No trade for Jones, but playing time uncertain
• Rumors were quickly shot down Tuesday about the possibility of Thomas Jones being traded from the Jets. The National Football Post speculated that the team was "gauging trade interest" in Jones, and that they've "placed a call to an NFC West club." However, both the Newark Star-Ledger and the New York Daily News quickly posted blog entries indicating that the team had made no such moves, though the Star-Ledger writes, "[t]he stellar play of rookie Shonn Greene in training camp thus far could make Jones expendable, but the Jets are standing pat right now with the trio of Jones, Greene and Leon Washington."
Jones is unhappy with the fact that he's guaranteed no money beyond the 2009 season, and that the Jets seem more willing to discuss an extension with Washington. Presuming Jones does stay in Gotham, the Jets' running back situation is looking more and more like a fantasy mess: Greene is presumably third on the totem pole but seems best suited for goal-line work, while new head coach Rex Ryan has given several interviews in which he's promised more line-of-scrimmage work from Washington. Clearly, Jones will come with an awful lot of risk in fantasy drafts this month.
• Ravens receiver Derrick Mason, who ended his brief "retirement" last week, dislocated a finger in Tuesday morning's practice, which means he probably won't play in Thursday night's preseason opener. The team says the injury isn't anything serious, which is good, because they'll already be without Mark Clayton for the entire preseason because of his torn hamstring.
• Terrell Owens joined the ranks of injured star receivers Tuesday when he was held out of both of Buffalo's practices with a sprained toe. The Associated Press reported that T.O. was seen leaving Bills camp with a limp, but the team has said Owens isn't badly hurt and could even play in the team's second preseason game. This is probably much ado about nothing.
• Colts starting right tackle Ryan Diem "got hurt [Tuesday]," according to the Indianapolis Star, though the team wouldn't confirm that it was Diem's back that was injured. The Star writes, "It's uncertain how long Diem will be out, but [new Colts head coach Jim] Caldwell made it sound like this injury could linger." Remember that Peyton Manning struggled at the beginning of last season partly because of his recovery from knee surgery, but also partly because of changes and injuries along his offensive line. Tony Ugoh had been demoted in favor of Charlie Johnson at left tackle on Monday; now Ugoh will fill in for Diem on the right side.
• New Bucs coach Raheem Morris told the team's official Web site that rookie quarterback Josh Freeman is "in the hunt" to be Tampa Bay's Week 1 starter. By the same token, Morris also said, "The front-runners right now, you've got to say are two older guys who are getting the most snaps." So you can probably pretty much dismiss this as coach-speak. Freeman is not going to begin the season as Tampa's starting quarterback.
• The Star-Ledger reports that rookie receiver Hakeem Nicks has missed all Giants practice sessions since Saturday with a sore hamstring. I've read numerous breathless reports and predictions (including some on this site) that Nicks is going to wind up being the answer to Plaxico Burress for Eli Manning this year, and to this I say: wrong. Nicks is a great physical specimen, and I don't rule out a couple of good games this year, but he just doesn't fit the profile of a guy who'll jump right into the NFL and be productive every week. He's pretty much a one-year wonder in college, and you could make the argument he's a one-game wonder, after that huge bowl-game performance for North Carolina. Domenik Hixon is getting first crack at being New York's deep threat, and I'm betting Mario Manningham gets second crack.