In Which Peter King Explains Precisely How He Boned Over Cam Newton

02.28.11 7 years ago 95 Comments

When we last left rotisserie baseball memoirist Peter King, he was bronchially ill, which is bad, but still better than being rectally ill. And he gave us a clip show of all the things he got half-right in the past year. Like when he said Jay Cutler might be a success in Chicago, or he might EXPLODE. That was at least 50% half-right.

So what about this week? Oh, this week. Oh, my my. Our man is in fine form this week. No time to waste! READ ON.

There will be plenty of time in the next few weeks to discuss labor. (Sigh.) You’ll be overwhelmed with it this week. For now, in the wake of a long, uncertain weekend at the scouting combine, I’m going mostly football.

Mostly football, folks. Lots of Red Sox. Some Oscars. A whole lot of Mitch Puin. But other than that? 100% football.

It might be the last time I can do this for a long time.

BECAUSE ROGER GOODELL IS A COLD SON OF A BITCH AT THE BARGAINING TABLE! Are you listening, De Smith? Surrender now! He’ll feast upon your black skin!

The Rams hoped to have new offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels sit down in a classroom often in February to discuss the tweaks he plans to make in the offense after the departure of 2010 offensive boss Pat Shurmur to the Browns.

“The first thing we’re gonna do is cut Sam Bradford and trade for Brian Hoyer. Trust me, Pat. You want this offense run by MY guy. Next, all the play calling will be done by my cousin’s brother-in-law. Who better to run MY offense than someone tangentially related to me? Next thing: We cut Steven Jackson, and we give him AIDS, so that other teams won’t sign him. I don’t like the way Jackson looks at me in the hall.”

One team I can’t identify wanted to send out DVDs to players with how-to reminders about offseason weight training.


“You ever lie in bed worried about what your players will be doing over the next few weeks, with such a young team and so much temptation out there?” I asked (Bucs GM Mark Dominik).

Mark, you ever lie in bed, thinking about how many young, strong, toned players you have? Ever worry about temptations? That they’ll be out one night drinking and then get hit on by some attractive girl who lures them out of the bar and to her place, only her place turns out to be a front for a bizarre gay S&M parlor, where the players are drugged and bound and tied to post and raped with a phone? You ever think about that in bed at night? Because I totally do.

I’m going to give you what I consider a realistic top of the draft…

Here’s a mock draft that’s at least 3% legit. Extremely realistic. It’s not like those other mock drafts, where you see Abe Lincoln going #1. Those are completely fantastical.


No one. There is no best player in this draft.

Carolina. Da’Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson…

Except for Bowers. He’s the best. Like I’m NOT taking a guy named Bowers at #1. I know my Bowerses, and they have grit.

I think the Panthers will be sorely tempted to go quarterback here, and may well do that. But another mulligan of a season, I think, is too much for Jerry Richardson to take, and you’re almost consigning yourself to a mulligan by picking a quarterback if there’s no new CBA ’til September.

So true. You don’t want to waste a season grooming a quarterback. Much better to waste a season without any potential at the position at all!

4. Cincinnati. Cam Newton, QB, Auburn.


(pauses for breath)


Mike Brown loves drafting quarterbacks. He also loves gambling on them. That’s what this is, of course. A gamble.

“Mike Brown loves gambling on quarterbacks.” Fixed? Fixed. Name five grammatical constructs poorer than the one above. You can’t. Ross Tucker loves popcorn. He also loves eating it. That’s what you do with popcorn. You eat it.

6. Cleveland. A.J. Green, WR, Georgia… And remember one thing: The 2001 Seahawks, with Mike Holmgren running the draft, had needs all over the roster when they picked number nine in the first round. They bypassed Dan Morgan, Casey Hampton and Jeff Backus, all at positions of need (Backus to pair with Walter Jones), to pick a big wide receiver, Koren Robinson.

Remember, Browns fans: Mike Holmgren is really shitty at drafting.

10. Washington. Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas.


Mike Shanahan’s a dice-roller at quarterback, as you know.

Mike Shanahan loves getting quarterbacks. He also loves gambling on them. That’s what this is, of course. A gamble.

By the way, is there any scenario in which acquiring any player is NOT a gamble?

Wouldn’t be surprised either if the Redskins traded down here and took Christian Ponder or Jake Locker.

Because that would somehow be even funnier!

(Cam) Newton doesn’t have major delivery problems…


…struggles with some touch passes, may have accuracy issues while he makes adjustments to new techniques, and, according to Farrar: “The footwork is still a little gangly. You can tell that he’s still working on a lot of technical issues as an under-center quarterback.”

But other than that, FLAWLESS when delivering the ball.

In his passing session, he completed 11 of 21 throws.

He got his combine half right!

To be clear on this, that’s not good.

Thank you so much for explaining those numbers to me. Just to be clear, you usually want to complete more passes than that. You ARE legally retarded, right reader? Because why else would you read this column?

To be clear on this, donuts are quite tasty.

To be clear on this, most hotel rooms have beds.

Christian Ponder of Florida State, despite some chronic right arm problems, had the best overall day of any quarterback at the combine Sunday.

Well NOW I really want the Skins to draft him. A Florida State QB with Chad Pennington’s arm problems? PUT THAT MAN IN BURGUNDY AND POP THE CHAMPERS.

I really don’t think context is the issue, but you asked for it, so here it is.

Are you ready for this? No. You are not ready for this. It’s so breathtakingly illogical that your mind will condense to the size of a golf ball once you absorb it.

A few of you, some angrily, have asked for the story behind the tweet that launched a thousand reactions the other day — this stand-alone quote from Cam Newton: “I see myself not only as a football player, but an entertainer and icon.”

I’ll explain.

Please do.

After about 12 or 13 minutes, I asked him about his deal with Under Armour; I don’t remember my exact question, but it was something about what he expected the deal to do for him. And he said one of the things he wanted to stress was that he saw himself not only as a football player, but also an entertainer and icon.

So, he was talking about an endorsement deal. Well, in that context, the quote seems fairly harmless.

I had thought all along that I wouldn’t use anything from our conversation until this week, after I had seen him at the combine and, hopefully, got to spend a little more time with him. When we got off the phone, I began to think about what he’d said. I knew it would be something that would raise eyebrows among NFL teams, who like their prospects to be single-minded, not entering the league thinking about anything except being the best player they can be.

I wasn’t gonna use this quote. But then I thought, WAIT! This could really fuck Cam Newton over if I run it with no context whatsoever! As a journalician, I knew immediately what I had to do.

I thought if anyone else in the lineup asked him about the Under Armour deal, he’d probably say the same “entertainer and icon” thing. I didn’t want to make a news story out of it…

But let’s make a news story out of it!

…but I did want to get it out that he’d told me this, so I sent it out to my 510,000 followers on Twitter.

I didn’t want this to become some big THING, you know? So all I did was tell half a million people about it. SECRET: KEPT.

One of his representatives called the next day to tell me, basically, that I’d sabotaged Newton just before the combine, and it was going to damage him, and if I’d written this as part of a larger story with context, no one would have seen the quote as very troublesome. I told him you’re kidding yourself… if this were in a long story about combine prep and the deal with Under Armour, the media at large would have plucked out the quote and run with it the exact same way.

You’re fooling yourself buddy. EVERYONE in the media would have fucked you over with that quote, and that makes it okay! Also, we’re white!

How does the context of the quote change the impact? To me, not at all.

Holy shit, really? Hey Cam, do you think this new endorsement deal will give you more visibility as an athlete?

“Oh, sure. I see myself not only as a football player, but also an entertainer and icon.”

Are you open to being a spokesperson for the Hitler Youth?

“Oh, sure. I see myself not only as a football player, but also an entertainer and icon.”

How are you in bed?

“I see myself not only as a football player, but also an entertainer and icon.”

You see? Context means NOTHING. It’s like the draft. Totally overrated.

Adam Schefter reported Sunday Rice would definitely test the open market before he signs with anyone… He’d be a perfect young catch for the Patriots…


1. “I hope it’s dissolved.”

— Alabama defensive tackle Marcell Dareus, on the current labor battle between players and owners…

I wasn’t there to hear one of the cutest Yogi Berra-type malapropisms of recent combines.

It’s cute because he’s retarded!

Later, the word was changed to “resolved” on the combine transcript, but two earwitnesses said it was “dissolved.”

And I always trust my earwitnesses. They leave great voicemails.

3. “What do you think of Cam Newton?”

n Auburn’s Cam Newton, to Sirius NFL Radio hosts Pat Kirwan and Jim Miller Saturday afternoon, turning the tables on them and asking them questions.

“Don’t you think Cam Newton has a wonderful smile?”

4. “I like the comparison — he’s a shutdown corner — but I think I have better ball skills.”

— Colorado cornerback Jimmy Smith, comparing himself to Nnamdi Asomugha in a meeting with reporters Sunday in Indianapolis.

I like the comparison of me to Rick Reilly — we’re both sports writers– but I think I have better adjectives. I believe that’s about the same nonsense as the sound track of “Mr. Smith Goes to Indianapolis.”

Wait, what? Was that English?

And just so you understand, Rick Reilly’s adjectives kick mine all the way around the block.

REILLY: Kicking? Like soccer? Soccer is lame, Peter! Gooooooal? More like GOAL TO SLEEP!

You see and hear some interesting things in Indianapolis.


Spotted at a table at St. Elmo’s Steakhouse Thursday night…

I can climb the highest mountain
Cross the wildest sea
I can feel St. Elmo’s Steakhouse burninnnnnnn’ in me!
Burnin’ in me!!!

The Andy Reid coaching tree — Reid joined by Steve Spagnuolo, Leslie Frazier, Pat Shurmur and Ron Rivera, the men who once coached on the Eagle staff under Reid and who now have NFL head jobs.

“So guys, let’s talk about how to slow down during the two-minute drill. Can someone bring me a barrel of béarnaise sauce?”

Still the Hotel of the City: The Conrad. The giant TVs in the rooms, comfy lobby, free rides around town in bad weather, with a wine bar on one side of the lobby and a Capitol Grille on the other, central to everything.

Gotta have my Capitole Grille within eyeshot! Anything else is just a Westin.

Underrated Airport of America: the new one on the western outskirts of town.

Did I mention Indy has an awesome airport? There’s an arcade on EVERY concourse!

The locals say it’s the only new major airport built since 9/11.

And the only one made of gelatinized beef gravy!

“We have a great place to go if you need to leave town! It’s the best thing about us!”

In the lobby of Conseco Fieldhouse, the Starbucks is out and Dunkin’ Donuts in. What were you thinking, Seattle?


People here are freaked that labor situation might get this season, and the Super Bowl, canceled. Relax — for now.


And for those dreading a Super Bowl here? Don’t. It’s one of the most convenient cities in America.

No windswept moonscape be this town!!!

I told a few people over the weekend that when I worked in Cincinnati 30 years ago, Indianapolis was the stepchild of Cincinnati. No more, that’s for sure.

Holy shit, I’ll never go to Indy. How do you get a rung BELOW Cincinnati? Cincinnati is like Burma but with bad chili.

Do you realize two United States senators — along with about 35,000 others, from the sound of it — had to stand in line outside the stadium for at least two hours before the (Super Bowl)?

And why should Senators have to suffer with the common folk and be subjected to similar treatment? Get those people the Elite Entrant pass they deserve. Important people deserve important favoritism!

I think, and I’m actually pretty sure of it, that Nick Fairley will not be the first pick in the draft. I’m trusting Someone Who Knows And Who Has Been Correct About A Lot Of Things In The Past Year on this.

Then why can’t they write this column?

I think Jason Garrett told a story over the weekend about new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan that, if you’re a Cowboys fan and want to see Anthony Spencer and DeMarcus Ware dominate the league the way they did collectively in 2009, you’ll be happy to hear.

“Hmm. Yes. Indeed. Seems Mister Ryan didn’t know where the salad fork went on his place setting! A charming derelict if there ever was one!”

Said Garrett: “We had an interview. He came into my office and he had on a coat and tie and his hair was nicely combed. He looked good. He looked good. But we started talking football and about three minutes into our conversation I’d never seen a guy who wanted to get out of a coat and tie more than this guy and so I said, ‘Rob just take the thing off,’ so literally he went, ‘Boom’ and got rid of the tie, grabbed a pen and started going on the board. And it didn’t take long. I was impressed by the effort. I was impressed by the coat and tie and I was equally as impressed of him getting rid of it and getting going and really being who he is.”

“Hmm. Yes. Indeed. I was impressed with his attempt to be a civilized, Princetonian sort of person, and equally impressed that he finally accepted that that simply isn’t part of his breeding! HE’S NOT UNLIKE MY WIFE MUFFIN’S LABRADOODLE! People from lower classes are always so eager to please!”

Someday soon we’re going to see Denver FOX affiliate sports reporter Josina Anderson go national. Met her for the first time over the weekend after respecting her from afar. I was impressed. She knows things.

Like the capitol of Russia! She knows that! And she knows where babies come from! I love people who know things. I could talk with them about the human race all day.

Thank you, Chris Pika and Pete Moris of the NFL staff at the combine, for finding and returning my lost iPad.


I owe both of you a Boulevard Wheat.

Thanks for finding my $600 tablet device. I owe you a $5 beer, which I’ll never be able to buy you since I’ll probably never see you in person again. But your name is in the column! That’s priceless!

You’ve got to really want the triple grande hazelnut latte at the Starbucks in the lobby of the Westin Indianapolis. It costs $6.01.

I ordered six.

One more bit of thanks to Scott Wise: Appreciate the Three Wise Men growler, and I’m glad my guest and I had a chance to empty it before leaving the event Friday night.

Gotta empty that growler. I mean, any growler you see is bound to be full.

A growler. What a concept!

What a country! Where a beer receptacle and a busted pussy can both be the same word!

Oscar thoughts:

Kirk Douglas… You‘re more than alive!

As I tweeted last night: The Triple-A All-Star game in Pawtucket would be more riveting than the first two hours of that broadcast.

Are you kidding? The first two hours of that show had a stoned host, a winner stealing a dying man’s cane, and an F-bomb. It owned the PawSox.

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