"How about T.O.?''
Bills chief operating office
Brandon shot back with this: "?''
"T.O. was released. Go get him,'' Edwards texted back.
Brandon still seemed surprised when I spoke to him late Sunday. "I went back to sleep,'' he said, "but I was stunned by it. The next morning, [coach]
And that was it. The only team to seriously kick the tires on Owens got its man a day later for three major reasons:
1. The Bills think Jauron is the perfect coach -- calm but commanding -- to handle Mount Terrell.
2. The organization is sick of perpetually being one weapon away from catching New England (and Miami and the Jets, as it turns out), and it's willing to take the risk of having Owens ruin the locker room so it can have a chance to win the division.
3. The Bills did the one-year deal for a fairly strategic reason, in my opinion. Owens is good when he's trying to make a good first impression. Check out his first years in his three prior stops -- with the San Francisco season being his first without
I have to say that, even though I view Owens as the most divisive force in the NFL today, and even though he drops far more balls than a top player should (12 per year, on average, over the past three years), I understand why the Bills did what they did. It's been 10 years since their last playoff appearance. They're the Washington Generals to the Patriots. And Owens will be on his best behavior in 2009, determined to prove wrong all of us who make a living out of criticizing him (oh, it's sooooo hard to do that), and determined to get one more big-money deal out of the Bills or some other team.
"From our standpoint,'' Brandon said, "everything we do is a risk. I was criticized for the
We'll see. Owens and
One year is smart. More than that, history tells us, is stupid.
In every stop on the four-player tour (
Speaking from Al Asad, Iraq, Sunday night, Fitzgerald sounded grateful to have the platform to be able to tell the service men and women thanks. Having been on the USO trip to Afghanistan last year with three players, I can tell you it's a draining experience for the players, being "on'' for 14 or 16 hours in a day with no clocks.
"The great thing about all these guys,'' said NFL liaison
I asked Fitzgerald whether, five weeks later, the Super Bowl loss still stung. It seemed an odd time to ask the question, with him being on the other side of the world and doing some real good, but I asked anyway.
"Most definitely,'' he said. "I still haven't watched the game. It hurts. I can shut it off, but it hurts when I think about it, and obviously, everyone here is asking about it. We were 1:56 away from being world champions. I can't lie to you; it stings. I just wish we were the team with the ball with two minutes to go with a chance to drive down the field and win.''
It was a strange game for Fitzgerald, obviously. No catches in the first half. Six for 115 yards and two touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
"I can tell you this,'' he said, chuckling over the phone. "I'll never go the whole first half without a catch again in a Super Bowl. The whole experience was a great one. In fact, the playoffs were a great experience for our team, and it's only going to help us grow. Personally, I know I'm not the player I need to be, or the player I want to be. I remember learning about how hard Jerry Rice worked every offseason, even when people recognized him as the best in the game, because he knew he needed to get better every year. That's the way I want to work.''
We knew this already, but in my limited exposure to Fitzgerald, I've found him to have an insatiable desire to be great. He's going to be fun to watch over the next few years. Imagine this: He's 25. He has 426 catches. He doesn't turn 26 'til a week before the 2009 season. It sounds heretical, but with that kind of attitude, he's got a chance, if he stays healthy and in the right offense, to make a run at Rice's record of 1,549 catches.
"This might not be the most ideal place for a lot of people. But I'm my own guy. I beat to my own drum, go with my own thinking, my own intuitions.''
Those last two sentences just made
"I am going to be the same person that I was for the last three years with the Cowboys. I demand a lot from myself and from the guys around me. I'm sure those guys ... that I was with for the last three years all know that whatever is being said out there, it's not accurate.''
That first sentence just made Dick Jauron shudder. Why is everyone always wrong about Terrell Owens except Terrell Owens?
• "We have no plans to trade for a receiver. No. No trade for a receiver.''
• "He will create a dimension that just adds to everything. As you know, Roy Williams can go out there and make spectacular catches, and he can sky up and has great hands.''
• "If I gave you the answer you want to hear, then you would have had it. The fact that you don't have it ought to tell you something. It really should.''
• "We have made a decision to move forward without [Owens]. We will move on now with a new team -- a new attitude -- and into a new stadium.''
I wish I could pay more attention to the World Baseball Classic. I went to the U.S.-Mexico game in Phoenix three years ago and it was fun, and the games last weekend sounded fantastic. "If this is like the playoffs, I have to be in the playoffs,'' America's
But I make this WBC factoid my Factoid of the Week: The Dominican Republic team, favored by many to win the tournament, and so powerful that one of the best players in the world,
The Netherlands' No. 3 hitter,
If these teams played 20 times, the Dominicans would win 19. Saturday just happened to be that one time.
Stories like these are why we love sports.
The Kings are relocating to Boston. We've sold our home in Montclair, N.J., and moved to the South End. It's still a little stunning, even to us, because we've loved our lives in Montclair more than anyone could love living anywhere. But my wife and I have always wanted to live in a city, and we were so fond of living in north Jersey that if we didn't move soon, we'd never move. We'd be too ensconced, too comfortable.
This gives us a chance to live in a city we like a lot, though we could have lived in New York just as easily if we'd have found the same kind of place we found seven blocks from Copley Square. Being a 26-minute walk from Fenway didn't hurt in the deliberations. So wish us luck. After we get over the initial shock, it ought to be a fun adventure.
The 10 things I'll miss about New Jersey, where our family has called home since 1985:
1. Montclair. Great town, better people. I lived in my Connecticut hometown, Enfield, for 18 years before leaving for college, and we lived in Jersey for 24 years, the last 18 in Montclair. We must have liked it. We must have loved it. A perfect town (well, no town is perfect, but this one's close) to raise kids and shovel snow and walk the dog.
2. The house we raised our kids in. A perfect place, close enough to New York and far enough away when you needed peace. My tip for those who follow me in moving after one generation in the same house: Do not sit down and ponder the third-grade diorama you find in the attic. It'll paralyze you. Trust me. And do not get sentimental over the photos, unless you've got 16 days to do nothing but prune.
3. Field hockey and softball. Most of the greatest sporting memories of my life happened on fields in Essex County. My kids were tested, and it was good for them.
4. Coaching, particularly the 10-and-under softball team, the Montclair Bears, my wife and I coached for the last seven years with our friends
5. Sitting on the back deck on an early summer night, around June 20th, having the fifth beer, and enjoying the trees and the talk.
6. The Upper Montclair Starbucks. It's sure to close without me propping it up.
7. The two best restaurants in town, Osteria Giotto and Table 8.
8. Star Tavern pizza. Saw
9. Our friends. God blessed us in many ways in Montclair, but the people made it the best home we've ever had.
I will not miss moving. The pain. The humanity. The sore back.
One interesting note was the house sale we had over the weekend. Our apartment in Boston can't fit most of the big furniture we had, so we're selling and starting over with lots of stuff up there. Anyway, we had half the Western world in the house Friday and Saturday. A fascinating experience, much more good than bad, and only one truly rude person trying to buy a bedroom set for 15 cents.
I'm exaggerating there, but not by much. My favorite guy was the older fellow who walked around the first floor of the house, looking everywhere, including in the corner where we kept our driveway de-icing pellets. "How much?'' he said. You're kidding -- a half-used container of rock salt? "A dollar,'' I said. He fished out a buck, handed it over and stealthily moved away with the treasure under his arm.
1. I think one of the reactions I get from people two, three, four times a month, every month, is about
"Peter: We lost another good man on 26, Feb. 2009, Corporal
"The hardest thing was zipping him up and saying goodbye, then we put him on a flight back to the States for his family. The soldiers here are doing as well as can be expected. Three others were injured in the blast -- Staff Sergeant
"The streets of Sadr City are so freakin' dangerous. Every minute of being out there is constant holding breath and scanning. Hard to believe that any day could be our last. Proof with Corporal Connelly. I am holding up well, staying busy. One day all this madness will hit me, I am sure. I don't know how I will react but it is building up. Hard to be tough and the First Sergeant when really all I want to do is see my family and grieve our fallen men. I guess when I return home and sitting alone in the dark on my porch I will remember them all and make peace with all this.''
The amazing thing with Mike is that in the business he's in, he's got to move on, or he's going to endanger himself and his men. So even in devastating e-mails like this one, he finds time to move on, and indulge in what everyone over there cares so much about --football, and his beloved Rams and beloved hero,
"Anyway ... Redskins signed
I'm sure I echo everyone reading when I send along our sympathy and wishes to stay safe for Mike's men. There's not much else to say.
2. I think the Cowboys had a good week, pressing the ejector button on Owens and signing versatile defensive lineman
3. I think if you're still looking at conspiracy theories about why the Patriots would trade
4. I think
5. I think the Redskins didn't get enough criticism the other day for whacking
6. I think I cannot figure out for the life of me why
7. I think if I were
8. I think
9. I think Tomlinson staying in San Diego makes no sense. He'll never be a 300-carry guy again, and
10. I think I'll many more some non-football thoughts next week, but I'll leave you with this one: Moving, at 51, has a certain energizing quality to it, and I'm excited.