March 10, 2007


Raiders sign Rhodes, Droughns traded to Giants —

Running off to new locales


Associated Press/Tony Dejak
Running back Reuben Droughns (34), Cleveland’s only 1,000-yard rusher since 1985, was traded Friday to the New York Giants, who need a feature running back following Tiki Barber’s retirement.

By The Associated Press
Two running backs found new homes Friday.
Dominic Rhodes, who ran for 113 yards in Indianapolis’ Super Bowl victory, signed with the Oakland Raiders, and Reuben Droughns, who had back-to-back 1,200-yard seasons with Denver and Cleveland, was traded by Cleveland to the New York Giants.
Meanwhile, Tennessee coach Jeff Fisher said he doesn’t expect troubled cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones to report with the rest of the Titans players on March 19.
The NFL is examining 10 separate incidents in which when Jones has been questioned by police since being drafted, including a Feb. 19 triple shooting at a Las Vegas strip club. Two other arrests that Jones had not told the Titans about are among them.
“As an organization it’s always been our policy to gather facts and to make sure we have all the information, and that’s what we’re doing,” he said. “At this point, I don’t see him coming back on the 19th.”
Fisher was clearly upset that Jones failed to inform team officials about the two arrests in Fayette County, Ga., last year, including one related to a search for drugs at the home Jones bought for his mother.
“Typically speaking, if there’s a situation like this, it’s the player’s responsibility to inform the club and that did not take place,” Fisher said.
In Denver, Jake Plummer officially announced his retirement. He was 40-18 as the Broncos’ starter, including a 1-3 mark in the playoffs, but lost his starting job to Jay Cutler last season.
The Broncos traded Plummer to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on March 3 for a conditional pick in the 2008 draft. The Bucs made the deal despite being aware of Plummer’s retirement plans. He said on the Web site of The Jake Plummer Foundation last Saturday that he was retiring.
“I poured my heart and soul into this game, not just in the NFL, but in college and in high school,” Plummer said. “I’m ready to move on with my life and try some new challenges.”
One of those challenges is handball. He and his brother, Eric, were scheduled to play in the Colorado state handball doubles tournament this weekend.
“Life is grand, life is exciting,” Plummer said. “I’m excited to move on, and encounter and take on new challenges with my life. ... I’m excited to see my family more, to be spending time with my friends. You guys can probably know that I’ll be at a mountain, either at the bottom or the top of a mountain somewhere. Don’t worry about Jake, he’ll be fine.”
As for Rhodes and Droughns, neither may play full-time with his new team. But both are expected to be major factors for them.
Rhodes split time in Indianapolis last year with rookie Joseph Addai and will likely do the same with LaMont Jordan in Oakland.
“Dominic will be a dynamic presence that can diversify our offense both as a runner and pass catcher,” coach Lane Kiffin said of his new running back, who signed a deal worth more than $7.5 million over two years. “He is focused and determined to come here and compete immediately with our other running backs.”
Droughns, who was obtained for wide receiver Tim Carter, slipped to 758 yards with a 3.4 average for the Browns last year and became expendable when Cleveland signed Jamal Lewis earlier this week. He is likely to be a backup to third-year man Brandon Jacobs, who is the front-runner to succeed the retired Tiki Barber in the Meadowlands.
“We think he gives us a nice veteran presence and compliments Brandon Jacobs and the rest of our running back group nicely,” general manager Jerry Reese said.
Carter, a second-round pick by the Giants, was hurt for much of his time with the team. He became a starter midway through last season when Amani Toomer was lost for the season but finished with just 22 catches for 253 yards and two touchdowns.
Another running back who changed teams, Willis McGahee, was introduced Friday at the Ravens’ camp in Owings Mills, Md.
The Ravens invested a third-round draft pick and a seventh-round pick in this year’s draft along with a third-round pick in next years draft in exchange for the former Buffalo Bill, signing the former first-round draft pick to a multiyear contract with a maximum value of $40.12 million.
McGahee acknowledged Friday that he has something to prove after rushing for a career-low 990 yards and six touchdowns last season. But he wouldn’t back off his statement from a few years ago that he believes he’s the best back in the league.
“That’s how I think,” McGahee said. “I’m not going to sit here and say I’m second to last in the NFL.”