The Atlanta Falcons have agreed to terms with former Pro Bowl linebacker Lofa Tatupu
The team announced the deal Saturday. No terms were released.
Tatupu was a second-round pick by Seattle in 2005 and spent six seasons with the Seahawks. He was named to the NFC Pro Bowl team three straight years from 2005-07 and has started all 84 games he’s played in his career.
The 29-year-old was released last summer by Seattle after failing to reach agreement on a restructured deal. He didn’t play in 2011
The Seattle Seahawks cut former Pro Bowl cornerback Marcus Trufant today.
Trufant was due a $7.2 million base salary and carried a $10.13 million salary-cap figure for 2012.
“Out of respect for Marcus and his family, we’ve decided to release him today so that he has an opportunity to explore the full window of unrestricted free agency and the options that go along with it,” Seahawks general manager John Schneider said. “Marcus has done so much for this organization, but because of the changing landscape of the NFL, tough decisions have to be made and this is the correct thing to do at this time.”
Drafted 11th overall, Trufant was scheduled to make an $8.8 million base salary in 2013 with an $11.73 million salary-cap figure in the final year of his contract.
A former Washington State standout, Trufant has struggled with back injuries and finished last season on injured reserve after playing four games.
In nine seasons, Trufant recorded 604 tackles to rank 10th all-time in Seattle history, two sacks, 21 interceptions to rank fifth all-time in Seattle history, two touchdowns on interception returns, 113 passes defensed, four forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries.
Trufant was voted to the Pro Bowl after the 2007 season, when he registered a career-high seven interceptions.
Peyton Manning’s career with the Indianapolis Colts will come to a close this week, ESPN reported Tuesday….According to the report, the Colts will officially cut ties with the four-time NFL MVP quarterback on Wednesday.
The Colts have until Thursday to pick up a $28 million option on Manning’s contract for next season, but it was widely believed the team would not choose to pay the 35-year-old Manning that amount after he missed the entire 2011 season following several neck surgeries.
Negotiations on a new contract could continue up until Friday afternoon. After that point, the Colts would be on the hook for a $28 million “non-exercise” fee for not picking up the option.
If Manning is not retained by the Colts he would become a free agent when the NFL year begins March 13.
Manning has been working out in recent weeks at Duke University, where his former offensive coordinator at Tennessee is the head coach.
There have been varying reports on Manning’s current health, with the most significant question being how close his arm strength is to returning to normal.
The Colts are expected to use the first pick in April’s draft to select former Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, regardless of whether Manning is still in the fold.
AndrewLuck vs. RGIII
This one has been steadily brewing for quite some time, formulating deep under the surface, but is bound to boil over after Griffin III wows scouts this week in Indy. Andrew Luck has been the “no-brainer” first pick of the draft since he decided to return to Stanford for his junior campaign last January, and though he’s done nothing but help solidify his draft stock the past 13 months, there are more and more good things emerging from the Griffin camp.
With the immediate impact Cam Newton made on the Carolina Panthers last season (with an abridged offseason, mind you), and the incredible turnaround Baylor football had in the four years Griffin served as its quarterback, there’s reason to believe RGIII has the bigger “upside” than Luck. Griffin is the more athletic player, might throw a better deep ball and has many of the same leadership qualities that Luck is so roundly lauded for.
The amazing irony is that these two almost played together in college…Former
Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh recruited both men to play together at Stanford. Griffin, after briefly considering a Thunder and Lightning duo, decided he wanted to be “the guy” right away, and working in some sort of quarterback platoon wasn’t what he had in mind for his collegiate career.
He turned down offers from Stanford, Miami, and Texas, declined an offer to play at Harvard, and committed to Art Briles at Houston. When Briles made the move to Baylor before Griffin’s freshman season, he followed the coach who recruited him and promised him playing time right away. In his four years in Waco, he didn’t disappoint. Griffin turned Baylor from a national laughingstock to a respected program, overcame what could have been a career-altering injury and somehow got better, and won a Heisman Trophy. Griffin III makes his teammates better and his coaches look smarter. Whereas Luck could be the next Peyton Manning, Robert Griffin III could be Cam Newton version 2.0. Both are tantalizing possibilities…He’s going to dazzle in workouts, he’s going to wow in interviews and, if he measures up as listed, there are going to be teams that rank Griffin over Luck. The size issue matters. I’ve spoken to some NFL folks who insist Griffin is closer to 5-foot-11, 205 pounds than 6-2, 220. We’ll see.
The rumor out in Indianapolis during the Super Bowl was that the Polians — Bill and Chris — both had RGIII rated higher than Andrew Luck on their early draft boards. Whether true or not, it’s something to consider. Trust me, they’re not the only ones.
If Griffin blows everyone out of the water this week? Buckle up, folks.
Five Combine question marks
As much as the Combine can highlight the best physical qualities of certain players, it can put a spotlight on the shortcomings of others. Here are five accomplished college players who might not “wow” at the combine…
1. Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State: The NCAA all-time wins record holder, Moore failed to wow scouts at the Senior Bowl and has question marks about his size and arm strength. He also looks about 11 years old. Will he be a leader at the next level? Is he Drew Brees or just another great college quarterback who makes little impact at the next level?
2. Case Keenum, QB, Houston: In a similar vein as Moore, Keenum’s a familiar name who might slip further than most fans would expect. The sixth-year senior out of Houston, Keenum came back from a devastating knee injury to shatter NCAA records and lead Houston to the Ticket City Bowl last season. Is that knee up to snuff? Are his best days behind him?
3. Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State: The scouts I speak with love Weeden. The obvious red flag is his age. At 28, he’s not exactly a spring chicken. Is that necessarily a bad thing? Danny Watkins was 26 years old and went in the first round last year. The argument, there, was that he was a fresh 26 — the body of a 20-something, with the maturity of a man. Can the same be said for Weeden? Or is the guy who was traded from the Yankees to the Dodgers for Kevin Brown — yes, that Kevin Brown — just too damn old to draft with an early round pick?
4. Rueben Randle, WR, LSU: One of the biggest high-school recruits of the ’09 class, Randle never put up big numbers at LSU. Was that a reflection of him not living up to expectations or did he play in an offense that hardly focused on the pass? Scouts will have their eyes peeled on Randle, a guy several NFL draftniks were surprised declared for the draft and left school early.
5. Jared Crick, DE/DT, Nebraska: No player benefited from Ndamukong Suh double and triple teams two years ago quite like Crick. The past two years, though, the Nebraska defensive lineman has seen his production dip. A result of various injuries? Or was he merely the benefactor of Suh’s dominance in 2009?
Five best drills to watch
1. The 40-yard dash: A player’s career can be made, or destroyed, in a flash. One memorable 40-yard-dash story involves Deion Sanders’ run in 1989. Back before the Combine was televised or even all that much covered by the media, Sanders reportedly showed up late and did just one drill — and only once. As the story goes, Sanders ran a 4.29 in the 40 and then jogged right into the Hoosier Dome tunnel and out the building. Without breaking stride, he hopped into a limousine and took a trip to the airport, where he boarded a plane and flew home.
2. Bench press: How many times can a player put up 225 pounds in one sitting? Can’t fake this one.
3. The gauntlet: A wide receiver or a tight end gets a pass from a coach, catches the ball and drops it. He then runs across the field and catches five passes in a row from five different quarterbacks across the field. It’s all hand-eye coordination.
4. The speed-turn drill: A defensive back starts at the line of scrimmage, backpedals 5 yards, runs forward 5 yards and then is told to run in a certain direction. At about 15 yards, the defensive back is asked to look up and locate a football. What kind of ball skills do you have? The speed-turn drill gives an indication.
5. Three-cone drill: Three cones are placed in an L shape. Players go 5 yards to the first cone and back, then to the second cone and back and then run a loop around the third cone, switch direction and come back around the second cone. Got all that? A shifty running back/wide receiver can usually do a three-cone drill in 6.5-7.0 seconds.
1. Andrew Luck, Stanford (Jr.) 6-foot-4, 235 pounds, Proj. 1
2. Robert Griffin III, Baylor (Jr.) 6-2, 220, Proj. 1
3. Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State 6-3, 220, Proj. 2
4. Nick Foles, Arizona 6-5, 245, Proj. 2
5. Kirk Cousins, Michigan State 6-2, 210, Proj. 4
6. Ryan Lindley, San Diego State 6-4, 230, Proj. 3
7. Brock Osweiler, Arizona State (Jr.) 6-8, 240, Proj. 3
8. Russell Wilson, Wisconsin 5-11, 200, Proj. 5
9. Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M 6-4, 225, Proj.
10. B.J. Coleman, UT Chattanooga 6-3, 234, Proj. 4
Authorities arrested 17 students in a sweeping drug sting at Texas Christian University on Wednesday, a bust that included four members of the Horned Frogs football team accused of selling marijuana to undercover officers during the season and as recently as a few weeks ago….. Police said the 17 people who were arrested were caught making ”hand-to-hand” sales of marijuana, cocaine, ecstasy and prescription drugs to undercover officers. They said the bust followed a six-month investigation prompted by complaints from students, parents and others.
The arrests stunned the campus community, coming just one day after a thrilling overtime victory by the men’s basketball team and less than 24 hours after TCU released its football schedule for next season, its first in the Big 12 Conference. TCU has an enrollment of about 9,500 students, but the involvement of the athletes drew the most scrutiny.
”There are days people want to be a head football coach, but today is not one of those days,” coach Gary Patterson said. ”As I heard the news this morning, I was first shocked, then hurt and now I’m mad.”
Three prominent defensive players on the team were arrested: Linebacker Tanner Brock, the leading tackler two seasons ago, defensive tackle D.J. Yendrey and cornerback Devin Johnson. The other player is offensive lineman Ty Horn.
Police said they had not determined whether the four were selling to their teammates or other athletes, though the arrest affidavits raise the possibility.
In November, a Fort Worth police officer was informed that Horn was selling marijuana to ”college students and football players at Texas Christian.” The officer allegedly bought marijuana that day, Nov. 3, two days before a road game at Wyoming, from both Horn and Yendrey.