Danny Woodhead #39 of the New England Patriots runs with...

Danny Woodhead #39 of the New England Patriots runs with the ball in the second quarter against Drew Coleman #30 of the New York Jets. (Dec. 6, 2010) Credit: Getty Images

Fassel: I'd take Tiki

Former Giants running back Tiki Barber had hoped to stage an NFL comeback, but hasn't been signed by anyone and may not get a chance any time soon, if at all. But former Giants coach Jim Fassel, who helped develop Barber into a Pro Bowl running back, has a job for Barber if he wants it.

Fassel reached out to Barber a few days ago and told him he'd welcome him on the Las Vegas Locomotives of the United Football League. Fassel, the Locomotives' president, head coach and general manager, hasn't heard back from Barber.

"I know Tiki is very disappointed about the NFL, and I have enough respect for him to give him his space," Fassel said. "I'm not going to talk anybody into playing, and I care about Tiki a lot, and I'm going to give him his space. I left a message and I said, 'I'm here for you, and I look at myself as a friend before I look at myself as a coach.' "

Barber had met with Steelers coach Mike Tomlin at the Super Bowl in Dallas and sensed that there might be an opportunity to play in the NFL. He resumed training, but hasn't signed. He worked out for the Dolphins two weeks ago but was not offered a contract.

 

McCoy's feud simmers

Eagles third-year running back LeSean McCoy and Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora have gone back and forth with some taunting in recent weeks, with McCoy calling Umenyiora the Giants' third-best defensive lineman and Umenyiora telling a reporter that "she can say whatever she wants" about McCoy's crack.

"Me and Osi, we battle pretty hard on the field, we're familiar with each other and that's really it," McCoy said. "I think it's just the competition, the battling, a defensive lineman and a running back."

But McCoy, who led the Eagles to a 27-17 win last Nov. 21 and rushed for 111 yards, including a 50-yard touchdown, said he won't escalate the rhetoric. Well, maybe just a little.

"We can go back and forth name-calling, but I'm just going to play football," he said. "It is what it is."

That's it?

"I will say this," McCoy said, pausing several seconds before continuing his answer. "Who had the best average ever against the New York Giants?"

Umenyiora is out for a few weeks after arthroscopic knee surgery, but he is likely to be back in time for the Giants' first game against the Eagles on Sept. 25 in Philly.

 

T-Rich leaves legacy behind

Former Jets fullback Tony Richardson had hoped to continue his NFL career, but understands he may wind up retiring after 16 seasons. The Jets didn't ask him back, choosing to go exclusively with second-year fullback John Conner, and Richardson hasn't signed elsewhere.

But if he has played his last game, at least Richardson can take comfort in helping former, current and future NFL players by participating in negotiations for the league's new 10-year labor agreement.

"For me, personally, this is about leaving a legacy," Richardson said. "I wanted to make sure that players had it better than when I came into the NFL. At the end of the day, it was about the past, present and future."

Conner is grateful to have learned under Richardson for a year.

"I still feel his spirit," Conner said. "I learned a lot from T-Rich, sitting behind him, picking his brain. It's an opportunity for me now to step up and take what I've learned and use it."

 

New era Beck-ons in D.C.?

Donovan McNabb flamed out in Washington last season, eventually giving way to backup Rex Grossman before being traded to the Vikings. So what's next for the Redskins?

Would you believe John Beck?

A former second-round pick of the Dolphins, the 29-year-old Beck has only four NFL starts on his resume, playing two seasons with Miami and one with Baltimore before signing with the Redskins. But if Friday night's performance against the Colts was any indication, Beck could be the guy. He was 14-for-17 passing for 140 yards in the first half, and may have solidified his standing with second-year coach Mike Shanahan.

The Redskins open the season at home against the Giants on Sept. 11.

 

Why was Woodhead in?

Patriots running back and special teamer Danny Woodhead, a former Jet, suffered a head injury on a punt return in the fourth quarter of Thursday's game against the Buccaneers, prompting questions about why Woodhead would be playing with the backups so late in the game.

"When we go into any game, all players are told to be ready to play the entire 60 minutes," coach Bill Belichick said. "That's what a game is. We don't stop playing. We don't stop coaching. Everybody's ready to play the whole time from beginning to end. That's part of the game. That's how we approach them all."

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