Childress is fine with being the punching bag for going
There's one problem with the prevailing theory that Favre was coming back. No matter what, and the Vikings knew it. If that were true, why did Childress have to send the quarterback's three best friends on the team on a secret mission to deliver him back to Minnesota if he was so sure Favre would be there for opening day?
That tells me Childress, and the Vikings, had some doubt. For whatever reason -- the bad ankle, leverage for more money, classic Favre wishy-washiness -- Childress felt he had to send
Con job. Phony. A ploy. Say what you want. Favre was probably coming back anyway -- we all know that. But that those three players spent 18 hours at the Favre house tells you Childress and owner
I'm not sure who really knows Favre in our business. I think I do, but I've been wrong about his fate so often in the past three years I've surrendered my title as a Favrologist. But I have been on his property and in his kitchen and seen the world he inhabits down there. It's comfortable. It's country. It's richy-rich. But it's his own fiefdom, it's private as hell, and if he wants to shoot an offending varmint, he can, and no one's the wiser.
"The hardest thing we had to do, the hardest thing by far, was getting him down that long driveway in Hattiesburg,'' Childress said. "Once we got him to go down that long driveway, we had him. He was in.''
That's perfect -- and absolutely true. Was he coming down the long driveway without those guys coming to put a lasso on him? Probably. But there was that shred of doubt in Childress' mind. One of those it's-never-over-until-it's-over thoughts. Now it's over, and Childress doesn't have an ounce of regret over doing it this way.
One last point: I asked Childress if he'd alter his playcalls or game plans because of Favre's bum ankle. Favre said the other day his May 22 ankle surgery hadn't solved all his problems there; in fact, a new spur had grown on the ankle bone since the surgery. "Not from what I've see in practice so far,'' Childress said. "Brett was never
There you go. Now onto a few events of interest from the week:
Question: Will the 18-game schedule ruin the great tradition of NFL training camps as we know them? Do the math here. If the NFL goes to 18 games and two preseason games, my information is that the league is likely to push the season back two weeks and not start the games on Labor Day weekend or earlier.
If that's the case -- using this year's calendar as an example -- the preseason weekends would be Aug. 28 and Sept. 3. Team usually report to camp two weeks before the first preseason game, so let's say teams start on Aug. 14 or 15. The 13 teams that go to college campuses -- Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Arizona, Minnesota and others -- may not have the run of campus anymore. Not only is school at many of the 13 campuses close to beginning then, but also are teams going to want to go to the trouble of packing up and going to camp for 10 or 12 days? "It'll be hard,'' Ravens GM
My guess is some teams with a long tradition of going away to a specific campus -- the Ravens in Westminster, Md., the Steelers in Latrobe, Pa., and Minnesota in Mankato, Minn. -- would keep that going, even if it's just for a few days. Some others would just let it die. A shame.
2. I'd put the odds at the owners locking players out of team facilities on March 1, 2011, or thereabouts, at 80 percent.
3. Got a strong sense that some owners with huge money invested in stadiums and practice facilities will push for a radical new way of revenue-distribution in the CBA talks. Instead of players getting a percentage of the gross, some owners want them to accept a lump sum of, say, $3.5 billion in 2011, and figure a way to divvy it up. These aren't speculating rubes who told me this, but a source close to two powerful owners who both want to take the percentage-of-total-football-revenue away from players to better control their own costs.
4. I don't see Seattle trading for
5. I don't see
6. Re the
7. The Ravens want to see
8. The Redskins players really like their coordinators,
9. There will be a longer line chasing
So I know most of you are prepping for your fantasy drafts -- I just read that 23 million Americans play fantasy football -- and the most common questions I get out on the road are about fantasy. So here's at least one piece of advice from every camp I visited, keeping in mind I stink at the fantasy game.
Also, I think you'll be pleased to know that
With the news that one of the best p.r. men in the NFL,
P.R. guys don't win games. But PR guys in the NFL cannot and never have been able to put lipstick on pigs. Bolno cannot make
Want the good news or the bad news about the Great Race, the half-marathon I'm going to do in New Hampshire in October for two charities? Start with the good news. Next week in this column, I'll have a web page set up so you can contribute to either the Wounded Warrior Project or Feed the Children and we can get this whole thing started. I'll also have news of a few motivational prizes so you'll rush to your computers to throw a few bucks to two deserving causes.
Now for the bad news: You'll have to clock me with a sundial for this race. I've never run a half-marathon (actually, I've never run half of a half), but in trying to ratchet up my training, I did run 10.2 miles on Friday in Boston and Cambridge ... in exactly two hours. I feel the same as I've felt since I launched this harebrained scheme -- it'll be a failure if I don't run the full 13.1 miles.
I looked at a topographical map of the course in Bristol, N.H., and let's just say it's not so flat. And thanks to the Massachusetts state trooper, catching cars in a speedtrap, for providing a break around mile eight the other day. "Peter!'' he said. "Brady gonna be OK?'' I said something like, "Better than that,'' but it's hard to remember anything other than putting one foot in front of the other at that point.
"Next year, I'm not coming either.''
Who ever said there will be a next year?
Hard to imagine how this one's going to get resolved peacefully.
The Redskins won't be releasing Haynesworth, not after paying him $35 million over the past 18 months. But I can't see him being with the team beyond this year. But that wasn't the only quotable excitement about the Redskins over the weekend. Then it was the coach's turn ...
"One thing for sure that is clear to me is that Albert has gotten away in the past with playing without practicing. That will not happen under this regime. If he's going to play, he's going to practice, and that is the same with every player here. The days of him playing without practicing are over. And that, to me, says it all.''
"I ain't never said it, but Belichick, I felt like he had a thing for me. He had something against me. I have no idea why ... I know in my heart ain't nobody out there doing what I'm doing.''
That's absurd. Belichick simply didn't value a corner who didn't tackle well as being a $9-million-a-year player. Smart move on his part.
Samuel's a very good player, but he isn't near what all-around corner
"We had no hair spray, had no combs, didn't have a mirror, so I have no idea what it's going to look like. We didn't even have a toothbrush. I cut off a little piece of palm frond to scrape the tartar off my teeth. We had nothing. I had the shirt on my back, a pair of shorts, a pair of shoes and that was it.''
In the interview, Johnson also said this about the Vikings' desperate pursuit of Brett Favre: "You sacrifice so much of the team concept when you make so many concessions for one player. It's almost like he's the savior and if he doesn't carry us to the promise land, then the rest of them aren't going to be able to do it. Some of the other players have to be saying, 'What about me?'''
"I gave a lot of people reasons to throw daggers, I understand that, which makes the pressure even greater."
The 44 voters for the Pro Football Hall of Fame are going to have a very interesting decision on our hands in seven or eight years. That's the case of
Both receivers who started for the Steelers glory teams,
To be sure, the game's changed in the generation since Swann and Stallworth gained fame. In 1978, the Steelers passed on 39 percent of their offensive plays. In 2009, they passed on 58 percent. That's why judging players for the Hall of Fame has become such a divisive, difficult process. By the numbers and the championships, comparing Ward to past Steeler wideouts who made the Hall, he's deserving. But numbers haven't made the difference for
The comparison between Ward and his predecessors:
Ward told me the other day his "ultimate goal'' is to get to 1,000 career receptions. And if he had three times the catches of Swann, with the same number of Super Bowl MVPs (one) ... well, that's a pretty good case to make for Canton.
"Not bad,'' Ward said, "for a guy picked in the third round, with no ACL in one knee, picked as pretty much a special-teams player by a team that really didn't throw that much. I'm pretty amazed by it.''
I never judge a player with finality until his career is over. It bugs me when I read a guy in mid-career is a "future Hall of Famer.'' But Ward, to me, is one of the best total football players at any position I've ever covered. He has three edges over some of the big-number guys. Two championships. One of the best blocking wide receivers ever, though some will hold it against him that he's had a few dirty hits on defensive players in his career. And a leader of the highest degree, the way
I got an up-close glimpse of the leadership thing again last week in Latrobe, Pa., the longtime summer home of the Steelers.
Interesting postscript from
No, no, no and no.
Seems Oher is not very happy with how he was portrayed in
Earlier this year,
That leads me to wonder one thing about the 2009 NFL draft: How do the Bengals, in need of a tackle and picking sixth overall, take the jiggly and unmotivated
The Colts treat the preseason the way Brett Favre treats retirement announcements: not very seriously.
Since 2005, the Colts are 4-17 in exhibition games, 65-15 in the regular season.
Last week, Rooney Mara won the lead role in what could be a very big movie,
I've read all three books. They're terrific, taut thrillers, starring a brilliant, odd and anti-social private investigator and computer hacker,
He sad he knew, and he said his kids have reminded him about the difference between movies and real life.
"I can't tell you how many times I have heard, 'It's only acting, Dad,''' Mara told me the other day.
Downtown Baltimore, Wednesday, 3:40 p.m.
I was rolling my L.L. Bean suitcase to the front door of the downtown Residence Inn when a disheveled man -- maybe 40, salt-and-pepper beard, filthy jeans, T-shirt -- approached.
"Sir, I'm sorry,'' he said. "Looking for some money to help me get into the shelter tonight. It's three bucks. Can you help me at all? Can you give me a dollar? Anything?''
I took money out of my pocket. I gave him $5. He looked incredulous.
The next morning at 5:45, the same man, apparently a tireless yet forgetful panhandler, approached me and said he needed a dollar to take the light rail somewhere. It took me a second to realize it was the same guy, and I said, "Oh, come on.'' He scurried away.
While we're on the subject of travel, how about these two notes:
1. Cards beat man
He got on a Delta flight the next morning in Allentown, headed for home in Pine Bluff after a plane-change in Atlanta. That morning, GM
When Mallett landed in Little Rock, he picked up his luggage and, while waiting for his ride to Pine Bluff, turned on his phone and saw he had a message. "Pretty unbelievable,'' said Mallett. "I just took my bags from the luggage area and brought them back to the Delta counter and checked in for the flight back here.'' He was back in his dorm by midnight, and he practiced the next day. Moral of the story? "I'm still here,'' Mallett said. He's still a roster long shot, but he does have 20 carries for 78 yards in two games.
"Want to say thank you to
Which led to this Tweet ...
"Greater privilege to write it.''
Layden really did a good job writing
As Layden wrote, how amazing is it that it was Sayers' right knee that he hurt first and most severely in his career.
I strongly recommend you read the Sayers story if you're young, and you've wondered, as many readers of this column have wondered: How could Gale Sayers be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame? He played only 68 games?! This guy was a meteor across the football sky, one of the 10 great talents ever to walk onto an NFL field. He passes the eye test as one of the most electrifying players, at any position, ever to play. Not only was he the most dangerous running back of his day --
By the way, this is a great package about the short life span of running backs.
1. I think Seattle has to be nervous, or worse, about losing left tackle
The Seahawks said it was a two-to-four-week injury on Sunday, which means there's a good chance he'll be ready for the opener. Not to overplay a first game of a season, but Seahawks host San Francisco in Week 1. To have much of a chance to win your division, that's the kind of game you have to win, which makes the recovery of the centerpiece of your rebuilding efforts to protect
2. I think I've got a few preseason Week 2 thoughts:
b. More and more,
f. Except when he ran,
g. Look at the Bengals' fourth-rounder this year, defensive tackle
h. Bad night for Giants rookie defensive tackle
i. Great throw by
j. Saw Donovan McNabb's first three drives against the Ravens. Inaccurate. Finished 11 of 26.
l. Kept hearing on my trip to Miami that the Dolphins were pretty happy with the
m. Dallas got its first touchdown with the first offensive unit in seven preseason possessions Saturday, but let's not get too excited. Came on an eight-yard drive after a Chargers' turnover.
n. Nine straight preseason wins for Miami under
o. Sometimes, with his little flips out of the backfield,
p. Rodgers: 20 of 24 in basically a half of preseason football this month.
3. I think the Giants' addition of guard
4. I think there's a good chance it will be one of the most disturbing things any of us has seen in a long time, but the documentary about the death of
I wrote about this earlier this year. The former GM of the Seahawks,
5. I think the Redskins' band, which plays the team fight song after every Washington score, is not in midseason form. It struck up "Hail to the Redskins'' after the Ravens scored a touchdown Saturday night.
6. I think anyone who laughs at
7. I think as discouraging as the Haynesworth story is for the Redskins, they have to be encouraged by the progress of tackle
Interesting story: last year, after his surgeries, he did his rehab at a facility in New York City where his doctor was headquartered, and so while the Saints galloped toward the Super Bowl, Brown -- who was born in Texas, went to college in Oklahoma, was drafted by the Saints and lived in New Orleans -- lived most weeks in the Marriott Marquis in New York and concentrated on his rehab. Now he thinks he'll be healthy enough to play opening day. "I felt the best today I've felt since I got the hip operated on,'' he told me Tuesday. "I'm confident I'll be ready.''
Think of the Redskins' desperation at tackle entering the offseason, with a hole from
8. I think if Alex Smith plays 16 games the way he played two quarters last night (looking smart and confident without Frank Gore,
9. I think the one thing the change of the umpire from behind the defensive line to 14 yards (14 yards!) behind the line of scrimmage will do that's getting lost in the shuffle is this: If an offense goes to the no-huddle, the umpire is going to be a major impediment to the hurry-up offense. It hasn't been a problem in the preseason because most teams aren't going to show many offensive wrinkles in August. But when the season starts, one member of the Competition Committee tells me he's worried the ump won't be able to place the ball down, spot it, and then run back to his spot without delaying the game. Watch for that in Week 1 or 2.
10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:
a. Now that my intern/driver
b. Memo to
c. Read much about the bedbug problem in New York City? Yikes. Hotels, condos, apartments ... they're dealing with the microscopic, fiendish things. The
d. The 1-2-4 batters in the Red Sox order --
e. Did you notice
f. Coffeenerdness: After 22 days on the road, I can say this about the Starbucksization of America: I applaud the increase of Starbucks drive-thrus, particularly in city areas where it's hard to park the car. Thank you, thank you, Seattle.
g. Had a classic Tweetup the other night at Amicci's, in Baltimore's Little Italy section. Had a great group of 30 or 40 pepper me with smart questions for two and a half hours. Terrific Ravens fans, and smart about the NFL. Thanks to