Combine notebook: Colbert won't compare Steelers to champion Ravens
Defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau believes the Steelers were very close talent-wise to the Super Bowl champion Ravens, but a run of late-season injuries probably was too devastating to overcome. General manager Kevin Colbert declines to make a comparison. “There's really, as coach (Bill) Cowher used to say, a fine line between winning and losing. But in my mind we were 8-8; I know we were 8-8. And we weren't good enough,” Colbert said Thursday. “ We have to, from a personnel standpoint, approach it that way, try to get the players so that we're not 8-8 going forward.”
• As for the much-discussed weight issues that might have led to outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley's down season, Colbert said, “I think if you talk to LaMarr, he would be the first to tell you he was disappointed in his performance. Going forward, he's going to try to erase that season.”
• Former No. 1 pick draft pick Alex Smith's departure from the NFC champion 49ers has seemed imminent since he was beaten out by Colin Kaepernick. But 49ers general manager Trent Baalke insists he still isn't certain he will trade his former starting quarterback. “No, that hasn't been decided,” he said Thursday. Baalke also said it hasn't been decided if wide receiver Randy Moss will return.
• Coach Rex Ryan said there is “no validity” to reports cornerback Darrelle Revis, the former Pitt and Aliquippa star, might be traded. “Plain and simple, it's not accurate. I told him that.”
• Also rumored to be on the market is Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin, who is entering the final year of his contract. But Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said he's not shopping Harvin or even taking phone calls about him.
• Dee Milliner, the former Alabama star considered to be the top cornerback available in the draft, will have shoulder surgery following the NFL Scouting Combine, which could affect where he is selected,.
• The Chiefs have needs aplenty after going 2-14 under former coach Romeo Crennel, Todd Haley's replacement. But new coach Andy Reid, who will control personnel decisions, is open to dealing the No. 1 draft pick. “We'd have to see what people throw our way,” Reid said. “(But) we're just not going to give it away.”
• An even-better Peyton Manning at age 37? Broncos coach John Fox suggested it is possible because the NFL Comeback Player of the Year will be in better health next season than he was in 2012. Manning was forced to sit out the 2011 season with a neck-related injury. “The reality is it is a nerve situation and it takes time for nerves to grow,” Fox said. “He is getting better every day.”