When last we left bereftaholic, Peter King, he pondered the travel question of the millennium, which is why bored people waiting at a lifeless airport gate line up early when a plane is being boarded. The sheer temerity of these airline moochers! PK also called out Roddy White for mooching on a Twitter bet (even though Roddy has more than made up for it) even though Peter has a history of bailing on Twitter bets himself. Finally, he blathered on more about his fantasy baseball team full of Red Sox, because what else would PK do?
But what about this week? Strap in, because everyone dies this week. Those who survive suffer a worse fate: baseball discussion. READ ON.
NEW YORK — On a high floor of Lenox Hill Hospital Saturday afternoon, Jim Kelly, 54, lay propped up in a hospital bed, his head back, matted and tousled hair, a round of pain meds and antibiotics coursing through his veins. He looked tired. His daughter Erin, a freshman at Liberty University, held his hand as he ticked off what life has been like for him lately. Four Kelly brothers and father Joe ringed the room, along with younger daughter Camryn (pictured atop this story), and his wife Jill followed his every word from the foot of the bed.
The fuck? A Peter King opener that doesn’t dabble in stupid puns and gets straight to the point? Gather the kids. This is a once-in-a-lifetime event. Just kidding. Don’t ever subject your children to Peter King.
“There is no way I’d be here without my faith,’’ Jim Kelly said. “It’s been such a roller coaster. So many things. The Super Bowl losses, the fabulous career, my son born sick, making the Hall of Fame, my son dying, two plates and 10 screws in my back after major surgery, one plate and six screws in my neck after another surgery, a double hernia, the cancer, surgery on my jaw, the cancer coming back, now what I’m facing. But …”
He looked at Erin.
“When you’re going through pain, you’re what?’’ he said.
Not even a millisecond elapsed.
“Kelly tough,’’ said the eldest daughter of Jim Kelly.
/makes Kellystrong bracelets, makes millions in Buffalo
//is a horrible person
The prosthesis works like a giant retainer; Kelly can remove it, and he looks like an old man without his front teeth when it’s out.
“Have you met JK Swag?’’ Jill said Saturday afternoon. “After surgery, Jim said, ‘I will never pull this out.’ He didn’t want us to see him like that. Jim, introduce JK Swag.”
With that, Jim took the device out of his mouth and began talking like an unintelligible old geezer and scowling, and the room roared. Then he put his teeth back in.
“Sometimes,’’ Erin said, “we understand JK Swag better than JK.”
You know, this actually kind of well-done and affecting.
HOWEVA, before I start acting crazy giving PK credit, I should note that from a journalism standpoint, this is not exactly the toughest thing to get right. You visit Kelly’s hotel room, you talk to him, you talk to his family, you write stuff down. It would actually be hard to mess this up. So let’s give Peter a chance to do that, shall we?
On Friday night, I put out a message on Twitter to my followers. I asked if any of my followers had a message to send to Kelly, whose illness has been reported far and wide. I wanted to see what the level of care and concern was.
Nice way to plant yourself into the story. You know that, while Jim isn’t on Twitter, his wife is so you probably could have just directed your followers to send their good wishes directly to her rather than try to make yourself the bearer of good news.
I read a 15 or 20 of them to Kelly and to the room of Kellys. He took a moment to compose himself.
“Let’s make the sick guy emotional so I can catalog his reaction for my piece! WHO’S THE BIG HERO BRINGING HAPPINESS TO THE CANCER-RIDDEN QUARTERBACK? IT’S MEEEEEEEEEEEE!”
By PK shittiness standards, that’s a fairly minor infraction. But he was this close to writing a totally unobjectionable start to his interminable column. I was nearly floored by how unannoyed I was. Ah well.
If history is a judge, I would expect owner Dan Snyder and GM Bruce Allen to put on the hard sell to sign Jackson when he arrives in Virginia late today—or at least sometime before he leaves for his second meeting somewhere in the NFL. Snyder is a gambler.
Not true. Gamblers occasionally win.
He does not like to lose players he wants, and why would he not be aggressive in pursuing Jackson?
DeSean isn’t old and busted enough yet?
I can see Allen, as good a contract-writer as there is in the business, put in enough insurance to protect Washington—and I also think Allen will be the calming influence on Snyder so the owner doesn’t throw so much money at Jackson to prevent him from seeking other options.
“No, Danny, you don’t have to give him $80 million guaranteed! His agent already said he’d settle for $20 million! No, Danny, stop gassing up the jet! That’ll all the gas it’ll take! We don’t even need to fly anywhere, he’s right here in our offices! Stop, Danny, stop!”
I like to imagine Bruce Allen and Dan Snyder as a reverse Pinky and the Brain.
Many of you asked Friday why the Eagles didn’t just try to get something, anything for Jackson? Just my feeling, because neither Kelly nor GM Howie Roseman were talking over the weekend, but I’d bet a lot that the Eagles, once the NJ.com story got out, didn’t know if there was going to be more bad stuff coming out on Jackson, and didn’t want any team coming back to them saying, “What were you hiding?” Plus, no team would have given anything for Jackson after that story hit the internet Friday—even though there was nothing damning in it, just a lot of smoke.
This has struck me as a bizarre line of reasoning that keep getting repeated since Friday. It’s been reported that nearly a third of the teams in the league have inquired about DeSean since he’s been released, so clearly the stupid “HE KNOWS SOME GANGBANGERS, RUN!!!!!!!!” story doesn’t carry that much weight with anyone. So, again, why not hang onto him, wait a couple weeks for the story to blow over, then trade him? The Eagles may not have been able to get a very high pick for him, but they would have gotten something and would have also jettisoned at least some of the $6 million in dead cap money they now find themselves with.
Good idea by Competition Committee member and noted conservative-football guy Mike Brown of the Bengals: Put all conversion tries at the one-yard line. The kick would be a piece of cake, of course, but that would motivate more teams to go for a two-point conversion. A team with a power running attack or a great spread scheme might be emboldened to go for two consistently. (For that I pray. How fun would it be?)
Perhaps, though how many times do you see teams try to go for two after an opponent jumps offside on a regular extra point attempt? I can’t recall any. Usually, coaches are just content to take the point and move on. Moreover has been openly griping about kicker’s jobs being too easy and this actually makes it easier, albeit possibly limiting their opportunities slightly.
One of the stars of the show in Orlando was Wade Davis, the former NFL player who came out as gay after he retired. He’s consulting with the league on gay issues. Davis left several coaches and GMs a bit open-mouthed when he told them: “Every one of you guys has two or three gay guys on your team. I know. I talk to them.”
Next week, Peter reports that seven GMs told him anonymously that they’ve hired private investigators to find out which players have Wade Davis listed as a contact in their cell phone. “We’ve got to smoke out these pansies,” one of them says. “Also, thanks Peter, for not asking me to go on record. A real solid gesture.”
Kenny King, 1949-2014.
My brother died Sunday, doing what he absolutely loved to do. He was 64, recently retired, a walkaholic, and he and his wife Jane were walking in a small village in England—where they lived—and he stumbled and fell. He said he didn’t feel good. An ambulance was called. On the way to the hospital, his heart stopped and the medics in the ambulance couldn’t make it start again.
Two King brothers gone, one left. That’s me, the baby of the family. Two King siblings left: Pam, my sister, and me.
Well I’m certainly not going to snark on Peter for eulogizing his brother in MMQB. I will note, however, that his brother got 727 words in the middle of the column while PK’s dead dog got 1,600 words to start the column after the Tuck Rule game.
Quotes of the Week
“I like tradition. But the extra point is so boring.”
—The late Bills owner Ralph Wilson, to club CEO Russ Brandon not long before he died.
“IF WE DON’T MAKE KICKS HARDER THEN THE DEAD WILL NEVER GET TO REST IN PEACE! PUT THAT ON YOUR CONSCIENCE!”
“You know what your role is? When your phone rings and your name’s called, go get people out. That’s your role.”
—Houston manager Bo Porter, to the Houston Chronicle, asked about the problem of his team having a closer by committee entering the baseball season, with the Astros’ relief pitchers not having defined roles.
I really like that answer.
“We lost 111 games last year. It’s not like we’re getting in the 9th with a lot of leads.”
Stat of the Week
One of the reasons the NFL knows it has to do something about the ease of kicking is the man Pittsburgh has kicking: Shaun Suisham. Take a look:
– Suisham made 96.3 percent of all kicks (131-136) over the past two years. The breakdown: 73 of 73 extra points and 58 of 63 field goals.
– He is perfect in 29 of his last 32 games.
– Suisham is no one’s choice as the best kicker in football.
That’s not a knock on Suisham. The point is, if Shaun Suisham is a 92-percent field-goal kicker over two seasons, and has to boot his home kicks in an unfriendly stadium for kickers (Heinz Field, Pittsburgh), you know kickers are getting so good the league has to do something to try to make it tougher for them, either on extra points or field goals or both.
Yes, it’s true that Suisham is far from the best kicker in the league, but the reason that his accuracy numbers were as high as they were in 2013 is because the Steelers know that he’s consistent from inside 50 and godawful from beyond, so they don’t even bother trying him from outside 50 yards. Because he does things like this when they do:
Which is why Suisham only even attempted five kicks from beyond 50 in the last three years and none in 2013. So this is more an example of a team knowing what it has than field goals in general being super easy. If Pittsburgh let him try Greg Zuerlein-type kicks, his percentage would be much lower.
Factoid of the Week That May Interest Only Me
From the Football Guy Till The End Dept.:
Five days before he died, Ralph Wilson called club CEO Russ Brandon to be briefed on the bylaws and rules proposals due to be discussed at the NFL Meetings in Florida.
An old guy who didn’t know exactly when he was going to die kept going on like everything was normal? WEIRD!
Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note of the Week
So I’m driving along state route 192 in Osceola County, Fla., returning from a visit with Doug Flutie (who now lives in Melbourne Beach, Fla.) last Wednesday, and this is what I see:
Woahhhh, that man has food for a last name AND his own bench? WHAT A COUNTRY! That’s why they’re “comin’ to America… TODAY!”
Tweets of the Week
“Chris Culliver, brassed knucklehead. #49ers”
—@CassiusMK, a producer and video journalist at CNN, after the Niner cornerback was arrested for threatening a motorist with brass knuckles in San Jose Friday.
That has to be the first brass-knuckle arrest in recent NFL history, no?
You know someone at Fox had to be talked out of a Brass Monkey headline.
“Surprised that NFL tabled proposal by Cincinnati to not pay players. Thought it had wide support.”
—@RattoCSN, columnist Ray Ratto of CSN Bay Area, during the NFL Meetings last week.
That’s the last time Mike Brown gives Peter King a coupon for 10 percent off keychains with a purchase of $500 or more at the Bengals team store.
“Miguel Cabrera will earn $49,423 PER AT BAT over the next decade. Median annual income of a household in Michigan: $48,471.”
—@darrenrovell, the ESPN sports business reporter, after Cabrera signed a new deal with the Tigers last week.
Peter King featuring a Darren Rovell tweet is how new diseases are created. Hopefully the CDC is on it.
Ten Things I Think I Think
4. I think I would not be shopping All-Pro guard Evan Mathis if I were Eagles GM Howie Roseman. I’d be shopping for his groceries to convince him to stay for the rest of his career.
You know, if I were an athlete, I’d actually accept slightly less money if a GM totally debased himself and agreed to do menial tasks for me just so I’d re-sign. Though I’d make sure there’s a clause that nullifies the contract if he buys me turkey sausage instead of regular sausage.
5. I think Tom Coughlin might be 68, but he talks like a man who wants to coach multiple seasons. “There is no number,” he said when asked how much longer he wants to coach. “I don’t have a number.” I wouldn’t be surprised to see Coughlin, if he wins, coach five more years. He’s amazingly young for a man in such a stressful job.
I’d be confident about the future too if I survived the PK COLUMN OF DEATH ^m^
6. I think if the NFL had to delay even one game because of a goal-post dunk (and it did Saints-Falcons when Jimmy Graham did it last year and it took 15 minutes or so to get the crossbar straight), that’s one game too many. Good idea to ban a silly practice.
Oh fuck off. Graham bending the goalpost was the coolest thing about that game and more than worth the delay. For someone who wastes so much of his reader’s time with extraneous bullshit, you’re sure hard on having a game be held up for a few minutes because of one player’s celebration.
9. I think John Schneider, the real GM, and Kevin Costner, who plays one in a movie coming out April 11, are close to the same guy from what I’ve heard about Draft Day. Costner doesn’t care if he is liked. Sounds familiar.
I’m hoping this is an experiment to see if the Browns will actually make Costner their GM because PK likened him to Schneider. It’d be the first PK trolling I’d be down with, so naturally it’s really just his bland way to compliment a movie and one of his sources in one fell swoop.
10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:
a. Hooray! Baseball starts in full today!
c. My picks:
d. MVPs: Dustin Pedroia, Boston
Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona … Cy Young: Masahiro Tanaka, New York; Alex Wood, Atlanta … Rookie: Xander Bogaerts, Boston; Billy Hamilton, Cincinnati.
What restraint. Only two of three major awards for Red Sox players.
e. Grady Sizemore starts in center field today for Boston in the opener at Camden Yards. Amazing story.
And yet I couldn’t give any less of a shit.
h. Houston manager Bo Porter is an interesting story. He played cornerback at Iowa under Hayden Fry. He once got a hit off Dwight Gooden. He’s a Newark guy who loves Bill Parcells.
He’ll finish a very Jersey-ish dead last in the AL West. He’ll lose with gumption and without JAP plays.
i. The Dodgers will begin their fourth game of the season Tuesday at 3:40 p.m. in San Diego. At that time, the Yankees and Astros will not have played a regular-season game.
GOODNESS! I sincerely hope the schedulers can find a way to even that out over the course of baseball’s 900-month-long regular season.
n. Coffeenerdness: Gotta do better on the coffee, McDonald’s. Tried you two times in Florida last week. Way, way too weak.
It’s like you’re not evening trying to get people hooked on caffeine. I’d expect more insidious practices out of you guys. Gonna have to try harder to hang with the big boys.
o. Beernerdness: What joy—Whole Foods in New York is selling Bell’s Oberon Ale, its summer ale. And a great, great beer.
No point in hiding it. I, too, was happy for the return of Oberon. Yes, it’s the citrusy bullshit that Peter King generally loves, but it is indeed a solid summer beer and it’s a reminder that this goddamn endless winter might at one point come to an end. I’M NOT MADE OF STONE!
/wilts under your scorn
q. With regard to Jerry Remy’s job status as the color man in the TV booth for the Red Sox, he should not lose his job because his son is a psychopath who is charged with murdering the mother of their child. Even if Jerry Remy is somehow at fault for his son’s wayward life, you don’t fire an announcer because his son’s an idiot, even a murderous idiot.
Even if he locked his son in a cage and spent years fostering bloodlust with intense mental programming, we’d shouldn’t let that stop this man from his solemn duty of talking over baseball games.
The Adieu Haiku
Who wants ex-Eagle?
DeSean, Decker and the Jets:
Because it’s Gang Green!
You see, DeSean’s in a gang
And Rex has gang tats