It’s a sad day in Indianapolis today, and that has nothing to do with the final day of the NFL Scouting Combine.
It may be a similarly sad day in San Diego very soon.
The NFL clock is ticking towards 12:01 on Friday morning. That’s when the league year begins. It’s when players become free agents. It’s when trades can be consummated. It’s when teams must be under the league’s salary cap limit.
It has become the time of year when teams and long-time stars part ways.
That will happen in the next 48 hours between the Colts and 13-year wide receiver Marvin Harrison. The man who holds all of the team’s receiving records and has been the favorite target over this decade for Colts quarterback Peyton Manning is going to be released.
Harrison refused to take a pay cut and the Colts can’t afford to keep him on the roster any more, not with the money they are paying Manning and defensive end Dwight Freeney. The team and Harrison’s agent Tom Condon met Monday and agreed that Harrison will become a free agent.
An official announcement should come on Tuesday or Wednesday.
“There was no hardball with this, just heartache,” Colts GM Bill Polian told ESPN.
“Basically, we were not able to come to any kind of agreement, it was not contentious and the Colts have agreed to release him,” Condon told the Associated Press.
Owner Jim¬†Irsay jumped into the fray on Monday evening and talked one-on-one with Harrison in hopes of getting a deal¬†that will keep him¬†wearing a horseshoe on his helmet.
“Marvin and I are talking at mid-afternoon (Tuesday) and we’ll see where we go from there,” Irsay told the Indianapolis Star.¬† “I’m not going to start talking like he’s not here, because nothing’s been determined officially by any stretch.”
Asked if Harrison could stay in Indy,¬†Irsay was quoted as saying, “Definitely.”
“This is a very, very unusual situation,”¬† Irsay said.¬† “Marvin goes back with me to 1996 when I started to assume ownership.¬† Obviously there have been conversations between Bill (Polian, team president) and Condon, but Marvin and I are going to talk it through and see where it goes.¬† It’s a special circumstance. It’s a player and an owner, two partners who have been together for a long, long time. We’re going to talk through everything and be certain that the direction we go is the right one for both of us.”
Harrison was scheduled to make $9 million in the coming season and he was going to count $13.4 million against the Colts salary cap. By releasing him, Indy will save $6 million under the cap. He’s coming off the two least productive seasons in his career, having missed 12 games in the last two seasons due to injury. Last year, he caught just 60 passes for 636 yards in 15 games.
Over his career, Harrison has caught 1,102 passes for 14,580 yards and 128 touchdowns, with 112 of those TDs coming from Manning.
It will be interesting to see just what type of interest a soon to be 37-year old (in August) wide receiver with injuries the last two years draws on the open market. Harrison and Condon must believe there will be interest in him.
Condon is also the agent for San Diego running back LaDainian Tomlinson, who is headed for a possible showdown with the Chargers over his contract. In reaction to the franchise contract tender that was extended to Darren Sproles, management wants Tomlinson to re-do his deal, taking a cut in base salary, with the chance to make dollars back with performance bonuses.
He’s due $6.725 million in base salary this year with a cap number of $8.791 million.
Tomlinson does not appear to be much interested in taking a cut. With deals ahead this year that must be negotiated with quarterback Philip Rivers and tight end Antonio Gates, the Chargers may be forced to doing something drastic because of their cap situation.
Stay tuned on this one. Condon and Chargers GM A.J. Smith are noted combatants, and Tomlinson seems to have great confidence in his agent.
TIDBITS FROM INDY COMBINE WORKOUTS
It was defensive line and linebackers working out on Monday and the star was Wake Forest LB Aaron Curry (right). Yes, the man who our readers believe should be the team’s choice at No. 3 in the first round ran the 40-yard dash in 4.56 seconds, tops among LBs. He had 25 reps on the bench press, a 37-inch vertical leap and 10-4 in the broad jump.
Among the rest of the linebackers, only four were timed under 4.7 seconds in the 40-yard dash: Wake Forest’s Stanley Arnoux and Southern Mississippi’s Gerald McRath (both 4.61), Clay Matthews of Southern Cal (4.67) and Jason Phillips of TCU (4.69).
Among the defensive ends, the star when it came to the physical testing was Connor Barwin from Cincinnati. The former tight end ran the 40-yard dash in 4.66 seconds and had a 40.5 vertical leap.
Lawrence Sidbury out of Richmond was the fastest defensive end, who ran in 4.64 seconds in the 40-yard dash.
Defensive end Brian Orapko from Texas and Southern Cal middle linebacker Rey Maualuga both pulled hamstrings during the Monday morning work and were forced to drop out of the drills. Orapko turned in a time in the 40-yard dash at 4.7 seconds, as well as doing 31 reps on the bench press and a 39.5 vertical jump.
WAYWARD TACKLE COSTS HIMSELF MILLIONS
A week ago, Andre Smith out of Alabama was considered a possible top five choice in the 2009 NFL Draft. He may have been part of the discussion for Detroit at the No. 1 spot.
That’s no longer the case after his weekend in Indy when he didn’t work out because he was out of shape and then left town without telling anyone. It has a lot of draft pundits speculating as to how far he’ll drop. Some believe he went from the top five to the bottom five in the league.
Last year, OT Jake Long was the top player taken and got a contract with $30 million in guaranteed money. The No. 26 choice was OT Duane Brown, who got $6.2 million.
So, we can speculate that Smith lost more than $20 million with what happened over the weekend.
FOLKS WHO ARE MOVING, STAYING OR LEAVING AROUND THE NFL
RAIDERS - released fullback Justin Griffith and offensive tackle Kwame Harris.
TEXANS – released defensive end Anthony Weaver.
VIKINGS – appear ready to deal with the Houston Texans for quarterback Sage Rosenfels. They can’t make a deal until Friday. Reportedly a fourth-round pick is what will be exchanged.
BACK AT THE COP SHOP
Former Vikings great Carl Eller (right) was found guilty of assaulting a Minneapolis police officer and failing to cooperate while police tried to give him a sobriety test last spring.
Over the cries of his mother Ernestine and the objections of his lawyer, Eller left the Hennepin County District Courthouse on Monday in handcuffs so he can begin serving 60 days in the County Workhouse.
Judge Daniel Mabley refused a plea from defense lawyer Albert Goins that Eller be allowed a day to get his affairs in order. Mabley said Eller had called the court and police corrupt, racist and biased. “I have to send a message that I do not find credible what he has asserted,” Mabley said in court. “The best way I can to that is to take him into custody.”
Eller was sentenced to 60 days in the workhouse, 60 days of electronic house arrest and a $3,000 fine. C In January, Mabley convicted the 67-year-old Eller of fourth-degree assault of a police officer and second-degree refusal to submit to chemical testing, both gross misdemeanors. Mabley fined Eller $1,500 on each charge.
He found that Eller had been drinking at a Minneapolis bar before he drove through a stop sign and swerved toward a squad car, just missing it, on April 9. Officers followed Eller, but he did not stop until he pulled into his driveway. Mabley found that once Eller stepped out of his vehicle, he did not obey commands to show his hands and he resisted arrest. He fought with the two officers, and was not subdued until backup officers arrived.
Freeman said Eller will also get chemical dependency treatment and be subject to random testing. Should he fail a test, he could spend more time in the workhouse.
SAY HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO …
Former Chiefs defensive end Vaughn Booker, who was born on February 24, 1968 in Cincinnati. Booker started his pro football career in the CFL, but signed with the Chiefs in 1994 and played four seasons in Kansas City (1994-97). He appeared in 56 games, with 22 starts and 6.5 sacks with the Chiefs.¬† He later finished up his NFL career by playing with his hometown Bengals.
Born on February 24, 1952 in Arcadia, Louisiana was Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive end Fredrick Rudolph Dean. Over 11 seasons in the league with San Diego and San Francisco, Dean had 17.5 sacks in the 1983 season with the 49ers, as he played as a designated pass rusher¬† in Bill Walsh’s defense. A four-time Pro Bowler, he played seven seasons in the NFL before the sack became an official statistic in the league, so his career total of passers sacked remains unknown. He joined the hallowed halls of Canton with the class of 2008.