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Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Around the NFC West: Kroenke's gambit

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Shahid Khan plans to stand by Stan Kroenke's pending attempt to purchase full control of the Rams. Khan: "Earlier this evening, Stan advised me that he was going to pursue that opportunity (to purchase controlling interest in the Rams). I have had the chance to get to know Stan over the past 60 days. As I told Stan during our conversation earlier this evening, I enjoy his company, admire his success in sports, and certainly respect his right to try to purchase the Rosenbloom family's interest in the Rams."

Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch expresses surprise at Kroenke's seemingly bold move. Miklasz: "One theory making the rounds is that Kroenke is pulling the power play as a ploy to get Khan to offer him more money for the 40 percent share. But I talked to enough people in the know Monday night who insist that this is no game -- and that Kroenke genuinely wants to gain 100 percent control of the Rams and he believes there is a way to get it done with the NFL." As Miklasz notes, the timing is poor for the Rams. But no matter what happened Monday, the league was going to begin a more earnest review of an ownership bid. The league is more familiar with Kroenke than Khan.

Howard Balzer of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat recounts the evening Khan and Kroenke spent together at a Denver Nuggets game in February. Balzer on Kroenke: "Does he plan to challenge NFL cross-ownership rules? Will he sell the Nuggets and Avalanche? Does he have something up his sleeve where he would transfer ownership of those teams to family members? Kroenke’s son, Josh, a former basketball player at Missouri, is currently vice president of player development for the Nuggets."

Tim Klutsarits of examiner.com offers thoughts on Kroenke's bid. Klutsarits: "From a business perspective the move by Stan Kroenke tells me one of two things. The first is that he thinks he has enough votes from the NFL owners to waive the cross-ownership rule for him. ... The second option would be that Kroenke is making a business move and is wanting to get paid. ... I can't believe that the NFL would be interested, in the midst of trying to negotiate a new contract, in getting in a nasty court dispute over cross ownership. I don't know if they would win but I do know that they would not want to get in front of a jury or judge to make that decision. Stan Kroenke knows this too."

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says the 49ers are meeting with tackle Vladimir Ducasse and receiver Dez Bryant as part of their draft preparations. Bryant and Michael Crabtree share the same agent, by the way, and Bryant could wind up getting drafted later than his talent would suggest. Sound familiar? Barrows: "Will the 49ers take a Big 12 receiver represented by Eugene Parker in two straight drafts? Boy, I really don't see it happening, but the 49ers are adding a bit of intrigue by bringing the Oklahoma State wideout in for a visit. My read on Bryant is that he's more physically gifted than Michael Crabtree but lacks Crabtree's intensity. Perhaps the 49ers figure that a passing offense that features Crabtree, Bryant and Vernon Davis is too dangerous to pass up. Or maybe they're appearing interested to drum up a draft-day trade. Who knows? (Which is exactly what the 49ers want the league to think). It's noteworthy that both Mike Singletary and Trent Baalke attended Bryant's workout in Lufkin, Texas last month."

Also from Barrows: Drafting Anthony Davis to play right tackle would give the 49ers more than one player known for inconsistent play on the right side of the line.

Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says the 49ers are probably just doing their diligence by meeting with Bryant.

Brian McIntyre of scout.com expects former Saints defensive back Joe Porter to participate in the Seahawks' upcoming minicamp on a tryout basis. Seattle is low on numbers at defensive back and on the offensive line, at least by offseason standards. It's looking like the team could have a large number of tryout players for the camp beginning Tuesday.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says the Seahawks aren't expecting to see tackle Walter Jones at their voluntary minicamp, the latest indication Jones might not return. O'Neil: "Jones' agent has not returned repeated messages about his client's status, and attempts to contact Jones have not drawn a response. The Seahawks have acknowledged Jones is considering retirement, but were awaiting a firm, final conclusion from Jones. Seattle's approach to prepare for life after Jones is the only pragmatic one at this point. Jones is 36, and he has undergone two knee surgeries and missed 20 regular-season games since last suiting up. The Seahawks banked on his ability to come back and play left tackle last season, and when he couldn't, the offensive line never recovered."

Also from O'Neil: the latest on Leroy Hill. O'Neil: "He was arrested and taken to the Issaquah City Jail for investigation of misdemeanor assault. Hill was not included among the online listing of inmates Monday afternoon, indicating he had been released. A date for his arraignment could not be determined."

Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune has this to say about Pete Carroll's first minicamp as Seahawks coach: "Carroll’s focus during his first months on the job has been to create a competitive environment where all starting positions are up for grabs. That was evident in the team’s move to trade for San Diego restricted free agent quarterback Charlie Whitehurst, signing him to a two-year, $8 million deal with the expectation that he will push veteran quarterback Matt Hasselbeck for the starting quarterback job."

John Morgan of Field Gulls says it's pretty clear the Seahawks have strong faith in the 2010 draft class.

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com checks in with nose tackle Gabe Watson, who is attempting to overcome knee troubles. Urban: "Watson said he’s down about 30 pounds from the end of the season. He needs to build back up some muscle mass, but ideally, he’ll play at 315 or 320 pounds. That’ll help his quickness and agility, important at a position where he’s the starter for now, especially with veteran Bryan Robinson still un-signed and a question mark to return. But Watson is also doing it with an eye on his star-struck knees and also his post-football life." This item makes even clearer the Cardinals' obvious need for a nose tackle heading into the draft. Unless I'm missing something, bringing back Robinson could be a necessity even if the team does draft at the position.