2015 DRAFT GUIDE
Falcons still lobbying for Gonzalez's return

By MICHAEL MAROT - AP Sports Writer
    2013-02-22 18:44

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - The Atlanta Falcons have two primary offseason goals.

Yes, they want to lock up franchise quarterback Matt Ryan to a new long-term deal. But the more pressing need may be getting tight end Tony Gonzalez to delay his retirement plans for another season.

``I've spoken with Tony, and I hope you guys understand that when I talk to my players, I try to keep those conversations private,'' coach Mike Smith said Friday at the NFL's annual scouting combine. ``I'll talk with him again, and the time frame on that is sooner than later. We know that Tony had an outstanding year for us.''

Atlanta (13-3) finished with the NFC's best record and fell just short of reaching its second Super Bowl, a loss that many thought would be the last of Gonzalez's career.

While he hasn't officially announced his retirement, Gonzalez has said repeatedly he was 95 percent certain the 2012 season would be his last in the NFL.

If Gonzalez doesn't return, Smith made it clear the Falcons would be looking for a replacement that looks a lot like Gonzalez, the career leader for receptions among tight ends. Of course, the best solution might be not be finding a replacement at all.

``I think the skill set that Tony Gonzalez has is basically the standard that most teams are looking for when they are talking about a tight end,'' Smith said. ``He was really the first one, the more athletic tight end that could extend from the formation, line up outside, line up in different places. We would be looking for that type of tight end.''

Gonzalez's future is only part of the equation in Atlanta.

Ryan has led the Falcons to the playoffs four times but has only one postseason win, and his contract is set to expire after next season. Apparently, Atlanta is ready to start talking.

``Obviously, it's a priority for us when the time is right, and we're not too anxious about it because we're confident that it's going to get done,'' general manager Thomas Dimitroff said. ``Our feeling is that Matt's going to be with us for many years to come and he's going to be our franchise guy that we're all very proud off, again, on and off the field. Matt's what we're looking for in a quarterback.''

---

MORE CONTRACT TALK: The Falcons are just one of many teams at the combine being peppered with questions about contracts.

The Dallas Cowboys and Cincinnati Bengals are in the club, too.

Cowboys coach Jason Garrett lined up unequivocally behind his starting quarterback Tony Romo, though he acknowledged Dallas probably needs to restructure Romo's deal to fill out the roster.

``We believe very strongly in Tony Romo as our quarterback, so we want to get that business done to help our football team be as good as it can be,'' Garrett said. ``I do believe we have to address some things with personnel, and freeing up some of that money will allow us to do that.''

The Bengals aren't in salary cap crunch. Heading into free agency, they are expected to have more than $50 million to spend.

But they do have a lot of expiring contracts and many young players who will be due raises in the next couple of years, so they'll spend the next couple of weeks doing what they can to keep their team together.

``I don't have any confirmation yet that we have signed anyone,'' coach Marvin Lewis said. ``We're working hard on it and there are some meetings and positive things that have to continue to come. We have a number of guys who we have to get re-signed and we will work very hard at getting that done.''

---

BROTHERLY LOVE: Apparently, the Harbaugh brothers are talking again.

A few days after the Super Bowl, winning coach John Harbaugh said he and his brother, Jim, had not spoken since the 49ers lost to the Ravens.

The silent treatment is now over.

``A little bit about the game and some other things,'' Jim Harbaugh said when asked at the combine if the two had talked since the title game. ``We've just got a strong relationship, and it always seems to get stronger. We're very close.''

Even so, there are some topics that are out of bounds, such as strategy.

And while it has been an incredible season for the Harbaugh family - John won his first Super Bowl, Jim won his first NFC championship and Indiana coach Tom Crean, their brother-in-law, has the No. 1 team in college basketball - that's no consolation to the former NFL quarterback whose name appears in the Lucas Oil Stadium Ring of Honor.

``It's not easier,'' Jim Harbaugh said of dealing with the loss now.

Harbaugh also said the 49ers may not have injured receiver Mario Manningham back on the field at the start of training camp, adding the caveat that he's no doctor. Manningham had reconstructive surgery on his left knee in January.

---

COUGHLIN THE COMEDIAN: Giants coach Tom Coughlin tackled the expected routine Friday with humor.

Three questions into his scheduled 15-minute news conference, he was asked about having one year left on his contract. One of his players, cornerback Terrell Thomas, had said he thought this would be Coughlin's last year coaching.

``I wondered how long it would take to get to that. I tried to think of something funny to say, but I don't know what to say about it. I don't even know how a young man would come to that statement,'' he joked. ``I approach each year the way I always approach them and the energy is flowing well and I'm excited about it. I'm looking forward to this offseason and getting our football team together again. Maybe at some point I'll get the message, but it certainly isn't right now.''

For Coughlin, that was only the start of his comedy routine.

When he was asked whether center David Baas, who was listed with hip and shoulder injuries before the Giants season finale, had any surgery, Coughlin told reporters he had a little surgery.

The reporter then asked: ``On what?''

Coughlin's response: ``On his body.''

Seriously, though, Coughlin did call the decision to release running back Ahmad Bradshaw ``very tough.'' The injury-plagued Bradshaw helped the Giants win two Super Bowls.

---

DON'T PACK YET: Conventional wisdom suggests Green Bay will not bring back Pro Bowl receiver Greg Jennings next season.

But at the combine, coach Mike McCarthy and general manager Ted Thompson made it clear if they can keep Jennings, they'd like to.

``All I am going to say is it is our policy, and we think it's a good way to manage the NFL if you are able to retain any of your players, and we would very much like to do that, and that includes Greg,'' Thompson said.

The Packers are trying to prepare for a potential cap crunch in the next couple of seasons when they will have to re-sign linebacker Clay Matthews, defensive tackle B.J. Raji, and the 2011 league MVP, quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Green Bay has already released 2009 Defensive Player of the Year Charles Woodson, and longtime receiver Donald Driver announced his retirement earlier this month.

Most believe keeping Jennings is a luxury the Packers simply cannot afford, but the reality is Green Bay isn't ruling it out.

``We'll see what happens with Jennings because he is in more of a business situation,'' coach Mike McCarthy said. ``You don't replace Woodson and Driver, and I am talking about what type of guys they are and what they bring to the team.''

---

COMING BACK: John Elway's return trip to Lucas Oil Stadium already has the Denver boss thinking about one of next fall's marquee matchups: Peyton Manning's return to Indianapolis.

The schedule usually is released in April, but Elway, who spent his entire NFL career with the Broncos, has a semblance of what it might be like when Manning comes back to Lucas Oil Stadium next fall.

``It'll be special. I'm sure it will be special for Peyton,'' Elway said. ``I'm sure when you spend as long as Peyton did in Indianapolis, the relationships that he has, at that point in his career to go somewhere else and play had to be tough.''

Indy fans won't have to wait that long to see Manning.

He's scheduled to be in town in late April for a fundraiser for the children's hospital that bears his name.

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Brandon ColemanSep 2 10:03p

New Orleans Saints WR Brandon Coleman has impressed QB Drew Brees during training camp and the preseason. The quarterback said Tuesday, Sept. 2, that he has a great comfort level with Coleman.

Richard RodgersSep 2 09:43p

Green Bay Packers TE Richard Rodgers is expected to see more opportunities in the passing game with WR Jordy Nelson (knee) done for the season.

Melvin GordonSep 2 08:23p

San Diego Chargers RBs Melvin Gordon, Danny Woodhead, Branden Oliver and Donald Brown will be part of a committee at running back this season, according to QB Philip Rivers. [ More ]

Randall CobbSep 2 07:23p

Green Bay Packers WR Randall Cobb (shoulder) said he'd be comfortable starting in Week 1 against the Chicago Bears even if he doesn't practice next week. However, wide receivers [ More ]

Giovani BernardSep 2 06:03p

Cincinnati Bengals RBs Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard both finished among the top-16 running backs in point-per-reception leagues last season.

Tom BradySep 2 04:33p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady doesn't look like he'll reach a settlement with the NFL. The league and the NFL Player's Associated have not had any talks regarding [ More ]

Victor CruzSep 2 04:03p

New York Giants WR Victor Cruz (calf) is doubtful to play Week 1, according to ESPNNewYork.com's Dan Graziano. Cruz has not yet been cleared to practice and did not participate in the preseason.

LeSean McCoySep 2 01:43p

Updating an earlier report, Buffalo Bills RB LeSean McCoy (hamstring) may not be in great 'football shape' once Week 1 rolls around, according to a source. He's not at [ More ]

LeSean McCoySep 2 12:43p

Buffalo Bills RB LeSean McCoy (hamstring) seems to be in some danger of missing the season opener Sept. 13. 'Well we certainly expect him to be ready to go, [ More ]

EJ ManuelSep 2 11:33a

Buffalo Bills QB EJ Manuel is expected to remain on the team as the backup quarterback. There is growing expectations that QB Matt Cassel will be cut.

Matt CasselSep 2 09:23a

Buffalo Bills QB Matt Cassel could be cut by the team, as they are internally discussing the option.

Joseph RandleSep 2 08:33a

Dallas Cowboys RB Joseph Randle could have 10-15 carries per game with RB Darren McFadden slightly below that, in the opinion of beat writer Drew Davison

Travis CoonsSep 1 11:03p

Cleveland Browns PK Travis Coons edged out PK Carey Spear, winning the battle for the placekicking job. 'Yeah, it was close. I thought both guys handled themselves very well, [ More ]

Nick ToonSep 1 07:43p

New Orleans Saints WRs Nick Toon, Lance Lewis and R.J. Harris were released Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Randall CobbSep 1 06:23p

Green Bay Packers WR Randall Cobb (shoulder) thinks his sprained right shoulder will be good to go to play in Week 1 against the Chicago Bears in 12 days. [ More ]

James ButlerSep 1 05:53p

Green Bay Packers WR James Butler and TE Harold Spears were released Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Julius ThomasSep 1 05:23p

Jacksonville Jaguars TE Julius Thomas (finger) will undergo surgery on his injured finger Wednesday, Sept. 2, according to a source. Thomas is expected to miss four to five weeks.

Zac DysertSep 1 05:13p

Free-agent QB Zac Dysert (Broncos) was claimed by the Chicago Bears Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Tom BradySep 1 05:03p

Updating a previous report, New England Patriots QB Tom Brady will know his fate by the end of this week. Judge Richard Berman said he will issue his decision and order by that time.

Matt BlanchardSep 1 04:53p

Green Bay Packers QB Matt Blanchard was released Tuesday, Sept. 1, according to a source.

Juron CrinerSep 1 04:32p

New York Giants RB Akeem Hunt (hamstring) was waived/injured Tuesday, Sept. 1. WRs Juron Criner and Derrick X. Johnson and TE Will Tye were also waived.

Robert HerronSep 1 04:32p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Robert Herron was waived Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Phil TaylorSep 1 04:23p

Cleveland Browns DT Phil Taylor was released Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Junior HemingwaySep 1 04:12p

Kansas City Chiefs WR Junior Hemingway was waived Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Michael HillSep 1 04:12p

Dallas Cowboys RB Michael Hill (undisclosed) was waived/injured Tuesday, Sept. 1. WRs Antwan Goodley and David Porter and TE Brandon Barden were also waived.

Travis KelceSep 1 03:03p

Kansas City Chiefs TE Travis Kelce (ankle) would be able to play if the Chiefs had a game Tuesday, Sept. 1, according to head coach Andy Reid. Kelce is recovering from an ankle sprain.

Jarrett BoykinSep 1 03:03p

Carolina Panthers WRs Jarrett Boykin and De'Andre Presley were waived Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Jace AmaroSep 1 01:33p

New York Jets TE Jace Amaro (shoulder) will have season-ending shoulder surgery and will be placed on the Reserve/Injured list.

Erik LorigSep 1 12:33p

New Orleans Saints FB Erik Lorig was cut Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Nathan PalmerSep 1 11:53a

Denver Broncos WR Nathan Palmer was waived Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Devonta FreemanSep 1 11:32a

Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman was the most active in practice Monday, Aug. 31, that he was been since a hamstring injury Aug. 6. It's unclear whether he'll play [ More ]

Jarrett BoykinSep 1 10:33a

Carolina Panthers WR Jarrett Boykin was released Tuesday, Sept. 1.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group