Two high-profile NFC West athletes recently made headlines for the right reasons.
We touched upon San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith's participation in the search for a missing teenager. In Arizona, meanwhile, Pro Bowl safety Adrian Wilson recently donated $100,000 to Phoenix Children's Hospital.
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com has the details. Urban also quotes Wilson on football matters: "Offense sells tickets. I guess that’s the goal of marketing, sell tickets, fill the stadium up. Defensively we’ll be fine. Our secondary, our defense, we were talking about it (Wednesday night), a bunch of us guys. It's our second year, we should be trending up. We shouldn't take a step back. Everyone understands what their role is and what we need to get done."
Also from Urban: The Cardinals appear to remain interested in signing free-agent offensive lineman Demetrius Bell. Urban: "As I have mentioned before, his number of visits while remaining unsigned usually points to a salary desire that’s higher than market value. There’s always a chance that could change. Bell has reportedly visited the Packers and Redskins besides the Cards, and he’s now in Pittsburgh and has a visit lined up with the Eagles, who lost stud starter Jason Peters to a ruptured Achilles tendon during an offseason workout. Demand is climbing, so Bell might have been smart to wait. He may not leave Pennsylvania."
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says Cardinals backup quarterback Rich Bartel attended Brock Osweiler's workout for scouts recently. Somers: "Bartel is a football junkie so he dropped by to watch. Bartel already spends his off-season coaching at camps, and he'll be a fine coach, scout, etc., whenever he's through playing."
Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says the Seahawks let Anthony Hargrove sign with the Packers because they considered Jason Jones an upgrade at defensive tackle. O'Neil on Hargrove: "He was a mainstay in Seattle's nickel package last year, he had three sacks and his most memorable play was the tackle for a loss he had, registering a safety in New York against the Giants."
Brady Henderson of 710ESPN Seattle says it's looking like David Hawthorne will re-sign with the Seahawks on a two- or three-year contract, according to ESPN's John Clayton. Clayton: "I think that Hawthorne is starting to realize that the market may not be there."
Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer says Seahawks coach Pete Carroll came away highly impressed after studying Cam Newton's rookie performance with the Carolina Panthers.
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch checks in with former Rams punter Donnie Jones, who recently signed with the Houston Texans. Jones: "My whole thing is that you always want to go somewhere where they want you, they really want you to be a part of something. I guess in St. Louis they just didn't want that." Noted: It's rarely personal from the team's standpoint, especially when it comes to a punter, but it's almost always personal from the player's perspective.
Howard Balzer of 101ESPN St. Louis looks at how the Rams' rookie pool will affect their salary cap outlook.
Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle says the 49ers plan to meet with Utah State running back Robert Turbin. Branch: "Turbin, who attended Irvington High School in Fremont, rushed for 2,813 yards, averaged 6.2 yards a carry and scored 41 total touchdowns in his final two college seasons. Turbin is also scheduled to visit the Chiefs, Eagles, Redskins and Jets."
Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News says the 49ers released receiver Dontavia Bogan one day after Bogan indicated he had been cleared medically to return from injury. Noted: That is fairly typical in these cases. Teams often allow players to rehab from injuries at team facilities. Then, once the player is healthy, the team can release the player without the additional financial considerations that go along with injury settlements.