In what appears to have been timed to follow the release of the arrest warrant in the Perrish Cox rape case, Mike Klis is reporting that the Broncos have hired Jerry Butler to be their new director of player development, a role Butler had held with the Browns for 10 seasons before he was fired in May. According to Klis, Butler's role with the organization is to help players with life off the field, including counseling, education and financial guidance. No word on when he was actually hired, but according to Klis, Butler already started his job earlier in the week. Butler was the fifth-overall pick of the 1979 Draft by the Bills, with whom he spent the entirety of his seven-year career.
The arrest warrant for Perrish Cox was released today, and several Broncos are mentioned in the affidavit. The alleged victim in the sexual assault case spent a night out in September of 2010 with Cox, WR Demaryius Thomas, and her friend Carthy Che, who was dating Cox at the time. Che and the woman both believed they had been drugged the prior night, and the next morning the alleged victim suspected that she had been raped despite not recalling having had intercourse.
UPDATE 10:33PM ET - Chris Mortensen just stated on ESPN that De Smith and the NFLPA's lawyers are currently looking over the documents sent over by ownership and expect to be able to conduct a vote on approving the deal as soon as tomorrow. Mortensen says one of the potential hangups is the lack of an opt-out from the 10-year agreement perhaps seven or eight years into the deal, and that items like player discipline and drug testing cannot be negotiated until the NFLPA recertifies.
This is the closest we've come to talking about real football news in months now; S Brian Dawkins told Mike Klis today that he expects to end up with a restructured deal with the Broncos which will pay him less than the $6 million he's due in 2011. Dawkins even went so far as to say that he and his agent have expected such a scenario since he first signed his free-agent deal with Denver prior to the 2009 season.
Klis also spoke with WR Eddie Royal and RB Knowshon Moreno today; Royal says he's already fully recovered from the February operation on his hip. Meanwhile, Moreno is apparently down to 200 lbs, around 10 lbs less than his prior playing weight with Denver. Perhaps this weight loss could result in more of the explosiveness we've been waiting to see out of Knowshon since the Broncos selected him 12th overall in the 2009 Draft.
Nate Webster, who played for the Broncos from 2006 to 2008 before retiring, has been indicted by a grand jury in Hamilton County, OH on charges of sexual battery, gross sexual imposition and five counts of unlawful sex with a minor. Webster allegedly had repeated nonconsensual sex with a 15-year-old girl in 2009 and threatened her with a gun to prevent her from telling her own family about the incidents. Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters cited "overwhelming evidence of (Webster's) guilt" and says the ex-LB threatened to "kill (the girl) and kill her family."
UPDATE 6:50PM ET - More from Mark Maske...
The owners still could vote Thursday to approve deal even without a players' vote today, according to people familiar with deliberations. The deal is basically in place. It's the resolution of the lawsuit that remains unfinished, and it must be resolved to finish the CBA. NFL labor committee ended its meeting in Atlanta. Full ownership meeting scheduled to begin Thursday at 10 a.m.
Apparently De Smith isn't the thoughtless/reckless goon he was made out to be a month or two ago. As Jim Trotter writes for SI,
slightly more than a year ago he received approval from the executive committee to secure insurance that would pay each player roughly $200,000 if there were no football in 2011
Trotter goes on to say that "only a handful" of people outside of the NFLPA's executive committee knew about the lockout insurance, and when talks appeared at a standstill on Wednesday old friend Domonique Foxworth dropped the proverbial bomb on ownership. Mike Freeman openly wondered this morning what had taken place to spur so much progress on Thursday, and now we know. (Thanks, Chibronx)
Adam Schefter is reporting that the players and owners have agreed upon a new rookie wage scale and are one step closer to reaching a new CBA. According to John Clayton, all first-round picks would receive four-year rookie contracts with fifth-year options which teams would be able to exercise following the players' third and fourth seasons.
Although the two sides were not previously scheduled to meet tomorrow, they are now expected to continue their talks late into the night and reconvene tomorrow. The issues yet to be resolved include workers' comp, settlement of the TV damages suit and the Brady suit, and the extra rights of first refusal owners are seeking to help them retain free agents this year. According to ESPN's report, the owners are (of course) asking that the players recertify their union and omit judicial oversight from future labor disputes.
UPDATE 9:50PM ET - Clayton is now reporting that the two sides have agreed to set the 2011 salary cap at $120 million with a salary floor close to 100 percent of that number, while Sal Paolantonio says an agreement is close at hand
Second-year Denver WR Demaryius Thomas, who is rehabbing from surgery to repair a torn Achilles' tendon, has denied an allegation that he received $312 worth of clothing from a sports agency employee in 2009 while a member of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. GT vacated its 2009 ACC football championship game victory, was fined $100K and its football and men's hoops programs were placed on probation until July of 2015 for failing to cooperate with the NCAA in its investigation of the school. Thomas, a first-round pick of the Broncos in 2010, disputed the validity of the report in a text message to the DP. The NCAA said that GT should have declared (Thomas) ineligible for its final three games in 2009, including its ACC title game victory over Clemson and Orange Bowl loss to Iowa.
UPDATE 12:37PM ET - The NFL and NFLPA have issued a joint statement regarding the Eighth Circuit's decision:
While we respect the court's decision, today's ruling does not change our mutual recognition that this matter must be resolved through negotiation. We are committed to our current discussions and reaching a fair agreement that will benefit all parties for years to come and allow for a full 2011 season.
Original Entry 11:37AM ET - The Eighth Circuit of Appeals has overturned Judge Susan Nelson's earlier injunction which had temporarily lifted the NFL lockout. As with the earlier temporary stay of Judge Nelson's injunction, Judge Kermit Bye stands alone as the opposing voice in the decision while his two colleagues ruled that the NFL's work stoppage had arisen out of a labor dispute and thus was protected by the Norris-LaGuardia Act.