With the NFL schedule shifting to offseason workouts, the focus around the league is on getting ready for the 2013 season. From rookies trying to secure a spot on the roster to veterans working their way back from injury, there is constant action going on around the league.
Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew is one of the notable veterans attempting a comeback from an injury. Jones-Drew suffered a Lisfranc injury last season and is still not fully recovered. He is continuing to make progress, however, and is now running at three-quarters speed. The 28-year-old should be recovered in time for the start of the regular season and when he does re-join the team, he'll find some faster teammates. Jones-Drew was impressed by the speed of a few of a his new teammates on Monday, according to Big Cat Country.
MJD wasn't the only Jaguar Pro Bowler to be in the news on Monday as former receiver issues as well as his current situation.is serving a six-year prison sentence for cocaine possession and illegal possession of a firearm. Smith struggled with substance abuse during his career and was arrested twice since retiring in 2006. Adam Sites detailed Smith's
Incoming rookies won't be the only new faces at the Baltimore Ravens' facility as restricted free agent Dennis Pitta signed his free agent tender on Monday and will officially return to the Ravens for the 2013 season. Pitta is a rising star in the NFL and could attract considerable interest if he reaches the free agent market next offseason. For now, he will play the 2013 season on a one-year deal which will pay him just over $2 million. With a thin receiving corps following the departure of Anquan Boldin, Pitta could play an even bigger role in the Ravens' offense next season.
Pitta's spot on the roster is not in question, but one recent first-round pick finds himself on the roster bubble. Chicago Bears offensive linemen Gabe Carimi, a first-round pick in 2011, is in danger of not making the roster. Carimi struggled during his first two seasons and with recent acquisitions along the offensive line, he may now find himself on the outside looking in. Carimi started most of last season at right tackle, but is now a distant third at that position behind J'Marcus Webb and Jonathan Scott. He's also played guard during his career, but Sam Householder of Windy City Gridiron wrote, the Bears have focused on building their line from the inside out. The addition of first-round pick Kyle Long will likely leave Carimi battling for a backup job.
NFL teams have had success signing players out of the CFL recently and the Carolina Panthers may be the next team to grab some talent from Canada. The Panthers signed defensive lineman Linden Gaydosh on Monday, the No. 1 pick in the recent CFL Draft. The Hamilton Tiger-Cats selected Gaydosh No. 1, but he participated in Carolina's rookie minicamp and performed well enough to earn a contract. Gaydosh is an impressive athlete, as James Dator of Cat Scratch Reader noted:
His bench press would have ranked him 3rd in Indianapolis, his broad jump was three inches behind Sharrif Floyd, and his vertical was up there with athletic freak Ziggy Ansah. If you want a true representation of Gaydosh, he was the CFL's Margus Hunt -- the player who caught everyone's eye and became the talk of the combine.
There will be major change coming to Buffalo as Bills general manager Buddy Nix stepped down on Monday. Nix leaves following the NFL Draft and three years on the job. While the 73-year-old Nix is moving to a special assistant role, Buffalo likely won't have to look far for a replacement as Brain Galliford wrote:
It's expected that Whaley, Nix's top understudy for the last three years and the recipient of a long-term contract extension this past February, will assume the role of general manager. That has not yet been made official, but it's supremely obvious that it has been in the works for a number of months now.