- 11/25/96 - Rozier shot in New Jersey
- 11/21/96 - Cowboys sign TE Johnny Mitchell
Cowboys reportedly trying to sign Mitchell
- 11/19/96 - DALLAS (AP): With Pro Bowler Jay Novacek's prospects for the season dimming and Eric Bjornson hobbled by a sprained ankle, the Dallas Cowboys are looking for an insurance policy at tight end.
Johnny Mitchell may be it. Cowboys Coach Barry Switzer said Mitchell, a 1992 first-round draft choice of the New York Jets out of Nebraska, could be signed to a oneyear deal soon and be available for the Nov. 10 game at San Francisco.
Mitchell, a 25-year-old free agent who has been hampered by a back injury, first would have to pass a physical Cowboys spokesman Rich Dalrymple said Friday the results of an exam done Thursday weren't yet available.
The Cowboys play the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday.
Bjornson, who worked out at half speed Thursday for the first time since injuring his left ankle against the Miami Dolphins last Sunday, remains the starting tight end, Switzer said.
The team hopes that Novacek, a native of Gothenburg, can return from a degenerative back condition but Switzer and owner Jerry Jones have acknowledged that they do not expect him to play this season.
Signing Mitchell is "just an indication that we need an athletic wide receiver at tight end if something happens to Bjornson," Switzer said. Mitchell "knows his role. I told him he'd be an insurance policy. I think he would be a good fit for the team. He might become the player that he always has been."
The 6-foot-3, 241-pound Mitchell, who has not played since last season, could compete with Bjornson as a replacement in the role Novacek has filled since 1990.
Since leaving Nebraska as a sophomore in 1992, Mitchell has 158 career receptions for 2,086 yards and 16 touchdowns.
In June, after four seasons with the Jets, Mitchell became a free agent and accepted a two-year, $1.4 million contract to play for the Dolphins. After 12 days in the Dolphins' training camp - during which he completed only one practice and dropped three passes - Mitchell asked to be excused from the team to handle "deeply personal" family matters. When the club denied his request, Mitchell gave back his $500,000 signing bonus and retired.
Mitchell, who turned down a multiyear deal after working out with the Eagles Wednesday, said he would have no problem playing in Dallas for the league minimum $275,000.
"I just want to contribute, show my worth and help this team win," he told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Jones and vice president Stephen Jones spent part of Thursday trading phone calls with Mitchell's agent, Jim Sims. The contract for the five-year veteran would be for the league minimum, Sims said. Mitchell's impact against the league salary cap would be half that.
The Cowboys originally had tried to sign Mitchell early in the season, when Bjornson was nursing a sore hamstring and it became apparent that Novacek would miss significant playing time.
- 11/17/96 - Giants willing to give Christian Peter a chance
- 10/11/96 - Steve Taylor keeps Canadian playing career alive: Not seeing as much playing time, but hopeful for 1997
- 09/10/96 - Tommie Frazier, who led Nebraska to consecutive national championships and is currently the CFL Montreal Alouettes' backup quarterback, will be sidelined indefinitely while he recovers from pneumonia.
- 08/17/96 - [Green Bay vs Baltimore] Packer Brian Satterfield fumbled when stripped by Baltimore defensive back Donny Brady and linebacker Mike Croel recovered at the Green Bay 47. (JSOnline.com)
- 07/26/96 - After seeing world, young Rams want to see playing time (Ed Stewart)
- 07/15/96 - Linebacker Ed Stewart, a street free agent from Nebraska, has signed with the Rams. He played for Amsterdam of the World league this spring.
- 06/19/96 - [CFL] Montreal Alouettes sign QB Tommie Frazier
- 06/12/96 - Makovicka making another run against odds, this time in NFL
- 06/07/96 - Frazier's Dad: Tommie may sign with Alouettes
- 05/06/96 - Undrafted free agent TE Mark Gilman went to a camp with Cincinnati, then decided to retire
Craver's 'gamer' is Phillips
- 04/96 - Aaron Craver doesn't take the standard approach when evaluating college players.
"Scouts and guys like Mel Kiper look at speed, vertical jump and stats," Craver said. "As a player, I try to look at intangibles. I look at how much a guy likes to play the game. You can tell when a guy is a gamer."
Who is the biggest gamer in this year's draft? According to Craver, it's Nebraska running back Lawrence Phillips, the top-rated player on his list.
As a rule, Craver doesn't disclose his opinions on players he'll have to face on the field, but he was willing to provide his observations on Phillips:
"I like his mean streak. I like his suddenness, how he makes decisions so quickly. All of his cuts are upfield.- He's a lot like Eri Dickerson. When he makes cuts, they're north and south. I don't know what type of person he is.
All I can say is, when he plays, he plays mad. He reminds me of Emmitt Smith. When Emmitt fumbles and the other team scores, he comes back mad the next series."
While Phillips is the top-rated player in Craver's evaluations, Minnesota running back Chris Darkins is his top-rated darkhorse. Darkins is a consensus late first- or early second-rounder.
Said Craver, "It's hard to say a first-round guy is a steal, but he could be. He's the wild card in the draft. He could be one of the best players in the whole draft or he could be a guy who doesn't make it. But with his athletic ability, I think he's got a long career ahead of him." (Jim Armstrong, Denver Post)
- 04/08/96 - The Rams have the 13th overall pick in the draft. They reportedly wanted to move up to be in a position to select Nebraska running back Lawrence Phillips, who visited with Rams officials last week.
However, Phillips is also coveted by Baltimore, which has the fourth overall pick, so the Rams would have to put together a package, including the sixth and 13th picks, to move up.
- 03/21/96 - Eagles Land Fryar: Free-agent WR Irving Fryar, a three-time Pro Bowl player, agreed to a three-year contract yesterday with the Philadelphia Eagles worth about $1.4 million per season.
The move reunites Fryar with cornerback Troy Vincent, whom the Eagles acquired from the Miami Dolphins on March 3. The chance to join a team boasting Vincent and last season's coach of the year were the two deciding factors, Irving said.
"I wanted to join a man that wants to win, and (coach) Ray Rhodes is that man," Fryar said.
Fryar, 33, will enter his 13th NFL season ranked 22 on the all-time reception list with 562 catches for 8,916 yards and 57 touchdowns. He was in the Pro Bowl after the 1985, '93 and '95 seasons. Last year, Fryar started all 16 regular-season games for Miami and caught 62 passes for 910 yards and a career-best 8 TDs. (AP)
- 03/10/96 - How would Irving Fryar fit in with his old team and its new quarterback? "If Drew Bledsow and I get together, we'll be able to do a lot," he said. "We'll do more than any quarterback and receiver has ever done before in that franchise's history." Fryar caught 62 passesfor 910 yards and eight touchdowns in his third season with Miami after nine years in New England. He wants $2 million a season to rejoin the Patriots or anybody else.
- 02/29/96 - Ticats trade Taylor to Ottawa
- 01/14/96 - Ex-Cowboys talent guru Gil Brandt predicts that Nebraska's Tommie Frazier will follow a path similar to ex-CU quarterback Kordell Stewart of the Steelers. "I think Frazier will end up at quarterback in the NFL," Brandt said. "While he's learning to play quarterback, he can play other positions in special situations, like Stewart did." (Denver Post)
Frazier Rallies West to Victory
- 01/14/96 - Tommie Frazier, after struggling early in his debut as a pro-style quarterbac, led the West to three fourth-quarter touchdowns and a 34-18 victory Saturday in the East-West Shrine Game.
Frazier, who led Nebraska to the national title earlier this month, threw a 52-yard scoreing pass to UCLA's Kevin Jordan and ran fora 5-yard score.
Heisman Trophy winner Eddie George was held to 32 yards on 11 rushes for the East.
Though he was voted the game's offensive MVP, Frazier was not effective until the final quarter. An option QB since childhood, he was limited by East-West rules to a pro-style offensive scheme.
With dozens of scouts looking on, Frazier hoped to prove he has an NFL-caliber arm. Despite throwing for 43 touchdowns while leading Nebraska to a 33-3 record during the past four years, some NFL teams have projected him as a defensive back in the pros.
Frazier was 11-of-20 for 163 yards, and ran six times for 33 yards, but did not convince all the NFL onlookers he'll be a pro quarterback.
"He's a heck of a football player, a very good prospect," said New York Giants general manager George Yound, watching from the press box. "What position? I don't know."
Don Blair of Calgary became the first Canadian player to score in an East-West game when he caught a two-point conversion pass from Frazier in the fourth quarter. (AP)
- 01/13/96 - It seems everybody has an agenda in the East-West Shrine Game. Including Tommie Frazier, who wants to prove he has an NFL-caliber arm in the East-West Shrine Game.
But they all want to end their amateur careers by making some real big money - for the Shriners Hospitals for Crippled Children.
"I'm one of those guys who will do anything if I know I can help a kid," said Frazier.
Its also a last chance for the players to show a national audience their talents before the NFL draft. They know there will be plenty of scouts in the stands.
"I think a lot of people have a question about me passing," Frazier said. "If I go out and have a good passing game, I can erase the doubts about my passing." (AP)
- Broncos personnel chief sings praise for Frazier
- 01/07/96 - Frazier's Chances? "I think some team will take a shot at him and give him a chance at running back or wide receiver, or both," 49ers personnel director Vinny Cerrato told the San Francisco Chronicle. (Denver Post)