Quotes of the Week
“I’d like to semi-disappear. The game’s been incredible to me. But disappearing’s good too. Disappearing to me is not being on TV, not being on the radio. I’d like to coach somewhere at a high school, trying to help the next generation, trying to help the next kid overcome the odds and be the best he can be.”
“If the media did their research on this guy, no one would be surprised.”
—Former Heisman winner and NFL back Ricky Williams, on Heisman winner Johnny Manziel, to an Austin, Texas, TV station.
Oh, the media’s doing the research, Ricky.
“As permitted under the CBA, the League will require players to wear non-obtrusive tracking devices in select practices and games. The purpose of these devices will be to collect positional and performance data (e.g., speed, distance traveled, and location on the field). The data captured from the 2013 testing will be used for internal evaluation purposes only, and will not be disclosed to any club … Finally, it is likely that all players will be required to wear tracking devices in all NFL games at some point over the next few seasons.”
—Memo from NFL vice president Ray Anderson to teams obtained by The MMQB last week. Such GPS devices are already used by at least three NFL teams, the U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team, and several rugby and soccer teams internationally to study fitness and conditioning among players.
“It looked like a move out of The Matrix. He’s still got it.”
—Text message from Indianapolis GM Ryan Grigson to owner Jim Irsay on Wednesday, after watching 32-year-old defensive end Robert Mathis make a pirouetting/power/crawling move between tackle and guard in a pass rush drill.
“They rolled him out there like an invalid and made him look like he was finished as a ballplayer … The legacy of George Steinbrenner would be horrified.”
—Attorney Joseph Tacopina, representing Alex Rodriguez, charging to The New York Times that the Yankees intentionally played Alex Rodriguez while knowing he was too injured to play in the 2012 playoffs, and, additionally, charging that Yankees president Randy Levine told the surgeon who performed ARod’s offseason hip surgery, “I don’t ever want to see him on the field again.”
The Yankees are, at least peripherally, involved in a pennant race. Alex Rodriguez is the third baseman on the Yankees. His appeal of the 211-game suspension is not going to be decided until the offseason. Which leads me to believe that of all the selfish acts of Rodriguez’s career, he is in the middle of the biggest one of all: doing his best to look out for his own image while at the same time being the biggest distraction in the recent history of baseball. As MLB executive VP Rob Manfred told the newspaper: “I have yet to see Alex Rodriguez or any of his representatives say that Alex Rodriguez didn’t use PEDs. They’ve adopted a strategy to make a circus atmosphere of irrelevant allegations. I don’t know why anyone who represents Alex Rodriguez has any credibility or standing to complain about anyone’s conduct, let alone ours.”
Stat of the Week
Maybe it’s me. I find this amazing:
The Rams have 46 offensive players under contract at training camp this summer in Earth City, Mo. Sam Bradford, 25, drafted in the first round in 2010, is the longest-tenured St. Louis offensive player.
We’re still three weeks away from the season, but here’s the way the neophyte Rams could line up in 2013 at the offensive skill positions:
Factoid of the Week That May Interest Only Me
When Minnesota sporting couple Christian Ponder (Vikings QB) and Samantha Steele Ponder (ESPN sideline reporter) snuck away to get married last fall in Hudson, Wis., they had their wedding lunch at Arby’s.
The first-round pitching matchup in the Little League World Series featured 6-4 Grant Holman of Chula Vista, Calif., versus 6-3 Chad Lorkowski of Grosse Point Shores, Mich. Each is 13 years old.
Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note of the Week
I traveled almost 12,000 miles and saw some fun sights and lots of highways and backroads and good cities and towns over 26 days of touring NFL camps. And my best sight of the week came five miles from my home in Manhattan—at the 9/11 Memorial on Saturday afternoon.
I hadn’t been to the Memorial, which honors the 2,977 people killed on Sept. 11, 2001, since it opened almost two years ago. I strongly recommend it (visit 911memorial.org for tourist information). Two large pools sit in the footprints where the Twin Towers were, and the rushing water in the North and South pools cuts off the city noise you’d normally hear standing in this hallowed spot. There are 30-foot waterfalls emptying into a void in the center of the memorials, and the names of the dead are inscribed on broad bronze railings around the pools.
Two notable things for me: I bet a quarter of the visitors Saturday afternoon when I was there were 16 or younger—meaning they’d have little or no memory of the day of the attacks. They’d have heard about the tragedy, from family or history books. But the attacks seem so recent that it’s strange to fathom so many young people wouldn’t remember them. And there’s a “Survivor Tree’’ right next to the South Pool, a pear tree that has grown to 30 feet now, the only remaining tree from the site on the day of the attacks. The tree was damaged into little more than an eight-foot stump. But New York City arborists nursed it back to health at a city park. Though it was uprooted by a severe storm in 2010, the tree recovered and was returned to the site 20 months ago. Check out the photo. Looks good, doesn’t it? It needs guide wires now, but soon, the city hopes, it will be able to stand on its own. For decades.
Tweets of the Week
“Everybody pray 4 dustin keller….i pray you have a speedy recovery bro…and kill it when you get back…. DEFINITELY wasnt intentional.”
—@JungleBoi_Swagg, rookie safety D.J. Swearinger of the Houston Texans, after diving into the planted right knee of Miami tight end Dustin Keller in a preseason game Saturday night. No doubt the knee is severely damaged, and it’s likely Keller will be lost for the season.
Swearinger’s Twitter profile says, “If I DON’T #HUNT I DON’T #EAT.” (BIZARRE USE OF ALL-CAPS HASHTAGS.) But the hit was not dirty. It’s the way scores of players are tackled every week in the NFL. Keller just happened to have his leg planted, and Swearinger’s hit caved it in.
“The NFL needs to protect defenseless receivers from low hits. To me that is way more important than helmet to helmet. #nfl”
—@KellenWinslowJr, Jets tight end, on the Swearinger hit.
Sorry. Defensive players have to be able to tackle somewhere. If you allow defenders to hits ballcarriers only between the shoulders and waist, penalties would skyrocket and you’d see a lot of 47-36 scores.
“How you know you’re in training camp – You legitimately complain about being ‘Back in Napa again for four more days.’ “
—@ChrisWarcraft, Raiders punter Chris Kluwe, back in Napa on Sunday.
“Must admit, Seahawks looking like more of a threat to New England in AFC than Denver is right now.”
—@RealSkipBayless, the ESPN commentator.
Seattle moved to the NFC in 2002.