NFC West: Brenda Warner
Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says 49ers greats Jerry Rice and Steve Young would love to help out the team's current players. Young plans to call quarterback Alex Smith. Rice said he would help if 49ers coach Mike Singletary called him. One complication: The 49ers' current offense is vastly different from the one Rice and Young ran years ago.
Also from Maiocco: a transcript of a conference call featuring former 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr., who plans to assist his nephew, 49ers president Jed York, on efforts to build a stadium in Santa Clara. DeBartolo: "All I'd like to see is a stadium built. And wherever it can be built at the right place for the right amount of money. The fans of the 49ers deserve it. I don't want to go back and revisit the Candlestick fiasco. But somewhere, some place, the Bay Area fans deserve a first-rate stadium. Wherever it can be done and where it can be done best, I'm for it."
The Associated Press says recently retired Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner has won the Bart Starr Award. AP: "Warner and his wife, Brenda, established the First Things First Foundation in 2001, working with sick children and single parents, plus sending care packages to military personnel serving overseas. The couple is also involved in other charities, including the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the Special Olympics."
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says Russ Grimm will have his former offensive line coach, Joe Bugel, present him for enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Bugel also coached for the Cardinals, from 1990-1993. Bugel: "Russ was one of the most complete football players, and people, I ever coached. He was the leader by example. He wasn’t a loudmouth. He just came to work every day. (The Hall of Fame) is a well-deserved honor."
Greg Johns of seattlepi.com says the Seahawks know nothing about any potential retirement plans involving Walter Jones. Johns: "There is little doubt that Jones is either at or very near the end of his outstanding career and a decision is looming. If this is it for Big Walt, the man will be in the Hall of Fame in five years, as soon as he is eligible."
Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says Jones' agent, Roosevelt Barnes, could not confirm whether Jones was serious about retiring. O'Neil: "Jones sought to return last season in training camp, but his knee was still hurting. He underwent arthroscopic knee surgery during training camp, sought to return again in September. The knee remained too sore, though, and his recovery was compromised by the fact he can not many anti-inflammatory medications because of a kidney condition diagnosed when he was a rookie with the team."
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
Paola Boivin of the Arizona Republic says there's a market for the lifestyle Kurt and Brenda Warner promote in their new book. Recent events have created what she calls an uneasy juxtaposition: "On the same day police declared that a former NFL quarterback died at the hands of his mistress, I am staring at an active NFL quarterback luring hundreds to a book signing that celebrates his relationship with his wife and seven children."
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com, in response to SI.com's Don Banks, thinks it's no big deal if Matt Leinart spends another year on the bench. The team just paid big bucks to Kurt Warner. There's no way Leinart should get on the field if Warner is able to play.
Revenge of the Birds' Hawkwind sizes up the Cardinals' linebackers and how they fit into a 3-4 defense. He mentions nine other 3-4 teams. I would add the Broncos and Chiefs to the list.
Taylor Price of 49ers.com says kicker Joe Nedney expressed concerns for former teammate Steve McNair's family following the retired quarterback's murder. Nedney: "I'm still trying to wrap my mind about the whole situation. But ultimately my heart goes out to his family, especially to his wife Mechelle, and his four sons. I hope they can get through this whole thing, too."
Dan Brown of the San Jose Mercury News runs the 49ers' practice schedule for training camp. Only four practices open to the public this year.
David Fucillo of Niners Nation solicits votes for the best outside linebackers in team history. Dave Wilcos was a seven-time Pro Bowl choice and five-time All-Pro during the 1960s and 1970s. He had prototypical size (6-foot-3 and 240 pounds) and missed only one game to injury.
Turf Show Times' VanRam projects the Rams' 53-man roster. I love these exercises and will do them for each team periodically as the season approaches. VanRam gives the Rams four running backs, six wide receivers and 10 offensive linemen. I think keeping 10 offensive linemen would be a luxury. All but five NFL teams kept nine or fewer on the initial cutdown to 53 players last summer. Every NFC West team kept nine. But we shall see.
Nick Wagoner of stlouisrams.com checks in with tight ends coach Frank Leonard as part of his continuing series on the Rams' assistants. Leonard is one of the louder assistant coaches I've heard as far as how he projects himself during practices.
Tim Klutsarits of examiner.com breaks down some of the best players in Rams history by various positions.
John Zenor of the Associated Press says former Seahawks running back Shaun Alexander is traveling the country on a Christian mission trip while hoping an NFL team requests his services as a player. Alexander says he has received no offers yet.
Art Thiel of seattlepi.com reports in detail from Mount Rainier following the recent climb featuring Roger Goodell and Jim Mora. Thiel: "Breaking through, Goodell and the rope teams continued at a measured pace onto the summit, arriving not long after sunrise. It was 9 degrees. The wind was picking up, clouds were back to re-sock the mountain, uncharacteristic for July. The celebration was brief in order to make safely the long slog down by mid-afternoon."
Dan Arkush of Pro Football Weekly says early signs suggest Max Unger could start for the Seahawks as a rookie. I've felt this way since draft day. Unger's versatility allows him to play any of the three interior positions, where the incumbent starters are coming off injury-shortened seasons.
Chris Sullivan of Seahawk Addicts is excited about the possibility of Unger becoming a starter.
John Morgan of Field Gulls reflects on Patrick Kerney's lost 2008 season while trying to project the Seattle defensive end's future. Morgan: "Kerney's got about as bad a bunch of injuries as a defensive lineman can have without losing his back or knees. I don't expect a precipitous drop, though it's happened to better ends than Kerney, but anything approaching his 2007 is far fetched."
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
Gwen Knapp of the San Francisco Chronicle criticizes the 49ers for using a "quasi-furlough" to save money at the expense of administrative employees. Knapp: "Interpret that as admirable environmentalism, if you will. But the decision seems more like petty efficiency than progressivism, and it appears costly to some of the most meagerly compensated people in the franchise. If the team can afford a more lavish locker room, it could tolerate letting a few people come to work last week."
Taylor Price of 49ers.com checks in with 49ers offensive lineman Tony Wragge following the guard's participation in a broadcasting boot camp. Wragge: "It's like a craft. You have to hone your craft just like playing football. You have to loosen up and have it be natural."
Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says the 49ers' offense appears to be faring well under new coordinator Jimmy Raye. Maiocco: "Raye has already installed all of his offense. Because he uses the same digit terminology that [Norv] Turner, [Jim] Hostler and [Mike] Martz used, it has not been difficult for the players to pick up. It showed toward the end of OTAs when Shaun Hill and Alex Smith looked better on the practice field than I have ever seen them."
Sportsradiointerviews.com summarizes Kurt and Brenda Warner's recent interview with Dan Patrick. Brenda has fun at Kurt's expense, saying he wasn't worthy of a 2004 award as man of the year. Listen here.
Revenge of the Birds' Andrew602 wonders how high Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie might rank among the NFL's top cornerbacks. While Rodgers-Cromartie will continue to improve, opponents will also develop a better feel for them. Quarterbacks will identify tendencies and prepare for him now that Rodgers-Cromartie has played extensively. The Cardinals' pass rush will also affect him. On paper, however, Arizona should have the best secondary in the division and one of the best in the league.
Bryan Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says some football lovers in Los Angeles are resigned to continued life without the NFL, even with the Rams up for sale. Burwell: "Billionaire real estate developer Ed Roski Jr. wants to build an $800 million stadium complex there in order to lure an NFL franchise back to Los Angeles. Most people in LA and more than a few significant ones within the NFL's inner circle are convinced that this is an impossible mission. Even with a net worth of more than $2.5 billion, it turns out that the man Forbes ranked as the 195th richest man in America still may not have enough cash to get the job done."
Will of Rams Herd lists Warner, 49ers coach Mike Singletary, Rams running back Steven Jackson and Cardinals defensive coordinator Bill Davis among the NFC West's key variables. His characterization of the 49ers' front office diverges from what I've seen. I would also probably find a spot for Seattle's Matt Hasselbeck in the top four. But the concept is a fun one to consider. Hat tip: VanRam.
Jason La Canfora of NFL.com, citing information from the NFL Management Council, says the Seahawks spent more on payroll than every team but the Cowboys from 2004 through the 2008 season. Only 13 teams spent more money than the Cardinals. The Rams and 49ers were not among them. Management Council members include Jerry Jones (Cowboys, 1st), Mike Brown (Bengals, 23rd) and Clark Hunt (Chiefs, 31st). Expect me to have some fun with this information in the near future.
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
Five things to know while Kurt Warner and his wife, Brenda, are meeting with 49ers officials at team headquarters in Santa Clara:
1. This is starting to get ugly. Or at least edgy. Warner's camp is now releasing unflattering information about the Cardinals' offer. For example:
From Yahoo! Sports: According to a source close to Warner, he has been offered what amounts to a one-year deal, with one season at $10 million, and a team option for a second year at the same terms.
From ESPN.com: According to a source, the Cardinals' offer is $10 million in 2009 with an option bonus for $10 million in 2010. There are not any guarantees in the contract, so it is effectively a one-year deal at $10 million if the Cardinals don't want to bring him back in 2010.
2. The 49ers are committed at the ownership level. They paid for a private jet to escort Warner and his wife from Arizona to San Jose, near 49ers headquarters. Private jets are not cheap. If you know what it costs for a business to use one, please let me know. Also, if you know where to find flight information for private planes -- something akin to flightaware.com -- please point us in the right direction. Thanks.
3. Warner is not going through the motions. He brought his wife, which suggests the couple will make this decision together. That is no surprise, but Warner might not waste his wife's time if he were making this trip only to help his agent.
4. The 49ers are open to changing their offense. Former 49ers quarterback Trent Dilfer, now with ESPN, said that is the word from coach Mike Singletary. See video below.
5. Arizona remains the best place for Warner. We can debate whether the Cardinals should offer him more. We can debate whether Warner should be happy with the Cardinals' offer. There's no debating where he belongs. It's in Arizona and it's not even close.
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
Dan Bickley of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals fared well at Super Bowl XLIII media day.
Paola Boivin of the Arizona Republic didn't flinch when a reporter dressed in drag asked to borrow her lipstick. Cardinals linebacker Monty Beisel also rolled with the media day madness.
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic leads his notebook with an item about Anquan Boldin's contract situation.
Also from Somers: a look at the Cardinals' offensive tackles, who face tough work Sunday.
Craig Harris of the Arizona Republic says Kurt Warner's wife knows the Super Bowl routine.
Doug Haller of the Arizona Republic checks in with Cardinals punter Ben Graham, the first Australian to play in a Super Bowl.
Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic feels the presence of Steelers fans at Super Bowl XLIII.
Also from McManaman: Darnell Dockett's tattoos tell a personal history.
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com looks at the Cardinals-related story lines at media day.
Also from Urban: a look ahead at the off-field moves facing Arizona.
More from Urban: the team's online Super Bowl headquarters.
Mike Tulumello of the East Valley Tribune explores Edgerrin James' strange Cardinals journey.
Also from Tulumello: This isn't the Cardinals' first week-long road trip to the East Coast this season.
Scott Bordow of the East Valley Tribune details Larry Fitzgerald's Pittsburgh ties.
Also from Bordow: Cardinals coaches might say there's nothing personal in facing their former team, but Bordow isn't buying it.
Pete1020 of Revenge of the Birds sizes up key matchups in Super Bowl XLIII.
Ray Ratto of the San Francisco Chronicle says the 49ers' prolonged search for an offensive coordinator does not reflect well on head coach Mike Singletary. Ratto: "Singletary has reached the outer limit of what passes for due diligence on this job search. Whether the impetus is his or those of the candidates, he looks like he is too hard to please ... unless he is simply not a very good salesman. Maybe he drops his pants when he's trying to sell the salary and benefits package."
Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says former 49ers receiver Billy Wilson, who died Tuesday, fell short of the Hall of Fame despite Bill Walsh's efforts.
Also from Maiocco: Hue Jackson appears to be the frontrunner to become the 49ers' offensive coordinator. Michael Johnson, who interviewed to coach quarterbacks, left the Ravens' staff after the 2007 season when new coach John Harbaugh decided to hire 49ers castoff Jim Hostler instead.
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says people told Wilson he was the most qualified person not enshrined in Canton.
Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune catches up with former Seahawks Jerheme Urban and Chike Okeafor. Both have contributed to the Cardinals' Super Bowl run. Okeafor: "I'm not a, 'I told you so,' and 'this and that' [kind of guy]. Those things seem to work themselves out. I just play the game like a kid at recess, for the love the game."
John Morgan of Field Gulls continues his look at free agents of interest for Seattle. Bengals receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh is in the spotlight this time.
Rob Staton of Seahawks Draft Blog looks at potential Seattle draft choices and whether they meet standards outlined by general manager Tim Ruskell.
Bryan Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says a Rams statue honoring the team's Super Bowl championship is long overdue. Burwell: "I bring this up now because the local artist who sculpted all those familiar bronze masterpieces in front of Busch has been trying to get a similar project off the ground for football for more than six years. Now, Harry Weber has grown tired of running into one frustrating roadblock after another."
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch explains, among other things Rams-related, why the Rams probably would not consider a middle linebacker with the second overall choice. Thomas: "You just don't pay $50 million for a guy, if he's sitting on the bench on second-and-long and third-and-long because he can't cover his shadow."