Archive for Wednesday, August 1, 2001

NFL Camps Roundup: Weinke begins quest for Panthers’ starting job

August 1, 2001

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— Chris Weinke couldn't think of a better place to spend his 29th birthday. The rookie quarterback is competing with Jeff Lewis for the Carolina Panthers' starting job.

"I will always remember this birthday being my first camp and being the 29-year-old rookie," he said. "But I hope the day gets by pretty fast and I don't have to think about the fact that I'm a year away from 30."

There are only 15 players on the Panthers' 84-man roster older than Weinke. But the former Florida State standout views his age as a positive.

"It makes the transition a little easier in terms of coping with everything that it takes to be a professional athlete," said Weinke.

Ravens

Westminster, Md. Elvis Grbac hadn't even thrown his first pass of training camp when he began to feel out of place as the new starting quarterback of the Super Bowl champions.

After checking into the Baltimore Ravens' hotel, the eight-year pro felt like a rookie again.

"I had to find out where the meeting rooms were, where to go, who to sit with in the cafeteria," he said. "Thank goodness I didn't have to sing, because I can't sing at all."

But the man can throw a football, and that's why the Ravens gave him a five-year, $30 million contract in March and bid farewell to Trent Dilfer, who went 11-1 as a starter in Baltimore's magical Super Bowl season.

Although it took some time for Grbac to adjust to his accommodations, he quickly drew attention on the field. His 50-yard strike to Patrick Johnson during the opening practice Monday wowed a crowd at Western Maryland College and earned high-fives from his new teammates.

Broncos

Greeley, Colo. Offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak will continue calling plays for Denver this season.

Kubiak took over the play calling last season, with considerable success. With quarterback Brian Griese missing six starts and 1,000-yard rushers Terrell Davis and Olandis Gary combining to miss 28 starts, the Broncos still averaged 30.3 points per game, the second-highest total in the franchise's 41-year history.

Packers

Green Bay, Wis. Dorsey Levens has mixed feelings about splitting time in the Green Bay Packers' backfield with rising star Ahman Green.

He knows he won't get overworked during camp, which should help him stay healthy after yet another offseason of rehab following operations to both knees. But he doesn't want to lose his edge.

Colts

Terre Haute, Ind. Former Super Bowl MVP Mark Rypien is back in the NFL. Three years after leaving football so he could care for his ill son and wife, the 38-year-old quarterback signed a one-year contract for the minimum salary of $477,000 and incentives with the Indianapolis Colts on Tuesday.

Colts cornerback Mustafah Muhammad strained his left hamstring during morning workouts.

Muhammad was injured on a play in which wide receiver Jerome Pathon beat him and safety Chad Cota down the field. As Muhammad chased Pathon, he pulled up lame.

Giants

Albany, N.Y. Halfback Sean Bennett, who missed last season with a knee injury, will not start practicing with the New York Giants for at least another week.

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