Truth & Rumors: Nov. 18, 2004
Posted: Thursday November 18, 2004 12:31PM; Updated: Friday November 19, 2004 12:03PM
Baseball's Hot Stove is heating up with a flurry of rumors and gossip. To keep you up-to-date, we've created a special edition of Hot Stove Truth & Rumors.
Joey Harrington returned to work Wednesday -- refreshed, refocused and determined as ever to hang on to the Lions' quarterback job.
Redskins quarterback Mark Brunell said he does not intend to retire despite losing his starting job to Patrick Ramsey. Coach Joe Gibbs insisted that Brunell will remain an important part of the team for years to come.
Kurt Warner will not campaign for another shot at the Giants starting quarterback job that was taken away from him and handed to Eli Manning. "This is a position you can't flip-flop, you can't jump back and forth," Warner said. "You got to have a leader."
Jets quarterback Chad Pennington, who was expected to miss two to four weeks after suffering a strained rotator cuff on Nov. 7, apparently will be out the full four weeks, if not longer.
Whatever differences exist between quarterback Jeff Garcia and coach Butch Davis apparently were patched up in a on Monday. Garcia pledged his support to the embattled Browns' coach and vowed to play within the team system. Garcia's biting commentaries on the state of the offense have ruffled coaches -- and some teammates -- since training camp.
Offensive tackle Ryan Tucker said Browns owner Randy Lerner told him that Davis has his full support. He also said the 3-6 record is the players' fault and not Davis'. "He [Davis] ain't going nowhere, so everyone can relax," said Tucker.
Jaguars quarterback Byron Leftwich threw lightly Wednesday but hasn't had his sprained left knee medically cleared and would play Sunday only in an emergency.
Outside of the owners and quarterback Drew Brees, it's debatable whether anyone has taken greater satisfaction in the Chargers' play than GM A.J. Smith. The chatter around the league was that club president Dean Spanos might replace Smith at the end of the year.
Priest Holmes traveled to Florida for a second medical opinion on his ailing right knee. Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil said this was not a sign that Holmes' injury, which the Chiefs are calling a grade-2 strain, is worse than they indicated.
Jerry Angelo already has tried to trade David Terrell. Now, chances are the Bears GM will rid himself of the wide receiver and seek no compensation in return. The Bears were going to discuss releasing Terrell in the offseason even before Tuesday's traffic flap, in which he was taken to jail after receiving six misdemeanor charges, including driving on a suspended license and reckless driving.
Seattle running back Shaun Alexander, who leads the NFL with 1,055 yards rushing, said the idea of playing for the Dolphins next season could be intriguing.
Marcellus Wiley's numbers -- 18 tackles, three quarterback pressures, one tackle for loss and no sacks in nine games -- have labeled him the chief scapegoat for the Cowboy's defensive problems. He also said he was well aware this could be his only season in Dallas.
Bryan Barker ranks among the NFL's worst punters statistically but the Packers value Barker's holding for kicker Ryan Longwell at least as much as they do his punting ability and they aren't willing to take a chance on affecting two positions in the hope of getting a few more yards punting.
Broncos coach Mike Shanahan, subject of rumors that he's interested in the Dolphins head coaching job said, "(Owner) Pat Bowlen would never let me go. At least, I don't think he would. I've got four years on a commitment. I plan on fulfilling my obligation here. I'm not interested in any other job, and I plan on staying." Added Bowden: "I'm still happy with Mike."
He's interviewed plenty, including extensive talks with San Francisco in 2002 and the Giants last year. So why has Patriots defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel yet to land an NFL head coaching job? There are three obstacles he has encountered -- his age (he's 57), teams not wanting to wait for the Pats to complete Super Bowl week, and the perception that Crennel is merely pushing the buttons on head coach Bill Belichick's defense.
Offensive coordinator Charlie Weis said he would be happy to return to the Pats in his current role if he didn't land a head coaching job elsewhere.
Former Tennessee president and CEO Jeff Diamond has interviewed to become the Dolphins' new team president.
There will be speculation that Phil Jackson will come back and coach as contenders fade into has-beens and a handful of NBA coaches feel the heat. But Jackson will most likely decline any and all offers this season. "If there's a Phil story, it would be 2005, not 2004," Jackson's agent, Todd Musburger, said. "Phil is not involved in contacting teams. If people are interested in Phil, they contact him. The reason that Phil would listen is not because he is actively seeking a coaching position. He would listen because he's a professional, he's a gentleman, he knows a lot of people in the league. He's not actively waiting for the phone to ring. He's not trying to curry interest. We don't want people to feel the 'Help Wanted' sign is lit."
Jason Kidd's next appointment with his knee surgeon isn't until tomorrow, but he has already advanced his rehab -- not only by increasing his workouts from four to five days per week but practicing with contact.
Knicks GM Isiah Thomas has added Michael Sweetney -- previously thought to be off limits -- into ongoing trade talks with Bulls GM John Paxson regarding Eddy Curry. Thomas has been in touch with Curry's representatives to gauge their client's interest in playing in New York.
Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said he doesn't believe any team will win with Jamal Crawford as a starter and expressed belief in Curry. "There's no reason why he can't be a star in the NBA," Reinsdorf said. But he emphasized time is of the essence for Curry and Tyson Chandler: "This is the year they have to step up."
Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy questioned whether Thomas trusts coach Lenny Wilkens and ripped Knick management for making fired assistant Dick Helm a scapegoat.
The Hornets soon will trade for disgruntled Philadelphia forward Glenn Robinson.
76ers coach Jim O'Brien said Robinson, who remains on the injured list after rejoining the team Tuesday, "practiced full out, had a good practice."
Jumaine Jones has bounced around the NBA the past few years, playing for four teams the past five seasons. But would he ever consider a return home to play for the Magic in Orlando?
More than 60 player agents left Wednesday's five-hour meeting with the NHLPA brass seemingly galvanized by what they had heard. They felt the league was responsible for the current lack of negotiations by refusing to budge from their ``cost-certainty'' stance. Agent J.P. Barry said, "How do you negotiate in the face of another side that really doesn't want to compromise?''
Agent Pat Morris said following the meeting, "I think NHL teams and fans should know that if a $33.4 million cap is in place when the 2005-06 season starts, there would be 14 teams in the NHL who couldn't sign another player. Eleven teams would still lose money. The Toronto Maple Leafs, for the '05-06 season, would have $35.5 million and they would have nine players to play the games."
NHLPA director Bob Goodenow also denied reports the union was planning to give the owners a new proposal. "We can't be the solutions to all of their ills, and it's really disappointing that Gary Bettman and the owners don't step up and take some of the responsibility for some of the problems they themselves have created.''
Martin Brodeur and Dominik Hasek are expected to be among the players announced Thursday when player agency IMG releases details for its European charity hockey tour. The tour will run Dec. 7-23, with 10 games in seven different countries -- Russia, Slovakia, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway and Poland.
David Frost, agent for former NHLer Mike Danton, who was sentenced to 7˝ years earlier this month for his role in a murder-for-hire plot, has fired back in his battle with the Central Junior Hockey League. Suspended for an indefinite period on Tuesday, Frost is seeking reinstatement to the league through legal counsel, which sent a fax to CJHL commissioner Mac MacLean yesterday. The league banned Frost for being in a restricted area on Saturday and allegedly confronting a referee.
Britain's Minister for Europe Denis McShane today demanded a "forthright apology" from those responsible for Spanish football after England's black players were subjected to racist chants at last night's friendly match. It was the second consecutive night in which England's black players were targeted after racist insults were hurled at the Under-21 match in Spain on Tuesday.
England's sports minister Richard Caborn has written to FIFA to propose that match officials be authorized to abandon matches in the face of racist abuse. The minister has complained to football's world governing body about the large number of Spanish fans who taunted England's black players during last night's friendly in Madrid. Ashley Cole and Shaun Wright-Phillips were both targeted by continual monkey noises every time they were in possession. Large sections of the 55,000 spectators also sang racist songs.