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‘NFL’ Articles

Arizona trades Anquan Boldin to Baltimore for draft picks

Throughout the 2009 NFL season, the Baltimore Ravens were unhappy with the play and production of their starless corps of wide receivers: Derrick Mason, Mark Clayton, Kelley Washington and Demetrius Williams. Mason was the lone receiver with 1,000 yards and running back Ray Rice led the team with 78 receptions. It is a glaring weakness when a running back leads the team in catches.

Mason and Washington are unrestricted free agents, but Donte Stallworth was signed last week and now Anquan Boldin has been acquired in a trade with Arizona. The Ravens appear to have improved its receiving core with Boldin now, the feature receiver.

Anquan Boldin caught 84 passes for Arizona in 2009 (wfe)

Baltimore simply couldn’t overlook a chance to acquire the talented, three-time Pro Bowler. The Cardinals receive a third and fourth round pick in the upcoming 2010 NFL Draft. Baltimore also received a fifth round pick from Arizona.

The 29-year-old Boldin has accumulated at least 1,000 yards receiving in five of his seven seasons, including  84 catches for 1,024 yards in 2009.

Boldin received a new four-year, $28 million deal with Baltimore in which $10 million is guaranteed.

The 6’1, 217 pound Boldin was the Cardinals number 2 receiver behind Larry Fitzgerald. He is a physical player capable of a difficult catch and a bone-crushing block.

Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said, “The Ravens just got better. Anquan is a significant addition for us”.

Arizona made the trade because of the emergence of two younger receivers, Steve Breaston and Early Doucet.

Boldin holds Arizona franchise records for receptions at 586, but his 7,520 yards receiving is third and his 44 touchdowns rank fifth.

Julius Peppers leaves Carolina for The Windy City and the Bears

It had been reported all week that if Carolina didn’t re-sign DE Julius Peppers to a new contract, he would be heading to New England.

To everybody’s surprise, the NFL’S best past rusher has signed with the Chicago Bears. When the free agent signing period began, Bears coach Lovie Smith flew into Charlotte, N.C. to meet with Peppers and his agent.

The signing of Julius Peppers is one of the biggest moves by a team that has shown it is serious about contending agains after failing to make the playoffs the last three seasons.

The five-time Pro Bowl defensive end and top free agent prize agreed to a six-year deal on Friday worth up to $91.5 million. His agent Carl Carey said a record $42 million is guaranteed. The deal includes incentives for sacks, making the Pro Bowl and winning Defensive Player of the Year. “It is good to come to a place with a rich tradition like the Chicago Bears”, Peppers said.

Julius Peppers brings uncanny athletic ability to Chicago (Fox)

The Bears weren’t through signing key players. Also, at their press conference was running back Chester Taylor, whom they lured from NFC North champion Minnesota with a four-year contract and tight end Brandon Manumaleuna from San Diego with a five year deal.

Chicago general manager Jerry Angelo and head coach Lovie Smith, according to published reports, are operating on a win-or-else mandate from the owners after a 7-9 season that left Chicago fans and media calling for a complete overhaul of the team.

The overhaul started with new offensive and defensive coordinators in Mike Martz and Rod Marinelli.

Julius Peppers at 6’7 brings 81 career sacks in eight seasons with the Carolina Panthers. He had 10 1/2 sacks in 2009. In Chicago, he’ll play alongside Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs and Tommy Harrison. His presence will give the defense a much-needed lift because it ranked 17th overall and tied for 13th in sacks with 35.

NFL DRAFT: 2010 Class loaded with potential first round picks

This year’s NFL draft is scheduled for April 23 and for the first time ever, it’ll be a three-day event.

There will be several players wishing and hoping their name will be called in the first round. Only 32 will have that dubious distinction. Included in that list is Illinois WR Aurrelious Benn.

Benn was the favorite receiver of Illimois QB  Juice Williams. The numbers from his final college season would suggest he is not worthy of the first round: 38 catches, 490 yards and 2 touchdowns. Those low numbers were more of the fact that Illinois’ offensive line didn’t give it’s quarterbacks time to get the ball down the field and not that Benn unachieved.  Plus, he also played on a sore ankle which was injured early in the season. If he had played on a better team, say Ohio State, Texas, Alabama or Penn State, he would’ve caught more than 70 balls and had more than 10 scores.

Most NFL Scouts like Benn and his potential and something you can’t coach or teach, speed. They also Benn’s size (6’2, 225), and showed excellent hands in college.

Benn needs a fantastic combine to convince teams he can make an early impact in his rookie season. If  Benn accomplishes this, there are several NFL teams that need a wide receiver of his caliber in the first round: 49ers (16th), the Ravens (25th), and the Jets (29th).  A poor combine means he would drop anywhere from second round through the 3rd.

Aurrelious Benn breaks a tackle (UI)

NFL NOTES

Bengals Marvin Lewis (NFL)

Compiled by staff and wire reports

* Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis says that he wants to bring back safety Roy Williams and defensive tackle Tank Johnson. Some members of the Cincinnati area media wonder why Lewis wants Williams back for 2010 considering he missed the final 12 games with a chronic forearm injury. Johnson had 29 tackles and two sacks in 13 starts for Mike Zimmer’s defense.

Meanwhile Coach Lewis is entering the final year of his contract and says he isn’t worried about being a potential lameduck coach. “I’m only thinking about 2010.”

* Tennessee Titans QB Vince Young has two more seasons and $20 million left on his contract. Not to mention  a $4.25 million roster bonus which will be due March 10. Young is looking for an extension. He regained his starting role after the Titans 0-6 start and led the team toan 8-2 finish down the stretch.

* New York Giants wide receiver Steve Smith just a few weeks ago hired CAA to handle his contract negotiations. Smith will be due $550,000 in 2010, the final year of his rookie contract. Smith caught 107 passes for 1,220 yards and seven touchdowns in 2009.

A Super Sunday Indeed !

Drew Brees Saints (NFL)

By Richard G. Mason

MSN Staff Writer

The New Orleans Saints 31-17 upset win over Indianapolis in Super Bowl XLIV fit a familiar pattern in recent games of the NFL’s jewel game. For the third straight season, the Super Bowl came down to the final minutes with the trailing team within a touchdown of the lead and in possession of the ball. And for the third consecutive year, a signature play sealed the game.

Two years ago, it was David Tyree’s “helmet catch” for the New York Giants which upset New England. Last year, Pittsburgh’s Santonio Holmes made a toe-tapping touchdown reception while surrounded by Arizona defenders. And this year, with the Colts driving to tie the game, Saints cornerback Tracy Porter raced 74 yards for the game-sealing interception-return touchdown.

The MVP, Saints QB Drew Brees tied a Super Bowl record 32 completions as he finished with 288 yards and two touchdowns without a single turnover. He completed 82.1 percent of his passes (32 of 39), the second-highest mark in a Super Bowl. Brees, who set the NFL single-season completion percentage mark (70.60) in the regular season, finished the game with 10 completions in a row.

There was another record set during the Super Bowl. viewing audience. It was simply, the most-viewed television program of all time. Super Bowl XLIV reached a total audience of 153.4 million viewers, making it the most-watched show in U.S. television history, according to Nielsen Media Research. The game topped the previous mark of 151.6 million viewers set last year (Arizona-Pittsburgh in Super Bowl XLIII). Super Bowls account for the 19 most-watched programs in history in terms of total audience. In addition, a record average of 106.5 million viewers watched Super Bowl XLIV, topping the previous mark of 106.0 million for the series-finale of M*A*S*H in 1983 and an eight percent increase over last year’s Super Bowl (98.7 million

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