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Owens-Porter rumors skewered

By Adam Schefter
Special to
(July 1, 2005) -- A rumor that makes as much sense as Philip Rivers to the 49ers for the No. 1 overall pick has made its rounds on the Internet: Terrell Owens to the Raiders for Jerry Porter.

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Due to salary-cap constraints -- suffocating ones -- the trade could not be completed, no way. Yet in journalism school, the first thing they taught me was, "If your mother tells you she loves you, check it out."

Well, I'm still trying to confirm that my mother loves me, but I have confirmed something else. This trade is positively not happening.

This is the conclusion drawn from an e-mail floated to an Oakland front-office man about the possibility of a trade going through and T.O. and Randy Moss playing together.

The Raiders' official e-mailed response: "It's absolutely (B.S.). Do not think twice about it. Keep grilling."

Well, in that case, burger or brat?

Javon Walker has requested a new contract from the Packers, and Green Bay has given him an answer: No. In fact, make that an emphatic no.

Like the Philadelphia Eagles with holdout wide receiver Terrell Owens, the Packers have taken a hard-line stance with Walker's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, and informed him they will not be giving his client a new contract at this time. The Packers have been very rigid in their approach and both sides admit they're not close to being on the same page.

With the Packers seemingly unwilling to budge, the next decision belongs to Walker. He now must decide whether he is willing to report to training camp July 27 at St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wis., or whether he is willing to skip it like he did with the team's mandatory minicamp.

While the Packers are taking the hard line with Walker, they are taking a much softer stance with free-agent tight end Bubba Franks. The two sides are engaged in talks to try to sign Franks to a long-term deal beyond the $2 million transition tender the Packers slapped on him this offseason. There's no deal yet, but both sides are hoping they can get one done.

The talks could be key to whether or not Franks shows up at training camp on time. Up until now, Franks has not been spotted around the Packers training facility since the day they lost their playoff game to the Minnesota Vikings. But a new deal would ensure Packers quarterback Brett Favre would have back his touchdown target, the 27-year-old tight end that has caught at least seven touchdown passes in three of the past four seasons.

When the Ravens gave a six-year, $30 million contract that included an $11 million signing bonus to tight end Todd Heap, the reverberations were felt in San Diego, Miami and Dallas.

In San Diego, Pro Bowl tight end Antonio Gates is scheduled to become a restricted free agent after this season. He wants a new deal and there has been some speculation he will not be in training camp this summer if he doesn't get one.

In Miami, Dolphins tight end Randy McMichael is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season. Despite being scheduled to make only $455,000 this season, McMichael already has attended the team's minicamps and has vowed to be at training camp all while hoping the Dolphins give him the new deal he desires.

And in Dallas, tight end Jason Witten is scheduled to become a restricted free agent after this season. He has discussed a new deal with Dallas, but doesn't expect anything to happen until after this season.

Keep your eye on this one. Giants tight end Jeremy Shockey's contract is scheduled to expire in two years. Don't be surprised if sometime soon, his agent, Rosenhaus, begins making inquiries about a new deal. With some big money starting to be thrown at tight ends, and with more on the way, Shockey's asking price is going to be directly proportionate to the numbers he posts this season, catching footballs from Giants quarterback Eli Manning. But the Giants want Shockey to prove he can stay healthy before awarding him a new deal.

So T.O. wants a new deal, Walker wants one, but the next Pro Bowl wide receiver to land one is likely to be Cardinals wide receiver Anquan Boldin. The two sides have agreed to resume talks aimed at a long-term extension before training camp, and both sides are hoping it will be consummated before the start of the season. The two sides have talked sporadically since last summer. But right now, however, nothing is imminent.

Still, both sides are motivated to make it happen. Boldin wants a contract that will make him one of the highest-paid receivers in the game, and the Cardinals want to tie up their wideouts long term. They already have their 2004 first-round draft choice, Larry Fitzgerald, signed to a six-year contract, and now they are getting ready to offer Boldin a deal similar in length.

For the start of a mandatory minicamp July 6, the Broncos are expecting defensive end Courtney Brown to return from his left foot injury, defensive end Ebenezer Ekuban to return from his knee and shoulder injuries, and running back Quentin Griffin to return from his knee injury.

But most eyes will be on Brown, the former No. 1 overall pick in the draft who missed 14 games last season due to a torn ligament in his left foot. Brown signed with Denver in part because he knew the Broncos would not overwork him in training camp. To date, the Broncos have taken a very cautious approach with Brown, and they probably will continue to do so through training camp, practicing him only once a day. They know if Brown is healthy, he will turn out to be their biggest offseason acquisition and a force.

July 1st, 2005, 10:02 pm
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Fired Head Coach (0-16 record)
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It never ceases to amaze me how athletic talent makes people greedy moneygrubbers.

"If he isn't the best football player, the best runner, that the Lord has ever made, then the Lord has yet to make one." Wayne Fontes on Barry.

July 4th, 2005, 7:20 pm
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