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INDIANAPOLIS — UCLA quarterback/lightning-rod Josh Rosen, unplugged, in a few moments. Then the story of the weekend, Shaquem Griffin. But first, news niblets from the lobbies and convention hall and bars:

Barkleymania. Penn State running back Saquon Barkley put some distance between himself and the field for the best player in the draft. “He’s the best running back prospect I’ve seen in 25 years,” Saints coach Sean Payton told me. Another team, which had given only four draft prospects perfect grades in the last 20 years, told me Barkley is the fifth.

• Beware, Tannehill. Miami, picking 11th in the April draft, is looking hard at quarterbacks, and several people I spoke with here think it’s likely they’ll go quarterback in the first round. Word already leaked that Miami officials will dine with Baker Mayfield the night before his March 14 pro day. The night before a pro day is prime time for teams interested in a player, and the Mayfield camp surely believes Miami is a strong contender to pick him. So what of Ryan Tannehill? In the immortal words of Bill Parcells, “I can only go by what I see.” Tannehill has missed the last 19 Dolphins games with injuries. By opening day this year it will have been 21 months since Tannehill played football. Adam Gase needs a challenger for Tannehill, and he needs him now.

• ​Goodbye, going-to-the-ground. “Going to the ground is going away.” That’s what I was told about the Competition Committee’s early study and deliberations over the NFL’s catch/no-catch rule. The committee had long meetings here, and more study is due before the committee briefs commissioner Roger Goodell on its recommendations on March 25 in Orlando, but the best chance—as of now—of a revised rule seems to be this: catch, two steps and doing something with the football that needs to be further defined. After those three elements, if the player falls to the ground and the ball is jarred loose, it’s a catch. That would make the infamous Dez Bryant and Calvin Johnson plays catches. The Jesse James play in Pittsburgh? A catch too, because he took two steps and turned to pierce the goal line with the ball. That would qualify, however it’s finally defined, as doing something with the football.

• Happy Hue. This comes from an executive with a historically reliable ear to the ground: Cleveland, with four picks in the top 35 of the draft, is still exceedingly interested in signing free-agent quarterback A.J. McCarron after the trade-deadline-day debacle last fall … and then backstopping him with a rookie quarterback in the draft. I’m hearing that’s coach Hue Jackson’s preference, having coached McCarron in Cincinnati as Bengals offensive coordinator.

• ​​Just Joshing. Cute, embarrassing moment for a nice kid and good prospect. Wyoming QB Josh Allen, excited to meet a Hall of Fame quarterback during his meeting with the Dolphins, called Dan Marino “Mr. Elway.” Oops.

• ​Pensive Gronk. I’m told that as of now New England tight end Rob Gronkowski hasn’t made a decision about continuing his football career. And after 115 starry and injurious NFL games, he is in no hurry to make one.

• ​Top 10? Asked several GMs/scouts/coaches for their top 10 in the draft as of today. Here’s the consensus, in an order close to this: Barkley, USC QB Sam Darnold, North Carolina State pass-rusher Bradley Chubb, Allen, Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield, UCLA QB Josh Rosen, Notre Dame G Quenton Nelson, Alabama DB Minkah Fitzpatrick, Ohio State CB Denzel Ward, Georgia LB Roquan Smith.

• ​Bird droppings. The Eagles continue to be confident that Carson Wentz will be healthy enough after Dec. 13 knee surgery to play the Sept. 6 NFL opener, and have had at least one respectable (the word I hear to describe it) trade offer for Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles … The Eagles got first- and fourth-round picks for Sam Bradford 17 months ago and feel Foles is better, so it’ll likely take at least that to pique their interest, and that’s likely not happening … Philly expects to lose defensive tackle Beau Allen, linebacker Nigel Bradham and tight end Trey Burton in free agency. The Eagles want Chris Long back, and Long intends to play another year in Philly.

• ​Love this story. Follow the bouncing compensatory draft pick:

March 13, 2017: Eagles sign Chiefs free-agent quarterback Nick Foles.
Feb. 4, 2018: Foles leads Eagles to Super Bowl 52 win, cops Super Bowl MVP.
Feb. 23, 2018: Chiefs awarded sixth-round compensatory pick, No. 209, for loss of Foles in free agency.
Feb. 23, 2018: Chiefs agree to trade 209th pick to Rams as part of Marcus Peters deal, but that trade can’t officially happen until the March 14 opening of the 2018 league year.
March 2, 2018: Rams agree to trade 209th pick to Dolphins as part of Robert Quinn trade, but that trade can’t officially happen until the Rams acquire the 209th pick from Kansas City, which can’t officially happen, obviously, until the March 14 opening of the league year.

To sum up: A pick that was invented because of the Super Bowl 52 MVP, a pick that did not exist until 10 days ago, was traded twice in a week.


Deciphering Rosen

A big story at the combine: trying to divine the good, the bad, the ugly and the remotely important about UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen.

I had never met Rosen before Saturday, but this is what I was led to believe listening to the proverbial NFL grapevine:

1. Football isn’t that important to him, because he’s a rich kid whose mom is the great-great-granddaughter of the founder of Penn’s prestigious Wharton School of Business, and whose dad is a renowned spinal surgeon, and who once put a hot tub in his college bedroom. Rich kids can’t have the same drive as lower-middle-class kids.
2. He’s a crappy leader, he questions authority, and his teammates roll their eyes at him.
3. He’s too smart for his own good. He’s anti-Trump (once wearing a hat to a Trump golf course with “F--- Trump” on it), into politics and cares a lot about the planet. Quarterbacks need to be myopic. Football only.

When we met, I relayed a story to him that seemed relevant. In 2014 the Vikings were considering a number of players, including Johnny Manziel, with their first-round pick. A Minnesota contingent, led by coach Mike Zimmer, dined with Manziel during the decision-making process, and Zimmer asked him, in essence, If we pick you, I have to be convinced you’re not going to screw me. Can I trust you?

“What would you say if a coach looked into your eyes and asked you that?” I said.

“I would say, ‘I’m going to be the best decision you ever made,’” Rosen said, staring at me intently.

Good answer. After speaking to three coaches and two respected personnel people with an interest in quarterbacks in this draft, I can say this: Rosen helped his cause this weekend, both as a thrower of the football and in getting his point across that being well-rounded and smart is not poisonous to a football team. “Very smart,” said one coach. “Helped his cause. But will his teammates gravitate to him? And he’s not a very big kid—can he be good enough in the pocket and avoid sacks?”

But I also will say this: He’s not beloved, not like the more humble Sam Darnold of USC and Josh Allen of Wyoming. I just can’t tell if it’s because of the pre-combine NFL whisper campaign. I do think Rosen has work to do in the eight weeks left before the draft. He has to convince teams with big quarterbacks needs—Cleveland, the Jets, the Giants, Arizona—and almost exclusively conservative team management—that he’d be a good fit with them and would be sufficiently all-football.

​​• STAPLES: Lamar Jackson Has Already Proven He Should Be Drafted as a Quarterback

Rosen was pretty buttoned up during his 25 minutes with me on Saturday afternoon. When speaking with Pete Thamel—formerly of SI, now with Yahoo!—in 2016, he was outspoken (“I’m not going to pretend to be 50”) and a little snarky. I’m not sure Rosen’s much different today than he was a couple of years ago. But there’s more at stake now. He’s still thoughtful and sincere, but maybe a little more calculating. It’s best for Rosen to be respectful. I asked him about what stood out from his meetings with teams in Indianapolis.

“Meeting John Elway and Dan Marino was pretty special,” he said. “It was cool to actually shake their hand and get to say hi to them in person. Just seeing these faces that you've only seen on TV actually become real people was really cool. I was sitting in the Giants meeting room, and I was saying, like, ‘Wow, Mr. Shurmur [Coach Pat Shurmur]. You look a lot like you do on TV.’

“In each room, with each team, you could kind of tell the team’s objective. Some people wanted to ask me about some of the things I have said on social media, like my hot tub and Trump hat and whatnot. Some people wanted to focus on that, and some people were like, hey, whatever, we want to know about football.

“I was never really bothered when anonymous people said that my teammates don’t like me, or I’m a selfish guy, or too smart. But if it persists after this, it might bother me a little bit, because these teams have actually met me now. If that narrative continues, then there might be some substance to it, and that would bother me, but up until this point it has all kind of been noise.”

You could see how annoyed Rosen was about the perception that affluence would soften his drive to be great, or cause him to quit at his first benching.

“This narrative has kind of taken off on its own,” he said. “My family is not buy-a-Ferrari-for-my-16th-birthday wealthy. I’ve just never had to worry about things that a lot of my teammates have. That’s why I love football so much. It’s exposed me to some of the disparities in this world.

“Using the point that I don’t have to play football is an indication to why I actually love the game so much. The fact that I have dedicated my heart and soul to this game that I may not financially need, I mean, I think that actually proves why I love this game so much. I am not forced to play it. My family raised me incredibly academic. They are both Ivy League grads and take great pride in it, and I had to convince them to let me drop out of college because I want to pursue this at the absolute highest level, and it took some convincing but hopefully it will work out.”

• ​KLEMKO: Why the Toughest Question Asked at the NFL Combine Can Be About Teammates

Rosen’s different. Traditional NFL people will have to decide if they can get comfortable with him. One of my most interesting conversations this weekend came with a rock-ribbed Republican on an NFL coaching staff (that is not rare) who stunned me when he said how much he respected the students in Parkland, Fla., and across the country fighting the NRA and our political leaders, demanding smart gun-control legislation. He said he was thinking seriously about going to the gun-control demonstration in Washington later this month with his kids, to show support for the high school students fighting for their cause.

Why is that coach so surprising? Because the NBA has people like LeBron James and Gregg Popovich, future Hall of Famers, consistently speaking out on political issues of the day. The NFL doesn’t have people with huge Q ratings willing to put their necks on the line like that.

I hope Rosen is judged on his ability to play quarterback, not on what he might say or do or participate in aside from the 65 hours a week from August to January that he’ll need to spend on his craft. And I hope he’s judged on who he is when coaches and club officials meet him and dissect him in the coming weeks before the draft. The 15-minute speed-dating sessions with quarterback-needy teams in Indianapolis (that’s the time teams have with players they choose to interview) can give a first impression, but no couple gets married after a 15-minute date. Same thing with Rosen. He’ll have time in the next eight weeks to try to convince a team in the top 10 to fall in love with him.

The right team is likely to find he’s more competitor than politician. He threw a beautiful, arcing, in-stride, 58-yard rainbow to the best receiver in the draft, Calvin Ridley, during the on-field portion of the Saturday workout on the Lucas Oil Stadium turf. When I asked him about the throw, he said, “Yeah, but I threw two absolutely abysmal balls. My gosh, those were awful.”

Rosen might be an enigma. But he also might be more of a driven worker bee—just different—than you think when you stop listening to the whispers.


The land of opportunity

Coming into the NFL scouting combine, I don’t know a soul who thought that Central Florida linebacker Shaquem Griffin, the 2016 American Athletic Conference defensive player of the year, would be the star of the show. But that started to happen on Saturday, when he attached his prosthetic left hand to the stump below where his forearm ended, clicked the prosthesis to the bar holding 225 pounds and began pressing. The bench press is a big part of the combine—proving how strong you are based on how many reps you can do.

“My goal was six reps,” Griffin said.

He did 20.

Griffin is a fast guy—quick enough to run the 40 in about 4.45 seconds, observers thought. On Sunday, he lined up for the 40 and ran a 4.38, the fastest by a linebacker in 15 years.

Griffin became the star of the combine the same way he became a standout player at Central Florida—by being a metronome, by never giving up, by proving that the left hand he had amputated at age 4 because of a congenital disease would not hold him back. And it didn’t. A marginal combine prospect who got a late invitation to be one of the 336 participants here, Griffin may have vaulted out of the sixth or seventh round to be a third- or fourth-round pick now.

The guy’s going to be an inspiration to whatever team picks him, first of all. He could be able to rush the passer as a sub-package player; as Pro Football Focus noted Sunday, he was the second-best edge-rusher among the draft-eligible players in 2018, with seven sacks, seven quarterback hits and 37 hurries in 236 pass-rush snaps. He’ll captain the special teams for three or four years. What’s not to like?

• ​​BREER: Kirk Cousins Speculation, Shaquem Griffin Admiration and More From the NFL Combine

As Sean Payton pointed out, you see a few players each year play with an injured wrist or hand wrapped so they can make it through a game. Griffin’s been playing this way since he first played football. He’s accustomed to it. He played at a high level at a good football school. He had three interceptions, five fumble recoveries and 16 passes defensed at UCF. He’s figure out how to play with his disability. And he’s fast as a greyhound.

At the combine, Griffin described how he got fitted with the prosthesis early in his college career. Just listen.

“We went to go get it fitted for me, and when I started lifting, I could barely bench the bar,” he said. “I mean, I’m shaking all over the place and the bar is falling, and I can’t lift 45 pounds. But it just goes to show how much work I put in to get to this point. From shaking with the bar, I remember doing my first pull-up. My mom saw me do my first pull-up my freshman year, and she’s emotional and she started crying. She walked out, and I thought, ‘You’ve got to let her be sometimes.’ She does that.

“But it's amazing to see how far I came, from not being able to bench the bar to throwing up 20 reps at 225, and being able to compete with the best here.”

I can think of another place where Griffin can compete with the best.

Want to learn more about Shaquem Griffin? Check out Andy Staples’s profile of the inspirational UCF linebacker on SI TV.

SI TV on Amazon channels

Quotes of the Week


“If the good Lord decides tomorrow’s my day, hey, I’m going out with a fish in one hand and a cup of beer in the other.”

Jim Kelly, the former Buffalo quarterback, at a dinner for the Vince Lombardi Cancer Foundation in Milwaukee on Saturday night, via Vic Carucci of the Buffalo NewsKelly, for the third time, has been diagnosed with cancer.


“K ball! K ball! K ball!

“Never mind! Regular ball!”

Super Bowl 52 ref Gene Steratore, captured on the Super Bowl 52 DVD from NFL Films and Cinedigm, which comes out Tuesday.

I always love this DVD. It’s 75 minutes (this year) of the NFL Films wirings and inside footage of the Eagles’ season and Super Bowl run. This quote, from Steratore, is really good. Before the Trey Burton-to-Nick Foles touchdown, the camera isolates on Steratore. It’s fourth-and-goal for Philadelphia from the New England 1-yard line near the end of the first half. Steratore figures, as the rest of the world does, that the Eagles will take the gift three points. But coach Doug Pederson decides to go for the touchdown, and you hear Foles and Pederson on the sideline discussing “Philly Special,” and the Eagles go for it … and the rest is football history.

I watched the video Sunday. It’s really good.


“I’m not sure how long I am for this Twitter world. The Twitter world is weird, man. Weird. Let’s get back to route trees, man.”

NFL Network’s Mike Mayock, on the network’s draft coverage on Saturday.


“I learned a lot about myself as far as being a new head coach. I think at one point everybody in the building got the memo that I was the head coach but me. I was still trying to be an offensive coordinator, still trying to be a running backs coach. I needed to be a little more hands-off and let my guys do their job and embrace my role at the head coach of the team. I think that helped things flow a little better.”

Chargers coach Anthony Lynn, on what he learned about being a head coach in his rookie season with the Chargers. He’s right—new coaches who micromanage usually lose a lot early.


“This is a career-ending thing for Sean Miller. Career-ending. I can’t imagine him ever coaching in college again.”

ESPN analyst Jay Bilas, on Arizona basketball coach Sean Miller on ESPN’s College GameDay on Feb. 24, after an ESPN story said Miller had discussed with a runner (a representative of an agent) paying a prized recruit $100,000.

A Sports Illustrated story written by Michael McCann five days later cast doubt on the veracity of the ESPN story.

Miller denied the ESPN story.

Miller coached Arizona on Thursday and Saturday nights.


“Happy birthday Mama.”

UCF linebacker Shaquem Griffin on Sunday, caught by an NFL Network microphone seconds after running the fastest 40-yard dash time—4.38 seconds—by a linebacker at the combine in at least 15 years.

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Stat of the Week

We’re quick to move on to The Next Big Thing when NFL players retire. Let’s not do that so fast with Matt Forte, who announced his retirement last week. Here’s what he did in his 10 NFL seasons:


How about this: Forte and Simpson both averaged 99.1 scrimmage yards per game. Exactly.

Factoid of the Week That May Interest Only Me

What SMU wide receiver Trey Quinn, who showed good hands in receiver drills on Saturday at the combine, did on Aug. 17, 2008, pitching for the Southwest Region champion, Lake Charles, La., in the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Penn.:


Lake Charles 9, Jeffersonville, Ind. 0. A no-hitter.

Tweets of the Week


—Watt, after Griffin, the UCF linebacker with one hand, ran the fastest 40 time at the combine by a linebacker in 15 years.





—ESPN’s Louis Riddick, after Cleveland GM John Dorsey said the Browns are willing to deal their multiple high draft choices in April’s NFL draft.


Pod People

From The MMQB Podcast With Peter King, available where you download podcasts, on places like iTunes.

This week’s conversations: NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock and ESPN analyst Todd McShay.

McShay on Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen, who had a poor 56.0 completion percentage as a college quarterback: “The thing that scares you is Matt Stafford is probably the only QB who has had sustained success over his career that has come in the league with sub-60 percent accuracy. [Josh Allen] is another one that is going to have to defy some odds. He has an arm that I don't know if I have seen one like it in five years... He’s a playmaker. I can put together a tape of ten of his best throws and it would be better than any other prospect in the last five years in terms of ‘wow’ throws, but then there are throws and decisions and misses that I could put together that would make you want to puke. He’s a tough one. He has to land in a spot where there is a good quarterback coach.”

Mayock on USC quarterback Sam Darnold: “Last year my No. 1 quarterback was Deshaun Watson, but I only had him at No. 20 on my top 100 list. Here’s how I will rank the quarterbacks for you. I think Lamar Jackson is the most electrifying talent in this draft. If I was a GM I’m not sure I’d take him, but he is going to make plays in the NFL. Every week there is going to be one person in this country more petrified than anyone else, and that is going to be the defensive coordinator of whatever team he is playing. You have to think outside the box and commit yourself offensively to a different philosophy, but the kid is going to make plays. I think the QB right now that I am most committed to is Sam Darnold. He is a prototypical dropback quarterback, he has plus arm strength, he can make plays inside the pocket, and he can also extend plays, which is critical in today's NFL. And when he scrambles, he scrambles with his eyes up looking to make throws down the field to beat you. The issue with him, and trust me they all have issues, is turnovers—both fumbles in the pocket and interceptions in the red zone.”

Ten Things I Think I Think

1. I think I’d love to be able to give you some great intel on where Kirk Cousins is going to sign, but I can’t. I believe Cousins and his agent, Mike McCartney, have not gone too far down the road in separating the wheat from the chaff. I believe there are more than the four currently publicized teams (Denver, Minnesota, New York Jets, Arizona) involved in the Cousins derby, and I do not believe that Cousins and McCartney have whittled down the list yet. Why? Because they want to be sure that when the real offers come in, they haven’t cut anyone out. It would be folly to think Cousins doesn’t have a gut feeling about the one or two teams that are in the lead now, but I think he’ll remain open about it until he and McCartney have a more serious discussion a few days before the March 14 opening of free agency.

2. I think this was the theme of my discussions with GMs and coaches about free agency, which begins in nine days: There’s a silly amount of cap money available (almost $1 billion) for a mediocre crop.

3. I think moving the combine to Los Angeles or Las Vegas or to someplace new each year is:

a. Inevitable, because some city will offer some nice deal so the NFL can make marginally more money on the combine;
b. Stupid, because there are very few NFL events left for the efficiency of football people and the sport;
c. Really ticking me off, because football people always are the last ones the NFL thinks of.

4. I think I come to this event, year after year, and see the proximity and the central location and the incredible convenience, and I think, Can the NFL really care about making what will be, in the end, a couple hundred thousand per team, max, by moving the combine? And can the NFL really think that will be better for football? It won’t be. But I doubt that will matter. It rarely does.

5. I think I loved this story on Jonathan Martin written by Tim Rohan of The MMQB this week. It’s the only attempt—and an excellent one—I’ve seen anywhere to figure out what happened between the time Martin left the NFL in 2015 and two weeks ago, when he posted a concerning photo of a gun and ammunition on Instagram, tagging the names of several former teammates from high school and the NFL, along with the names of his high school and the Miami Dolphins. He’s reportedly been in a mental health facility since. It’s such a complicated and compelling story.

6. I think this was a revelatory story for me to read—Robert Klemko of The MMQB on the question most teams ask every player they interview at the combine. It’s some version of this: If you could pick one college teammate to be on your team in pro football, who would it be? (Or, put another way, pick the best player on your college team). It puts players who would normally say nice things about every teammate on the spot. Because they can choose only one. “Sometimes you know there’s one guy on the team who’s the best player, and you ask everybody that question,” 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan told Klemko. “And if no one says that No. 1 guy, that means the guy is not liked. Then you consider what position he is, and you have to decide if you can live with that. We’ve definitely been turned off from a guy if a number of his teammates don’t like him.”

7. I think that I do not care that Sam Darnold did not throw at the combine. Teams should also not care. And they may say they care, but they don’t really care when it comes to draft day. Never, ever, ever in my life covering the NFL, and that’s 34 years, have I heard a team official say about a quarterback after the draft: We were thinking of taking him, but since he didn’t throw at the combine, we soured on him, and we downgraded him and didn’t pick him because of that. I will guarantee that Darnold not throwing here will have zero to do with whether Cleveland GM John Dorsey picks Darnold first overall.

8. I think the favorite to sign the best offensive lineman in free agency, Carolina guard Andrew Norwell, is the New York Giants. It makes sense in all ways but financial. The Giants have but $23.6 million available in cap space, and their needs are significant.

9. I think the prayers and well-wishes of everyone in the NFL—and certainly from me and those who I work with at The MMQB—are going to Jim Kelly and his family in his third battle against oral cancer. “We are shocked, heartbroken, sad, angry, confused and just darn tired,” Kelly’s wife Jill wrote on Instagram. Hard to blame her, and the family. Jim Kelly has had two very public and challenging cancer fights, with the cancer in his jaw and lower face, and now he’ll have to fight it again. Our best to him and his supportive family.

10. I think these are my other thoughts of the week:

a. Column of the Week: By Benjamin Hochman of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, on Adam Wainwright. All Wainwright did was fund the building of a community hospital in Haiti. What an amazing guy.

b. Love the fact that so many Stoneman Douglas students are still speaking up about gun control in the wake of the mass murder of 17 people at the school. One of the student leaders, Emma Gonzalez, tweeted the other day, “This isn’t Red vs. Blue. This is Death vs. Money.” She’s right: It’s about the business interests of the gun industry and the NRA trumping (pun intended) the common sense of doing something real about taking dangerous weapons like the AR-15 out of the hands of private citizens. The AR-15 is a killing machine, and it will continue to be a money-making machine for gun companies unless our elected officials make it illegal to privately own. That has to happen. If you’re in favor of private ownership of the gun, you can say whatever you want to justify it, but you value a murderous weapon over the lives of Americans, and certainly over the lives of 17 children.

c. Second Amendment, schmecond amendment.

d. You can be for the Constitution and against ownership of murder machines. That is the issue here.

e. Love the “Dallas” commercial on NFL Network. If you’re a person of a certain age, and remember Larry Hagman and “Dallas,” that spot is gold, right down to the theme music.

f. Coffeenerdness: Thanks, Patachou in downtown Indianapolis, for being such a consistently great breakfast place, and for the Simon Blend coffee. Not quite as dark as I’d like, but it’s superb restaurant coffee.

g. Beernerdness: The seventh annual MMQB Tweetup happened Friday night at one of the best breweries in America—Sun King Brewery in Indianapolis, which has hosted our Tweetup for the last five years in its burgeoning brewery just east of downtown. Now, we hold the Tweetup there because we love the place, and because The MMQB’s friend in Indianapolis, Angie Six, arranges our event there each year, along with a charity component (this year’s beneficiary was Midwest Food Bank, an irreplaceable community staple). A few of us go over from the combine and spend 90 minutes talking to a few dozen fans, and it’s really fun. Most of us have a couple of cold ones; the beer menu there has expanded significantly. Thanks to the Sun King team (Steve Koers has long been a wonderful host) for expanding the beer menu and adding one of the best beers I’ve had in a long while: the Vanilla Chocolate Wee Mac Scottish Ale. Maybe it’s because I’m weaning myself off sugar these days, and when I saw the title of the beer I said I’ve got to try that. But it’s just a faint (and effective) vanilla-chocolate taste in the middle of a wonderful ale. Man, that’s a good beer. 

h. Great basketball game, Celtics-Rockets, in Houston on Saturday night. So much fun, and so well contested. But watching those games, occasionally, makes me realize the NFL officiating isn't such a debacle. The technical fouls in that game … I mean, what does it take to get T’d up? Is there any consistency? It’s awful. But a great sporting event, dumb technicals and all.

i. Even though the last 30 seconds took about 30 minutes.

j. RIP, Jack Hamilton, the pitcher who threw the fastball that hit Tony Conigliaro of the Red Sox in the face 50 years ago (absolutely not purposefully)—and really cut short one of the promising baseball careers of that era. That’s a tough thing to live with, and I’m glad it didn’t rule and ruin Hamilton’s post-baseball life.

k. Barbra Streisand cloned her dog (and explained why in this New York Times piece). That is the most 2018 sentence in the history of 2018 sentences.

l. We got the spirit and the meaning of your message at the Oscars, Frances McDormand. And it was awesome. Congrats to you for your art and your efforts to promote women in Hollywood.

The Adieu Haiku

We need more stories
like the Shaquem Griffin tale.
Lord. So inspiring.

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