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Peep Show - ESPN - 6/11/2003


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Peep Show

By Darrell Trimble

Wednesday, June 11

Updated: June 11

11:38 AM ET

Denver Broncos: Coach Mike Shanahan is giving his players the option of going home after the grueling two-a-days of training camp. That because the Broncos will hold training camp at their Dove Valley headquarters instead of at the University of Northern Colorado at Greely. "People who currently have a house here have the ability to stay at home if they like to," Shanahan told the Denver Post. "But it's tough, because if you live 15 minutes away, you still have to be here between 6:30 and 8 (a.m.), and you don't get to leave until 9:45 p.m. The only real difference is if you want to drive home and stay home, you have to come here at 6 in the morning. You only get one chance to make a mistake. If you are late, then you are staying at the hotel full-time."

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: If the team is decides to part ways with RB Michael Pittman, the financial ramifications won't be too great. According to the Tampa Tribune, the Bucs would take a $1.4 million cap hit if they cut him, and because it's after June 1, that total would be split, counting only $700,000 this season and $700,000 next year. Also, the Bucs would save the $425,000 roster bonus Pittman is due this season, and because of a clause in the contract, the team may be able to recover a portion of his $1.75 million signing bonus. Pittman has been in Tampa, participating in the team's off-season workouts. His wife, Melissa, has indicated she wants to speak with Bucs officials about the couple's problems.

Kansas City Chiefs: With their attempts to lure P Craig Hentrich away from Tennessee rebuffed, the team will choose from the current players on their roster for a starter. So far, P Jason Baker has emerged as the leader in the competition to replace the departed Dan Stryzinski. The number of contestants was reduced from three to two Tuesday when the Chiefs released Canadian Football League veteran Noel Prefontaine. With only P Leo Araguz left as competition. The Kansas City Star reports Baker has established himself as the favorite not only with his punting, but also with his ability to kickoff. Finding a punter who can handle kickoff duties is important because the team want to keep the 43-year-old leg of K Morten Andersen as fresh as possible. Baker was unimpressive last season, splitting time between the San Francisco 49ers and the Philadelphia Eagles Baker. After averaging 40.8-yard per punt in 2001 with the Niners, Baker's average dipped to 38.8-yard average last season.

Dallas Cowboys: The team signed Dallas Desperados rookie WR Will Pettis to a one-year contract Tuesday for the rookie minimum of $225,000, according to the Dallas Morning News. However, they won't know if he will become a Cowboy for 10 more days. To prevent NFL teams from turning AFL franchises into their own private farm systems, a new league rule requires teams that try to sign a player from their AFL teams to put that player on procedural recall waivers. That exposes the player to the other 31 teams in the NFL for 10 days. If no other team claims the player, the player's rights go to the signing team. Pettis (6-0, 195), who caught 69 passes for 798 yards and 16 touchdowns during the regular season for the Desperados, was second in voting for rookie of the year in the AFL.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Backup QB David Garrard missed his third consecutive workout Tuesday because of a hamstring injury he suffered last week. Coach Jack Del Rio said the team prefers to be cautious with Garrard, and rookie QB Byron Leftwich has been the recipient of Gararrd's snaps. Del Rio said that Garrad's absences isn't helping the backup in the race to understudy QB Mark Brunell, but he was clear to point out that Leftwich isn't necessarily gaining a leg up in the competition for the No.2 quarterback job. "Byron's getting more repetitions, but it's going to be a long process," Del Rio told the Florida Times-Union. "There's no sense reading too much into this in June." During team drills Tuesday, Letfwich struggled. He badly overthrew passes to RB Dan Alexander and TE Kyle Brady (twice) and was intercepted by LB Keith Mitchell. On the day, the Times-Union reports that Leftwich completed only 5 of 13 passes.

Green Bay Packers: The club brought former Cincinnati Bengals QB Akili Smith to town Tuesday and will work him out Wednesday after the team's final minicamp practice of the summer. "We're just trying to get a feel for him, see what he's been taught, with the footwork, with the drops, with the reads," director of pro personnel Reggie McKenzie told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. "It's really getting a feel for what he's accustomed to, and trying to incorporate some of the options. That's why it's good not only to get it on the board, but it's better to see him put it on the field." McKenzie added, "We'd like to have him in camp." The 6-foot-3, 220-pound veteran was cut by the Bengals last week after four seasons in which he threw only five touchdowns in 22 games.

New Orleans Saints: C Jerry Fontenot's future in New Orleans will be determined this week, possibly as early as today, team officials said Tuesday. Fontenot's agent, Tony Agnone, met with Saints GM Mickey Loomis on Monday in an effort to finalize negotiations, which have been going on for months. The sides could meet again today, Fontenot said, calling Wednesday "the magic day" for a decision. "Obviously, we want Jerry to be a part of our team," Loomis told the New Orleans Times-Picayune. "In all negotiations, you reach a point where you say 'this is our final offer.' We're getting closer to that point. The ball is in Jerry's court right now." Fontenot said the Saints have offered him a one-year deal with a base salary of $755,000, but he is also weighing a three-year offer from the Jacksonville Jaguars that is similar in pay. In his absence, veteran G Kendyl Jacox and second-year OL LeCharles Bentley have alternated snaps at center during offseason workouts.

Pittsburgh Steelers: G Kendall Simmons is scheduled for surgery on his left elbow this morning for an unspecified problem that was discovered Sunday during an MRI. The elbow should be healed by the start of training camp July 25, but he might not be able to participate in both practices when the Steelers go to two-a-days at St. Vincent College. The injury will take approximately six weeks to heal. Simmons' agent, Eric Metz, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that his client might visit Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala., for a second opinion on a shoulder ailment discovered by the MRI. Simmons was told his shoulder injury likely will require surgery but he can wait until after the season to get it done. The injury comes at a time when the Steelers line is in a state of flux. There will be changes at both tackle positions this season. Because the team lost left tackle Wayne Gandy the Steelers decided to move Marvel Smith into that spot from right tackle. Oliver Ross likely will become the new starter at right tackle.

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