Rumor Nation

It’s time to crank up the rumor mill again and bring you all the chatter and whispers circulating through the NFL. Here’s what the National Football Post is hearing from our network of connections:

…We’re hearing that new Browns team president Mike Holmgren has targeted longtime NFL executive Randy Mueller as a possible candidate for the GM job in Cleveland.

…We’re hearing that Packers officials are watching the drama between Vikings coach Brad Childress and QB Brett Favre with some satisfaction. They’ve been predicting a fallout for months.

… We’re hearing that Chargers OLB Shawne Merriman’s quest for media attention and his desire to develop strong ties to the entertainment industry have turned off some teammates and front office executives in San Diego.

…We’re hearing that Ravens offensive tackle Jared Gaither's work ethic and intensity pale in comparison to rookie OT Michael Oher, and it might prompt Gaither being moved to right tackle during the offseason, with Oher taking over left tackle full time.

… We’re hearing that it's a mystery what will happen to coach Lovie Smith in Chicago when the season ends. Not because it's hard to get a read on GM Jerry Angelo but because the hierarchy and the decision-making process is unclear. Is it Angelo's call alone on football decisions? We'll find out in the coming weeks. If the Bears fire Smith after the team has failed to reach the postseason for a third consecutive year, don't rule out Angelo pursuing a coach with an offensive background. Angelo said that was his goal in 2004 when he wound up hiring Smith, and he knows the franchise needs to be built around quarterback Jay Cutler, who isn't going anywhere.

…We’re hearing that Bills WR Terrell Owens has a limited chance of returning to Buffalo next season because of the type of salary he would demand — which the team wouldn’t be willing to pay for another year.

… We’re hearing that, despite the Packers’ loss on Sunday, the players in Green Bay are attributing their recent defensive turnaround to coordinator Dom Capers finally listening to them and incorporating more stunts and blitzes.

…We’re hearing that the Kansas City Chiefs weren't certain what they had at running back when the started the season, and those question marks remained when they ran off Larry Johnson in the middle of the year. But Jamaal Charles has come on and staked a claim to the job for next season. He's topped 100 yards three times in the last six games, and the organization feels good about him.

…We’re hearing that, although Jon Gruden’s TV contract with ESPN offers him little wiggle room for the 2010 season, he’s telling people close to him that he wants to return to coaching in 2011.

…We’re hearing that there are rave reviews for San Diego defensive line coach Don Johnson despite a host of injuries up front and the loss of nose tackle Jamal Williams for the season. In his first year, Johnson has pieced it together getting strong contributions from Alfonso Boone and Ian Scott, a pair of players he worked with previously in Chicago.

… We’re hearing that there are a lot of disgruntled veterans in Kansas City as a result of the in-your-face approach of coach Todd Haley, and that GM Scott Pioli comes off as an unapproachable figure in the locker room.

…We’re hearing that Bengals QB Carson Palmer’s health is again coming into question despite his production on Sunday in San Diego.

…We’re hearing that Buffalo is a real player when it comes to a landing spot for Eagles QB Michael Vick next season.

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