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With 44 reps, Dontari Poe is the Combine’s strongest man

Marshall v Memphis Getty Images

Memphis defensive tackle Dontari Poe is the strongest player at the Scouting Combine.

Poe put up 44 repetitions of 225 pounds on the bench press, making him the strongest player at any position. Poe’s mark tops Michigan center David Molk by three reps.

Prior to the Combine, Mike Mayock ranked Poe as the third-best defensive tackle in the draft, behind LSU’s Michael Brockers and Michigan State’s Jerel Worthy. The 6-foot-4, 346-pound Poe said he’s been eager to improve his draft stock through his Combine workouts.

“I’m doing everything,” Poe said. “It’s just competition. I like it. I like it all. I’ve been working out for it and just thought it’d be a good idea to do it all.”

Poe says the defensive tackles he models himself on are Casey Hampton, Ndamukong Suh and Haloti Ngata, and he said he thinks he can fit into any defensive line, in a 3-4 or a 4-3 front.

“I see myself as someone who can rush the passer a lot more than people think,” Poe said. “I am used to playing nose tackle and the 3-technique and I’ve played some 5-technique. I’m pretty comfortable anywhere on the defensive line.”

And he’s clearly very comfortable in the weight room.

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Reports: Browns cautious about potential Griffin trade

Robert Griffin III AP

It’s late February, which means the rumors and speculation surrounding St. Louis’ No. 2 overall pick have only just begun. In this infant stage, the Browns aren’t showing their hand by showing great interest in the pick.

John Czarnecki of reports the Browns have been showing “weird, uninterested signals” in the pick.  Mike Freeman of reports that Washington, Miami and Seattle have shown more interest in trading up for Robert Griffin III.

We’re not sure this means a lot at this point. Perhaps the Browns really would prefer to go after Matt Flynn in free agency. Or perhaps they just don’t want to show their intentions this early in the process, which makes a lot more sense.

Czarnecki, however, writes the Browns coaching staff “remains confused on what to do with RGIII.”

If that’s true, it says more about the Browns coaching staff than it does Griffin.

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Chiefs could face tampering charges for Crennel remarks

Romeo Crennel AP

When asked about the hottest topic in Indy at the Scouting Combine, Chiefs G.M. Scott Pioli opted to say nothing about Colts quarterback Peyton Manning.  Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel was a bit more talkative.

“With a talent like that, I would be crazy not to consider it if he’s available.  I’ll leave it at that,” Crennel said.

The next question is whether Crennel said enough to trigger tampering charges.  Adam Teicher of the Kansas City Star points out that, given the language of the relevant league rules, it could indeed happen.  The real question is whether the Colts or the league want it to happen.

Some would say the Chiefs are in line for a little karma, given that the Chiefs claimed that the Lions were tampering with Chiefs players who have a connection to former Kansas City defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham.  But the Colts may not be inclined to demand that action be taken.

Then again, last week’s report from a Kansas City radio station that the Chiefs already have spoken twice with agent Tom Condon about Manning could prompt the Colts to decide to take a stand now, especially if owner Jim Irsay truly holds out hope of negotiating a reduced contract for Manning.  As long as he’s under contract with the Colts, only the Colts should be permitted to talk to Manning or his agent.  Discussions with any other teams would undermine the Colts’ ability to get something done, and tampering charges against the Chiefs or any other team could scare every other team away.

Even if the Colts have, as Mike Silver believes, decided to move on from Manning, there’s a strategic component to be considered.  With Crennel already providing enough evidence to prove a technical violation of the rules, and with the league typically fashioning tampering punishments that give the “victim” a bump in draft standing in one of the middle rounds, the Colts could choose to push the issue.

Of course, the league could decide to look into the situation even without a formal charge from the Colts.  That’s what the league did three years ago in light of evidence that the Redskins possibly had pre-negotiated with Titans defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth before the free-agency market opened.  In that case, the league accepted the explanation that owner Daniel Snyder was having dinner with Haynesworth’s agent not to discuss Haynesworth but to talk about the agent’s only player on the Redskins roster at the time, receiver Malcolm Kelly.  (They supposedly discussed that Kelly could be the next Andre Johnson.  And it came true, to the extent that there’s a guy named “Andre Johnson” working at a Target store somewhere.)

Typically, the league isn’t inclined to even investigate tampering matters, absent obvious evidence.  Even then, the league at times will pooh-pooh the presence of a hand in the cookie jar, saying something like “everyone knows Peyton Manning will be cut” or “Crennel was merely speaking in hypotheticals” or “anyone would be crazy not to consider Peyton Manning” or a similar remark that minimizes the situation.

If, in the end, the league takes action regarding Crennel’s comments, the ultimate irony will be that he said what he said in the city where multiple teams have been deliberately violating the tampering rules by directly negotiating with agents for players who remain under contract with other teams until March 13 at 4:00 p.m. ET.

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49ers could be feeling some Fleener

Notre Dame v Stanford Getty Images

49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh took the job in 2011 after a successful stint at Stanford.  And he seems to have a soft spot for the guys who helped him be successful in his prior gig.

Which could put the 49ers in prime position to take tight end Coby Fleener late in round one of the 2012 draft.

Coby Fleener won us games,” Harbaugh said, via Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle.  “I probably tend to be — I mean, I love these guys.  Maybe I am the over-evaluator.  My point was it probably takes us some checks and balances with those guys that I know so well.”

Harbaugh acknowledged that, in his first draft with the 49ers, an effort was made to land former Stanford running back Owen Marecic, who went to the Browns in round four.

“We did everything we could to get him here and we came up short on that one,” Harbaugh said.  “I texted him and said we tried.  It didn’t happen.  That was one that we didn’t get that is a 49er kind of guy.”

Though the 49ers have Vernon Davis, Harbaugh likes using multiple tight ends.  And teams like the Patriots have shown that having two tight ends running pass patterns can be very effective.

“The Jimmy Grahams, the Gronkowskis of the world have really done our class of tight ends a favor this year,” Fleener said.  “I can’t say enough about the guys that have already played, and I hope to one day go play just like that.”

With not many tight ends in the pool and teams fascinated with the prospect of having their own large, lanky, and fast football vacuum, Harbaugh will have to worry about getting leap-frogged by a team that sits below the 49ers, if Harbaugh hopes to add Fleener to the roster.

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Brandon Weeden: My age is my only red flag

Brandon Weeden AP

Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden had a good senior season and a strong Senior Bowl, and he says NFL teams have told him they’re impressed with everything about him, except the one number that sticks out: 28.

That’s Weeden’s age, and he says plenty of NFL teams are telling him they’re concerned about how much future a rookie that old can have.

“A lot is getting put into my age and rightfully so,” Weeden said at the Scouting Combine. “That’s really the only red flag I really have. And fortunately for me, that’s really the only I have to worry about. And fortunately, it’s a small issue. I’m not worried about it. I don’t’ think a lot of teams are worried about it. It’s a tough question to answer. I feel like with all these great quarterbacks, I belong in the middle with all of them. So if I was a few years younger, you never know, maybe I go a little bit higher. But I don’t think at the end of the day when it comes to draft time, it’s going to be that big of an issue.”

Weeden, who spent five years as a minor league baseball player, is being mentioned in Kansas City as a player who could interest the Chiefs. He’s hoping to sell teams on the idea that plenty of NFL quarterbacks have found success only after becoming NFL starters in their late 20s or early 30s.

“Roger Staubach, you’ve got Kurt Warner, I can go on,” Weeden said. “You’ve got Rich Gannon. Think of it, there’s a lot of guys. You look back at my time at Oklahoma State, I didn’t get hit. My body’s extremely fresh. No injuries. I’m healthy. Everything’s good. I think I’ve got a lot left in my tank. Those guys played into their late 30s. A ten-year career in the NFL is a great career, and I think I’ve got every bit of that. And barring any injury, I think I can play for a long time.”

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