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NFL Notebook: Taking up for Plaxico Burress

Associated Press
The NFL notebook …
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. ó Two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Osi Umenyiora of the New York Giants isn’t a legal expert when it comes to troubled receiver Plaxico Burress and his scheduled court appearance next week on a felony gun possession charge.
Umenyiora is just an optimist, and he believes after talking to legal experts that Burress will be playing for the Giants next season. He hasn’t even considered the alternative, a mandatory minimum of 3 1/2 years in prison if Burress is not able to plead to a lesser charge and is convicted of the felony.
“I have talked to law enforcement officials and they say to me, that for a first-time offender, he would get five years probation, that’s the maximum with a first-time offender,” Umenyiora said Tuesday after taking part in the Giants voluntary workouts at Giants Stadium. “He has one of the best lawyers money can buy and he’s a very, very good guy, no matter what you hear about him.”
BRONCOS
Broncos coach Josh McDaniels says the team is committed to Jay Cutler as Denver’s quarterback. Still, he says no options ó including trades ó are being ruled out.
McDaniels spoke with the media for the first time Tuesday since the rift between the new Broncos coach and the Pro Bowl quarterback became public. He reiterated that Cutler is his quarterback and he’ll do what he can to improve the relationship.
The relationship became strained when McDaniels failed to inform Cutler about trade talks in which the Broncos showed interest in Matt Cassel.
“I’ve always been optimistic,” McDaniels said at the NFL meetings. “He’s on our team, he’s under contract, and I understand there’s things we have to work toward in our relationship.
“I’ve heard (Cutler’s trade request), but have not heard it from him personally. No one has contacted me, called me, text-messaged or e-mailed me.”
WELCOME, TERRELL
Maybe Dick Jauron is wearing rose-colored glasses these days, but the Buffalo Bills coach is seeing only the positive side of adding Terrell Owens.
Owens was cut by Dallas earlier this month and, a few days later, the brilliant but troublesome wide receiver wound up in Buffalo ó with a raise.
“When he came available it was unexpected, so we met quickly and started talking about it,” Jauron said. “What I said was, I’ll tell you just one thing to start off with, I’d rather play with him than against him because I’ve played against him and it’s not fun. Defensively, you are game-planning a good deal for that guy. You don’t like the matchups.
BROWNS QBS
Brady Quinn or Derek Anderson? Eric Mangini isn’t sure, so he’s throwing the Cleveland Browns quarterback job into a free-for-all.
“I don’t have a projected starter at this point,” Mangini said Tuesday at the NFL meetings.
RECALLING THE AFL
The 50-year anniversary doesn’t really occur until 2010, but the NFL will be celebrating the birth of the American Football League during the upcoming season.
On opening weekend, ESPN will televise a Monday night doubleheader featuring four original members of the AFL. Buffalo will visit New England in a 7 p.m. EDT game, followed by San Diego at Oakland at 10:15 p.m.
BILLS
The Buffalo Bills are attempting to negotiate a new contract with left tackle Jason Peters to avert another offseason holdout by their two-time Pro Bowl player.

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