted to sign with Carolina, and the two sides reached a deal over the phone early Friday morning, ending a nervous period for Hurney.

"He met everybody and met Jake and I think he felt comfortable," Hurney said. "You never know what happens when he leaves without a contract. But we felt good about him I think he felt good about us and he made the decision to come here."

The Panthers were looking for an experienced quarterback to back up Delhomme after releasing Chris Weinke last month. Weinke struggled in a relief role in three games last season when Delhomme had a sprained thumb, throwing two touchdown passes and four interceptions. The Panthers went 1-2 in those three games and the lone game they won came with Weinke throwing only seven passes.

The 6-foot-3 Carr may have had other opportunities to start with other teams, but Hurney insisted Carr will back up Delhomme, who struggled last season as the Panthers finished disappointing 8-8.

"We made it clear and he knows that Jake Delhomme is our starting quarterback," Hurney said. "I think it was important for him to come to a winning organization and a place where he thinks has a chance to win. He knows that Jake is our starter. Every player wants to play, but he knows the role he's coming into."

The move means the Panthers now have the top two picks from the 2002 draft. Carolina selected defensive end Julius Peppers with No. 2 pick.

Carr's signing is the biggest move the Panthers have made so far in free agency. Hurney has said they were content with 21 of 22 starters returning next season.

Player Council will advise Goodell

Player Council Formed to Advise Goodell
By Associated Press

NEW YORK -- NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has established a six-member council of veteran players to advise him on a variety of issues, including player conduct.

Most of the players named to the council, which includes players union president Troy Vincent, met this week with Goodell on the same day the commissioner heard from Adam "Pacman" Jones of Tennessee and Chris Henry of Cincinnati to discuss their off-field problems. He is expected to announce disciplinary action next week.

It will meet regularly with Goodell and Gene Upshaw, the executive director of the NFL Players Association to talk about a variety of issues, including player safety, health issues and competition.

"It is important that we know the perspective of players on issues that impact our game and our league," Goodell said in a statement issued by the league.

"We all share the same goal of improving the NFL in every way we can. Veteran leadership is critically important for our teams in many areas. These outstanding veterans can help the entire league just as they help their teams."

The group includes Vincent, currently a free agent, along with safety Donovin Darius of Jacksonville; fullback Tony Richardson of Minnesota; center Jeff Saturday of Indianapolis; linebacker Takeo Spikes of Philadelphia and wide receiver James Thrash of Washington.

The establishment of the council is consistent with the way Goodell has worked since taking over from Paul Tagliabue last September. He spent the early part of his tenure visiting teams and talking with owners, officials and players to get a feel for the league.

"This is the first time in NFL history that a commissioner has used a group of current players in an advisory capacity," Upshaw said. "The players are a great resource for our game and this is a direct way of getting their input. This is a good example of how the new commissioner is leading through strong communication. We appreciate what he is doing."

Ricky Williams Applies for Reinstatement

Ricky Williams Applies for Reinstatement

NEW YORK -- Ricky Williams, the former NFL star who played in Canada last season after being suspended for a year for substance abuse, has applied for reinstatement. Williams' agent, Leigh Steinberg, said the running back, who will turn 30 in May, had sent a letter asking that he be allowed to return to the Miami Dolphins.

The NFL confirmed that Williams had sought reinstatement, for which he will be eligible after April 27, when he will have been suspended for a year. Dolphins spokesman Harvey Greene said the team had no comment because Williams is not yet eligible for reinstatement.

Williams, a former Heisman Trophy winner at Texas, was originally drafted by New Orleans when then-coach Mike Ditka gave up all his picks in the 1999 draft to get his rights. He was traded to Miami for two first-round draft picks after the 2001 season and rushed for 1,853 yards for the Dolphins in 2002 and 1,372 the next season.

But he abruptly retired shortly before training camp in 2004, then returned in 2005 to back up rookie Ronnie Brown. Williams rushed for 743 yards and a 4.4 yard average that year.

The suspension, handed down last year by former commissioner Paul Tagliabue, was Williams' fourth.

Williams' previous positive drug tests were for marijuana, which he acknowledged using. The latest test apparently involved a substance other than marijuana and may have been related to his interest in holistic medicine.

Steinberg said Williams has been teaching yoga in California since returning from Canada last December.

"He's told me that his interest in eastern philosophy has overcome his desire for mind-altering substances and has given him another outlet," Steinberg said. "He's in outstanding shape and he hasn't taken a lot of hits for a running back. I think he's still at the top of his game."

During the 2005 season, Williams laughingly described himself as weird and compared his career to a roller coaster. But he also dispelled his reputation as an aloof, selfish pothead, winning praise from teammates and winning the south Florida media's annual postseason Good Guy Award, given to the player most cooperative with reporters.

Williams has gained 7,097 yards in 1,757 carries during his NFL career and rushed for 47 touchdowns.

Last season with Toronto in the CFL, he ran for 526 yards on 109 carries and caught 19 passes for 127 yards. He missed two months because of a broken arm.

Rumor: Matt Leinart Not Happy With CAA -


On Friday, USA Today ran a front-page story on the growing power and influence of Creative Artists Agency , which has amassed a host of A-list entertainers and athletes in the past year.

The story fails to point out one potentially relevant fact.

Per a league source, the powerhouse agency is in danger of losing its lock on the marketing dollars to be generated by former USC quarterback Matt Leinart, the 2004 Heisman winner and starting quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals.

The source tells us that Leinart recently informed CAA of his decision, but that he has not yet hired a new firm. In the interim, CAA is trying hard to keep him.

As the source observed, it could be that CAA is growing too fast without the right people in place to handle the workload.