Like it or not, the NFL offseason is a time for rumors. Football fans can't talk about on-field activities, so we delve a little deeper into things happening off the field.
With rumors swirling, the truth is often lost in an effort to sell newspapers, bring hits to a website, or simply make everything a little more salacious.
This slideshow will shed some light on the reality behind the top rumors in the NFL today.
At one point, Brian Westbrook was strongly considering retirement, and for good reason.
Part of what makes Brian Westbrook so special, is why he finds himself in this position today.
His toughness and commitment to his team allowed him to play through injury through the majority of his career.
In 2009, Westbrook suffered two concussions, effectively ending his season and leading any sensible person to re-evaluate their future as a football player.
Brian Westbrook is taking a risk returning to football, and he isn't going to take that risk for anyone. In my opinion, Westbrook is motivated by an elusive Super Bowl ring.
Las Vegas sportsbooks have the Redskins at 40-1 to win the Super Bowl, ranking them 20th of 32 teams.
In other words, signing with the Redskins isn't worth the risk.
If Brian Westbrook is going to risk his well-being and return to football, it's going to be with a better team than the Redskins.
Thanks to some changes by commissioner Goodell, the NFL is as popular and profitable as it has ever been.
Another change being discussed is adding games to the regular season, by removing them from the preseason, effectively killing two birds with one stone.
The players and coaches will be happy to reduce the injury plagued preseason and the owners will be excited at the prospect of profiting from another home game on their schedule.
A win/win situation right?
How about the record book? The history of the NFL?
Increasing the regular season will effectively re-write the record book.
As everyone knows, the NFL hasn't had much sympathy for retired players, but in extending the season, they might encounter more resistance than they might expect.
There won't be much that can stand in the way of the NFL's ability to make more money, but the record book isn't something that people take lightly.
Kyle Orton doesn't fit the mold of a franchise quarterback. He doesn't have great technique, he doesn't have a big arm, but one thing is certain, he knows how to win football games.
As a starter, Kyle Orton is 32-20, better than Jay Cutler (24-29) and much better than Brady Quinn (3-9).
In other words, the Broncos were prepared to enter the season with Brady Quinn as their starter and Tim Tebow as their primary backup?
I might have been born on a Wednesday, but it wasn't last Wednesday.
I'm not sure how this rumor was created, but if the Broncos were willing to part ways with Orton entering 2010, they would be looking to solidify their position in the 2011 lottery.
If professional athletes are willing to take steroids in cycling, track and field, and baseball, why wouldn't they take them to play football?
Steroids helped Mark McGuire break the home run record, helped Floyd Landis win the Tour de France, and helped Ben Johnson become the fastest man on the planet.
If you believe that players in the NFL aren't benefiting from the effects of performance enhancing drugs, it's because you want to believe they aren't.
I'm not accusing the league of covering up steroid use in the NFL, but I'm certain that steroid use is much more rampant than it appears to be.
In a league where draft picks can make huge sums of money based on their speed and strength, I find it hard to believe that steroid use isn't a bigger issue.
In the upcoming collective bargaining agreement, public opinion will be a very powerful bargaining chip.
If the players or owners can gain majority support from the NFL fan base, they will have major leverage in the negotiations.
The logistics of contract negotiations and collective bargaining agreements are well beyond my knowledge. What I do know, is that a lockout in 2011 isn't going to help anyone.
In the history of professional sports in North America, there hasn't been a league as successful and profitable as the current National Football League.
I find it very hard to believe that the players or owners would be willing to cancel a season in the height of their most profitable years.
The brinksmanship has only just begun, as the season progresses, the talks of a potential lockout will be increasingly more intense.
In their negotiations, they will prey on everyone's worst fear, the possibility of a year without the NFL. In doing so, they intend to sway the public opinion and increase their negotiating power.
Don't fall for it.
Regardless of how serious the concerns may be, there will be NFL football in 2011.