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TV station claiming foul play

Join Jaguars Inside Report Senior Editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.

Austin from Tallahassee, FL:
If any running back on the AFC Pro Bowl team gets hurt or is unable to attend, will Fred Taylor be on the team?

Vic: No, Fred Taylor isn't high enough in the alternate order for that to happen.

Suzanne from Jacksonville:
You pointed out on the radio show Wednesday night that the $16 million the Titans are over the cap was erroneous and should really be around $20 million. Is the extra $4 million for the rookie pool?

Vic: As the situation stands right now, the Titans are about $17 million over next year's salary cap. But they only have 37 players under contract. Assuming they'll want a full roster of players, and assuming the players from 38-53 will be absolute-minimum wage guys, that'll cost another $3.7 million. That's how you get the "about $20 million over" figure. It's not enough to know the amount; you have to know how many players are under contract, too. In the Titans' case, it goes even deeper than that because Jevon Kearse is not one of the 37 under contract, and they certainly won't get him for minimum wage.

Tim from Jacksonville:
With the brewing controversy in Tennessee regarding the fact that a local TV station in Nashville has video of Adam Vinatieri standing in front of a heater with what they allege to be the ball he kicked for the winning field goal, I'm curious to know what the rules are with regard to access to game balls and, in particular, footballs designated for kicking? Is it possible the Patriots did gain an unfair advantage by heating the ball up prior to being kicked? Doesn't the league monitor this stuff to prevent cheating?

Vic: Twelve kicking balls are shipped directly from Wilson to the gameday officials for use in the game. The teams don't even see these balls until game-time. The officials inflate the balls to 13 pounds of pressure, and brush down the balls with a brush provided by Wilson. The balls are put into play and the referee is assisted by a ballboy (he wears a "K" on his chest) on each sideline. The ballboys are the sideline custodians for the balls and they supply the referee with a ball when necessary. What you're suggesting is tampering with the footballs.

Chad from Easley, SC:
If the league does step in and starts voiding contracts, do those players become free agents? Has it ever happened?

Vic: Yes, they would become free agents, but it has never happened.

Amin from New Haven, CT:
Do players receive some type of pay during the offseason or do they live off what they made during the season?

Vic: Some players' contracts provide for an offseason conditioning bonus. For those players who don't have that in their contracts, they receive $100 a workout, per the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Steve from Jacksonville:
Educational, witty and informative; your column has become a personal favorite. I have a student who spends his time reading your column when he should be doing his French homework. All I'm asking is that he delay gratification by doing his homework and then reading your column. He's going to be looking for your response. Can you help me (and him) out a little bit by encouraging him to save your column as a reward?

Vic: I took three years of French in high school and the only word I can remember is "fromage." As a result, I ended up being a sportswriter. See what happens when you don't do your French homework?

Mark from Orlando, FL:
Hey, Vic, love the column. I was wondering if you knew if the Jags were going to keep Rashean Mathis at corner or move him back to safety for 2004.

Vic: He'll stay at cornerback.

Chris from Pass Christian, MS:
Two minutes left in the Super Bowl; your team is down by four. Who's your QB and why?

Vic: Donovan McNabb seemed to do pretty well in a similar situation last weekend. I'll take McNabb.

Matthew from Melbourne, Australia:
Can you please explain the difference between restricted free agents and unrestricted free agents?

Vic: Restricted free agents have played three years in the league. They are free to seek a contract with another team during the signing period for restricted free agents, though a team signing a restricted free agent may owe compensation to his original team, depending on the level of tender offer made by the player's original team. Unrestricted free agents have played at least four years in the league and are free to sign with any team in the league, without compensation being owed by the signing team to the original team.

Mike from Jacksonville:
I have tried to think of the hardest football-related question I could, so here goes. How many left-handed quarterbacks have won the Super Bowl?

Vic: Two; Ken Stabler and Steve Young.

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