Quotes of the Week
“With the 249th pick in the 2014 NFL draft, the St. Louis Rams select Michael Sam, defensive end, Missouri.”
—NFL vice president of game operations Mike Kensil, announcing a historic pick late in the draft on Saturday evening. Very good for Kensil, who is the ultimate loyal NFL soldier. Now, whenever history looks back on this moment, it will be Kensil’s voice and words that welcome the first openly gay player into the NFL.
“If it was A.J. McCarron and Katherine Webb kissing, no one would say anything. But we’ve been documenting the NFL draft for 35 years, and we’ve never seen anything like this. We’ve never seen a man and a man. My instincts were to just let it roll.”
—Veteran ESPN NFL producer Seth Markman, whose job it was to determine what pictures from the draft America got to see over the weekend, and who let the video of Michael Sam and his partner kissing run at length.
More on Markman’s decision in Ten Things I Think I Think.
“It’s not the usual development guy behind an accomplished quarterback. He’s a celebrity. He’s Elvis Presley.”
—Dallas owner Jerry Jones, who admitted when the Cowboys picked at number 16 in the first round that Johnny Manziel was the highest-rated player on their board. But he didn’t pick Manziel because of the team’s investment in Tony Romo and because of the Presley/distraction/mayhem/Cowboys/America’s Team factor.
“I’ve known from day one my pad level sucks.”
—Falcons second-round draft pick Ra’Shede Hageman of Minnesota.
Tell us what you really think about your pad level, Ra’Shede.
“Mike Glennon is the Bucs’ quarterback of the future here.”
—Tampa Bay coach Lovie Smith, after the Bucs passed on Johnny Manziel in the first round.
Wh-wh-wh-what? What about Josh McCown being signed, and what about the serious pursuit of Manziel?
“This is gonna be a great relationship. Thanks for pulling the trigger, coach.”
—Giants fourth-round running back Andre Williams of Boston College, taking a call from Giants coaches upon learning he’d been drafted by the team.
The MMQB’s Jenny Vrentas was in the Williams home when he got picked, and she’ll be writing the latest installment in an offseason-long series on Williams in the coming days. As a cute aside, when Williams got off the phone with Tom Coughlin, Vrentas reports, his mom bear-hugged him and said: “Now you’re Andre the Giant!”
Stat of the Week
Terrance West might be the best story of anyone in the draft. The running back from Towson (Md.) was picked 94th overall, by Cleveland, in the third round. West’s story: He got no scholarship offers out of a Baltimore city high school or after a year of prep school. He walked on at Morgan State and then Maryland, and couldn’t get a spot on either team. He walked on at a third school, Towson, and stuck in 2011. How about that: The man who couldn’t earn a jersey at Morgan State is a top-100 pick in a rich NFL draft.
Last fall, he averaged 26 carries a game for Towson. He ran for 2,509 yards and 41 touchdowns. Yes, 41 rushing touchdowns. His busiest games:
|North Carolina Central||31||139||2|
|William & Mary||30||157||2|
Factoids of the Week That May Interest Only Me
On day two of the draft, Cleveland defensive coordinator Jim O’Neil (Towson class of 2001) and assistant linebackers coach Brian Fleury (Towson class of 2003) wore Towson shirts to work. And when Towson running back Terrance West was picked by the Browns in the third round, O’Neil and Fleury stood and sang, “Hail Towson,” the school’s fight song. It goes something like this:
Hail to the Towson Tigers.
We’re true to the black and gold!
Fight on with courage.
Now and forever.
Victory strong and bold!
Slot receivers the Patriots have loved:
In 2009, New England drafted the 5-10, 198-pound Julian Edelman, a former option quarterback who ran a 4.51 40-yard dash, and brought him to camp as a slot receiver and returner candidate. He was a seventh-round pick of New England, 232nd overall.
In 2014, New England drafted the 5-8, 190-pound Jeremy Gallon, a former option quarterback who ran a 4.49 40-yard dash, and will bring him to camp as a slot receiver and returner candidate. He was a seventh-round pick of New England, 244th overall.
The number of players from some schools drafted over the weekend:
2: Coastal Carolina, Florida Atlantic University, Georgia Southern.
1: McGill (Canada), Maine, Princeton, Saginaw Valley State, Marist, Concordia-St. Paul, Lindenwood (Mo.), Pittsburg State, South Dakota, Bloomsburg.
Number 90’s in Houston Texans history since 2006:
- 2006-2011: DE Mario Williams, first pick in the 2006 draft.
- 2012: Mister Alexander, undrafted free agent.
- 2013: Unused.
- 2014: DE Jadeveon Clowney, first pick in the 2014 draft.
Seattle fullback Kiero Small, 5-8½ and 252 pounds (now there’s Don Nottingham reincarnated), drafted in the seventh round from Arkansas, said he has broken 26 face masks in on-field collisions.
Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note of the Week
Last Tuesday afternoon, I was aboard Delta flight 6196 from LaGuardia Airport in New York to Nashville. We had just touched down in Tennessee when the woman in front of me, about 55 I’d guess, began to cry. Evidently, she was looking at her phone upon landing and got some distressing news. The crying was a few little sobs at first, and then it got louder, and a few moments later, she got someone on the phone and lost control.
“I just can’t believe it!” she said between sobs. “I should have gotten here yesterday! I’m too late. Oh, noooooo! My God! What happened?”
It went on for two or three minutes. Clearly, someone close to her died within the last couple of hours, and the woman was distraught to have missed the final moments … and the chance to say goodbye. As we got to the gate, her crying continued unabated. The guy next to her acted like nothing was happening. Never even glanced over at the woman. She rose to collect her things. Just then, the flight attendant in front of the aircraft walked down the aisle to her and said, “I am so sorry for you. Do you need a hug?”
“YES!” the woman in mourning said, and nearly collapsed into the flight attendant’s arms. They hugged for maybe 10 seconds, and then it was time to go.
Leaving the plane, I passed the flight attendant and said, “That was one of the nicest things I’ve ever seen a flight attendant do.”
Tweets of the Week
Excited to be a part of the Minnesota Vikings organization. Looking forward to helping them win a Super Bowl.
— Kain Colter (@KainColter_2) May 10, 2014
The Northwestern quarterback and college players union organizer was signed by the Vikings as an undrafted free-agent Saturday night. What a day for the NFL: Within 90 minutes of each other, the NFL welcomed its versions of Harvey Milk and Samuel Gompers.
Carlos Hyde is a nice pick, but he doesn’t know that Frank Gore will never die.
— gregg rosenthal (@greggrosenthal) May 10, 2014
Jim Harbaugh has been the coach of the 49ers for the last three years. He likes Gore a lot.
Gore at 28: 16 games, 282 carries, 1,211 yards, eight touchdowns.
Gore at 29: 16 games, 258 carries, 1,214 yards, eight touchdowns.
Gore at 30: 16 games, 276 carries, 1,128 yards, nine touchdowns.
Which leads me to …
Frank Gore Factoid of the Week That Should Interest Every Niner Fan
Gore, who turns 31 on Wednesday, needs 1,270 yards to pass O.J. Simpson on the NFL’s all-time rushing list.
Draft Day, it seems, was a documentary.
— Sam Farmer (@LATimesfarmer) May 9, 2014
“Draft Day,” starring Kevin Costner, has as part of its plot the Browns bypassing the best quarterback in the draft, picking another player, then trading back up to a higher pick in the first round. The only thing missing is the parallel story: Costner never picked the quarterback. Ray Farmer did.
— EJ Manuel (@EJManuel3) May 9, 2014
This was tweeted exactly one minute after the stunning trade that netted Manuel and the Bills the best wide receiver in the draft, Clemson’s Sammy Watkins.
— MissingMtnBrew (@MissingMountain) May 9, 2014
#Bucs GM Jason Licht got some advice from Rays manager Joe Maddon: “The box is a lonely place to be. You’ve got to think outside of it.”
— Rick Stroud (@NFLSTROUD) May 10, 2014
Not to be all baseball-centric on a football weekend or anything, but I would read “The Philosophy of Joe Maddon” book. What an interesting guy.