Saturday, March 17, 2012
NFL OFFSEASON ■ ■
NFL FREE AGENCY
Niners in hunt for Manning
New Chicago Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall, left, general manager Phil Emery, center, and quarterback Jason Campbell pose for a picture after a news conference introducing Marshall at Halas Hall Friday in Lake Forest, Ill.
Marshall excited to join Chicago Bears, QB Cutler ASSOCIATED PRESS
LAKE FOREST, Ill. — Brandon Marshall paused to collect himself a couple times as he talked about joining the Chicago Bears and his bond with Jay Cutler. The wide receiver spoke eloquently about raising awareness of mental illness and the borderline personality disorder that has affected his life so deeply. After a rocky but productive start to his NFL career, Marshall is hoping for a long stay in Chicago, and he’s pledging to be a star on and off the field for the Bears. “Hopefully, this is not a pit stop,” said Marshall, who joined new backup quarterback Jason Campbell for an introductory news conference Friday. “Hopefully, this is where I end my career, and this is some place that I can call home. I am going to do everything I can to be an asset to this team and this community and prove to Chicago that I’m here to stay.”
The Bears acquired Marshall from Miami on Tuesday, sending two thirdround draft picks to the Dolphins to obtain the No. 1 target they have been lacking for years. The deal also reunites Marshall with Cutler, a duo that was one of the NFL’s most potent connections while they were in Denver. But the 6-foot-4, 230-pound Marshall comes with a checkered history, including a nightclub incident just days ago. New York City police say a woman has filed a complaint alleging Marshall punched her in the face at a nightclub over the weekend. He has not been charged in the incident, which the woman says occurred at 3:50 a.m. Sunday outside the Marquee in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood. Attorney Sanford Rubenstein said Friday he had been retained by Christin Myles, and they met with detectives for 45 minutes on Thursday. “She described to them in detail
what happened on the sidewalk in front of the nightclub Marquee and told detectives Brandon Marshall hauled back and punched her in the face, hitting her eye and caused her to be violently thrown to the ground,” Rubenstein said in a release. According to a statement provided to Fox Sports on Tuesday, Marshall’s attorney, Harvey Steinberg, said a fight broke out that did not involve his client or his friends. He said Marshall’s wife was struck in the face by a thrown bottle and “suffered serious injury” as they were leaving the club. Steinberg, who has not returned repeated calls seeking comment, said Marshall’s wife was taken to a hospital and that Marshall “is hoping to assist authorities in regards to this matter.” “I think once the process has taken its course my wife and I will be shone in the light that we should be. My wife is recovering. She’s better. She’s fine,” Marshall said before a long pause. “She’s also excited for this opportunity for our family.”
RALEIGH, N.C. — The stealthy 49ers are in the chase for Peyton Manning. The Dolphins and Cardinals are out. And the Broncos and Titans want to make sure the four-time NFL MVP is healthy. Got all that? After a brief lull, the pursuit of Manning sure got interesting in a hurry Friday. The year’s top free agent, who has been rehabbing in North Carolina after a string of neck surgeries, threw the football at Duke’s athletic facilities for Hall of Fame QB turned Broncos executive John Elway along with Denver coach John Fox. The workout lasted a little under two hours, and when it was over Elway seemed convinced that Manning is still Manning. “We enjoyed visiting with Peyton today in N.C.,” he wrote on his Twitter account. “He threw the ball great and looked very comfortable out there.” A few minutes later, Elway posted: “Watching him throw today was the next step in this important process for our team and Peyton. It was a productive visit and went well.” Whether San Francisco executives and coaches feel the same way, they weren’t saying. But they also have shown interest in the man who led Indianapolis to a Super Bowl victory in 2007. A person familiar with the situation said that Manning worked out for 49ers’ coach Jim Harbaugh on Tuesday night at Duke. ESPN first reported on the session. Blue Devils coach David Cutcliffe was Manning’s offensive coordinator at the University of Tennessee and the two remain friends. As it became clear the 49ers were in the race, Miami and Arizona dropped out. Another person confirmed
Quarterback Peyton Manning pays a visit to the Arizona Cardinals Training Facility Sunday in Tempe, Ariz. to the AP that Manning phoned the Miami Dolphins on Thursday to advise them he’ll sign elsewhere. The team has now turned its attention to free agent quarterback Matt Flynn. The people who spoke to the AP did so on condition of anonymity because Manning’s workouts have remained private and most teams involved have refused to comment on their free agency negotiations. The Cardinals decided to pay quarterback Kevin Kolb the $7 million roster bonus he was due on Saturday, ending their pursuit of Manning. Arizona hosted Manning for about 6 1/2 hours at the team’s facility on Sunday, but the team’s chances faded as the week progressed. “Acquiring Peyton Manning is no longer an option for us,” coach Ken Whisenhunt said. After he missed the entire 2011 season, Manning’s uncertain health led the Colts to balk at the $28 million roster bonus they would have owed their 35year-old leader on March 8. So they released him, ending his long and incredibly successful run with Indy.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
Oakland signs OL Niners sign Cartwright to 1-yr deal “I think Alex is a great Brisiel, CB Bartell guy. I think we’ve got a ASSOCIATED PRESS
ALAMEDA — After starting the free agency period by cutting salaries, the Oakland Raiders started spending money Friday by signing offensive lineman Mike Brisiel and cornerback Ron Bartell to contracts. “Both players are proven, productive professionals with excellent track records in this league,” general manager Reggie McKenzie said in a statement. “We are extremely excited to have them both play for the Raiders.” Brisiel got a five-year contract worth almost $20 million and Bartell got a one-year deal worth up to $3 million with incentives, according to a person familiar with the deals who spoke on condition of anonymity because the team did not release terms. The signings came hours after the Raiders released their seventh player and fifth starter of the offseason, letting go of linebacker Kamerion Wimbley. The additions of Brisiel and Bartell help fill the voids created by some of the recent cuts. Brisiel will likely replace longtime starter Cooper Carlisle at right guard. Carlisle, the starter the past five seasons, was released earlier this week. Brisiel, who started 13 games at guard last season for Houston, has extensive experience with two of the Raiders’ new assistants. Oakland offensive coordinator Greg Knapp was quarterbacks coach with the Texans the past two seasons and offensive line coach Frank Pollack was an assistant line
coach for all of Brisiel’s five seasons with the Texans. Bartell helps fill the void created by the release of starting cornerbacks Stanford Routt and Chris Johnson. Bartell was St. Louis’ top cornerback most of his seven seasons there, but missed virtually all of 2011 after sustaining two neck fractures in the opener. Bartell was injured when he absorbed a block by a Philadelphia lineman.
“We are extremely excited to have them both play for the Raiders.” — REGGIE MCKENZIE,
Oakland general manager Bartell has eight career interceptions and 58 passes defensed in 89 career games. According to STATS LLC, Bartell allowed 45 catches on 100 passes in his direction in 2010 for 612 yards and two touchdowns. The Raiders have also released starting tight end Kevin Boss, backup defensive tackle John Henderson and backup safety Hiram Eugene as McKenzie and coach Dennis Allen put their own stamp on the team in the first offseason since the death of longtime owner Al Davis. Wimbley was cut just one year into a $48 million, five-year deal. The move means the Raiders are no longer on the hook for an additional $4.5 million of guaranteed money for the 2012 season.
SAN FRANCISCO — Rock Cartwright still believes Alex Smith will be the 49ers’ starting quarterback — or at least he’s speaking as if that’s the case. San Francisco signed the running back and special teams standout to a one-year contract Friday. The team made the announcement soon after reports emerged that the Niners and coach Jim Harbaugh had worked out quarterback Peyton Manning at Duke on Tuesday night. A person with knowledge of the workout confirmed it happened, speaking on condition of anonymity because the session hadn’t been made public. “I think Alex is a great guy. I think we’ve got a great quarterback in Alex,” Cartwright said. “Whoever is there, we’ll be there to support him. Right now Alex is the guy.” The 49ers had been working to re-sign Smith, the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2005
great quarterback in Alex.” — ROCK CARTWRIGHT,
49ers running back who made a comeback in 2011 under firstyear coach and former NFL QB Harbaugh, and Smith has acknowledged he was happy with the three-year offer. Smith and Manning both are represented by agent Tom Condon and CAA Sports. “Alex is trying to figure out what he wants to do,” 49ers CEO Jed York said earlier this week. “There have been good conversations back and forth.” An email to Smith, multiple messages to his agency and his father have gone unreturned. The 49ers have declined to comment on their interest in Manning one
way or another. The 27-year-old Smith threw for 3,150 yards and 17 touchdowns with only five interceptions as San Francisco went 13-3 and ended an eight-year stretch during which the 49ers didn’t reach the playoffs or post a winning record. San Francisco went 6-2 on the road and won four of those games in comeback fashion — and Smith rallied his team from behind five times in all, not to mention a 3632 victory against the favored Saints in the NFC divisional playoffs. Smith completed a 14-yard touchdown pass to Vernon Davis with 9 seconds left to seal it after Drew Brees had put his team ahead. Neither Davis nor running back Frank Gore had been told by the 49ers they were pursuing Manning. Both have publicly supported Smith during his up-and-down seven-year tenure with the franchise. When asked if Smith is still the man, Gore said, “I think he is.”
Jets add former Raiders WR Schilens ASSOCIATED PRESS
NEW YORK — The Jets addressed a couple of their major needs in free agency Friday, signing wide receiver Chaz Schilens and backup quarterback Drew Stanton. The 6-foot-4 Schilens, who spent the last four seasons with the Oakland Raiders, gives New York a much-needed big and speedy target. He’ll likely be given the chance to win the No. 2 starting job opposite Santonio Holmes since Plaxico Burress is a free agent and is unlikely to be re-signed. Terms of the deal with Schilens were not immediately disclosed. Stanton told The Associated Press that he agreed to a $1.25 million, one-year contract a day after he arrived to meet with team officials.
Schilens, a seventh-round draft pick out of San Diego State in 2008, has 72 catches for 902 yards and seven touchdowns. He has dealt with a few injuries that limited him to 13 games from 2009-10 before playing in 15 last season — but in a limited role with just 23 receptions. Schilens also could serve as a goal-line threat, as Burress did last season, because of his size, but also possesses good breakaway speed. “It was just too good a place to leave (without signing a deal),” Schilens said. “It was a combination of everything that impressed me. The two most important things were the mindset of the coaching staff on where the team is going, and the overall feeling of the commitment of the team to want to win with this great facility.”
In this Dec. 26, 2010, file photo, Oakland Raiders wide receiver Chaz Schilens carries the ball during the second quarter of an NFL football game in Oakland. The New York Jets addressed a couple of their major needs in free agency Friday, signing Schilens and backup quarterback Drew Stanton.