Owen Daniels, Pete Carroll, Brandin Cooks
The Baltimore Ravens have a new tight end, two-time Pro Bowler Owen Daniels.
Daniels, who spent the past eight seasons with the Houston Texans, will be reunited with new Ravens offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak, the Texans’ former head coach.
Depending on how the 31-year-old Daniels recovers from the broken fibula that caused him to miss 11 games last season, he could make a significant addition to the Ravens’ offense. In 2012, he caught 62 passes for 716 yards and six touchdowns.
Kubiak will try to maximize what has the makings of a strong tight-end pairing in Daniels and Dennis Pitta, who missed 12 games in 2013 with a hip injury and whom the Ravens re-signed to a five-year contract in February.
ROLANDO MCCLAIN RETURNING TO THE RAVENS?
Linebacker Rolando McClain reportedly wants to make a comeback with the Ravens, who had signed him last spring only to see him retire shortly thereafter following his arrest for disorderly conduct.
McClain, who was 23 at the time, had joined the Oakland Raiders as the eighth overall pick of the 2010 NFL Draft. The arrest was his third since entering the league.
During his year away from football, McClain re-enrolled at Alabama and was a student-assistant coach for the Crimson Tide. Now, at 24, he apparently feels ready to return the NFL, telling the Carroll County (Md.) Times, “I’m excited about the game again. I’m excited to play.”
The Times reported that McClain was looking to meet with Ravens general manager and fellow Crimson Tide alum Ozzie Newsome today in Alabama. There is reason to think that Newsome would at least be intrigued by possibility of taking McClain back to help the Ravens’ depth at linebacker. In three seasons with the Raiders, McClain had 246 tackles and 6.5 sacks.
But he couldn’t avoid trouble off the field, including a dispute with Oakland coach Dennis Allen that led to a two-game suspension.
PETE CARROLL GETS CONTRACT EXTENSION
Pete Carroll has something else to go with two big prizes from coaching the Seattle Seahawks to their first Super Bowl victory in February: the Lombardi Trophy and a massive diamond ring.
According to multiple media reports, the Seahawks have called a news conference today to announce that Carroll will get a contract extension.
The original five-year deal that Carroll signed when he left the University of Southern California to take over the Seahawks was due to expire after the 2014 season.
After two unsuccessful NFL head-coaching stints with the New York Jets and New England Patriots, Carroll found the winning formula in Seattle that ultimately resulted in a 43-8 humiliation of the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII.
He put together a team with a dominant front seven and a large, physical secondary. He built an offense that featured the power running of Marshawn Lynch. And, in 2012, Carroll made the bold decision to start a rookie quarterback, third-round pick Russell Wilson, over free-agent acquisition Matt Flynn.
RUSSELL WILSON: ‘WHY CAN’T I BE THE BEST?’
Speaking of Wilson, he clearly aspires to be much more than the guy who hands the ball off to Lynch and functions as an efficient “game manager” on a team that wins largely on the strength of its defense.
“Why can’t I be the best quarterback to ever play the game one day?” Wilson told ESPN. “I’m not right now. I’ve got a long way to go. But one day, you know?”
There’s every reason to believe Wilson could make such strides. He’s only 25 years old and puts a tremendous amount of work into trying to make himself the best quarterback he can possibly be.
For now, though, the most impressive part of Wilson’s game is understanding that the Seahawks’ greatest chance for success is to play smothering defense while he and the rest of the offense support those efforts by taking care of the football and controlling the clock.
For now, it is the Seahawks’ defense that is in the conversation for “best in the game.”
‘THE HOUSE THAT JOHNNY BUILT’ COMING TO A STADIUM NEAR YOU?
Johnny Manziel had seemingly been spending the past couple of months trying to change the narrative about him as a player who is more about flash than substance.
He has told media that there is much more to him than the “Johnny Football” persona that defined him during his standout career at Texas A&M, where stories of him enjoying his celebrity to the hilt abounded and raised red flags with NFL teams preparing for May’s draft. Manziel insisted he is a different guy, someone who has matured and is dedicated to doing all that is necessary to become a top-flight quarterback at the next level.
And then there is this.
According to Darren Rovell of ESPN.com, Manziel has applied for federal trademarks on, among other things, the phrase “The House That Johnny Built.” Rovell also reports that Manziel is in the process of securing the rights to “Johnny Football.”
It’s hard to blame Manziel, who has also done national television commercials, for wanting to take full advantage of lucrative opportunities off the field while he can.
But it’s equally hard to blame any NFL team for seeing this latest development as a reason to have concerns about Manziel’s focus.
BRANDIN COOKS THINKS HE CAN BE BETTER THAN DESEAN JACKSON
How do the Philadelphia Eagles go about replacing wide receiver DeSean Jackson, whom they released a week ago and who signed with the Washington Redskins earlier this week?
The answer is expected to come in what is widely viewed as one of the more receiver-rich drafts in years.
One player who could fit the bill is Oregon State’s Brandin Cooks. The Eagles own the 22nd overall pick, and that’s in the range that multiple draft analysts believe Cooks will be available.
The 5-foot-10, 189-pound Cooks is similar to Jackson in physical stature, while also offering the kind of speed and explosiveness that allowed Jackson to make a tremendous impact in Chip Kelly’s offense last season. Cooks told Philly.com that he admires Jackson’s game and calls him a “freak,” but shows tremendous confidence in his own skills.
“Maybe Chip Kelly is looking to take another speedy receiver in that first round, and that could be me,” Cooks said. “Who knows? And if that’s the case, a lot of people will wonder ‘Can he do it like DeSean Jackson?’ In my opinion, I can do it like him and do it better.”
COLT MCCOY GETS ANOTHER BACKUP OPPORTUNITY
Former Cleveland Browns quarterback Colt McCoy is on the move again.
After spending last season as a backup to Colin Kaepernick in San Francisco, McCoy now has a chance to compete for a reserve role behind Robert Griffin III in Washington.
Kirk Cousins has spent the past two seasons as the No. 2 quarterback for the Redskins. He has been the subject of considerable trade speculation, including the possibility of joining the Browns and being reunited with offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, who previously held the same job in Washington.
As of now, McCoy, who made 21 starts in three seasons with the Browns, will compete with Cousins to see who will be the understudy for Griffin, who has struggled to stay healthy in his two NFL seasons.
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