When we last left the King of Kinglandia, he was still talking about the draft, his time in the Rams draft room and beverages. This week, well, King is talking about the draft, his time in the Rams draft room and beverages.
Like ripping the Band-Aid from the wound, let’s get this week’s PK started so the pain will be over relatively quickly.
So the early reviews on Manti Te’o are positive in San Diego, but what would they be, really, when the players aren’t in pads and it’s only the rookies out there? Today, when the veterans report and the full squad begins offseason training activities, is when he and his fellow Chargers rookies really start to be measured.
Rookies cannot judge other rookies! That’s a rookie mistake!
This was a strange draft,
Which is why Mr. King did so poorly predicting it this year.
a draft with three tackles among the top four picks, two guards in the top 10 and one skill player in the top 15. No running back was taken until the 37th pick; the presumptive top quarterback, Geno Smith, went 39th. The most famous pick in the draft, Te’o, went 38th, and he doesn’t have a lot of rookie peers around the league to take the media pressure off him. For now, anyway. He knows he’ll have to live with the specter of the girlfriend hoax as well as becoming a defensive leader in real time.
Fortunately for Te’o, there are plenty of veteran players out there making headlines no one is paying attention to OTAs.
What he told reporters last week won’t surprise those who knew him well at Notre Dame when the subject of dealing with the veterans came up. It was the right answer. “You’ve just got to keep your head down,” Te’o said. “Know you’re a rookie. Keep your head down, keep your head in the playbook. Work hard. Obviously, you’ve got to earn the respect of the veterans. That will come in time. But with what I’m going to do with my work ethic, that will come soon.”
Work hard, study hard and the respect will come; a daily affirmation for nerds everywhere.
“He hasn’t been around the vets yet,” McCoy said. “Players will be players. They’ll have their fun. I’m not worried about it. Manti’s one of ours, and we’re going to have a strong team that way. He’s going to fit in well.”
“He may be a nutcase, but he’s our nutcase.”
I’ve thought all along that whatever happens with the fraternal hazing Te’o gets, he’ll be measured among his teammates by performance. If the guy can play and is an earnest worker, he’ll get respect in time. It’s naïve to think the phony girlfriend won’t come up, and I’m sure Te’o knows it’s coming, and he just has to take whatever comes his way. But then it’ll be over.
If it’s not a big deal, why are you still talking about this, King? Are you part of the official hazing committee? Do you miss paddlin’ time?
And — will his mates have his back when the road crowds get tough? Te’o’s first road game comes in Week 2, at Philadelphia. That’ll be a treat. That’ll be an earplug game for him.
Any Eagles game is an “earplug game” for anyone not from Philadelphia.
I’m most interested in seeing Te’o against Peyton Manning. Luckily for the Chargers, their new defensive centerpiece will learn a lot before he sees Manning in Weeks 10 and 15. McCoy was Manning’s offensive coordinator last year, and he’ll have some simple advice for Te’o — and for the rest of the Chargers defense. “He’s going to make lots of plays, and he’s going to fool you,” McCoy said. “Don’t get caught up in all of that. Peyton’s going to embarrass you and expose you. He does it to everyone. You’ve just got to hang in there, play your assignment. You’ll make plays. Don’t make it more than it is.”
Quite an impressive pivot from hazing Te’o to praising Peyton Manning. Bet Peypey never had an imaginary girlfriend and if he did, she was very respectful when sitting next to him at church on Sundays.
Two other Chargers points:
It’s summer. Let’s just deal with one.
• McCoy said he thinks Philip Rivers, who has never completed more than 66 percent of his throws in seven starting seasons, can be a 70-percent passer in his new offense. ‘I’ve been blown away by his anticipation and willingness to learn,” McCoy said. That Rivers has 35 interceptions in the last two years is an indication to many who watch the Chargers that he can get too confident in his ability to fit balls downfield into small holes. McCoy will harp on trusting the system that has a myriad of answers, always including one short one — thus his belief the completion percentage can improve.
Seems cliche to call this a lofty prediction in this space, but fuck it, this is a lofty prediction, especially when you pair it with an obligatory Rivers overthrows 70% mark and becomes an 80-percent passer joke.
Two NFL deaths, two very different people.
/Puts on solemn reading glasses.
Jack Butler and George Sauer died in the past week, and you should know them both.
Butler, elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame last year, had a remarkable career as a cornerback, with 52 interceptions in 103 career games as a Steeler in the ’50s — one of the best interception ratios a defender’s ever had. He picked off one pass, roughly, every two games. Rod Woodson, third in picks all time, had one interception per 3.3 games. Butler intercepted John Unitas and Otto Graham. He once picked off Washington quarterback Eddie LeBaron four times in a game.
More important to his legacy, though, is that Butler was one of the fathers of modern scouting. In 1963, he formed the first scouting organization, called BLESTO (Bears, Lions, Eagles, Steelers Talent Organization). This allowed teams to compile more reports on players, because the four teams pooled their reports. In time, another scouting organization surfaced, and a generation later the combine began. The pooling of data all began with Butler.
And the idea that the NFL now charges people to attend the combine is probably what killed him.
Ironically, Butler died of the same staph infection in his knee that caused him to retire early, in 1959. The knee was never totally right, and the staph infection resurfaced last year in the area around his knee replacement, and it ended up killing him at 85.
Word to the wise, don’t Google the term “staph infection” unless you have a good thirty, forty gallons of Neosporin on-hand. What a horrible way to die, infection and knowing your good idea was now yet another cash cow for someone else.
Sauer, a wide receiver, died in Ohio last week at 69 of heart failure. He’d also had Alzheimer’s. He quit the game at 27 in 1970, at his peak as a player, in the same year in which he starred in the first nationally televised Monday night game, at Cleveland. That night, Joe Namath found Sauer for 10 catches and 172 yards. But at the time, he was already thinking of quitting. He couldn’t justify the damage to his body; he hated the regimentation of the game too.
Years later, he told the New York Times, “Football is an ambiguous sport, depending both on grace and violence. It both glorifies and destroys bodies.” He wrote poetry and novels, and he reviewed books.
Subtext: This was Colin Cowherd’s nemesis.
The biggest day of Sauer’s football life came in the biggest day in the history of the Jets. On Super Sunday 1969, the Jets faced the heavily favored Colts. Namath, of course, had guaranteed a win in the game. That was folly enough, but throw in that his favorite receiver, Don Maynard, was hobbled with a pulled hamstring and you see how much tougher beating the big, bad Colts was going to be. Namath completed 17 passes that day, eight to the wide receiver position. Sauer caught all eight. Though Namath threw five times to Maynard, all were incomplete. Sauer’s eight catches produced 133 yards; three of New York’s scoring drives were keyed by Sauer catches.
No one could find Sauer much in recent years, and he didn’t much enjoy reliving his days as a ballplayer. “He was given skills he didn’t want,” teammate John Dockery once told the Times. “He walked away from the money, from everything, because it was too painful for him.”
/Takes off solemn reading glasses, looks off into the distance to contemplate our own mortality and the work that will define us once we pass on. Realizes that legacy includes sorting through Peter King posts and feels very alone in the world. Takes a long sip of coffee and trudges forward through the post.
A defensive player, never hurt, playing every game for 15 straight years.
To me, Ronde Barber is football’s Carl Yastrzemski.
Listen, I don’t want to diminish anything Ronde has done because he is one of the greatest cornerbacks of the modern era, but comparing him to one of the greatest baseball players to ever play the game, no. Just no. I loathe the Red Sox, but no. Yaz was an All-Star in three different decades and was a first-ballot Hall of Famer, and we all know how much baseball writers hate voting people in during their first year of eligibility.
Always there, always playing well, a fixture. One superb year (Yaz, the Triple Crown year in 1967; Barber, the 10-interception All-Pro season in 2001), lots of clutch moments, played through pain. In 2002, seven days after shattering his thumb and six days after eight pins knitted the thumb together, Barber had it casted — and went out and intercepted Brett Favre to help the Bucs beat Green Bay. There is something to be said in sports for being available, and playing at a high level week after week. And Barber was there, every week, for 15 straight years.
And in fifty years Peter King Jr. will write about the staph infection from that broken thumb eventually killed him.
Last week Barber, 38, retired after starting 215 straight games in the defensive backfield for Tampa Bay, a record for consecutive starts by an NFL defensive back. He played right corner, left corner, slot corner and free safety. We spoke about why, and why so long.
“It was time. It was right for me, it was right for them. It had to be done. You never really want to retire. I kind of needed to. If I stayed the year, I’d have had to change my role, and that didn’t resonate with me.
“I always strived to be the most consistent player I could be. To be like [Yastrzemski] is what I strived for.
Did Ronde plant the idea of being Yaz in King’s mind, or did King suggest to Ronde he was like Yastrzemski? Does the top stop spinning?!?!
“I think the play I will always remember came in Philadelphia [in the 2002 NFC Championship Game]. That’s the year we went to the Super Bowl. But it was the fourth quarter, and we’d been showing blitz a lot that day. I had a sack earlier in the game. So I came into a gap when Donovan was getting ready to get the snap. He saw me, and the ball got snapped, then I was back [into coverage]. I thought he’d throw hot to Antonio Freeman, and quick, that’s what he did. I saw him throw, I cut in front of Freeman and just said to myself, ‘Don’t drop it!’”
That wouldn’t be very Yaz-like.
“And then, all that space in front of me [92 yards), and I scored. Just surreal. Two weeks later, we're in the Super Bowl. My wife still cries when she sees that play. And I saw Donovan's mom after the game. I had three touchdowns against him over the years, and she said to me, 'Why do you keep doing this to my boy?'"
Yeah, why are you mean to that nice soup lady and why do you keep making your wife watching your interception everyday, Ronde? Bet seven-time Golden Glovers don't do that.
"I played a lot of great players. The receiver position today ... so hard to match up now. Megatron [Calvin Johnson] was impossible to cover. Randy Moss in his prime: nothing you can do.
Hope Ronde enjoyed that two weeks of retirement before Moss hunted him down and beat him silly for saying he was no longer in his prime.
“But to me, Steve Smith was the toughest guy I faced. When I played him, he was just like me. He chose to outwork everyone else out there every day. That was me.”
“It was like looking in a mirror, he was so much like me. Hey, who put Tiki in this Steve Smith jersey?”
“I’ll miss Sunday. I’ll miss walking into the locker room, taking off my suit and tie and my shirt and getting dressed to play. I’ll miss walking out with the guys. The feeling’s indescribable as you get ready to take the field. It’s hard to measure, hard to describe. It’s the greatest team sport, and so much of what you do and how well you do it depends on the other guys in there. I like that. I’ll really miss that.”
Things to miss: getting dressed, getting undressed, getting dressed again. Things not to miss: having your body destroyed and then still playing the game.
Let the sun shine into NFL draft rooms.
NFL draft rooms are currently held in people’s assholes? Sounds about right.
I’ll never understand what the big secret is about letting people see what really happens in a draft room. It’s one of the last big mysteries in the league, and it’s one of the things big football fans desperately want to experience. Within reason, I think a team opening its draft room for journalistic interest is a win-win for everyone … unless the team absolutely blows it and misses out on a player or players it wants, and then has either no plan or a poor plan in reserve.
It’s a win-win for everyone unless someone looks like an idiot. Yes, lord knows why teams don’t want to open that up for fans. People will watch anything. C-SPAN has been on the air for 34 years and often they show one person giving a speech to exactly two other people.
I mention this because I got to read Chuck Klosterman’s piece in Grantland
STOP. Listen, I’ll read through your posts King, but NO I AM NOT GOING TO READ KLOSTERMAN’S TAKE ON DRAFT DAY. NO. YOU CANNOT MAKE ME HEAR ABOUT HOW WHEN HE WAS A KID ON A BIKE AND HAD OLD COMICS AND RANCID VINYLS AND DREAMED ABOUT DRAFT DAY AND GIRLS THAT HAD CRUSHES ON JOHN CUSACK.
Fortunately, SI saved us and did not actually link to the Grantland piece. Kinglandia 1, Grantland 0.
about a frustrating few days in Berea, Ohio, covering the Browns’ draft. Klosterman was some combination of bemused, angry and throwing his hands in the air.
Better known as Sunday through Saturday for Klosterman.
He admits he’s not sure if there was some sort of misunderstanding about being allowed in the draft room to watch the proceedings in Round 1, but in any case, he came away thinking how ridiculous it is that teams guard their draft secrets like Washington guards nuclear codes.
Daryl Washington is guarding the nuclear codes? Was his girlfriend a secret Russian agent and he just was trying to take her down? (Just kidding, Washington is a terrible person who broke his girlfriend’s clavicle and needs some serious help.)
“I don’t think they’re building chemical weapons in Berea,” he wrote. “But they might be. I can’t say for sure. The Browns live in a state of perpetual war, endlessly convincing themselves that every scrap of information they possess is some kind of game-changing superweapon that will alter lives and transmogrify the culture. They behave like members of a corporate cult. Yet what do these cultists watch on the day of the draft? They watch ESPN. They log on to the Internet and scan ProFootballTalk. The comments they make about college prospects are roughly identical to whatever your smarter friends might glean from the Plain Dealer. I’ve never witnessed this level of institutional paranoia within a universe so devoid of actual secrets. I don’t even know what they don’t want me to know.”
In all fairness, the Pilot Flying JJ headquarters was being raided by the Feds around the draft and Browns owner Jimmy Haslam was acting a bit squirrelly. You’d be a bit paranoid too if you suddenly had no idea who this stranger was you were working for and what this could mean for you and your future.
I don’t really care who is right and wrong in this case, and who made what promises that were or weren’t kept, because Klosterman could have been referring to about 26 teams in the league. I’ve always thought draft secrecy was overblown. Not that teams should be telling reporters and other teams what they’re planning to do. But why don’t more teams do what the Rams did with me in Round 1 of the draft? The Rams had two picks in the round, 16 and 22, at the start of the night, and I thought with GM Les Snead’s fledgling rep for action, there was a good chance the Rams would be active on draft night and it would make a good story.
“No other team does it was well as the Rams because they let me, Peter King, King of Kinglandia, sit in with them for the first round of the draft.”
I asked for some exclusive access, and the team thought it over. I spoke to COO Kevin Demoff and coach Jeff Fisher about it. The team had some concern what might happen if their plans — unspoken to me at the time, a few days before the draft — failed and they didn’t get the players they wanted. My point is what I said a couple of paragraphs ago: If the team had a plan that was well-conceived, regardless what happened, why be concerned about having someone write about it?
“See? I could have been dangerous to the Rams! Edgy like Klosterman! The King of Kinglandia answers to no one!”
There were some other concessions I made.
“Except a King must be merciful and grant their subjects respect.”
I’d check, after the draft with the teams they were having serious discussions with, to make sure they knew I wasn’t blindsiding them. And if someone inside the draft room maligned a player or a team (as in: “Boy, those guys on Team X are worthless foofs”) I wouldn’t use the chance to take a cheap shot.
“Kings only take cheap shots when discussing unworthy coffees.”
I was in there to tell the story of the Rams’ draft, and in my opinion, if a team is confident in its plan, the story is going to be a good one for the team.
Too bad the merciful King of Kinglandia did not give this lecture to the Dolphins last season before allowing those “Hard Knocks” folks in the door.
Of course, it could have all blown up, and the Rams could have run out of trading partners and looked bad. But what chance did that have of happening, really? Not much — when you have two first-round picks.
“The Rams had a back-up plan! If a mistake were to happen, they would distract me with a steak sandwich until their next pick!”
What happened, of course, was the Rams moved from 16 to eight and picked the one player in the draft they wanted the most, wideout Tavon Austin. And they moved from 22 to 30 and still got the other guy they really wanted, linebacker Alec Ogletree. Along the way, there was some suspense that I was able to capture — and that made the Rams look like brilliant gamblers.
Christ almighty you’ve written about this for three weeks in a row. Let it go, Kinglandia. Even middle school kids get over their crushes in about a week.
[Redaction of a few hundred PK words about his own post.]
The Rams got Ogletree.
Phew. That’s a relief. Had no idea that was coming after the past few weeks of the same article over and over again.
One thing I didn’t write that night. Well after the round ended: Snead’s mentor, Atlanta GM Thomas Dimitroff, called Snead and said, “You’ve got big balls.”
“I got ‘em from you,” Snead said.
This is what you’ve been sitting on for three weeks? BALLS references? WELL, HOT DIGGITY DAMN. Like to see Klosterman throw that type of heat.
Quote of the Week I
“Welcome to the Field of Jeans.”
– San Francisco CEO Jed York, announcing the other day that Levi’s, the Bay Area pants company, had bought the naming rights to the Niners’ new stadium in Santa Clara.
Just because you reprinted it, doesn’t make the joke any funnier.
Quote of the Week III
“He has really classy hands.”
– Seattle coach Pete Carroll, after watching rookie fourth-round pick Chris Harper at the team’s weekend minicamp.
I really need to study football more.
The first step in overcoming a problem is admitting you have a problem.
I need to know what classless, bush-league hands look like.
Probably like that guy with the papillomavirus all his body with the big tree-hands. Please don’t Google and embed the images in the comments. Forget I said anything.
Stat of the Week
The Lions, because of injuries and ineffectiveness, have had receiver and running back needs for the last three years. In the 2011 draft, they chose Titus Young in the second round, 44th overall. In the last year, Young:
• Got into a fight with teammate and safety Louis Delmas.
• In at least one game, lined up wrong on purpose multiple times because he wasn’t happy with his role in the Detroit offense.
• Shouted at receivers coach Shawn Jefferson on the sidelines.
• Was sent home during the regular season for insubordination.
• Was cut by the Lions.
• Was signed by the Rams, then cut by the Rams eight days later.
• Was stopped in California for making an illegal left turn, charged on suspicion of DUI, and arrested hours later for attempting to steal his own car from a police impounding lot.
• Was arrested for suspected burglary, and charged with resisting arrest and assault on a peace officer.
So you’re saying there’s still a chance he turns his career around.
The players the Lions bypassed 25 months ago to take Young, who finished his aborted Detroit career with 81 catches (12.2 yards per catch) and 10 touchdowns:
[Graph listing Torrey Smith, Randall Cobb, Denarius Moore, Stevan Ridley.]
Welp, guess this why you don’t let reporters into the draft room.
Factoid of the Week That May Interest Only Me
Midway through the current roster of the Dallas Cowboys is this free-agent candidate: Jared Green. Darrell Green’s son. That Darrell Green. From Washington. Hated rival of the Cowboys.
A sleeper spy! Defend us, Daryl Washington! Join us on the Cowboys, we have no issues with violence.
Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note of the Week
I’m late on this one, but I thought of my play-by-play announcer friend Howie Rose this week as the Mets (he does their games on radio) and the Islanders (he’s their TV voice) had their schedules collide in games against the Pittsburghers in Pittsburgh, in Queens, and in the heart of Long Island. He ended up doing the Isles-Penguins game Thursday night in Pittsburgh, Mets-Bucs Friday night at Citi Field, the final game of the Isles-Pens Saturday night in Uniondale, N.Y., on Long Island, then the Mets-Bucs series finale Sunday afternoon back in Queens.
Yeah, it was a real flashback to when the Isles were good in the early-90s and Mets and Pirates were still in the same division. Miss those days.
“But that’s not such a tough schedule,” Rose said Sunday night. “The second week of April, I drove [from New York] to Philadelphia to do a Mets-Phils Monday night game. I drove home after the game. Then I did the Islanders against the Flyers on the island Tuesday night. Then I drove back to Philadelphia Wednesday to do the Mets again. I don’t know why — sleeping in my own bed, I guess — but I drove home after the game. Then Thursday morning, I flew to Boston to do the Islanders and Bruins Thursday night. Friday morning, I went to the airport in Boston to fly to Minnesota, where the Mets played the Twins Friday night. The flight was delayed five hours. I ended up getting into the broadcast booth in Minneapolis 25 minutes before the first pitch. There was some travel tension I didn’t need.”
How is sleeping in your own bed like staying at a Starwood?
I didn’t listen to much of the Mets over the weekend, but I did see much of the last two hockey games in a thrilling series. I kept wondering, particularly when Rose was having to yell over one of the loudest arena crowds you’ll ever hear in the third period Saturday night, whether his voice was about to go, with the rising tones and the drama of an elimination game never separated by more than a goal. “Nothing is harder on the voice than a hockey game,” he said.
No rest for the scratchy-throated, however. Rose boards a flight to St. Louis today, the first of 10 games in three cities in 10 days.
Islanders were eliminated and the Pirates won three out of four against the Mets. Does Starwood offer any sort of bad luck charm exorcisms at the front desk or do you have to make a spa appointment?
Tweet of the Week I
“The second Jeff Fisher decided Titus Young wasn’t worth it we all should’ve known something was very wrong.”
– @RossTuckerNFL, the former player and current NFL analyst, after Young’s third arrest in six days.
Tweet of the Week II
“Scout to me before Titus Young was drafted, ‘I don’t know if he’ll ever be in trouble, but he’s just not a good person.’ ”
– @Schottey, Bleacher Report NFL writer Michael Schottey, on Sunday.
It’s fun to watch King dance around the issue of what a mess Titus Young has been these past couple of weeks, without actually saying Titus Young is in some series trouble. By allowing other people to say Young was bad news, he keeps himself above the fray just in case Young turns it around and King someday needs to a positive lifestyle piece on him. Pretty icky.
Tweet of the Week III
“18 of the Caps’ 20 playoff games in the past 2 seasons have been 1-goal games. That’s practically impossible. #NHL #WhiteKnuckleWonders”
-- dandalyonsports, Washington-based sports writer Dan Daly, after the Caps lost 1-0 to the Rangers in their playoff game Sunday night. The series is tied 3-3.
“Kinglandia needs a new team now that the Islanders are no longer in play. Why not go for a scrappy Capitals team? I’m sure no one has heard of this Ovechkin guy, I’ll make him a star! Game 7s all around for my subjects!”
Ten Things I Think I Think
1. I think the logical question for the Ford family to ask its Lions personnel department this morning (if it hasn’t already been asked six or eight times) is: How on God’s green earth did you let Titus Young pass through our checking system and grade out high enough to be the 44th overall pick in 2011?
“If Kinglandia had been in the draft room, he could have warned you.”
2. I think other teams have the same skeletons, and potential skeletons, in their closets. But to me, the Lions are different. They’d blown so many receiver picks over the years — granted, in the Millen administration, not Martin Mayhew’s — and you can’t go drafting scared. But Young missed much of his second season at Boise State for fighting a teammate. I liked the pick at the time, because he filled a major need to take pressure off Calvin Johnson. Young, if well-adjusted, would have been a great asset to Detroit.
“If only someone knew how to reach him. Do we not have helpers here in Kinglandia?”
But I couldn’t know what the Lions knew then; when you pick a player 44th overall, you’ve done significant work on him, and you should know of the problems that could surface later on. Character problems, maturity issues. Those are flaws we in the media can’t know nearly as well as the teams. The Lions, I’m betting, knew what a risk Young might be.
“In Kinglandia, I don’t know what I knew then knowing the problems and the depth of the issues that I knew that the Lions knew without having a reporter in the room that didn’t know what to know.”
Now, if you want to question the Rams
Ramsramsramsramsramsrams. If you love talking about the Rams so much, why don’t you just marry them.
“We will allow ego marriage in Kinglandia.”
for taking Janoris Jenkins in the second round last year and the Cards for taking Tyrann Mathieu in the third a few weeks ago, those are valid questions. Jenkins already missed a game for violating team rules last year, and Mathieu is no lock to stay on the straight and narrow. But the Rams had multiple high picks last year and have said openly that they are willing to take chances on players because they think Jeff Fisher can handle risky guys. Time will tell if they’re right on the Jenkinses and the Alec Ogletrees, and I could be throwing stones at them in coming years. The Cardinals don’t have a track record for taking questionable character guys. They thought the talent of Mathieu was worth the risk. That’s one I think the team will end up regretting.
Managed risk. I’m pretty sure King just sold us an index fund and not a football player.
3. I think I can’t imagine a downtown Minneapolis stadium without a roof on it. Only question is, will it be retractable or a permanent dome? Find out tonight, when the Vikings, on Vikings.com, unveil their new stadium plan at 8 Eastern.
“I think I can’t imagine.”
4. I think there was no more loyal — even to the point of sometimes straining credulity — club employee in the NFL than Amy Trask to the Raiders. To Al Davis, more specifically. With Davis deceased and change the order of the day in Oakland, Trask resigned after a quarter-century with the club Saturday, amid signs the team would get a chief executive handpicked by Mark Davis and Reggie McKenzie. I’ve sparred with Trask over the years, but she’s been a bullish Raiders loyalist always, and I’ve appreciated where she was coming from. She also took her role as a female trailblazer in the league seriously and mentored many young women who wanted to rise in the business. I hope someone’s smart enough to see how important a good, tough woman is to the bottom line of a sports franchise, and Trask is hired somewhere in the business soon.
“Why, she might be as tough as Andrea Kremer, Queen of Kinglandia.”
5. I think if Geno Smith wins the Jet starting job to start the season, I wouldn’t be remotely surprised if the Jets traded Mark Sanchez for a low-round draft pick or cut him before Week 1.
“But all that money? Where did it go?”
6. I think this is about the 17th time Alex Gibbs, hired to consult with the Broncos, has come out of retirement. He coached Denver’s line for nine years, including both seasons when John Elway piloted the team to the Super Bowl title. Elway, of course, is the one who approved the Gibbs hiring.
Well, horses are creatures of habit. And carrots, but mostly habit.
7. I think, regarding Tavon Austin saying everyone from his life is asking for money, there’s a reason more than one team was afraid of him entering draft weekend. Austin, from all accounts, avoided the pitfalls that have befallen lots of inner-city draftees over the years. But some around the league think acquaintances from Austin’s past (he is from one of the toughest neighborhoods in the country, in Baltimore) could follow him into the NFL.
They’ll have to buy a ticket like everyone else.
8. I think Michel Varisco, the wife of Steve Gleason, got her due in a story in the Baton Rouge Advocate Sunday. She even revealed the family, despite Steve being unable to move or speak much now because of his advancing ALS condition, is considering having a second child to give son Rivers some company. “We’ve wanted Rivers to have a sibling,” she said. “And we’re getting more help for Steve. I think we’re ready for No. 2. Sometimes, our life isn’t what it’s supposed to be, but it’s normal to us. We just choose to live it the best way we can.”
As someone who’s been around the family a lot, I can tell you there’s going to be more than enough love to help raise two kids, regardless of Steve’s physical condition.
Oof, pretty judge-y there PK.
10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:
a. I’ve seen lots of good interviews over the years on 60 Minutes, but Scott Pelley’s interview with American hostage Jessica Buchanan — rescued by a Seal Team in Somalia in January after being held for three months by Somali pirates — was captivating. Pelley let the interview breathe. He let Buchanan, an excellent and expressive storyteller, tell the story, particularly about her rescue and her military heroes being willing to take a bullet for her — a total stranger. I knew absolutely nothing about the story before seeing it, but it’s funny how in a matter of minutes so many emotions can build up: admiration of a selfless person like Buchanan, love of country for training such a tremendous force of rescuers, and, well, just America at its best. Good story on Bill Gates’ philanthropy too.
Wonder if Kinglandia gets upset when “60 Minutes” is delayed on the East Coast during football season.
b. Had a great treat the other night: Got to watch Washington pitcher Jordan Zimmerman duel with Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder. How Fielder will have a long career with that physique, I have no idea. And to see Cabrera catch up to a 96-mph fastball effortlessly was pretty cool.
Yes, because all football players have model athlete bodies.
c. Bryce Harper and Dustin Pedroia have the hardest swings I see in baseball.
Never understood how eyes could measure strength. Maybe Kinglandia has enough gold to buy Terminator eyes.
d. Why it’s impossible to predict baseball: Jason Grilli, Manny Machado.
What are you talking about? Grilli wasn’t that awful last season. If I remember correctly, he had one better SO reliever stats in the NL in 2012.
e. Grilli’s 15-for-15 in save opportunities for the Pirates through six weeks.
Let’s not bring up when Hurdle has put Grilli in when it wasn’t a save opportunity.
f. Machado, an Oriole, has more hits than any third baseman but Cabrera, and more RBIs than David Wright and Adrian Beltre.
g. The Red Sox have fallen to earth faster than Manti Te’o’s January reputation.
Giggle. Peter King is a part of Te’o’s hazing.
h. My question after the umps at Astros-Angels allowed Houston manager Bo Porter to change pitchers, then change again without the first reliever facing a batter: Of course the umps screwed up. But how can a manager walk to the mound to pull a pitcher when the pitcher out there hasn’t faced anyone? Does Bo Porter know the rules of baseball? I’m sure he does; that’s a wiseacre question. But what kind of bran freeze does a manager have when he pulls an uninjured pitcher who hasn’t faced a batter yet? Glad to see Porter apologized for his role in it, at least.
Bran freezes usually happen when you overload on fiber. Makes you feel all bloaty for days.
i. How cool is the image of Maple Leaf fans going bonkers after Toronto beat Boston Sunday night to force a game seven? The scene.
Excited Canadians, never not adorable.
j. You may not have won the series, Islanders, but you are one of the most fun teams to watch in the NHL. We’ll be watching next year. Especially you, John Tavares. “A hockey savant,” Howie Rose calls him.
Is this the Kinglandia royal we? Because I hope Tavares falls down a well this summer.
k. I know this makes me sound like a NBC Sports Network homer, but there is nothing like playoff hockey, and nothing like the end-of-series handshake line. Classiest drill in sports.
Well, after you’ve knocked out six or seven of your rival’s teeth, you start to have a certain kinship.
l. Playoff Hockey Is Good Dept.: In the East, 8-seed (Isles) won two from 1-seed (Penguins) and outplayed Pittsburgh in the final game;
7 (Ottawa) beat 2 (Montreal) in five. And 3-6 and 4-5 are both going to seventh games tonight. Toronto-Boston on CNBC, Rangers-Caps on NBC SportsNet. (Other than local telecasts.) That is, if Boston gets home in time. The Bruins’ plane malfunctioned and the team had to stay over in Toronto Sunday night while the Leafs flew to Boston. How about that: Toronto sleeps in Boston, Boston sleeps in Toronto, and the game tonight is in Boston.
No mention of the number of Starwood points a team could rack-up with an additional night’s stay?
m. Playoff Hockey Is Really Good Dept.: In the West, the top seed, Chicago, won easily. But 5, 6 and 7 beat 2, 3 and 4 by a combined 12 games to 5. To recap: Of the eight playoff series overall, it’s still possible that six could be won by lower seeds with no home-ice advantage.
Trick thought! Name those seeds! They were in the previous thought.
n. Knowledgeless NBA Dept.: (Just owning up to my hoops weakness) Knicks are a painful watch … If Tony Parker wasn’t a guard, he could be great at ballet … Steph Curry can pass too. And shoot one-handed, left-handed, from 14 feet, apparently. What a fun guy to watch … Gregg Popovich doesn’t take any crap, does he? … Break up the Celtics. It’s time.
Stop pretending to have other interests. This like when people ask, “Did you see what Madonna wore to the Met Gala?” and you have to respond, “So good, right? She was totally punk, although I thought she would go with Steve McQueen” even though Steve McQueen is an actor and Alexander McQueen was the fashion guy and now you look like a total rube.
Fucking rich people fashion galas.
o. Coffeenerdness: Terrific espresso, Gregorys Coffee. My first trip to the Manhattan coffeemaker the other day, and the brew reminded me of the black gold at the Buttery in Boston’s South End, where I used to live.
Huh, PK used to live in Boston. Who knew?
p. Beernerdness: Wish I had a fresh beer tidbit for you. (Actually, right about now, I wish I had a fresh beer.) Winenerdness will have to suffice. A very good Cask cabernet (Rubicon, Napa Valley) from Sunday night’s Mother’s Day dinner highlighted the week.
Can’t criticize this pick. This is a very good wine. Lofty wine. A wine I would drink myself if most cabs didn’t give me headaches.
q. Hearty congrats to SI’s (and FOX’s, and MLB Network’s) ace reporter and commentator Tom Verducci for his Sports Emmy. I love the way Tom transitions so effortlessly from one medium to another. It’s something for all of us who do more than one thing in this business to strive for.
“Just us sexy, multitalented people.”
The Adieu Haiku
NOPE. We’ve already had enough bad poetry today.
I want more like this!
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