Chiefs, LJ making progress in contract talks

As the Chiefs prepare to break camp Wednesday, Kansas City is the subject of HBO's "Hard Knocks" and compelling storylines.

None is any more significant than the ongoing contract talks between the Chiefs and their holdout running back Larry Johnson.

Both sides repeated Monday that they are making progress, and the tone of the talks has shifted noticeably. They now are much more friendly, more open, with the two sides now recognizing that both need to get the deal done. A deal is expected before the season kicks off, and could happen even sooner if progress continues to be made.

As a backdrop, adding another twist to the plot, is Priest Holmes' situation. Since training camp started -- and since October 2005, really -- Holmes has not had any contact. Doctors already have cleared Holmes; now it's up to him to decide when he feels confident enough to resume practicing without limitations.

There is a feeling that it could occur next week; it almost has to.

The Chiefs will be preparing for their third preseason game, the significant one on teams' schedules. It's when the regulars get the most playing time.

Kansas City needs to see Holmes in action, as the running back must see for himself how he feels as well. Nobody knows how Holmes is going to hold up to a hit, but the feeling is, the answer has to come in the next couple of weeks.

While the Chiefs wait on Johnson and Holmes, they continue fielding inquiries for veteran play-making safety Greg Wesley. The latest came Monday from the Houston Texans, who lost starter Glenn Earl to a season-ending foot injury.

Wesley, a former third-round pick who started 14 games last season, would be an ideal replacement for the Texans. But Houston is looking in other areas as well. Former Giants and Panthers safety Shaun Williams is scheduled to work out for the Texans this week. Former 49ers safety Tony Parrish, who worked out Monday for the Jaguars, also is available.

He had hoped to catch on with Jacksonville, but the Jaguars signed former Chiefs safety Sammy Knight to a one-year contract. Knight is a playmaker, but these days, the Chiefs are headline-makers.

THE WARREN REPORT

Washington signed former Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Todd Pinkston to a one-year contract after he sat out football last year nursing an Achilles injury. Pinkston now is reunited with former Eagles wide receiver James Thrash.

But the Redskins might not be done making moves. In recent days, they have spoken to Denver about a deal for defensive tackle Gerard Warren, who did not accompany the Broncos to San Francisco for Monday night's preseason game against the 49ers.

The Redskins always are looking to upgrade their defensive line, and Warren could help. Warren played well in 2005, but struggled last season. Some believe it was his attitude, but others attribute it to the broken toe that he played with last season. They insist it prevented him from fulfilling his potential.

The Broncos also have spoken to the Saints, the Colts and the Dolphins. The Redskins and the Saints are the most likely landing spots, but teams are hesitant to deal for Warren when Denver might have to cut him.

However, if enough teams are interested, the Broncos might be able to get back a draft choice for Warren. If not, and he is released, Warren is expected to go to the highest bidder.

Live preseason games on NFL Network

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  • Houston at Arizona, Sat. Aug. 18 (4 p.m.)
  • Detroit at Indianapolis, Sat. Aug. 25 (7 p.m.)
  • San Diego at Arizona, Sat. Aug. 25 (10 p.m.)
  • Buffalo at Detroit, Thur. Aug. 30 (7 p.m.)
  • San Fran. at San Diego, Thur. Aug. 30 (10 p.m.)
  • Indianapolis at Cincinnati, Fri. Aug. 31 (7:30 p.m.)

Either way, the matter should be resolved by Tuesday.

Meanwhile, suspicions and curiosity grew over the weekend when New England's standout defensive end, Ty Warren, had to leave the Patriots' preseason opener with an injury that later prevented him from practicing.

The injury has been a mystery, but fortunately for the Patriots, it is considered minor.

Warren has a sprained elbow that is not expected to sideline him for any length of time. Warren will be fine when the games matter most, meaning New England will continue fielding one of the top defensive lines in football, if not the best.

JONESING IT

The best performance in the first full weekend of preseason games came from none other than Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.

He could have challenged Cowboys great Emmitt Smith on "Dancing with the Stars."

In a TV commercial for Papa John's, Jones is seen breakdancing like a teenager -- and he could have gotten flagged for excessive celebration had an NFL official been on hand.

Turns out Jones shot the Papa John's commercial May 30 inside the Cowboys locker room. It took nine hours to shoot and Jones was said to be a pro with the dance moves, head shots, script delivery and the ever-important smiles.

But then, maybe Jones should be good at this by now. Since last year, he now has done three commercials for the pizza chain.

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