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New York Giants Notes: Steve Smith Expects To Return

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Good morning, New York Giants fans! Here are some stories of interest for you on this day before the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals hears oral arguments in the NFL's appeal to keep the lockout in place.

Steve Smith thinks he’ll be back with the Giants | ProFootballTalk

We've written about Giants wide receiver Steve Smith's uncertain future a few times lately. They don't have a huge need at wide receiver, but Smith may be Eli Manning's favorite target. His situation is clouded further by his uncertain free agent status and his recovery from knee surgery.

With so many questions, we had Smith on PFT Live Wednesday to provide answers. Florio asked Smith if he expected to be back in New York next year.

"As a matter of fact I do," Smith said. "Spoke to Jerry Reese and Coach Coughlin and Mr. Mara prior to all this lockout stuff, and they want me back. … If I had to start running today, I could. We’re gonna backtrack a couple of things just because of the lockout. We don’t really have to push it so much. But I’m pretty close."

This is, of course, good news. It is what I think Giants fans hope for and, in all likelihood, expect to happen. Let's also hope the Giants get back a completely healthy Smith.

NFL Lockout

Faces of lockout: Giants DT Barry Cofield - NFC East Blog - ESPN

"It is rough," Cofield recently said. "Being restricted last year, it wasn’t as frustrating. I don’t know. Just to have it happen one year, I took it in stride. I was looking forward to the next season. But now with all the labor strife, and the prospect of being restricted again, it is starting to weigh on me.

"To do it again, to roll the dice with injuries and all the things that can happen in this league, it is something I am not willing to do," Cofield said. "Not having that peace of mind of a contract ... I don’t know if I can be happy coming to work knowing that I should have been a free agent twice. Besides the money, just the sense of security ... I have a family, I want to know where I am going to live next year."

Jacksonville Jaguars coaches latest to question NFLCA's brief - ESPN

The Jacksonville Jaguars coaching staff distanced itself Wednesday from a court brief filed last week by the NFL Coaches Association.

Coach Jack Del Rio said his staff had no knowledge of the statement, which supported the players in the NFL's labor dispute.

"I checked with our guys and not one member of our coaching staff had knowledge of last week's brief filed by the coaches association prior to the news breaking," Del Rio said. "None were consulted or involved in any way. This action was taken without approval. Heck, it wasn't even mentioned to any of us.

"We just hope that this all gets resolved soon so we can get back to coaching up our guys."

Lockout's likely run its course - JSOnline

On Friday in St. Louis, lawyers and judges again get to scratch plays in the dirt. Outside of a Carolina-Cincinnati exhibition game, it's hard to imagine any football-related activity more mind-numbingly exhausting. But that's what it has come down to once more, finding the right pad angle for leverage in the courtroom.

It's fairly simple from here on. If the players win a decision that might take up to a month to reach, it's likely back to business. That way, the Packers could get their Super Bowl rings on June 16 without subjecting anyone to the awkward-moment equivalent of Scott Walker getting stuck in an elevator car with a couple of state workers.

If the owners win and the players don't cave, it becomes a countdown to how many games get lost to this nonsense.

Jets lineman D'Brickashaw Ferguson may have $750K workout bonus in jeopardy due to NFL lockout
Jets offensive lineman D'Brickashaw Ferguson was scheduled to earn a league-high $750,000 workout bonus during the 2011 offseason. Because of the NFL labor dispute, that portion - along with the rest of his contract - remains up in the air.

Sports Radio Interviews " Blog Archive " NFL Lockout News: Bill Parcells Believes "It looks like there could be a little blood in both corners before this is over."

What I kind [of] have observed just as an outsider here recently is the rhetoric is pretty much the same as it always has been. It’s just different people saying it now because they are largely a different group of owners and obviously different representatives representing the players and the different group of players, so the basic rhetoric and the essence of what seems to be important is the same. I think what makes this one a little bit different it seems to be a little bit more hostility then normal. I think there’s a little more adamance on the side of the owners and I think quite apparently the players are learning behavior from past experience in these negotiations is that if they stick to their guns they usually wind up better off. That’s been the case, but it looks like there could be a little blood in both corners before this is over."

Cris Collinsworth: NFL likely to lose half season to lockout - The Huddle: Football News from the NFL -

Around The NFL news: Ward says only way to truly protect players is flag football

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward isn't taking the NFL's new rules on flagrant hits as personally as others, but the Pro Bowler said in an interview with WCNN Atlanta that the guidelines clash with the physical nature of the sport.

"I understand where they’re coming from, but at the same time you can’t protect football," said Ward, who's taken as well as doled out his fair share of hits in a decorated nine-year career. "It’s a violent sport. If you want to protect it, we need to play flag football."

This is the real worry when it comes to the many rules changes the league is instituting. Are they taking the 'football' out of football?

Browns Looking To Add A Safety? | NFL Trade Rumors

Cleveland Browns defensive coordinator Dick Jauron informed Scott Petrak of the Chronicle-Telegram that the team is looking to bring in a safety to pair with T.J. Ward.

"We would love to add a safety," Jauron said. "Anywhere we can upgrade any position at the right cost, we would keep doing it."

The safety market would include: Quintin Mikell, Eric Weddle, Michael Huff, Roman Harper, Darren Sharper, Bernard Pollard, Atari Bigby, Danieal Manning, Melvin Bullitt and Donte Whitner.

The best news in all of that for Giants fans? You see Deon Grant's name anywhere on that list?

Mark Herzlich says he'll be the Cam Newton of free agency | National Football Post
"I'm kind of in the same spot I was predraft right now," Herzlich said. "I'm waiting for my own draft, which is free agency. They took 250 guys already, so I think my stock is rising."

Ryan Leaf has benign tumor removed from brain stem - Yahoo! Sports
Former NFL quarterback Ryan Leaf was recovering in California on Tuesday after doctors removed a benign tumor from his brain stem.