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Monday, January 24, 2011
Around the NFC West: LeBeau dreamin'

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic expects the Cardinals to wait at least two more weeks before hiring a defensive coordinator. Somers: "That quest could start with Pittsburgh defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau. ESPN reported on Sunday that LeBeau's contract expires after the season. Before the LeBeau-to-Arizona reports start, a lot could happen in the next two weeks. LeBeau could announce he's returning to the Steelers, or he could decide to retire. LeBeau ponders retirement after each year." I can't see any reason for the Steelers to part with LeBeau unless the assurances they've made to linebackers coach Keith Butler require them to promote him this offseason.

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says he is "sure" the Cardinals would seriously consider acquiring Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer if Cincinnati met Palmer's reported demands to trade him. The big question on Palmer, in my view, is to what degree serious leg injuries have compromised his overall physical ability.

Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune assesses the Seahawks' connection to the Green Bay Packers via general manager John Schneider. Boling: "As the Packers head to the Super Bowl in Dallas, the Seahawks enter a curious and unpredictable offseason that could be profoundly disrupted by the unsettled labor situation. Nobody really seems to know how player movement and free agency will be affected. It’s bad timing, because the Seahawks have a long way to go in elevating their talent. But it could help that Schneider at least understands the path."

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh isn't ruling out bringing back Alex Smith for another season with the team. This makes sense. The 49ers gain nothing by reducing their options. Harbaugh: "I'm not into absolutes and alwayses and nevers and those kind of bold statements. We're into evaluation, and that will be of Alex and any player on the football team."

Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News wonders how Mike Solari, Ray Brown and Tim Drevno will combine to coach the 49ers' offensive line and tight ends. Brown: The plan calls for Solari and Drevno to coach the entire offensive line, while Brown focuses on tight ends and tackles. New offensive coordinator Greg Roman will also work with tight ends. Why so many cooks? Harbaugh noted that a typical training camp could have more than a dozen tight ends and tackles."

Aaron Wilson of National Football Post updates the case that led to David Vobora's suspension from the Rams for allegedly taking a banned substance. Wilson: "The owner of the supplement company, Mitch Ross, said he has sent over 25 bottles of the spray to (Ray) Lewis. He showed text messages and receipts from Lewis, according to the report. ... Vobora sued the company when he was suspended by the league for a positive steroid test, claiming the spray triggered the failed test."