The San Francisco 49ers made upgrading at wide receiver a top priority this offseason.
They used a first-round choice for A.J. Jenkins. They brought Randy Moss out of retirement. They landed Super Bowl hero Mario Manningham in free agency. They re-signed Ted Ginn Jr. Throw in Michael Crabtree, the receiver coach Jim Harbaugh cited for having all-time great hands, and the position appears stronger.
How much stronger?
Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com says much, much stronger. Maiocco: "The 49ers have never had a group of wide receivers as deep and talented as the one they had sprinting around their practice field during their seven weeks of practices this offseason. ... The 49ers should still be in good shape this season even with an injury or two or three. If everyone is healthy at the start of the season, there will be some good receivers who will not win the right to suit up for regular-season games." Noted: I'd never thought of the 49ers' current receivers in relation to the depth and talent at the position in years past. Much depends upon what Moss has left. Purely from a talent standpoint, however, this group has credentials. Jenkins, Crabtree, Moss and Ginn were all first-round draft choices. Manningham was a third-round choice.
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says 49ers running back Brandon Jacobs got together with the 6-year-old boy who tried to keep him in New York with a $3.36 donation. Barrows: "Jacobs was touched by the gesture and told Armento's mother, Julie, that he would be in the area for a short time this week while he packed and moved his family to the Bay Area. He thought his original idea for a meeting place, Chuck E. Cheese, might cause too much of scene. So they settled on the bounce houses."
Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com updates J.R. Sweezy's conversion to the offensive line. Farnsworth: "At Mooresville (N.C.) High School, Sweezy was a linebacker who made 195 tackles in 12 games as a senior, when he also won the state heavyweight wrestling championship. The following season, he redshirted as a defensive end at NC State. He played in two games at end in 2008, moved to tackle and worked in a rotation in 2009 and then started his final two seasons."
Brock Huard and Mike Salk of 710ESPN Seattle offer thoughts on the Seahawks' handling of the quarterback situation. They're generally supportive.
Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune weighs in on various Seahawks-related stories. His take on Sweezy: "At 6-5 298, Sweezy will probably work to get some more meat on him. In some of the early workouts we were allowed to see, you could tell he was still figuring out the rudiments -- like the snap count. But as OTAs wore on, he developed a nice head-up, butt-down set-up which creates good balance and a powerful stance. More importantly, he has a defender’s mentality, which tends to make O-linemen more aggressive with their blocks. Sweezy has an interesting back-story, too, that we’ll examine in a feature later; he was more than a bit of a rascal for a while, but he claimed it got him turned around and focused."
Robert Patrick of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says a 56-year-old former Rams employee is alleging age discrimination and sexual harassment. Patrick: "The suit's claims single out former head coach Steve Spagnuolo and executive vice president of football operations Kevin Demoff, saying they systematically fired several employees over 40. Demoff, the suit says, told Fabian that 'no one liked her' and she was 'too old for her job.' Fabian's suit also claims that she was subjected to unwanted touching by Bob Reif, the executive vice president for sales and marketing. Reif is a named defendant in the suit. The suit says that the Rams retaliated against Fabian for complaining. When she was fired, Fabian was less than a month away from her 55th birthday, when she would have qualified for health insurance benefits for 10 years, the suit says." Noted: It's impossible to know whether these claims have merit, but with former longtime equipment manager Todd Hewitt also filing suit recently, the manner in which the Rams have treated long-time employees has come under scrutiny.
Ross Martin of the St. Louis News-Press says the Chiefs and Cardinals appear likely to hold joint practices during training camp even though the Chiefs have made no formal announcement. Martin: "The plan likely would include two days of walk-throughs/practices for the Cardinals at Western alongside the Chiefs. [Athletic director Kurt] McGuffin expects those dates to be August 7 and 8, with the possibility of Arizona holding at least one workout on August 9, the day before the game at Arrowhead. The past two years, the Chiefs have held their workout in Kansas City the day before their first preseason game."