When last we left big ass asterisk, Peter King, he was “sensing” that Rams were about to take Greg Robinson with the second overall pick. And they did! It’s almost as though he has a cozy relationship that he wants to utilize without being accused of a conflict of interest. He also learned that there’s more to consider with respect to where Tom Savage would go in the draft beyond meetings with teams, which is probably why he didn’t get picked until the end of the fourth round.
But what about this week? You could already guess there are draft takes aplenty but did you foresee a trip to the Trent Baalke School of Trading. That’s where you learn to swap your lunch for many smaller lunches! Be warned: this one is endless. Now that you know, READ ON.
Where do you start after a weekend like this? Choose one:
How about YOU choose one. You’re the man paid millions to analyze, report and frame the news. Or is that you don’t want to say Michael Sam because you’ll get blowback from mouthbreathers (as well as the GMs you let trash him anonymously in your column)?
The Michael Sam saga, which couldn’t have been more dramatic if the Coen brothers had scripted it.
I would take a Coen Brothers movie about the NFL draft, sure. It would be even more depressing than A Serious Man.
The Browns. The rags-to-riches-to-rags, bizarro-world, “Factory of Sadness” 24 hours that no Dawg Pounder will ever forget.
Remember when Peter credited Mike Florio with coining that term? Still equally terrible and morbidly great.
Jerry Jones, 71, growing up before our very eyes.
“YEEEEEEE HAAAAAAAAAAAAWWWWWWWW I’M MATURE AS SHIT NOW!”
Buffalo going for broke, all in, chips to the center, and whatever other blah-blah-blah poker analogies you want to use
Millions. He’s paid millions to write this.
about Doug Whaley putting his job on the line in his first full year as a GM.
Your job is always on the line as an NFL GM with the draft. You don’t get extra credit because you traded to get the player you want instead of picking someone else. All that matters is that it works out.
Damn these ridiculous, incredible, sick NFL Draft ratings. The May draft might be here to stay. (#Sadface. #Giveusbackourspring)
SICK ratings, brah! KILLER RATES, DAWG! Do you even televise?
It’s Trent Baalke’s drafting world, and we’re only visiting it.
So that’s why the NFL doesn’t pay taxes. Trent Baalke owns this world. This country is just lucky it doesn’t have to pay taxes to him. Very benevolent world overlord, that Trent Baalke.
Footsteps by Jimmy Garoppolo. Tom Brady shakes.
In the Highlander of handsomeness, there can be only one.
My pick: Sam.
Then why didn’t you just start the column with that rather than take readers through your pointless stream of consciousness mental exercise checklist bullshit? GODDAMMIT, I HATE YOU SO MUCH!
Snead handed the phone to coach Jeff Fisher, with Sam tearing up and slowly, slowly, slow folding over and weeping, his male partner there to comfort him.
Male partner? That’s needlessly awkward. Just say it’s his boyfriend. It’s like Peter was holding his nose, looking away and typing the keys with a pen.
It’s a scene we haven’t seen in American TV history (and certainly not in American sports history), thankfully running unedited and uninterrupted by ESPN. And then Sam kissed the man.
And then Peter called three GMs to let them express disgust anonymously for his column.
If you think that moment of Sam bending over and audibly weeping isn’t going to be replayed scores of times for sporting and societal reasons, you’re wrong. Way wrong.
You’re arguing this point against literally no one. That is the safest bold stance to take. You can certainly find plenty of people convinced that the story of Michael Sam getting drafted is being overblown or disgusting or whatever, but there is no one who would presume that media wouldn’t be interested in it or wouldn’t replay footage deemed controversial by, like, half the country.
“I could feel the pivot in history at that moment, with that phone call,’’ Snead said.
“I could feel the shower of backpats descend upon me. Let the kudos rain!”
“I wish I could have digested it and take it all in,” said Snead. “I’ve never been part of a decision that brought people to tears.
Well he wasn’t the one who drafted Sam Bradford, so technically that’s true.
Sam will have a huge task ahead of him. Want the good news? Of the 53 men on St. Louis’ opening-day roster last year, 18 entered the league undrafted, and another three as seventh-round picks. And new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams loves the desperate underdog; a seventh-rounder on any roster is an underdog.
Oh yeah, I forgot Greggggggg is one of his coaches now. “SON, I DON’T CARE WHOSE DUMPER YOU’RE STICKING YER DIPSTICK INTO SO LONG AS YOU CRIPPLE THAT KAEPERNICK BOY, YOU GOT ME?”
The bad news: Incumbent ends Robert Quinn and Chris Long are franchise cornerstones, and sub William Hayes is a productive rusher. Those three are set in stone. There will be either one or two more defensive ends kept, and Sam was the only one drafted. It won’t help Sam that he probably won’t be a good special-teams player because his mediocre flexibility and quick-twitch movement. He’ll have to star in camp and the preseason as what Snead labels the “DPR”—designated pass-rusher.
But he’ll have a chance. And the Rams are perhaps the best spot for him.
The best spot for him, except the team that picked him doesn’t need a defensive end that badly.
It’s two hours from where he went to school, and the media is largely friendly, and wherever he went Wolf Blitzer or Anderson Cooper would have been part of the early days of training camp.
NFL training camps always have a ton of media coverage but this would have been DIFFERENT media coverage. And that matters for some reason?
The Rams know it, and Jeff Fisher can handle it.
“It’s an unprecedented situation in NFL history but I have blind faith in this coach with whom I have a good relationship.”
Johnny Football magnet.
Preamble to yet more words about Johnny Manziel, the 22nd pick in the NFL draft Thursday night: Between 7 p.m. and midnight Thursday, Twitter recorded approximately 2.5 million Tweets related to Manziel. In the same five hours, 519,000 Tweets were posted, combined, concerning LeBron James, the Miami-Brooklyn and Portland-San Antonio playoff games, and the NHL playoff games (Boston-Montreal, Anaheim-Los Angeles). Five times as many people Tweeted about Manziel alone as Tweeted about the four most important games of the night and the most charismatic athlete in America playing in one of the games—James. “That is a pretty wild stat,” Manziel said.
Amazing that the drafting of an incredibly polarizing athlete who plays the most important position in the nation’s most popular sport outdrew a couple second round playoff games in best-of-seven series. Wow. Crazy. Wow.
Manziel does not like to let people see him sweat. He knew his every move on this night would be scrutinized closely. But the Rams passing on him hurt. Because now he thought he’d be in for a free-fall. He turned to Burkhardt, and sort of out of the side of his mouth, said this:
“E.B., we’re screwed.”
Are you sure he didn’t say that when he actually got picked by Cleveland?
I asked him about this over the phone Saturday night, when he was back home in Texas for 24 hours of relaxation. “I did tell Erik that,” he said. “I felt that way, because there was so much uncertainty after that. I felt really good about St. Louis. My workout with them was great. They spent a lot of time getting to know me and researching me, and I did well when they put me on the board with coach [offensive coordinator Brian] Schottenheimer. So yes, I have to admit, I was a little surprised there when they passed on me.”
“But,’’ I said, “what about Dallas at 16? You didn’t think that might happen?”
Seriously, I feel like I entered a wormhole into an alternate universe timeline. It really should have happened.
“No, not really,’’ he said. “After talking to [owner] Jerry Jones a little bit, I understand why they wouldn’t. I felt it would be crazy for the state, for them, and for me. I thought the whole thing would be hectic. Plus, Tony [Romo] is so great. It just wouldn’t have been a great fit. I knew that, and Jerry knew it too, I think.”
Look, I know there are many logical reasons why the Cowboys didn’t select Johnny Manziel. Chief among which is that they still have too much money tied up in Romo to commit that much to his successor now, but C’MON GODDAMMIT WE NEEDED THIS! Goodell should pull a David Stern and nullify the Browns pick and force Manziel to Dallas for the good of the lulz. Whenever we need Goodell to be a tyrant, he never is. What a waste.
And so here’s Johnny.
But the Browns must have really loved the Manziel tape — because his workout with Cleveland brass 19 days before the draft was a mess.
It’s almost as though performance in games means slightly more than a throw around in front of a bunch of old guys.
Manziel was in Cleveland Friday and got handed his playbook — on a tablet
and examined the playbook on his trip home from Cleveland.
I feel like, had Manziel not granted PK an exclusive interview that he’d be suggesting Manziel really used the playbook as a coaster for a bottle of Grey Goose instead of studying it.
What to do about Josh Gordon? Assuming Gordon is found to have tested positive in the NFL’s substance-abuse program (which ESPN reported Friday), he’ll likely be banned for somewhere between eight and 16 games. Gordon, 23, has been disciplined twice previously for testing positive: once by coach Art Briles at Baylor, and once by the NFL last summer, causing him to be suspended for the first two games of the season. Playing 14 games, he still led the league in receiving yards last year and was the first receiver in history to have back-to-back 200-yard receiving games, in weeks 12 and 13.
But now he could be more problem than he’s worth, the same way the immensely talented Justin Blackmon is turning out in Jacksonville.
Except Blackmon hasn’t had anywhere near the level of production Gordon has had on the field in the NFL. Also, the Jaguars still haven’t officially cut Blackmon yet, though their receiver-heavy draft suggests that’s coming.
Gordon has two years left on his rookie contract. How can the Browns possibly know what to pay him in a second contract, having no idea if they can trust him from one week to the next?
Do they really need to know right now? He is under contract for two more years. Even if he misses this entire season, they can still let him play through 2015 and figure it out then.
If Gordon did test positive, and knowing that a monster contract would likely be coming at the end of this season if he could stay clean, it’s either a measure of the depth of his problem or a measure of his immaturity. Or both.
I think it’s a measure of how getting high is AWESOME and worth risking everything for. But that’s me.
Kidding aside, do you think Peter King could stop drinking if it meant possibly losing his job or being punished? I mean, Peter is never punished for anything, so this is clearly hypothetical. And it’s not as though weed is worse for you than alcohol. It’s sucks that people can feel abuse one substance and look their noses down on someone who uses another that’s actually not as bad for you.
About passing on Sammy Watkins and all those receivers … GM Ray Farmer told me that before the Browns made the trade with Buffalo to move from fourth to ninth in the first round, “We were very close to turning in the card. We very easily could have turned in the card with Sammy’s name on it.” I wondered if he would have regrets about passing on him and taking cornerback Justin Gilbert if Watkins turned into a Randy Moss-type talent. “Even if Sammy turns into Randy Moss, Justin Gilbert can be every bit as good as Patrick Peterson. That’s how much talent he has.
Okay. But to get no receiver in a good crop of them, knowing you might not have Josh Gordon all season — and maybe forever — is the problem I have.
Frankly, how much help would a rookie receiver make? Presumably, Gordon is only missing the 2014 season. Unless Watkins is actually the next Randy Moss, he or any other rookie isn’t making up for the loss of production on offense by that one player. And it’s not like the Browns are in a win-now atmosphere. It’s better for them to draft the players they think are best then force a need at one position.
Now, I want to be clear about the job Farmer did. I thought he had a very good draft, with that one large asterisk.
You know it’s serious if it’s a big ol’ hoss of an asterisk. Asterisks, it seems, come in all sizes to be deployed depending on how badly you want to undermine your statement. Sometimes they’re bigger than the text they’re attached to. Observe:
That’s real asteriskin’.
He got first-, third- and fourth-round picks in the 2015 draft as well as long-term starters at quarterback, cornerback and tackle (in his opinion); if that happens, it’s executive-of-the-year drafting.
And yet you still seem to believe it would be flawed? What is your argument here?
Farmer moved decisively and without fear.
He also wished my wife a happy Mother’s Day! He leads the league in classiness! Let’s forget everything bad I said!”
Ray Farmer, just now: "Do you have kids?" Me: "Yes. Two." Farmer: "Please tell your wife Happy Mother's Day for me."
— Peter King (@SI_PeterKing) May 11, 2014
I support trading out of the fourth pick, particularly if it means you get two high picks next year and a corner you feel is the best in the draft. So I would have made that deal. If it were me, I’d have taken a Marqise Lee or Jordan Matthews instead of Bitonio.
Great, now I have to root for those two receivers to be failures or else PK will belabor the “SEEEEEE, I WAS RIGHT! I’M THE BEST PRETEND GENERAL MANAGER EVER!” point forever.
Memo to Dawg Pounders happy with the Manziel pick: Stop cursing Joe Banner and Mike Lombardi.
Haha. Just like when PK said Broncos fans should thank Josh McDaniels for making it to the Super Bowl last season.
Just stop it. Do you know how much those two men helped you draft Manziel? With Banner and Lombardi running the 2013 draft, the Browns traded their fourth-round pick to Pittsburgh in exchange for the Steelers’ third-round pick in 2014; that was the 83rd overall pick in this year’s draft. In September, Banner/Lombardi traded running back Trent Richardson to Indianapolis for the Colts’ first-round pick in 2014; that was the 26th overall pick in this year’s draft. On Thursday, Farmer traded those two picks—26 and 83 overall—to Philadelphia for the 22nd overall pick, the pick he used to draft Manziel.
The Browns could also have still taken him with the fourth pick that they acquired for sucking under the Banner/Lombardi regime in 2013. See how much they help!
One last point about Manziel: Imagine if he’d been drafted by the Rams at 13. Imagine the TV trucks, news helicopters, and Ellen DeGeneres and Deion Sanders and Chris Berman and Brian Williams at a May practice to see Manziel and Michael Sam. I think Sam’s in a good spot. Sam plus Manziel would have caused ESPN, NFL Network, Access Hollywood and Outsports to open news bureaus in the shadow of the Gateway Arch. Not too conducive to learning one’s trade.
THERE’S ALWAYS MEDIA TO CONTEND WITH! IT’S A FUCKING NFL TEAM! You think Manziel wasn’t covered to death as the quarterback of an SEC school? You think Sam didn’t know this was coming? The draft is over, you don’t need to play the inane DISTRACTION card. I’m sure you could mine it for cheap heat and manufacturing stories before the draft but now you’re being an asshole for no reason.
HOW IS IT YOU ARE NEVER ABLE TO IMPROVE? HOW IS THERE IS NO CONSEQUENCE FOR BEING THIS CONSISTENTLY TERRIBLE? WHY ARE YOU REWARDED FOR IT TIME AND AGAIN? GAH GAH GAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
The Trent Baalke School of Trading is open.
Now that we see the final product of what the Niners gave away and received in the Alex Smith trade from 14 months ago, we can judge one thing about San Francisco GM Trent Baalke: He is calculating, he is fast, and he knows how to set up his team for the future.
That’s good, because we’re probably still a few years away from accurately judging the quality of the players he chose.
Now the story. In the span of 22 minutes Friday, Baalke consummated three trades. One: He traded the 56th pick in the second round (the second Kansas City second-rounder) to Denver for the 63rd and 171st this year, and the Broncos’ fourth-round pick next year. Two: Baalke traded the 63rd and 171st picks just acquired from Denver to Miami for the 57th pick in the draft; Baalke got the player he would have picked at 56, Carlos Hyde, at 57 … while adding the fourth-rounder next year that replaced the pick used to get Stevie Johnson. Three: He traded his own second-round pick, 61st overall, to Jacksonville for the 70th and 150th picks.
Time will tell if Baalke made the haul worth it.
Once again, nothing impresses sportwriters more than trading down or trading for more picks, regardless of result. I’m surprised there isn’t draftnik porn with an old guy on a phone droning “okay, I’ll send you the 19th overall pick for the 28th, plus your third and fourth this year and a third next year.” It’d make millions from the sportswriter community.
I asked Baalke about his feelings on the trade now that the chips are known. “Mixed emotions,’’ he said. “I have so much respect for Alex Smith and his family, and great regard for him as a player. He’s the epitome of a good man and teammate and a good player. I know the Kansas City Chiefs staff, and they are thrilled to have him. We’ll see how it works out for us. It’s still early.”
The Trent Baalke School of Empathy: also booming!
Dave Caldwell has known for some time — months, really — that he wanted to take Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles with the Jags’ first pick in the draft. But he told only coach Gus Bradley his thoughts, and as the team went through draft meetings, he’d go through the ratings with the coaches and scouts and never tip his hand about who he thought should be the pick. Last week, they pondered all the scenarios. He’d say, “How would we feel with Khalil Mack and Stephon Tuitt for our first two picks?” Or, “What about Jake Matthews and Teddy Bridgewater?”
I found it surprising that Caldwell and his former boss and mentor, Thomas Dimitroff, were discussing a trade of first-round picks. They had many discussions about swapping the third and sixth picks in the draft, with Atlanta handing Jacksonville a third-round pick to make the move. “I thought Wednesday night we were going to get it done,” said Dimitroff. “But Thursday Dave called me and said, ‘We’re going to stay put and pick our guy.’” Whoever “our guy” was. Dimitroff never knew who Caldwell wanted until it was announced by Roger Goodell on stage at Radio City.
Ironically, Atlanta would have picked Jake Matthews at three; the Falcons got him at six. And Bortles would have been Jacksonville’s pick at three or six.
Haha, you took Bortles at three PLUS you could have had an extra third rounder.
“The reason I didn’t take the trade is there were so many teams that wanted quarterbacks—at one, four, five, seven and eight, and they were all within striking distance of us,’’ Caldwell said. “I just kept thinking, ‘One of those teams has to see what we were seeing in Bortles.’
So let’s say we move back and make a deal. What are we going to take in the third? A guard? [Jacksonville did use a third-round pick on guard Brandon Linder of Miami.] You can find guards. You can’t find the quarterback you think fits your team best. So in the end it wasn’t a hard decision for us.”
That’s going to be so painful to read if Bortles flames out. It already kind of hurts now.
Now Peter wants to share an insidery nugget about how the son of the Rams GM was hanging out in the Falcons war room during the draft, which is only noteworthy because Peter King manages to misspell Arthur Blank’s name as Arthur Bland. Though a fair insult, it is still hilariously awful writing.
Quotes of the Week
“With the 249th pick in the 2014 NFL draft, the St. Louis Rams select Michael Sam, defensive end, Missouri.”
—NFL vice president of game operations Mike Kensil, announcing a historic pick late in the draft on Saturday evening. Very good for Kensil, who is the ultimate loyal NFL soldier.
Would be fitting if the NFL rewards its NO LIMIT NFL SOLJAHs by letting them make historic pronouncements instead of, say, more money or better benefits.
“It’s not the usual development guy behind an accomplished quarterback. He’s a celebrity. He’s Elvis Presley.”
—Dallas owner Jerry Jones, who admitted when the Cowboys picked at number 16 in the first round that Johnny Manziel was the highest-rated player on their board. But he didn’t pick Manziel because of the team’s investment in Tony Romo and because of the Presley/distraction/mayhem/Cowboys/America’s Team factor.
If Manziel is Elvis then who is Romo? I think they can both be Elvis, honestly. Manziel is young Elvis in his prime while Romo is fat old Elvis dying on the shitter.
Stat of the Week
Terrance West might be the best story of anyone in the draft.
Yet somehow he was absent from your Choose Your Own Narrative Adventure at the beginning of the column
The running back from Towson (Md.) was picked 94th overall, by Cleveland, in the third round. West’s story: He got no scholarship offers out of a Baltimore city high school or after a year of prep school. He walked on at Morgan State and then Maryland, and couldn’t get a spot on either team. He walked on at a third school, Towson, and stuck in 2011. How about that: The man who couldn’t earn a jersey at Morgan State is a top-100 pick in a rich NFL draft.
Last fall, he averaged 26 carries a game for Towson. He ran for 2,509 yards and 41 touchdowns. Yes, 41 rushing touchdowns.
You know that only one player in NFL history has averaged 26 carries per game over the course of an entire 16-game season? It was Larry Johnson in 2006 and it somehow didn’t kill him. I mean, I’m sure it’ll destroy him later but it didn’t actually obliterate him on the spot. Pretty amazing!
Factoids of the Week That May Interest Only Me
Slot receivers the Patriots have loved:
In 2009, New England drafted the 5-10, 198-pound Julian Edelman, a former option quarterback who ran a 4.51 40-yard dash, and brought him to camp as a slot receiver and returner candidate. He was a seventh-round pick of New England, 232nd overall.
In 2014, New England drafted the 5-8, 190-pound Jeremy Gallon, a former option quarterback who ran a 4.49 40-yard dash, and will bring him to camp as a slot receiver and returner candidate. He was a seventh-round pick of New England, 244th overall.
XEROX OF FATE! Though you know a bunch of Patriots fans Googled Gallon and got pissed when they saw he’s a black guy.
Number 90’s in Houston Texans history since 2006:
2006-2011: DE Mario Williams, first pick in the 2006 draft.
2012: Mister Alexander, undrafted free agent.
2014: DE Jadeveon Clowney, first pick in the 2014 draft.
Isn’t that something. Can’t believe the Texans didn’t retire the number of that pretty good player they had for a while. Thanks for the historical numerological nugget.
Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note of the Week
Last Tuesday afternoon, I was aboard Delta flight 6196 from LaGuardia Airport in New York to Nashville. We had just touched down in Tennessee when the woman in front of me, about 55 I’d guess, began to cry. Evidently, she was looking at her phone upon landing and got some distressing news. The crying was a few little sobs at first, and then it got louder, and a few moments later, she got someone on the phone and lost control.
“I just can’t believe it!” she said between sobs. “I should have gotten here yesterday! I’m too late. Oh, noooooo! My God! What happened?”
It went on for two or three minutes. Clearly, someone close to her died within the last couple of hours, and the woman was distraught to have missed the final moments … and the chance to say goodbye. As we got to the gate, her crying continued unabated. The guy next to her acted like nothing was happening. Never even glanced over at the woman. She rose to collect her things. Just then, the flight attendant in front of the aircraft walked down the aisle to her and said, “I am so sorry for you. Do you need a hug?”
“YES!” the woman in mourning said, and nearly collapsed into the flight attendant’s arms. They hugged for maybe 10 seconds, and then it was time to go.
Leaving the plane, I passed the flight attendant and said, “That was one of the nicest things I’ve ever seen a flight attendant do.”
“Why thank you,” the flight attendant replied. “You know what would also be nice? If you wouldn’t use that woman’s grief as fodder for an unrelated section in your football… oh I see, you’re already writing this down.”
Tweets of the Week
#Bucs GM Jason Licht got some advice from Rays manager Joe Maddon: "The box is a lonely place to be. You’ve got to think outside of it.”
— Rick Stroud (@NFLSTROUD) May 10, 2014
Not to be all baseball-centric on a football weekend or anything, but I would read “The Philosophy of Joe Maddon” book. What an interesting guy.
Who wouldn’t want to slog through 300 pages worth of coach-speak platitudes? AM I BEING THE BEST ME I CAN BE!?
Ten Things I Think I Think
I think these are my quick-hit thoughts on the draft:
a. Hey Mike Silver! Good choice, being in St. Louis! Why wasn’t I that smart?
“Waaaaahhhhhh! No fair! I didn’t get to be there when they got a gay guy! I had to settle for dumb ol’ Tavon Austin! I’ll hate you forever, Tavon!”
b. Ryan Mallett might turn out to be a fine pro, but I don’t know how you’d know that after this three-year disappearing act with New England. He’s one for four, 17 yards, zero touchdowns, one pick. Career rating: 5.2.
c. Thus, Jimmy Garoppolo.
Who you also have no way of knowing whether he will be good.
d. The Bengals traded up in the fourth round to take center Russell Bodine, who could start right away. According to Bengalologist Geoff Hobson, that’s the third time in the team’s 47-season history (and first time since 2002) that the Bengals have traded up in any draft.
Bengalologist sounds like the saddest of all the -ologists.
h. Washington traded the pick to Dallas that the Cowboys used to draft a replacement for DeMarcus Ware—Demarcus Lawrence, pass-rusher from Boise State. So the pass-rusher Washington enabled Dallas to have now will chase Robert Griffin III twice a year.
That’s downright SABOTAGE! Wait, no, they just got a trade offer that they thought was the best value from a team that happens to be in their division. Still – THE REDSKINS ARE TRYING TO KILL RGIII!
j. Kudos to Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald for nailing the Dolphins’ first-round pick, long-shot Tennessee tackle Ju’Wuan James, days before the draft. Great job on an unlikely direct hit.
k. And kudos to Neil Hornsby of Pro Football Focus. On Friday morning he wrote that San Francisco would be the perfect fit for the being-shopped Stevie Johnson. Four hours later Buffalo traded Johnson to the Niners.
Uber kudos all around, my media friends. May all your triumphs get kudos and may all your mistakes being courteously ignored.
5. I think, not to try to get in Richard Deitsch’s kitchen or anything, but I applaud, too, Seth Markman, ESPN senior coordinating producer for NFL programming. He’s the man who runs ESPN’s NFL studio shows, and he’s the one who had to make the calls about the Michael Sam video—including him weeping like a baby when he got the call from the Rams that he was drafted, and including the stunning kiss with his boyfriend that all of America got to see. Turns out the video was tape-delayed by a few minutes, and Markman told me Saturday night he never had a chance to see the tape before it rolled. ESPN was following Sam with a camera because he is being given the “Arthur Ashe Courage Award” at the ESPYs this year. Markman said all day, as Sam waited to be picked, the ESPN truck outside Radio City Music Hall in Manhattan had a live feed of his draft gathering, but just before the Rams picked, the feed went out. The camera on site was still recording the video of the moment, but the ESPNers in the truck weren’t seeing it. Finally, when the satellite feed came back up a couple of minutes after the pick, the video of Sam getting the phone was available, and Markman didn’t have time to view it—the news was so fresh and so immediate, he just had to run the video. “My job is to document the moment,” Markman said. The moment was too real not to. ESPN will get a mountain of criticism for airing two gay men kissing, but the network shouldn’t. ESPN aired reality. It was gripping TV.
So it was basically by accident? That’s great. The world got to see compelling footage and we don’t have to credit ESPN for being brave or principled or anything. Best possible scenario.
6. I think Oakland GM Reggie McKenzie might have gotten two of the 10 best players in this draft, when history looks at it. Buffalo pass rusher Khalil Mack (who didn’t look too thrilled to be a Raider, by the way) and Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr are going to be franchise cornerstones. The Carr part, of course, assumes that he can be protected, and McKenzie could have gotten more O-line help with his eight picks than a single guard, third-rounder Gabe Jackson of Mississippi State.
Might have to hang onto that comment.
7. I think it’s hard to not like what Pittsburgh did. Ryan Shazier can be next in the line of outside rushers (and five or six teams wanted him badly in the late teens or twenties) developed by Dick LeBeau.
Even though the Steelers have already indicated that he’s going to be an inside linebacker in their 3-4 scheme.
8. I think Bill Belichick doesn’t have a lot of love for the internet. As he told longtime Pats beat man Tom Curran: “You should go talk to the geniuses that are online. I don’t know. My Face, Your Face, Instant Face.”
10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:
a. “We’re gay. We have boyfriends.” That was the reaction of Brooklyn center Jason Collins when told Michael Sam and his partner kissed on national TV Saturday.
Don’t you mean (grits teeth) male partners?
b. We need to care about Boko Haram and the Nigerian abductions. We’re a civilized society, and we need to act.
There’s our DOOOOOOO SOMETHING, CONGRESS! of the week. Peter King cares enough about the issues to dedicate one sentence out of 10,000 words to them!
d. That was a hit in the Yu Darvish near no-hitter, the ball that dropped between the second baseman and right fielder. The scorer gave Alex Rios an error, and I agree with Harold Reynolds: That looked like the kind of play that 95 percent of official scorers would call a hit if a no-hitter wasn’t on the line.
But was it a LEGIT 95 percent of fictional baseball scorekeepers?
e. Saw “The Grand Hotel Budapest.” Very cute and quirky. Not the best movie of the year, but two hours well spent.
Thanks, the world desperately needed your description of a Wes Anderson movie as cute and quirky. Sheds a whole new light on his work. BRB, gotta rewatch his entire library with this new perspective.
f. Anyone notice this NHL oddity? Each Western Conference playoff series (Anaheim-Los Angeles, Chicago-Minnesota) was tied 2-2 entering game five of the Wild-Hawks series Sunday night. All four games of Kings-Ducks had been won by the visitors. All five games of Wild-Blackhawks have been won by the home team.
Just a guess, but people who pay attention to more than the five minutes of hockey coverage PK watches per week?
g. Coffeenerdness: Thanks, Bongo Java in Nashville, for the great latte the other day. Artfully done.
Is there a latte so artfully done that Peter would not drink it? Would he view the masterful barista craftsmanship and neglect to drink it for fear of destroying art? Probably only if they made an image of Brett Favre’s dick out of the foam.
h. Beernerdness: Tried the Yazoo Pale Ale the other night in Nashville. That is one fresh, hoppy, crisp beer. Looked like a good local craft beer scene in Nashville. I hope to experience more of it one day.
One day when weed is legalized, he’s going to add a Weednerdness and that’s the best argument against weed legalization that I can think up. Peter King will ruin weed for everyone.
Moving along, truly great placement of this misspelling:
The Adieu Haiku
Sam’s a Ram. What now?
The buzz will die down. And then:
Can he sack QBs?
History was made:
A Blake Bortles was drafted
Can he play QB?