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September 11 News and Notes

Niners sign TE Davis to five-year extension — 4:01 p.m.

Vernon Davis has received a five-year contract extension from the San Francisco 49ers.

More ...

— The Associated Press

September 10 News and Notes

Seahawks work out DE — 3:05 p.m.

The Seattle Seahawks worked out free-agent DE Jarius Wynn, a source confirmed.

Wynn, who was selected in the sixth-round of the 2009 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers, was waived by Green Bay on Sept. 4.

Seattle’s interest in Wynn shouldn’t be a surprise considering new Seattle general manager John Schneider was with Green Bay last season.

— Adam Caplan

Eagles made a play for Packers offensive lineman — 2:17 p.m.

The Philadelphia Eagles tried to acquire Green Bay Packers G/C Jason Spitz prior to last weekend’s roster cutdown, the Journal Sentinel report. The paper reported the Eagles offered a sixth-round pick, but Green Bay turned down the offer.

League sources told the Eagles have had their eye on Spitz for several weeks. In fact, Philadelphia had serious interest in him prior to the 2006 NFL Draft.

As noted previously by, Green Bay did not want to trade the interior offensive lineman because they value his versatility.

— Adam Caplan

Bills pick up LB Ayodele — 1:49 p.m.

The Buffalo Bills signed veteran linebacker Akin Ayodele on Friday. To make room for him, veteran linebacker Kawika Mitchell was placed on injured reserve.

Ayodele is entering his ninth season in the NFL and joins the Bills after being released by the Denver Broncos on Aug. 24. The 6-foot-2, 255-pounder started 15 games played with Miami in 2009, and ranked third on the Dolphins with 70 tackles (60 solo).

Ayodele fits in at inside linebacker in Buffalo’s 3-4 defense.

He has previously played for the Jacksonville Jaguars (2002-05), Dallas Cowboys (2006-07), and Miami (2008-09). He is one of three linebackers (along with Keith Brooking and London Fletcher) to appear in every regular season game since 2002.

— Adam Caplan

Hearing set for Chargers player — 11:07 a.m.

Vincent Jackson will know soon if he will be free to play for another team by the season's fourth week if is traded by the Chargers.

NFL Players Association general counsel Richard Berthelsen confirmed to the San Diego Union-Tribune that a hearing regarding Jackson's status is set for Thursday. At issue is whether Jackson still must sit out three games if the Chargers trade him.

Jackson, serving a three-game suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy, has not signed his one-year contract tender from the Chargers.

The league contends that a player is subject to the Roster Exempt List and sitting out three games after reporting, regardless of which team he is on. The NFLPA believes a trade negates the Roster Exempt status.


Colts place Ugoh on IR — 10:07 a.m.

Indianapolis Colts OT Tony Ugoh passed through waivers and went on injured reserve, a source confirmed.

Ugoh was waived/injured on Wednesday. He was suffering from a toe injury that prevented him from practicing for over two weeks.

The Colts claimed OT Joe Reitz off waivers from the Miami Dolphins earlier this week. Reitz only spent three days with Miami. He could get a shot to replace Ugoh as the team’s top backup offensive tackle. A source said the Baltimore Ravens, who waived Reitz over a week ago, wanted to re-sign him to their practice squad.

In addition, WR Taj Smith was waived off injured reserve with an injury settlement.

— Adam Caplan

Lions work out CB — 10:02 a.m.

The Detroit Lions worked out free-agent CB Nathan Vasher on Thursday, a source confirmed.

Vasher was recently released by the San Diego Chargers.

Vasher, who was selected by the Chicago Bears in the fourth-round of the 2004 NFL Draft, fits in as a nickel back at this point in his career.

In addition, the Lions had free-agent TE Marquez Branson in for a visit earlier this week. He was recently waived by the Denver Broncos.

— Adam Caplan

September 9 News and Notes

Bengals DE appealing suspension — 11:31 p.m.

Cincinnati Bengals starting DE Antwan Odom apparently has tested positive for a banned substance and is appealing a suspension.

The seventh-year pro discussed the issue via his Twitter account on Thursday evening:

“To my fans and teammates: Please don't believe the rumors. Yes I tested positive for a banned substance but it wasn't steroids or PEDs. More details to come but for now it's a league issue that's under appeal. Just know that I would never cheat to gain an edge in this game that I love. Don't lose your faith in me and please don't pass judgement based on vicious rumors until all the facts are known. Thank you for all your support I really need it now. “

Odom, who signed a five-year, $29.5 million deal with $11.5 million guaranteed in March of 2008, missed 10 games last season due to a torn Achilles’ tendon. Odom had a remarkable seven sacks in the first two games. reported that Odom’s suspension is for four games.

— Adam Caplan

Jets sell out home opener, avoid blackout – 8:22 p.m.

The New York Jets avoided a television blackout by selling out their season opener against the Baltimore Ravens on Monday night.

Matt Higgins, the team's executive vice president of business operations, added Thursday night that the Jets are ''essentially sold out'' - including personal seat licenses - for the rest of their home games at the New Meadowlands Stadium.

''Let's put it this way: We can say with certainty that there will be no blackouts for the entire season,'' Higgins said. ''So, we are sold out for the entire season.''

After putting the roughly 16,000 upper-bowl tickets on Ticketmaster less than two weeks ago, the non-PSL seats for the first two home games sold out later that night. At that time, Higgins said 96 percent of the stadium's overall seats were sold.

– The Associated Press

Beanie will likely miss opener – 7:29 p.m.

That breakout season so many have predicted for Beanie Wells might be on hold for another week.

The Cardinals' second-year running back sat out practice again Thursday with a sore right knee. He says the knee's ''a lot better,'' but it would be the coach's decision on whether he'd play in the season opener Sunday in St. Louis.

Wells hasn't practiced all week after bruising the knee in last Thursday's final preseason game against Washington.

Coach Ken Whisenhunt says he wants to be cautious because he doesn't want this to be a lingering problem that comes back to bother the big running back late in the season.

Even if he was healthy, Wells still would be behind starter Tim Hightower on the depth chart.

– Associated Press

Vikings without top two cornerbacks – 7:22 p.m.

The Minnesota Vikings will be without two of their top-three cornerbacks when they take on the Saints this evening.

Cedric Griffin (knee) and rookie Chris Cook (knee) are on Minnesota’s inactive list, so second-year CB Asher Allen will get his second NFL start opposite veteran Antoine Winfield. It’s a big step up for Allen, who only participated in roughly 19 percent of the defensive snaps last season.

Minnesota will only be dressing three cornerbacks for this game, so look for New Orleans to spread out the injury depleted secondary with lots of three and four receiver sets.

— Adam Caplan

QB Smith officially named captain of Niners — 6:03 p.m.

It's not as if Alex Smith needed the captain tag in front of his name. As a quarterback, he's long been considered the leader of San Francisco's offense anyway. He spent the offseason showing everybody why.

Smith altered his own schedule to take time to throw to different receivers who needed work. He committed countless hours to studying at team headquarters and picking the brains of offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye and quarterbacks coach Mike Johnson.

''He's the quarterback. He's the captain of the whole team,'' receiver Michael Crabtree said Thursday. ''He runs the ship. He is a captain.''

Now, Smith actually has the title. Coach Mike Singletary made the call this week heading into the season opener at Seattle. It's the first time in Smith's six NFL seasons he's been a regular captain - and he joins Pro Bowl tight end Vernon Davis and star linebacker Patrick Willis among others. Early in his career, Smith was a captain on occasion but the duties shifted game to game.

Smith began last year as the No. 2 quarterback behind Shaun Hill only to take the job at halftime of the Niners' seventh game at Houston - given a big chance to resurrect his career.

— The Associated Press

Cowboys extend Austin’s contract — 5:55 p.m.

The Dallas Cowboys announced starting WR Miles Austin has agreed to a six-year contract extension. Austin signed his one-year restricted free-agent tender earlier this year which will pay him $3.168 million for 2010.

Once Austin signs his new deal, h'll be signed through 2016. While he'll be 32 then, he'll still be able to get one more solid deal.

Austin's story is incredible when you consider Dallas signed him as an undrafted free-agent in May 2006. He worked his way up the depth chart and became a full-time starter in his fourth season.

Austin's since become one of the NFL’s most complete receivers and is known for his size, speed and solid hands.

— Adam Caplan

Moore has the confidence of his teammates — 4:35 p.m.

One list has Carolina's Matt Moore the second-worst starting quarterback in the NFL, better than only the guy he replaced, Jake Delhomme. The popular sentiment is it's just a matter of time until he loses his job to rookie wunderkind Jimmy Clausen.

If it bothers the undrafted Californian, it's hard to tell behind the laid back persona that's helped him win games and the confidence of his teammates.

''It's kind of hard not to give a nod to that guy,'' Panthers receiver Steve Smith said. ''I think he deserves it.''

Added running back DeAngelo Williams: ''He's definitely taken hold of the leadership role.''

The support in the locker room contrasts with the outside opinion of Moore.'s recent QB rankings had Moore 32nd, behind only Cleveland's Jake Delhomme, who was released by Carolina after throwing 18 interceptions last season.

Moore was 4-1 as a starter to close last season, with eight touchdown passes and just one pick.

''There's only one place to go, and that's up,'' Moore said, smiling. ''Literally, there was no pressure (last season). I came in and it really didn't matter what I did. But I think that's the way I want to approach the season. You can't feel the pressure, you can't.''

The Panthers are eager to see how he responds in Sunday's opener at the New York Giants. Not only is it the first regular season game in their $1.6 billion stadium, the Giants are seeking revenge after Moore threw a career-best three TD passes in Carolina's 41-9 rout last season.

— The Associated Press

Broncos going with youth up front — 4:19 p.m.

Knowshon Moreno, the first tailback selected in last year's NFL draft, never seemed to find a rhythm as a rookie, failing repeatedly to move the chains in short-yardage situations. Broncos coach Josh McDaniels insists it wasn't Moreno's fault.

He defended his first-ever draft pick by suggesting ''we had some linemen up front that aren't here anymore that were light, weak, old,'' an unusually candid criticism of former Broncos Ben Hamilton and Casey Wiegmann, especially considering the Broncos will face both of them this season.

A lot was made of McDaniels beefing up his defensive line with the free agent additions of Jamal Williams, Justin Bannan and Jarvis Green - who was waived last week - but the Broncos also bulked up their offensive line this offseason.

McDaniels drafted guard/tackle Zane Beadles of Utah in the second round and center J.D. Walton of Baylor in the third round. Both are slated to start Sunday at Jacksonville, along with guard Stanley Daniels, who was claimed off waivers from Green Bay this year.

McDaniels said he expected more out of that group this season, including Moreno, the University of Georgia star who was taken with the 12th overall pick in 2009.

Although Moreno rushed for 947 yards and seven touchdowns and caught 28 passes for 213 yards and two TDs his rookie season, he repeatedly came up short in short-yardage, and his per-carry average was a run-of-the-mill 3.8 yards.

— The Associated Press

Witherspoon plans to play, despite mother's death — 4:11 p.m.

Tennessee coach Jeff Fisher says Will Witherspoon's mother has died unexpectedly and that the Titans starting linebacker's been excused from practice this week.

The team says the death occurred Tuesday morning, but didn't release any other details.

Fisher says the Titans are leaving it up to Witherspoon when to return to the team, though the veteran told the coach he plans to be back for Sunday's opener against Oakland.

Fisher says with eight years of NFL experience, Witherspoon should be able to play without practicing for a few days.

— The Associated Press

Crabtree ready to get things going — 3:47 p.m.

Michael Crabtree's sore neck is much better, he insists he's ready to play after missing the entire preseason and the spat last week with teammate Vernon Davis is long since done.

Crabtree, the second-year 49ers receiver, will start his first season opener Sunday at Seattle after not joining the team until October his rookie year following a 71-day contract stalemate by the 10th-overall draft pick in 2009.

While Crabtree formally addressed the media Thursday for the first time since the start of training camp, Davis came up behind him and kissed him on the back of his right shoulder and rubbed his head.

Davis let his teammate have it during a practice last week and coach Mike Singletary had to step between them before taking both players to the locker room for a talk.

— The Associated Press

Woodson deal complete — 3:43 p.m.

The Green Bay Packers have signed cornerback Charles Woodson to a contract extension through the 2014 season.

Financial terms weren't immediately available Thursday. The 33-year-old Woodson says he intends to retire as a Packer.

Woodson, the 2009 AP Defensive Player of the Year, had three seasons left on his existing deal, but his standout play, combined with a recent new deal for Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis, likely compelled the Packers to act.

Woodson had a career-high nine interceptions last season.

— The Associated Press

Bucs/Browns game to be blacked out - 1:50 p.m.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers say their season opener Sunday against the Browns will be blacked out locally.

It's the club's first regular season blackout since 1997, the year before the Bucs moved into Raymond James Stadium. Both home exhibition games were blacked out last month.

The team didn't say exactly how many tickets remained unsold at 1 p.m. Thursday, which is the NFL deadline for blackouts.

- The Associated Press

Report: Packers agree with Woodson — 1:39 p.m.

According to Josina Anderson of Denver-FOX31, the Packers and All-Pro CB Charles Woodson have agreed on a new deal. Anderson reports that Woodson is expected to sign later today.

— Adrian Hasenmayer

Dolphins cut ties with center — 1:31 p.m.

As noted recently, if Jake Grove didn’t wind up winning the starting center job for the Miami Dolphins, he could be released. That’s exactly what happened on Thursday. Grove lost the job to Joe Berger.

Grove signed a five-year, $29.5 million deal in March of 2009 which included $14 million guaranteed. $12 million of the guaranteed money came in a signing bonus. The other guaranteed money came in the form of $2 million in base salary in 2009. Without any guaranteed money left for 2010, the Dolphins decided to move on without the veteran interior offensive lineman.

Berger, who signed for a second time with Miami back in 2009, is listed with a base salary of just $700,000 for 2010. Berger is on the second season of a three-year deal which included only $325,000 guaranteed. Needless to say, it’s time he got a raise.

— Adam Caplan

Rams work out WR candidates — 10:42 a.m.

This preseason, the St. Louis Rams lost starting WR Donnie Avery for the season, so they have decided to take a look at improving their depth at the position.

Among players recently cut by other teams, Derek Hagan (Giants), Demetrius Williams (Ravens), Paul Williams (Titans) and Jason Hill (49ers) all worked out for the Rams earlier this week, a source confirmed, but none of them have signed a contract. All four players were recently released due to the final roster reduction to 53 players.

A source also confirmed the Rams worked out free-agent S Al Afalava, who was recently waived by the Chicago Bears.

— Adam Caplan

Update: Brady not hospitalized — 9:44 a.m.

The New England Patriots released a statement regarding Tom Brady on Thursday morning:

“Patriots QB Tom Brady was in a car accident this morning. He was not hospitalized and is expected at Gillette Stadium today.”

It will be interesting to see if the team lists Brady with a different injury on today’s injury report. He was listed on Wednesday’s report with his usual “right shoulder” problem. That’s the same right shoulder listing from the previous four to five years.

— Adam Caplan

Report: Patriots QB in car crash — 8:26 a.m.

According to, New England Patriots QB Tom Brady was involved in a car accident in Boston Thursday morning.

According to the report, Brady was "shaken" and it was believed that the jaws of life were used in the accident and that a pole was down at the scene.

However, another report said Brady did not go to the hospital after leaving the accident. Instead, he headed to Gillette Stadium, presumably to attend Thursday’s practice.

New England will also practice on Friday in preparations for Sunday’s season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals.

— Adam Caplan

Raiders work out DE — 7:12 a.m.

The Oakland Raiders, who are a little light on depth on the defensive line, worked out free-agent DE Bobby McCray this week, a source confirmed.

McCray was released by the New Orleans Saints on Sept. 3.

The Raiders only have three defensive ends on their current 53-man roster.

— Adam Caplan

Bengals work out two WRs — 7:12 a.m.

The Cincinnati Bengals have very good depth at the receiver, but that hasn’t stopped them from looking at a few more players at that position.

The team worked out free-agent WRs Marcus Henry and Samuel Giguere this week, a source confirmed.

Henry was waived by the New York Jets on Aug. 29. Giguere was waived by the Indianapolis Colts on Sept. 4.

The Bengals have six receivers on their 53-man roster and one on their practice squad.

They also worked out free-agent FB Jason Davis, who was waived by the Jets on Sept. 4.

— Adam Caplan

September 8 News and Notes

T.O. criticizes Favre’s offseason antics — 9:40 p.m.

Bengals wide receiver Terrell Owens, who has long been a lightning rod for criticism for his diva-like antics , took a direct shot at Brett Favre and the will-he-or-won’t-he offseason questions about the Vikings quarterback.

Specifically: What’s the deal with Favre missing most or all of training camp while he debated whether to keep playing football? Why is that OK?

“Had it been one of us doing some of the same things, pulling these stunts that Brett Favre has done the last two or three years, then we would be labeled 'not a team player,' 'selfish,' and these are times where you want your guys to be in camp, bonding with your teammates, learning the plays, going through the whole team concept just like everybody else,” Owens said in the segment filmed this week, according to “And now it's like, yeah, he's set himself above team standards."

— Nancy Gay

Former NFL rushing king says he’s better than current one — 9:38 p.m.

Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, during a guest spot on “The Dan Patrick Show” on Wednesday, was asked point blank – who’s the better back, AP or Titans All-Pro Chris Johnson?

“Are you better than Chris?” Patrick asked Peterson.

“Yes,” Peterson declared.

According to Judd Zulgad of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Peterson explained it this way: “He’s not faster, stronger, anything. You’ve got to understand, you’re talking to a guy … that’s just the mentality that I have. I have ultimate respect for the guys and he’s a heck of a player.

“I remember at one point and time me talking on the phone to Chris Johnson. He was telling me, 'I'm just a big fan of yours. I like your style.' Some advice that I gave him was, 'I play this game to be the best player ever to play the game. That's my mentality.'"

Johnson put up 2,006 rushing yards last season and an NFL-record 2,509 yards from scrimmage. Fantasy players can only hope that Peterson – who had an NFL-best 1,760 rushing yards in 2008 -- challenges him for the NFL’s rushing title this season, especially now that Peterson says his fumbling ways are behind him.

— Nancy Gay

Eagles playing at full strength — 9:30 p.m.

Of the 28 teams practicing on Wednesday, the Philadelphia Eagles were the only team that did not list a player on their injury report. Because there are two games on Monday night, four teams did not practice on Wednesday.

Starting C Jamaal Jackson (knee), who has not played since suffering a torn ACL during a Week 16 game last season at home against the Denver Broncos, practiced fully on Wednesday.

Philadelphia opens up the regular season at home against the Green Bay Packers.

— Adam Caplan

Broncos hopeful Moreno can go against Jaguars — 9:00 p.m.

Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno seems to be recovered from the hamstring injury that forced him to miss a month of training camp. Denver’s top running back participated in full 11-on-11 drills on Wednesday, which makes him more likely to play Sunday when the Broncos open the season against the Jaguars at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium.

Moreno’s playing status might be better gauged on Thursday; if he’s able to practice, his chances of playing and being effective on Sunday increase. Players returning from hamstring strains typically experience pain and stiffness once they return to full participation.

— Nancy Gay

Raiders’ Cable hopeful Bush can play against Titans — 8:57 p.m.

Raiders coach Tom Cable told Titans reporters during a weekly conference call that he’s not ruling out running back Michael Bush (fractured thumb) for Sunday’s opener against the Titans at Nashville’s LP Field.

Players are specified as either probable, questionable, doubtful or out on Friday’s NFL-issued injury reports. Wednesday, Bush was listed as “limited” in practice.

According to the Bay Area News Group’s Jerry McDonald, Cable said, “I think there’s a real chance,” when asked whether Bush could play, less than four weeks after undergoing thumb surgery. “I was kind of shocked to hear that today, someone said he was out. He did quite a bit today. We’ll see what he feels like tomorrow.”

— Nancy Gay

Colts waive once-promising tackle — 8:51 p.m.

At one point earlier in his career with the Indianapolis Colts, Tony Ugoh seemed to be on his way to being one of the top young left tackles in the NFL.

But injuries and inconsistency seemed to curtail a once promising career.

On Wednesday, the team waived/injured the fourth-year offensive lineman, a source confirmed. Ugoh was listed with a toe injury. If he passes through waivers, he’ll go directly to injured reserve.

Ugoh was selected in the second-round of the 2007 NFL Draft.

To replace him on the 53-man roster, the Colts claimed OT Joe Reitz off waivers from the Miami Dolphins. Reitz was waived by Miami on Tuesday.

Because Ugoh was their top backup left tackle, Reitz could get a shot at that role if he sticks around for a while.

— Adam Caplan

Raiders part ways with veteran OT — 8:33 p.m.

It might come to a surprise to some, but the Oakland Raiders released veteran OT Erik Pears on Wednesday. Pears was the backup at right tackle for the team. The only other tackle on the roster is veteran Khalif Barnes, who has played mostly left tackle in his career.

To replace Pears on the 53-man roster, the Raiders signed free-agent DT Jay Alford, who was waived by the New York Giants last weekend.

In other team news, RB Michael Bush (broken thumb) was able to take in part of Wednesday’s practice.

— Adam Caplan

Cowboys forced to dodge tornadoes in Dallas — 8:29 p.m.

The Cowboys were forced to bus to TCU’s indoor practice facility on Wednesday because of tornadoes and flooding rains in the Dallas area.

The Cowboys have had to use the indoor facilities at local high schools and TCU since their own facility collapsed in a thunderstorm in May of 2009.

The team could not practice at Cowboys Stadium on Wednesday because it was being prepped for a Super Bowl XLV-related concert Friday.

Having to go off-site to practice is just another diversion for a team that constantly deals with distractions. After all, this is the team that held training camp in San Antonio, Dallas and Oxnard, Calif.

“I think our players, just like I do, the Dallas Cowboys are going to have to be adjustable,” Phillips said. “You have to be adjustable to be on this team, and you have to be ready at any time. So any adjustment we have to make, even if it’s during the week, it’s all part of it.” Full story ...

— FOX Sports Southwest

MJD tired of all the knee talk — 7:58 p.m.

Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew is tired of the non-stop questions about the status of his alleged left knee injury, which one Internet report claims was repaired in an arthroscopic surgical procedure two weeks ago.

Jones-Drew, who practiced on Monday and expects to be ready for Sunday’s season opener against the Broncos, denies he had any surgery. Coach Jack Del Rio also shot down the arthroscopic surgery report, as did Jones-Drew’s agent. Heck, he denies he has a knee injury at all. He told reporters in Jacksonville his knee is a “non-issue” despite the fact he practiced on a limited basis the past few weeks and didn't play in the Jaguars’ final two preseason games.

The explanation? Coaches were resting him the final two weeks to get their top offensive threat ready for Week 1.

Sunday should provide some insight as to whether Jones-Drew may be back to his All-Pro form in 2009, when he had 312 carries for 1,391 yards and 15 touchdowns – all career highs. In the preseason, he ran just six times for minus-2 yards; his longest run was 3 yards.

— Nancy Gay

Bucs keeping Freeman's workload light — 7:19 p.m.

Tampa Bay quarterback Josh Freeman was limited in practice Wednesday, although the Buccaneers say he remains on course to start the team's season opener against the Browns.

A day after participating in his first full practice since breaking the thumb on his throwing hand in a preseason game, the second-year pro wore a baseball cap and a wrap on that hand while the rest of the team worked out in helmets and shoulder pads in preparation for Sunday's opener.

Bucs coach Raheem Morris said limiting Freeman during what amounted to an extra day of practice was part of a plan to ensure the 22-year-old is able to play this week. The coach said Freeman will practice Thursday and Friday and is ''right on schedule'' to start against the Browns.

— The Associated Press

Williams to start season as Seahawks starting WR — 6:57 p.m.

Mike Williams has never started on opening day in three lackluster NFL seasons.

That tells you immediately how much of a bust the career of the former first-round pick has been.

Now three years removed from his last NFL game, Williams finds himself listed as the starter on Sunday when Seattle opens its season at home against San Francisco.

When Williams was given a second chance this spring by his former coach at Southern California, Pete Carroll, many viewed it as a goodwill gesture toward a former Trojan who never met his potential.

Williams says he heard those doubters and fought to keep out any negativity. The result, he believes, is what's transpired on the field.

— The Associated Press

Campbell's pumped to get things going — 6:37 p.m.

Jason Campbell's talked about how his trade to Oakland offered a new start to his career following a disappointing five-year run in Washington. After a long offseason, he starts his tenure as the Raiders' starting quarterback Sunday against the Titans.

''It's exciting,'' Campbell said Wednesday. ''Every year, the first game is always different, this year especially because I am with a new team. There's a lot of new faces on this team, and a lot of guys trying to establish what we're going to be for the year.''

Campbell's trying to establish a new identity as a player in Oakland. The Raiders are trying to do the same as a team following an NFL-record seven straight seasons of at least 11 losses.

With former No. 1 overall pick JaMarcus Russell at the helm, the Raiders had one of the worst offenses in the league in '09 on the way to a 5-11 finish. They were second-to-last in scoring, with 197 points, and gained the second-fewest yards. The team showed some improvement late in the season after Russell was benched, leading to the draft-day trade for Campbell and subsequent release of Russell.

That was just one of the changes on offense, where new coordinator Hue Jackson's brought in some wrinkles from his time in Baltimore, and rookie center Jared Veldheer and veteran tackle Langston Walker are being counted on to improve the offensive line.

The Raiders are hoping those changes will help second-year receivers Louis Murphy and Darrius Heyward-Bey shine after up-and-down rookie campaigns.

The most important change is at quarterback, where Campbell replaces a player who had the lowest passer rating for a season of any quarterback since 1998.

''He's had his own ups and downs, so I think he's been a good fit for us and vice versa,'' Raiders coach Tom Cable said. ''He's come into this thing with an open mind and really opened himself up to this team and you find out real quick what Jason Campbell is all about. He's going to be about team, about hard work and wanting to achieve and I think that's really important at the quarterback spot.''

— The Associated Press

Clayton grasping the St. Louis offense well already — 6:31 p.m.

After one practice, new Rams receiver Mark Clayton thought he'd be ready for Sunday's opener against Arizona.

Rookie quarterback Sam Bradford was optimistic, too, after seeing Clayton in action Wednesday. Bradford said it appeared Clayton already had a ''great grasp'' of the offense.

''He didn't ask a lot of questions,'' Bradford said. ''He just got in the huddle, I called the play and he knew where to go, knew where to line up and knew what to run.

''I think he's got a lot of speed. I think if we can get him the ball, he can definitely do some things with it.''

Coach Steve Spagnuolo also thought Clayton was a quick learner after noting he knew where to line up during a pre-practice walkthrough.

The Rams acquired Clayton on Monday in a trade with the Ravens, who needed to make room for T.J. Houshmandzadeh. He adds needed experience at the position, especially after deep threat Donnie Avery was lost with a knee injury in the preseason.

The veteran receiver had gotten a crash course on the offense from coaches to ease the learning curve, and told them he didn't care where he lined up, just that he played.

''I've been all over,'' he said. ''Backfield, running, I can throw it, kick it. Whatever you need.''

— The Associated Press

Palmer and Palmer 1-2 on Bengals depth chart — 6:03 p.m.

Carson Palmer's new backup knows him better than anyone. If the Bengals quarterback has to leave a game, younger brother Jordan will take his place.

Jordan Palmer's moved up to No. 2 quarterback for the season opener at New England on Sunday, the first time the brothers have the top spots on the depth chart.

''It is really cool, when you take a step back,'' Jordan said Wednesday. ''Right now, there's not much time to sit around and think how cool this is because we have so much work ahead of us.''

It's something that's never happened in the NFL. The Palmers are the only brothers to play quarterback together during the Super Bowl era, and they're only the second set of quarterback brothers on the same team - Ty and Koy Detmer were with the Eagles in 1997.

Carson Palmer won the Heisman at Southern California and was the first overall pick in the 2003 draft. Jordan, who's four years younger, set passing records at UTEP, was drafted by the Redskins in the sixth round in 2007, played in one preseason game and was waived.

He signed with the Arizona Rattlers of the Arena Football League and was packing for Phoenix when the Bengals called with an offer to be their No. 3 quarterback. His progress over the last two seasons made them confident enough to release J.T. O'Sullivan and elevate him to No. 2 at the end of preseason.

''It's definitely a boost of confidence to know there's an organization behind me as opposed to just my wife and my mom,'' he said, smiling. ''That was good. At the same time, I think I'm ready to make the step. I've been preparing like a starter the last two years. The things that Carson does to get ready for the games, I try to do myself.''

The Bengals filled their No. 3 quarterback spot by claiming quarterback Dan LeFevour off waivers from Chicago. He was a sixth-round pick from Central Michigan, where he threw for more than 12,000 yards and ran for more than 2,500 during his career.

— The Associated Press

Two Cowboy OL miss yet another practice — 5:47 p.m.

Tony Romo might be without two of his main blockers in the opener Sunday night at Washington.

Cowboys right tackle Marc Colombo and left guard Kyle Kosier missed practice again Wednesday because of knee injuries suffered during training camp, leaving little time for them to prove they're healthy enough to play.

Colombo's the surprise. He was supposed to have been back a week ago based on the initial timetable after arthroscopic surgery.

''If he doesn't practice this week, I would say he probably wouldn't play,'' coach Wade Phillips said.

Kosier sprained a ligament and is three weeks into a recovery that was expected to take 4 to 6 weeks.

Dallas has veteran backups for both: Alex Barron at right tackle, Montrae Holland at left guard.

Phillips said going with a pair of backups wouldn't change the game plan much.

''I think the strength of the guys that are in there, Barron and Holland, are comparable to what we have so you don't have to change too much,'' he said. ''Colombo pulled and did some things like that; well, Barron can do that. Montrae is a guard similar to what Kosier does. It's not a big change as far as the plays you run. And both can pass protect.''

— The Associated Press

Long returns to Dolphins practice — 5:33 p.m.

Miami Dolphins Pro Bowl tackle Jake Long is back at practice on a limited basis.

Long, nursing a left knee injury, was involved in some of Wednesday's workout.

Elsewhere, linebacker Channing Crowder, who has been sidelined since August 17 because of a groin injury, jogged on the side.

The Dolphins open the season Sunday at Buffalo.

— The Associated Press

Mathews to start the post-Tomlinson era in San Diego — 5:12 p.m.

Ryan Mathews wants to be clear - he's following LaDainian Tomlinson, not replacing the great running back with the Chargers.

After showing his speed and power in the limited context of exhibition games, Mathews gets to unleash it full-time when the Chargers begin pursuit of their fifth straight AFC West title Monday night at Kansas City.

Mathews idolized Tomlinson to the point that he wore No. 21 while at Fresno State. On draft day, when the Chargers moved up 16 spots to take Mathews with the 12th pick overall, he suddenly found himself taking over for L.T.

Mathews says he respects Tomlinson's legacy and isn't trying to replace him. He says he'll do his part to help the Chargers win and hopefully begin building his own legacy.

— The Associated Press

Leinart finally practices with Texans — 5:11 p.m.

Matt Leinart's off to the fresh start he's been given by the Houston Texans.

Released last week by the Cardinals, Leinart practiced with the Texans for the first time since signing a one-year deal with the team Monday.

The 2004 Heisman Trophy winner will be the third-string quarterback when the Texans open the season against Indianapolis on Sunday. It's a humbling fall from the high expectations he brought to the NFL after a spectacular career at Southern California.

He spent about six hours Wednesday with Texans quarterback coach Greg Knapp, getting his first taste of the complex offense that led the NFL in yards passing in 2009. The 27-year-old Leinart says he'll use the season to try to get his career back on track.

— The Associated Press

49ers re-sign second-year quarterback — 5:04 p.m.

The San Francisco 49ers re-signed QB Nate Davis on Wednesday, but not to the 53-man roster. Davis was signed to the team's eight-man practice squad. To make room for him, the team released rookie QB Jarrett Brown. A source said Brown was actually released on Tuesday.

QB Troy Smith was signed by the team Tuesday to initially take Davis' place on the active roster after Davis was waived last weekend.

— Adam Caplan

Phillips back in as starter at safety for Giants — 4:47 p.m.

After missing most of last season, safety Kenny Phillips is back in the Giants' starting lineup.

Phillips, who underwent microfracture surgery on his left knee last September, worked with the first team Wednesday in preparation for the season opener against the Panthers on Sunday.

''This has been a long, long, long, long offseason for me,'' Phillips said. ''It's like I had two because of the surgery. I missed it, I really did. They say you don't know how much you missed it until it's gone. Not to be out there was an eye opener. I am going to go out there and have fun and not take it for granted.''

Phillips practiced for the first time since the surgery August 9. He's made great strides in recent weeks after being only allowed to take baby steps in the early part of training camp.

''For them to have me already penciled as a starter, I must be doing something right,'' Phillips said. ''So, I have to go out there and continue getting reps and just work on my technique.''

The 23-year-old Phillips always had returning to the starting lineup as his main goal, but was frustrated at times when the coaching staff limited his work load.

He sat out the first preseason game, got 12 snaps in the second, 20-something in the third and slightly more in the preseason finale against New England.

''I felt like I had 80 today, so we are getting ready for it,'' Phillips said.

— The Associated Press

Bucs focusing largely on stopping KR Cribbs — 3:56 p.m.

Cleveland's all-purpose weapon Josh Cribbs is public enemy No. 1 for Tampa Bay head coach and defensive coordinator Raheem Morris.

Morris has seen plenty of film on Cribbs and has seen him create havoc as a return specialist, a wide receiver, a running back and a quarterback in the wildcat offense. Morris admitted to having to use valuable practice time to prepare against the wildcat in case Cribbs replaces Jake Delhomme at quarterback and uses his speed and quickness as a run-pass option as the Browns come to town on Sunday for the 2010 regular season opener. Full Story

— FOX Sports Florida

Jackson will supposedly play in Bills' opener — 3:15 p.m.

Buffalo running back Fred Jackson is expected to play in the team's opener against the Dolphins this weekend, while free safety Jairus Byrd's status has not yet been determined.

Bills coach Chan Gailey said before practice Wednesday that Jackson ''will be fine for the game'' a month after having surgery to repair a broken bone in his left hand. How much he'll play and how effective he'll be remains a question, because Gailey noted the player will be fitted with a pad around his injured hand.

Jackson, who finished last season as the team's starter, has been out since he was hurt in the first quarter of a preseason-opening loss at Washington. Though rookie C.J. Spiller has taken over the starting job entering Sunday's game, Gailey said both Jackson and veteran Marshawn Lynch will get their share of playing time.

Gailey was less definitive about Byrd, who returned to practice this week after surgery to repair a groin injury three weeks ago. His status will be monitored daily in leading up to the game.

Linebacker Reggie Torbor, who was projected to start at one of two outside spots, didn't practice and it's uncertain if he'll play. He's been out since hurting his knee against Indianapolis on August 19.

Cornerbacks Terrence McGee and Leodis McKelvin returned to practice after being held out Monday.

Also on Wednesday, the Bills signed tight end DajLeon Farr to the practice squad and waived tight end Derek Schouman from injured reserve.

The 6-foot-5 Farr is an undrafted rookie out of Memphis who was released by the Cowboys last weekend. The moves were the latest in a series of shuffles the Bills have made to address their injury and suspension-depleted position.

The Bills have only two tight ends on their active roster, while Shawn Nelson serves a four-game NFL-imposed suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy.

Schouman, who hurt his knee two weeks ago, spent the past three seasons in Buffalo.

— The Associated Press

Spiller named Bills opening day starter at RB — 3:11 p.m.

Ever since he was drafted ninth overall, running back C.J. Spiller's been unafraid to discuss how much he wants to play a role in turning around a Bills franchise that's been an afterthought for much of the past decade.

He's getting a chance to start proving it.

Coach Chan Gailey on Wednesday named Spiller his starter this weekend when the Bills open the season by hosting Miami. Gailey based his decision on the dynamic spark Spiller showed through much of the preseason by leading the team in scoring with three touchdowns.

Gailey says Spiller would've gotten the nod as starter even if Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch, who split the starting duties last year, hadn't missed much of the past month with injuries.

— The Associated Press

Dolphins take chance on KR — 10:49 a.m.

The Miami Dolphins have signed RB/KR Clifton Smith. Smith was waived by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last weekend.

Smith (5-9, 190) has played in 20 games in his career. As a rookie in 2008, Smith became the first Buccaneers kick returner ever selected to the Pro Bowl and just the second rookie in team history to make the annual all-star game, joining RB Warrick Dunn in 1997.

Smith also Earned All-NFC honors at punt returner by PFW/PFWA and was a second-team AP All-Pro selection as a kick returner in 2008 where he led the team with 36 kickoff returns for 992 yards, good for a 27.6 yard average. He also became the first player in franchise history with a kickoff return TD (97 yards at Kansas City on 11/2/08) and punt return TD (70 yards vs. Detroit on 11/23/08) in the same season. In 2009, Smith led the NFL with a 29.1 kickoff return average.

He originally signed with Tampa Bay on May 6, 2008 as an undrafted college free agent.

To make room for Smith on the 53-man roster, the Dolphins waived OL Joe Reitz, who was originally awarded off waivers to the Dolphins on Sept. 5.

— Adam Caplan

Lions work out another OL — 10:49 a.m.

No NFL team worked out more free agents in the last year than the Detroit Lions. They got started again on player evaluations by working out free-agent G Donald Thomas on Tuesday, who was waived by the Miami Dolphins last weekend.

Thomas, who was selected in the sixth-round of the 2008 NFL Draft by Miami, started 13 games over the past two seasons.

In addition, a source confirmed the Lions also worked out TE Joe Jon Finley and C Chris White.

White, 27, was released last weekend by the Houston Texans. He has started eight games in his six-year career. All eight starts came with Houston last season.

Finley was waived by the San Francisco 49ers last Friday.

— Adam Caplan

Saints cut CB on eve of opener — 10:40 a.m.

The New Orleans Saints released veteran CB Leigh Torrence.

The journeyman defensive back has appeared in 12 games over the past two seasons with the Saints.

With Torrence’s release, the Saints now have just four cornerbacks on their 53-man roster. However, fourth-year DB Usama Young is capable of playing cornerback. He moved over to safety during his second season of play.

The Saints replaced Torrence on the roster with TE Tory Humphrey, who was released a few days ago.

— Adam Caplan

Jets given exemption for Revis — 9:11 a.m.

The New York Jets got a roster exemption for CB Darrelle Revis, a source confirmed.

Revis, who reported to the team earlier this week after a lengthy contract dispute was resolved, is slated to play against the Baltimore Ravens in Monday night’s season opener. So look for the exemption, which is until Sept. 20, to be lifted prior to the game.

— Adam Caplan

Patriots bring in linebacker for visit — 9:10 a.m.

The New England Patriots had free-agent LB Charlie Anderson in for a visit Tuesday, a source confirmed. When players visit with a team, they typically meet with positional coaches and take a physical.

Anderson, who was released by the Miami Dolphins on Monday, is capable of playing OLB or ILB in New England’s 3-4 defensive scheme.

Anderson didn’t play much on defense last season for Miami, but he participated in over 60 percent of the special teams plays.

— Adam Caplan

MORE CAMP BUZZ: September 1-7

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