When last we left cornball blubber, Peter King, he was blithering about what a hero Tom Brady is for taking more guaranteed money in exchange that lowers his cap hit for the Patriots. He also revealed that Dreamboat’s semen contains notes of citrus and unicorn sparkle magic. PK also got his bar tab comped by his boss, so it might have been the best PK week ever.
But what about this week? Are the 49ers about to sign the next Chris Doleman? ONLY IF FATE PLAYS ITS PART? Can the Eastern Seaboard withstand the coming storm of Colts nuggets? Buy supplies and READ ON.
Ten things I did hear as Sunday night turned into this morning:
Miami didn’t have much, if any, competition for a big-money deal ($11 million or more a year) for wide receiver Mike Wallace.
A team not fighting off competition to give a huge deal to a receiver coming off a holdout and a terrible year? WEIRD!
Arizona wants a running back, one NFC West source told me. It’s probably too rich for their blood, and I think he’ll end up with Detroit, but Reggie Bush is the perfect back for that offense.
For reasons that PK chooses not elaborate on. Though I suspect it has something to do with Reggie Bush’s vocal respect of the desert sun.
The Browns, flush with money and a new owner, will be as aggressive as we’ve all heard. Another source said he thinks the Browns will have one of the top two young pass-rushers on the market, Paul Kruger of the Ravens or Cliff Avril of Detroit, signed by Tuesday night. My money’s on Avril.
An overrated pass rush specialist? Yeah, that’s a fair bet for a Browns signing.
If tight end Tony Gonzalez is headed back to the Falcons — which Mike Silver reported is likely — one person close to the Falcons told me it’s at least in part because a golden network job hasn’t opened for Gonzalez.
Wait, there’s a potential Hall of Famer who can’t get on an NFL talking heads show? Damn, Tony Gonzalez must be fucking horrible on camera. ESPN didn’t even wait until Ray Lewis retired before giving him a deal. And all Ray-Ray is gonna do is foam at the mouth while screaming psalms at Keyshawn Johnson.
The Ravens’ Super Bowl highlight DVD came in the mail the other day (more about it lower in the column), and it’s going to be an odd scene later today in Baltimore when the DVD is debuted in advance of it going on sale across the country Tuesday. Odd, and awkward.
Ravens officials and players will be on hand to watch highlights of the season and mostly of the playoffs, and if they see what I saw, they’ll say, What a dominant postseason Boldin had. How can we make a guy who played as well as he did take a cut?
He’s turning 33 years old this year and has yet to post a 1,000-yard season since joining the team. Oh, and the Ravens have cap issues.
If the Ravens hold the line, they have to have immense confidence in tight end Dennis Pitta to become almost a Dallas Clark-type presence in their offense. Peyton Manning came to rely on Clark as his slot receiver and go-to guy on third-down conversions, and Pitta may have to morph into that reliable guy if Boldin is gone. And, to my surprise, the Ravens, who could lose two valuable front-seven players (Paul Kruger and Dannel Ellerbe) in free agency, may have to look at a receiver or tight end in the first round of the draft. I just don’t think it’s worth saving $2 million to try to win without a supremely valuable weapon.
Dammit, Ravens. PK has you guys drafting Manti Te’o in the first round. Why must you screw with his fuckwitted fantasies?
Get used to hearing from Dean Blandino.
Oh no, it’s that crusty old Dean.
He’s the NFL’s new vice president of officiating. A 15-year veteran of the officiating department, Blandino becomes the first person to run the officiating department without having been an NFL official himself.
What better way to smooth over the tension between the league and the referee union than appointing someone who was never a ref to run the department.
He’s confident and well-spoken.
/shocked that Dean isn’t black, given the PK description
In one conversation, he said more notable things than I heard from three years of Carl Johnson in the office. Nothing against Johnson, but you get the feeling the league is going to trust Blandino, a longtime behind-the-scenes operative trained by Art McNally, Jerry Seeman and Mike Pereira, to be more of a Pereira type — an out-front spokesman for the league on all officiating matters — than Johnson was allowed to be.
Plus, he’s quotable! Peter has a distaste for figures who aren’t reliable quote nuggets. Though it’s interesting to see PK fault a league executive for being mum, when those qualities in an NFL wide receiver would merit huge compliments.
It’s time for some free weekends for Jeff Saturday.
So Jeff Saturday, who came into the pro game in the same training camp as Peyton Manning did — Jim Mora’s, in Indianapolis in 1998 — leaves with his body and brain intact.
Holy shit, that’s a morbid send-off. “He didn’t end up killing himself! What a career!” Also, nice to see renowned neurologist Peter King examine Jeff Saturday before pronouncing his brain to be in good shape.
He retired last week after re-signing with the Colts for a day, a part-holder of a record that will be tough to break. He and Peyton Manning played 170 games together, the most (by a full season) of any quarterback-center combination in pro football history.
Records that no one has any interest in breaking are always the toughest to break.
This also occurred to me Sunday: What parallel careers two of the best centers of this era, Saturday and Matt Birk, had. On draft day 1998, Birk was a sixth-round pick of the Minnesota Vikings. Eight days later, the Ravens signed Saturday as an undrafted college free agent; they cut him in June, and he didn’t get picked up until the Colts signed him in January 1999.
Since then, Birk played 210 regular-season games for two teams over 14 seasons. Saturday played 211 regular-season games for two teams over 14 seasons. Birk made six Pro Bowls. Saturday made six Pro Bowls. Birk was on one Super Bowl winner. Saturday was on one Super Bowl winner. Birk won the NFL Man of the Year award in 2011. Saturday was a key negotiator and olive-branch guy in the contentious talks to get a labor deal in 2011.
They retired 13 days apart in 2013.
THEIR FATES WERE XEROXED BY THE XEROX OF FATE! If only they let Matt Birk take a snap from someone on the other team in the Pro Bowl, the circle would be complete.
The [Ravens Super Bowl] DVD, which comes out Tuesday, also yielded these nuggets:
Fullback Vonta Leach to Flacco after his 70-yard rainbow touchdown to Jacoby Jones sent the Denver game to overtime: “Hey, you got a strong-ass arm.”
In the AFC Championship Game, Tom Brady slid cleats-up and nailed Reed near the groin. “Sorry about that,” Brady said to him during an ensuing TV timeout.
A HERO’S CONTRITION!
Flacco on the podium on the floor of the Superdome, told he was getting a car for being MVP: “Do I get a car? Really. I get a car!”
“Hopefully it’s a Volvo with a great safety rating.”
Factoid of the Week That May Interest Only Me
In 1996, the San Francisco 49ers signed a 34-year-old pass-rusher set free by the Atlanta Falcons, a former first-round pick Atlanta believed was in decline after he’d had 18 sacks in his previous two seasons.
In 2013, the San Francisco 49ers may sign a 34-year-old pass-rusher set free by the Atlanta Falcons, a former first-round pick Atlanta believed was in decline after he’d had 19.5 sacks in his previous two seasons.
Chris Doleman played three seasons with San Francisco. He had 15 sacks in 1998, at 37.
John Abraham, your move.
Awww shit, the Xerox of Fate is working double duty this week. John Abraham better have a sack total somewhere in the vicinity of 15 this coming season, or there will be a hole ripped in the space-time continuum.
Tweet of the Week II
“Ten years ago, I wonder what the odds would’ve been that Tom Coughlin would appear on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.”
— @pdomo, longtime NFL scribe Paul Domowitch of the Philadelphia Daily News.
True, because 10 years ago we had Johnny Cash, Steve Jobs and Bob Hope. Now we have no cash, no jobs, no hope and a formerly obscure head coach who is now a two-time Super Bowl champion for a team in New York.
Ten Things I Think I Think
1. I think the trouble with trading for Darrelle Revis at any time before October is mind-bogglingly simple: How can a team trade for Revis when it doesn’t know how healthy he is coming back from ACL surgery, and when it doesn’t know what it’s going to take to get him signed long-term? If the Jets trade him during the early days of the new league year, which begins Tuesday, they’ll be dealing him having no idea what his true value is. And his true value won’t be known, really, until teams see him play in August and September.
Certainly more risky than throwing roughly $100 million at a quarterback coming off a half dozen neck surgeries. “The question about Peyton Manning is how great he can be!”
2. I think, still, the best thing for the Jets to do with Revis is to sign him long-term. And I understand the reasoning of smart people like Parcells and Polian, who say they wouldn’t pay a corner so much money. But if I’m sure by Labor Day that Revis is still Revis, I do everything in my power to sign him.
Trading for Revis before October is too risky, but you can totally sign him to a long-term deal if you want.
6. I think there’s one important thing to remember: Washington won free agency at least three times between 2000 and 2009 and finished above .500 twice in that decade. So if you’re a fan of the Browns, I don’t know whether to tell you to root for Jimmy Haslam to spend $120 million in the next 48 hours, or tell him to wait for middle-class free agency, when good players are waiting to play for 30 cents on the dollar. No games are won in March.
I have a feeling even an Off-season Champs title would be appealing to Cleveland fans.
7. I think if Charger fans are waiting for their new GM-head coach combo (Tom Telesco-Mike McCoy) to make a splash in free agency, they’ll be waiting for a long time. Not Telesco’s thing. I think he’ll go the 30-cents-on-the-dollar route.
8. I think the Colts will surprise people with a flurry this week.
I wonder what the Colts would have to do to make PK go back on that vague of a pronouncement? “Sure, they only signed a back-up guard and Adrian Wilson, but that counts. That’s quasi-flurry-ish!”
10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:
b. Best of luck in retirement, Ryan Westmoreland. He’s the Red Sox prospect who had to retire from baseball after two delicate brain surgeries.
That sucks, but at least he’s spared the fate of having to play for the Red Sox.
h. The last season of The Sopranos ought to be in the Smithsonian. What perfect TV.
Too true. For there is no better way to experience television than in a museum. Critical praise for the things I like is not enough. Put it in the canons of culture.
i. Add Groundhog Day to the list of movies that, when I’m flipping through a lot of bad TV at night, I have to finish watching. Bill Murray’s better there than in Lost In Translation, and that’s saying something.
Something inaudibly mumbled into PK’s ear as he passes out drunk on the couch watching AMC.
k. Coffeenerdness: For a bustling breakfast spot with a line out the door and plates of massive mounds of food, DeLuca’s in the Strip District of Pittsburgh’s has decent coffee. You’ll need it to wash down a tasty cholesterol bomb that’s so filling you won’t need to eat for three days.
The operative word being “need”. Safe bet PK was at Primanti’s by noon.
l. Beernerdness: Nothing new this week. I’ll have to make it up next weekend in Phoenix for the NFL Meetings.
Because he has to be near comatose with drink to forget that he’s not actually watching Spring Training.
m. If you’re out to see the new Selena Gomez/James Franco movie Spring Breakers this week, check out the judge in the courtroom when some of the young ladies run afoul of the law. That’s veteran of the silver screen John McClain, the NFL columnist for the Houston Chronicle.
“Thanks!” – the legion of dudes seeing that movie to look at young girls’ tits.
The (Free-Agency) Adieu Haiku
George Young always said,
“They don’t play better for more
dough.” Buyers beware.
Do It The Right Way!
Build A Team Using The Draft!
Old Fuck said it best