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Wrong said Fred

Mitchell didn't learn his lesson Super Bowl week

Posted: Monday February 14, 2005 12:48AM; Updated: Monday February 14, 2005 12:36PM
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Freddie Mitchell
Freddie Mitchell hasn't met a microphone he didn't like, and that could mean his ticket out of Philadelphia.
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Two topics of interest on this Valentine's Day:

1. Freddie Mitchell, that old New England fan favorite, tells me, "The Patriots aren't all that good."

2. If you want New England cornerback Ty Law, you're going to have to pay for him.

I thought those would get your attention.

Mitchell first.

I phoned him after the heat of the moment had died down to find out what he thought of the Patriots and what it was like in the huddle in those last, ill-fated six minutes. He got himself well-hated by the Patriots for saying he didn't know the New England cornerbacks, and that he would "have something'' for safety Rodney Harrison during Super Bowl XXXIX. He had something all right: one catch for 11 yards. But that didn't stop him from opining harshly about the victors.

"If you played this Patriot team 10 times, how many times do you figure the Eagles would win?'' I asked.

"Eight times,'' he said. "To me, the Patriots are not that good. We turn it over four times, and still they only beat us by three. We're the better team. But we turned it over too much. A good team crushes that Patriot team. I'm telling you, they're not that good. T.O. was hurt, and he still scorched them for over 100 yards.''

He called the Patriots a "well, well-coached team. But we'll see how good a coach Bill Belichick is after he loses those two coordinators. That Charlie Weis is a friggin' mastermind."

Speaking of Belichick, I told him Sports Illustrated had quoted Belichick this week as calling Mitchell "terrible ... We loved when he was in the game."

"Oh,'' Mitchell said. You could feel the steam over the phone. "I see. It takes a big man to talk after the game. Why didn't he say anything before the game? That shows what kind of guy he is.''

I asked him his opinion about Tom Brady.

"He's like Ben Roethlisberger to me,'' Mitchell said. "They don't put him in position to make mistakes. They limit his ability to make mistakes. He's sort of like a robot.''

Ben Roethlisberger has quarterbacked 15 NFL games. Tom Brady is 57-14 in his five seasons. I could think of a lot of comparisons for Brady, but Roethlisberger wouldn't be atop the list. Troy Aikman might. Joe Montana might.

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Now for the final six minutes. Mitchell said he didn't think there was much difference between the McNabb in that huddle and the McNabb he'd seen during other games. "Dry-heaving is pretty normal for Donovan,'' Mitchell said. "He's pretty much done it all four years I've been with him.'' On two or three plays, Mitchell said, McNabb was struggling to speak because of the dry-heaves and exhaustion, so he gave hand-signals, and Mitchell would call the formation that went along with the play. "I just filled in the gaps,'' Mitchell said.

"The way we approached that long drive,'' he said, "the sense of urgency wasn't there. Maybe, if anything, Donovan should have run off and let [backup quarterback] Koy Detmer come in.''

Those comments won't make McNabb very happy. But you get the feeling Mitchell might not be around the Eagles next year anyway. He's not happy with his limited pass-catching role, and Andy Reid's not a very big fan of anyone speaking his mind the way Mitchell does -- especially when he's not producing on the field enough to justify all the opinions.

If you ask me, Freddie Mitchell is this year's John Welbourn -- the guy who talked his way out of Philly. Welbourn, too opinionated for Reid, was dealt to Kansas City.

Maybe 10 minutes after I hung up the phone, FredEx called back. "What exactly did Belichick say? I mean, exactly.'' I repeated the quote, the best I could remember from SI. "I'd really like to get in touch with him,'' he said. "That really pisses me off."

Well, a lot of Patriots fans, and Patriots, will feel the same way after reading those few paragraphs, Freddie.