Lelie latches on
to new quarterback

Ashley Lelie felt the sting, and blamed it on Jake's zing.

Then again, it could have been the chill in the air.

"My hands hurt a little more," the Denver Broncos wide receiver told the Rocky Mountain News when asked if new quarterback Jake Plummer had a bit more mustard on his passes than Brian Griese did.

"It might have been the cold, but I can feel a little bit more (zing)."

Plummer showed he can throw a decent deep ball, connecting with Lelie, last year's first-round pick from Hawaii, on a deep post pattern during the team's minicamp, which concluded Sunday.

It was just one of many plays made by Lelie, who expects to push Ed McCaffrey for a starting job this year.

"I've had so much time off, I'm not really used to the quarterback," said Lelie, who lined up as a starter in camp while McCaffrey is recovering from groin surgery. "It's kind of a good feeling to get that confidence back and catch the ball."

Tinoisamoa tries to make the grade: Former Hawaii linebacker and St. Louis Rams second-round draft pick Pisa Tinoisamoa left college for a chance to shine professionally on the field. Yet he finds himself spending lots of time in the classroom.

During last week's minicamp for Rams rookies and first-year players, the 29 players who attended spent about eight hours a day in class -- complete with pop quizzes -- for the camp that started Thursday and ended Sunday.

"We go for an hour or two, take a break and quiz them, a constant checkup to make sure the retention's there," coach Mike Martz told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "If they're not quizzing out well, then you have to spend more time with them."

Tinoisamoa said the linebackers were given their first written test on Friday.

"It's a lot worse than an exam," Tinoisamoa told the Post-Dispatch. "On an exam, the worst thing that can happen is you can get an F. On this, you can get cut."

Russell back with Redskins: Washington wide receiver and Campbell alumnus Cliff Russell has been cleared to fully participate with the team, coach Steve Spurrier said in a Washington Post report.

Last year's third-round draft pick from Utah missed his rookie season with a knee injury suffered in training camp.

The injury is not the only hardship Russell had to endure.

"It's been a mental roller coaster," Russell told last month. "It's been a crazy year for me. A lot has happened. From me hurting my knee to losing both of my grandmothers to my brother being involved in the conflict in Iraq, a lot has been going on in my life. I hope all of the adversity of this time will make me a stronger person."

The Redskins hoped Russell's 4.3-second 40-yard dash would help. But a torn ACL in his right knee and surgery ended those hopes last season.

"All of the struggles of the past year or so have made me more motivated," he told

National Football League


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