First things first, I haven't been fired, or left for greener pastures (as if that's possible). Just took some time off, at a time when not much is happening. Of course, that came at the expense of turning into a contractor/landscaper for a week or so, but hey, the place looks better.
And in reality, there's not much going on right now. There's a lull between the draft and June OTAs (which start May 27), but there are a few odds and ends to address:
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-- Peter King ranks the Panthers 18th in offseason power poll
Frankly, this borders on asinine. I'm not saying the Panthers are a top five team going into 2009 (their history points to bad luck and 7-9 after a good season), but to say they're in the bottom half of the league doesn't make sense.
The roster's little changed since last season, and if Julius Peppers comes back and plays nice, there's an argument to be made that it could be better in the starting 22. There are some issues, as they lack depth on both lines, but this is a solid team coming back. Also, the way they're presently constructed is the way John Fox wants his team to look -- built to grind from both directions.
They've got problems if the grouchy franchise player doesn't show or offensive linemen start getting hurt, but you could say that about every team in the league it applies to.
-- Mike Minter mulls run for Congress
The former Panthers safety is kicking around the idea of becoming a public servant.
He'll be registered Republican, for sure. I remember former LB Brandon Short giving him a hard time about that -- "Mike, you're only Republican because you're rich." -- but Minter's a man of conviction. I'm guessing his politics will be colored by his deep religious beliefs, but the particulars are up to him.
I'm not sure what side of the party he'd gravitate to, whether he'd be McCain moderate or farther to the Limbaugh-Cheney right. But I can tell you one thing with great certainty: He'll be honest, and bring integrity to whatever he does.
Minter's as forthright as any player I've covered. He could have hung on in 2007, and collected checks, and been beloved as a player. But his knees were shot, he knew it, and he wasn't able to do his job. He's also a man of principle, who agonized over an early free agent decision, coming within hours of boarding a plane for Cleveland and more money to stay where he started.
They repaid the favor later, hanging onto him past his expiration date as an impact player. Professional teams don't extend that courtesy to many, but Minter deserved it.
-- In other news, there's still no news on Julius. So that's covered for another month.
(Although, I am intrigued at Jason Taylor signing a cut-rate deal with Miami, not New England. The Pats would love to have Peppers, but it sounds like they're struggling with the two-pronged compensation required to get him. Know this, they're lurking.)
Also, King's now reporting a deal's near between Comcast and the league to carry the NFL Network more widely. We'll see if that's a domino that leads it to local cable systems.
That's about it. I'll check in when there's something to check in on.
Otherwise, if anybody wants to come help pull weeds and rocks out of the garden, let me know.