The heat is on Gregg Lard 4-6-12

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Roger Goodell heard appeals from the Saints, Sean Payton, Mickey Loomis, and Joe Vitt yesterday, and his decision is expected sometime next week. But the big story was the release of the audio recording of Gregg Williams's speech prior to the Saints' playoff game versus the Niners.

Naturally, reaction was strong and swift: Michael Irvin said he almost threw up while listening to it; Warren "QB Killa" Sapp called Dr. Heat's speech the most heinous, egregious thing in NFL history and says he wouldn't have stood for such a thing during his career.

White Sox GM Kenny Williams, father of 49ers WR Kyle Williams (who was a specific target in the speech due to a prior concussion) suggested that the banned coordinator's behavior bordered on criminality; Niners safety Donte Whitner recalls that the Saints were unusually vicious in the teams' preseason matchup last year.

Filmmaker Sean Pamphilon, who recorded the speech for a chronicle of ex-Saint Steve Gleason's battle with ALS, says he released the audio as a warning to parents of football players:

I feel deeply that parents of children playing football MUST pay attention to the influence of men who will sacrifice their kids for W's

But Gleason says he did not authorize Pamphilon to release any recordings, and he feels somewhat betrayed by the documentarian; Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins called Pamphilon a coward and suggested the audio was released with the intention of financial gain.

As Mike Silver sees it, the growing understanding of the impact of head injuries, the lawsuits by slews of ex-players against the league, and this latest scandal will collectively provide an impetus to alter the NFL's culture. He also thinks Gregg Williams's uniquely autonomous power in running the Saints' defense should exempt his players from significant punishment, and that Williams should not be banned for life, but rather help lead a change for the better.

Don Banks agrees, calling a lifetime ban counterproductive and noting Williams's perceived accountability and willingness to make amends, as reasons to allow him back.

Meanwhile, Bill Simmons isn't buying the indignation prompted by Dr. Heat's words, citing the inherent violence of the sport, Goodell's belated reaction to news regarding the impact of head injuries, and the hypocrisy of NFLN continuing to glorify big hits while this scandal plays out.

Broncos

Old friend Justin Bannan visited Dove Valley yesterday. Bannan had originally signed a five-year deal with Denver that included a $6.245M signing bonus prior to the 2010 season, but he was cut prior to last season, when he was due a $3.5M salary and $500K roster bonus. Bannan then followed Josh McDaniels to St. Louis, where he got a three-year deal worth $8.5M, but the Rams cut him last month. He had been owed a $2.75M salary this year.

The Denver brass will be working out ASU QB Brock Osweiler privately today. For some reason, Mike Klis is running with the idea that Osweiler will go in the second round, despite plenty of talk that he won't be picked until the third or fourth round.

Pure speculation from Jeff Legwold that Knowshon Moreno is unlikely to be fully cleared in the recovery from his knee injury by training camp or the start of the regular season.

Sacco compares Peyton Manning to Ring of Famer Charley Johnson, while Stuart Zaas looks back at notable linebacker draftees in Denver history.

NFL Films compiled some 2011 highlights of homegrown Denver players.

Trimmings

Reacting to the leaking of Morris Claiborne's Wonderlic score, Goodell warned teams against releasing confidential information about prospects; from his own experience, Matt Bowen says players just don't prioritize preparing for the Wonderlic.

Chicago added CBs Kelvin Hayden and recent Bronco Jonathan Wilhite; according to Andrew Mason, Denver didn't really try to re-sign Wilhite.

Baltimore gave CB Lardarius Webb $20M in guarantees as part of a new six-year deal; Indy inked DT Brandon McKinney; Houston re-signed S Quintin Demps; Miami signed S Tyrell Johnson; New England added LB Bobby Carpenter.

Ex-Bengals WR Jerome Simpson was sentenced to 15 days in jail and three years' probation for the two pounds of weed intercepted at his house.

Nick Saban says a couple of teams asked him about a return to the NFL this year.

Former Cowboys ST coach Joe Avezzano passed away at 68.

Candlestick Park will likely be demolished once the Niners leave after the 2013 season.

Scrapple

Andy Benoit reviews the offseason needs for the NFC East teams.

Mike Tanier contrasts the Jets and Giants and ranks top RBs in Packers history, plus some pre-draft thoughts on Philly, Baltimore and ND's Michael Floyd.

Wes Bunting checks in on prospects whose stock is said to be rising; Bucky Brooks lists a bunch whose perceived worth is apparently fluctuating.

Khaled Elsayed's review of the 2008-10 Drafts turns to Washington and Tampa Bay.

Of course, the SB odds of the Broncos have made the biggest move of all so far this offseason.

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

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