Truth & Rumors: Dec. 30, 2004
Posted: Thursday December 30, 2004 12:16PM; Updated: Thursday December 30, 2004 3:57PM
Baltimore's WJZ-TV reported that sources inside the Ravens' organization have confirmed that offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh will be fired at the end of the season. According to the report, owner Steve Bisciotti is concerned about the public outcry surrounding the Ravens' offense, which has fallen to 31st in the NFL.
Once a self-proclaimed Super Bowl contender, the Ravens have become a divided team, cornerback Chris McAlister said. "It really used to be real loose, and we used to have a lot of fun in here," McAlister said. "It used to be a lot of guys laughing and having a good time. It's not that same way. Now it's kind of like everybody stays in their own little corner."
CB Phillip Buchanon, the Raiders' No. 1 pick in 2002, hopes the team will consider trading him. "There is a lot of stuff that goes on here, and it ain't right," said Buchanon, who was inactive last weekend due to injury. "I am not feeling too good here. I am not happy with the organization."
Joey Harrington wants to make a long-term commitment to remain the Lions' starting QB and is willing to restructure his contract to give the franchise salary-cap relief for the 2005 season and beyond. Harrington has had preliminary talks with team president Matt Millen on his contract and will work on a new contract in the off-season.
Jets coach Herman Edwards has done nothing to cool the heat that's been turned up on offensive coordinator Paul Hackett. Asked to assess Hackett's performance since Chad Pennington returned from his injury, Edwards said: "The offense has been kind of up and down. We have to be more consistent with it."
Redskins tackle Chris Samuels, selected third overall in 2000, has played all season with a right ankle injury suffered in the preseason, and will undergo surgery shortly after the season. Although he has one year remaining on his contract and said his agent is negotiating a long-term deal with the Redskins, agreeing to terms could prove difficult and Samuels's massive 2005 salary cap hit of more than $9 million makes some NFL executives wonder if he could be released.
Wayne Chrebet has no intention of retiring after the season. Expounding on comments he made last week, the Jets wide receiver said yesterday that he still has "plenty of football left in me."
Veteran offensive tackle Bob Whitfield said he has enjoyed his three-month stint with the Jaguars so much that he is now strongly reconsidering his plans to retire after this season.
Injured Bengals RB Chris Perry said he would miss two to three months but expects to return in March for the team's offseason strength and conditioning program. By then, Perry -- and his Bengals coaches, teammates and fans -- might know if he would be ear-marked to replace Rudi Johnson as the team's No. 1 running back.
Despite picking up Mike Tice's $1 million, one-year contract option, it wouldn't be surprising if Vikings owner Red McCombs doesn't retain the coach if the team doesn't make the playoffs, with McCombs absorbing the $800,000 payout.
Jeff George has shown enough in practice and in the locker room that Bears coach Lovie Smith wants him to return next season. "We like everything he has done," Smith said. "The times we've seen him in practice, he has been everything we thought he'd be."
QB Kurt Warner made it official that he does not want to return next season as a backup for the Giants or any other team. Warner signed a two-year contract with the Giants in June, but he has met the criteria necessary to void the final year of the deal.
Barring complications to offset the healing of his right foot sprain, Bucs QB Brian Griese will start against the Cardinals in the season finale Sunday.
Chiefs Pro Bowl left tackle Willie Roaf turns 35 in April, but he's already made his decision about whether to return for a 13th NFL season in 2005."I'm playing," Roaf said.
Bill Parcells, when asked if he'd be back in Dallas next season, said: "I think so. I know I'm not going to go forever at my age. We'll see."
The Lions are negotiating with a number of players who will be free agents after the season. Donte Curry, a backup linebacker and one of the league's top special-teams players, is close to a new deal. Punter Nick Harris is another potential free agent who could be close to a new deal before Sunday's final game.
Dolphins QB A.J. Feeley missed Wednesday's practice because of bruised ribs and is listed as doubtful. Thus Sage Rosenfels is likely to make his first NFL start after three seasons in Miami.
Former Cowboys QB Troy Aikman believes Dallas is providing a sign to where the organization is headed next season. Aikman started his rookie year and was battered but recovered. "I would guess that based on the decisions that have been made here this year that it's the organization's belief that neither Tony Romo or Drew Henson will be the quarterback for this team next season," Aikman said.
The Yankees and Diamondbacks last night inched to the doorstep of a deal that will finally put Randy Johnson in pinstripes -- with Arizona most likely getting Javier Vazquez, about $8.5 million, Brad Halsey and Dioner Navarro. Arizona sought the inclusion of Navarro in the deal with designs on packaging him to the Dodgers for Shawn Green. An NL executive also said Arizona is seriously discussing a deal that would send Vazquez to the Orioles, reuniting him with his one-time Expo GM Jim Beattie, who is now a Baltimore executive VP.
Vazquez prefers to stay on the East Coast with his family, and if that hurdle proves too great, the Diamondbacks may try to bring in another team. But recently, GM Joe Garagiola Jr. indicated the Diamondbacks could convince Vazquez to stay with the team beyond 2005, should he get acclimated to the Valley and experience success.
Although a gag order was in place with both teams, sources say Johnson informed a few of his Arizona teammates that he was going to the Yankees.
Considering Johnson's looming extension, the deal will be costly in terms of cash for the Yankees. However, the Yankees will get a break in 2005, as $6 million of Johnson's $16-million salary is deferred. That means he would actually cost less than Vazquez's $11.5-million salary for 2005.
Roberto Alomar has agreed on a one-year contract with the Cardinals, A person familiar with the situation said St. Louis manager Tony La Russa personally called to recruit Alomar, but the one-year deal, worth $500,000 plus incentives, is not guaranteed.
Carlos Beltran's agent said the Cubs still are players for Beltran's services and Sammy Sosa's fate is irrelevant. "I don't know why people are writing the Cubs aren't in it because they have to trade Sammy Sosa first," Scott Boras said.
The Nationals remain at a standstill in their pursuit of free agent pitcher Odalis Perez, the team's primary target remaining on the market.
Mets officials are concerned that Carlos Delgado prefers to stay in the AL. The Orioles definitely are interested; the Tigers might be; and the Red Sox probably would be, especially if they could move the contracts of both Doug Mientkiewicz and Kevin Millar.
Latrell Sprewell was rescued from NBA purgatory five years ago by the Knicks, who took a chance on a talented player with a troubled past. The risk was well worth the reward as Sprewell helped the Knicks reach one NBA Finals and two conference finals. Next summer, the Knicks may try to take the same gamble on Ron Artest, who currently is serving a season-long suspension for his part in a brawl last month in Detroit.
While Michael Cooper may be the Nuggets' interim coach, GM Kiki Vandeweghe is exploring the possibility of hiring a veteran coach. According to sources, Vandeweghe's shortlist includes Dallas Mavericks assistant Del Harris, Utah Jazz assistant Phil Johnson, San Antonio assistant P.J. Carlesimo and former NBA coach George Karl.
Vandeweghe asked the Jazz for permission to talk with Johnson, a former NBA Coach of the Year who has been Jerry Sloan's top assistant for 17 seasons. "He said they were interested, that's all," Johnson said of a "very brief" phone conversation with Vandeweghe. "He wants to talk."
Scratch another name off the list of point guards that the Orlando Magic would be interested in to provide depth behind Steve Francis. Coach Johnny Davis says the Magic have no desire to trade for Gary Payton.
Payton, saying he wants to keep all options open, says the Celtics are the "front-runners." Next week, it may be a different story, since Payton has already said he would like to return to Seattle next season and has no intention of staying with the Celtics, so far from his family on the West Coast.
It appears Chicago doesn't want to deal guard Frank Williams to the Pistons for backups Horace Jenkins and Smush Parker.
The Cavs resume action Jan. 3 against the Bobcats in Charlotte, and Lucious Harris said the team must be prepared for whatever the length of LeBron James' absence. James received an X-ray and CAT scan after colliding with Houston's Dikembe Mutombo.
If he needs another two months to recover, Vlade Divac likely would not play again until after the All-Star break in February. He is eligible to return from the injured list Wednesday but almost certainly will be sidelined for much of January. Divac signed a two-year, $10.3 million contract with the Lakers in July and was expected to be their starting center come November. But he has not played more than seven minutes in any game this season.
Mavs guard Marquis Daniels will visit a chiropractor in Los Angeles today for additional treatment on his sore left ankle. It was decided earlier this week that Daniels use the four-day break between games to get the ankle re-evaluated by a specialist he has seen before.
The wheels are in motion for Todd Bertuzzi's reinstatement into the NHL, but even if commissioner Gary Bettman lifts Bertuzzi's suspension, there's no guarantee that will allow him to play in Europe during the lockout.