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Monday, April 30, 2007

Mackey Award Winner Matt Spaeth Gets Ready For The Next Level




NFL Draft Preview
Courtesy: University of Minnesota

April 26, 2007

GS.com: Is there anything from the draft process that surprised you?

Matt Spaeth: No. I felt like my agent and all the people around me really had me well prepared for everything that I was going to face whether it was questions at the combine or different things about the visits. I had a pretty good idea about everything.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Ted Ginn Jr. Selected Ninth Overall in 2007 NFL Draft





Ted Ginn Jr. gets the
call from the Miami
Dolphins and becomes
the 9th pick of the
first round of the NFL
Draft on Saturday.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Arizona's Johnson excited but low-key



By Ryan Finley
April 27, 2007

Michael Johnson is trying not to get too nervous.

Yes, the former UA safety knows the NFL draft is this weekend. He knows he will likely be taken.

Johnson also knows his childhood dream of playing professional football is just days — hours? minutes? — away from coming true.

He just does not want to think too much about it. Yet.

"It's starting to get to me, now that we're getting down to it," Johnson said. "Right now, I'm just trying to stay focused so I don't get too anxious. I need to see where the cards fall."

If scouts are right, the Wildcats' 6-foot-3-inch, 211-pound free safety has nothing to worry about.

Teams are attracted to his athleticism and versatility. Johnson's 40-yard dash time of 4.53 belies the fact that he has good closing speed and quick hands, said Scott Wright of NFLDraftCountdown.com.

"I like Michael Johnson," Wright told the Star. "He's very athletic, and he has good size and bulk."

Johnson's agent, Neil Cornrich, praised the safety's "great strength and rare coverage abilities," as well as his smarts.

Johnson remained in school after his senior season, and will graduate in May with a degree in communications.

"Based on both his measurables and intangibles, it looks like he's going to be a first-day guy," Cornrich said. "Teams are looking for someone with character, and I think he has demonstrated that over and over again."

Johnson, 22, has help. His brother, Reggie Brown, has become his close adviser throughout the draft process.

Brown is one of the few people to understand Johnson's situation. Brown was taken in the first round of the 1996 NFL draft (17th overall) by the Detroit Lions after a stellar career at Texas A&M.

Brown, who is now out of football, helped Johnson select Cornrich from a pool of agents and prepared him for the NFL Combine in February. Brown also has explained the nature of an often-cruel business.

"I just tried to reiterate what's really important and what teams really look for," Brown said. "I told him to be yourself. Let your track record speak for yourself. Be a responsible young man. Be professional."

Brown, 32, also serves as a reminder of the sport's fleeting nature. Two years into his pro career, Brown suffered an on-field collision that nearly cost him his life.

Brown suffered a spinal cord injury during the Lions' Dec. 21, 1997 game against the Jets. He lay motionless on the Pontiac Silverdome turf for 17 minutes as his teammates watched, stunned. At one point, he stopped breathing.

Johnson, 13 at the time, was affected by the injury. The brothers lived together at their mother's house as Reggie rehabbed his injury.

"For him, it may have been one of those life lessons," Brown said. "He got to see me every day in my halo (brace), and watched me go from an athlete to what I had become, and then back to normal."

Brown made a complete recovery but never played football again.

The ordeal has given his little brother a sense of perspective.

He has passed on many of the typical trappings that come with his position. Johnson will not live it up on draft day. Instead, he will spend the weekend at his mother's house in Austin, Texas.

And he won't even watch the draft.

"When I make the team," he said, "I can celebrate."

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Scout.com on Ted Ginn, Jr.



Nick Athan
WarpaintIllustrated.com
April 25, 2007

One thing is abundantly clear as we move closer to Saturday’s NFL Draft. The Chiefs are going to get an impact player at #23. On Monday we talked about Brady Quinn, and Tuesday we offered our take on Justin Harrell. We go back to offense and look at the wide receiver position today, which is stacked with playmakers who could fall to the Chiefs.

I’m not a big fan of picking wide receivers in the first round. I think it’s a position that generally fails in the first round and is one of the hardest to learn in the NFL. Those that have success in college – especially those with great speed – find it difficult to kick it up a notch when they’ve been so dominant in college.

One wide receiver that might break that mold is Ohio State’s Ted Ginn, Jr. He’s fast, and can easily outrun NFL cornerbacks. He tortured the likes of Leon Hall (Michigan), the top-rated corner in the draft, and Darrelle Revis (Pittsburgh), the second-ranked corner in the draft.

Ginn is a perfectionist when it comes to running routes. He has great hands and is extremely quick.
The Chiefs have not had a receiver with this kind of talent in a long time. No offense to the guys on the roster now - especially Eddie Kennison and the two young receivers, Chris Hannon and Jeff Webb - but Ginn is something special.

The best part about Ginn is he won’t be asked to start if the Chiefs draft him. Don’t get me wrong, they need an upgrade at the position, but because Ginn can return punts and kicks he can get into the flow of the game, gauge the speed of the NFL and contribute in other ways while he learns the offense.

The Chiefs have Dante Hall on the roster but they’ve been shopping him to other teams in recent weeks. The difference between Ginn and Hall is that Ginn is far more polished as a receiver and is a better special teams weapon than Hall was when he came out of Texas A&M as a running back.

Again, the Chiefs needs in this draft are plentiful, and wide receiver is one of them. The fact that Herm Edwards wants to give Webb and Hannon lots of reps heading into the season means he wasn’t happy with last season’s production from the position.

KC’s offense is going to focus even more on the running attack, but you need players who can catch the ball over the middle and gain an extra yard on third down to keep the sticks moving.

Outside of Calvin Johnson, who likely will go in the top three picks, I wouldn’t take another receiver in the first round outside of Ginn – and I say that only because he’s a two-dimensional player.

If he’s available at #23, it’ll be hard for Edwards to pass up that 4.35 speed despite needs at other positions.

Tribune Discusses NFL Draft Strategy, Cornrich Comments



By Scott Brown

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin had just given (gasp!) an actual opinion about a draft prospect, Pitt cornerback Darrelle Revis.

Kevin Colbert, the team's director of football operations, then was asked about another highly regarded local product, Penn State and Hopewell's Paul Posluszny, at what loosely qualified as a news conference Monday.

"You got your one," Colbert said, making the room break up in laughter.

The irony of the NFL Draft is that as much speculation as it generates -- mock drafts bloom like flowers at this time of year -- and as much of a media spectacle as it has become, it is still largely shrouded in secrecy.

Teams mask what they really intend to do in the draft, which is this weekend, by saying little -- just as the Steelers did earlier this week -- or by going in the opposite direction.

Consider what Tampa Bay coach Jon Gruden said recently when asked what the Buccaneers, who hold the fourth overall pick, might do in the first round.

Gruden called Adrian Peterson perhaps the best running back he has seen come out of college, talked about how mammoth offensive tackle Joe Thomas could help the running back (Cadillac Williams) the Buccaneers took with the fifth pick of the 2005 draft and said Tampa Bay would have to keep an eye on quarterbacks JaMarcus Russell and Brady Quinn.

"Then you've got the defensive side of the ball, with Gaines Adams and (Jamaal) Anderson," Gruden said at the NFL owners meetings in late March, "and my main man at Louisville, (Amobi) Okoye."

Miss anybody, Jon?

There is, in fact, so much information out there -- some of it is supplied by teams that are much more inclined to run reverses at this time of year than during the season -- that it can be downright dizzying to try to figure out how the draft will unfold.

Floyd Reese, who was the general manager of the Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans for 13 seasons before resigning in January, said he couldn't recall trying to intentionally mislead someone about his team's draft intentions.

But there is such a free flow of information in the weeks, even months, leading up to the draft that there is bound to be, well, a lot of static.

"I know that this time of year you get a lot of calls from agents or newspaper people trying to find out what you're doing," said Reese, now an NFL analyst for ESPN, "and I think if there is misinformation, that's probably the No. 1 source."

Neil Cornrich, a longtime agent who represents projected first-round pick Ted Ginn Jr., among others, said it is hard to get a feel for what teams want to do simply because they may not know until the day of draft.

And their draft isn't just shaped by their own needs and evaluations, but also by what other teams do.

"Clearly, there is occasionally some posturing," Cornrich said, "but most of the times I believe it's just teams going through the information gathering process and that they don't have to make a final decision until April 28th or April 29th."

But teams' draft strategies are so detailed, including contingency plans, that they at least have a pretty good idea of what they will do, particularly in the first round.

"The GMs that I know, there's no question in their mind (who they will take with their first pick) weeks before the draft," ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper said. "All of this so-called fluidity that teams have ... they know."

And guessing what they are going to do ranges from fun to maddening.

Friday, April 20, 2007

USA Today Discusses Player Character, Cornrich Comments



New NFL policy has teams trying to avoid 'bad apple'
By Tom Weir, USA TODAY
April 20, 2007

Background checks increase

Bengals coach Marvin Lewis — nine of whose players have been arrested in the last 17 months, including four arrests for Henry — says not every incident damages his view of a prospect.

"A guy who has had social problems with drugs and alcohol has a hard time with discipline," Lewis says. "A guy who can't get along with his teammates and coaches has a hard time with discipline. A guy who (gets insulted) and comes back at a guy, I can live with. There's a difference."

The Titans' Jones has had at least 10 off-field incidents since being drafted in the first round in 2005. He faces trial in Georgia for obstructing police and also has been charged with inciting a strip-club melee in Las Vegas in which another patron shot three people.

Titans coach Jeff Fisher says Jones' only issue in college at West Virginia was being involved in a fight. "We were not able to predict the choices the player would make once we got him," Fisher says. "Pac had one issue. He did have a rough background. But all the other background checks were good."

Fisher says such background checks have intensified.

In a sport in which successful teams' tactics routinely are imitated by others, agent Neil Cornrich says, the NFL's focus on background checks began with Indianapolis Colts general manager Bill Polian's run of four Super Bowl appearances with the Buffalo Bills in the early 1990s.

"I think many of the shrewd evaluators of talent for years have focused on conduct and character," Cornrich says. "I think teams realize it's a more efficient way to get where they want to go."

Thursday, April 12, 2007

An interview with Ted Ginn Jr.'s agent



By Chick Ludwig
April 12, 2007

The following is a transcript of Dayton Daily News' NFL writer Chick Ludwig's interview with Neil Cornrich, the agent for former Ohio State wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr.

After four months of rehab for a left mid-foot sprain, Ginn reportedly was clocked at 4.3 seconds in the 40-yard dash at his campus workout for NFL scouts on Wednesday. The NFL Draft is April 28 and 29.

Q. How did Ginn's workout go?

A. "Prior to the workout, we spoke with a number of decision-makers for clubs — various general managers, etc. — and informed them that due to the healing time required for Ted's injury, that he was going to participate in drills today, but would not be at peak-performance levels.

"Most of the observers were delighted with the progress that he's made in the very limited time he's had since his injury has healed, and he continues to progress."

Q. What did Ginn do at the workout?

A. "He ran the 40-yard dash and participated in wide-receiver drills."

Q. How many scouts were on hand?

A. "The vast majority of the (NFL's 32) teams were there. It's my understanding that the number of people that came to see Ted was comparable to the number of scouts who were there for the entire rest of the team's Pro Day earlier this Spring (March 10)."

Q. What kind of player and person is Ginn?

A. "There's not a better player or person in the country. Ted is a unique individual in that he plays a thoroughbred type of position, yet brings to the position the presence that he developed as a coach's son. He's poised and humble at all times. He's such a breath of fresh air in that he's all about the team and winning. If there's a nicer player in the country, I'd like to meet him. He's just a tremendous individual."

Q. How do you respond to skeptics who call Ginn brittle?

A. "It's almost comical because if you look at him he has had remarkable durability for a player that's been as dynamic and exciting — almost unheard-of durability.

"Beyond that, he's really never been hurt playing football. His injury was when he was handing a ball back to a referee and unfortunately a teammate, in his exuberance, injured him. I don't think that (durability) is a question at all. He's just been remarkably durable.

"Ted's very fortunate that it was an injury that was non-operative and it's just a question of giving it time for him to be back at peak-performance levels. He's now healthy. Now he just has to get back on a conditioning basis to peak-performance levels.

"The nice thing is training camp doesn't start until July and he'll be running his 4.1 40s by then."

Q. Which teams are interested in Ginn?

A. "There's been an expression of interest in Ted by every team drafting in the top 10."

Q. Are the Bengals in the hunt for Ginn with the No. 18 pick?

A. "The Bengals are a great organization. Ted's a great player. I'm sure things will work out well for both of them."

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Tom Tupa missed by Redskin fans



Frost Re-Signed

By: Mark Solway
April 6, 2007

The Redskins also announced on Monday that punter Derrick Frost had been re-signed.

It doesn't come as much of a surprise, Washington doesn't have any other punters on the roster. Despite consistency problems, Frost will once again be the odds-on favorite to win the punting job that he has held for the last two years. His ability to platoon as the kick off specialist, and as the field goal holder, likely aided in the decision to re-sign him.

While he did improve late last season, it's possible that Redskin fans will be subject to the same slow torture that they've seen in every season that Tom Tupa didn't punt in the last decade.

Is that back injury healed up yet, Tom?

Vrabel Wins Ohio Gold Award



TUESDAY, APRIL 10, 2007

By DAVE PURPURA

JOHNSTOWN -- Every time he discusses one of his players, even before pointing to their on-field talents, Johnstown football coach and athletics director Mike Carter lauds their academic or personal attributes. Carter especially was glowing earlier this week discussing his star running back, Marcus Hendren, who was named a recipient of the Ernie Godfrey Scholar-Athlete Award at the 46th annual National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame Scholar-Athlete Awards Banquet on March 27 at the Buckeye Hall of Fame Cafe.

"It makes you real proud of the kids who are trying real hard to become great citizens," Carter said. "These kids are developing great character. They're going to be the leaders of our society in the future." Hendren was one of three area winners of the Godfrey award, which is presented to one student-athlete from each of 13 central Ohio leagues. League officials decide respective winners.
Licking Heights senior James Ward was the Mid-State League-Cardinal Division winner.

Several college players, including Denison University receiver Mike Kushner, also were honored. Hendren, who has a 3.9 grade-point average, rushed for 2,869 yards and 35 touchdowns last fall to power Johnstown (9-3) to its second playoff appearance and first playoff victory.Hendren, The Advocate's Offensive Player of The Year, ended the season in ninth place on Ohio's all-time single-season rushing listHendren has limited his college choices to Capital, Mount Union and Cornell. He's been accepted to each school and is keeping in shape this spring by running track -- a decision made just days ago -- and playing midfielder for Johnstown's lacrosse team.

"I figure if I'm going to play football in college, I should get into shape and go hit some people (in lacrosse) beforehand," Hendren said.Ward, Heights' quarterback, was a first-team Central District selection in football and competes in basketball and track. Kushner, a senior from Washington, Pa., is a three-year starter and four-year letterwinner for the Big Red. He led all Denison receivers with 21 catches for 170 yards and one touchdown in 2006.

Former Ohio State linebacker Mike Vrabel, who has won three Super Bowls with the New England Patriots, earned the Ohio Gold award for years of service to the game. Other past Ohio Gold winners include Woody Hayes and longtime WTVN radio sports reporter Larry Larson.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Dallas Clark: Top Receiver in Playoffs



Len Pasquarelli
March 31, 2007

Sometimes you've got to be lucky. Sometimes you've got to be good. And sometimes, as Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy explained earlier this week, you've got to be lucky enough to have good team doctors in order to win a Super Bowl title. "You never know, really, but do you think we win the Super Bowl without him [Dallas Clark]?" Probably not.

In the Colts' four postseason victories, he became the go-to receiver for Peyton Manning, catching 21 passes for 317 yards. The yardage was the most of any receiver in the playoffs. Without diligent teams physicians, there is a pretty good chance Clark would have watched the playoffs from the sidelines, and another team would have represented the AFC in Super Bowl XLI.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Big hands catch on - Ted Ginn Jr.



NFL Columnist: Rick Gosselin

NFL likes to size up prospects

04:06 AM CDT on Sunday, April 1, 2007

Big hands catch on

Wide receivers come in all sizes. Pro Bowler Steve Smith is 5-9, and Georgia Tech's Calvin Johnson, the top receiver in the 2007 draft, goes 6-5, 239 pounds. But hand size is critical at this position.

Bigger hands translate to more reliable hands on draft day. Nine-inch hands are good, 10-inch hands are better. Johnson has hands that measure 9¾. Ted Ginn Jr. of Ohio State is six inches shorter (5-11) than Johnson but has bigger hands. They measure 10 inches across.

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