Let’s Get Real ...

Khalil Mack is not interested in being number two.

Khalil Mack is expected to be an early pick on May 8. (Mike Groll/AP)
Khalil Mack is expected to be an early pick on May 8. (Mike Groll/AP)

I spent time on the phone Saturday with the most unknown of the prospective high picks—outside linebacker Khalil Mack, from Buffalo of the Mid-American Conference. You might know some of his story: Started only one year in high school in Fort Pierce, Fla. … Buffalo was the only NCAA Division I school to offer him a scholarship … Liberty University also did, but he went to Buffalo because it was a higher level of football … Put an exclamation point on his first-round status in the 2013 season-opener at Ohio State with nine tackles, 2.5 sacks and an interception (with another sack and forced fumbled called back due to a penalty). “A fantastic football player,” Urban Meyer said after the game.

He doesn’t talk about his triumphs with a cocky tone in his voice. It’s more of a knowledgeable one. “Nothing about that game surprised me,’’ Mack said. “I feel like I have played against better players than at Ohio State. I’ve just always had the opinion that with hard work and dedication, anything can happen. I’m proof of that. I’ve been blessed.”

Mack’s best fit is as a 3-4 outside linebacker in the NFL, though he says he can also play 4-3 end or outside ’backer, and, at 251 pounds, it’s not impossible that he could play inside as well. But his edge-rushing ability would be best employed coming off the edge in the 3-4. That’s what the Texans play. And he’s frothing at the prospect of playing on the same front seven with J.J. Watt. “I met him the other day,’’ said Mack. “It’d be perfect for me. He is one great player.” Mack visited six teams: Jacksonville, St. Louis, Houston, Detroit, Atlanta and Minnesota. All are in the top 10. It’s likely he’ll go in the top five on May 8.

He’d like to go in the top one. He’s not handing the crown of best defensive player in the draft to Jadeveon Clowney.

“I’m so competitive,’’ he said, “that I want to be the best, and I mean better than any rusher in the NFL now, or anyone coming in. I want to be better than Aldon Smith, all those guys. I respect Jadeveon, but I really don’t care what he does. I don’t care about the hoopla, the hype or any of that. I just want to go out on the field and compete and win. When I get out on the field, I turn on a switch and believe I can be the best person out there. Coming from Buffalo, I know I had to work hard to get to this point, and I did.”

“Got a gut feel where you’re going in the draft?” I asked.

“Not at all,” Mack said. “Wish I knew.”

He won’t have a long wait in the green room 10 nights from now. Maybe an hour, maybe less. I’ll be surprised if he gets past the sixth pick, now held (but for who knows how long) by Atlanta.

* * *

Ten things you need to know about Earl Morrall.

  1. Morrall, who died Friday at 79 in Florida of Parkinson’s Disease, got picked in the 1956 draft second overall by the 49ers. Number 200 overall that year: Bart Starr.
  2. Morrall quarterbacked Michigan State to the 1956 Rose Bowl title, and he played infield during the Spartans’ only trip to the College World Series.
  3. In his second year in the NFL, the Steelers traded two first-round picks to obtain him from San Francisco. In his third year in the NFL, the Steelers traded him to Detroit for Bobby Layne.
  4. Earl Morrall played for six teams in his 21 seasons as a pro. (Clifton Boutelle/Getty Images)
    Earl Morrall played for six teams in his 21 seasons as a pro. (Clifton Boutelle/Getty Images)

    Two weeks before the regular season started in 1968, Morrall, in his 12th pro season, was traded to the Baltimore Colts to serve as Johnny Unitas’ backup for the season. A week later, Unitas went down with an elbow injury. Morrall stepped in and led the Colts to a 13-1 season, won the NFL MVP award and led the Colts into Super Bowl III against Joe Namath and the Jets. The rest is unpleasant history in the Morrall family. He threw three interceptions in that game before being replaced by the still-recuperating Unitas, and the Colts lost in one of the great upsets in NFL history.

  5. Two years later, with Unitas hurt again, Morrall stepped into Super Bowl V and orchestrated a 16-13 Baltimore victory over Dallas.
  6. A year a later, on his 38th birthday, the Dolphins claimed him on waivers from Baltimore for $100.
  7. In 1972,filling in after Bob Griese broke his ankle in Week 5, Morrall went 9-0 as a starting quarterback in the Dolphins’ perfect season—the only NFL team ever to win every game, regular and postseason, that it played—and was named First Team All-Pro for the second time. But he was replaced by Griese as the starter for the Super Bowl after struggling in the AFC title game at Pittsburgh.
  8. The Dolphins’ practice facility is in Davie, Fla., near Fort Lauderdale. Morrall was the mayor of Davie in 1992.
  9. He wore a crew cut for all of his adult life.
  10. He leaves five children: Matt, Mitch, Mardi, Mindi, Meghan. (GALLERY: Classic photos of Earl Morrall.)
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124 comments
Mr.MurderMurphy
Mr.MurderMurphy

If only the Falcons held their guns and got Doug Baldwin(27th) instead of Julio, while the Ravens waited over a trade balk that had them take Jimmy Smith(who lost that shot). Think Atlanta now sees itself movin' on up and you note the Rams seem likely trade bait. Oakland moved back for less than value before as well, part of it getting more bodies in the wake of Carson Palmer trade.

el80ne
el80ne

'I think if Blake Bortles sat in the front row at a Rays or Marlins game with his girlfriend, no one would say, “Hey, why isn’t Blake Bortles concentrating on football and staying out of the public eye before the draft?”'

You got this right but your reasoning is wrong Mr King. No one would be saying that because everyone would be too busy checking out his girlfriend.

Buck2185
Buck2185

The Sterling story is far from over. Peter hasn't even turned the loud mouthed punk, Richard Sherman, loose on a 3 page rant on Sterling yet.....

wlewisiii
wlewisiii

"h. Apropos of very little: Ansel Adams died on April 22, 1984. Richard Nixon died on April 22, 1994. Pat Tillman died on April 22, 2004." 

Two great men, one ... not so much. I'll leave it to you to decide which is which.


(hint: I'm a vet. OTOH, I am a photographer. On the Gripping Hand, I remember Cheering for Nixon election night 1972. Be careful what you wish for...) 

ninozowi
ninozowi

This point isn't as big as the people who are saying the opposite, but Sterling has been a registered Republican since 1998. Stop just denying it -- just go look it up. 

jbs50221
jbs50221

No Sterling does not represent the very worse of America....I still believe that Americans who own business, franchises or whatever, should have the right to say who they want working for them and " SOCIALIZING " with them. That is what is called an unalienable right. But all these courts, congresses and presidents are on a pity party and have changed the ideas of what real rights and freedoms are. To their limited shoe box rights and freedoms. I think Sterling has an unabridged right to tell his girlfriend to leave anybody out of his personal life and arena if he feels its an abject social suspect. My first response would be, to every person including Obama. To butt out of my business...what I said, is what I meant it to sound like. Analyze it any way you want, but it will not change my idea about who I am. And what I demand of my personal freedoms. And to all those black players on my team if you do not like me, pack your bags and go play some where else. I will get all white's to play on my team, to show the world why I do not want blacks socializing with me. Because when my all white team would hit the courts the black prejudiced players on those other teams would show their true colors by being antagonistic intimidating and even illegally violent. In attempt to show " them white boys " that we have rights above and beyond you now. I'm not racial, but I know the propensity of blacks. Spent twenty two years in prison with them. As a gang, they create noise and scream so the brothers will come running. But one white man on one black, when there aren't any other blacks around he hardly will open his mouth.  Same thing you see right now vibrating across the United States. They are all hollering out to their brothers to make noise. And even the H.N.I.C. in Washington D.C. is jumping on the band wagon. Even The Bible says in Jeremiah Chapter 13 verse 23 " Can an Ethiopian change his skin, or a leopard its spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil ". Can even a black man change his skin color? If so, then all you who think evil of Sterling, would be able to do good. 

   And as far as Sterling's girlfriend, if she was my girl friend she'd be the first to be dumped....let one of this silent protesting Clipper players have her. She was the literal cause for all of this crap anyway. I personally can testify, that being white gives me no more privileges than any black man never got. When I committed a crime, I was sentenced to fifty years in the penitentiary for what I did. That nine white and three black jury, sent me to prison for what I did. Nine of my won race laced me up...its because I did something against The Lord and the law of the land. So there was no racial bias for me to get leniency. And after hitting the penitentiary there was not mercy from that administration either. It wasn't until I received Christ into my life. That things changed and He decided to allow me to come home. But I served twenty two years altogether for my crime and still have to be on parole until 2031. I have been out almost 11 years. Praise The Lord....but being free, is not being free, when you find yourself being subdued by a government like what we have now.              

kenc29
kenc29

The thing about Sterling is, he was in a very small club of owners. Anyone who's been in a small club know what that's like. He's the longest-tenured owner in the group. David Stern, Adam Silver and the rest of the front office know Donald Sterling. This isn't some aberrant behavior. All the other owners and the NBA front office know that Sterling is a reprehensible human being and they let it slide. I think some of the blame has to fall on the NBA front office's shoulders. They had to have known and yet did nothing about it. Sad.

Raiderforlife
Raiderforlife

Thank god  Sterling is a Democrat I would not be able to listen to the TV or Radio if he where a Republican


Rickapolis
Rickapolis

It's so sad to see people come to the defense of a man like Donald Sterling. He represents the very worst of America, and there is NO room for him in professional sports. I was hoping his kind were dying out, but judging from all the irresponsible comments, I'm afraid not.

EdwardKirby
EdwardKirby

"Morrall should go down in history as one of the best handful (three, four?) of backup quarterbacks in the 94-season history of the NFL."

Wow. So who is keeping you from proclaiming him as the best backup of all-time? Steve Young, perhaps?

BTW, McReynolds was a savvy base stealer that picked his opportunities carefully. When he ran, just about no one expected it. Except the Mets faithful.

LenaBrun
LenaBrun

I do not agree with anything Donald Sterling said on the call. But the reaction is way over the top, and not about facts of the stupid call.


This was a phonecall, not a public statement. Like it or not, the Constitution of the United States of America allow it's citizens to have unpopular opinions. The laws of the country can block you from promoting racist views and opinions, but it can and should not stop a private citizen expressing his or her personal opinion in a private setting. 

Regardless of how poor an opinion it is.


Donald Sterling is being victimized instead of ridiculed the reaction is a complete overreaction, and as far as I am concerned the NBA does not have or should not have a leg to stand on if thinking of sanctions.

Scramble
Scramble

The only black mark on Earl Morral's resume is tanking super bowl III. I don't know what the NFL offered him and Shula, maybe a trip to the nice warm sunny Miami Dolphins. I felt sorry for all the other Colts who played their hearts out not knowing he was just going to throw interceptions all day. He had Jimmy Orr wide open in the end zone on a trick play and throws it into the arms of a defender on the opposite side of the field. The NFL couldn't afford another AFL super bowl loss since they were merging leagues. Even Unitas admitted in private that it was a fixed game.

YinkaDoubleDare
YinkaDoubleDare

A broadcast team might not know who Bortles is but the cameramen would have noticed his girlfriend and put Bortles on camera without knowing it.  

CobyPreimesberger
CobyPreimesberger

to me there is few people that don't seem to have a problem that this was a private conversation.  you know why rock-head rocker was really hammered, it was his was an interview in SI, so it was public, plus again you have sterling in depositions, so you know this guy is a racist and stern rightly or wrongly turned a blind eye to it

unitcaptain11
unitcaptain11

The draft is 11 days later this year. Not two weeks.  People are acting like it's 3 months later.  It's 11 days.  Big deal.

Bucky182
Bucky182

Patiently waiting for the day when all this media-driven, ego boosting Manziel hype burns out just as fast or faster than Linsanity.


No comment on the Sterling issue.

DeeEmm1
DeeEmm1

I hope the Falcons trade up and lose more depth and draft capital. Clowney is good and I think he'll be a star quickly, but they have many more needs on that D than just one pass rusher. If I'm them, I'm looking to trade down and build the back end of my secondary. They have nothing at safety, while my Saints and the Bucs have strong secondaries that will challenge their receivers. 

They've been one step behind during this Smith-Dimitroff era. Don't make the mistake of staying one step behind.

SpencerForHire
SpencerForHire

I kinda wish PK would have talked about the knucklehead 49er fan that is suing for $50M because he couldn't buy tickets to the NFCCG. 

number18
number18

!. Sterling is a registered democrat

2.Sterling is Jewish

3.All will be forgiven

Phooey
Phooey

@ninozowi BFD.  Both sides had idiots and racists.  Obama is the worst racist in the country right now.  He's a clown that should be ignored just like Donald Sterling. 

JayReardon
JayReardon

@jbs50221  Christ obviously did you no good in the thinking department.  Nothing like years in prison and imaginary entities to make one a real crack thinker and philosopher.

wlewisiii
wlewisiii

@jbs50221  Keep drinking the Fox Lies. You'll pass out soon enough. 


The real world will clean up your puke later. 

djbake6798
djbake6798

@jbs50221 ... and the government isn't doing anything to Donald Sterling. Its protected speech, but its not protected from being shouted down as ignorant by others or for a company to distance itself by pulling sponsorship or from people gathering peacefully in protest outside the Staples center. Most people who spout on about free speech don't actually understand what that actually entails.

Mike26
Mike26

@kenc29  They can't do a thing about it so why try?

Mike26
Mike26

@Rickapolis  People aren't coming to his defense as much as they're just shrugging their shoulders because Sterling has ALWAYS been this way so this latest overblown incident is nothing new - yet the media is treating it as if another planet were discovered or another celebrity came out of the closet.

Mike26
Mike26

@EdwardKirby  Steve Young was a brief backup and HOF starter.  If you're going to try to rip PK then at least try and come up with something less stupid.

JayReardon
JayReardon

@LenaBrun  Yeah, another multi millionaire victim --- shot by his own big mouth and ignorance.  I'm crying.  Maybe he'll send you a check for your support.

liquidmuse3
liquidmuse3

@LenaBrun  The whole point is a private entity (the NBA) might have a problem with the owner of one of its franchises. If you lived in a country where (I assume you're a woman) women were once enslaved---& then you had to go to work for a person who said "don't bring women to my place of business, and don't commiserate with them publicly"---do you think---

1)any women would ever want to work for that owner? Especially considering the majority of people in the owner's business were (in this example) women?

2)you'd be A-OK with the whole "free speech" thing? It's so idiotic to decry the reaction against Sterling, while trumping up "free speech". He's allowed to say what he wants, people are allowed to react how they want. However, this is different, because the NBA is in the public relations business (just like any private entity, except x100), *&*, the city of Los Angeles has its name ATTACHED to this gentleman's franchise. So you're saying the NBA will allow & be happy with every player asking to be traded off Sterling's roster, & an entire empty arena? Do you not see how "speech" leads to "bad business"?

e46M3
e46M3

@number18 You're batting .333, which is only great if you're in the MLB.


Ryan19
Ryan19

@number18  Actually, Sterling has been a registered Republican since 1998.  I don't think his political party is at all relevant in this situation, but if you are going to post it, at least do it correctly.  

usameos6
usameos6

@number18  You forgot to add:


- Sterling has been doing this for 40+ years

 - Sterling was going to be given a lifetime achievement award from the NAACP and has been previously honored by this organization for his support of minority children

 - The NBA Bylaws for owners (which are not published) allegedly contain more information about what the NBA can do to owners that can't meet their financial obligations versus anything about conduct or behavior so the NBA may not be able to do anything outside of a fine/suspension but will fall short of being able to force Sterling to sell the Clippers

BillieBob
BillieBob

@number18  

There are dem bigots and repub bigots. The unifying factor is that they're all conservatives.

Mike26
Mike26

@number18  SHHH!!!!!!  You're messing some really good rants!

wlewisiii
wlewisiii

@Phooey @ninozowi  Obama? The most center-right president since Ike? Only in the imagination of those who think Fox is a news channel rather than the propaganda mouthpiece of the GOP. 

Jenga
Jenga

@wlewisiii   You aren't the brightest bulb are you?  I saw nothing about party affiliation in @jbs50221 post.  You just want everything to fit in you very limited world-view and let the TV do the thinking and talking for you.  Have fun being a narrow-minded drone.

jrscott0262
jrscott0262

@wlewisiii Has nothing to do with Fox... Sigh.  Party Patriots need a cranial-rectal retraction.  Both parties, and their cheering sections (the news agencies on both sides) lie.  It's what they do.  Meanwhile they drain our wallets while you watch the world's biggest "reality show".

Raiderforlife
Raiderforlife

@shoota79 @Raiderforlife  you check your facts he was giving money to democrats for years. Lets put it another way the liberal media is not calling him a republican that tells you all you need to know you moon bat

hayhowesq
hayhowesq

@Mike26 @number18  Actually, as has been mentioned many times, Sterling is a registered Republican, but nice try.

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