The Daily Lard 5-12-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Denver's coaches got their first look at the newest Broncos as the team kicked off its three-day rookie minicamp yesterday (BTV video, photos).

John Fox, Brock Osweiler and Ronnie Hillman (videos) talked with reporters afterward. Osweiler spoke about working to raise his elbow in his throwing motion and admits no sentimental reason for taking #6.

He instead hopes to acquire his more familiar #17 from WR Andre Caldwell. But Caldwell wore #87 in Cincinnati, and of course that belongs Eric Decker, who wore #7 as a Gopher but never will as a Bronco. Not sure Brock should be negotiating for number through the press, as that will likely only jack up the price. This could take a while to play out, as all numbers in the tens and eighties are currently assigned.

Hillman discussed sharing SDSU as an alma mater with Fox and says he took #34 to honor two of his favorite players in Ricky Williams and Walter Payton.

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Broncos waive Jarmon

According to Mike Klis, the Broncos have waived DT Jeremy Jarmon, presumably to create room on the roster for newly-signed CB Drayton Florence.

Denver originally acquired Jarmon in exchange for veteran WR Jabar Gaffney, who recently headed back to New England following his release by Washington after one season.

Jarmon was among the Broncos' final cuts last season and had signed a future contract on January 2.

Rodgers scouts centers’ butts Lard 5-11-12

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! The topic of the day continues to be increasing player safety and easing the transition out of the game.

Ex-Chargers QB Dan Fouts will speak at the team's memorial for Junior Seau today, and he chatted with Clark Judge about the problems currently facing the game and its players. He says the NFL's culture of toughness and the reluctance of players to seek help must change.

Thankfully, that message appears to be taking hold in NFL circles, as Jarrett Bell details. Players like London Fletcher and Brandon Marshall have recently spoken up about post-career counseling, while NFLPA exec Nolan Harrison is calling for baseline concussion testing and better financial education for incoming players. Jack Bechta suggests that players take mandatory year-round life-skills classes for their first three years in the league, while Matt Bowen recommends that retired players continue their educations via NFL subsidies, like he did.

Mike Tanier thinks the NFL is serious about improving player safety, and that we should be patient with the league as their figure out how to do so.

The newly retired Jacob Bell has some excellent ideas for improving player care: brain scans at the Combine, mandatory meetings with psychologists for new players, and making concussion awareness part of the rookie symposium. Meanwhile, Mike Freeman is stunned by Roddy White's troubling lack of respect for his NFL predecessors, and he suggests several ways to improve the safety of the game and the treatment of players.

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Denver Broncos 2012 veteran acquisitions

# Player Pos Ht Wt Age* Terms
83 Hill, Jason WR 6-0 202 27 Signed 2-15; 1 year, $700K
20 Adams, Mike S 5-11 200 31 Signed 3-15; 2 years, $4M ($2M guaranteed)
18 Manning, Peyton QB 6-5 230 36 Signed 3-20; 5 yrs, $96M ($18M guaranteed)
17 Caldwell, Andre WR 6-0 190 27 Signed 3-21; 2 yrs, $1.8M ($200K guaranteed)
22 Porter, Tracy CB 5-11 186 26 Signed 3-22; 1 year, $4M (likely fully guaranteed)
81 Dreessen, Joel TE 6-4 245 30 Signed 3-23; 3 years, $8.5M ($2.5M guaranteed)
84 Tamme, Jacob TE 6-3 236 27 Signed 3-23; 3 years, $9M ($3.5M guaranteed)
16 Hanie, Caleb QB 6-2 222 27 Signed 3-24; 2 years, $2.25M (no guarantees)
97 Bannan, Justin DT 6-3 312 33 Signed 4-11; 1 year, $1M (likely fully guaranteed)
14 Stokley, Brandon WR 6-0 192 36 Signed 4-16; 1 year
29 Florence, Drayton CB 6-0 193 32 Agreed 5-10; 2 years, $4.5M ($1.5M guaranteed, plus $1M in incentives)

* Age on 2012 birthday; See Related: 2012 Draft Picks and 2012 Undrafted Signees

Broncos agree to terms with CB Drayton Florence

The Broncos today announced they agreed to terms with free agent cornerback Drayton Florence. According to Adam Schefter, Denver will give the 10th-year veteran a two-year deal worth $4.5M.

Mike Florio reports that Florence will receive a $1.5M signing bonus and base salaries of $1.5M in 2012 and $1.5M in 2013, with an additional $1M of incentives available in $250K increments based upon 2012 playing time.

Florence had visited the Titans earlier in the week and was reportedly also pursued by the Chargers, who originally drafted him in the second round (46th overall) of the 2003 Draft out of Tuskegee. The 31-year-old spent five seasons in San Diego, the past three in Buffalo, and he played for Jacksonville in 2008 under then-Jaguars coach and new Denver DC Jack Del Rio.

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The Daily Lard 5-10-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! More players continue to voice their opinions on concussions, the aftereffects of an NFL career, and bounties.

First up is G Jacob Bell, who suddenly retired just one month after joining the Bengals as a free agent, citing long-term health concerns and saying he didn't want to be limping around like his old coach Mike Munchak in Tennessee. Bell cites Junior Seau's suicide as part of the impetus for his decision, although he uses an unfortunate idiom in saying so.

Denver legend Karl Mecklenburg says he often struggles to remember people's names, his own hotel room numbers, and where he's parked his car. Retired running back Jamal Lewis says he suffered from post-concussion syndrome for most of his last NFL season, and that in retirement he experiences headaches, dizziness, memory loss, and sensitivity to light. Emmitt Smith says that he of course worries about the long-term effects of having played football.

As is his nature, old friend Bill Romanowski laughed off Cris Carter's accusations and said he gave and received threats in every football game he ever played in, hilariously adding that he only "went over the line five to 10 times." Puzzlingly, Falcons WR Roddy White says all these ex-players "are killing our game" by speaking up.

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Vegas sportsbook releases 2012 lines

Cantor Gaming, a Las Vegas sportsbook, has released point spreads for the 2012 season through Week 16.

For now, Denver is favored in seven games, is the underdog in five, three games are pick'ems, and there are no Week 17 lines. The Broncos are significant favorites against Oakland (-7), Tampa Bay and Cleveland (-8.5 vs both), with their trip to New England (+7) the only time they're getting more than 3.5 points.

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Scouting the Broncos: Philip Blake

There has always been a push within the game of football to find ever more rare and unknown players. The 1940s brought an effort to permit black players into the league; as bizarre as that seems now, it wasn't that long ago in real terms, and teams like the LA Rams led the way. The AFL All-Star game was moved in January, 1965 because the original city's hotels (New Orleans) wouldn't allow black players to stay or eat at the players' hotel there. Modern experience tells us that scouting traditionally black schools changed the game. By the 1950s there were teams like the Cleveland Browns who were also scouting the smaller schools and bring in big name players from them.

Now, the NFL is increasingly looking at players from Canada. Danny Watkins moved from British Columbia to Oroville, California, to take part in the firefighter's academy at Butte College, planning a career in that brave profession. Now Watkins is a former 2011 first-round pick out of Baylor who's starting and playing well for the Philadelphia Eagles. Philip Blake, a guard/center for the Denver Broncos, was one of four players from Canada selected in last month's draft. Boise State's Tyrone Crawford (Dallas Cowboys) is a defensive tackle (6-4, 275), as is the 318 lb Akiem Hicks (New Orleans Saints); both went in the third round. The 6-5, 290 lb DE Christo Bilukidi (Georgia State) went to Oakland in the sixth round.

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Whoa, Tom Nalen is skinny! Lard 5-9-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! In a surprising development, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (Niosh) has found that ex-NFL players actually live longer than the normal US male population, with fewer deaths caused by cancer and heart disease.

However, the Niosh study of 3,439 former players oddly found that defensive linemen were felled by heart disease at a much higher rate than players at other positions. The research did not account for cognitive and mental health issues, but Niosh says it is now studying those causes of death as well.

Meanwhile, the war of words between ex-players over whether they'd allow their sons to play football continues on many fronts. Kurt Warner responded to the vitriolic comments from dimwits Merril Hoge and Amani Toomer by pwning them, and old friend Trevor Pryce, who played at Michigan with Toomer, called Amani's words "probably the most idiotic thing I've ever heard."

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CB Drayton Florence to visit Broncos

According to Adam Schefter and Albert Breer, cornerback Drayton Florence is scheduled to visit the Broncos tomorrow after meeting with the Titans today.

Florence, originally drafted by the Chargers in 2003, was cut by the Bills on Friday after three seasons with the team. Reports out of San Diego that day indicated the Chargers were interested in bringing the 31-year-old corner back to his original team, although there have been no reports since of a visit.

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