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Friday, February 20, 2009
Around the NFC West: Rams consider tackles

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams hope to work out a long-term deal with franchise player Oshiomogho Atogwe. Contract negotiator Kevin Demoff: "With the newness of the front office and coaching staff changes, it was a really short time frame to work out a long-term deal." 

Also from Thomas: Eugene Monroe or Jason Smith might be safer choices for the Rams than fellow offensive tackle Andre Smith, who served a suspsension when Alabama played in the Super Bowl.

The Associated Press says former Cardinals offensive lineman Chet Bulger has died at age 91. Bulger played for the Cardinals' 1947 championship team. He remained a fan of the team until his death. Bulger before the Super Bowl: "I'm still a Cardinal, always a Cardinal. I can't see too well anymore, but I'm going to get up real close to the TV to watch that game. Maybe we'll win that Super Bowl. Wouldn't that be something?"

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee offers 10 combine-related questions with an eye toward the 49ers. Barrows: "Receiver Michael Crabtree's camp already has said he will not run the 40. But two other receivers, Jeremy Maclin and Percy Harvin, have plenty to gain with a blazing time. Maclin right now is on the bubble as far as being a top 10 pick; Harvin could slide into the first half of the draft with a great combine. Who will be this year's Chris Johnson? The receivers will run on Sunday."

Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says the 49ers are checking out offensive tackles at the combine. Maiocco: "While the 49ers need help at tackle, they might address that need during the free-agent signing period."

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says Cardinals general manager Rod Graves met with Anquan Boldin's agent at the combine. The agent told Graves his client would be willing to work toward a long-term deal with the team.

Also from Somers: The Cardinals' search for a tight end isn't an easy one because the college game isn't producing many well-rounded players at the position.

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says Graves wouldn't elaborate on talks with Boldin's agents, other than to say he felt positive following their meeting.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times sizes up offensive tackles at the combine with an emphasis on the Seahawks' needs. Team president Tim Ruskell says the draft does not feature another Walter Jones.

Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune provides a transcript from Ruskell's meeting with reporters at the combine Thursday. Ruskell on a face-to-face meeting with Leroy Hill after the linebacker's recent arrest: "I would say, yeah, there was some emotion. It was very frank, and to his credit he was very frank. He was very sincere, and a lot of it was private. But that was why we brought him in. Part two was to have the new coaches get to know him, and have him to get to know the new coaches. We want Leroy to want to be here. And we had to hear from him, 'I want to be here.'"

John Morgan of Field Gulls reiterates his stance that the Seahawks could have replaced Hill with players already on their roster. The new coaching staff felt otherwise. We'll find out this season whether the new staff can help Hill become a Pro Bowl-caliber player.

Clare Farnsworth of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer says Hill was the Seahawks' leading tackler before suffering an injury against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving.