Quotes of the Week
“I am not part of the media. That’s not my label, and I don’t want it to start now.”
—New media member Randy Moss, part of the media whether he likes it or not, to our Richard Deitsch in his Mediaville column. Media, media, media! You’re in it now, Randy. Moss has joined FOX Football Daily, an hour show on the new FOX Sports 1 channel.
“He’s upset. No one feels more upset about this than him. He feels like he let his team down, he feels like he let his family down, he let his name down. I don’t know how well you guys know Von, but Von’s an amazing guy. He’s not a bad guy. He made bad decisions, yes, but he’s not a bad guy or a bad person. He’ll live and he’ll learn and he’ll bounce back from it. I have no doubt it in my mind because he’s not a dumb guy. They try to peg him as being dumb, but those people don’t know him.”
—Denver linebacker Shaun Phillips, on teammate Von Miller, who was suspended for six games by the NFL for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Miller’s absence means the Broncos will be without their top two pass rushers (Elvis Dumervil went to Baltimore in free agency in the offseason) for the first six games, with Joe Flacco, Eli Manning, Michael Vick and Tony Romo on the schedule in those games.
Who’s pegging him as dumb? I’d just peg him as irresponsible for violating the terms of the NFL’s substance-abuse program knowing full well what the consequences were.
“You listen to our strength and conditioning guys. I asked them the other day from top to bottom if you can rank our guys, and Michael was our number one in terms of his attitude, work ethic, helping other players, everything in terms of weight room, off‑the‑field things. I’m not in the weight room every single day with those guys, but I always get input from them and what’s going on in there. Every facet of what you’ve asked him to do since he’s been here he’s been outstanding at.”
—Eagles coach Chip Kelly on Michael Vick, two days after naming him the Eagles’ starting quarterback.
“You know what the greatest honor I’ve ever received as a player is? In my fourth year and my fifth year, I was named team captain. That is to this day the single greatest achievement of my career as a football player, because the men in this room chose me to lead them.”
—New England quarterback Tom Brady, speaking to the Michigan football team in Ann Arbor Thursday morning at the invitation of coach Brady Hoke. The University of Michigan streamed the Brady video.
Stat of the Week
The Seniors Committee of the Pro Football Hall of Fame voted last week to nominate former punter Ray Guy and defensive end Claude Humphrey as its candidates for enshrinement in 2014. The Seniors Committee is a nine-man sub-committee of the 46-member Hall panel, and five of the nine gather in Canton each August along with two former players to discuss the most deserving veterans who may have been overlooked in their 15 years of eligibility after retiring. You may know I have not supported Guy in the past, but I look at the voting process this way: Something could happen in the room that Saturday to sway my opinion, some presentation by a committee member. So I have an open mind entering the process, which will play out the day before the Super Bowl next February.
We are often asked on the committee—most recently, and loudly, by punter Chris Kluwe—why there are no punters in the Hall, why we have a bias against kicking-game specialists. I don’t think we do. I think we want to enshrine players who have truly separated themselves on the field. I have believed part of the Guy sentiment comes from the rabid Raider fandom over the years, and from teammates who thought him a true difference-maker. I’ve often said to people, “Compare Guy to Jerrel Wilson, and tell me why we’re talking Ray Guy and not Jerrel Wilson. Wilson was a peer of Guy’s, and their careers intersected during the ’70s, Wilson in Kansas City and Guy in Oakland. A couple of numbers to consider:
Wilson, in 217 career games, averaged 43.0 yards per punt and had seven seasons with averages over 44 yards.
Guy, in 207 career games, averaged 42.4 yards per punt and had one season averaging more than 44 yards.
Wilson led his league five times in average per punt (three NFL, two AFL.) Guy led the NFL in punting average the same as Wilson—three times.
Other numbers and other testimony will come into play. But one that I’ve asked a few times over the years is this: Is punting really a different game between 1973, when Guy entered football, and today? Should it matter that 82 punters have better averages than Guy’s 42.4 in NFL history? It shouldn’t be the total determining factor, yards per punt. But it’s got to be in there somewhere.
Factoid of the Week That May Interest Only Me
On the turf at Everbank Field Saturday, two roommates during their sophomore year at the University of Florida met.
Philadelphia general manager Howie Roseman shook hands warmly with Jacksonville offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch. Small world.
They both swear this story is true: One day, as these two non-football-playing Gators sat in their dorm room, they asked each other what they wanted to be when they grew up. Fisch said he wanted to be an NFL coach. Roseman said he wanted to be an NFL general manager.
Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note of the Week
Flights Attendants Deserve a Raise, and a Big One, Dept.:
Delta to Jacksonville, Saturday morning. Front door closes. You know the drill. Cell phones off. Female flight attendant to me, firmly: “Sir, please power down your cell phone.” Which I did. Flight attendant to white-haired man in the seat behind me, “Sir, please power down your cell phone.”
The man, maybe 67, says, “I have it in airplane mode. It’s okay.”
Flight attendant: “Sir, it has to be powered off for takeoff. Completely off.”
The man raises his voice. “My dog just died! I am trying to go down there for my dog! Just move on! It’s in airplane mode!”
Flight attendant, firmly but not angrily: “Sir, the phone has to be powered off. Everyone on the plane has to power off.”
The man turns into Dr. Evil, spewing about his dog dying of cirrhosis of the liver, and how can she do this to him, and the phone takes a long time to power off, and, well, he was spewing so fast I missed some of it. But lots of verbal bile spews.
“Sir,” she says, evenly, without a trace of anger, “I am going to have to go talk to the captain. We can’t take off if your phone is on.”
She walks toward the cabin, leans in, and says something to the captain.
“I am turning it off!” Dr. Evil says loudly up the aisle. “It takes a minute.” More bile to the poor flight attendant.
The phone is off, but he won’t shut up.
“You are an awful person,” Dr. Evil hisses.
“Sir,” she says firmly, “are you going to have a problem with me on this flight?”
No! The back-to-the-gate, throw-the-bum-off, lose-our-spot-in-line threat!
“No,” Dr. Evil says. “Just leave me alone! I can’t believe you!”
Where do these sub-humans come from?
And Ms. Flight Attendant, you deserve a medal for not punching the lout in the nose.
While I’m praising flight attendants, how about the line from this clever one on Southwest Sunday morning, as we taxied toward the runway for the Jacksonville-to-Houston flight: “Ladies and gentlemen, in the unlikely event your flight becomes a cruise … “
Tweets of the Week
“McKnight in May: “I don’t care who they bring in, they’re going [to have to] kill me to take my spot.” #nyj
—@briancoz, New York Post Jets beat writer Brian Costello, after the team cut return man Joe McKnight Monday.
“Rashean Mathis signed with the Lions on Friday. 4 days later, he’s working with the first-team defense“
—@kmeinke, Kyle Meinke, Detroit Lions beat reporter for MLive Media Group in Michigan.
You want to know why it’s hard to buy in on The New And Improved Lions? Because of news like this. Every year since Jim Schwartz took over as coach of the Lions in 2009, the team has been trying to fix the secondary. Through the draft, through low-cost free agency. Through giving the Drayton Florences and Rashean Mathises (Mathis turns 33 tomorrow) starting gigs after they’ve been discarded by other corner-needy teams. Not being critical of those players as contributors to a team, but the Lions have consistently failed to upgrade a vital part of their team with Aaron Rodgers and Jay Cutler the opposition passers for 25 percent of their schedule.
“People who get to cut the security line at the airport because they showed up late should have to apologize to the rest of us.”
—@peteabe, Boston Globe Red Sox beat man Pete Abraham, tweeting live from the security line at San Francisco International Airport Thursday morning.
Thank you. Thank you very much.