NFC West: Mark Dalton
Arizona Cardinals quarterbacks coach Freddie Kitchens developed a reputation for toughness while playing through knee, shoulder and chest injuries at Alabama.
Heart issues fall into a different category, of course.
Kitchens, stricken by dizziness during practice Tuesday, has received a positive early prognosis after undergoing heart surgery.
"During Tuesday’s practice Freddie Kitchens began to feel ill -- dizzy, light-headed -- and was sent to the training room," team vice president Mark Dalton reported. "After being evaluated by the team’s medical staff it was determined that he should be taken to the hospital for more evaluation and testing.
"During that process, a CT scan revealed a defect to his aorta that required surgery, which he had Tuesday night at the Arizona Heart Institute. According to the doctors who performed the surgery, it went very well and the early prognosis is positive. The Kitchens family is grateful to everyone who has and continues to extend their support, well wishes and prayers."
Kitchens, married with two daughters, played quarterback at the University of Alabama in the 1990s. The Cardinals hired him to coach tight ends beginning in 2007, when Ken Whisenhunt was head coach. The team promoted him to quarterbacks coach this offseason even while the Cardinals changed head coaches. One key: new coach Bruce Arians was the offensive coordinator at Alabama when Kitchens played there.
It's too early to know when Kitchens, 38, might resume his coaching duties with the Cardinals. Arians has adjusted on the fly before, including when he became the Indianapolis Colts' interim head coach following Chuck Pagano's cancer diagnosis.
The chart below shows Kitchens and the other offensive-minded coaches in the NFC West.
Related: a Kitchens profile with background information on how he got into coaching.
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
Matt Bowen of National Football Post analyzes trade prospects for Cardinals receiver Anquan Boldin. Bowen: "This guy is for real. I played against him during my career, and I can tell you that he's the last receiver you want to see in the open field with the ball in his hands. Yes, Randy Moss might strike the most fear in NFL players when he lines up before the snap, but once Boldin catches the football, he's the scariest thing on the field."
Revenge of the Birds' Hawkwind summarizes recent reports about Boldin. Hawkwind: "I won't go as far as guaranteeing that he'll be a member of the 2009 Arizona Cardinals but the team seems to be loading up for a championship run with Warner at the helm and Boldin is more valuable, in the short term, than two or three extra draft picks."
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic quotes Cardinals general manager Rod Graves as saying the team hasn't changed its approach to a potential Boldin trade. I would expect the Cardinals to maintain that stance.
Rebekeh Sanders of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals are raising lower-level ticket prices while leaving upper-level prices unchanged. Team vice president Mark Dalton: "We're really proud of the product we have not only on the field but also the atmosphere in the stadium. We think it's among the best, if not the best, in the league. In order to compete successfully on the field, we have to have a certain price point."
U.S. Army Sgt. Emily Suhr, writing for the Arizona Republic, checks in with Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald during his USO tour stop in Iraq. Rams linebacker Will Witherspoon is also among those present. Said Sgt. Donald Zeitler of Orting, Wash.: "Who I wanted to see the most was probably Larry Fitzgerald because there's kind of a rivalry between the Seahawks and the Cardinals and I've watched them play a lot. He's really fun to watch play."
PCarn of Turf Show Times likes the way the Rams have upgraded their inside running game with fullback Mike Karney and center Jason Brown.
Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch asks Rams running back Steven Jackson for his thoughts on Karney's addition. Jackson: "I've seen the holes that he's opened up. He's someone I'm looking forward to working with." Jackson also said he liked the Rams' direction so far this offseason.
Also from Coats: Utility offensive lineman Adam Goldberg paid a free-agent visit to the Browns. Coats wonders why the Rams haven't re-signed the versatile backup. Goldberg played reasonably well in relief at times during the 2008 season.
Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times suggests former Seahawks receiver Joe Jurevicius, recently released by the Browns, might have failed a physical examination prior to his release. I can confirm that Jurevicius did indeed fail the physical. However, that doesn't necessarily tell us much about the nature of his condition. Players fail physicals associated with their releases quite routinely.
Clare Farnsworth of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer asks whether the Seahawks might consider drafting Aaron Curry even though the team has much invested in its current linebackers. The strongest quote comes from Rams general manager Billy Devaney: "Curry was the first guy we put [tape] on, and we were like, 'Wow! This guy is special.' He is really good on tape. And then we started talking about the intangibles and, to a man, everybody said he's top of the line."
John Morgan of Field Gulls lists reasons for the Seahawks to demonstrate interest in Curry, including Julian Peterson's age and salary. Peterson, who turns 31 in July, has remained durable enough to play roughly 95 percent of the Seahawks' defensive snaps since joining the team as a free agent before the 2006 season.
Also from Morgan: He thinks Howard Green's limitations will prevent the ex-Seahawk from making the desired impact for the Jets.
Mike Parker of Seahawk Addicts explains why he thinks the Seahawks will not seriously consider B.J. Raji with the fourth overall choice. Parker: "When all is said and done, if the decision at No. 4 is to be made between Raji and [Eugene] Monroe, the smart money is going to be on Monroe."
David Fucillo of Niners Nation selects Florida State's Everette Brown for the 49ers in a mock draft. For those of you unfamiliar with mock drafts, they consist of ... kidding.
Lisa Goodwin of 49ers.com checks in with Vernon Davis after the tight end spent considerable time meeting with congressmen to promote physical fitness. Rams linebacker Chris Draft also took part in the meetings.