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Pro Bowl receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh appears to be following teammate Chad Johnson's lead.


Cincinnati wide receiver Chad Johnson already has stated he does not plan to attend the Bengals' voluntary offseason conditioning program that starts Monday.

But he is not going to be alone.

Cincinnati’s other Pro Bowl wide receiver, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, also is expected to skip the start of the voluntary conditioning program for some of the same reasons Johnson is not attending.

It sets up one of the stickiest situations in the NFL, an issue that threatens to hang over the team until and through training camp.

Cincinnati has two Pro Bowl wide receivers, each of whom believes he is underpaid, each of whom wants a new deal, each of whom is expected to be absent from Paul Brown Stadium for the start of Monday’s offseason drills.

Houshmandzadeh is in the final year of four-year contract that is scheduled to pay him a base salary of $2.525 million. He failed to show up to the Bengals' offseason conditioning program last season and, without a new deal before this year’s offseason conditioning program, Houshmandzadeh is not about to attend now. It is the reason he is not expected Monday or anytime shortly thereafter.

Cincinnati already has wrestled with the best way to handle the Johnson situation; it has made it known to any team that calls the team that the Bengals will not, under any circumstance, trade Johnson. They refuse to 86 "85." So now the Bengals are assured of having at least one unhappy wide receiver.

The interesting part is, will they have two? Unlike Johnson, Houshmandzadeh never has had his deal restructured in Cincinnati. Unlike Johnson, who has three years left on his contract, Houshmandzadeh has only one.

If Cincinnati spends on any Pro Bowl wide receiver, it would seem that Houshmandzadeh has next.

But Houshmandzadeh and Johnson appear to have made their decision in regard to next week and this offseason. It’s up to the Bengals to make theirs.

Carucci's mock draft

Here is the player Vic Carucci has the Rams selecting in his latest mock draft:

2. St. Louis Rams: Jake Long -- Jake Long could very well be this year's Joe Thomas, who made the Pro Bowl as a rookie. Long had a dominant collegiate career. He has an excellent combination of size, strength, and athleticism, all of which resulted in a highly impressive showing at the combine.
Complete mock draft ...

More mock drafts:
» NFL.com's 2008 mock draft
» Charles Davis' top-10 picks

A potential No. 2

No one likes to come in second. But the best time to be No. 2 is in the NFL Draft.

This year, the Rams hold the second pick and their decision seems to be coming down to Michigan offensive tackle Jake Long and LSU defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey.

The Rams already had extensive meetings with Long the night before his Pro Day in Ann Arbor, Mich. Now, with their questions about Long answered, the Rams are shifting on to Dorsey.

The Rams have made plans to bring Dorsey to St. Louis on Sunday, April 13 for a two-day visit. The Rams have spoken highly of Dorsey, who is expected to be a top-five pick. Some have raised questions about the condition of his knees, but at the combine, Dorsey laughed off those questions and insisted he was fine.

His Pro Day comes Wednesday, March 26, in Baton Rouge, La., where the Rams will be in attendance. But they want to see more of Dorsey in St. Louis next month.

Election day

With his retirement, Troy Vincent no longer was eligible to serve as president of the NFL Players Association.

But he is expected to be named assistant executive director of the NFLPA and eventually become the successor to NFLPA executive director Gene Upshaw.

To succeed Vincent as president of the NFLPA, the union elected Titans veteran center Kevin Mawae, who had served on the organization’s executive committee.

But the NFLPA also is going through other significant organizational changes as well. Former safety Robert Griffith and tight end Ernie Conwell each retired from the NFL, leaving the NFLPA’s executive committee with three openings including Mawae’s.

Filling those NFLPA executive committee openings are New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees, New England linebacker Mike Vrabel and Denver cornerback Dominique Foxworth.

Now, at a time when many teams are reshaping their rosters, the NFLPA has done the same.

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Agent Armstead

Former Giants and Redskins Pro Bowl linebacker Jessie Armstead has gone from being represented by an agent to working with one.

Armstead, a five-time Pro Bowl linebacker, recently joined Rosenhaus Sports, opting to work with agents Drew and Jason Rosenhaus.

Rarely does a former Pro Bowl player become an agent, but Armstead became convinced when he watched Rosenhaus Sports negotiate over $440 million worth of deals this offseason.

After his NFL playing career ended in 2003, Armstead later served one season on the Giants coaching staff. But Armstead figured he’d rather help manage players than coach them, and he took the unique career steps he did.

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