First off, a brief moment of pause for Deshaun Foster, cut today. The team's all-time rushing leader (and, oddly, 8th in receiving yards), Foster burst onto the scene as a figurehead to the Run First campaign that John Fox and Dan Henning silently waged. After an impressive first run, an 85 yard TD in preseason, Foster was soon lost to injury; in 2003 he waged spot duty only to peak at his most impressive, a series of very good runs in the NFCCG and Super Bowl.
Another injury in 2004 lost another year; 2005 saw him peaking, again, at the end of a playoff run. Finally healthy in 2006 and 07, Foster rushed for 1773 yards after being named Transition Player by the team to keep him; the final year of a $15 million deal was too much to keep Foster, who by now has clearly lost burst and may not have much left to give. But, he gave all he had, and for the first time a John Fox team won't have Foster on board.
Somehow, Brad Hoover and Nick Goings continue to outlast other backs. Speaking of Goings, he may provide more assistance in 2008, but chances are the team will look for another veteran RB like Michael Pittman.
Veteran Receivers Wanted
Marty Hurney confirmed this week that the team would be interested in pursuing both Muhsin Muhammad and Alge Crumpler, though he phrased it to mean that they look into every available player.
Crumpler, meanwhile, is on his way to Indianapolis, to meet with teams during the NFL Combine. Teams have their medical staffs there this week, their scouts there, and their coaches. He is expected to be thoroughly checked out physically, and may work out with a QB or two if needed, but his play isn't the questionable part. The knee, scoped in early 2007, gave him problems during the season, and if it requires more surgery a deal would be risky. He's supposedly received interest from 11 teams; one of the first teams he mentioned in discussion with the media was Carolina, but as of yet Marty Hurney denies contact.
It's unsure as to whether the team would pursue both players to sign; one school of thought is that they will sign whichever comes first; if it's Crumpler, they'll pursue a speedier WR on the premise that both would be too much of a hit to team speed. Or, there's the thought that they somewhat duplicate the same general effort, as a posession type player, so getting Muhammad first would imply staying put at TE or getting a blocking TE.