• Although trade rumors are swirling regarding Chargers WR Vincent Jackson, we hear that the team has no desire to deal its other disgruntled restricted free agent, OLT Marcus McNeill. While McNeill is also threatening to hold out well into the season, the Bolts don't believe that he is as firm in his stance about missing regular-season action. Ultimately, GM A.J. Smith would like to sign the star tackle to an extension, but with the contracts of numerous other key players expiring next offseason, he wants to hold off on doing anything until then to give the team financial flexibility.
• Bengals CB Adam "Pacman" Jones seems likely to make the club as a reserve, the way we hear it. Jones was signed in May to bolster Cincinnati's secondary depth.
• Titans QB Chris Simms, arrested by New York City police on July 1 and charged with operating a motor vehicle while impaired by drugs, could be subject to NFL discipline if he is convicted or admits to breaking the law, per league policy. According to multiple media outlets, New York City police allege Simms admitted to smoking marijuana in the 2009 Mercedes-Benz he was driving early on the morning of July 1. However, according to The Associated Press, Simms said Thursday that he told police he had been smoking cigarettes. According to The (Nashville) Tennessean, Simms could face up to one year in jail and up to a $1,000 fine if convicted. Simms, 29, is one of three contenders for presumably two backup roles behind starter Vince Young, with Kerry Collins and rookie Rusty Smith the other candidates for the No. 2 and No. 3 spots on the depth chart. The Titans signed Simms, who played three games for Denver last season and struggled when receiving extended playing time in losses at Washington and vs. San Diego, on April 12. A first "violation of the law" stemming from "substances of abuse other than alcohol" can lead to an unpaid suspension of "up to and including" four games, according to the NFL's substance-abuse policy. The Titans released a statement on Thursday noting they were "aware of the reports" on Simms and "are in the process of gathering more information."
• The Cowboys saw major improvements from OLB Anthony Spencer and CB Mike Jenkins in their third and second seasons, respectively, last year. And NT Jay Ratliff told PFW he thinks DE Stephen Bowen could be the next player to break out. "One thing about Stephen is he's a great rusher," Ratliff said. "But he's strong at the point of attack against the run, too, and you don't get to see that a lot because he has played a lot in the nickel (package). But Bowen is an all-around athlete and there's nothing he can't do, across the board, as a three-down (player). He's just a real talent. He's young, but he definitely has a big upside. Every year he gets better and better, so there's no doubt in my mind that this could be a breakout year for him."
• The Brett Favre watch goes on. He has begun throwing to high school kids in Mississippi, a now annual ritual, and all signs point to his return for a 20th season. When? One Vikings source speculated that a similar path to last season could be followed. Favre returned on Aug. 18, four days after the team's first preseason game and three days before the second. If Favre follows that same path, he would come back around Aug. 18 or 19 this year. Few think Favre would show up much sooner than that.
• While the Bears probably wouldn't mind picking up another experienced cornerback, we hear budget limitations will probably keep that from happening.
• Don't be surprised if Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers puts together some packages designed to create more pressure on passing downs, in which DEs Cullen Jenkins and rookie Mike Neal line up as outside linebackers.
• Buccaneers QB coach Alex Van Pelt recently told PFW one of the things he appreciates most about Bucs QB Josh Freeman is that he's willing to accept criticism and learn from it. "One of the good things about any player is if he's coachable," Van Pelt said. "Does he take the criticism or the critique and then apply it? That's one thing Josh has done. Very, very few times has he been a repeat offender. It doesn't take him many times to correct (a mistake)."
• One of the competitions to watch in Falcons' training camp will be the battle to become the pass-rush specialist opposite DE John Abraham. Kroy Biermann, who finished third on the team in sacks (five) in 2009, handled those duties for much of last season, but word is the team expects second-year veteran Lawrence Sidbury to push him in camp.
• Saints RB Pierre Thomas' decision to sit out OTAs did not come as a surprise to the team, we're told, and it hasn't led to any rift between the player and his teammates or coaches. Thomas was staying away from OTAs while negotiating a long-term contract, but he signed his one-year tender, for $1.684 million, on June 14 to avoid having it reduced at the June 15 deadline. He still hopes to come to an agreement on a long-term deal.
• Based on the way they performed in the Rams' minicamps, we hear two good-sized undrafted rookie wideouts — 6-2, 224-pound Dominique Curry out of NCAA Division II Cheyney (Pa.) University and 6-3, 208-pound Brandon McRae out of Mississippi State — have increased their chances of possibly making the final roster, provided they can pick up where they left off in the minicamps.
• We hear the Rams are optimistic that CB Bradley Fletcher will be ready for training camp after coming off knee surgery. "He's actually been rehabbing very well," Rams defensive coordinator Ken Flajole said of Fletcher, who was blossoming as a starter before going down for the count in Week Seven. "I think the trainers have been very pleased with the progress he's made. ... We're probably a little more cautious about him than he is. He wants to get out there and run around and do things. Now, we've let him do a little bit of individual work to try to get his motor running, but we're being cautious and trying to get him to make sure that there are no setbacks before training camp."
• Word is that while Cardinals sixth-round CB Jorrick Calvin has shown the athletic skills necessary to play cornerback at the pro level, it's unlikely, but not out of the question, that he will provide much of an impact in his rookie campaign.
• Niners head coach Mike Singletary singled out more than one player when asked about his core special-teams leaders: "Obviously, right now you have to look at (RB) Mike Robinson. He has always been a guy that has done a nice job and really contributed well. He's just got to stay healthy. (FB) Brit Miller has done a nice job, (LB) Scotty's (McKillop) done a nice job. So, there are some guys."
• With the Niners currently carrying seven veteran defensive linemen, with six spots expected to be reserved at that position on the final roster, we hear one vet who is very likely to be released is ninth-year pro Demetric Evans.
• Keep an eye on Seahawks LB Anthony Heygood, a good-looking sleeper who, at the very least, is expected to make an impact on special teams after spending last season on the practice squad. "They really like his potential," said one team insider. "(LB coach) Ken Norton (Jr.) has said a lot of times he has a hard time telling him apart from (2009 No. 1 pick) Aaron Curry.
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