The AJC’s Steve Wyche reports that disgruntled Falcons wide receiver Joe Horn is expected to report to training camp on Friday. Horn previously has expressed a desire to be traded. Reports surfaced a few weeks ago about a potential trade to the Dallas Cowboys, but there was little substance behind those reports and nothing new has developed since.
According to Wyche, Horn’s agent Ralph Vitolo has indicated that they are willing to restructure Horn’s contract in order to make a trade likelier. Horn’s $2.5 million base salary is guaranteed and he carries a cap hit of $3.4 million this season.
The AJC’s Steve Wyche reports that several Falcons veterans may not be back in 2008. Among players named by Wyche, who cites NFL officials and player agents, are safeties Lawyer Milloy and Chris Crocker, along with offensive linemen Wayne Gandy, Kynan Forney, and Todd Weiner, wide receivers Brian Finneran and Joe Horn, running back Warrick Dunn, quarterbacks Joey Harrington and Byron Leftwich, and linebacker Keith Brooking. Wyche reports that many of these players could be released as soon as Friday, February 15.
Wyche indicates that one player that could be potentially safe is tight end Alge Crumpler, who is coming off a down year. But Crumpler may be retained since it’s doubtful the Falcons could add someone in the draft or free agency that could adequately replace him.
Crocker is an unrestricted free agent, and is not expected to be re-signed. The remaining players represent 10 of the team’s top 15 highest-paid players based on 2008 base salary. The Falcons currently have around $6 million in cap space for the 2008 season. Dunn, Gandy, Milloy, Forney, Harrington, and Leftwich are all entering the final years on their contracts. Brooking and Finneran have two years left on their deals, while Horn and Weiner have three and four, respectively. Among them, Brooking ($4.9 million), Dunn ($4 million), Gandy ($3.5 million), and Forney ($2.95 million) have the highest 2008 base salaries.
The Falcons have a few injuries this week as they prepare to face the Arizona Cardinals on the road. The team listed three players on their Friday injury report as doubtful, along with one questionable, and three probables.
The biggest name among those listed as doubtful is wide receiver Joe Horn. Horn was only able to participate in a limited fashion on Thursday of this week, missing both Wednesday and Friday practices due to the flu. Both tight end Alge Crumpler and quarterback Joey Harrington missed some practice time this week due to the flu, but neither player is listed on the injury report, and thus is expected to play on Sunday.
Also doubtful were defensive tackle Tim Anderson and defensive back Antoine Harris, both out with knee injuries. Harris has missed the last two games due to a bone bruise on his knee. If Anderson does not play, it’s possible that Jesse Mahelona will get his first action of the season for the Falcons.
Cornerback Chris Houston was the only player listed as questionable, as he’s suffering from a knee injury as well. The team is already without cornerback Lewis Sanders and coupled with Harris’s injury it likely will put more of the onus on reserve David Irons and the newly added Brent Grimes to step up. Irons has served primarily on special teams this season. He currently leads the team with 12 special teams tackles, but has yet to record a regular defensive stop all year long.
The three probable players are defensive end John Abraham (knee), quarterback Byron Leftwich (ankle), and center Todd McClure (illness). Both Leftwich and McClure missed Friday practice, while Abraham was limited all week and did not practice on Wednesday. But all are expected to play on Sunday.
For the Arizona Cardinals, their most prominent injuries are that both starting receivers: Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin are listed as questionable for Sunday’s game with groin and toe injuries, respectively.
The Falcons have made a short-term decision on who will be the starting quarterback at least for tomorrow night’s matchup against the Indianapolis Colts. Joey Harrington will replace an injured Byron Leftwich in the starting lineup. Leftwich is listed among several Falcons as doubtful the Thanksgiving Night matchup against the Colts. Leftwich suffered an injured tailbone in last week’s loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Head coach Bobby Petrino was noncommittal on whether Harrington or Leftwich would get the start afterwards during this week’s press conference: “Since this is such a short week, we are worrying about the Indianapolis game right now. We’ll have a little break after that and we’ll see how everything goes.”
In other injury news, the Falcons listed tight end Dwayne Blakley (concussion), wide receiver Joe Horn (hamstring/foot), and offensive tackle Todd Weiner (knee) also as doubtful. Blakley is expected to be replaced by Courtney Anderson, a free agent pickup from a week ago. Rookie Laurent Robinson has filled in for Horn the past two weeks and will likely do again for a third consecutive week. Weiner was replaced by Quinn Ojinnaka at left tackle during last week’s game when he went out with injury. Ojinnaka is expected to do so again, although there might be a chance that Terrance Pennington may be given some reps on Thursday at left tackle.
Also on the injury report was tight end Alge Crumpler who was listed as probable with a foot injury.
The Falcons released their Friday injury report and there weren’t any significant changes from a week ago. For the second straight week, tackle Todd Weiner (knee) and linebacker Stephen Nicholas (ankle) are both listed as out for this Sunday’s matchup against the New Orleans Saints. The notable changes occurred with tight end Alge Crumpler listed as doubtful due to a knee and ankle injury. Fullback Corey McIntyre, the team’s special teams captain is also doubtful with a hamstring injury. Cornerback Lewis Sanders (shoulder) is questionable.
Weiner will be replaced for the second straight week with Tyson Clabo at right tackle. If Crumpler does not play, then Dwayne Blakley is expected to make the start. Whether Sanders is healthy enough to play on Sunday may not determine if he starts or not since it is believed that rookie Chris Houston may already be very close to passing him on the depth chart.
Also on the injury report listed as probable are defensive tackles Jonathan Babineaux and Rod Coleman, quarterback Joey Harrington, and wide receiver Joe Horn. Babineaux and Coleman were limited in practices on both Thursday and Friday, but still should play. Harrington had limited participation in practice all week, but with his recent demotion, his health is less of an issue. Horn’s injury probably won’t threaten his chance to play due to his eagerness to play against his former team.