BEREA, Ohio — Do you want to know how to keep a secret? Inside the draft room of the Cleveland Browns, on the MAM (Morning After Mayfield), I found out a couple ways GM John Dorsey kept the identity of the first pick under wraps for the draft season.
My favorite: Dorsey and a contingent of scouts and coaches spent the week of March 19 visiting four quarterbacks—in order, Josh Rosen, Sam Darnold, Baker Mayfield and Josh Allen. They dined with Rosen on Monday, worked him out Tuesday, dined with Darnold on Tuesday, etc. Dorsey never told a soul which quarterback he preferred, though he had a very good idea on March 22 after leaving Oklahoma that he wanted Mayfield. Back in Ohio, at the top of the quarterback list on the Browns’ magnetic draft board, Dorsey turned the magnetic rectangular quarterback nametags upright. And at the top of the QB list, while every other name on the massive board was horizontally magnetized, four vertical QB nametags were at the top.
Rosen one, Darnold two, Mayfield three, Allen four. From left to right.
“Right in the order we visited them, and I kept them in that position until the day of the draft,” Dorsey told me.
Dorsey is still getting to know a lot of the people in the Browns’ front office, and they are still getting to know him. Throughout his first five months running the football side of the franchise, Dorsey said, “I have harped on trust and honesty. What’s said in this room stays in this room.” Now, he just wanted a little privacy insurance. If he kept the quarterbacks in this vertical bunch, Dorsey would be the only one who would know what the 1-through-4 order was.
Late Thursday morning, about nine hours before the draft, he gathered the senior staff to tell them the order of the quarterbacks, and what he was likely to do with the top pick—take Mayfield. He kept the board covered until early evening, and shortly before the draft began, the room knew the QB order. And, of course, who the top pick would be. How’d I find out on the Sunday night before the draft that the pick definitely would not be Josh Allen, and how’d Adam Schefter find out Tuesday morning that Mayfield was definitely in play? Credit to Schefter, in particular, for smoking out the Mayfield stuff. And credit to Dorsey for having an airtight circle on his call for five weeks—or at least five weeks minus a couple of days.
So I was in Cleveland for the draft. I wrote a story for Sports Illustrated on one of the most significant days in recent Browns history (arguably, the most important of this century, without trying to be dramatic), and you can read that here at The MMQBin the next couple of days. Much of what I know is in that story. No, I was not in the Browns’ draft room Thursday night, so I won’t have much of the inside play-by-play drama that I’ve had the past couple of years from Dallas (2016) and San Francisco (2017).
I’ll tell you a few things about the Browns, and then quite a few things—Ozzie Newsome’s emotional goodbye, the crazy rugby-player draftee, the Patriots’ frenetic weekend, the Trade of the Draft, the Packers’ wacky cornerback obsession—about the rest of the league.
A few things I learned about the most significant team in this year’s draft, as the Browns try to put a stop to their current 4-49 bender:
• They got very little action on the No. 4 pick. Four teams called Dorsey with interest in moving up. None got serious. Only one team (I’d guess Arizona) offered a 2019 first-round pick as part of the package to move, which is surprising considering that two quarterbacks were still on the board when the fourth pick came up. The team willing to include its first-rounder next year said to Dorsey before the draft began: “I’m coming up for one player and one player only, and that’s Baker Mayfield.” As Dorsey said: “I knew all along it wasn’t going to happen.” So for those wondering why the Browns didn’t try to pillage some team by moving down a few spots, they never had the chance.
• Sodium pentathol, and defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, came up in the wake of the Denzel Ward pick. Truth serum. My question to Dorsey on Friday morning: “If we gave Gregg Williams sodium pentathol right now, who would he have said he wanted with the fourth pick—Denzel Ward or Bradley Chubb?” Dorsey pulled out his cell phone and rang Williams. I asked him the question. Williams: “Ward. The reason is our need for a press cover cornerback. Denzel probably plays that position as well as anyone I’ve seen in college football in some time. We probably play the most press of any team in the league. There’s another reason. I’ve got a video of 28 snaps of Myles Garrett pass-rushes last year where he gets within two steps or less of the quarterback when the ball comes out. Basically, we aren’t covering long enough to let him get to the quarterback. Myles and others—especially [defensive end] Emmanuel Ogbah—will get more chances because of Denzel.” Ogbah, Williams said, was a major reason why the Browns went Ward over Chubb. “Ogbah’s a rising star in this league,” Williams said. “He’s got a chance to be Chubb.” High praise.
• The track record at quarterback: abysmal. Cleveland has drafted seven quarterbacks in the top three rounds since 2005. None is a current starter in the league, unless you consider The Spring League one. (Manziel is there right now as he tries to make his way back to the NFL.) The magnificent seven: Charlie Frye, Brady Quinn, Colt McCoy, Branden Weeden, Manziel, Cody Kessler, DeShone Kizer. Mayfield can only go up from here. I told Mayfield I met fans Thursday night who thought of him as Manziel 2.0. “It’s understandable, obviously. First-round picks by the Browns, close to the same size, playmakers … But we’re two completely different people. I care about winning. I care about doing things the right way. I just want to be judged for who I am.”
• Good nugget from Peter Schrager about the Patriots and Mayfield. On the NFL Network telecast, Schrager said the Patriots spent time Monday with Mayfield, which raised some eyebrows. Mike Reiss, in his Sunday column on ESPN, added the fact that it was offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels who visited Mayfield in his hometown of Austin on Monday. That would lend credence to the theory in some corners that if Mayfield dropped down to, say, six or seven in round one, New England might have been able to offer enough to move up from the 23rd pick in the round to tempt a team in trade.
• Hue Jackson insists he’s on board. “I’m ecstatic,” Jackson told me Sunday afternoon. “Ecstatic to have such a real football guy as John on board, and ecstatic about this quarterback.” Dorsey and assistant GM Eliot Wolf said Jackson was fully supportive of the Mayfield pick, despite reports that Jackson wasn’t involved in the analysis or the selection. “That’s not the way it works here,” Jackson said. “We went through this together. John Dorsey came here to help me, help us move the organization forward. When you’ve got a GM picking players for the coach without consulting the coach, then the GM should go coach the team. We had good interaction on this pick when we went through it all.” On Mayfield: “Baker definitely has NFL arm talent. He has the passion, the ability to complete balls at all levels of the field, and he has the air about him. He exudes confidence. People will be amazed at how strong his arm is.”
• Mayfield won’t be a happy backup. Jackson: “My plan is for Tyrod Taylor to be the starter, and to play the season. But I am not going to stop Baker from competing. If he gets it fast enough, great. John has established a good quarterback room, with Tyrod and Drew Stanton and now Baker. They’ll make each other better.” Mayfield: “That’s not going to change my mindset. Whatever the coaches say, that’s their decision and I’ll respect it. They have obviously said Tyrod is the starter and again, I respect that. We’ll see. I know I will be able to learn a lot from Tyrod and Drew. All I can do is work hard, put everything out there on the field, and let the coaches make the decisions they’re going to make.”
• A preview of my story this week. In my SIstory, I talk about one of the bricks in the wall of Cleveland’s decision.
Something happened that only a very observant person might notice about the kind of respect his Oklahoma teammates had for Mayfield. When he walked into the Oklahoma indoor practice facility for his workout in front of the Browns, seven teammates were there to catch balls for him, and they were stretching on the other end of the field. Mayfield cupped his hands and called out a two-syllable signal to them: “HEE HEE!”
“HEE HEE!” they called back. They came jogging over to Mayfield.
“Damndest thing I’ve seen,” Jackson said. “Exactly like Baker was the Pied Piper.”
• How do you turn around a losing team? There’s no formula. For 19 years the Browns have been trying with all kinds of quarterbacks, with all kinds of formulas, with all kinds of coaches. Now they’ll try it with a 6-foot 5/8-inch passer who was fourth on the respected Mike Mayock’s quarterback draft board. I had an interesting discussion with Browns vice president of player personnel Alonzo Highsmith about the quarterback position. He told me he had the good fortune as a player in the NFL scouting business to always be around good to excellent quarterbacks, going back to his senior year in high school in Florida, when Mike Shula was his quarterback. He played with Bernie Kosar and Vinny Testaverde at the University of Miami, and then, in his NFL stops, with Warren Moon, Troy Aikman, Testaverde, Joe Montana (in his last training camp in the NFL, in Kansas City) … and then, as a scout in Green Bay, with Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers. Said Highsmith: “I’ve never been concerned with the big arm or the size, necessarily. Those things help, obviously. But I was always looking for traits. Favre and Montana and Kosar and Rodgers and Troy—they had the kind of presence, like when you were a young kid and your big brother was around, and you always felt a lot more confident when your brother was there with you. One night in training camp my last summer, with Kansas City, we had the night off. Montana was going out with the guys and he saw me laying on my bed and he says, ‘Let’s go, Highsmith. Everybody’s going. Let’s go.’ They all had that smirk, that stare, that attitude. You never saw the deer in the headlights. When I met Baker, I saw that in him. And I told him, ‘You could have played with me at Miami. You could have been one of us.’”
• About those jerseys. In the picture atop the column, you see six Browns jerseys flanking Mayfield. The backstory: Walking around the Browns tailgate party on draft night in a downtown Cleveland parking lot, my eyes kept going to the endless parade of Browns jerseys. THOMAS (Joe Thomas, 73) led the pack, but he had good competition from BROWN (Jim Brown, 32) and GARRETT (Myles Garrett, 95). So I spent 20 minutes doing a lap around the parking lot and snapping 26 different jerseys and one T-shirt. A fan from New Albany, Ohio, wore this: I Still Hate John Elway. In Cleveland, some things never change.
• So did the Browns do the right thing? Big answer: I don’t know. I don’t how you can know anything 72 hours after any player is drafted. The biggest problem I have with instant analysis on draft picks is instant analysis on draft picks. In 2014, Bleacher Report gave the Browns an A-plus for the Manziel pick. NFL.com gave the Browns an A-minus for the entire haul, including the eighth pick in the draft, cornerback Justin Gilbert, a gigantic bust. Overall, I trust the Pro Football Focus grades, and PFF, with an NFL eye on college prospects, had Mayfield as the top-rated quarterback in college football in 2016 and 2017. And if you hire three men with long experience at a franchise that’s picked great quarterbacks—Favre and Rodgers—and they unanimously believe Mayfield was the best of the five-quarterback first round, well, I think you've got to let them do their jobs and give them a shot to be right.
About Ozzie Newsome
This was the 16th and final draft for the Hall of Fame tight end and all-star GM of the Ravens, and it was emotional. (In all, Newsome has been the decider-in-chief for the Ravens since their first draft in 1996, but he’s had the GM title since November 2002.) It was close to 6 p.m. Saturday, in the middle of the seventh round, when he picked up the phone and called Ferris (Mich.) State defensive end Zach Sieler to give him the good news: The Ravens were about to draft him.
“You know I’ve been doing this for 22 years,” Newsome said, via an emotional video the Ravens website. “You’re my last pick.”
“You’re gonna make me proud? That’s what I want to hear,” Newsome said.
It’s not often that a man is best known for what he did in his first year. But after working for the Browns in the front office, Newsome moved with the late Art Modell to Baltimore in 1996 and took control of the personnel department without the GM title. Modell was involved in the draft room in those days, and he was more interested in a big name that year, running back Lawrence Phillips from Nebraska, instead of an anonymous left tackle, Jonathan Ogden of UCLA. Phillips had a slew of off-field issues, including domestic violence, at Nebraska. Modell still wanted him, though, with the fourth pick in the first round. Newsome, still feeling his way in the job, told Modell: “Ogden’s the better player, and he’s the better guy.” On the day of the draft, Modell tried to convince Newsome about Phillips again, but he was having none of it. The Ravens’ first pick in history was Ogden.
Second pick: Ray Lewis, with the 26th overall selection that year. They were the bedrock players for Baltimore’s Super Bowl championship team four years later, and both made the Hall of Fame. Phillips ended up in prison after domestic assault and another assault charge, was accused of murdering his cellmate, and was found dead in his California prison of a suspected suicide in 2016.
Newsome will stay in Baltimore through season’s end, then cede his duties to longtime assistant GM Eric DeCosta, who called Newsome “probably my best friend” in an moving press conference Saturday night.
For a guy who made the Hall of Fame as a tight end, Newsome had pretty close to as starry a career in the Ravens’ front office. “An emotional day,” he said. “Been a lot of picks. Lot of wins, lot of losses.” And two Super Bowls, with Newsome the architect.
About the Best Trade of the Draft
On Friday, I sat in the Browns’ draft room with GM John Dorsey and we talked about a few of the moves in the first round. I was incredulous about the Cardinals’ move from 15 to 10 in the first round. Arizona gave third- and fifth-round picks to move from 15 to 10. To move from 12 to seven for Josh Allen, Buffalo gave up two second-round picks.
Interesting disparity, to say the least. To me, Arizona GM Steve Keim made the trade of the draft. To give up the 79th and 152nd overall pick to move up for your quarterback—UCLA’s Josh Rosen—was stunning to me. Last year Kansas City moved up 17 spots in round one, and Houston moved up 13, both for quarterbacks, and the price tag in each case was a first-round pick in 2018. To move up five spots in the first half of the first round and not pay a first or second-round pick is a great deal.
But like all trades, there’s much we don’t know. And there’s a possible significant upside for Oakland. The Raiders, likely, didn’t have a sure thing they wanted at 10 after the Niners plucked tackle Mike McGlinchey one pick ahead of them. So they took the consensus second tackle in the class, Kolton Miller, at 15. They traded the third-round pick to Pittsburgh for a talented man-child of a receiver, Martavis Bryant, who likely will be the Raiders’ second or third receiver—and, being in the last year of his contract, Oakland is likely to get his best as he angles for a second NFL deal. Then Oakland used the fifth-rounder as part of a package to take another tackle, Brandon Parker.
“Last year,” said Dorsey, “when I had to pay a one and a three to move up [for Mahomes], you just pay it. It’s a quarterback. It’s worth it.”
We won’t know who wins this, of course, until we know if Rosen can be a long-term quarterback answer for Arizona, and we see if Miller’s good enough to be the heir to aging Donald Penn at left tackle, and we see if the Raiders can get more than one good year out of Bryant. But on the surface, I like the Arizona side of it a lot.
About the Green Bay Cornerback Fetish
Green Bay’s borderline myopic focus on the cornerback position continued in this draft, and it points out some of the holes the latter-day Ted Thompson regime left when the Packers replaced him with Brian Gutekunst. Of the eight picks in the top two rounds of four drafts between 2015 and this weekend, five have been corners, including Jaire Alexander and Josh Jackson in rounds one and two this year. Those picks were necessary because Damarious Randall (round one, 2015) didn’t work out and was sent to Cleveland in trade this year; Quinten Rollins (round two, 2015) is on the edge of a roster spot this year, in part because of a torn Achilles; and the jury is out on a promising 2017 second-rounder, Kevin King.
The Packers wouldn’t have been in the position to desperately pick two more corners this year had they kept Casey Hayward (second round, 2012) instead of letting him walk to the Chargers in 2016. Hayward has turned into one of the league’s best corners, and signed a three-year, $34 million deal with the Chargers in March.
Give credit to Gutekunst for wheedling a 2019 first-round pick out of the Saints to move from 14 to 27 in the first round Thursday night. He used third- and sixth-rounders to move back to pick 18 and took Alexander, and new defensive coordinator Mike Pettine is likely to install Alexander as the slot corner. Then, on Friday, with a first-round prospect still on the board midway through the second round, Gutekunst took Iowa corner Josh Jackson at 45. “It wasn’t the plan,” Gutekunst said. “We got lucky.” Jackson’s stock dropped at the combine, when he ran a 4.56-second time in the 40. But he’s the kind of playmaker (he led the nation with eight interceptions in 2017) at 6-foot who reminds some scouts of Richard Sherman. Like Sherman, Jackson is a converted wideout.
In a vacuum, not considering the sins of the cornerback past, this was a good draft for Green Bay. But the Packers have needs they’ve put on back burners because of their recent obsession with corners. It’s amazing, and an indictment of their recent drafting, that they had to sign vets Tramon Williams and Davon House this off-season to supplement their corner depth chart. It’s unfair to saddle rookie GM Gutekunst with the sins of his father, but he’s under pressure already to show he got the corner position right, as Green Bay plays the last few years of the Aaron Rodgers era.
About the Garoppolo Trade
The Patriots traded quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo last October to San Francisco for what turned out to be the 43rd player in the 2018 draft. Obviously, this could turn out to be the worst trade by Bill Belichick in his Patriots tenure. And in my opinion, what Belichick did over the weekend was a tributary from that Garoppolo trade.
First, what happened to that 43rd overall pick: Six Patriot trades in 17 hours, between 7:50 p.m. ET Friday and 12:50 p.m. Saturday, turned the 43rd pick into this:
• Chicago’s second-round pick in 2019.
• Detroit’s third-round pick in 2019.
• Part of the draft capital used to move up to take second-round cornerback Duke Dawson.
• The 178th pick this year, Arizona State outside linebacker Christian Sam.
My theory: The Patriots didn’t take a quarterback in this draft until picking long-shot Danny Etling from LSU in the seventh round because they didn’t view any of the guys after the top five as likely heirs to Tom Brady. Regarding Etling, I was watching ESPN at the time, and their analysts seemed in shock that he was even drafted. I wouldn’t think of him as anything but an interesting prospect who might develop into a backup. It’s altogether likely the Patriots enter 2019 looking for their next starter.
So now the Patriots have some ammo to move up next year in what appears to be a thin quarterback class, if there’s a quarterback they like. As of today, the Patriots would likely have six picks in the first three rounds—a one, two twos, and three threes, including possible compensatory picks for pricey free agents Nate Solder and Malcolm Butler while not signing any high-salaried unrestricted free agents. Too early to know for sure, but Drew Lock of Missouri could be the only top-10 caliber quarterback next year after four went in the top 10 this year. The Patriots are in better position today to move up for Lock or one of his brethren than they were before the weekend.
About that Giant Rugby Player
“You got my Australian! Good get!” John Dorsey shouted into the phone late Saturday night to Eagles GM Howie Roseman. That’s right: Mountainous Jordan Mailata, who has never played a snap of football in his life, had interest from eight teams after trying out recently and sending his rugby tape to teams. The Eagles actually traded next year’s seventh-round pick to New England to move up 17 spots in the seventh round Saturday to take Mailata, who will play on the offensive line.
Three questions with Roseman on the deal:
MMQB: Why, Howie?
Roseman: “He a fascinating prospect. He’s 6'8", 345 pounds, he can run, he can bend. Our line coach, Jeff Stoutland, went to his workout and came back raving about his work ethic and his athletic ability. We saw this guy had rare athleticism and was physical and violent. Traits of that body type and that athleticism are hard to find. We understand it’ll be a process. He’s 21.”
MMQB: Strange to draft a guy who never played football?
Roseman: “Maybe even stranger to trade two picks for him. I thought [owner] Jeffrey Lurie said something interesting about him: ‘With a lot of these guys, you can see what they’re going to be. With this guy, we don’t know his floor, and we don’t know his ceiling.’ With this guy, we’re molding a piece of clay.”
MMQB: Why use two picks on him, though? Why not try to get him as a free agent?
Roseman: “Then the question is, after the draft, does he pick us? We had no idea. We’d be kicking ourselves if we lost out on him because of a seven. He’s with us now, and if he fails, we can sleep at night. We had 11 picks for next year, so we felt it was something we could afford to do.”
Quotes of the Week
“I can’t … I can’t breathe right now.”
—Central Florida linebacker Shaquem Griffin, on the phone with Seattle GM John Schneider, after the Seahawks chose Griffin with the 141st pick in the draft.
“People call you and they want the second pick of the draft for a bag of donuts, a hot pretzel and a hot dog. Leave me alone. I don’t have time to screw around.”
—Giants GM Dave Gettleman, with what was actually The Quote of The 2018 Draft.
“He texted me earlier today. I was in awe. Matt Stafford texted me! I actually responded, ‘Mr. Stafford.’ ”
—Lions first-round center Frank Ragnow, on Friday.
“Why is the NFL so weak? Why is the NFL so afraid of Donald Trump? They're like the Paul Ryan of sports.”
—Nicolle Wallace of “Deadline: White House” on MSNBC, after the New York Times revealed the contents of a confidential meeting held last fall by the owners to strategize on how to deal with players kneeling for the national anthem.
“I always compare it to a ‘Star Trek’ mind-meld. I’m basically trying to take his brain and put as much of his brain as I can into mine, so that when we go on the field, if I’m making a check or if I’m making a decision, he in his head is making the same decision at the same exact time. If [there’s] as little gray area as a buffer between you and your offensive coordinator as can be, the better.”
—New Arizona quarterback Josh Rosen.
I have a feeling there will be a lot of those mind-melding quotes from Rosen in his NFL life.
“He’s got hands like feet.”
—NFL Network’s Mike Mayock, on 6'8", 345-pound rugby player Jordan Mailata, after the seventh-round Eagle draftee left the network set Saturday.
Text Message of the Week
“He’s less than a year older than me. Crazy.”
—Bridget McCown, daughter of Jets QB Josh McCown, in a text to her dad after the Jets took 20-year-old Sam Darnold in the first round.
Stat of the Week
Do not show this to Baker Mayfield. It might freak him out.
Since Thanksgiving Day 2014, the Browns have had nine starting quarterbacks. Those nine quarterbacks are 4-49. The only starting quarterback to win multiple games in that 53-game span is … well, you guessed it.
Cleveland’s last 53 games, by winning percentage of starting quarterbacks:
Factoids That May Interest Only Me
The jersey numbers of the first-round quarterbacks:
No. 3: Josh Rosen, Arizona
No. 6: Baker Mayfield, Cleveland
No. 8: Lamar Jackson, Baltimore
No. 17: Josh Allen, Buffalo
TBD: Sam Darnold (Likely determined at Jets minicamp this weekend)
Scouting Combine 40 Times of the Week:
Shaquill Griffin, of Central Florida, ran a 4.38 in 2017. He was picked by Seattle with the 90th overall pick.
Shaquem Griffin, of Central Florida, ran a 4.38 in 2018. He was picked by Seattle with the 141st overall pick.
Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note
A couple notes from my three and a half days in Cleveland.
• Beer is good. See this picture of a car? It’s from the parking lot just down the street from First Energy Stadium, where the Browns play. As you can see, it’s a Cleveland Browns sedan. What you can’t see so well, and I apologize for that, is that there’s a beer tap rising out of the trunk.
• Quicken Loans Arena is loud. Went to see the Cubs and Cleveland play a 2016 World Series rematch game Wednesday night downtown in the igloo of a baseball stadium. Man, I don’t know how those players go out and play in 33-degree wind chill for a good chunk of a month. I made it about six innings sitting out in left field. But what was interesting was the noise and the mega-bass penetrating the walls of the basketball arena next door as the Cavs and Pacers dueled in Game 5 of their playoff series. You could hear the PA guy pretty clearly, and there wasn’t much noise from the 15,712 at the ballgame. People were too busy trying to stay warm.
Tweets of the Week
Ten Things I Think I Think
1. I think if you’re going to have a parrot announce a draft choice, Tampa Bay, the parrot actually ought to announce the pick. How hard is it to teach a Carolina Macaw to say these eight syllables: Jor-dan White-head safe-ty Pitts-burgh.
2. I think the faux Twitter outrage over the stage fright suffered by Zsa Zsa the Carolina Macaw was better than if she’d actually made the pick. Case in point:
3. I think the best one of those picks was Arizona taking cornerback Chris Campbell of Penn State in round six, and announcing the pick on a street corner in northern Arizona. Now, courtesy of enterprising PR man Mark Dalton of the Cardinals, this is the significance of that:
• Standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona, which was such a fine sight to see, the Cardinals drafted a corner.
• Campbell, the Cards pointed out on Twitter, “won’t Take It Easy on wide receivers.”
• “Take It Easy,” co-written by Glenn Frey of the Eagles, has some significance in Arizona beyond standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona. Frey played the Cards’ general manager in the movie, “Jerry Maguire.” The late Frey did not look much like a GM in that movie.
4. I think I understand why the Bills did what they did in drafting Josh Allen, even after his racially insensitive tweets were revealed Thursday morning. I don’t know the motivation behind release of the tweets, and I don’t know who did the releasing or the finding. But I do know once they were released, Allen had to be vetted over it. You don’t think that could be an issue in a locker room with black and white athletes? The Bills handled it well, GM Brandon Beane telling me coach Sean McDermott convened his players council of veterans to discuss how they were handling it, and the Bills getting Allen on the phone for 30 minutes during the afternoon to hear his side. “You could hear the tears on the other line,” Beane said. “We told him, ‘Collect yourself.’ And he owned up to it. He explained every one. He was very embarrassed. We let him know what is acceptable and what is not. He understands this is part of him now, and he has to earn the respect of his teammates going forward. And we called a lot of people. We didn’t find one person—and I am not saying there is not one person out there—but we didn’t find one person who said this is Josh Allen. We found people who defended Josh. So we decided to move forward.” Buffalo picked Allen seventh overall, and we’ll see how he handles this going forward. If I were the Bills, I’d have him talk to the team at the first full-squad minicamp.
5. I think the Shad Khan explanation for why he wants to buy Wembley Stadium as it relates to the Jaguars leaves me with a lot more questions, and leaves me thinking the Jags are still the biggest contender to eventually move to London. Said Khan: “If my ownership interests were to include Wembley Stadium, it would protect the Jaguars’ position in London at a time when other NFL teams are understandably becoming more interested in this great city. And the stronger the Jaguars are in London, the more stable and promising the Jaguars’ future will be in Jacksonville.” Uh, how?
6. I think the best feel-good story at the draft in years was one-handed Shaquem Griffin getting picked by his twin brother’s team. Normally when you’re talking to people during the draft, touchy-feely stories like that don’t matter much. But this one … Football people in draft rooms stopped to watch that, I can guarantee you. So many people were touched by it the same way we all were.
7. I think I couldn’t do the story justice the way Jenny Vrentas of The MMQB did. Her description of his moment: “Soon his walk-up music began playing—Drake’s ‘Do Not Disturb’—and it was time for Shaquem Griffin, draft pick of the Seattle Seahawks, to take his much awaited walk across the stage in front of a roaring crowd. He took a deep breath, patted his heart and looked over at his brother, who was standing right next to him.”
8. I think kudos should go to you, Chris Borland, for your tribute to Ann McKee on the Time 100 list—the 100 Most Influential People. And to you, Ann McKee, for your diligence in studying brains affected by football.
9. I think if this is it, Jason Witten, you’ve taught a new generation of tight ends how to play the position, and you’ve taught football players how to play, win, lose and compete with class and sportsmanship at the highest level of the game. Good luck, whatever you do.
10. I think these are my other thoughts of the week:
a. Story of the Week: A place in Hawaii got 50 inches of rain in 24 hours. Welcome to the future, by Heidi Chang of the Los Angeles Times.
b. Crime Story of the Week: On a mass rapist and murderer in California, and how this accused cocky deviant was caught after decades on the lam, by The New York Times.
c. Man, the Celtics can shoot threes.
d. Man, LeBron wasn’t ready to pack it in for the year.
e. Man, the Penguins got jobbed Sunday in Washington.
f. Big trade on the spur of the moment Sunday night, because I hate my rotisserie team.
g. Yanks looking pretty juggernauty.
h. Nice glove, Kole Calhoun. Wow. Did you see his catches Friday night against the Yankees? Robbed a triple in the gap with a parallel-to-the-ground diving catch, and robbed a home run with a leap against the right-field fence.
i. Coffeenerdness: It’s useless at a nice little road hotel like the Marriott TownePlace Suites to expect good coffee. But I would appreciate something better than coffee-flavored water to go with my Froot Loops.
j. Beernerdness: Hey, now that I’ve totally blown sober April, I did discover a good new beer at the ballyard in Cleveland the other night: the Great Lakes Brewing (Cleveland) Holy Moses White Ale, which would give Allagash White a run for its money with just a little more flavor. Perhaps a bite more coriander.
k. Good luck, Owen Daniels, and Henry Daniels, and to your entire family.
l. Any plans to show up this year, spring?
The Adieu Haiku
I’ll bet you five bucks.
No. Make it 10. Baker’s the
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