General manager Jerry Reese said Thursday he expects a strong core of players to return next year, but cautioned “there will definitely be some changes.” That’s no surprise considering 20 players are set to become unrestricted free agents in March.
“There’s a lot of planning, a lot of discussion on guys and on salaries and where we can go and where we can’t go,” Reese said in a conference call. “It’s a lot of discussion to be had. But we’ll be ready.”
Only four of New York’s starters will be free agents: tackle Kareem McKenzie, linebacker Chase Blackburn, cornerback Aaron Ross and punter Steve Weatherford. Wide receiver Mario Manningham, defensive end Dave Tollefson, defensive tackle Rocky Bernard, cornerback Terrell Thomas and safety Deon Grant, a former Josey standout, are among the key players that could test free agency.
One of the top issues involves Osi Umenyiora’s contract situation. The two-time Pro Bowl defensive end was a training camp holdout last summer, and had harsh words for Reese after not getting an extension.
STEELERS: Throughout the 16 minutes that followed him glowingly introducing former Kansas City Chiefs coach Todd Haley as his new offensive coordinator, Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin stood proudly in the corner of the second-floor media room at the team’s facility.
During the press conference officially announcing Haley as the replacement for Bruce Arians, Tomlin even offered approving nods and smiles at the appropriate times.
“As an offensive coordinator, he brings a wealth of knowledge and experience,” Tomlin said. “But he also brings intangibles I really value.”
Amid reports that Steelers president Art Rooney II orchestrated the departure of Arians and pushed for Haley to be his replacement above Tomlin’s wishes, Tomlin made it a point to mention he was the one conducting the interviews for Arians’ replacement.
PACKERS: Green Bay is raising prices between $3 and $5 for the 2012 season.
Tickets in Lambeau Field’s end-zone sections will increase $3 to $72 per game, tickets from the 20-yard line to the end zone will increase $4 to $80, and tickets between the 20s will increase $5 to $92.