Don’t Panic, Kluwe Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! As had been expected ever since they drafted a punter in the fifth round (!), Minnesota released civil rights champion Chris Kluwe on Monday.

Although Kluwe posted the best net average of his career in 2012, that mark ranked just 18th in the league, and he graded out as the 25th best punter according to PFF.

Kluwe first gained off-field attention for his whiteboard analyses of the league's stance on illegal hits and the 2011 lockout.

More recently, Kluwe has been, along with former Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, an outspoken supporter of gay rights and marriage equality.

Naturally, the Vikings say that replacing Kluwe was purely a football decision, and the punter is quick to stress that he never used his candor to criticize the Vikings.

On the heels of Kluwe's public support for the HOF case of Ray Guy, Vikings ST coach Mike Priefer - who previously held that position with the Broncos - offered the following:

Those distractions are getting old for me to be honest.

Did the Vikings organization feel threatened by Kluwe's frankness? Some, including Les Carpenter, think it's the main reason they've replaced him. Others, like Mike Tanier, prefer to use this opportunity to remind us why this thinking man's football player is so likeable.

We'll wish Kluwe all the best, unless he ends up in Oakland, as the Star Tribune suggests is a possibility, along with Dallas, Cleveland, and Carolina. But no matter where he lands, we'll always appreciate Kluwe's justness and support for his fellow human beings.

Broncos

A former roommate and teammate of Sly Williams's says that because the big guy has more the look of a run stopper, he tends to catch opposing linemen by surprise with his pass rush skills, while their coach praises Sly's power, motor, and work ethic.

In discussing the plight of veteran players looking for new teams, Jeffri Chadiha suggests Dwight Freeney will still end up in Denver, but he doesn't seem aware that they've already signed Shaun Phillips.

Mike Klis predicts Williams won't crack the starting lineup until four or five games into the season, but he arrives at that based upon some defensive tackle generalities.

Klis also borrows Legwold's Captain Obvious cape to pronounce that Kayvon Webster won't be supplanting Champ Bailey this season.

Over at the official site, some trivia on Zac Dysert, Tavarres King, and Vinston Painter.

News

San Diego hired two personnel men away from the Jets and signed a 250-pound D-3 quarterback named Mike Hermann out of RPI.

San Francisco brought back guard Adam Snyder after a year spent in Arizona; Pittsburgh signed Jags tackle Guy WhimperTampa Bay added former Panthers DT Andre Neblett and four undrafted rookies; Minnesota signed former Cards tackle Brandon Keith; the Jags will host Seattle corner Marcus Trufant; epic Seahawks bust and recent Raider Aaron Curry will visit with the Giants.

Tennessee is considering adding DE John Abraham, who reportedly rebuffed Atlanta's advances regarding a return. Meanwhile, the apparent reason for Richard Seymour's current unemployment is a high asking price, but he reportedly wants to keep playing, and had drawn interest from those very Falcons.

Longtime NFL kicker John Kasay will retire as a Panther; long injured Giants LB Clint Sintim is retiring; Mean Joe Greene has retired from a nine-year career in Pittsburgh's personnel department.

Tony Romo is dialing back his devotion to golf, which Doug Farrar sees as a nod to Dallas owner Jerrah Jones's suggestion that his QB act more like PMFM.

Former Raiders wideout Ronald Curry has moved into coaching, taking a job with the Niners as an offensive assistant.

Steelers safety Ryan Clark says Tom Brady gets a little jittery in the pocket when faced with pressure in the pocket.

Mario Williams is having some trouble recovering a $785K engagement ring given to his now-ex-fiancee, whom the Bills lineman's lawyers have characterized as a gold digger.

Tim Tebow

Presumably thanks largely to the efforts of the Worldwide Leader, the Ultimate Self-Promoter™ was named America's most influential athlete for 2012 by Forbes.

A bunch of Zombie Jags fans petitioned the White House to compel their team to add the lefty who throws like he's a righty, but POTUS said no thanks.

Farrar says Mike Ditka's considerable familiarity with unconventional quarterbacks explains his fondness for Timmy.

Analysis

Brian Burke plays both sides of the argument over whether Aaron Rodgers is worth the hefty contract recently given him by Green Bay, and along with it are the same implicit conclusions regarding the value of Peyton Manning's deal in Denver.

Tony Pauline evaluates the drafts of the Patriots and Jets; John Clayton sees plenty to like in the offseason moves of the AFCN teams, and he thinks the Jets would make a good landing spot for old friend Brandon Lloyd.

The PFF guys discuss a few players who just missed inclusion in their top 101 players list.

Rivers McCown curates the finest NFL quotes from the month of April.

In Heisman winner Johnny Manziel, Bucky Brooks sees a lack of size and refined passing skills, concluding that among short quarterbacks, the A&M passer more closely resembles a young Doug Flutie than Russell Wilson, last year's short prospect-turned star.

Tom Brady's reaction to winning $25K at the Kentucky Derby is likely to become meme-ified in short order; a Phoenix head shop welcomed the Honey Badger to Arizona in appropriate fashion.

Doug is IAOFM’s resident newsman and spelling czar. Follow him on Twitter @IAOFM

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