Monday Morning QB (cont.)
Posted: Monday August 13, 2007 7:57AM; Updated: Friday August 17, 2007 9:02AM
6. Javon Walker will live with the death of Darrent Williams for a very long time. Walker will discuss with Andrea Kremer on HBO Tuesday how it felt to have Williams, the victim of a gangland gunshot in downtown Denver, die in his arms last New Year's Eve. He talked with me about it briefly on Friday, and not with any of the detail he gave Kremer, but I found it interesting how he's going to transfer his energy from mourning to football -- in a positive way.
During my time in Denver last week, I noticed Walker was a solid leader, talking to receivers on the field, even holding the first-down marker on the sideline for a few snaps when it was needed, and I asked him about it. "I can say to guys who might be moping around a little bit, 'No matter what you have going on in life, it could be worse. You never know when something can be taken away from you,' " he said. "I just want every guy out here to take advantage of the opportunity he's being given. I can guarantee you this: If Darrent knew that night was going to be his last night, he'd have done something in his life differently. I want each and every guy we have to go in the right direction each and every day.''
Nos. 7-9. Which of the holdouts -- JaMarcus Russell, Michael Strahan or Larry Johnson -- will last the longest? Gut feeling: Russell. Oakland coach Lane Kiffin has parceled out the portion of the snaps due to go to Russell during training camp to Daunte Culpepper, and the Raiders don't seem to be in a hurry to get the kid signed. I think he might not be signed until September.
Meanwhile, I talked to Strahan on Saturday night and got no indication which way he was leaning. Human nature would say he can't make $4 million in four months anywhere but on the football field this fall, but I'm not sure this is a very normal situation. My guess is he'll play, but my personal preference would be to see him traded to a team that would pay him. Three years ago, this would have been a job for Dan Snyder, but working with Joe Gibbs has transformed Snyder into some sort of Fred MacMurray-type from My Three Sons. You know, Mr. Responsible. This doesn't seem like a Redskins move now.
Re: Johnson, club president Carl Peterson told me, "We are not close.'' I think Johnson waits until the last week of August, squeezes the most guaranteed money out of the Chiefs that he can, and reports.
10. No, Vince Young is not the next NFL problem child. The Titans punished Young for violating a team rule by keeping him out of Saturday's preseason opener. The Tennessean reported Young skipped the last night at the team hotel to sleep in his own bed. Though Jeff Fisher pooh-poohed whatever happened and wouldn't admit the hotel story was right when I spoke to him Sunday night, I was told by another Titans official the incident was true.
"I can guarantee there is no problem going forward,'' Fisher said. "We have rules, and they are rules for everyone. Vince understands we're not going to bend the rules for anyone. He'll be back at practice Monday and everything will be fine. The team is fine too. Vince was at the game last night, communicating with the guys. This is definitely not a major issue.''
And that's the news of the weekend.