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Stlrs4Life
08-03-2008, 10:33 PM
NFL Insider: Headaches abound in training camps
by Tony Grossi
http://www.cleveland.com/browns/inde..._abound_i.html (http://www.cleveland.com/browns/index.ssf/2008/08/nfl_insider_headaches_abound_i.html)
Saturday August 02, 2008, 6:03 PM

Keith Srakocic/Associated PressPittsburgh defensive lineman Casey Hampton was reduced to running with conditioning coach Marcel Pastoor after failing the Steelers' annual fitness run at the start of camp. Hampton was immediately placed on the physically unable to perform list and is not practicing with the team.
The Browns hit the halfway point of their training camp with nine players nursing injuries and not practicing.

Foremost among the injured are receiver Joe Jurevicius (out probably till November with an infected knee), linebacker Antwan Peek (through preseason after knee surgery) and offensive lineman Ryan Tucker (expected back later this month after June hip surgery).

The other six players on the Browns' injured list are expected to return to practice sometime this week.

Their division rivals have their own health issues, and none has been in camp as long as the Browns.

Baltimore -- Starting offensive tackles Jared Gaither and Adam Terry are out indefinitely with sprained ankles. Then the club lost rookie third-round pick Oniel Cousins to a sprained knee on Thursday. The Ravens are scrambling. They signed Chad Slaughter, 30, who was out of football and pouring concrete before he beat out ex-Brown Kelly Butler in a tryout, to start at left tackle. Mike Kracalik, a practice player last year, was promoted to starting right tackle. This is not a good situation for a team learning a new offense and trying to wage a quarterback competition.

Al Behrman/Associated PressCincinnati hopes Antwan Odom will add some sizzle to its defensive line, but the free agent acquisition has yet to do much after spraining his foot on the first day of practice.
Cincinnati -- Defensive end Antwan Odom, the team's marquee free agent addition, suffered a foot sprain in the team's first practice on Monday. He missed the entire week and is out indefinitely. Losing any defensive player is costly to the Bengals. Odom is trying to replace Justin Smith, who fled to San Francisco, and provide some rush help for Robert Geathers. The Bengals had a league-low 22 sacks last year.

Pittsburgh -- Nose tackle Casey Hampton is in coach Mike Tomlin's doghouse after failing the club's conditioning run (eight 100-yard jogs) prior to the first day of practice. Tomlin placed Hampton on PUP.

Hampton, who is well past his listed weight of 325, admitted to reporters, "I could be in better shape," but added, "Everybody knows I don't like the run test, anyway, so it doesn't matter." Hampton, a former college teammate of the Browns' Shaun Rogers, is known on the team as Big Snack.

Also, the Steelers replaced second-year punter Daniel Sepulveda, out for the year with a torn ACL, with -- ta da -- Paul Ernster. He was the emergency punter for the Browns in the 2007 opener against Pittsburgh who fumbled the first snap to him and proceeded to uncork a 15-yard punt, which was returned to the Browns' 22. It set in motion the 34-7 Pittsburgh rout. Now for the rest of the story: Ernster told Pittsburgh reporters, "It's an exciting opportunity for me because I've always been a fan of the team."

Love those holdouts: Two teams on the Browns' schedule have the only unsigned first-round picks still holding out.

Jacksonville is irate about rush linebacker Derrick Harvey's contract demands. The Jaguars traded three draft picks to Baltimore to move up to No. 8 and select Harvey.

Coach Jack Del Rio told reporters, "There's been some deals in front of us that have been outrageous, in my opinion, and it makes it difficult to have him here. What's happened at the very top of the first round is ridiculous when you're paying the guys that have never done anything more than star football players in this league that have played for years and established themselves."

Cincinnati is still without linebacker Keith Rivers, the No. 9 overall pick, who was projected as the starter on the weak side.

This marks the fourth time in five years the Bengals have had a first-round pick miss practice time in a contract dispute.

Missing Corey: New Browns end Corey Williams hasn't been able to practice for a week because of a shoulder injury, but Green Bay, which traded him, is missing him more than the Browns.

The Packers planned to replace Williams on their front four with a rotation of Justin Harrell, Johnny Jolly and Colin Cole. That surplus convinced the Packers they could afford to trade Williams rather than pay him the franchise tender of $6.363 million.

Now the Packers are scrambling. Harrell needed disc surgery in April, had a setback and might be out for the year. Jolly, who had major shoulder surgery on a rotator cuff in December, was arrested on July 8 and charged with possession of 200 grams of codeine, according to published reports. Cole, who had arm surgery in November, has yet to be cleared to practice.

All of which caused co-line coach Robert Nunn to lament the loss of Williams.

"You miss a guy like that, you certainly do," Nunn told reporters. "He's very athletic and very productive. He made a lot of game-changing plays."

Must see: HBO's coverage of the Dallas Cowboys' training camp kicks off on Wednesday with the first of five episodes of "Hard Knocks."

The star-studded Cowboys, who open the season in Cleveland on Sept. 7, will be heavy favorites to get to the Super Bowl. But know this: No team has survived the HBO camera invasion and posted a better record than its previous year.

Baltimore, the first subject of Hard Knocks, slumped to 10-6 in 2001 after winning the Super Bowl, Dallas had a 5-11 year in 2002 after the same the year before, and Kansas City went 4-12 in 2007 after 9-7.

The show makes for tremendous viewing, but it presents a huge challenge for a coaching staff to overcome the distractions while trying to prepare for the season.

BlitzburghRockCity
08-03-2008, 11:19 PM
The AFCN has definitely had it's share of injuries thus far in camp. :nonod: