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The Rumor Mill on Inauguration Tuesday...

Hope you enjoy January 20th, 2009 as much as I will. Here's a couple of rumors that are circulating the news circuit (courtesy of ESPN.com Insider) so ponder these bullets while our NFL season trickles down to our final game. (sniff sniff)

Ray-Ray to wear the Star?
Mike Preston has reported on the Baltimore Sun's Ravens Insider blog that soon-to-be free agent linebacker Ray Lewis has drawn a great deal of interest from the Dallas Cowboys.

While the Cowboys could certainly use a player of Lewis' magnitude on the field, it is believed that owner Jerry Jones would also be bringing in the veteran leader to enact a seismic change in the team's attitude in the locker room. A report by the Dallas Morning News said that the team was plagued by tardiness and other discipline issues in 2008. This report expands on the public perception that the team's lack of leadership was the flaw that led to its failure to make the postseason in 2008.

The Ravens would certainly not give up the face of their team easily, and could place the franchise tag on Lewis if necessary. Preston reports that the potential contract offer from the Cowboys to Lewis would be three years and between $27 and $30 million.

Sheppard-ed out of Philly?
During 2008, Philadelphia Eagles defensive back Lito Sheppard lost his starting cornerback job to free agent Asante Samuel, and later was phased out of his nickelback role as well. If Sunday's loss in the NFC Championship game was Sheppard's last for the Eagles, he has taken the developments in stride, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer.

"It was pretty humbling actually not being able to do something you really love," Sheppard told the Inquirer on Monday. "That's almost like when a guy's injured. He wants to be out there when he knows he can help his team, and for whatever reason he's not out there. So I had to kind of humble myself and put the team first and not let myself get in the way of that." As for 2009, Sheppard says his goal is "to be back on the field playing."

Sheppard had his two best seasons in 2004 and 2006, and was named to the Pro Bowl for his play in those two campaigns. 2004 saw Sheppard make 52 solo tackles and five interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns whereas in 2006 he had 25 solo tackles with six interceptions, one of which was taken back for a score.

Lions not interested in a QB at No. 1?
Despite previous speculation that had the team drafting a quarterback with the No. 1 overall pick in this April's draft based on new Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz' statements during the hiring process, Brian VanOchten of MLive.com reports that the team will instead target a player who can make a difference at the line of scrimmage.

While both Matt Stafford and Mark Sanchez have been given high grades from Scouts, Inc., the Lions offensive line gave up 52 sacks in 2008, and without a significant improvement on that unit, throwing a rookie quarterback into that situation would be unkind. In addition, Schwartz comes from a team whose offensive strategy was quite conservative, which could work well with Jon Kitna or Dan Orlovsky at the helm.

If the Lions do elect to draft an offensive or defensive lineman with the first overall pick, they would likely draw their selection from Andre Smith, Eugene Monroe, Aaron Maybin or Brian Orakpo.

Ray-Ray to Dallas? Should Philly have taken the trade for Chad Johnson for Lito? Who goes #1? Let us know!




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