The NFL notebook …
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. ó Tim Tebow insists heís a happy camper unfazed by his many critics who are blasting him over his inconsistent performances at the Denver Broncos training camp.
The popular but unpolished second-year pro from Florida is still trying to morph from a star college quarterback who relied on his legs and trademark jump pass into a drop-back, pocket passer in the pros.
Many expected him to be thrust into the starting role this season, but trade talks regarding Kyle Orton fizzled and Orton has been the clear No. 1 QB in Denver since the first day of camp.
Tebow has drawn criticism far and wide but said heís keeping his head up. He used the word ěfunî 11 times in a 51/2-minute chat with reporters coming off the field Wednesday.
LATROBE, Pa. (AP) ó Dennis Dixon is hanging around. Charlie Batch is hanging on. Both quarterbacks know thereís only room for one of them on the Pittsburgh Steelersí roster. Each is hoping to use the preseason as a chance to showcase why they should be the one who sticks around.
Dixon and Batch figure to get plenty of snaps when the Steelers open the preseason on Friday night. They find themselves at opposite ends of their careers. The 26-year-old Dixon is eager to show heís ready to become a starting quarterback. The 36-year-old Batch is hoping to get through another season.
ST. PAUL, Minn. ó The NFL lockout is over, but the legal wrangling is not.
Lawyers for the NFL, the players’ union and a group of retirees were back in federal court in St. Paul, Minn., on Wednesday. The retirees, led by former Vikings star Carl Eller, say they were shut out of the settlement that ended the lockout.
BRISTOL, Conn. ó Bill Parcells and Jerry Rice are joining ESPN as NFL analysts.
This is Parcells’ third stint with the network. The two-time Super Bowl-winning coach was a studio analyst in 2002 and ’07 between NFL jobs. He will make his debut Monday before the Jets-Texans preseason game and will appear on “Sunday NFL Countdown” and other shows.
Rice, the Hall of Fame wide receiver for the San Francisco 49ers, will serve as an analyst on shows such as “NFL Live” and “SportsCenter.”
NASHVILLE, Tenn. ó Tennessee cornerback Alterraun Verner thinks so highly of his former UCLA teammate that he boldly predicts linebacker Akeem Ayers can be the NFL’s defensive rookie of the year.