When we last left Designer Impostors body spray aficionado Peter King, he was on vacation for a full month, taking time away from his normally stressful life of going out to dinner with Sean Payton and then complaining about the food/service/coffee at that dinner. It’s a dirty, dirty job, people. But now Peter is back! Just in time for training camps to open! HUZZAH! What can we expect from Peter this upcoming season? Will he spend days at a time trapped inside Bill Belichick’s dynastic womb? Who does he think will lead the league in normalcy? Will he take any commuter flights with a gallon of enema fluid trapped inside his rectum? READ ON.

Today is time for hope. I tweeted the other day the reason this is such a fun time is because 32 teams think they have a chance to make the playoffs right now, and I think about 28 actually do. (Scratch St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Buffalo and probably Cleveland, though I guess it’s possible Jake Delhomme can be reborn and the Browns could eke out nine wins.)

Can Jake Delhomme stop throwing the ball to the other team? POSSIBLY. Is that, for some reason, more likely than the Bucs making the playoffs with a second year QB who beat Green Bay last year? MAYBE. Could my wireless phone become self-aware and transform into a small cyberinsect that could then take over the NASA mainframe? PERHAPS. Are you going to finish that maple bar? TIME WILL TELL.

“You know I picked you guys to make it to the Super Bowl,” I said to San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers the other day.

“You know how cute I always thought you were.”

/unhooks red bikini top

“But I’m a little worried about the guys you might not have.”

“You know I picked you guys to make the Super Bowl. But I also think you might suck. You could work, or you could EXPLODE. Ruminate on that for me into this Dictaphone while I eat a King Cone.”

“You know me,” Rivers said. “I’m the ultimate…

Cockmouth?

…optimist.”

So not the best word to describe you.

“I know what everybody thinks about the guys we might be missing.”

“And to that I say, you know who isn’t missing, COCKWALLET?! KING FUCKING LASERFACE. You think we need Rapeasaurus out there banging midget rice-eaters when I can take a fucking team on my back and float it WHERE NO TEAM HAS FLOATED BEFORE? ALL OF YOU CAN HANG ON MY SCROAT.”

“This is the best offseason we’ve ever had… We’ve never had 50 guys showing up with the 7:30 group [in strength and conditioning workouts] on a random Tuesday in April.

Ah, nothing gets me ready for preseason overhyping like the old “everyone worked out together!” statements. Guys got up and lifted EARLY! You don’t see many teams do that, except any team that doesn’t employ Albert Haynewsworth.

”It was almost like a full team workout at 7:30 in the morning, which we’ve never had. They just kept coming, day after day. Not that we haven’t been hungry. But we’ve gained the knowledge of what it takes to win by coming so close so often.”

“We know precisely WHEN to choke and how to manipulate the tracheal area to forcefully eject that potential victory out onto the floor in a puddle of warm bile and used fish taco juice.”

Sexy Rexy and the Jets. Can Santonio Holmes and Braylon Edwards — both in contract years — co-exist? Is Jason Taylor washed up? Will the best non-quarterback player in football, Darrelle Revis, be happy with his contract? Can Rex Ryan keep a lid on all these high-strung personalities? Can Mark Sanchez keep peace in the huddle? Will the unceremonious dumping of Pro Bowl guard Alan Faneca impact the best line in football? Can anyone here rush the passer?

What is the square root of 144? If we haven’t found aliens yet, why would anyone think they could find us? If I were ever struck in “limbo,” or unconstructed dream space, what’s to stop me from building an entire city out of used Illy frappucino cans? WAS LOCKE ACTUALLY A GOVERNMENT AGENT SENT TO THE ISLAND TO KILL SAWYER?! Will I ever ask a question I can actually answer with pertinent information you were unaware of?

Interesting that I’ve asked 64 important questions and haven’t mentioned LaDainian Tomlinson…

Interesting that I could pose so many interesting questions. What made me choose those questions? WHAT MAKES ME TICK?!

“I wanted to see how our attitude was in mini-camps and OTAs too,” (Drew) Brees told me. “And this was interesting — there were more fights, more jawing at guys on the other side of the ball, than I’ve ever seen in an offseason.”

Ah, a close second to the “everyone worked out together!” preseason overhype is the “guys were fighting!” overhype. Nothing is a better barometer for postseason play in January than if two guys on a team are fighting in May over a piece of road beef. I for one, am very excited to Peter to report that certain players “have never been healthier,” or to identify an undrafted free agent who looked really AWESOME in a July practice only to be cut by the second preseason game.

4. My surprise teams, and people. I like Carolina and Seattle to surprise.

And my surprise people? THE NORMANS.

Kevin Kolb’s going to be a compelling story. I like his moxie, and I like the moxie of Andy Reid trading Donovan McNabb

And I like the moxie of McNabb saying to the Eagles, “You know what? I’ll prove you wrong.” And I like the moxie of the Redskins to trade for McNabb when everyone thinks he’s washed up. And I like the moxie of this Moxie cola, which has been sitting in my attic for four decades but still has that peppery flavor I’ve always loved.

Why not? With McNabb, it was been there, done that. With Kolb, there’s a freshness to training camp, an excitement that hadn’t been there. Unless Kolb chokes and fails miserably, I won’t rip the Eagles for making the move because they’d already seen everything they need to see from McNabb.

“I’ve seen just about enough of this whole making-the-playoffs-and-having-a-prolific-offense business!”

/just kidding, McNabb blows

The F (Favre) word. I have no information for you…

Really? I’m shocked.

…other than I, like all of you, think Brett Favre’s going to show up in time to play the third preseason game (Aug. 28, Metrodome, Seattle in town).

That’s not information at all! You’ve placed speculation in the guise of information! AGAIN! Damn you, King!

Too many clues, like Favre saying how much more can he hurt his wounded ankle, and like the clear affection he has for his teammates in Minnesota.

And look at all the HUGGING he did last year. Does that look like the hugging of a future retiree? I say no.

Also a clue that Favre isn’t retiring? HE’S FUCKING BRETT FAVRE AND HE’LL NEVER GO AWAY.

Jay Cutler and Mike Martz are united in the city of United (Airlines),

This is always how I refer to the city of Chicago. It’s just like when I tell my brother I can’t wait for us to be at liberty in the city of Liberty (Mutual), which is actually Hartford, Connecticut. But you knew that already.

Say, let’s take a gander at Peter’s camp schedule!

July 27 
San Antonio

Dallas Cowboys

What I’ll be looking for:

Smiles. Lubricant. Coffee made by someone other than a South African National who clearly doesn’t know his way around a cup of Starbucks Dark Roast.

July 29
 Georgetown, Ky.

Cincinnati Bengals

What I’ll be looking for: Carson Palmer’s arm — and his targets.

I love Carson Palmer. I worry about Carson Palmer. I fear for Carson Palmer. I worship Carson Palmer. I DESPISE Carson Palmer. I envy Carson Palmer. I murdered Carson Palmer. I taxidermied Carson Palmer.

July 30
 Spartanburg, S.C.

Carolina Panthers

What I’ll be looking for: 

Brisket, good nuggets, and a way to finally trade Stephen Strasburg from my fantasy team so I can get some hitting! What if I traded him for Raul Mondesi? Could be very smart.

July 31
 Flowery Branch, Ga.

Atlanta Falcons

What I’ll be looking for: 

Fresh peaches that stack up to the canned kind, which are very good, Mike Smith’s normalcy, Matt Ryan being pretty good for someone in the middle of something emotional.

Aug. 1
 Davie, Fla.

Miami Dolphins

What I’ll be looking for: 

Marlins tips for all you diehard Marlin fans! Can Josh Johnson step it up for the pennant race? IT’S WHY YOU READ THIS COLUMN.

I’ll also be checking in on Bill Parcells. Bill says he thinks Kobe Bryant is a good basketball player because he “Wants to win.” Tell me that isn’t good insight.

Aug. 5 
Flagstaff, Ariz.

Arizona Cardinals

What I’ll be looking for: Not Emmitt Smith. Last time in Flag, he hated me.

“Peter King, hell hash no furry like an Emmitt sporked! I will have my indiciation!”

Aug. 8
 Bourbonnais, Ill.

Chicago Bears

What I’ll be looking for: Mike Martz-Jay Cutler marriage. Intriguing.

Intriguing. Perplexing. Fascinating. Dangerous. Obsession for Men. Calvin Klein. In stores now.

Aug. 16
 Latrobe, Pa.

Pittsburgh Steelers
What I’ll be looking for: Ben Roethlisberger, chastened.

HE DOESN’T LOOK CHASTENED ENOUGH! SUSPEND THIS MAN SIX EXTRA GAMES FOR LACKING PROPER HANGDOGNESS!

Aug. 18
 Westminster, Md.

Baltimore Ravens

What I’ll be looking for: 

Ed Reed’s gloves!

Aug. 26 
Foxboro, Mass.

New England Patriots

What I’ll be looking for: Rams-Pats game … the state of Wes Welker.

Welker isn’t just a person, you see. He’s a state of mind. He’s a whole region. A mentality. He’s a culture, a culture that rises up and says to the world I AM FACKIN’ GRITTY!

Quote of the Week II
“It’s time we all rise up. We’ve been knocking on the door. Now it’s time to blow it up.”
– Atlanta Falcons fan Samuel L. Jackson, in a video released by the team on Friday.

YES OUR TEAM DESERVES TO DIE AND I HOPE WE BURN IN HELL! Wait. Wait, that’s not an apt quote at all.

One of the most difficult tasks I had in revising my list of the top 100 players in football in the spring (for the paperback version of the MMQB book, out this fall) was

Figuring out where Willie Colon belongs in the Top 5!

…figuring where to rank the top quarterbacks in football. 

Somewhere below Willie Colon, that’s for damn sure. Except for that Brian St. Pierre. I love what I saw from him when he took half a snap back in ’02.

Enjoyable/Aggravating Travel Note of the Week
The Westin Hotel/Michigan Avenue in Chicago has long been a hotel of choice for me, because of its proximity to everything in such a great city.

But what about your boycott, man? What about making Westin accountable? You used to be about something, dammit!

Last week, on my last travel leg of vacation, it was also the scene of something I never could have expected: an argument that, in 10 seconds, almost escalated into a hotel-lobby brawl.

You see, this man in the lobby was reading a magazine and turning the pages WAY too loudly for my tastes…

There are three elevators in the lobby of the Westin, and at rush-hour check-in last Tuesday, two were out of service. So when my wife and I got to the bank of elevators around 6 p.m., there were 15 or so people waiting for the one working lift. We waited two, three, four minutes. Now there were 25 or 30 people waiting. And then a 35ish man wedged in to the left of the crowd waiting for the elevator. He looked at the line of people and looked peeved. We all were, of course. Then the door opened and 10 or 12 people came off. And the 35ish man took three quick steps to the elevator.

“Hey, hey, hey,” I said. “Come on, buddy. That’s not right.”

The guy stopped, looked at me angrily and snarled, “Don’t tell me what to do. I wasn’t going on.”

“Yes you were,” I said. “I saw what you were doing. That’s not right.”

He took a couple of steps toward me and said angrily, “I’m a Starwood Preferred member.”

Okay, that’s fucking gay. KICK HIS ASS, PETER.

Like that made cutting the line OK. “You’re also an a——,” I said.

Oh, snap! Peter’s gettin’ LOFTY.

I obviously shouldn’t have said that…

Yes, you should have. You should have gone even further. You should have called him fucktaster, or ass candy, or jolly cocklicker. All of those would have be fitting. THAT MAN WAS A DILLWEED.

…but he deserved it. Now Mr. Starwood Preferred walked the final three steps toward me and said. “You wanna step outside?” He bumped my chest hard. “People who use that word are looking for a fight,” he said. “People who use that word to me, I go outside with. You wanna go outside?”

Where the trees and the talk are? That sounds lovely.

Now the elevator was full, and the door closed.

“No, I don’t,” I said.

He was breathing hard on me. “You’re a big talker,” he said, stepping back a step or two.

Dude, you have NO idea how big of a talker our man is.

“And you’re still an a——,” I said.

Look at Peter bring the HEAT! What are the odds Peter was wearing a Red Sox cap and ill-fitting cargo shorts during this exchange? A thousand percent?

He stepped toward me again. Almost simultaneously, a front-desk gal near the bank of elevators chirped, “I can take a few people up the service elevator!” So my wife sidestepped the guy. I walked toward the door, me staring at Mr. Starwood Preferred the whole way. “—- you, ————,” Mr. Starwood Preferred hissed at me.

“Have a nice day,” I said, and boarded the service elevator.

I don’t know exactly why — it’s not testosterone, I don’t think — but I almost wish Mr. Starwood Preferred had taken a swing at me. Even if he’d pummeled me (and he may well have), he’d have known that at least one person out of 30 sniffed out the real idiot in the crowd. Then again, I like my nose unbroken.

Stupid front desk gal. You had to go and find a peaceful solution! We could have had Peter throwing down on this man and throwing hot Zulu Blend in his grill! He would have treated that man like the waitstaff at Sibling Rivalry, dammit!

Factoid of the Week That May Interest Only Me

There are three engraved slogans on the inside of the Saints’ Super Bowl rings, all significant things the Saints used last year on their championship run:

“Smell greatness.”
– Ronnie Lott, from his preseason appearance in front of the team. During the chat, he said, “I smell greatness in this room!”

Are you shitting me?

Finish.
– Jon Gruden, from another team chat, telling them to finish what they start.

Shouldn’t it be, “THIS GUY, I’m gonna call him the Finisher!”?

Be special.
– NBA coach Avery Johnson, telling the players, I guess, to be special.

And so now you know, pro athletes can be motivated by fucking ANYTHING.

-Finish.
-Be special.
-Go and get them.
-Hey you. You should, like, win and stuff.
-Zucchini.

Tweet of the Week
“We had to bail, pigeons s—-ing in jareds mouth. Too unsanitary to continue.”
 — @doctorfollowill, Kings of Leon drummer Nathan Followill, announcing Friday night that the band had indeed cancelled its St. Louis show after three songs because a pigeon in the rafters of the Verizon Amphitheater dumped on his brother, bassist Jared Followill.

Clearly the pigeon was as tired of hearing “Use Somebody” as I am.

I’m a melanoma survivor. I’ve still got what looks like a shark bite in my right forearm from having cancer cut out of there two years ago. I can’t say it loudly enough, and I’m sure Kaye Cowher would want the same thing said if she could say it right now: Go get screened. 

RESPECT THE SUN. Do not taunt the sun. Don’t go cutting in front of the sun at an elevator. The sun wouldn’t appreciate that shit.

I think there won’t be a team in the NFC with more pressure every day this season than the Cowboys. You saw on their first practice day in San Antonio — 19,237 fans in the house. I go to camps all over the country, and even the rabid fan bases don’t get a third of that most days.

And that means this piece is still one of the dumbest things ever written.

I could see McNabb playing like the seventh-best quarterback in football in Mike Shanahan’s offense; I could see him playing like the 20th-, too.

I could also see him playing like the 45th best. Or even the third. I could also see Donovan McNabb acquiring radioactive vision and shooting powerful green rays from a pair of custom goggles, and using those rays to foil a race of evil man/spider hybrids. Now, let me tell you a hunch I have about Brett Favre…

Saw a game in the Wrigley Field bleachers. The last fun thing I did on my vacation was sit in the bleachers last Wednesday to see the Cubs and Astros play.

And man, you should have seen all the foul balls I ripped away from little kids! Little kids have such weak hands!

Went to the men’s room in center field about 75 minutes before the game. In the middle of the empty place: a naked man washing himself, his pile of clothes off to the side.

It was Tony Romo, and I was in HEAVEN.

I did a double-take, and he was quickly soaping up his armpits with the hand soap out of the dispenser, then using a cup to rinse off.

I hoped and prayed he’d find it necessary to wash off that big, purple, throbbing cock of his. And my man didn’t let me down. He went to the Dial foam dispenser and proceded to give me a show I won’t soon forget. Then he said, “Hey big boy, I’ve got a dirty spot somewhere I just can’t wash,” and that was ALL I needed to hear…

On a weirdness scale of 1-10, this was a 46. I said nothing. I looked the other way. For all I know, not another soul this far before the game entered the bathroom by the time this model citizen was washed up and dressed. I hope not. Good game, too, in the Midwestern broiler. Has Carlos Lee always been that girthy?

So it was Carlos Lee in there? And he has a Corona bottle for a penis?

Saw Sox games with both daughters, along with a few home-brewed Watermelon beers at the Boston Beer Works across the street from Fenway.

Watermelon beer is the devil’s afterbirth.

Saw a couple of good movies.

And the weather? HOW WAS THE WEATHER? I must know.

Ran into Larry King at Nate and Al’s deli in Beverly Hills.

I’m imagining a seven-hour conversation that has absolutely no coherence of any kind.

“I love satin jackets.”

“What would we do without recycling?”

“You know who’s got talent? That Harley Jane Kozak.”

“If you live bicoastally, you gotta have a folding bag. You just GOTTA.”

That’s his breakfast haunt. “Who’s your surprise team of the season?” he asked me. I said, “Carolina.”

And then the universe collapsed.

Took a boat from Boston to Provincetown, on the tip of Cape Cod, with my wife on a beautiful summer day, on calm waters. Haven’t been there in 30 years. Cool place.

But what’s with all the angry dykes and their lookalike dogs?

I’ve got a sinking feeling that by the time Martinez, Pedroia and Ellsbury return to the Red Sox lineup, they’ll be swimming with the fishes.

THIS IS JUST LIKE THAT TIME BUCKNAH DID THAT ONE THING! RED SOX RED SOX BUCKNAH BUCKNAH BUCKNAHHHHHHH!!!!

Amazing how many chances Manny Delcarmen gets, for a guy with a 29.46 ERA in his last seven outings. And Sunday’s 4-2 loss in Seattle was an awful one for the manager. Daniel Bard hadn’t given up a run since June 10. He rarely works a second inning of relief, but here he was, in his second inning in Seattle, with a 2-1 lead, having thrown 18 pitches, the 18th being a single to lead off this second inning.

And now there’s a BEACH BALL on the field, and the ballboys are trying to decide which one of ‘ems gonna go get it!

It’s been a busy time for death.

Who knew people died a lot? They didn’t tell me this at Arlington Cemetary!

Coffeenerdness: What is it about me needing hot coffee when it’s 96 degrees and dripping humidity outside? I don’t know, but I can count on one finger the number of iced coffees I’ve had this summer.

Now, if you want to know how many almonds I ate this summer, well I can probably tell you. There was one, and oh yes TWO, and a third, and…

Caught a couple of episodes of The Bachelorette, unfortunately. And I can only say this: How can a girl profess undying love for four guys, one day loving one and the next flying somewhere else and loving another? And who thinks this is a natural, or admirable? What a dumb TV show.

Oh, thank God he’s back.