I have been at Edgewood-Tahoe Golf Course in Lake Tahoe this past week for the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship, in which 44 current or former NFL players and coaches are participating. Here are some of the things I found out after sitting down and talking football with many of them on my SIRIUS NFL Radio show:
1.Aaron Rodgers, the Green Bay Packers' excellent young quarterback, talked about throwing the skinny post better this offseason when he evaluated areas for improvement. When I asked him how he would feel if Brett Favre showed up at Lambeau Field in a Minnesota Vikings uniform on Nov. 1, Rodgers paused for a moment and said, "I don't know how I'm going to feel." He recognized it would be strange to see Favre as a Viking, but he added, "I really don't play against Brett, but I do play against the two Williamses (Pat and Kevin) and that wild man, Jared Allen."
3.Richard Dent, a retired defensive end who should be destined for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, discussed pass-rush techniques. Dent also got into a funny discussion about San Francisco 49ers coach Mike Singletary, his former Chicago Bears teammate, sending tight end Vernon Davis to the locker room during a game last season. "I really respect Mike, but there's no way I would have the left the field," Dent said. "Mike and I could talk about it, but no way I leave the field without my teammates."
4.Thomas "Hollywood" Henderson was former NBA superstar Michael Jordan's guest at the tournament, and he sat down for a half hour to talk about his NFL days, the great Dallas Cowboys teams he played on in the 1970s and his struggles with drugs and drinking. Henderson told me that one of the biggest regrets of his life came when Cowboys coach Tom Landry called him into his office to cut him. Henderson said he used cocaine before that meeting and didn't handle himself well, ruining any chance he ever had of returning to the team. I asked Henderson how he got the nickname "Hollywood," and he quickly answered, "'Damn fool' was already taken."
5. When Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker came by, the discussion quickly turned to Bill O'Brien replacing Josh McDaniels, although O'Brien doesn't formally have the title of offensive coordinator in New England. Welker said the great thing about Patriots coach Bill Belichick is "he's a very good listener, and we all get a chance to talk about what to do on offense."
7.Baltimore Ravens tight end Todd Heap is playing well in the tournament, which might be a sign that his back issues have been resolved heading into training camp. Heap talked about how second-year quarterback Joe Flacco has the skills to take over as the strong leader the Ravens' offense has needed for years. Heap also said he called wide receiver Derrick Mason, who said he's retiring, about returning to Baltimore, but he hasn't heard back from him yet.
9.Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer couldn't say enough about wide receiver Chris Henry and running back Cedric Benson. Palmer believes Henry could be on the verge of a Randy Moss-type career. As for Benson, Palmer gushed about the running back's speed, work ethic and potential for a big season. If you play fantasy football, these guys should be high on your list.
10.Matt Ryan must have lived in the weight room all offseason, because when he sat by me, it was clear he has changed his body. The Atlanta Falcons' quarterback, who's entering his second NFL season, pointed out that strength development early in Tom Brady's career was a key factor in him becoming a Pro Bowler and a Super Bowl champion, and Ryan clearly is following that plan.