Falcons still lobbying for Gonzalez's return

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 22, 2013 at 6:43 pm •  Published: February 22, 2013
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And while it has been an incredible season for the Harbaugh family — John won his first Super Bowl, Jim won his first NFC championship and Indiana coach Tom Crean, their brother-in-law, has the No. 1 team in college basketball — that's no consolation to the former NFL quarterback whose name appears in the Lucas Oil Stadium Ring of Honor.

"It's not easier," Jim Harbaugh said of dealing with the loss now.

Harbaugh also said the 49ers may not have injured receiver Mario Manningham back on the field at the start of training camp, adding the caveat that he's no doctor. Manningham had reconstructive surgery on his left knee in January.

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COUGHLIN THE COMEDIAN: Giants coach Tom Coughlin tackled the expected routine Friday with humor.

Three questions into his scheduled 15-minute news conference, he was asked about having one year left on his contract. One of his players, cornerback Terrell Thomas, had said he thought this would be Coughlin's last year coaching.

"I wondered how long it would take to get to that. I tried to think of something funny to say, but I don't know what to say about it. I don't even know how a young man would come to that statement," he joked. "I approach each year the way I always approach them and the energy is flowing well and I'm excited about it. I'm looking forward to this offseason and getting our football team together again. Maybe at some point I'll get the message, but it certainly isn't right now."

For Coughlin, that was only the start of his comedy routine.

When he was asked whether center David Baas, who was listed with hip and shoulder injuries before the Giants season finale, had any surgery, Coughlin told reporters he had a little surgery.

The reporter then asked: "On what?"

Coughlin's response: "On his body."

Seriously, though, Coughlin did call the decision to release running back Ahmad Bradshaw "very tough." The injury-plagued Bradshaw helped the Giants win two Super Bowls.

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DON'T PACK YET: Conventional wisdom suggests Green Bay will not bring back Pro Bowl receiver Greg Jennings next season.

But at the combine, coach Mike McCarthy and general manager Ted Thompson made it clear if they can keep Jennings, they'd like to.

"All I am going to say is it is our policy, and we think it's a good way to manage the NFL if you are able to retain any of your players, and we would very much like to do that, and that includes Greg," Thompson said.

The Packers are trying to prepare for a potential cap crunch in the next couple of seasons when they will have to re-sign linebacker Clay Matthews, defensive tackle B.J. Raji, and the 2011 league MVP, quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Green Bay has already released 2009 Defensive Player of the Year Charles Woodson, and longtime receiver Donald Driver announced his retirement earlier this month.

Most believe keeping Jennings is a luxury the Packers simply cannot afford, but the reality is Green Bay isn't ruling it out.

"We'll see what happens with Jennings because he is in more of a business situation," coach Mike McCarthy said. "You don't replace Woodson and Driver, and I am talking about what type of guys they are and what they bring to the team."

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COMING BACK: John Elway's return trip to Lucas Oil Stadium already has the Denver boss thinking about one of next fall's marquee matchups: Peyton Manning's return to Indianapolis.

The schedule usually is released in April, but Elway, who spent his entire NFL career with the Broncos, has a semblance of what it might be like when Manning comes back to Lucas Oil Stadium next fall.

"It'll be special. I'm sure it will be special for Peyton," Elway said. "I'm sure when you spend as long as Peyton did in Indianapolis, the relationships that he has, at that point in his career to go somewhere else and play had to be tough."

Indy fans won't have to wait that long to see Manning.

He's scheduled to be in town in late April for a fundraiser for the children's hospital that bears his name.

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