Bengals on the mend 

December, 21, 2006
Carson Palmer did his best to make a joke about his right shoulder injury. With reporters watching Thursday, he faked hurting his shoulder while making a throwing motion. He was fine. Palmer, Chad Johnson and right tackle Willie Anderson practiced Thursday, indicating they should be able to play Sunday against the Broncos. The only setback Thursday involved left tackle Levi Jones, who wasn't able to practice on his sore knee. The knee apparently suffered a setback during Wednesday's practice.

No love for T.O.: The extent of Terrell Owens' drop in Pro Bowl voting is pretty fascinating. Fans voted him as the third-best receiver in the NFC behind Steve Smith of the Panthers and Torry Holt of the Rams. Owens' support was so poor among NFL players and coaches that he dropped out of the top two or alternates, making him no better than the seventh-best receiver, and there is no guarantee he finished that high. Roy Williams of the Lions and Marques Colston of the Saints were the top two alternates. Anquan Boldin of the Cardinals and Donald Driver also moved ahead of Owens and made the Pro Bowl. Owens may think he's popular among players and coaches, but that apparently isn't true.

Defensive adjustment: The Seahawks are making an interesting move to help their run-stopping ability against Chargers halfback LaDainian Tomlinson. They are going to give Michael Boulware a start at safety ahead of Jordan Babineaux. Earlier in the season, the Seahawks replaced Boulware with Babineaux because Boulware was giving up too many big plays in the passing game. Boulware, who is 223 pounds, is 23 pounds heavier than Babineaux.

Saban rumors still swirling: Nick Saban continues to deny he has any interest in the Alabama job, and there are two rumors going around. First, the Crimson Tide may be willing until the end of the NFL's regular season to meet with Saban and try to talk him into taking the job. The second rumor was that Alabama is ready to go in a different direction. Without question, Saban is the top remaining choice for the Tide, but they are going to have a tough time getting him away from the Dolphins. The biggest question for the Crimson Tide now is whether they will wait another 11 days to give it another try.