Report: Aldon Smith stabbed at wild house party

Aldon Smith got off to a rough start in the offseason when he was arrested for drunken driving in Miami Beach, Fla., and now he’s experiencing a rough end to his offseason.

The outside linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers is recovering from a “minor injury” suffered Friday night in a wild party, according to Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee. The Associated Press reports that Smith suffered stab wounds. The club released the following statement from general manager Trent Baalke:

“The San Francisco 49ers are aware that Aldon Smith incurred minor injuries during an incident last night. We are in contact with Aldon, and thankful that his injuries were not more serious and that he is recovering comfortably. The 49ers are also in communication with local authorities as they gather information regarding the incident, and will reserve further comment at this time.”

Barrows reports there was a house party that got wild with gunshots reported at around 2 a.m. The Santa Clara, Calif., sheriff’s office responded and the party was so out of hand that California Highway Patrol and San Jose police were called to assist. Per the report, two people suffered gunshot wounds and another suffered stab wounds with three people transported to hospitals with non-life threatening injuries.

Hopefully, Smith is healed soon and everyone else injured at the party is also fine. Surely, more details from this incident will surface soon.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

RG3 huddles with his wide receivers in Texas

Robert Griffin III is not waiting until training camp to get back together with his wide receivers.

The Washington Redskins quarterback, who barring something unexpected will open the season as the starter, worked with his new teammates Friday in Waco, Texas. It’s a small passing camp to keep Griffin, the second overall pick in the draft, and his wideouts sharp before training camp. The Redskins will open camp July 26.

“We knew we needed to get together,” Griffin said at the NFL rookie symposium, according to Mike Jones of the Washington Post. “We got workout facilities and everything. Shockingly, I convinced them to come to Waco, Texas, because not everybody wants to do that.”

Santana Moss, Pierre Garcon, Anthony Armstrong, Brandon Banks and tight end Fred Davis all made the trek to the Texas for the gathering. Griffin is getting all the work he can in before football gets going for real. It can’t hurt. He’s already had advantages this offseason that successful rookie starters Cam Newton and Andy Dalton never had in 2011.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

Luck or Griffin? A scout's take

Yesterday my friend and colleague Joe Fortenbaugh wrote a very interesting post on who has the better value as a fantasy football player this year: Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III. I know nothing about fantasy football and have never been involved in a fantasy league but many of my friends and stepchildren have. My stepson Nolan is in a few different leagues. Because of my lack of knowledge about fantasy football I am probably the last person to ask about whom to draft or not to draft. With that being said, I do have an opinion as to who will be the better pro player both this year and in the future.

If you go back to some of my pre-draft posts, I’m on record as saying that I feel that Andrew Luck is the best NFL quarterback prospect since Peyton Manning. My reasoning was not only on how he played the game but also on how he prepared himself to play.

Luck’s football character is second to none. He has a strong desire to be great, is a tireless and relentless worker and is a natural leader. On top of that, he played three years in a difficult pro-style offensive system that did a great job preparing him for NFL play.

Andrew LuckICONAndrew Luck was the top pick of the Colts in this past April's draft.

I also felt and still feel that RGIII has tremendous talent and will also be a top NFL quarterback. While he will have a larger learning curve having come from a simple spread offense, he has the aptitude, athleticism and quarterback skills to excel at the next level. Like Luck he has outstanding character.

I have already written about the strengths and weaknesses of their “games” so I will not rewrite that now. But I can write about their future.

At this time, with Washington having a veteran head coach with a history of developing quarterbacks and a better offensive supporting cast I feel Griffin will play well in 2012. The Colts on the other hand have had a lot of turnover in personnel and have a rookie head coach as well as a conservative offensive coordinator in Bruce Arians

I expect Griffin to put up better numbers in 2012 but that doesn’t mean that he will be the better player. Don’t expect either player to have the kind of stats that Cam Newton had last year. I would expect numbers more similar to what Andy Dalton had in Cincinnati. It may be 3-5 years before we know who the better player is and a lot will depend on which team does a better job getting players to surround Luck and Griffin.

One thing Bill Pollian did was find the right players to make the Colts offense work for Manning. They developed a system and stuck to that system and drafted players that were “fits” and could make the offense better. If Washington and Indianapolis want Griffin and Luck to reach their “ceiling” as players they have to do the same thing. Without a strong supporting cast both players could struggle.

The bottom line in determining who will be the better player is which player does a better job leading his team first to the playoffs and then division and conference championships. I have no doubt that both players will be excellent NFL quarterbacks but it remains to be seen who leads their team to better playoff success. At this time my money would be on Luck and only because of how he has prepared himself for an NFL career.

NFL sends memo to teams regarding possible L.A. relocation

Prospects for a new football stadium in Los Angeles are “better than they have been in many years” wrote Roger Goodell in a two-page memo circulated to all 32 NFL teams.

Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times has the document and reports that Goodell basically outlined guidelines for possible relocation and pointed out the league not an individual team anxious for a new home will control the situation.

Los Angeles, the nation’s second-largest city, has been without an NFL franchise since after the 1994 season when the Raiders and the Rams split town. Goodell says teams interested in relocating to Los Angeles must submit a request in writing between Jan. 1 and Feb. 15 of 2013. That doesn’t mean there could be a team in L.A. for the 2013 season though.

The NFL has been clear it doesn’t currently have plans for expansion but that doesn’t mean it will not at some point. It’s also possible a new stadium in Los Angeles will eventually house two teams.

“Consistent with our long-standing view, we have made it clear that any stadium seeking investment support from the 32 member clubs should preserve a viable option of being able to host two teams at appropriate times and on appropriate terms,” Goodell wrote.

“The overall goal, as we have frequently said, is to ensure that any league re-entry to the Los Angeles market is as successful as possible, both for the club or clubs that will play there and for the league as a whole.”

You get the feeling that if they build it, the NFL will eventually come. It’s just a matter of where in Los Angeles and when. But we’ve been saying that for some time.

Follow me on Twitter: @BradBiggs

Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

Ohio State's Hall undergoes surgery

Ohio State running back Jordan Hall is expected to be sidelined for the next 10 weeks after undergoing surgery on his foot.

Hall, who has rushed for 817 yards and five touchdowns with 21 receptions for 202 yards and four scores in his career, apparently cut his foot on broken glass while walking barefoot in the grass and required surgery. The 2012 season begins in nine weeks, so it looks like Hall could miss the season opener at home against Miami (OH) unless he recovers quickly. This injury also is a tough blow because Hall will be sidelined for all of fall practice, and OSU will be continuing to break in a new offense. He'll remain in a cast for roughly six weeks before beginning his rehab.

The senior playmaker, who is expected to split time with Carlos Hyde as the primary ball-carriers in the team's backfield this fall, is a key part of this offense because of his shiftiness in the open field. He is a very good receiver, and he is expected to fill the Percy Harvin role in head coach Urban Meyer's offense — a multi-dimensional player who excels on screens and some misdirection plays.

The Buckeyes' Week 2 opponent is Central Florida before the competition increases when California comes to town. Barring any setback, Hall is projected to be back before the contest against the Golden Bears.

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Fred Davis' legal case is the bizarre story of offseason

If you haven’t had a chance yet to explore the bizarre legal case Washington Redskins tight end Fred Davis is part of, invest a few minutes to learn how he is serving as his own counsel in a D.C. Superior Court.

Luke Mullins from Washingtonian Magazine has provided all the details and he has returned to share transcripts from various court hearings between Davis and Makini R. Chaka, a woman Davis’ bodyguard has described as a “madam/pimpette.”

Davis and Chaka are basically warring over a dispute in a night club where they poured drinks on one another. Davis, who has not been trained in law, is serving as his own lawyer. Chaka is also representing herself in a case that will go to trial in March 2013.

Mullins’ entire story can be found right here and it’s well worth a read. Here are two excerpts from the transcripts, starting with Chaka’s cross-examination of Davis on Feb. 11, 2011:

Chaka: Mr. Davis, you said that you did not know me on a friendship level. Is it true that I have, that I have or have not been to your home?
Davis: You’ve never been to my house. You’ve dropped someone off, a teammate to my house but that was it.
Chaka: I’ve never stayed the night at your home?
Davis: You’ve never stayed at my house ever. Ever.
Chaka: I’ve never been in your recording studio at your home?
Davis: No. You’ve never been—like I’m not going to, I don’t know how—
Chaka: So we never hung out at your house and stayed the night over there . . . and watched episodes of Martin before.
Davis: You’ve never, ever stayed at my house. You’ve been at Devin’s house, (former Redskins wide receiver) Devin Thomas’s, that’s another teammate of mine. You’re naming things that we’ve done over his house. He has a studio in his house. He has all those things that you’re talking about. I mean, as far as you coming to my house, you dropped someone off.
Chaka: Was there ever, was there ever a time that you and I were both at Devin’s house together?
Davis: Yes you’ve been there. You’re friends with him. Yes.

This is another cross-examination of Davis by Chaka on April 10, 2012.

Chaka: Well, let’s look at your document. It says December the 3rd, 2012. What’s today’s date, Mr. Davis?
Davis: I don’t know. I don’t know.
Chaka: What’s the date of today?
Davis: I don’t know what today is. All I know is I had court today.
Chaka: You don’t know what today’s date is? His document is not even valid.
Davis: What are you talking about? . . .
Chaka: Well, according to your statement, to bullet No. 5, it says that this event happened December 3rd, 2012.
Davis: Okay, and, what about it?
Chaka: Has December 3rd, 2012 even happened yet?
Davis: What?
Chaka: What? That’s the same thing I’m saying, Mr. Davis.
Davis: It was a misprint. Okay, December 3rd, 2011, okay, great.
Chaka: You signed an official document that you turned into the court—
Davis: With the wrong date, okay, all right.
Chaka: Stating that this incident happened on this date when there’s no such thing.
Davis: Okay, it’s a misprint.
Chaka: There’s no such event that could have ever happened on December the 3rd, 2012.
Davis: A misprint, okay.
Chaka: It’s not valid.
Davis: It is a misprint. It is a misprint.

It’s interesting that Davis’ court battle remainder under cover in D.C. for so long. But now it’s out there for everyone to examine. And it is certainly making the rounds.

Follow me on Twitter: @BradBiggs

Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

5 Big East players to watch in 2012

Today, as we look ahead to the 2012 college football season, let's take a look at five players who will be on the spot in the Big East throughout the fall.

Click here for the Big 12 five players to watch, which ran on Monday.
Click here for the ACC five players to watch, which ran on Tuesday.
Click here for the SEC five players to watch, which ran on Wednesday.
Click here for the Big Ten five players to watch, which ran on Thursday.
Click here for the Pac-12 five players to watch, which ran on Friday.

Rutgers RB Savon Huggins: There is no question that Huggins has all the talent in the world. But his freshman campaign was cut short due to a knee injury, and he recorded a disappointing 146 rushing yards and 2.6 yards per carry. The former New Jersey No. 1 recruit looked nothing like the player who had a record-setting career at St. Peter's Prep in Jersey City, so he will now have to fight for carries with Jawan Jamison, who rushed for 897 yards and nine touchdowns as a redshirt freshman last season. The 6-1, 200-pound Huggins did find the end zone five times, however, and he is determined to put his rough debut campaign behind him. His success could go a long way in helping this Rutgers offense move the football, as there are major issues at the quarterback position.

Lyle McCombsICONLyle McCombs will try to prove that his 2011 season was no fluke.

UConn RB Lyle McCombs: Like Rutgers, the Huskies have serious issues at quarterback, and that's been the case for the past several seasons. Johnny McEntee looked lost at times on the field in 2011, so this spring he was joined by Michael Nebrich and Scott McCummings to compete for the starting gig. Early enrollee freshman Casey Cochran and junior-college transfer Chandler Whitmer joined the mix as well. And it appears that Whitmer may have the edge because of his spring performance. Still, head coach Paul Pasqualoni has to be worried about the position, so the Huskies need another big season from the 5-8, 172-pound McCombs, who is looking to repeat his 1,151-yard season from last year.

South Florida DE Ryne Giddins: When you think of South Florida, you likely think of skilled pass rushers such as George Selvie and Jason Pierre-Paul. Giddins could be the next Bull in line to carry the mantle for Skip Holtz's squad after having a very good spring. The 6-3, 262-pounder became more productive as the 2011 season progressed and could be primed to have a breakout year for USF after recording three sacks in the team's spring game. He had 5.5 sacks, 11 tackles for loss and three forced fumbles, earning second-team Big East last fall. And just think: Holtz and the Bulls will add Notre Dame star transfer Aaron Lynch in 2013. Imagine Lynch lining up opposite Giddins. That's a scary thought for opposing Big East offensive tackles.

Cincinnati WR Jordan Luallen: The former quarterback has moved to receiver, and he is also expected to be the Bearcats' Wildcat quarterback as well. The 6-3, 214-pounder saw playing time with Munchie Legaux at QB last year when Zach Collaros was injured, but his desire to contribute any way he can led to the position switch. Luallen is one of the team's best athletes, so head coach Butch Jones has to be excited that he will be able to add another skilled talent to the offense. Luallen showed his big-play potential on the ground last season when he ran for 135 yards on 22 carries.

Louisville RB Dominique Brown: Another player getting comfortable after a position switch is Dominique Brown, who moved from quarterback to running back last fall and now could win the starting job in the backfield. He finished second on the team with 533 rushing yards in 2011 and was a key part of the team's Wild Card formation. The 6-2, 221-pounder has the body to absorb big hits and pick up tough yards between the tackles, and he will see plenty of carries no matter who is the Cardinals starter, whether it is he, Corvin Lamb, Jeremy Wright or Senorise Perry.

Email or follow me on Twitter at Miller_Dave

Report: Visanthe Shiancoe turned down offer from Seattle

There are some name tight ends that remain on the open market, including Jeremy Shockey, but at least one of them has turned down a contract offer.

Visanthe Shiancoe visited the Seattle Seahawks way back in March and according to Tom Pelissero of 1500 ESPN, he turned down a one-year contract offer that was worth roughly $1.2 million.

Shiancoe, who turned 32 earlier this month, has been a model of durability throughout his career. He hasn’t missed a single game in his nine seasons, the last five spent as a member of the Minnesota Vikings.

Shiancoe made 36 receptions for 409 yards and three touchdowns in a dysfunctional Minnesota offense last season. The Vikings have moved on, hoping former Notre Dame standout Kyle Rudolph is ready to flourish. The club also invested big in John Carlson, giving the ex-Seahawk a $25 million, five-year contract.

It could be Shiancoe believes he is worth more than $1.2 million, just a shade over the minimum for a player with nine years experience. But the open market can be a cruel place for veterans who are on the wrong side of 30.

Follow me on Twitter: @BradBiggs

Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

Matt Forte: 'It's going to be a fun season'

Matt Forte dodged questions about his contract situation on Friday as well as he has ever dodged defenders on the field.

But the Chicago Bears running back did not indicate that skipping any portion of the regular season was part of his plan as he aims for a long-term contract. The Bears have placed the franchise tag on Forte and the sides have until July 16 to hammer out a multi-year deal. Otherwise, Forte will have to play this season under the one-year tender that is worth $7.7 million.

I'm still here, for now,” Forte responded to a student at Marist High School when asked if he will suit up for the Bears this season.

Forte was making a charity appearance and pretty much did an end-around when he got questions about his situation.

“I don't really have a choice, do I?” he said, according to Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune. “But yeah, I'll be here.”

Obviously, there are no lingering questions about Forte’s sprained knee because while he missed the final four regular-season games, he received clearance to play in the Pro Bowl.

“I'm in very good shape,'' he said. “That's what I do. I go out every week, week in and week out. I'm probably the healthiest I've ever been since coming out of college. … It's going to be a fun season.”

The offseason will not be much fun if it doesn’t provide the long-term deal he’s been after.

Follow me on Twitter: @BradBiggs

Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune