Randy Moss has solid workout with New Orleans

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Randy Moss has solid workout with New Orleans

From Comcast SportsNet
METAIRIE, La. (AP) -- The New Orleans Saints held a workout on Tuesday with veteran receiver Randy Moss, who is trying to make a comeback after spending a year out of pro football. General Manager Mickey Loomis confirmed the workout took place, but the club did not provide any details on how the 35-year-old Moss performed. New Orleans may be in the market for a receiver this offseason because two of quarterback Drew Brees' regular targets, Marques Colston and Robert Meachem, are entering free agency, and it remains to be seen whether the Saints can offer the type of contracts that both of them want. Colston's agent is Joel Segal, who also represents Moss. "Randy had an outstanding workout, as expected," Segal said. "He's in phenomenal shape." The 6-foot-4 Moss last played in the NFL in 2010, a turbulent season for him in which he bounced from New England to Minnesota and then to Tennessee. His best season was with New England in 2007, when he caught 98 passes for 1,493 yards and single-season record 23 touchdowns in helping the Patriots to a 16-0 regular season record. Moss, a standout at Marshall before beginning his NFL career with the Vikings in 1998, has 954 catches for 14,858 yards and 153 TDs in a career that has ranged from the spectacular to the bizarre. Moss has had more than 1,000 yards receiving in a season 10 times, second only to Jerry Rice, who did that 14 times. Yet he also infamously once said, "I play when I want to play," essentially confirming criticism that he periodically took plays off when the ball wasn't coming to him. During the 2010 season, after he had been traded from New England to Minnesota, then played for the Vikings in a loss to the Patriots, he praised New England coach Bill Belichick and criticized Vikings coaches. He released by Minnesota shortly afterward and claimed by Tennessee for the final eight games of the season, but had only six receptions for 80 yards and no TDs for the Titans. Saints coach Sean Payton has often spoken of placing a priority on players' character and limiting off-the-field distractions, but the coach is apparently open to seeing whether Moss can still play, and giving the receiver a chance to persuade him that some of the odd outbursts for which he has been known are a thing of the past.

Increased velocity has improved Anthony Swarzak's chances of making White Sox bullpen

Increased velocity has improved Anthony Swarzak's chances of making White Sox bullpen

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Anthony Swarzak has thrown harder than ever this spring. He attributes it to an altered mindset rather than mechanics or delivery.

Vying for a relief role with three days left in camp, the veteran is right where he wants to be — with a shot to make the White Sox Opening Day roster. A nonroster invitee to camp, Swarzak is one of five healthy pitchers in a competition for the final two spots in the bullpen. With a fastball that has averaged nearly 96 mph this spring, Swarzak has a 3.86 ERA and 12 strikeouts in 9 1/3 innings.

"All you want is an opportunity in camp," Swarzak said. "I knew I was going to get an opportunity in camp here. I've kind of been around a little bit. I've got some innings under my belt. When you're going into camp as a guy with experience, you're generally going to get a fair look. And that's all I wanted, a fair chance to show the team what I can do and hopefully someone makes a decision.

"I'm throwing the ball pretty well, definitely how I wanted to coming in."

A starter early in his career, Swarzak's average fastball velocity ranged from 91-92 mph from 2011-15. After going up a tick to 93 last season, Swarzak has thrown even harder this spring. According to Brooksbaseball.net, Swarzak's fastball touched 97 mph and averaged 95.75 mph in his one contest in front of a PitchTrax system this spring on March 21.

But Swarzak, 31, said the only adjustment he has made is a mental one.

"Early on in my career you get so conscious of injuries from other people, veterans talking to a young guy, 'Just be careful man, you only have so many bullets,'" Swarzak said. "Subconsciously you kind of save some for whenever you might need it down the line. And I think these last few years I'm getting to that age where nothing is guaranteed for me so I'm kind of letting it all out there and I think I found another gear somewhere. I don't think it's anything delivery-wise or body-wise, I think I'm just trying harder to throw hard for the first time in a long time and it's working."

Swarzak's former life as a starting pitcher could serve him well. With Carlos Rodon likely to start the season on the disabled list, the White Sox could turn to a combination of Dylan Covey and Swarzak in a bullpen-esque type of start on either April 8 or 9.

Swarzak threw 30-plus pitches and struck out five in 2 1/3 innings at Mesa, Ariz. on Friday before he headed to the bullpen to throw a few more. Of Swarzak's 217 big league appearances, 32 were as a starter.

"He has been able to do that," manager Rick Renteria said. "He's started in the past. So, he does certainly fit that potential role. I know (Don Cooper) has been talking about trying to stretch him out a little bit, get two or three innings out of him. He can fill in for us in terms of multiple innings."

Swarzak threw a side session on Monday morning. He's next to scheduled to throw in Wednesday's Cactus League finale. But he has already accomplished all he wants to this spring short of making the team.

"I did everything I needed to do," Swarzak said. "I'm happy with how it has gone and we'll see how it goes the next few days."

Ex-Bear Brandon Marshall an early favorite at NFL owners meetings

Ex-Bear Brandon Marshall an early favorite at NFL owners meetings

PHOENIX – Brandon Marshall never needed a whole lot of encouragement to step before a microphone but the NFL, which sometimes wished he'd put a sock in it, has now invited the former Bears wide receiver to speak up.
 
The NFL extended an invitation for Marshall, whose time in Chicago ended in some measure because of his insistence on pursuing the media portion of his career, to address the league higher-up's ostensibly as part of a communications bridge-building. Marshall jumped at the chance.
 
"They thought it was important for a player to come up and give a player's perspective and talk about the relationship between owners and players," Marshall said on Monday at the outset of the NFL owners meetings. "I think it's evident that our relationship could be so much better."
 
Marshall has been part of Showtime's "Inside the NFL" in recent years, flying to New York to participate in taping the show, and ultimately accepting a trade from the Bears to the Jets in 2015, which obviously cut down on his commute. The Jets released Marshall earlier this month, after which Marshall signed on with the Giants.
 
He told owners this week, "If we want our game to continue to be on that [positive] track, that it's on being super successful and being a pillar in our community and being a thread in our community, we have to make sure our relationship as players and owners is good."

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The immediate response was more than a little positive: Per San Francisco 49ers owner Jed York:

https://twitter.com/JedYork/status/846400103472480256
 
Marshall predictably welcomed the forum and wants to see it expanded.

"I'd like to see more players be more involved in our owners meetings," Marshall said. "And not only at the owners meetings, but any time we're talking football, we should have players at the table. Commissioner Goodell is always open-minded. He always has that open-door policy. So I think he'll continue to listen and continue to evolve this part of our business."