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Around the League...

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*The health of Buffalo Bills linebacker Takeo Spikes is still a big question for the floundering franchise.  The Bills were ranked 2nd in the league in 2004, but fell all the way to 29th in 2005 after Spikes went down with an achilles injury late last September.  Before Spikes was sidelined, the Auburn product was being put in the same sentence as Ray Lewis as one of the elite linebackers in all of football.

*Drew Brees will have to reprove himself all over again in New Orleans.  Brees was injured during the Chargers' final game against the Broncos last year (a game I was at).  The Chargers had been mathmatically eliminated from the playoffs, and just about everybody wanted to see Rivers play.  It didn't make much sense for Brees to even be playing in that ballgame.  After the season, the Chargers let the Pro Bowl QB walk, opting to go with the younger, stronger-armed Rivers.  The Saints signed him to a 6 year, $60 million deal.  The catch is that only the first year is guarantted, with the Saints able to opt out of the remaining five years if Bree's torn labrum affects his performance in 2006. Check out the interesting Q&A with Brees here .

*Jerry Rice is apparently going to sign a 1-day contract with the 49ers so that he can retire with his original team.  Rice told the San Jose Mercury News :

"(Niners owner) John York and I have been communicating and it's going pretty well. We're going to get it done this season. I'm going to retire and get it over with."

*Officials at St. Vincent in Latrobe, PA are bracing for the arrival of the Steelers mini-camp next Thursday.  The site, which has come to expect large turnouts from the best fan base in football, is expecting an even larger turnout this year on the heels of the Steelers' Super Bowl victory.  Chief finance and administration officer, Richard Williams, is expecting weekend sessions to draw as many as 20,000 fans. Just about one week left guys and gals!